Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was the court's swing vote on a controversial affirmative action decision. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

James Hohmann will return next week.

THE BIG IDEA: By Robert Barnes: Is the fight over affirmative action over?

Maybe not politically. American unease over categorizing people by race remains strong, the debate over the value of diversity rages. States are still free to bar their university officials from considering race when making admissions decisions, and major ones such as California, Michigan and Florida have done so for years.

But as a legal matter, it feels like the ship has sailed. The more people on both sides of the issue digest Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s opinion upholding the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions process, the more they believe university officials have the greenlight to continue the practice.

The court’s decision last week came at about the halfway point of retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s 2003 prediction that racial considerations might no longer be necessary in 25 years. But Kennedy’s opinion made no mention of an expiration date.

And changing course would seem to require a major restructuring of the court’s membership. The bottom line is that only three members of the court were willing to overturn a race-conscious admissions plan that was considered to be -- because UT’s unique Top Ten plan already made it one of the most diverse top-tier public universities -- one of the most vulnerable in the country.

The reaction of Stuart Taylor Jr., a Washington legal writer who literally wrote a book, Mismatch, arguing against race-conscious admissions, was typical. “Barring a surprise Trump win in the presidential election (which I would find even more distressing than the court’s decision), few if any court-watchers expect any significant restraint on racial preferences to come from the justices after this decision,” Taylor wrote in an essay on

How Kennedy’s opinion came to pass is more opaque. Before the decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the court’s longest-serving member had never approved of an affirmative action policy. When UT’s policy first came before the Supreme Court in 2012, there seemed to be five solid votes against it.

According to journalist Joan Biskupic’s book Breaking In, about Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Kennedy was to write the opinion striking it down. But with Sotomayor preparing an incendiary dissent -- she later used it in a different case -- Kennedy began to have doubts. With a nudge from Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Kennedy instead wrote for the court an opinion sending the case down for further study, and told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to make UT justify its use of race.

A panel of that court said that UT had met the task. But the Supreme Court again accepted the case.

In the meantime, the court heard another case pushed by conservative legal activists. They wanted to end the use of “disparate impact” in cases alleging housing discrimination. It meant that challengers do not have to prove policies were enacted with intentional discrimination in order to be illegal.

In a surprise, Kennedy joined the court’s liberals to uphold the use of disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act.

Still, it did not immediately follow that Kennedy was ready to embrace UT’s policy. Indeed, Kennedy’s vote seem to startle his fellow conservatives.

“Something strange has happened since our prior decision in this case,” is how Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. started his skeptical, fact-laden, 51-page dissent.

Kennedy accepted all of UT’s justifications for considering race as a “factor of a factor of a factor” in deciding who should fill the freshman class beyond those top students in each Texas high school automatically accepted. “Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission,” he wrote.

Michael Dorf, a former Kennedy clerk who now teaches law at Cornell, spends a good bit of time at his blog Dorf on Law explaining his enigmatic former boss to the rest of the world.

Dorf didn’t claim to have called Kennedy’s vote in what legal types call Fisher II, but he noted that even in dissenting in the 2003 affirmative action case, Kennedy “agreed in principle that diversity in higher education is a compelling interest that can justify a narrowly tailored program of race-based affirmative action. “

Dorf said last week’s decision “puts his vote where his rhetoric was all along.”

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--BREAKING: "The three suicide bombers who attacked Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport have been identified as nationals from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, a senior Turkish official said Thursday. Turkish authorities did not release the names of the attacker," Erin Cunningham reports. "The identities exposed possible connections between Islamic State cells and Turkey’s large communities of workers and others from the Central Asia region. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but Turkish officials have said they believe the Islamic State is behind the bloodshed."

-- U.S troops launched a series of airstrikes on Wednesday night near Fallujah in Iraq, killing an estimated 250 ISIL fighters. "The reported strikes occurred south of the city, and are just the latest setback for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which continues to suffer devastating defeats just two years after capturing large swaths of Ira ... An unnamed U.S. defense official told FOX News that a convoy of ISIL fighters was hit as they tried to leave a neighborhood on the outskirts of Fallujah." (USA Today)

--Meanwhile, in an interview with Yahoo! News, former CIA Director John Brennan said the attack on Istanbul's airport bears the hallmarks of an ISIL and that the same thing could soon happen in the United States. “You look at what happened in the Turkish airport, these were suicide vests. It’s not that difficult to actually construct and fabricate a suicide vest … so if you have a determined enemy and individuals who are not concerned about escape, that they are going into it with a sense that they are going to die, that really does complicate your strategy in terms of preventing attacks," Brennan said. "I’d be surprised if Daesh [another name for ISIL] is not trying to carry out that kind of attack in the United States.”

Turkish flags, with the control tower in the background, fly at half mast at the country's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk. REUTERS/Murad Sezer 


--Turkish police have detained at least 13 people in connection with Tuesday’s triple-suicide bombing at an Istanbul airport, Erin reports. “Counterterrorism units raided 16 addresses in Istanbul on Thursday and launched operations in the coastal city of Izmir, the agency said. Three of those arrested in Istanbul are foreign nationals … Another nine suspects were detained in Izmir for providing logistical support to the Islamic State, but it was unclear if they are directly tied to the attack.”

-- The attack's most immediate political ramification is that Turkey and the Islamic State appear headed to outright war: "There has been no claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s carnage, but Turkish officials blamed the Sunni extremists for the attack, which killed 41 people and injured at least 239. The raid marked the fifth bombing attack in Istanbul this year, and struck the country’s most important transportation hub.”

“If the Islamic State is indeed behind this attack, this would be a declaration of war,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “This attack is different: the scope, impact and deaths of dozens in the heart of the country’s economic capital.”

Turkey will escalate its role against the Islamic State in Syria: “Turkey’s airstrikes against the Islamic State positions were suspended after Moscow, responding to Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet it said was flying over its territory last October, also threatened to shootdown Turkish planes over Syria.” The two countries recently moved to repair their relationship, but experts say if Turkey wanted to engage anywhere in Northern Syria, “they cannot do it without Russia’s blessing.”

-- Obama called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while en route to an Ottawa leadership summit to express his sympathy for the attacks. Later, Obama told reporters there was progress being made in the war against ISIL. “And we will not rest until we have dismantled these networks of hate that have an impact on the entire civilized world,” he said. (Juliet Eilperin)

-- An international expert on airport security urged officials to develop faster response tactics to terrorist attacks, saying that airports will remain vulnerable until security forces can react “in seconds.” “If you look at the tactics used by the terrorists in Istanbul, they started by shooting. If the response would have come in a matter of seconds and was effective enough, they probably would have been dead before they detonated their devices and before they managed to cause a large number of casualties,” said Rafi Ron, a former security chief at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport. (Ashley Halsey III)

British Conservative Member of Parliament Boris Johnson (R) and British Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove (L) address the media, after their Vote Leave campaign won. EPA/MARY TURNER/POOL


--Brexit fallout continues: The question of who will lead a post-Brexit Britain was even further scrambled on Thursday, Griff Witte reports, with Justice Secretary Michael Grove, the "intellectual architect " of the 'Leave' campaign, launching a surprise bid for prime minister as former London Mayor Boris Johnson dropped out.The developments are expected to further splinter pro-Brexit voters. “With the deadline for entering the contest to occupy 10 Downing Street just hours away, the race had been shaping up as a likely standoff between Johnson, the mop-headed rogue who favored ‘leave’ and Theresa May, the no-nonsense domestic security chief who had backed ‘remain,” Griff writes. “Gove had been expected to serve as Johnson’s campaign manager … But he apparently had a last-minute change of heart.” Gove told voters he had come “to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.”

-- Labor’s leadership faced challenges of its own: “Labour’s leadership challenge against Jeremy Corbyn was up in the air on Thursday morning after plans for Angela Eagle to trigger the contest came up against an alternative pitch from the former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith, who has collected nominations from dozens of MPs. Sources say that Eagle, who also resigned from her shadow cabinet position, is meeting Smith so that the party can agree on a single candidate, with MPs on both sides pushing hard for their preferred choice. Allies of Eagle insisted that she remained the unity candidate who had support across the party, and accused Smith of ‘scrabbling’ for nominations at the last moment …” (The Guardian)

-- French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said “everything” will be on the table during future talks with the U.K.: Sapin "has said everything will be on the table in the future talks with the UK, including freedom of movement ... 'When we negotiate with a country, a third party, … we discuss all subjects,' Sapin told the BBC, '[including] under what conditions there is freedom of movement of people; freedom of movement of goods; of capital. That is something that is very important for the UK, with all the questions about financial services. So we discuss everything' ... His softer line contrasted with the tone emerging from European leaders at the summit, including French president François Hollande who stressed the UK could not expect to have access to the single market if it did not accept freedom of movement.” (The Guardian)

-- Global stocks have “mostly stabilized” following a two-day bounceback. “Futures pointed to a flat open for the S&P 500 Thursday, while the Stoxx Europe 600 inched down 0.1% in morning trade. Both indexes on Wednesday posted their largest two-day gain since February, as investors continued to parse the impact of the U.K.’s surprise vote to leave the European Union.” The move follows two days of steep gains on Wall Street and around the world, as stocks rebounded from major losses after the Brexit vote. (Wall Street Journal)

Obama with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Neito in Ottawa. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

-- President Obama traveled to Ottawa to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for a North American Leaders’ Summit. Juliet Eilperin files from Ottawa: “… [The summit] offered the three men a chance to forge a handful of agreements, primarily on energy and the environment, as well as tout the importance of integrated economic markets."

-- Though they refrained from mentioning Trump by name, each leader warned against his bombastic rhetoric. “[The leaders,] … particularly Peña Nieto and Obama — warned their citizens to be wary of self-styled populists who promised easy answers to the complex problems of globalization. Peña Nieto pledged to work with whomever wins this year’s U.S. presidential election, but lamented politicians who use ‘populism and demagoguery.’ (He also compared Trump to Mussolini.) Obama delivered an extended lecture on the definition of populism, joking that it had become one of his ‘occasional rants.’”

--Obama slammed Trump as a xenophobe: The president made no attempt to shield his disdain for Trump at a Canadian news conference, dismissing claims that the presumptive GOP nominee is a “populist.” “Somebody ... who has never shown any regard for workers, has never fought on behalf of social justice issues or making sure that poor kids are getting a decent shot at life or have health care," does not meet the definition of a populist, Obama said. "They don't suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes. That's not the measure of populism. That's nativism, or xenophobia. Or worse.” (Reuters)


  1. A Puerto Rico debt rescue bill cleared Congress on Wednesday, just two days before the U.S. territory was set to default on its roughly $2 billion in debt payments. The newly-passed measure opens a path to restructure the island’s $72 billion in bond debt and creates a new federally appointed fiscal oversight board. (Mike DeBonis and Steven Mufson)
  2. Toyota Motors announced a recall of 3.37 million vehicles across the globe over air bag and emissions defects. The automaker said side air bag connecters could deteriorate over time, causing the devices to inflate without cause. (Jacob Bogage)
  3. A federal judge upheld proof-of-citizenship requirements in Kansas, Alabama and Georgia, ruling that the states may enforce a citizenship check on voter registration forms. (Spencer S. Hsu)
  4. Italy has recovered remains of a migrant ship that sank off the Sicilian coast in 2015, killing an estimated 700 to 800 people in what is one of the worst known tragedies of the Mediterranean migrant crisis. The resurfaced boat is being transported back to Sicily, where forensic experts will attempt to identify the dead. (AP)
  5. Several international organizations called for Saudi Arabia to be suspended from a U.N. human rights council, saying the country committed “gross and systematic violations of human rights” during its war in Yemen. (Carol Morello)
  6. Mutilated human body parts were found washed up on the shore of Rio’s Olympic beach, raising already-heightened concerns over the safety of this year’s games. Police said the parts were found near the Olympic beach volleyball venue. (AP)
  7. Michael Phelps qualified for his fifth Olympic games on Wednesday, setting yet another record as he seeks to add to his 18-medal collection. (NBC Olympics)
  8. Fifteen Marine drill instructors at Parris Island are being probed for hazing, physical abuse and assault, broadening the scope of investigations first disclosed after the death of a Muslim recruit in March. (Dan Lamothe)
  9. The percent of Americans who own guns has dropped to a new 40-year low, according to a spate of recent polling – but gun SALES are at historic highs. The seemingly paradoxical findings suggest that the rise in gun purchases are driven by existing gun owners, rather than those purchasing their first firearms. (Christopher Ingraham)
  10. Archeologists in Lithuania discovered a legendary tunnel that was secretly dug by Jewish prisoners to escape Nazi death squads in World War II. The captives used hands and spoons to dig the tunnel, which eventually spanned 115 feet. (Melissa Etehad)
  11. Police in California are mourning the loss of a K-9 police dog that was killed during a standoff with an aggressive suspect. The 4-year-old canine was attempting to stop the suspect from charging at officers in the unit when he was fatally shot. (Sarah Larimer)
  12. An Indian couple who claimed to have climbed Mount Everest last year has been accused of faking the expedition. Police launched an investigation into their so-called historic achievement, which would have made the two 30-year-olds the first Indiana couple to summit the mountain. (Adam Taylor)
  13. More than 100 Nobel laureates signed a letter urging Greenpeace to end its opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), urging the group to stop blocking a genetically engineered strain of rice that could help reduce blindness and death caused by Vitamin A deficiencies in the developing world. (Joel Achenbach)
  14. A California woman is being charged with manslaughter after she plowed into a pedestrian and continued to drive for more than a mile with his body stuck in her smashed windshield. The 29-year old has also been charged with drunk driving. (LA Times)
  15. The Miss Teen USA competition announced it is scrapping its swimsuit portion of the contest, introducing an athletic wear section instead. (Elahe Izadi)


-- Another survey shows Clinton widening her lead over Trump: The presumptive Democratic nominee now bests Trump 44 percent to 38 percent, according to a Fox News poll, doubling her three-point margin from last month. Other highlights:

  • 89 percent of voters believe Trump is “hot-headed,” while 83 percent say he is “obnoxious.” Clinton is still dogged by low honesty numbers, meanwhile, with 58 percent of voters saying she is “corrupt.”
  • Clinton continues to lead Trump among  African-Americans (87-3 percent), women (51-32 percent) and voters earning less than $50,000 annually (52-30 percent). She also leads with voters under age 45 by a 10-point margin ( 45 to 35 percent).
  • Trump, meanwhile, is ahead among evangelical Christians (66-18 percent), whites without a college degree (51-33 percent), gun owners (52-30 percent), whites (48-34 percent), men (46-36 percent), and independents (39-31 percent).
  • BUT the businessman has ceded ground among his core constituency since last month: He’s down 8 points among Republican voters, -10 points among whites without degrees, and -9 points among men.

-- Clinton also has a winning edge in seven battleground states, according to a Ballotpedia poll. The former secretary of state holds a double-digit lead in Michigan (17 points), Florida (14 points), Pennsylvania (14 points) and North Carolina (10 points). Voters preferred Hillary by 9 points in Ohio, 7 points in Virginia, and 4 points in Iowa.

--ZIKA NOT CAUSING FEAR IN AMERICANS: The virus, which can cause severe birth defects, has yet to worry most Americans, according to a new Post/ABC poll. 67 percent said they were “not too” or “not at all worried” by the spread of the mosquito-borne virus, while only 33 consider themselves at least “somewhat worried.”

  • Despite risks of Zika-related microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, Americans are much less concerned by Zika than they were about Ebola in 2014. Two-thirds of voters said they are waiting to see whether any personal action will be necessary.
  • Few Americans are taking measures to protect themselves from possible infection: Only 27 percent of people said they are taking steps to limit their exposure, while only half of that group said they arm themselves with bug spray.
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wave during a rally in Draper, Utah. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)


PROBLEMS FOR GOP SENATORS, PART Z: Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee laid out his problems with Trump in a Wednesday phone interview, testily defending his decision to withhold endorsement for the presumptive Republican nominee. “Hey look, Steve, I get it. You want me to endorse Trump,” he told NewsMax host Steve Malzberg. “We can get into that if you want. We can get into the fact that he accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK. We can go through the fact that he’s made statements that some have identified correctly as religiously intolerant. We can get into the fact that he’s wildly unpopular in my state, in part because my state consists of people who are members of a religious minority church. A people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1838. And, statements like that make them nervous.” (Politico)

--Mitch McConnell said Trump is “not yet a credible presidential candidate,” despite continuing to back him, and praised Hillary. "Trump clearly needs to change, in my opinion, to win the general election,”McConnell told NY1. “What I’ve said to him both publicly and privately: 'You’re a great entertainer. You turn on audiences ... You have a lot of Twitter followers. That worked fine for you in the primaries. But now that you are in the general, people are looking for a level of seriousness that is typically conveyed by having a prepared text and Teleprompter and staying on message.” The Kentucky Republican also spoke positively about his working relationship with Hillary Clinton, calling her an “intelligent and capable person.”

--Mark Salter, one of John McCain's top aides in his 2008 presidential bid, continued to go off on Trump in a RealClear Politics rant: "He’s an ignoramus whose knowledge of public issues is more superficial than an occasional newspaper reader’s. He casts his intellectual laziness as a choice, a deliberate avoidance of expert views that might contaminate his ill-informed opinions. He excused his failure to consult professionals before commenting on the Brexit vote by dismissing foreign policy advisers in general, including his own ... He’s a charlatan, preposterously posing as a business genius while cheating investors, subcontractors, and his own customers. He’s rich because his father left him a great deal of money ... He possesses the emotional maturity of a 6-year-old. He can’t let go of any slight, real or imagined ... Whatever Hillary Clinton’s faults, she’s not ignorant or hateful or a nut. She acts like an adult, and understands the responsibilities of an American president."

-- BUT, stop-Trump efforts have cooled among Republican delegates and senators, David Weigel reports: “…With  three weeks to go before the convention nominates a candidate for president, Trump's recent hires and his discovery of a teleprompter (a device he once suggested should disqualify any user from the presidency) have led to a tentative sense of calm. In interviews with The Post, dozens of members of the 112-member rules committee said there should be no change to the binding of delegates. … When asked if a different Republican candidate could compete more strongly than Trump, their response was most often frustration that the presumptive nominee kept having to put out fires.” "I feel that going against the voters will tear our party apart and only give the Democrat presumptive candidate the edge," said rules committee member Rosie Tripp. Instead of pondering ways to stage a convention coup, Republicans are now choosing to think of how Trump can evolve to win.


-- Trump’s overseas fundraising emails have prompted complaints – both here and abroad. By Sean Sullivan and Max Bearak:  “Sir Roger Gale was puzzled when a string of emails from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign landed in his inbox. As a Briton and a member of Parliament, Gale is barred by U.S. law from giving Trump money, much less voting for him. The emails to Gale were among a wave of fundraising pleas inexplicably sent by the Trump campaign in recent days to lawmakers in the U.K., Iceland, Australia and elsewhere. The solicitations prompted watchdog groups in Washington to file two separate complaints Wednesday with the FEC alleging that the Trump campaign was violating federal law by soliciting funds from foreign nationals.” The complaints come just one week after Trump dispatched his first official fundraising email.

-- Trump supporters continued to taunt Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), breaking into a stereotypical Native American war cry when her name was mentioned ahead of the mogul’s speech. “You know Elizabeth Warren, right?” said radio host Howie Carr, who opened for Trump in Bangor. “The mention of Warren by Carr led Trump supporters to chant, “Pocahontas.” When Carr put his hand to his mouth and began making a whooping noise to mimic a stereotypical Native American war cry, Trump supporters began to do so too.” (ABC News)



See for yourself:

-- Neither Mike Tyson nor Mike Ditka have plans to appear at this year’s Republican National Convention: Both sports icons denied they would be in Cleveland for Trump’s GOP coronation in July, refuting a Bloomberg story that said they were both convention-bound. “No one’s ever talked to me about it,” said Ditka. And Tyson “hasn’t spoken to Trump,” per his spokeswoman. “I don’t think he was invited at all.” (Emily Heil)

-- Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump maintained that “athletes and coaches” will be among convention attendees in Cleveland, telling a Virginia radio host that interest from high-profile figures has been “incredible.” “It’s not going to be a ho-hum lineup of the typical politicians,” she said. “It’s gonna be a great combination of our great politicians, but also great American businessmen from … across really all the sectors … athletes to coaches and everything in between.”

-- Trump hired Republican operative Michael Biundo to serve as a senior adviser to his presidential campaign. Biundo previously worked for the past primary campaigns of both Rand Paul and John Kasich. (WMUR)

  • Also making a comeback to the will be Matt Ciepielowski, who previously served as Trump’s New Hampshire campaign manager.
Clinton speaks at a Digital Content Creators Town Hall at the Neuehouse Hollywood in L.A. (AP/Andrew Harnik)


-- Obama will join Clinton on the campaign trail next week in North Carolina: The president is scheduled to stump for Clinton at a campaign rally, John Wagner and Juliet Eilperin report, seeking to ramp up enthusiasm for the presumptive Democratic nominee in a state that is poised to be competitive in the general election.  

-- Longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin acknowledged her boss’s use of a private email server got in the way of State Department business on “at least one occasion,” occasionally causing “frustration” because of software glitches. “As a result, Abedin recommended that Clinton consider getting a government email account that she could use alongside the personal system,” write Spencer S. Hsu and Rosalind S. Helderman, “an alternative that Abedin said was never implemented. Abedin’s testimony came amid a stream of other revelations regarding Clinton’s emails that have continued to dog the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee as she tries to put to rest the months-long controversy.”

-- As Clinton tries to put to rest controversy over her use of a private email server during her State Department tenure, she has “repeatedly” cited her willingness to make work correspondence public, Rosalind S. Helderman reports. “But disclosures over the past several weeks have revealed dozens of emails related to Clinton’s official duties that crossed her private server and were not included in the 55,000 pages of correspondence she turned over to the State Department when the agency sought her emails in 2014. At least 160 such emails have come to light so far, many of them through public-records lawsuits brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch.”

  • “Among those the IG said she had not turned over were 19 emails exchanged with Gen. David H. Petraeus in January and February 2009,” Helderman writes. “Approximately 15 additional emails that Clinton exchanged with informal adviser Sidney Blumenthal were turned over by Blumenthal to the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. outposts in Benghazi, Libya, but did not appear among the emails she had turned over.”
  • “One series of documents requested by Citizens United … appears to show that Clinton’s top staff intervened to appoint a Democratic donor to a sensitive arms control advisory panel even though the donor, a Chicago securities trader, had no experience in the field.” “The true answer,” one official explained of the donor’s inclusion, is that Clinton’s then-chief of staff “added him.”

-- Meanwhile, Loretta Lynch met with former president Bill Clinton at a Phoenix airport this week. The meeting has drawn scrutiny because of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. Lynch described the encounter as “primarily social,” saying conversations were limited to topics such as golf and grandchildren. “No discussions were held on any cases or anything of that,” Lynch said, “and he didn’t raise anything about that either.” (Matt Zapotosky)

Bernie Sanders stumps for Eric Kingson for congressin Syracuse, Friday June 24, 2016. (Michael Greenlar /The Syracuse Newspapers via AP)

-- Sanders squared off with Obama on global trade issues, escalating tensions that both Democratic leaders sought to play down during the presidential primaries. “We need to fundamentally reject our ‘free trade’ policies and move toward fair trade,” said Sanders in a NYT op-ed. In Ottawa, meanwhile, Obama argued that voters’ anger was being misdirected. "The prescription of withdrawing from trade deals and focusing solely on your local market, that's the wrong medicine," he said. "You are right to be concerned about the trends, but what you're prescribing will not work."

“With that back-and-forth, Sanders and Obama elevated a debate that has gone on in public and private for years,” David Weigel writes. “It has intensified since Sanders began winding down his campaign for president and focusing on changes to the Democratic platform. According to people with knowledge of the platform negotiations, Sanders used his post-primary meeting with the president to say he would push for the party to officially oppose the TPP. The president said he would now allow it. And since then, the White House has leaned on key Democrats to make sure that the platform did not include a rebuke.”

  • “In every public statement since then, Sanders has criticized the committee's decision and suggested that TPP will be a point of contention in Orlando, where the full platform committee meets next weekend, and at the convention in Philadelphia. ‘It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform,’ he said.”

-- Just as Eugene Debs and “Debsian socialism” helped pave the way for the New Deal, says E.J. Dionne Jr., so will Sanders have an influence on where American politics moves next. “Until this election, Sanders ran independently of the party, but he often enjoyed its tacit support. He caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate and exercises a measure of power as a result. [But] now that he has lost to Clinton, Sanders’s task is to maximize his side’s influence down the road. And given the threat posed by Trump to so many of his own values, Sanders also has a moral obligation to help Clinton win this election. “Sanders, however, is not satisfied. He has yet to endorse Clinton and has said he would ‘fight for’ further platform victories on the Democratic convention floor.” He has taken to lecturing Clinton on the steps she needs to take. “In the eyes of his staunchest supporters, this is Bernie being Bernie, keeping the pressure on to the very end. But is his fight-to-the-last approach the best way to maximize his leverage on behalf of progressive policies should Clinton defeat Trump?”

--And Stuart Rothenberg writes for PowerPost  that Bernie has "missed his moment" but not forcefully throwing his weight behind Hillary since it became clear she would be the Democratic nominee. "Apparently, getting five Sanders supporters on the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee wasn’t enough for the Vermont senator. He still wants more. Of course, he always wants more. Whether it is ego, vanity or simply a political miscalculation, Sanders has over-read his mandate," Stu writes.

Kitty Genovese, in 1959, photographed in her grandparents’ backyard in Brooklyn. Photo by Andrew Giordano. Courtesy of The Witnesses Film, LLC. 


-- “Her shocking murder became the stuff of legend. But everyone got the story wrong,” by Stephanie Merry: “Bill Genovese didn’t realize how many people knew his sister’s name until he joined the Marines in 1966. ‘Genovese, William,’ said the man … ‘Is your sister Kitty?’ High-profile assassinations aside, Kitty Genovese’s murder is one of the most famous in modern American history. In some 101 textbook, her death is evidence of bystander apathy, a cautionary tale about how diffusion of responsibility causes inaction. Psychologists found their life’s work because of Kitty, and she helped inspire the creation of 911 as a way to call for help. Does it matter, then, that most people have the story wrong? Starting in 2004, Bill Genovese spent more than a decade trying to understand how and why his sister died … The new documentary ‘The Witness’ chronicles the twists and turns of his search. What’s ultimately so fascinating about ‘The Witness’ isn’t that it gets to the truth. It doesn’t, because it can’t, with so many conflicting reports. It still proves that diffusion of responsibility can affect people, but also gets at another aspect of human nature: the stories we tell ourselves to justify our actions.”


Clinton's account trolled Trump:

It was referring to this talk-show appearance:

Meanwhile, Trump hammered Clinton over ISIS:

Clinton's team was delighted to circulate Mark Salter's op-ed:

A note from Obama's visit to the Canadian Parliament:

Obama found himself in an awkward three-way handshake:

Keith Ellison addressed the violence in Turkey:

Jim Cooper's interns were outside the Supreme Court this week:

A look at Bradley Byrne initials before they are placed on the USS Charleston:

Finally, a celebrity selfie from Michelle Obama's trip to Morocco:  


-- New York Times, “Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons,” by Jonathan Martin: “In 2005, as he was making a transition from developing real estate to capitalizing on his fame through ventures like a reality show … Trump hit upon a two-pronged strategy for entering the field of for-profit education. He poured his own money into Trump University, but left a long trail of customers alleging they were defrauded. … Yet there was an even more fundamental deceit to the business, unreported until now." Some highlights:

  • “Extensive portions of the materials that students received after paying their seminar fees, supposedly containing Mr. Trump’s special wisdom, had been plagiarized from an obscure real estate manual published a decade earlier …”
  • “…The Trump Institute was owned and operated by Irene and Mike Milin, a couple who had been marketing get-rich-quick courses since the 1980s”: The Milins were “the best in the business,” according to Trump executive Michael Sexton. “Yet the Milins’ reputation was actually pockmarked with lawsuits and regulatory actions — a dismal track record that Mr. Trump and his aides could have unearthed with a modicum of due diligence.
  • “The Milins were known for running full-page ads that screamed ‘FREE MONEY!’ and offered tutorials on how to obtain government grants and loans. Operating as the Trump Institute, the Milins pursued familiar tactics — and attracted familiar complaints, eventually earning an F from the Better Business Bureau.”

HOT ON THE LEFT “Activists Say Judge’s Sentence In Immigrant’s Sexual Assault Case Shows He Needs To Be Fired,” from the Huffington Post: “Activists on Wednesday rallied outside of a meeting by the California Commission on Judicial Performance … demanding that Judge Aaron Persky be removed from the bench and saying a sentence he handed down to an immigrant pleading guilty to sexual assault proves Persky is unfit to remain in his job. Persky is facing intense scrutiny after he gave former Stanford University student Brock Turner a six-month jail term for three felony sexual assault convictions … [Now], Persky is overseeing a plea deal that will provide a three-year prison sentence to Salvadoran immigrant Raul Ramirez for a felony charge of sexual penetration by force. Unlike Turner, Ramirez has admitted guilt.” 


HOT ON THE RIGHT  Veepstakes liability? Politico’s Isaac Arnsdorf reports that Sen. Tim Kaine accepted clothes and vacations as gifts while holding office in Virginia. "Kaine took advantage of the state’s lax gift laws to receive an $18,000 Caribbean vacation, $5,500 in clothes and a trip to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA basketball Final Four during his years as lieutenant governor and governor, according to disclosures …” Now a leading contender to be Clinton’s running mate, Kaine reported more than $160,000 in gifts from 2001 to 2009, mostly for travel to and from political events and conferences. “While legal under Virginia’s unusually permissive ethics rules, the gifts could become attack-ad fodder after similar presents led to corruption charges for Gov. Bob McDonnell … Kaine’s staff and other defenders are quick to note that his gifts did not contain any suggestion of a quid pro quo trade for official favors — a major difference from the McDonnell case."



On the campaign trail: No public events scheduled as of now.  

At the White House: Obama has no public events scheduled. Vice President Biden travels to Columbus to attend an event for Ted Strickland, then on to Cleveland for work on his cancer moonshot initiative.

On Capitol Hill: The House is out and the Senate doesn't have anything on its schedule.

Special note: The Washington Post will set up headquarters in Cleveland and Philadelphia this July for the national political conventions. I’ll be there. Will you? Let us know if you’re attending the RNC, DNC or both here.


-- Pleasant sunshine and continued nice temps ahead, the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “There is plenty of sun but clouds pop up in the afternoon as temps heat up. Winds are light and variable (I love that phrase!) Highs top out in the low-to-mid 80s with moderate humidity (dew points in the 50s early on rising to near 60).”

-- If D.C. wins its long-fought battle for statehood, residents can also expect a new name: D.C. leaders approved a measure to rename the commonwealth “New Columbia” in the event it becomes the 51st state. Some beltway residents are… Less than enthused. (Fenit Nirappil)

-- D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced she will step down from her post in the fall.  Henderson has been widely praised for her tenure, which saw significant test score gains, four consecutive years of enrollment increases and an uptick in graduation rates. (Perry Stein and Emma Brown)

-- A federal judge banned a Virginia man from using Twitter after he was charged with threatening Republican senators and other members of Congress over the social media app. (Lynh Bui and Rachel Weiner)


An introductory speaker for Trump mocked Elizabeth Warren with a so-called war whoop:

Forty-nine celebrities honored the 49 Orlando shooting victims:

Watch David Cameron erupt at the opposition leader over his leadership of the Labour Party:

Meanwhile, Obama addressed the Canadian Parliament:

Trump called for the renewed use of waterboarding:

Naturalized citizens spoke with BuzzFeed about voting for the first time:

This Norwegian town hopes to beat a world record with a huge bonfire:

And in case you previously missed it, here's Sanders talking about excessive media toward Trump -- in 1990: