House Speaker Paul Ryan bangs the gavel ending the final day of the Republican National Convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

THE BIG IDEA:

By Mike DeBonis, filling in for James, who is on vacation

The uncomfortable truce meant to keep the Republican Party united through Election Day is now hanging by the slimmest of threads. And all that is keeping the GOP from outright civil war is a raw political calculation from the party's self-styled guardian of conservative principles.

For months, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan agonized as Donald Trump trampled on long-held GOP doctrine with his populist rage as he edged closer to the party's presidential nomination. But once Trump had the nomination in hand -- and after Ryan withheld his endorsement for weeks -- an informal deal seemed to emerge. 

Ryan (Wis.) would campaign on his "Better Way" policy platform and make the case that Trump would be the candidate most likely to enact it into law, and Trump would "pivot" into a more conventional general-election presidential campaign.

That deal evaporated Tuesday, when Trump refused to endorse Ryan's reelection in an interview with Phil Rucker and gave precious oxygen to his populist Republican opponent just a week before the primary. (Read the whole Trump interview here in which he also rejected backing Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) -- saying he "should have done a much better job for vets" -- and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) -- whom he called "weak." McCain and Ayotte are both supporting Trump.) 

“We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet,” Trump said in a conscious echo of Ryan's own refusal to endorse Trump in the days after he cleared the GOP presidential field.

It was a stunning assertion of dominance by Trump after days of self-inflicted controversy -- sparked by his criticism of the parents of a Muslim-American Army captain who died in Iraq -- that left Ryan and other GOP officeholders struggling to mount a reaction.

Ryan on Monday put out a carefully worded statement that defended the family of Capt. Humayun Khan but did not mention Trump by name. It stopped well short of the full-throated denunciation that Democrats, Trump's Republican critics, and the Khans themselves had called for.

But Trump hit back anyway, in a manner calibrated to underscore the gaping divide between Ryan conservatives and Trump populists.

In Wisconsin, the populist right is clearly hoping for a repeat in Ryan's primary of the 2014 dethroning of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia. His unabashedly pro-Trump opponent, Paul Nehlen, has taken a hatchet to the Ryan mythos of a young conservative warrior steeped in Friedman and von Mises and raised at the foot of Jack Kemp to reshape the federal government in Reaganesque fashion.

In a Tuesday interview with the publisher of Breitbart.com, for instance, Nehlen called Ryan a "soulless globalist" and an "open borders guy" who was "grown in a petri dish in D.C." 

But don't expect Ryan to abandon Trump -- at least, not yet.

The institutional stakes are simply too high for Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to spark a GOP crackup. Both the Trump and Ryan wings need to show up on Nov. 8 and vote Republican if the party is going to keep its congressional majorities -- and it's Trump, not Ryan, who has the party in his thrall.

That being said, there were reports late last night and into the early morning that more Republicans would abandon Trump in the coming days as infighting in his campaign increases. In one prominent defection, Mitt Romney backer Meg Whitman of eBay fame announced that she will support Hillary Clinton and raise funds for her, calling Trump a " dishonest demagogue." The story revealed that Clinton is actively seeking the support of Republican donors (Whitman said she had a "lovely chat" with the Democratic nominee in a phone call last month).

There were some signs of a campaign shake up yesterday as two senior staffers who'd previously worked for Ben Carson were let go,  reports Politico's Alex Isenstadt and Ken Vogel -- longtime GOP operative Ed Brookover, who was advising Trump politically; and Jimmy Stracner, who was Western political director for the Western region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Harwood says that things are bad inside the Trump campaign, reporting that campaign chairman Paul Manafort has stopped challenging the candidate. Harwood also reports, from a Manafort associate, that the staff is  "suicidal:"

NBC's Katy Tur says the chaos extends to the RNC, where Reince Priebus, who has worked to unify the party around Trump, is not happy with Trump's Ryan comments:

Per ABC's Rick Klein and Jon Karl:

Trump himself tweeted this morning that there is "great unity" in his campaign:

Trump consigliere Roger Stone pushed back hard on campaign in disarray narrative:

But Liam Donovan, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer who has been one of the sharpest observers of the contemporary GOP,  signaled that Ryan -- and McConnell -- might not let go, just yet anyway. He tweeted the below on Monday, before the latest controversy.

 

 

#NeverTrump conservatives are begging Ryan to renounce Trump and redeem their party. They include former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, who aimed his Tuesday Post column squarely at Ryan, who frequently speaks reverently of the "American idea." 

"Those who support Trump are setting the Republican Party at odds with the American story told by Lincoln and King: a nationalism defined by striving toward unifying ideals of freedom and human dignity," Gerson writes. "... It is not too late to repudiate."

But Donovan said in an interview that the moment for party leaders taking moral stands against Trump -- after the Khan controversy, after his attacks on a Latino judge, after his questioning of John McCain's war record -- has long since past. 

For Ryan, he said, what will matter are House seats.

"He's looking at it as protecting the [House Republican] Conference and keeping his job in the immediate term," he said. "I wish he'd do it. He'd make me feel better. But it wouldn't be a good idea from a strategic standpoint. ... Until [Trump] is dragging them down, I don't think anyone is hitting the panic button."

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Rep. Tim Huelskamp answers questions from the media following his primary election watch party last night. Lindsey Bauman/The Hutchinson News via AP)

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Kansas, Washington, Michigan, and Missouri held primary races Tuesday:

-- One House Republican -- KANSAS Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a high-profile tea partyer, was ousted by local physician Roger Marshall in a rare win this year for the political establishment. (The U.S. Chamber and farm lobby backed Marshall after Huelskamp was booted off the Agriculture panel by then-Speaker John Boehner because of repeated challenges to the leadership.) Huelskamp's loss is a defeat for the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth, which both heavily invested in the campaign. Huelskamp becomes the third House incumbent to lose their primary this year behind Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) -- under federal indictment -- and Renee Ellmers (N.C.), who was redistricted into a seat with another GOP incumbent. The Kansas seat will stay in Republican hands given its deep red nature (and the fact there's no Democratic, only an independent, opponent).

-- In WASHINGTON, Cathy McMorris Rodgers won reelection, but failed to net the majority of the primary vote for the first time since 2004. She’ll face Democrat Joe Pakootas in November. (The Spokesman Review)   

-- Businessman Paul Mitchell won the Republican primary in MICHIGAN, and will run for the seat of retiring Rep. Candice Miller in the general election this November. (Detroit Free Press

-- In MISSOURI, former Navy SEAL and political newcomer Eric Greitens emerged from a bruising four-way primary as the Republican nominee for governor, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. “Meanwhile, state Attorney General Chris Koster easily won the Democratic gubernatorial primary over three minor candidates, as expected. The results mean that, on Nov. 8, the state's gubernatorial race will be between Koster, a former Republican turned Democrat, and Greitens, a former Democrat turned Republican.” 

Correction: We at first inaccurately reported that businessman Paul Mitchell would face off with Rep. Candice Miller in Michigan this year. Miller is running for another office and Miller is now the GOP nominee to replace her. Also, it was defeated Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.) that was booted from the House Agriculture Committee not the man who beat him, Roger Marshall.

Ummm, bombshell folks: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said this morning that Donald Trump had asked a foreign policy adviser why, exactly, it is that the United States can't use nuclear weapons.

From CNBC this morning: "Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can't we use them," Scarborough said on his "Morning Joe" program.

Scarborough made the Trump comments 52 seconds into an interview with former Director of Central Intelligence and ex-National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden."

Watch video here:

Leonardo Espindola carries the Olympic torch on its way to Rio for the opening ceremony in Niteroi, Brazil. (AP /Felipe Dana)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Nearly one third of Australia’s Olympic water polo team is being quarantined for a gastrointestinal illness believed to have been picked up in Rome. The illness is the latest in a series of recent setbacks for the team, which has also battled unsafe Olympic Village housing conditions, an attempted robbery of an Australian Paralympian, and a slew of recent robberies from their living quarters. (Cindy Boren)
  2. Meanwhile, Olympic sailors said they have become more adept at dodging floating garbage as they prepare to compete in Rio’s polluted waters, swiftly navigating around items ranging from garbage bags to full pieces of furniture. (New York Times)
  3. … And another athlete racked up a $4,900 bill playing Pokémon Go in Rio. The Japanese gymnast was sidelined by outstanding roaming charges and confusion over his overseas data plan. (Boston Globe)
  4. The Obama administration “secretly organized” the sending of $400 million worth of cash to Iran in January, coinciding with the release of four Americans detained in Tehran. Critics charged the payments are tantamount to “ransom” money. Senior U.S. officials denied any link between the payment and the prisoner exchange, however, calling the two events coincidental. (WSJ)
  5. Gov. Chris Christie called for a state probe of Bridgegate investigative committee chairs Sen. Loretta Weinberg and John Wisniewski, suggesting the two may have used state resources to pursue a “politically motivated attack” on him. The statements come as a dramatic turn following the release of thousands of emails in the DNC hack. (NJ.com)
  6. The U.S. Attorney’s office has ordered sealed the autopsy report of Alton Sterling, the black man who was fatally shot by police officers last month outside a Baton Rouge convenience store.
  7. A Turkish lawyer has filed a criminal complaint against top U.S. generals, accusing the group of conspiring with plotters in the country’s failed coup in July. “While it's unclear whether prosecutors in Ankara will take on the case, it's a sign of the heated atmospherics surrounding U.S.-Turkish relations since last month,” Ishaan Tharoor reports.
  8. At least one child has died due to a naturally-occurring anthrax outbreak in Siberia, believed to be connected to a 75-year-old reindeer carcass that was exposed during a heatwave. At least 20 others have been hospitalized in connection to the pathogen, and more then 2,000 reindeer have succumbed to the disease. (Max Bearak)
  9. London protesters unleashed thousands of locusts, crickets and cockroaches upon a popular burger chain after it trapped its employees in a controversial immigration sting. Foreign workers were duped to believe they were attending a food safety seminar before British immigration officials descended to arrest them. (Travis M. Andrews)
  10. Kesha dropped her California sexual assault lawsuit against Dr. Luke, ending charges against the music producer who she says “drugged, raped and emotionally abused her” in order to focus on restarting her music career. The pop star vowed to appeal similar charges levied against him in New York, however, pledging to fans that her “fight continues.” (Elahe Izadi)
  11. A seven-year-old boy born with a rare disorder that attacks the brain and autoimmune system died one day after he was made an honorary Marine by his father’s colleagues. He is the 96th person in U.S. history to receive the distinction. (New York Times)
  12. An idealistic Dutch man was forced to spend 10 days alone in a Chinese airport terminal after flying across the world to meet his online girlfriend. She pulled the ultimate no-show – later revealing she was recovering from plastic surgeries to her face – while he was eventually hospitalized after collapsing in the terminal from diabetes-fueled exhaustion. (Kim Soffen)
  13. An American Airlines pilot was lauded as a hero after tackling a 25-year-old belligerent, intoxicated passenger who laid hands on a female flight attendant. The slurring man threatened to “break the jaw” of the female employee as he attempted to exit the plane before it safely landed. (Peter Holley)
  14. An AP investigation found little evidence that flossing really helps your teeth, potentially refuting decades of recommendations from dentists and federal health agencies. (Sarah Larimer)
Trump holds a Purple Heart given to him during a campaign event in Ashburn, Va. (Reuters/Eric Thayer)

THE DAILY DONALD:

-- Trump, trailing in the polls, has begun to hit the election as a “rigged” system that could potentially cost him the presidency. He appears to be laying the predicate to be able to challenge the election's outcome should things go south for him between now and Election Day.

From David Weigel: Trump recently pointed to several court cases nationwide in which voter ID laws have been thrown out, saying the decisions “open the door to fraud” in November. “If the election is rigged, I would not be surprised,” he told the Post during a Tuesday interview. “The voter ID situation has turned out to be a very unfair development. We may have people vote 10 times.”

  • These comments are emerging as a new pattern for Trump: At an Ohio rally yesterday, he declared to voters that “the election is going to be rigged.” Later in the day he beseeched Republicans during a Fox News appearance to start “watching closely” or the election will be “taken away from us” through fraud. (His only evidence for fraud consisted of “precincts where there were practically nobody voting for the Republican” in the 2012 election.) “If you don’t have voter ID, you can just keep voting and voting and voting."
  • Meanwhile, his more “freewheeling” supporters went even further: Radio host Alex Jones warned that the Obama administration might “cancel the election,” and off-again, on-again adviser Roger Stone told Breitbart News that Trump needed to be ready for a “violent post-election contest.” “I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be rhetorical,” Stone said. “I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in.”

“Like much of what Trump says, the ‘rigged’ riff defies the recent norms of politics,” Weigel writes. “And like of much of what he says, it taps into fears that long predate his campaign. One is a growing and unsubstantiated worry that elections are being stolen. The other is a broader unease that regular Americans are being cheated by Wall Street, by Washington and by a duplicitous media … Those worries have found voice in both parties this year, with Trump and [Sanders] both rallying their supporters during the Republican and Democratic primaries with the assessment that the system is rigged. Now, Trump is reviving the theme to highlight the possibility of voter fraud in November.”

-- Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), a moderate Republican who is retiring this year, told Syracuse.com that he will support Clinton, calling Trump unfit to lead and citing Trump's criticism of Khizr Khan. "I think Trump is a national embarrassment," Hanna said. "Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?" Hanna is the first sitting GOP member of Congress to publicly announce he is voting for Clinton. (The Post’s Aaron Blake is keeping a full list of Republican Trump defectors here.)

-- In his most vocal condemnation yet, Obama yesterday denounced Trump and calling on Republican leaders who repeatedly denounce Trump’s statements to cut ties with their party’s candidate. Greg Jaffe: “'The question they have to ask themselves is if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has to say is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?’ Obama asked. ‘What does this say about your party that he is your standard-bearer?’ Speaking at a White House news conference with Singapore's prime minister, Obama said the ‘words were not enough,’ and called on [John] McCain, Ryan and McConnell to withdraw their endorsements of Trump. ‘There has to be a point at which you say this is not somebody you can support as president of the United States,’ Obama said. ‘The fact that that has not happened makes some of these denunciations ring hollow.’”

  • “Reflecting on the novelty of his own remarks, Obama said his warning stands apart from his criticism of his own Republican presidential rivals, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, with whom he disagreed on ‘certain policy issues’ but whose qualifications and ‘basic decency’ he didn’t dispute.” (Isaac Stanley-Becker and Sean Sullivan)

-- Meanwhile, the Trump campaign wants its Capitol Hill allies to defend his heavily criticized remarks about the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan. Sean Sullivan: “In an email sent to congressional supporters this week with the subject line ‘Urgent Pivot: Khan and TPs,’ Trump's director of congressional affairs Scott Mason writes that ‘the media is working against our efforts and our messaging specifically as it relates to the tragic death of Capt. Humayun Khan.’ He encourages backers to incorporate the campaign's talking points in press releases and social media posts. 

-- Trump said that women who are sexually harassed in the workplace have three options: taking action within their company; leaving their employer while still seeking retribution; or quitting. From Katie Zezima and Philip Rucker: “I think it’s got to be up to the individual,” Trump said in the Post interview. “It also depends on what’s available. There may be a better alternative; then there may not. If there’s not a better alternative, then you stay. But it could be there’s a better alternative where you’re taken care of better.”

Trump’s comments came after he drew criticism Monday for saying that if his daughter Ivanka were sexually harassed it would be “up to her to find a new situation.” ‘I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case,’ Trump said.” Eric Trump later echoed those comments, saying “Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman. She wouldn’t allow herself to be, you know, subjected to it.”

  • The comments sparked swift condemnation from women’s rights advocates, as well as Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News television host whose sexual-harassment lawsuit against Fox chief executive Roger Ailes led to his ouster.

-- Ivanka Trump did not respond directly to her father or brother's comments, but said in a statement: “Harassment in general, sexual or otherwise, is inexcusable. At our companies, we do not tolerate harassment of any kind. Our policies both on paper and in practice require that every complaint be fully investigated and if claims are substantiated, our H.R. team takes swift disciplinary action.” (New York Times)

--  U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel ruled that the Trump University lawsuit can proceed to trial in November, rejecting the businessman’s request for summary judgment and delivering a victory to the students who alleged they were defrauded by Trump’s now-defunct university.” From Rosalind S. Helderman: “Curiel ruled there was indeed enough evidence that Trump University ads were false and that Trump had a hand in their creation that a jury should be allowed to decide the issue. At the same time, Curiel rejected a request by media organizations to allow the public release of hours of videotaped testimony by Trump in a California lawsuit over Trump University … The two rulings offered Trump mixed results from the federal judge he has repeatedly attacked as biased, accusing Curiel of being unable to rule fairly in the case because of his Mexican heritage.”

-- Trump hired a new state director in North Carolina, bringing on board former Romney staffer Jason Simmons as the campaign seeks to shore up support in the southern swing state.  “Jason Simmons, 35, has ostensibly taken over for Earl Phillip, an outspoken African-American conservative who Trump hired last fall to run North Carolina for him,” Politico’s Eli Stokols reports.

-- Trump proposed to DOUBLE Clinton’s infrastructure plans: “Trump took a step to Clinton’s left on Tuesday, saying that he would like to spend at least twice as much as his Democratic opponent has proposed to invest in new infrastructure as part of his plan to stimulate the United States’ economy,” NYT’s Alan Rappeport reports. “The idea takes a page out of the progressive playbook and is another indication that the Republican presidential nominee is prepared to break with the fiscal conservatism that his party has evangelized over the past eight years.

  • “We have bridges that are falling down,” Trump said on the Fox Business Network. “We have many, many bridges that are in danger of falling.” “Mrs. Clinton has called for $275 billion in infrastructure spending over five years,” Rappeport notes. “That would include the creation of a national infrastructure bank, which would be given $25 billion to support loans and loan guarantees. In sum, the plan would support about $500 billion in spending on infrastructure.
  • He was vague when asked how he’d pay for his massive plan, saying he would create an infrastructure fund that would be supported by government bonds that investors and citizens could purchase. “We'll get a fund. We'll make a phenomenal deal with the low interest rates …” 
Trump stands next to a genie lamp as the lights of his Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. (AP/Mike Derer)

-- Newsweek gives us more details on The Donald's relationship with Native Americans. “Donald Trump’s many business failures, explained,” by Kurt Eichenwald: “Trump was thundering about a minority group, linking its members to murderers and what he predicted would be an epic crime wave in America. His opponents raged in response — some slamming him as a racist — but Trump dismissed them as blind, ignorant of the real world. No, this is not a scene from a recent rally.… The year was 1993, and his target was Native Americans, particularly those running casinos who, Trump was telling a congressional hearing, were sucking up to criminals. Trump … appeared before a panel on Indian gaming with a prepared statement that was level-headed and raised regulatory concerns in a mature way. But, in his opening words, Trump … went off-script, even questioning the heritage of some Native American casino operators, saying they ‘don't look like Indians’ and launching into a tirade about ‘rampant’ criminal activities on reservations.”

  • “For opponents of Trump’s presidential run, this contretemps about American Indians might seem like a distant but familiar echo of the racism charges that have dogged his campaign … But, in this case, there was more to it than that: Trump, through his offensive tantrum, was throwing away financial opportunities, yet another reminder that, for all his boasting of his acumen and flaunting of his wealth, the self-proclaimed billionaire has often been a lousy businessman …”

-- “Documents Show Trump Officials Agreed to Limit Rally Size, Contradicting the Candidate,” by Politico magazine's Nate Thayer: “On Monday the GOP nominee continued his battle with America’s firefighters at a rally at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio, where he accused the local fire marshal and city officials of being part of a political conspiracy to prevent his supporters from attending the event. ‘I just want to tell you we’ve had thousands of people outside, thousands. They were turned away — for political reasons — purely for political reasons,’ Trump told reporters.… The problem with Trump’s charges? His own senior campaign staff officials were fully aware and had agreed in writing that the Trump event in Columbus was to be restricted to a maximum of 1,000 people, according to documents signed on Friday, July 29, [by] the Trump campaign....” 

  • Two days earlier, Trump also accused firefighters of politically motivated efforts to prevent supporters from accessing his venue space. “And, as in Ohio, Colorado Springs officials said the capacity had been agreed to by Trump’s event planners and city officials “well before the event.” 

-- Trump changed views on Ukraine after hiring Manafort,” by Politico's Michael Crowley: “Trump sounded like a supporter of Ukraine's territorial integrity last September, when he spoke by video feed to a gathering of political and business elites in Kiev. ‘I don’t think you’re getting the support you need,’” Trump told the pro-Western group. “That view was in line with other statements Trump has made calling for a firmer Western response to [Putin's] March 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for a pro-Russian separatist movement in the country’s east.… In recent days, however, Trump has struck a far milder tone. While the reason for his shift is not clear, Trump's more conciliatory words — which contradict his own party's official platform — follow his recent association with several people sympathetic to Russian influence in Ukraine. They include his campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has worked for Ukraine's deposed pro-Russian president, his foreign policy adviser Carter Page, and the former secretary of state and national security adviser Henry Kissinger …”

BABYGATE (just kidding, but worth a watch): Trump made headlines at a Virginia rally yesterday for kicking out a baby (seems like he's even violating this cardinal rule of politics).

Of course, his response to the crying baby went viral: "I love babies. I hear that baby cry, I like it," Trump said initially at the rally. "What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don't worry, don't worry. The mom's running around, like, don't worry about it, you know. It's young and beautiful and healthy and that's what we want." “While it is decidedly rare to hear anyone proclaim that they 'like' hearing a baby cry, it was a human moment — a move by Trump to say to a mother in the audience: don't worry about it, we'll keep the speech moving,Peter Stevenson writes. “And for a minute, he did. Until the baby dared to interrupt his thoughts on China with a second outburst.”

 "'Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here,' Trump said. 'I think she really believed me, that I love having a baby crying while I'm speaking!' "'People don't understand, but that's okay,' he added."

See video below:

 

-- Trump was also gifted a Purple Heart at the rally: "A man came up to me and he handed me his Purple Heart," Trump told the crowd. "I said to him, is that the real one, or is that a copy? He said, 'That's my real Purple Heart. I have such confidence in you.’” He added: "I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier." (Philip Bump)

Watch video of the moment below:

But Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a former Army pilot whose Black Hawk helicopter and was shot down over Iraq in 2004, reacted this way:

Kaine and Clinton speak at a rally in Miami. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

THE DAILY HRC:

-- Clinton’s campaign reported its best fundraising month yet: The Democratic presidential nominee hauled in a record $63 million for her coffers during the month of July, Matea Gold reports. (Trump's campaign has not yet released its July fundraising totals.) Clinton’s campaign officials said $8.7 million of this was netted in the 24 hour period following her DNC speech Thursday night in Philadelphia. (Bloomberg)

-- Three top officials at the Democratic National Committee will leave their posts this week amid the controversy over the release of a cache of hacked emails from the committee. “Chief executive Amy Dacey, Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall and Communications Director Luis Miranda will leave the DNC just days after a new leader took the helm.” The three were implicated in one of the most damaging exchanges from the DNC email leaks last month, in which they appeared to speculate about how Sanders’s Jewish heritage could be used against him. In their absence, interim DNC chair Donna Brazile said she will appoint a "transition" team that would be in place through the general election and until a permanent party chair was announced.

  • "Tom McMahon, a former executive director of the DNC, will rejoin the party to lead the new team. McMahon, who is currently at the consulting firm New Partners, was an architect of former Vermont governor Howard Dean's '50 state strategy' when Dean was chairman of the DNC. Brandon Davis, who was installed as chief of staff at the DNC in June after Clinton became the presumptive nominee, will take over all aspects of the general election strategy. And longtime Democratic strategist Doug Thornell will come aboard on an interim basis as a senior adviser."

-- Politico games out Clinton’s potential Cabinet choices. “Hillary's inner circle insists that any talk about what her administration would look like is premature. But the conversations are happening anyway.” From Edward-Isaac Dovere

For chief of staff, they float Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, and Tom Nides, Clinton’s deputy secretary of state for management. “Mills, notably, would be the first female White House chief of staff as well as the first African-American, and is seen as one of the smartest and most trusted people in Clinton’s orbit. Nides would have the advantage of many long relationships in Washington …” Tom Vilsack also remains in conversation. 

  • Brian Fallon is widely-floated for press secretary: Fallon has also done time at the Department of Justice and with incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. 

  • National Security adviser: Jake Sullivan, who worked for both Clinton at the State Department, and then Biden, is seen as “having first dibs on this job if he wants it.” 

  • Defense Secretary: “The far and away favorite here is Michèle Flournoy, who was talked about for the job the last time Obama had an opening and would be the first woman in the position. (Read the full list here.)

-- “Fast-growing, diverse part of Florida earns special attention from Clinton, Trump,” by John Wagner and Ed O'Keefe: “Florida is always critical in a presidential election, but this year, Daytona Beach, home to the nation’s most popular NASCAR race, could prove especially important. Situated in Volusia County, the city sits at the far eastern end of the infamous ‘I-4 corridor’ of swing voters that stretches from Daytona Beach, through Orlando out west to Tampa. In Volusia County, both campaigns will be wooing those new, younger families but also an influx of Hispanic voters, many of them recent immigrants from economically distressed Puerto Rico. In 2012, the county went for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney narrowly — by just one percentage point. In 2008, Obama won the region by nearly five points. Hispanics accounted for nearly 13 percent of the county population last year — a modest sum, but a fast-growing bloc in a closely watched county.” 

  • “Across Florida, [Clinton] is running a targeted television advertising campaign and is poised to launch Latina-to-Latina phone banks targeting Hispanic voters in South and Central Florida. Trump is relying on a statewide voter-outreach program run by the RNC ... He is also wooing Hispanic pastors in hopes of winning over their flocks.”

Obama and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong talk after toasting each other during a state dinner. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

OBAMA STRUGGLES ON TRADE:

-- Six key GOP allies reversed their support for Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, delivering another potentially serious blow to the president’s trade agenda as they urged him in a letter not to send the trade accord to Congress for a vote this year. David Nakamura: “’Some in your Administration reportedly believe passage of TPP should be attempted following November’s election.  We respectfully, but strongly, disagree,’ the letter stated. It was signed by Reps. Candace Miller and Dave Trott of Michigan, Bill Shuster and Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, Ed Whitfield (Ky.) and Ted Yoho (Fla.). "A 'lame duck' Congress should not vote on an agreement of this consequence — it would be an end-run around the American people immediately following an election," the members wrote. "We urge you not to send TPP implementing legislation to Congress in 2016." Meanwhile, White House officials have said they “remain hopeful” that lawmakers will approve the trade accord during the lame-duck session after the Nov. 8 election.

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

-- “A year ago, Ahmed Mohamed became ‘Clock Boy.’ Now, he can’t escape that moment,” by Jessica Contrera: “The news crew is here, but the famous boy is still asleep. He had just flown 22 hours, back to this squat stone house where he used to live when he was just a regular 14-year-old. A year ago, he could have woken up and spent hours tinkering with its engine. Instead, he’s waking up to the sound of more reporters in the living room. Because he’s not Ahmed Mohamed, a regular 14-year-old. He’s “Clock Boy,” a viral sensation, the accidental embodiment of a national debate about Muslims being dangerous — or not. A black youth mistreated by overzealous cops — or an example of vigilance against potential terrorism. ‘This is what happens when we (IPD) screw something up,’ one Irving Police Department detective wrote in an email  ... ‘That thing didn’t even look like a bomb.’ And so came the next choice [for Ahmed’s family]: let this all die down, or seize the platform they’d been given and use it.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Paul Nehlen, Rep. Paul Ryan's primary opponent, has been tweeting up a storm slamming Ryan before the primary on Tuesday:

Then there's this:

Meg Whitman will be casting her vote for Clinton:

Ayotte pushed back against Trump:

One take on the week's events from ThinkProgress's Legum:

Thoughts on yesterday's meltdown:

From a Weekly Standard writer:

Typical 2016:

After this comment on cable news:

Eric Trump sought to refine his comments:

Here's what Megyn Kelly had to say:

Sean Hannity emphasized the notion that the election might be rigged:

Trump's allies doubled down on the Khan controversy:

John Boehner is enjoying primary night in Kansas, per Carl Hulse:

The EMILY's List staff saw Ghostbusters:

Spotted at Wrigley field:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Environmental records shattered as climate change 'plays out before us,’” from The Guardian: “The world is careening towards an environment never experienced before by humans, with the temperature of the air and oceans breaking records, sea levels reaching historic highs and carbon dioxide surpassing a key milestone, a major international report has found. The ‘state of the climate’ report, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) with input from hundreds of scientists from 62 countries, confirmed there was a “toppling of several symbolic mileposts” in heat, sea level rise and extreme weather in 2015. ‘The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,’ Michael Mann, a leading climatologist at Penn State, told the Guardian. ‘They are playing out before us, in real time."

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

Benghazi victim's father endorses Trump, from the Washington Examiner: “Donald Trump has nabbed the endorsement of a Benghazi victim's father, days after he upset various veterans groups for criticizing the parents of a fallen Muslim-American soldier. The Republican presidential nominee was endorsed on Tuesday by Charles Woods, the father of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, who was killed during the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. ‘I support Trump, and the main reason is national security as well as the economy are the two most important issues that voters are going to have to decide upon next November,’ Woods said … ‘Tyrone Woods is an American hero and his father is a tremendous person whom I have great respect for,’ Trump said … Tuesday. ‘His support is so important to me.’”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Clinton is in Commerce City, Colo.; Kaine stops in High Point and Greensboro, N.C. Trump is in Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Fla.; Pence stops in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo.

At the White House: Obama participates in a Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall. Vice President Biden speaks at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "His excesses make you want to retch, even in the United States, especially when — as in the case with Donald Trump — he speaks ill of a soldier, of the memory of a soldier," said French President Francois Hollande.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

--A sunny day with temps that may fall below 90s for the first time in weeks. Here’s today’s Capital Weather Gang forecast:  “With high pressure parked off the New England coastline, we’ll see a light breeze from the east-southeast keeping temperatures in check as highs head for the mid-80s under partly sunny skies. Humidity is down a bit from yesterday, but still up in the moderate range …” 

--COMMUTER ALERTS: “Major traffic delays are hitting Interstate 70 near Frederick County after two incidents, including one involving a crash of two trucks and a woman who fell 40-feet over a bridge after stopping to try to help the truck drivers,” The Post's Dr. Gridlock reports. “Few details were immediately available and it was not clear the conditions of the three people involved in the incidents.” It is unclear when parts of the roadway will reopen. 

-- There’s also a delay on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines, caused by a track problem: Blue Line trains are single tracking between Van Dorn and Braddock Road. Yellow Line trains are single tracking between Braddock Road and Huntington stations. Riders should expect delays. (Dana Hedgpeth

-- The Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-4

-- D.C. residents celebrated National Night Out last night, but with a special focus: to reinforce positive relationships between police and local communities in spite of ongoing tensions across the country. (Victoria St. Martin and Hamil R. Harris

 

 

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Obama called Trump "unfit" to be president:

Seth Meyers encouraged Trump to star in NBC's Chicago President:

Meyers also took a closer look at Trump's attack on the Khan family:

Trump's Ryan snub underscored divisions in the GOP:

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) said he had no words for Trump:

The Obamas welcomed Singapore Prime Minister Lee Sien Loong for a state dinner:

Watch this skydiver jumping out of a plane without a parachute: