THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump is once again in hot water with the right after one of the finalists to be his running mate declared his support for abortion rights.
Based on four people familiar with the vetting process, my colleague Robert Costa reported Saturday that Trump is “increasingly intrigued” by the idea of tapping retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn to project strength and know-how on national security. Flynn has long been a registered Democrat but was pushed out of the Defense Intelligence Agency over disagreements with the Obama administration.
Then, on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, Flynn was asked about abortion. “I think women have to be able to choose,” he said. “They are the ones that have to make the decision because they're the ones that are going to decide to bring up that child or not.” On gay marriage, he explained: “What people do in their private lives, these are not big issues that our country’s dealing with.”
-- That Trump is seriously considering a pro-choice Democrat is yet another reminder for social conservatives that their presumptive nominee is not one of them and never will be.
Susan B. Anthony List, one of the leading pro-life groups, said Flynn’s interview “disqualified him” from further consideration. “His pro-abortion position is unacceptable and would undermine the pro-life policy commitments that Mr. Trump has made throughout the campaign,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group’s president.
David Bozell, president of the conservative group ForAmerica, which claims nine million supporters, said the Flynn “trial balloon … needs to be popped.” “A nomination of Gen. Flynn would cause many conservative voters to stay home,” he said. “There are plenty of other qualified conservatives that Trump has floated.”
From a contributing editor at RedState:
Trump looks to a pro-choice VP. Tell me again how SCOTUS is saved by supporting him. https://t.co/vAFo4x7jdH— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) July 10, 2016
From a prominent Rick Santorum supporter during 2012 and 2016:
This prolife physician will not vote for Trump if Flynn is VP pick. https://t.co/2Vt2kWlgHt— Maria Patriot (@DocMomMN) July 10, 2016
-- An anti-abortion group called Created Equal announced plans this morning to have an airplane fly sky banners over Cleveland with pictures of a fetus that was aborted at 15 weeks.
-- Making matters worse for Trump is that he has been all over the place on abortion. He called himself "very pro-choice in every respect” during a 1999 interview, and he’s said he changed his mind after a friend decided not to go through with the procedure and he then watched the child grow up. He told Chris Matthews in March that women who get abortions should face "some form of punishment,” only to back off under pressure. He has both defended Planned Parenthood and promised to cut off its federal funding.
In April, Trump told Savannah Guthrie that he supports a change to the official Republican Party platform to allow for abortion in the cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at stake. The current RNC platform includes no exceptions.
But a draft of the platform that was provided to members of the platform committee, which convenes today, does not include such a change. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin – the co-chair of the committee – said on CNN yesterday that there is no guarantee such an amendment could muster the votes to pass, even with Trump’s support. "He will have representation,” Fallin told Jake Tapper. "But in the end, this platform is driven by grassroots Republican people throughout the nation who will represent the very values and principles of the Republican Party."
-- A theory on what happened with the Flynn interview: We know many of Trump’s close associates do not like the idea of Flynn, and they think he needs to go a more traditional route. Perhaps they pushed for Flynn to appear on a Sunday show, knowing full well he’d get asked about abortion and then activists would complain loudly. Remember how John McCain liked the idea of picking Joe Lieberman as his running mate in 2008, but his advisers put the kibosh on the idea – partly by leaking it as a trial balloon?
-- Flynn is also not the only general under consideration. ABC News reported yesterday that Stanley McChrystal is also being reviewed. Barack Obama relieved the Army general of his command (he was in charge of the Afghanistan theatre) over comments made to a Rolling Stone reporter in 2010.
Another retired general who has been mentioned in talks with the Trump campaign is Jack Keane, the former Army vice chief of staff. Trump allies have been in touch with Keane recently, but he did not submit vetting documents. Keane told Costa that Trump should resist the temptation to pick a general. “We have a sufficient political class, and the military doesn’t have to get involved in high national office," he said Saturday. "The days of doing that, post-Civil War and post-World War II, are gone.”
-- Trump’s interest in picking a retired general offers yet another data point for the many historians and political scientists who compare him to George Wallace and Ross Perot. The Alabama governor picked Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay during his third-party bid in 1968. And the Texas businessman chose retired Navy Adm. James Stockdale in 1992.
-- Chris Christie gets what will probably be his final V.P. tryout today in Virginia Beach during an event that is supposed to focus on national security and veterans issues. His Friday events with Trump in Miami were canceled because of the police murders in Dallas.
-- Trump also announced that he will go to Indiana tomorrow night for a 7:30 p.m. rally in Westfield, presumably to give Mike Pence another tryout.
-- Why does Pence want to be Trump’s #2? The hard truth is that he’s not too popular in the Hoosier State, and he could very possibly lose reelection to a second term as governor of Indiana this November, which would end his political career. Joining Trump would let him get out of that pickle. His advisers tell National Review’s Eliana Johnson that they think even being on a losing ticket with Trump would position Pence as a top prospect in either 2020 or 2024.
-- There are three main considerations that typically drive the selection of a running mate: to shore up your base after a tough nominating contest, to win a constituency or swing state in the general election or to reassure voters that you’re serious about governing. For months, Trump publicly said he would pick someone who knew the ways of Washington and could get things done. But he’s continued to be intrigued by the idea of a non-politician. And he’s clearly not been consistently worried about coalescing conservatives behind him. Otherwise, why needlessly antagonize so many important Republicans?
-- There is increasing grumbling among delegates about trying to block Trump’s V.P. pick on the convention floor, should that person be perceived as insufficiently conservative, BuzzFeed reports.
-- Another headache for Trump this week could come in a platform fight over gay rights. While he tries to play nice with evangelicals, he’s also been talking with Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender former Olympian. Remember that Trump spoke out against North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill” during the primaries.
-- Other possible flashpoints in the platform committee today and tomorrow: Trump-backed changes regarding immigration policy are likely to be considered and could be adopted. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a co-chair of the platform committee, didn't rule out a debate about Trump's calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States, even while making clear he opposes such a ban. "I don't think there should be religious and racial tests for people," he said. "But that's why you have a committee of 112 people. We'll see exactly where the wording goes." Ed O’Keefe explains, in a curtain-raiser on what to expect in the days ahead, that the larger panel will divide into subcommittees to discuss specific hot-button issues and work on finalizing language through the rest of the week, so that the full convention can approve the new platform early next week.
-- And, once again, Trump is saying one thing in public and another in private. From Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns in the New York Times: “During a weekend fund-raiser at the Hamptons retreat of Wilbur L. Ross, a billionaire New York investor, Mr. Trump focused on reassuring the business-minded Republicans in attendance that he was a safe choice for president. Mr. Trump stressed that he did not consider himself ‘anti-trade’ or ‘an isolationist,’ according to four people in attendance. He polled the 60 or so attendees about who he should choose as vice president, and assessed some of the suggestions. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, had ‘issues,’ Mr. Trump said, but had also impressed him with his recent attacks on Mrs. Clinton. When an attendee suggested Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Trump said they had irreconcilable differences over the Iraq war.”
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- A majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI’s recommendation not to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime over her State Department email practices, according to a fresh Washington Post/ABC poll: 56 percent said they disapprove of director James Comey’s recommendation against charging Clinton, while 35 percent said they approve. Three nuggets from pollster Scott Clement:
- Six in 10 independents said they disapprove of the recommendation, joining nearly 9 in 10 Republicans who also disagree. (Even one-third of Democrats disagreed.)
- 57 percent of Americans said the matter makes then worry about how Clinton might handle her responsibilities if elected president. Four in 10 said they are “very worried,” while a similar number said the two are unrelated.
- An electoral wash? Registered voters who oppose the decision to forego criminal charges are nonetheless split on whether the outcome makes them less likely to vote Clinton in November: 47 percent say it makes no difference, while 45 percent say they're now less likely to support her. Among all voters, 60 percent said the outcome makes “no difference” in their vote choice.
-- Andrea Leadsom just dropped out of the race to become British Prime Minister, ceding the Conservative Party contest to Theresa May. The fight was supposed to last through the summer. May is now expected to succeed David Cameron. (Developing.)
GET SMART FAST:
- Congress is poised to pass a bill on opioid abuse this week, despite lingering disputes over funding levels. (Karoun Demirjian)
- South Sudanese forces struck two United Nations compounds as clashes between two factions continued for a third day, shattering a fragile peace agreement that was meant to end the 31-month civil war. The United Nations said two bases in Juba, the capital, “sustained impacts from small arms and heavy weapons fire.” The U.S. embassy evacuated non-emergency staff. (Kevin Sieff)
- NASA is researching a mysterious vision impairment that affects astronauts who spend more than six months in space. The condition – believed to be caused by a lack of gravity that increases fluid pressure on the eyes – could interfere with plans for future long-term space missions. (Shayla Love)
- Facebook will begin testing “secret conversations” on its Messenger app, offering end-to-end encryption on certain messages that they hope will attract a global audience. (New York Times)
- Gabby Douglas, who won the Gold in the 2012 Olympics, won a spot on the U.S. Gymnastics team to RIo last night, despite falling from the balance beam twice during trials. (Liz Clarke)
- Six more women alleged that Fox News chief Roger Ailes sexually harassed them over a period of decades, using positions of power to make either unwanted advances or inappropriate comments. The allegations come after ex-Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit last week. (New York Magazine)
- Iraqi government forces seized a key militant-held air base near Mosul, raising the prospect of the Pentagon escalating its military presence in northern Iraq. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who is in Iraq to meet with senior U.S. military commanders, said the newly-claimed base will serve as a “logistics and air hub” from which both Iraqi and U.S. troops can operate. (Dan Lamothe and Loveday Morris)
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc won a two-thirds majority in yesterday’s parliamentary elections, opening the door for revisions to the country’s constitution for the first time since it was enacted in 1947. ( Associated Press)
- A leaked police document suggests that more than 1,200 women were sexually assaulted across Germany's major cities on New Year’s Eve – drastically raising the number of victims and suspects originally believed to be involved. An estimated 2,000 men took part in the assaults. (Rick Noack)
- The Navy corrected the official medal count for “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, indicating that he earned one Silver Star instead of his previously claimed two. An internal investigation confirmed that the late SEAL embellished his military record. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
- A 23-year-old homeless man in San Diego died after being attacked and set on fire, the latest victim in what police believe is a series of connected murders of homeless people. (41 NBC)
- Police in St. Louis said four men used the new “Pokémon Go” app to commit multiple armed robberies in the area, using the game’s location-based features to find their next targets. (Andrea Peterson)
- Rep. Corinne Brown (D-Fla.) stepped down as ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee after being indicted on two dozen charges related to a college scholarship fund that, authorities allege, became a "personal slush fund" for the congresswoman and her longtime chief of staff. (Kelsey Snell)
- Protestors raised the Confederate flag – briefly -- at the South Carolina statehouse Sunday, one year after it was taken down. Men dressed as Civil War soldiers cheered and sang. (Katie Mettler)
- Eight Texas inmates broke out of their holding cell to assist an armed security guard who was having a heart attack. Their action likely saved the life of the jailer. (NBC News)
- An Italian baby hospitalized for severe malnourishment was removed from his parents after it emerged they were raising him on a vegan diet. The 14-month-old weighed slightly more than a three-month-old should and was forced to undergo emergency surgery for conditions aggravated by low-vitamin levels. (Mary Hui)
- Bill Nye ("the science guy") condemned the new Noah’s Ark museum in Kentucky, saying the $100 million Christian project is “brainwashing” children. (Jessica Contrera)
THE LONG, HOT SUMMER OF VIOLENCE AND DISCORD CONTINUES:
-- “The growing national divisions over law enforcement and race hardened further on Sunday as police and political leaders condemned the recent killings of five officers in Dallas,” Jerry Markon, Fenit Nirappil and Wesley Lowery report. “Even as people streamed into churches in Dallas and other cities and Americans tried to make sense of the past week of violence, demonstrations again were the order of the day. Renewed protests over the latest fatal shootings of black men by police took place in Dallas, Baton Rouge, La., and the District, although they remained peaceful, unlike the unrest that erupted late Saturday.”
- “The White House announced that President Obama will travel to Dallas on Tuesday to speak at a memorial service for the slain officers, but some questioned why the nation’s first African American president was not also visiting Louisiana and Minnesota, where two black men were killed by police last week.” (George W. Bush, who lives north of Dallas, will also speak at tomorrow’s memorial.)
- Trump edged away from his earlier calls for unity, blasting Obama and Clinton in a tweet that called America “a divided nation.’’
- Fresh details emerged about the shooter: “Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Micah Johnson appeared delusional, taunted police during a standoff by singing and ‘laughing at us’ and wrote cryptic messages on a wall with his own blood. He also said Johnson was ‘determined to hurt more officers’ and may have been planning a larger attack, citing evidence of bomb making materials and a journal found in Johnson’s home.” (William Branigin and Adam Goldman)
- At least 12 more protestors were arrested in Louisiana last night. (Abigail Hauslohner, Robert Samuels and Ashley Cusick)
-- New York’s Attorney General is reviewing a video that shows an off-duty police officer fatally shooting 37-year-old Delrawn Small after he approached the officer’s car in Brooklyn. Footage appears to contradict the officer’s initial account last week that he was “punched in the head” before opening fire. (Peter Holley)
-- The government of the Bahamas issued a travel advisory, warning residents to exercise “extreme caution” around police officers should they travel to the United States. “Do not be confrontational and cooperate,” the government warns. (Aaron C. Davis)
-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott suffered “extensive” second-and-third degree burns hours before the attacks in Dallas: Abbott, who spoke at Dallas City Hall Friday, was scalded with hot water while on vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but insisted on traveling to the scene of the murders without revealing his injuries. “We didn’t want to distract from what was happening in Dallas,” said Abbott, who has to have his wounds dressed daily at a hospital. “We still don’t want to.” (Austin American-Statesman)
-- Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said the city will adjust its security plan for the convention as a result of what happened in Dallas: He declined to discuss the changes in detail, saying only that the department would tweak its deployment plans to shift officers around. (Plain Dealer)
-- John Kasich, withholding an endorsement of Trump, has his eyes on another potential run for president in 2020. “Soon, he’ll head to New York to pitch to publishers a book proposal about the 2016 campaign and his message of ‘Two Paths’ contrasting Trump’s doomsday talk with his positive approach,” Lois Romano reports from Columbus. “The plan is to roll out the book in town halls across the country. His political 501(c)(4) is also being retooled to allow him to campaign for Republicans other than Trump and to promote the issues and values that are important to him. ‘I’m not shutting my political operation down,’ the governor and former congressman says. ‘I’m not closing any doors. But my focus right now is going to be on the House, the Senate, and the down-ticket here in my state.’”
“As for next week in Cleveland, he will be quite conspicuous — zipping to events and doing ample media in his parallel political universe. As the state’s chief executive, he will receive high-level security briefings at the command center twice daily. On Tuesday, Kasich will throw his own high-profile party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his supporters. But what you’ll never see is Kasich in the same picture frame with Trump.”
Kasich feels no obligation to help Trump win Ohio: “It’s not on me,” the governor told Lois during an hour-long interview in Columbus. “If he was to lose Ohio and lose the election and people would blame me, that’s just life." … "Citing Trump’s ‘attacks on women,’ Kasich says his wife, Karen, and twin daughters are anti-Trump. ‘My girls are 16, so they can’t vote, but believe me, there’s no way he would get their vote.’
Barely hiding his disgust, Kasich ripped into Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus for prematurely crowning Trump the presumptive nominee after Indiana: “I was still in it and I think he dissed me, and I think it’s inappropriate. I haven’t spoken to him. I don’t think there’s any point to it. I don’t even understand what he was doing. It was amateur hour for him.”
-- Ruth Bader Ginsburg unloaded on Trump in an interview with the New York Times. "I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president," she told Adam Liptak. "For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that." She said Trump reminded her of something her late husband Martin, a tax lawyer who died in 2010, would have said. "Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand," Justice Ginsburg said, "smiling ruefully."
She also criticized the Senate for refusing to act on Merrick Garland's nomination. "I think he is about as well qualified as any nominee to this court," the justice said. "He would be a great colleague." Asked if the Senate had an obligation to assess Judge Garland’s qualifications, her answer was immediate. "That’s their job," she said. "There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year."
SUNDAY SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:
-- Inflammatory: Rudy Giuliani said African Americans must teach their children to respect law enforcement, adding that the “real danger” they face is violence from within the black community. “If I were a black father, and I was concerned with the safety of my child, really concerned about it and not in a politically activist sense, I would say, ‘Be very respectful of the police,'” the former New York City mayor said on CBS’s “Face the Nation." “Most of them are good. Some can be very bad. And just be very careful.” He continued to say the real problem was not police: “The real danger to them 99 out of 100 times … are other black kids who are going to kill them. That’s the way they’re going to die.” (Sarah Larimer)
“In his Sunday interview, Giuliani proposed no police reforms other than a ‘zero tolerance’ policy toward ‘disrespect,'" the New York Daily News notes in a cover story on the comments, which also highlights reports of officer brutality during his tenure in City Hall. “As for the Black Lives Matter movement, he said its members ‘sing rap songs about killing police officers’ and ‘yell it out at rallies.’ ‘When you say ‘black lives matter,’ that’s inherently racist,’ the ex-mayor said. ‘Black lives matter, white lives matter, Asian lives matter, Hispanic lives matter. That’s anti-American and it’s racist.’”
-- Former Philadelphia police chief Charles Ramsey said the nation is “sitting on a powder keg”: “You can call it a powder keg,” Ramsey said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “You can say that we’re handling nitroglycerin, but obviously, when you just look at what’s going on, we’re in a very, very critical point in the history of this country.” (Lindsey Bever)
-- Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings defended his police department’s use of an explosive robot to kill Micah Johnson, a first. Concerns remain about the precedent this set. (“Face the Nation”)
-- Mary Fallin was widely mocked for saying that Trump is "trying to campaign as a racial healer." "I think that has been part of his message," the Oklahoma governor said on CNN.
-- Cory Booker said electing Trump would be “disastrous” during a time of racial tensions: “There is a time when we need courageous empathy, where we need undeterred love,” the New Jersey senator said on “Meet."
THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM LURCHED TO THE LEFT:
“If party platforms matter — and the jury is out on that — what happened this weekend in a sweltering Hilton conference room was remarkable,” David Weigel reports in a wrap-up piece from Orlando. “The Democratic Party shifted further to the left in one election than perhaps since 1972, embracing once-unthinkable stances on carbon pricing, police reform, abortion rights, the minimum wage and the war on drugs. It did so with very little ideological resistance and a lot of comity between the supporters of Bernie Sanders and Clinton. ‘We have produced by far the most progressive platform that this party has seen in multiple generations,’ said Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D), co-chairman of the platform committee.”
Among other things, the platform committee adopted language calling for a $15 federal minimum wage and endorsed on an 81-80 vote a "reasoned pathway to future legalization" of marijuana, as well as calling for the drug to be downgraded in the Controlled Substances Act.
-- The left made huge gains for three overlapping reasons:
- Sanders supporters organized aggressively once it became clear he would not get the nomination.
- Moderate white Southern Democrats have been wiped out during the Obama era, giving progressives more power.
- The Clinton campaign was eager to give Sanders as much as politically feasible, and they negotiated on a lot of “unity” amendments to prevent the document from being further radicalized.
-- What did Sanders lose on? The Berniecrats failed to advance seven of their priorities:
- Opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (one of Obama’s top legislative priorities)
- A ban on fracking
- Medicare for all
- Eliminating the cap on Social Security taxes
- "An end to occupation and illegal settlements" in Palestinian territory
- A proposal to cap donations to campaigns at $100 and require public financing
- An amendment that would have banned lobbyists from regulating their industries, or regulators leaving to become lobbyists, for four years after their jobs ended.
-- Bernie backers are making noises about trying to force floor fights in Philadelphia on some of these issues, specifically trade. "We got 80% of what we wanted in this platform," Sanders foreign policy adviser Warren Gunnels told CNN.
The Federal Reserve has been hijacked by the very bankers it is in charge of regulating. If that ain't rigged, I don't know what is.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 11, 2016
-- Hillary made additional, non-platform concessions to lock down Bernie’s endorsement. On Saturday, the Clinton campaign released a statement highlighting her support for the “public option,” proposed additional funding for community-based centers that have been championed by the Vermont senator, affirmed her support for allowing states to offer government-run health plans and said she said she would support allowing people 55 and older to buy into Medicare, which is now available to people 65 and older. On a conference call with reporters, Sanders praised Clinton for taking “an important step forward” toward universal health care. (John Wagner and Weigel)
-- Sanders will make good on his end of the bargain, formally endorsing Clinton tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Portsmouth High School in New Hampshire. Both campaigns released advisories with event details this morning.
THE DAILY DONALD:
-- Trump’s refusal to denounce the now-infamous Star of David tweet has intensified concerns among Jewish Republican donors, the Wall Street Journal reports.
-- Trump used money from the Trump Foundation to bid on a $120,000 luxury trip to Paris at a 2008 charity auction. The trip generated lots of headlines, but the money he used wasn’t his – and records show he donated just $30,000 to his own foundation that year. (Buzzfeed)
-- Could the “Brexit” strengthen the rest of the E.U.? “The past two weeks in Britain have been described as the country's most chaotic since World War II, and Europe has taken note,” Rick Noack reports. "As both the value of the pound and consumer confidence have fallen to record lows, pro-European Union politicians elsewhere have argued that such repercussions would be disastrous for smaller countries than Britain. The news coming out of Britain indeed seems to have been so negative that many Europeans are now suddenly no longer so eager for referendums in their countries."
- In Denmark, originally considered among the most likely countries to follow Britain out of the bloc, support for a Brexit-like referendum a vote has declined by nearly 10 points.
- In Finland, support for the country's E.U. membership has risen by 12 points.
- And pro-E.U. Angela Merkel has gotten a post-Brexit bounce in Germany. Support for the chancellor has risen to a 10-month high of 59 percent.
-- “Double game? Even as it battles ISIS, Turkey gives other extremists shelter,” by Joby Warrick: “To his Turkish hosts, Rifai Ahmed Taha was a tiny, elf-like man with an oversize beard and colorful past. To U.S. officials, he was a dangerous terrorist who would be tracked and targeted — if ever he left his Turkish sanctuary. The opportunity came in early April, when Taha ventured across the border into Syria for a meeting with Islamist militants. Just five days later, a U.S. drone fired a missile at the Egyptian’s car as it stopped for gas near the Syrian city of Idlib, killing him and four other suspected jihadists. The strike ended the career of a man who had been an ally of Osama bin Laden and, more recently, an adviser to Syrian rebels linked to al-Qaeda. It also highlighted what U.S. terrorism experts view as Turkish schizophrenia when it comes to battling violent jihadists: Even as Turkey ramps up its campaign against the Islamic State, it continues to tolerate and even protect other Islamists designated by Western governments as terrorists.”
-- TURF WAR: The long-running struggle between the State Department and the Pentagon over who controls foreign military aid is heating up again. Missy Ryan reports on a tense June 30th meeting of Cabinet officials centered on the execution of a presidential directive aimed at using aid dollars more effectively. “At the heart of the controversy is whether the State Department will retain its historic jurisdiction over security aid, or whether the Pentagon, which Congress has bestowed with increasing autonomy and resources over the past decade, will eclipse Foggy Bottom in taking greater responsibility for engagement with allied nations overseas. ... Adding to concerns at the State Department is a series of proposals in this year’s defense authorization bill, which would give the Pentagon permanent control over certain aid programs and greater flexibility in supporting counterterrorism activities overseas.”
-- “Obama plans major nuclear policy changes in his final months,” by Josh Rogin: “In recent weeks, the national security Cabinet members known as the Principals Committee held two meetings to review options for executive actions on nuclear policy. Many of the options on the table are controversial, but by design none of them require formal congressional approval. No final decisions have been made, but Obama is expected to weigh in personally soon. Several U.S. officials briefed on the options told me they include declaring a ‘no first use’ policy for the United States’ nuclear arsenal, which would be a landmark change in the country’s nuclear posture. Another option under consideration is seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution affirming a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons. This would be a way to enshrine the United States’ pledge not to test without having to seek unlikely Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”
- “The administration is also considering offering Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty’s limits on deployed nuclear weapons, even though those limits don’t expire until 2021. This way, Obama could ensure that the next administration doesn’t let the treaty lapse.”
- “Some administration officials want to cancel or delay development of a new nuclear cruise missile, called the Long-Range Stand-Off weapon, because it is designed for a limited nuclear strike, a capability Obama doesn’t believe the United States needs.”
- “The administration also wants to cut back long-term plans for modernizing the nation’s nuclear arsenal, which the Congressional Budget Office reports will cost about $350 billion over the next decade.”
-- “In email probe, echoes of another time prosecutors weighed charging Hillary Clinton with a crime,” by Rosalind S. Helderman: Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr seriously considered filing charges against Hillary Clinton in the 1990s. “They even drew up a draft indictment for Clinton, which has never been made public. At issue then was legal work Clinton had performed in the 1980s while an attorney at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm on behalf of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which was owned by a business partner of the Clintons who was later convicted of fraud in connection with bad loans made by the thrift. The records of prosecutors’ 1998 deliberations were obtained by The Washington Post from the National Archives through a Freedom of Information Act request. … The prosecutors noted that she made numerous sworn statements between January 1994 and February 1996 that they thought ‘reflected and embodied materially inaccurate stories.’ …
“The records show the prosecutors had doubts about whether potential jurors would be swayed by a largely circumstantial case, particularly given Clinton’s stature as first lady. Prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig laid out the odds for various outcomes in a memo to colleagues. He predicted a 2 percent chance that a judge would toss the case, then continued: ‘18 percent = Acquittal; 70 percent = Hung Jury; 10 percent = Conviction.’ ‘Not enough in my view,’ he wrote.”
“In an interview, Rosenzweig said he had reflected on that 18-year-old decision while listening to Comey’s remarks last week. ‘This case was, for me, decided on factors external to guilt or innocence,’ he said. ‘I think this case would have had a great chance of a sustained conviction if presented to 12 random people, about someone other than Mrs. Clinton. But that’s an impossible hypothetical.’” [Especially in Arkansas or D.C.]
-- Clinton attorney David Kendall responds to the piece with an op-ed in today's paper: "As a matter of legal and factual analysis, from one who observed this investigation at every step: Never . . . a . . . close . . . call . . . at . . . all. ... This was not for want of trying: The independent counsel investigation lasted eight years, generated more than 3,000 grand jury subpoenas, collected more than 10 million pages of documents and cost more than $70 million (unadjusted for inflation) — which dwarfed all other independent counsel investigations, including Iran-Contra ... Clinton testified fully and truthfully under oath six times. If she had in fact given false testimony, there was an ample opportunity for prosecution."
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Amid continued unrest between protesters and police, this picture from Baton Rouge went viral:
A little context:
Another Twitter photo from Baton Rouge:
Look what we're up against in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. pic.twitter.com/xrfBt5Owfh— Hal Dockins (@HalDockins) July 11, 2016
Black Lives Matter leader Deray McKesson was busy keeping Twitter updated on the protests, before his arrest and after his release:
As I was in the cell over the past 17 hours, I thought of the quote that simply says if you want to test a man's character, give him power.— deray mckesson (@deray) July 10, 2016
1 day ago, just last night, we saw the police abuse their power & intentionally provoke protestors in order to create & exploit conflict.— deray mckesson (@deray) July 10, 2016
There is no group of citizens that should be able to exercise their power w/o accountability or transparency, like the police currently can.— deray mckesson (@deray) July 10, 2016
In the Parrish prison cells, we continued to talk about the work of social justice & to build community. We all continue to grow.— deray mckesson (@deray) July 10, 2016
At times, all 50 of us were in one cell, unable to all sit, sleeping on the floor or under the benches. But our spirits remained strong.— deray mckesson (@deray) July 10, 2016
Breitbart's Lee Stranahan was also arrested and posted these videos on Twitter (click to watch):
The last thing I saw before the cuffs went on. pic.twitter.com/hdFLHkUE7R— Lee Stranahan (@stranahan) July 11, 2016
I can't stress this enough: not only do I believe my imprisonment was unconstitutional but I believe the other protesters was as well.— Lee Stranahan (@stranahan) July 11, 2016
Here's Trump on the latest developments:
Look what is happening to our country under the WEAK leadership of Obama and people like Crooked Hillary Clinton. We are a divided nation!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2016
President Obama thinks the nation is not as divided as people think. He is living in a world of the make believe!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2016
The media is so dishonest. If I make a statement, they twist it and turn it to make it sound bad or foolish.They think the public is stupid!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2016
Hundreds of Republicans have begun to arrive in Cleveland for pre-convention meetings:
The Daily Mail couldn't identify Bill and Hillary's son-in-law:
Daily Mail identifies Chelsea's husband Marc Mezvinsky (with daughter Charlotte) as a "passerby." pic.twitter.com/mZR9zAcivN— Amy Chozick (@amychozick) July 10, 2016
Speaking of Clinton, more birthday wishes rolled in for John Dingell:
Happy 90th bday to an American treasure, @JohnDingell. And I don’t say it enough, but thank you for pushing through the Louisiana Purchase.— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) July 8, 2016
As a bonus:
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. David Young toured the Corndog Kickoff:
Rob Portman canoed the Little Miami River:
Angus King enjoyed the evening on the Potomac:
GOOD READ FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Vox, “Understanding Hillary: Why the Clinton that America sees isn’t the Clinton colleagues know,” by Ezra Klein: “I’ve come to call it ‘the Gap.’ There is the Hillary Clinton I watch on the nightly news and that I read described in the press. She is careful, calculated, cautious. Her speeches can sound like executive summaries from a committee report, the product of too many authors, too many voices … And then there is the Hillary Clinton described to me by people who have worked with her, people I admire … Their Hillary Clinton is spoken of in superlatives: brilliant, funny, thoughtful, effective. She inspires a rare loyalty in ex-staff, and an unusual protectiveness even among former foes. … [Why is this?] The answers startled me in their consistency. Every single person brought up, in some way or another, the exact same quality they feel leads Clinton to excel in governance and struggle in campaigns … Hillary Clinton, they said over and over again, listens.”
The danger of leading by listening: “Clinton’s effort to find broad consensus can turn her speeches and policies into mush. Her belief that the highest good in politics is getting something — at times, anything — done means she takes few lonely stands and occasionally cuts deals many of her supporters regret. Clinton's great mistake, her vote for the Iraq War, is an object lesson in the dangers of listening to the wrong people.”
“Clinton’s mistrust of the press … has turned toxic …Rather than making her more cautious about avoiding any hint of impropriety, it’s made her more fatalistic. Other ex-officials give paid speeches to big banks, so why shouldn’t she? Other officials use private email accounts sometimes, so why can’t she use hers all the time? The result is a peculiar blindness around her own behavior.”
-- Los Angeles Times, “Behind A Bill Clinton Speaking Engagement: A $1,400 Hotel Phone Bill And $700 Dinner For Two,” by Evan Halper: “When former presidents and other dignitaries traveled to California to wax nostalgic on the speaking circuit, they may have been demanding, but none insisted on being flown from San Francisco by private jet to a venue just 70 miles down the freeway. That was before Bill Clinton came along. Clinton changed the rules of political speech-making for cash. He would push not just corporate hosts but also nonprofits and universities to pay fees well beyond what they were accustomed to. His aides would turn what had been a freewheeling format into tightly scripted events where every question from the audience was screened. He and Hillary Clinton would become so skilled at churning profits out of their lectures that they would net more than $150 million from speaking alone after he left the White House. By his advisors’ own admission, the former president pushed the limits of what could be charged for speeches when he entered the market in 2001."
-- Politico this morning profiles Paula White, Trump’s almost totally-unknown spiritual adviser. “White, a televangelist, is new to GOP evangelical activism. She has more experience leading Bible study with the New York Yankees or meeting the Obamas through Oprah Winfrey than hosting pro-life gatherings in Iowa,” Katie Glueck writes. “And both Trump and White share personal track records—divorce, bankruptcy, embracing views outside of the Republican and evangelical mainstreams—that raise hackles among influential Christian leaders.”
-- “How Trump’s wall will hurt U.S. energy companies,” by Politico’s Darius Dixon: “The once-closed Mexican oil and gas industry has become a new market for U.S. and Canadian companies in recent years, inspiring billions of dollars in investments and an increasing flow of natural gas exports heading south of the border. Mexico's efforts to modernize its electric grid are also attracting investments from U.S. firms … Experts fear [Trump] will spoil all that.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“If You Don't Want to Get Raped, Quit Getting So Drunk, Kansas City Star Columnist Advises Women,” from Jezebel: “Laura Herrick, a contributor to the Kansas City Star’s 'Midwest Voices' section, has some thoughts on how women can prevent rape. So many, many thoughts. The post has been deleted since it was published on Friday." ... “Every woman should know her drink limit and stop there,” she writes. “No, she’s not asking to be raped by being drunk. But isn’t it her responsibility to reduce the risk by not getting to that point? And if you wake up the morning after doing the ‘walk of shame’ don’t yell rape if you regret your actions of the night before.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
“Syrian refugee held in indecent assault on girl, 13 at Lowell pool,” from the Lowell Sun: “A 22-year-old Syrian refugee is behind bars after only two months in the United States after he was accused Thursday night of inappropriately touching a 13-year-old girl at a state-run swimming pool in Lowell. In Lowell District Court on Friday, Emad Hasso, of Lowell, was ordered held on $25,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty via an interpreter to one count of indecent assault and battery on someone under 16. The man, who was later identified as Hasso, allegedly began to follow the girl around the pool and approached her again when she was swimming, touching her upper thigh and again asking her age."
On the campaign trail: Trump is in Virginia Beach, Va.
At the White House: Obama has no public events scheduled. Vice President Biden meets with law enforcement leaders.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 4 p.m. to resume work on a defense appropriations bill. The House meets at 2 p.m. for legislative business, with 24 suspension votes and a vote on a separation of powers bill postponed until 6:30 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“We have not seen the weeping of black women like this since the days of Emmett Till.” – Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes talks about the pain of the black community in the wake of fatal police shootings (Video)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Monday’s forecast looks so good that it scored an official “Nice Day” rank from The Capital Weather Gang: “Maybe a touch on the warm side for some, but overall pretty great compared to the scorching heat and humidity of last week. Highs are in the mid-80s — maybe up to 86 or 87 downtown — and humidity is tolerable with a dew point around 60. Skies are mostly sunny and winds are light.”
-- The Nationals beat the Mets 3-2, which means they head into the All-Star break up six games.
-- The 911 system in Montgomery County failed last night, rendering local emergency-reporting services unreachable until 1:40 a.m. It is still not clear why the system failed or how many people had tried to use it when it was not working. (Martin Weil)
-- Police officers in the District are patrolling in pairs as a safety precaution post-Dallas. (Tom Jackman and Peter Hermann)
-- Two people were found dead inside a car that plunged into the Potomac River on Saturday. Authorities found the vehicle near Roosevelt Bridge, and were alerted to the crash by a third passenger who escaped the vehicle and swam to shore. (Michael Smith and Martin Weil)
-- Ground was broken on an $86.5 million STEM campus in Loudoun County, which will serve some 2,500 students when it opens in 2018. Officials hope the larger magnet program will help keep top students in the county, rather than sending them to neighboring districts for elite specialty programs. (Moriah Balingit)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
The Clinton campaign released a 1-minute video with clips of Trump praising dictators to bracket his defense speech in Virginia Beach:
Here's the full Periscope stream of McKesson's arrest (he gets cuffed around 5 minutes in):
Biden commemorated the lives of the five officers killed in Dallas:
What if Queen Elizabeth responded candidly -- and on camera -- to the Brexit news? The team over at "Yes It's Funny" imagined:
Debbie Dingell compiled a six-minute video of friends and other members of Congress wishing her husband a happy birthday:
Finally, a couple of Vines celebrating wins by Serena Williams at Wimbledon and Portugal in the Euro 2016 final: