THE BIG IDEA: We’re about to find out how loyal Donald Trump is to Paul Manafort, the man running his campaign.
-- “Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Trump Aide” is the headline on the front page of today’s New York Times.
“Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from (Viktor) Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials,” Andrew E. Kramer, Mike McIntire and Barry Meier report from Kiev. “In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles … Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.”
“Before he fled to Russia two years ago, Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions relied heavily on the advice of Mr. Manafort and his firm, who helped them win several elections,” the story notes. “During that period, Mr. Manafort never registered as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department — as required of those seeking to influence American policy on behalf of foreign clients — although one of his subcontractors did.”
In the 400-page ledger kept at party headquarters, inside a room which contained two safes full of $100 bills, Manafort’s name appeared 22 times over five years, according to Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which obtained the document and has an evidence-sharing agreement with the FBI. The Times says the purpose of the payments is not specified. Manafort lawyer Richard Hibey said his client never received the cash in question and did nothing illegal or corrupt. (The whole story is worth reading.)
-- In any conventional campaign, someone in Manafort’s position would not be able to survive a story like this. But this is not a conventional campaign…
An editor at Fusion, the site owned by Univision, teased that more damaging stories will come soon:
Speaking as someone who has a story coming this week: This is just the beginning for Manafort. It gets worse. https://t.co/5KTUsIHbX1— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) August 15, 2016
A Fox News contributor:
The fact that Trump has started receiving security briefings and that Manafort may have access to them is not a joke https://t.co/gQkxDLFdKB— Julie Roginsky (@julieroginsky) August 15, 2016
A Republican strategist in Texas:
If Manafort truly cares about Trump, he resigns by 8am tomorrow. Staff can't be a distraction. And this is a massive distraction.— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) August 15, 2016
A former speechwriter to George W. Bush replied:
Assuming it is Trump to whom Manafort ultimately answers. But that’s a question now, isn’t it? https://t.co/jOyzwAmIOR— David Frum (@davidfrum) August 15, 2016
The former director of the Richard Nixon presidential library (now a distinguished historian at NYU):
How demonstrably Putanist does Manafort have to be for the RNC to insist Trump dump him? https://t.co/UWxp2Q6pk5— Tim Naftali (@TimNaftali) August 15, 2016
-- The imbroglio over Manafort is likely to overshadow the much-ballyhooed foreign policy speech that Trump will deliver later today. In Ohio, aides say Trump will promise an end to nation building (just like George W. Bush did!), describe himself as “a foreign policy realist” and promise to focus first and foremost on destroying ISIS. “He’ll argue the country needs to work with anyone that shares that mission, regardless of other disagreements,” the AP previews. (Notably, this would include Russia.) “Trump is also expected to propose a new immigration policy under which the U.S. would stop issuing visas in cases where adequate screenings can’t be performed. And he’s expected to propose creating a new, ideological test for admission to the country that would assess a candidate’s stances on issues like religious freedom.”
-- Our analytics partners at Zignal Labs relay that Manafort is accounting for a big spike in social media buzz about Trump. Here’s a real-time word cloud:
-- The story, of course, is just the latest example of Trump and his campaign’s friendliness with Putin and his regime, which it should go without saying is an adversary of the United States. (Read a recent primer by Tom Hamburger and Steven Mufson here.)
"During his administration, Trump will be friendly with Putin," Trump, speaking in the third person, told CNBC last Thursday. (Don’t forget when he declared last month, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing!”)
-- Bigger picture, there is growing evidence that Putin is trying to sway the outcome of the U.S. election. On Friday, the personal cell phone numbers and email addresses for every Democratic member of the House were posted online by a hacker group that the U.S. intelligence community believes is linked with the Russians. This led to harassing calls and headaches for leaders like Nancy Pelosi and will force many top lawmakers to change their numbers. The disclosure came just one day after Pelosi likened the hack of the DNC and the DCCC to “an electronic Watergate.”
-- Flashback: The Russians may have initially targeted the DNC opposition researcher who was responsible for building the dossier on Manafort. From Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff on July 25: “Just weeks after she started preparing opposition research files on [Manafort] last spring, Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa got an alarming message when she logged into her personal Yahoo email account. ‘Important action required,’ read a pop-up box from a Yahoo security team … ‘We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.’ Chalupa — who had been drafting memos and writing emails about Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine — quickly alerted top DNC officials. ‘Since I started digging into Manafort, these messages have been a daily occurrence on my Yahoo account despite changing my password often,’ she wrote in a May 3 email to Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, which included an attached screengrab of the image of the Yahoo security warning.”
-- In Sunday’s paper, Brussels bureau chief Michael Birnbaum explained how Washington is just now getting a taste of the unconventional tactics that have long been employed by the Kremlin to influence politics in neighboring European countries. “European leaders say Russia has been involved in such actions as an April referendum in the Netherlands that rejected a European Union trade deal with Ukraine and the strengthening of cross-border bonds among Euroskeptic parties,” writes. “Russia has been pressing hard to roll back sanctions imposed after it annexed Crimea in 2014, a task that could succeed with the support of just one of the 28 E.U. nations, which need unanimity to prolong the measures. … In Eastern Europe, leaders suspect the Kremlin of funding environmental groups that oppose measures that would make their countries less dependent on Russian energy. … In France, the anti-E.U. National Front party was able to draw on Russian financial resources at a time when it was being refused by French banks.”
-- The plot thickens: Ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still actively advising Trump and often speaks by phone with the candidate. Lewandowski, who blames Manafort for his ouster, tweeted out the NYT story just moments after it posted – highlighting the discord in Trump’s orbit and at least somewhat undercutting the inevitable pushback from Trump Tower.
Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief https://t.co/7bh7iIHHaY— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) August 15, 2016
Trump friend and former staffer Roger Stone responded by accusing Corey of working for Clinton:
From the chief strategist on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign:
You could go to the Bada Bing and yell, "Hey, Joey," and come up with a more competent, ethical team. https://t.co/Kort8SHr78— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) August 15, 2016
Hillary Clinton’s campaign quickly piled on:
If Corey recommends this story, it's probably worth the read. https://t.co/9IlWtNDJWl— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) August 15, 2016
In '05, George W. Bush's WH called Sen. McCain to say Manafort's firm was undercutting US foreign policy in Ukraine https://t.co/fxefoYKIpT— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) August 15, 2016
Doesnt really feel like Lewandowski and Manafort parted on the best of terms. https://t.co/B4C5X6yktu— Jennifer Palmieri (@jmpalmieri) August 15, 2016
Clinton supporters began retweeting a 2014 picture of the former secretary of State with Russian dissidents (In addition to liking Trump, Putin hates HRC...):
-- The story will give more heartburn to the GOP foreign policy establishment, which has increasingly embraced Clinton – partly out of fear about Trump’s naiveté when it comes to Moscow. The editor of the Weekly Standard:
Beyond sleazy. Makes Trump look like Better Business Bureau.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 15, 2016
"Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Trump’s Chief"https://t.co/zqqnBv2cno
-- This will also increase pressure on Trump to release his tax returns, which Clinton and Tim Kaine did on Friday.
-- Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, in a statement sent at 11:11 p.m. Eastern, cited the Times story as evidence of “more troubling connections between Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.”
“Given the pro-Putin policy stances adopted by Donald Trump and the recent Russian government hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party records, Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump's employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them,” Mook wrote.
-- Manafort has really remarkable sway over Trump – much greater than most operatives in the job that he holds. Before he joined the campaign as an unpaid adviser, Trump had criticized Barack Obama for not doing enough to check Russian aggression in Ukraine. Without a coherent explanation, the GOP nominee has dramatically softened his position on Crimea and became more forgiving of Putin’s occupation since the adviser joined his inner circle. (Politico’s Michael Crowley recently tracked how Trump’s position has changed over the past two years.)
-- The campaign chairman apparently lied about the campaign’s role in watering down the GOP platform vis-à-vis Ukraine. National security experts who were closely involved in the process said Trump campaign staffers weakened language that would have called for U.S. military support of Ukraine. “In the past, that would not be considered a controversial Republican position,” Rachel Hoff, a member of the platform committee, told Hamburger after Manafort categorically denied it on “Meet the Press.”
-- Former acting CIA director Michael Morell’s op-ed endorsing Clinton on Aug. 5 is more relevant now than ever: “Putin was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated. … Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States. In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
-- The one thing that could salvage Trump's day: Members of Congress are about to receive the notes from Clinton’s 3.5-hour interview at FBI headquarters. CNN’s Jake Tapper and Tal Kopan report that they could be sent as early as today. Several Republican lawmakers requested the information following testimony from FBI director James Comey. (The FBI does not have a complete transcript, and she was not under oath.)
-- Good morning from PALO ALTO, California. I’m at Stanford for a media roundtable at the Hoover Institution. Tomorrow’s 202 will have your nominees for which movie character Trump is most like. More than 750 of you responded to Friday’s Big Idea with some quite canny suggestions, and I’m still trying to sort through them all…
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
MELEE IN MILWAUKEE:
-- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker put the National Guard on alert as unrest continued, following the death of a 23-year-old black man who was fatally shot by police this weekend. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “For a second night, disorder hit the Sherman Park neighborhood late Sunday, with protesters throwing rocks, bricks and glass bottles at police, shots ringing out and a shooting victim rescued by officers and whisked to a hospital in an armored vehicle.” Police dressed in riot gear had to move in and disperse a crowd overnight after protesters started throwing objects. One 18-year-old man was rushed to a hospital with a serious gunshot injury, and police said officer was taken to a hospital after suffering an injury from a thrown object.
Authorities say the cop was in the right: “Earlier Sunday, police chief Edward Flynn said the man whose death touched off Saturday night's rioting was shot after he turned toward an officer with a gun in his hand,” the AP reports. “Flynn cautioned that the shooting was still under investigation … but that based on the silent video from the unidentified officer's body camera, he ‘certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds.’ At the same news conference, Mayor Tom Barrett said a still image pulled from the footage clearly showed a gun in 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith's hand as he fled a traffic stop Saturday."
GET SMART FAST:
- Marion Christopher Barry, the 36-year-old son of former D.C. mayor Marion Barry, died on Sunday after suffering an apparent drug overdose. He was reportedly smoking the synthetic drug k-2 and PCP -- a drug he had struggled with in the past -- before he suddenly dropped dead. He was discovered by his girlfriend. (Faiz Siddiqui and Hamil R. Harris)
- Several terminals at JFK airport were evacuated after false reports of gunfire sparked panic, causing hundreds of passengers to flee. Officials have yet to explain what caused the late-night confusion, though one senior official told NBC that cheering, clapping and banging from people watching the Olympic Games “may have been misinterpreted” as gunshots.
- More than 20,000 people have been rescued in Louisiana after historic flooding swept the state over the weekend. At least four people have died. (NBC News)
- Yemeni officials said 10 children were killed and 28 injured after a Saudi-led airstrike struck a school, the latest hit since U.N.-backed peace talks collapsed a week ago. Doctors Without Borders condemned the strike, noting that all the victims were between eight to 15. (Ali Almujahed and Sudarsan Raghavan)
- New York police are investigating the death of an imam and his assistant who were gunned down -- in broad daylight -- after leaving their mosque in Queens. Police said they do not believe the mosque leaders were targeted because of their Muslim faith, though they declined to say what evidence led officers to believe religion was not a likely factor. (Julie Zauzmer)
- A top Justice Department official objected to paying $400 million to Iran at the same time that Tehran was releasing American prisoners, saying it would be seen by some as a ransom payment. (Wall Street Journal)
- Boko Haram released a video appearing to show recent footage of schoolgirls kidnapped two years ago. The Nigerian militant group urged the government to release jailed fighters in exchange for the abducted children. (Max Bearak)
- A Wisconsin judge overturned the murder and sexual assault convictions of Brendan Dassey, the 26-year-old profiled in the popular Netflix series “Making a Murderer.” In a 91-page order, the judge said investigators erred in their questioning of Dassey and deemed their methods unconstitutional. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- Rand Paul endorsed Liz Cheney's primary opponent. He backed state Sen. and former Army special operations forces soldier Leland Christensen two days before Wyoming’s primary election, which the former vice president's daughter is expected to win. (Politico)
- The mayor of Cannes, France, drew condemnation after banning “burkinis” – full-body, head-covering swim garments often worn by Muslim women -- from its beaches. (New York Times)
TEAM USA KEEPS CRUSHING IT, BUT RIO HAS PROVED ITSELF INADEQUATE TO THE TASK OF HOSTING AN OLYMPICS:
-- The U.S. now has 69 MEDALS in Rio, handily winning the first-place distinction so far with 26 gold, 21 silver, and 22 bronze. China is second, with 45 medals, while Britain climbed to the number three spot with 38 medals. (Check out the Post’s full list here. Here's a cool graphic showing which sports have given the U.S. its 1,000 total gold medals during all the Summer Olympics combined.)
-- Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte and three other member of the U.S. swim team were held up at gunpoint Sunday morning by men posing as police officers. From Cindy Boren and Dom Phillips: “Along with Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jimmy Feigen and Rockville (Maryland) native Jack Conger were in a taxi that was held up for the ‘athletes’ money and other personal belongings.” All four athletes are safe.
-- Lochte described the harrowing incident to NBC News: "These guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground ... I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so — I'm not getting down on the ground … And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, 'Get down,' and I put my hands up, I was like 'whatever.' He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials."
-- Meanwhile, the Australian Olympic Committee has ordered its athletes to stay off Rio’s beaches after sunset, citing a spike in petty thefts along the shore. (USA Today)
-- Usain Bolt defended his title as the world’s fastest man, becoming the first runner to win the 100m race in three straight Olympics. He sprinted to victory in 9.81 seconds, besting American Justin Gatlin by 0.08 seconds. (Rick Maese)
-- South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk stunned fans after winning gold in the men’s 400-meter final, coming from lane eight to shatter a 17-year-old world record. Van Niekerk also had an unconventional coach to help steer him to victory: a 74-year-old Namibian great grandmother known by her pupils as “Tannie Ans,” or Auntie. (Isabelle Khurshudyan)
-- U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, 19, won her third gold medal on Sunday, winning a first-place finish on the vault and outscoring her nearest competitor by 0.700 points. Madison Kocian took the silver medal on uneven bars, after being edged out by Russia’s Aliya Mustafina by less than 0.100 points. (Liz Clarke)
-- Virginia Beach native Gabby Douglas placed seventh on the uneven bars -- a disappointing finish for the 20-year-old, who became a household name after winning the all-around gold medal in London. She tearfully addressed negative criticism she received throughout the games for her perceived poor attitude, causing some fair-weather fans to call her “Crabby Gabby” online. “When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand up on my heart or me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me, and it doesn’t really feel good,” she said of the negativity. “It was a little bit hurtful.” (Liz Clarke)
THE DAILY DONALD:
-- As Trump stumbles, even his die-hard supporters are increasingly worried that he is blowing it, Jenna Johnson reports: "The crowds ... still cheer wildly when (he) takes the stage. They still scream with delight when he bashes illegal immigration and incompetent politicians, and jeer on cue when he mentions ‘crooked Hillary.’ But one-on-one conversations among those in the arena seats and quiet asides in the long lines outside reveal another sentiment these days among the Trump faithful — a growing frustration that the candidate is blowing the election, falling into traps laid by his opponents and committing unforced errors. For Frank Steele, a Vietnam veteran in North Carolina … the disappointment was most acute when Trump attacked the family of a fallen U.S. soldier: 'He was baited, and he rose to the bait,' said Steele, 69. 'He was wrong. You don’t bad-mouth somebody that’s lost a son.' 'I wish he would stay off Twitter,” said John Bash, a former machinist from Ohio. From now until the election, he ought to just quit Twitter.'"
-- An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal says Republicans should abandon Trump if he does not get his act together within three weeks: “Even with more than 80 days left, Mr. Trump’s window for a turnaround is closing. Those who sold Mr. Trump to GOP voters as the man who could defeat Hillary Clinton now face a moment of truth. Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Paul Manafort and the talk-radio right told Republicans their man could rise to the occasion. If they can’t get Mr. Trump to change his act by Labor Day, the GOP will have no choice but to write off the nominee as hopeless and focus on salvaging the Senate and House and other down-ballot races. As for Mr. Trump, he needs to stop blaming everyone else and decide if he wants to behave like someone who wants to be President—or turn the nomination over to Mike Pence.”
The conservative editorial board also reports that Trump’s advisers and family are trying to get him to spend a little time each day—a half hour even—studying the issues he’ll need to understand if he becomes president. “Is that so hard? Apparently so. Mr. Trump prefers to watch the cable shows rather than read a briefing paper.” They note that the dysfunction in Trump’s campaign is not a media invention: “The recriminations typically start in October, not mid-August. … The tragedy is that this is happening in a year when Republicans should win. … Trump has alienated his party and he isn’t running a competent campaign.”
-- One test in the days ahead: Will Trump follow through on his threat to stop credentialing the New York Times, as he has The Post? One of the most effective hits on the GOP nominee in polling and focus groups is that he’s thin skinned and lacks the temperament to be president. Rather than ease voter concerns, he continues giving fresh fodder to bolster the narrative.
-- “In Key States, The Trump Campaign Still Lags Badly,” by Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray and Tarini Parti: “In North Carolina, it’s not entirely clear where the campaign is headquartered. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, volunteers have opened makeshift field offices.” Privately, some have acknowledged the RNC could cut off money to Trump’s campaign, choosing instead to shift funding to down-ballot races: “I think that there is a possibility that could happen,” [one staffer said] ... “I think over the last seven to 10 days or one to two weeks, there’s been a great deal of frustration at the top of the ticket. The staffer said that such a shift would be ‘quiet’ and not announced publicly. And it would not necessarily be evident in the ground game: ‘When you’re going door to door, the investment to ask one more question about the national ticket doesn’t change your resources. Where you would see it would be in paid efforts and TV and all that kind of stuff.’”
-- America's enemies, including the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, are seizing on Trump's unfounded accusation that Obama created ISIS. "This is an American presidential candidate who is saying this,” Hassan Nasralla said. “What he says is based on facts and documents." (The Independent)
-- After Trump said that people who come to the U.S. from Mexico are "rapists," "drug dealers" and "criminals," his daughter Ivanka admitted that she drafted a clarification to try tempering her father’s incendiary comments. In a deposition, though, she denied that she urged her father to issue a retraction. From Buzzfeed: “Basically, I was playing around with the idea of the fact that the media was spinning what he said to be about Hispanic people generally, as opposed to illegal immigrants, which he subsequently clarified on his own in countless interviews,” Ivanka said. “I had suggested a clarification because I felt that his comments were being misconstrued. Not a retraction. I don’t think that’s my place.” Her deposition is part of a lawsuit related to the remodeling of the Old Post Office.
-- Trump’s decline in the polls has helped improve the value of the peso: “A spate of recent surveys showing [Clinton] ahead of [Trump] coincided with the peso reaching its strongest level against the U.S. dollar since the end of June,” the Wall Street Journal's Anthony Harrup reports, “when the Bank of Mexico raised interest rates by an unexpected half-percentage point. A number of traders and analysts said those polls contributed to the peso’s gains.” Skeptics have said the link is “nebulous.”
-- Mike Pence suggested he plans to release his tax returns to the public, breaking with Trump even as his running mate shows no signs of doing the same. From Jenna Johnson: "I promise you, when my [federal financial disclosure] forms are filed and when my tax returns are released, it’s going to be a quick read," Pence said on a WABC radio interview this weekend. "I can assure you and your listeners the Pences have not become more wealthy as a result of 16 years in public service. There's been a lot of sacrifices. We're a middle-class family, and it’s been a tremendous honor to serve as … governor of Indiana and my years in the Congress, and we'll look forward to making all that information available." Pence spokesman Marc Lotter told CNN that the tax returns would be released "before the election,” but he declined to offer specifics.
-- Ron Nehlen, who lost his primary challenge to Paul Ryan last week, is creating a pro-Trump Super PAC. (Robert Costa)
-- Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson embarassed herself and the campaign again when she said during a Saturday interview on CNN that Obama, not Bush, invaded Afghanistan. "Remember, we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time," she said of Obama taking office in 2009. "Barack Obama went into Afghanistan creating another problem." The CNN anchor pressed Pierson to confirm that she was saying that Obama took the country into Afghanistan. "What I'm saying is the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — that was Obama’s war, yes,” Pierson said. Pierson later blamed (almost certainly non-existent) audio problems. Watch:
The LA Times notes that the often-ridiculed Pierson -- a failed House candidate -- often gets very basic facts wrong: "When Trump recently battled publicly with Khizr Khan, whose son was killed by a car bomb in 2004 while serving in Iraq, Pierson blamed Obama for the death of the fallen soldier. Humayun Khan was killed five years before Obama took office. 'It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagement that probably cost [Capt. Khan’s] life,' she said on CNN this month."
THE DAILY HRC:
-- “Hillary Clinton’s breakout moment at Wellesley College,” by Frances Stead Sellers and Marilyn W. Thompson: "Clinton’s moment of glory at Wellesley College came when she mounted the stage at her commencement ceremony and took on a powerful Republican U.S. senator, culminating four years of what her campaign now describes as ‘social-justice activism’ … But the story not yet told is how out of character Clinton’s inflammatory Wellesley speech was. At a time when the country was questioning the system, Clinton was known for working squarely within it. Clinton’s remarks transformed her, virtually overnight, into a national symbol of student activism. Her performance surprised everyone, even her close friends. 'Courtesy is not one of the stronger virtues of the young,' Wellesley President Ruth Adams wrote to Sen. Edward Brooke after Clinton delivered her remarks. 'Scoring debater’s points seems, on occasion, to have higher standing.' Brooke’s speechwriter said the senator took note of the student government president bold enough to confront him: 'We looked back on her impromptu remarks,' he said, 'as an early indicator of the powerful ambition at the center of her personality.'"
Listen to the student speech that made Clinton famous:
-- Joe Biden will make his 2016 campaign trail debut today, appearing alongside Clinton for a joint appearance in the blue-collar, predominantly white city of Scranton. Biden is expected to capitalize on his northeastern boyhood in the speech. (Wall Street Journal)
-- Wall Street Journal, “Clinton’s Free College-Tuition Plan Short on Specifics,” by Laura Meckler: “Hillary Clinton, who prides herself on the details of public policy, has said little about what is now the most ambitious and expensive proposal on her agenda: making public college tuition free for most Americans. On the campaign trail, she typically offers a sentence, maybe two, about the plan. [And] her campaign has offered few specifics about how the program would work … The campaign website no longer lists a cost for the program, though campaign aides said they estimate it would take $500 billion in new federal spending over 10 years, $150 billion more than the college plan she put out last summer. The sketchiness may owe something to the way the free-tuition plan came to be part of Mrs. Clinton’s platform. Rather than taking months or years to craft … it was inserted as part of negotiations in July to win the backing of [Sanders]."
Most of Clinton’s policy proposals “are five pages of dense text with very specific ways of how they’re going to pay for it and how much it would cost,” said Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, who tracks higher education and other issues at the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way. “This sounded much more like something intended to energize a campaign rally.”
-- Clinton’s campaign announced a new Latino outreach initiative focused on mobilizing young undocumented immigrants to highlight their risk of deportation should Trump win. From John Wagner: “So-called DREAMers, who were brought to the country illegally as children, do not have the right to vote, but their stories have the potential to motivate friends, classmates and co-workers to go to the polls with their fate in mind, the Clinton campaign said. The announcement of Clinton’s new outreach effort, timed to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Obama’s DACA initiative, is the latest in a series of actions her campaign has undertaken to expand the Latino vote, which polling suggests is breaking heavily her way.” The new effort, translated to mean “My Dream, Your Vote,” will be highlighted at events in several states with a growing Hispanic vote, including Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina.
THE BATTLE FOR CONGRESS:
Carpet bagger alert --> “Records contradict Bayh's assertion over staying in Indiana,” from CNN’s Manu Raju: “Evan Bayh pushed back at an interviewer last month when he was asked if he would move back to Indiana now that he is running to win back his old Senate seat. ‘I've never left,’ he said. But … a review of public records since Bayh left office in 2011 shows he repeatedly listed his two multi-million dollar homes in Washington as his main places of residence -- not the $53,000 condo he owns in Indianapolis. Just three weeks after leaving office in 2011, Bayh changed his address to his $2.3 million home in a leafy neighborhood in Washington … And often when Bayh registered his address … he listed Washington as his home. A source with Indianapolis Power and Light said Bayh's monthly electric bills averaged less than $20 per month since 2012, suggesting little -- if any -- use at his Indiana condo.”
-- Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz battled in their first – and likely only – debate before Florida’s Democratic congressional primary on Aug. 30. The Sun Sentinel’s Anthony Man says the most notable clashes were on Israel and Social Security, “which are both important in the Broward/Miami-Dade County 23rd Congressional District, home to a large Jewish community and to many seniors. Even sharper exchanges concerned charges about judgment, temperament and commitment to South Florida.”
Who won? “I would say it was a draw, and that doesn't help Canova. He really needed to score some points,” said political scientist Sean Foreman. “As an objective point of view, I would say that he didn't do enough to claim victory.”
-- “Inside the administration’s $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers,” by Chico Harlan: “As Central Americans surged across the U.S. border two years ago, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a deal that offered generous terms to … the nation’s largest prison company, to build a massive detention facility for women and children seeking asylum. The four-year, $1 billion contract — details of which have not been previously disclosed — has been a boon for CCA, which, in an unusual arrangement, gets the money regardless of how many people are detained at the facility. In hundreds of other detention contracts given out by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, federal payouts rise and fall in step with the percentage of beds being occupied. But in this case, CCA is paid for 100 percent capacity even if the facility is, say, half full, as it has been in recent months. Critics say the government’s policy has been expensive but ineffective. 'For the most part, what I see is a very expensive incarceration scheme,' said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House’s Immigration and Border Security subcommittee."
-- “Fox News confronts (but just barely) a scandal in its own house,” by Paul Farhi: “It’s one of the most intriguing stories of the summer, a tale of sex, money, politics and corporate skullduggery that would seem especially ripe for coverage and discussion by the firebrands at Fox News. Except Fox News barely seems to have noticed. Ever since former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit July 6 against … [network] chairman, Roger Ailes, Fox has been tight-lipped about telling its viewers about the allegations, which have turned the network upside down. In all, Fox has devoted a total of about 11 minutes of airtime to the news about Ailes over the past five weeks … Before that, Fox had gone 21/2 weeks without saying a word about the news unfolding down the hall from its newsroom ... As for Fox, Carlson’s attorney … said she has done more than 100 interviews with news organizations all over the world about the lawsuit and has turned down a similar number of requests. But, she said, she has never been contacted by Fox."
-- “To curb radicalism, France targets foreign funding for mosques,” by James McAuley: “After three major terrorist attacks in the last year and a half, public outrage has forced the French government to respond. But one particular proposal has generated significant controversy: the shutdown of certain mosques and the foreign funding behind them … In staunchly secular France, mosques — like churches, synagogues and any other houses of worship — are not legally entitled to receive any state funding. As a result, the only way to fund new mosques is through private donations from individuals and charitable organizations, a framework that encourages foreign capital..."
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
-- Trump is taking sharper aim than ever at the news media, and he spent hours of his Sunday on a tweet storm against the New York Times. "The candidate labeled reporters the ‘lowest form of humanity’ in Pennsylvania on Friday and claimed that the media is piling on. "I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump said in Fairfield, Connecticut, Saturday night. “I’m running against the crooked media.” (Katie Zezima)
The failing @nytimes talks about anonymous sources and meetings that never happened. Their reporting is fiction. The media protects Hillary!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2016
If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2016
If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2016
And most revealing:
It is not "freedom of the press" when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2016
-- Flashback: Trump talked up the importance of “very strong investigative reporting” on presidential candidates in 1987, telling ABC's “Nightline” that reporters should cover the individuals seeking the nation’s highest office “from morning … ‘til night.” “I personally like to see very strong investigative reporting of anybody that’s going to be the president, especially the president of the country,” Trump said. His remarks were made following allegations that Gary Hart’s presidential campaign was “imploding over an affair.” (Buzzfeed)
Trump's media bashing is just a shtick:
This is how situational Trump's media bashing is. His 1984 letter of unabashed admiration to NYT's executive editor. pic.twitter.com/1oGmaUVl3L— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) August 14, 2016
Claire McCaskill had this to say to Newt Gingrich:
Truman is the modern outsider most like Trump.blunt, plain spoken, aggressive, energetic and willing to fight the establishment.— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) August 11, 2016
For a history guy,you don't know much about Harry Truman.He'd call out Trump as a phony bloviating god damned fool. https://t.co/p8EXLfGvTl— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) August 12, 2016
While Avik Roy responded to Sean Hannity:
AJ I will hold all these arrogant "Never Trump" people accountable after they have sabotaged DT. They own the HRC CT https://t.co/iYsrgX6rjj— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 14, 2016
Maybe the dude "sabotaging" Trump is the one attacking Gold Star parents, calling for Hillary's assassination, etc. https://t.co/yeUlSXXMbB— Avik Roy (@Avik) August 14, 2016
John Kasich took an Olympics-themed dig at Trump:
Someone said we don’t win anymore. Must not be watching Americans swimming in Rio tonight! #Rio2016— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 13, 2016
Let's reflect on Simone Manuel's historic victory at the Olympics:
The city of Lynchburg VA drained 3 pools in 1961 and filled them with dirt rather than allow black ppl to swim pic.twitter.com/1b8cUUOPTN— Michele Norris (@michele_norris) August 12, 2016
Lots of celebration for Manuel on Twitter:
Congratulations to the Washington region:
John Thune is using the Olympics to push a tax bill:
The Bidens released their summer playlist:
Nancy Pelosi campaigned with Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
Chuck Grassley is collecting t-shirts from Iowa towns and utilities:
Brian Schatz is on board with Pokemon Go:
Finally, in case you missed it, here's how one Trump supporter addressed reporters at a recent rally:
Trump supporter swings by the press pen in Kissimmee, FL to let us know we're number one!! pic.twitter.com/WzUPBal7nW— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) August 12, 2016
Video: I tried to get the guy's name, and he replied, "PATRIOT, AMERICAN PATRIOT! YOUR NAME IS TRAITOR!!" pic.twitter.com/CyMhvLWgVc— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) August 12, 2016
Miss the annual Perseid meteor shower? Check out this shot from the sky over West Virginia:
HOT ON THE LEFT:
"3-D Printed Guns Could Outsmart Gun Control Efforts,” from the Daily Beast: “Legislators can pass bills for things like universal background checks and the ‘no fly, no buy’ rule, but those policies target if someone can purchase a gun. Things become a lot more complicated when citizens can make their own guns at home—and that’s becoming a significant issue as technology advances. Cody Wilson is the founder of … a gun advocacy organization that shares code for 3-D-printing guns at home. He said his organization has shared ‘almost millions’ of files for printing guns at home, and has sold thousands of milling machines that can make the lower receiver of an AR-15. The guns these machines make are called ‘Ghost Guns’ because they’re essentially untraceable.’ ‘Give all the background checks that you want,’ [Wison said.] ‘My company is built around evading that entire program.’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
"“ISIS Orders Its Franchises to Kill Christians,” from the Daily Beast:“The so-called Islamic State has different strategies in different parts of the world, but in Africa and in Europe, certainly, its core objective is becoming clear: to kill Christians. Its long-term goal: to provoke a new Crusade, reviving the holy wars of many hundreds of years ago in the belief that this time around Islam will win. The way ISIS has handled its Nigerian disciples in the terror organization called Boko Haram, best known for kidnapping girls and using women and children as suicide bombers, is a perfect case in point. Earlier this month, a man named Abu Musab al-Barnawi announced that he had taken over the infamous Boko Haram organization. And his first message as Boko Haram’s leader was as clear as it was concise—on his watch, the group’s main focus will be killing Christians …”
On the campaign trail: Clinton campaigns with Biden in Scranton, Pa. Kaine is in Asheville, N.C. Trump is in Youngstown, Ohio.
At the White House: The Obamas are in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Expect another scorching hot day – with a heat index ratcheting up to 105 this afternoon (ugh!) The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “It’s another scorching hot day as temperatures quickly rise into the 80s and ascend into the low to mid-90s by lunchtime. A mostly sunny sky aids the heat buildup, though puffy cumulus clouds will begin to develop as morning transitions to afternoon. High humidity levels (dew points in the low 70s) will not only make it feel like 100 to 105 during the afternoon but also help fuel the development of late-afternoon storms. While scattered across the area, these storms could produce flash flooding and briefly strong wind gusts. Otherwise, winds are light and switch from out of the north during the morning to out of the south in the afternoon.”
-- The Nationals beat the Braves 9-1.
-- Montgomery County police announced they have found the body of a fourth victim at a Silver Spring apartment complex that was leveled by an explosion last week. Police have yet to identify any of the victims, adding that they are continuing to search “at least four” more people who could potentially still be trapped inside the rubble. (Luz Lazo)
-- D.C. police are investigating the shooting of a 25-year-old man. He was struck in the face while inside a McDonald’s bathroom at the Verizon Center. The victim, who was conscious and taken to a local hospital for treatment, was unable to produce a description of the assailant. (Peter Hermann)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
John Lewis gives a powerful testimony about the importance of voting:
"In our own land, people gave their very lives for the right the vote." - John Lewishttps://t.co/Hy3gP2fOzX— ATTN: (@attn) August 8, 2016
Watch as floodwaters submerge cars and homes in Louisiana:
When a protester started yelling, Trump mocked him like a schoolyard bully would. "Go home to your mom," he said. "Your mother is voting for Trump."
Trump said he will "never, ever forgive" voters if he loses in November:
A 6-minute video shows how Trump has been all over the place on the issues:
Watch Michael Phelps win a gold medal:
Finally, in honor of the Olympic swim events, this old Steve Martin sketch: