THE BIG IDEA: Republicans unveiled an ad campaign this week that seemed to turn back the clock a few decades — by trying to turn the word “liberal” into the kind of insult it was 25 years ago.
It’s the sort of campaign that would warm the heart of the late Arthur Finkelstein, the famous political media consultant whose clients from the late 1970s into the 2000s would relentlessly pound the Democratic candidate with the phrase “liberal” usually mixed in with some nickname. In 1992, for Republican Al D’Amato’s Senate reelection, his opponent faced 10-second ads calling him “hopelessly liberal.” And then in 1994, Mario Cuomo (D) was pummeled with ads that regularly ended with the sign off calling the three-term governor “too liberal, too long.”
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to the House, is echoing that theme in a set of ads released this week in its bid to retain the eight-year GOP majority. The ads hammer home, again and again, the idea that the Democratic nominee is a liberal. “How liberal is Katie Porter?” the narrator asks at the outset of a 30-second spot against the Democratic nominee in California’s 45th Congressional District, challenging GOP Rep. Mimi Walters.
“Liberal Katie Hill doesn’t think you pay enough taxes,” the narrator says from the outset of spot against the nominee challenging Rep. Steve Knight (R) in California’s 25th District.
“Liberal politician Anthony Brindisi is a tax-and-spend rubber-stamp,” he says in an ad running against the Democratic state assemblyman challenging Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd Congressional District.
A similar set of ads were unveiled last week, including one that blasts “failed liberal politician Paul Davis” — in all caps on the screen — in his bid to win a GOP-held seat in eastern Kansas.
This is a slight variation on what has been a steadily consistent theme from CLF: a steady attack on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the potential next House speaker should Democrats win back the majority.
But the earlier ads focused almost exclusively on Pelosi, assuming the viewer already knew what she stood for and why they disliked her. In this week’s trio of ads, however, Pelosi is a bit character, appearing on screen for just four or five seconds in the 90 seconds of airtime.
Instead, CLF is now trying to hammer home that the opposition’s political ideology is the most dangerous thing about their background. It’s an effort to try to move beyond being negative just about Pelosi and to connect the reasons center-right voters despise her on actual policy grounds.
“The word ‘liberal’ is deeply unpopular and represents everything people dislike about the Democratic agenda. Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco values are the embodiment of what people don’t like about the word ‘liberal,’ raising taxes, open borders and yelling about impeachment,” Corry Bliss, CLF executive director, said Tuesday.
This makes Bliss, a native New Yorker, a modern disciple of Finkelstein, who grew up in Brooklyn and rose to fame with the support of D’Amato and the late senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).
Democrats aren't having it. “Republicans have cycled through so many messages struggling to hang on even in the reddest of red districts that they’re now actually recycling decades-old attacks. It’s not going to work,” said Jeb Fain, spokesman for the House Majority PAC, the super PAC affiliated with Democratic leaders.
The question is also whether the Finkelstein approach has mileage this century. His pugilistic style worked effectively throughout the Reagan-Bush years, as he piled up victories and candidates across the globe. (Finkelstein served as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s consultant in the mid-1990s.)
By 1996, the “liberal” routine had begun to run its course. “I don't know a Senate race in the country where the Republican message isn't charging liberal, liberal, liberal,” Mandy Grunwald, a leading Democratic consultant, told The Washington Post then.
His clients lost at least five Senate races that cycle. “The trick is getting old,” Democratic pollster Mark Mellman said at the time.
The theme faded from most GOP campaigns by early last decade, partly because it had lost its bite and partly because liberalism was growing more popular. In 1992, at the height of D’Amato’s “hopelessly liberal” attack ads, voters identifying themselves as conservative outnumbered liberals by more than 2 to 1, according to the Gallup poll.
That edge has slowly but surely declined the past 25 years. By January of this year, 35 percent of voters identified as conservative and 26 percent as liberal, the first time that margin registered in the single digits, according to Gallup.
In recent years, however, the GOP’s campaigns have taken on a one-trick-pony approach of a different sort, focusing so heavily on linking the candidate to Pelosi that sometimes ads in special elections the past year have lost potency.
So now CLF is using “liberal” as an overarching way to connect Pelosi to the policies that middle-of-the-road voters in swing districts are not likely to support. Porter was linked to “the radical resistance” in the CLF ad for supporting the abolishing of ICE, while Hill was accused of supporting “radical environmental regulations” and Brindisi supported “liberal spending.”
All three ads focused more on state politics and figures — the gas tax issue in California and former state legislative leader Sheldon Silver (D) in New York — as they did on Pelosi or national issues. Intentional or not, the ads all ended with the kind of taglines reminiscent of Finkelstein’s work that hammered home the ideological theme.
“Liberal Katie Porter,” the narrator says in one. “Higher taxes, open borders.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- More than 300 members of the clergy were accused of sexual abuse in a sweeping Pennsylvania grand jury report on the Catholic Church. The report identifies more than 1,000 child victims and details a 70-year, “systematic” coverup effort by the state's church leaders. Michelle Boorstein and Gary Gately report: “State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 1,000 child victims were identified … but the grand jury believes there are more. The investigation is the most comprehensive yet on Catholic Church sex abuse in the United States. The 18-month probe covered the state’s eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.” (Read the full grand jury report here.)
-- The report has raised questions about Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington who spent 18 years as the bishop of Pittsburgh. Julie Zauzmer and Reis Thebault report: “The grand jury depicts Wuerl’s actions in Pittsburgh as mixed, at times stopping abusive priests from continuing in their ministries in the diocese and at other times guiding them right back into parishes. … Wuerl had already denied knowing about the allegations against [his predecessor, Theodore McCarrick], which include two accusations of sexually abusing minors and three more accounts of harassing young priests and seminarians. On Tuesday, upon the release of the grand jury report, he also defended his conduct in Pittsburgh.”
-- It appears to be a global problem: Chilean authorities said they are raiding the headquarters of the country's Catholic Episcopal Conference in connection to an investigation of sexual abuse within the church. (AP)
GET SMART FAST:
- A pair of new reports estimate that the Islamic State still has more than 30,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq. The reports by the U.S. government and the United Nations depict the militant group rebounding from some of its worst setbacks. (Liz Sly)
- The suspect accused of carrying out a terrorist attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London was identified as a British citizen who immigrated from Sudan. Authorities said that 29-year-old Salih Khater was not previously known to police or counterterrorism units. (William Booth)
- At least 26 people were killed after a major bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy — a major infrastructure failure that took place during one of the country’s busiest traffic periods and sent vehicles plunging some 150 feet below. (Chico Harlan and Avi Selk)
Twitter suspended Alex Jones for a week after the far-right conspiracy theorist posted a new show, saying it violated the platform's rules against violent threats. In the show, Jones advises his supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready against antifa, the mainstream media and Chinese communist operatives. (Elizabeth Dwoskin)
- A toxic red-tide algae bloom is continuing to ravage Florida’s beaches, where it has spread to some 150 miles along the southwestern coast and prompted Gov. Rick Scott to issue a state of emergency. The toxic algae has spread rapidly in the past two months — leaving in its wake a trail of dead dolphins, decaying marine life and terrified tourists who have fled Florida’s long-beloved beaches en masse. (Joel Achenbach, Kate Furby and Alex Horton)
- Nebraska became the first state to use fentanyl in a lethal injection. It was also the state’s first execution in more than two decades. (Mark Berman)
Baltimore police officer Arthur Williams was charged with assault after a video captured him repeatedly punching a suspect. A grand jury indicted Williams on charges of first- and second-degree assault and misconduct in office. (Baltimore Sun)
- Florida state House candidate Melissa Howard withdrew from the Republican primary after she was caught touting a fake diploma to back her false claim of being a college graduate. Howard broke her silence for the first time on Tuesday, telling local reporters that she “made a terrible error in judgment” and that she is “deeply sorry.” (Kristine Phillips)
Tesla investors are strongly urging CEO Elon Musk to stop tweeting after he took to Twitter to announce he was considering taking the company private. But Musk has continued to tweet, even as investors seek to shield themselves from an SEC inquiry about the company’s plans to go private that some fear could turn into a full-blown investigation. (New York Times)
-- Another blow to the Republican establishment: Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty lost the GOP primary to reclaim his previous post. Michael Scherer reports: “A twice-elected governor, former presidential candidate and banking lobbyist, Pawlenty lost decisively to Jeff Johnson, a commissioner of Hennepin County. Pawlenty’s defeat came after he and his allies outspent Johnson by a margin of roughly 3 to 1, according to a Democratic consultant tracking the spending.” Pawlenty threw his support behind Johnson after conceding the race, telling reporters, “The Republican Party has shifted. … It is the era of Trump, and I’m just not a Trump-like politician.”
-- Wisconsin’s public education chief Tony Evers emerged victorious from a crowded Democratic primary to take on GOP Gov. Scott Walker. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley and Molly Beck: “Walker handily won his own primary against a political unknown, Sun Prairie businessman Robert Meyer, who raised just $270 in the first half of the year. In a string of posts on Twitter, Walker touted the state's record-low unemployment rate, his cuts to income taxes and property taxes, and his program to shore up premiums for those who buy insurance through Affordable Care Act marketplaces.”
-- Rep. Keith Ellison easily won Minnesota’s Democratic primary for attorney general, despite abuse allegations that surfaced against him in recent days. “We had a very unexpected event at the end of this campaign that happened,” Ellison told supporters at his victory party. “I want to assure you that it is not true. We are going to keep on fighting all the way through. We are going to be respectful to all, and we are going to stand like steeples, and insist upon the truth.” (Torey Van Oot and David Weigel)
-- A night of trailblazing wins: Christine Hallquist, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Vermont, became the first transgender person to be nominated for a governorship by a major party. The New York Times’s Jess Bidgood reports: “It is a remarkable milestone, even for an election year already dominated by an influx of women and a record number of candidates who identify as lesbian, gay, transgender or queer. … Ms. Hallquist was not the only transgender candidate on the ballot in the country in recent days. In Hawaii on Saturday, Kim Coco Iwamoto, a lawyer, lost her bid to be the Democrats’ nominee for lieutenant governor. And more transgender candidates will be on the ballot soon, including Alexandra Chandler, a former naval intelligence analyst who is running in Massachusetts’s Third District.”
-- Minnesota state lawmaker Ilhan Omar won the Democratic primary to replace Ellison in the House, positioning her to become one of the first Muslim women and the first Somali-American in Congress. Omar came to the United States more than 20 years ago as a refugee. From CNN’s Gregory Krieg: “Omar is also on a path to arrive in Washington, DC, next year with Michigan Democratic House nominee Rashida Tlaib, who is running unopposed in the fall, to become the first Muslim women in Congress. Tlaib campaigned alongside Omar this past weekend, days ahead of the primary.”
-- Jahana Hayes could become the first black congresswoman from any New England state after winning her Democratic primary in Connecticut. From Moriah Balingit: “Prodded by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Hayes decided to run for [outgoing Rep. Elizabeth] Esty’s seat. Tuesday, she defied expectations, besting veteran politician Mary Glassman, a former First Selectman in Simsbury. Hayes won with 62 percent of the vote.”
-- Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded the Republican gubernatorial primary to Trump ally Kris Kobach, ending an election that produced one of the closest races in state history. Amy B Wang reports: “[Colyer’s announcement came] after a tally of provisional ballots in Johnson County, the state’s largest county, failed to close the gap between him and Kobach. Instead, the additional votes swung in his opponent’s favor[.] ‘I’ve just had a conversation with [Kobach] and I congratulated him on his success and I repeated my determination to keep this seat in Republican hands,’ Colyer said Tuesday … sounding emotional at times. . . . Kobach will face the projected Democratic nominee, state Sen. Laura Kelly, and independent candidate Greg Orman. … This year, the GOP in Kansas must overcome the additional obstacle of convincing voters that conservative policies can still succeed in the state after then-Gov. Sam Brownback (R) enacted steep tax cuts that left the state’s economy, infrastructure funding and education systems reeling.”
-- Virginia Democrats are suing to get an independent candidate off the ballot after aides to Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R) were accused of committing election fraud for the independent. Jenna Portnoy reports: “A special prosecutor is investigating claims that Taylor’s aides forged signatures on petitions for independent candidate Shaun Brown to help her get on the Nov. 6 ballot. Analysts say voters disinclined to vote for Taylor would split between Brown and Democratic challenger Elaine Luria, possibly delivering Taylor enough voters to win a third term. … The lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court of Richmond City against Elections Commissioner Christopher E. Piper and the three-member Board of Elections, says Brown’s petitions were ‘positively riddled with fraud’ and should disqualify her from the ballot.”
-- Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he would work to “transform” the Democratic Caucus if he became speaker. McClatchy’s Emma Dumain and William Douglas report: “Surrounded by allies and supporters at the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s annual policy forum in Tunica, Miss., last weekend, Clyburn spoke more frankly and openly than he had before about how he would approach the top job in the House’s leadership. Clyburn also made clear he was ready for the challenge — and ready to make history as the first African-American speaker of the House — rather than demure that the decision was not up to him. ‘I’m very much up for it,’ Clyburn said in an interview … ”
-- A new poll found Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous by 16 points. From Erin Cox and Scott Clement: “[Hogan] is supported by slightly more than half of likely voters, according to a poll released Tuesday by Gonzales Research and Media Services. Hogan, who has governed as a moderate and repeatedly distanced himself from Republicans in Washington, leads Jealous 52 percent to 36 percent with 11 percent of likely voters undecided. The margin is similar to Hogan’s 18-point lead in a June poll by the same firm.”
-- Trump's campaign has filed an arbitration action against Omarosa Manigault Newman, alleging that her new tell-all book “Unhinged” breaches a confidentiality agreement she signed in 2016. John Wagner reports: “During a television appearance Tuesday afternoon, Manigault Newman said she didn’t believe she had violated the agreement. ‘It’s interesting that he’s trying to silence me, so what is he trying to hide? What is he afraid of?’ she said on MSNBC. ‘I think he should be afraid of being exposed as the misogynist, the bigot and the racist that he is.’ … It was not immediately clear what Trump’s campaign, which was headquartered in New York in 2016, was hoping to achieve with its action filed with the American Arbitration Association.”
-- Many legal experts are skeptical of the Trump campaign’s claims against Manigault Newman. From Deanna Paul: “[E]xperts, such as University of Florida professor Mark Fenster, agree that the [non-disclosure] agreement should be treated as if it were made between Manigault Newman and the government. There came a point where Manigault Newman transitioned from working with the Trump campaign to working for the White House, where she was paid by the federal government, according to Fenster. ‘She was no longer working for a private entity or person. It’s not the Trump Organization or NBC or the campaign that’s trying to enforce the NDA. It’s the U.S. government,’ he said. ‘Trump views it as the same thing, but she wasn’t working for him, she was working for the White House.’ Legally speaking, that makes all the difference.”
-- Meanwhile, Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that she “can’t guarantee” that a recording of Trump using the n-word does not exist. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I can tell you that the president addressed this question directly,” Sanders said. “I can tell you that I’ve never heard it.” Sanders also defended the president’s use of the word “dog” in referring to describe Manigault Newman, saying Trump was simply exasperated with the “complete lack of integrity” shown by his former aide. “I think the president is certainly voicing his frustration,” Sanders said. Sanders added that “this has absolutely nothing to do with race,” noting that Trump has gone after all types of people. “The fact is, the president’s an equal opportunity person that calls things like he sees it,” Sanders said. “He always fights fire with fire, and he certainly doesn’t hold back on doing that across the board.” (John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez)
-- “The image of the White House press secretary unable to unequivocally state that the president has never uttered the most unacceptable racial slur felt like it could have been a reality television cliffhanger,” Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker write. “In a way, it was. Trump discovered Manigault Newman during the first season of [‘The Apprentice’] as a fully formed antiheroine. He quickly realized her particular brand of mischief-making narcissism was a ratings bonanza. … Trump, who at the time was trying to make the move from tabloid curiosity to full-blown celebrity, was mesmerized by how well audiences responded to Manigault Newman as a captivating character, according to Trump biographer Timothy O’Brien, who says he had several conversations with Trump about Manigault Newman. … In her, Trump saw a reflection of himself. And now, like in the ‘Jurassic Park’ film series … Manigault Newman has unleashed Trump’s own tricks and tactics against him. ‘She’s doing Trump as well or better than he is,’ said Michael Steele, a former [RNC] chairman. ‘He created Omarosa. He gave her license and invited her into the sacred space of the Oval Office … Now, after having created this monster that’s coming back on him, what’s he going to do?’ … The answer, for now at least, is tweet.”
-- “Trump’s tweet calling Manigault Newman a ‘dog’ came shortly after she appeared on ‘CBS This Morning’ and released a new recording purportedly of a discussion in October 2016 among campaign aides about how to handle a tape on which Trump is said to have used the n-word,” John and Felicia note.
-- Philip recounts Trump's “long history” of using canine insults to dehumanize his enemies: “Animalistic slurs come easily to Trump, who over the past few years has likened a long list of perceived enemies to dogs — including [James Comey], [Sally Yates], [Steve Bannon], [Mitt Romney] [and Sen. Marco Rubio] … But in Trump’s telling, Manigault-Newman did not simply get fired ‘like a dog.’ She was a ‘dog’ herself. The president’s calling a woman a dog — and not just any woman, but the highest-ranking African American [ever on his staff] — drew stern condemnations.”
-- Inside the White House, Trump staffers say they are “living in fear” of Omarosa’s next tape. Politico’s Annie Karni reports: “A daily trickle of revealing internal conversations between staffers. Growing anxiety about what one might have once said. No sense of how long it will go on. ‘People are terrified,’ one former Trump aide said of the tapes. ‘Absolutely terrified.’ … The result is the same type of psychological warfare that gripped the Clinton campaign two years ago [during the WikiLeaks email dumps] … — waking up every morning bracing themselves for what potentially embarrassing missive might be made public, and waiting for the onslaught to end. [But while] WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange dumped thousands of pages of documents for the public to make sense of, Manigault Newman — who in an MSNBC interview on Tuesday called herself a whistleblower — is dribbling out bits and pieces in building her case against Trump, cherry-picking the evidence to bolster her own argument and not delivering a full picture. In the world of whistleblowers, Manigault Newman is just playing a few notes on a flute.”
-- In her book, Manigault Newman claims that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to do away with public education and that Trump referred to her as “Ditzy DeVos.” She writes, “[DeVos’s] plan, in a nutshell, is to replace public education with for-profit schools. She believes it would be better for students, but the truth is, it’s about profit. She’s so fixated on her agenda, she can’t give any consideration to building our public schools, providing financing for them, particularly their infrastructure needs.” Manigault Newman also quoted Trump as saying, “She is Ditzy DeVos, what do you expect? In a very short period of time, I will get rid of her. Believe me, believe me.” (Valerie Strauss)
-- Sanders also apologized for falsely claiming Trump has created triple the number of jobs for African Americans as Barack Obama did. Jeff Stein reports: “‘When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he had only created 195,000 jobs for African Americans,’ Sanders told reporters. ‘President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years.’ Sanders’s statement was false. According to official statistics, black employment in the United States increased by nearly 3 million jobs from January 2009 through January 2017. From January 2017 through July of this year, black employment has increased by about 700,000 jobs. Later Tuesday, the White House Council of Economic Advisers took responsibility for the mistake … Sanders later followed with a statement of her own. ‘Correction from today’s briefing: Jobs numbers for Pres Trump and Pres Obama were correct, but the time frame for Pres Obama wasn’t,’ she said on Twitter. ‘I’m sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump.’”
THERE'S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- The defense rested in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is facing federal tax and bank fraud charges in Alexandria, Va. The defense called no witnesses, and Manafort confirmed he would not take the stand.
“Just before prosecutors rested their case on Monday, Manafort’s lawyers signaled that they plan to spotlight the government’s failure to present several witnesses who were the subject of extensive testimony at the trial and whose emails were often shown to jurors by [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller’s team,” Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports. “The prosecution is expected to argue that it only put on witnesses whose stories it had confidence in. Prosecutors may also remind jurors of the unrelenting pressure [U.S. Judge T.S. Ellis] applied to keep the trial moving quickly. But the omissions, Manafort's team appears set to argue, will mean that jurors never got the full story about the financial dealings that have left the 69-year-old [political consultant] … facing old age behind bars.”
-- The Plum Line’s Paul Waldman considers the possibility that Trump will pardon Manafort: “From the beginning, there has been a question hanging over Manafort’s case: Why won’t he flip? After all, other Trump aides have when faced with possible jail time, and Manafort is facing more than anyone. There’s a real possibility he’ll never see another day as a free man. One popular explanation is that he’s afraid that if he tells everything he knows, some people in Russia would become displeased enough to kill him. It’s also possible Manafort really has nothing to offer [Mueller] … But let’s imagine for a moment that he knows something incriminating about the president — or even that the president isn’t sure what Manafort knows, but suspects that he might know something. … It’s important to remember that no matter what the jury in this case decides, it’s only the first of two trials Manafort faces. The next one, in [D.C.], will deal more directly with Manafort’s relationships in the former Soviet Union. That’s when Trump may start feeling the heat . . . and look for a way to let everyone know who’s really in charge . . . And that’s the day Manafort, sitting in his jail cell, is fervently hoping for.”
-- In an MSNBC interview Tuesday, Manigault Newman said she has been interviewed by Robert Mueller’s team as part of the ongoing Russia probe. “There’s a lot of corruption that went on both in the campaign and in the White House and I’m going to blow the whistle on all of it,” she said.
-- Manigault Newman asserted Trump knew about the stolen DNC emails before Wikileaks started releasing them during the 2016 campaign. From the Wall Street Journal’s Peter Nicholas: “Speaking on MSNBC, Ms. Manigault Newman was asked if Mr. Trump knew about the emails before WikiLeaks began releasing them in the summer of 2016. ‘Absolutely,’ she said. Ms. Manigault Newman’s assertion contradicts the president’s statements that he had no advance knowledge of the messages that created a drag on the Clinton candidacy. She didn’t provide evidence to support her contention and there was none in her book … Rudy Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s attorneys, denied that Mr. Trump knew in advance the emails were coming out. ‘She’s definitely lying to sell her books,’ Mr. Giuliani said.”
-- The Treasury Department has stonewalled the Senate Intelligence Committee’s attempts to “follow the money” in its Russia investigation. BuzzFeed News’s Emma Loop and Jason Leopold report: “Treasury has at times been reluctant to cooperate with the committee’s requests for sensitive financial documents that are significant to the Russia probe, at one point going at least four months without responding to one of the committee’s requests. Last year, Treasury rejected the committee’s request for help from one of its experts, even as Treasury officials have speculated — behind closed doors — that the Senate committee would not be able to follow the twisting financial trail laid out in the documents they had turned over, a path that often passes through offshore shell companies or untraceable cash transactions.”
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN AND WOMEN:
-- The Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman is under investigation by the Defense Department’s inspector general for allegedly retaliating against staffers who she used to run personal errands. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports: “Dana White, the Trump administration political appointee who serves as the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, has been under investigation for several weeks after multiple complaints were filed against her. White is alleged to have misused support staff, asking them, among other things, to fetch her drycleaning, run to the pharmacy for her and work on her mortgage paperwork. Staffers also charge that she inappropriately transferred personnel after they filed complaints about her.”
-- Roger Stone posted — then deleted — an image showing himself and some of the president’s other allies wearing space suits with swastika patches. From Eli Rosenberg: “The image appears to have been originally deployed as an anti-Trump meme on social media sites and websites such as 4chan and Reddit that surfaced after [the vice president] touted the proposal for a sixth branch of the military at a news conference last week. … In an email response to questions from The Washington Post, Stone said that he didn’t notice that the logo was a swastika when he posted the meme. ‘I love that I was be[ing] mocked by the left — it’s a badge of honor,’ he said. ‘The image was sent to me by a hater.’ He also posted a image with the word ‘Sorry’ on Instagram.”
-- As Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany Trump returns to Georgetown Law for her second year, she is still creating buzz on campus, Emily Heil reports: “The children of presidents are generally left alone during their undergraduate years. … But Tiffany Trump’s experience has been different. She’s in her mid-20s, and even before she arrived at Georgetown Law, it was clear she would be a proxy for her father’s often divisive politics, whether or not she shares them. … Those looking for daylight between California-reared Tiffany’s politics and her father’s read the tea leaves on Instagram. She once ‘liked’ a post from the [pro-gun control group] March for Our Lives, which depicted a sign that read: ‘Next massacre will be the GOP in the midterm elections.’ She posted pictures of herself and a group of pals [at an] LGBTQ Pride parade …
“Still, there have been no reports of heckling, [no] shouting in restaurants … [And] anyone who has been in contact with the younger Trump daughter in the Georgetown orbit invariably describe her as sweet, polite and seemingly trying not to stick out.” “Just a very nice girl. Polite to everyone,” said an employee at a Mount Vernon smoothie shop frequented by Tiffany. “We treat her like anyone else, which seems to be how she wants it.”
THE SUPREME COURT:
-- More Senate Democrats are planning to sit down with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ahead of his confirmation hearings next month. Seung Min Kim reports: “A White House official said Tuesday that Democratic Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Christopher A. Coons (Del.); Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) have scheduled one-on-one meetings with Kavanaugh. All are members of the committee and will question the nominee at his confirmation hearings, which are scheduled for the first week of September. … Most Democrats, led by [Sen. Chuck Schumer] (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), had refused to meet with the nominee until a separate fight over Kavanaugh’s documents were resolved. But Democrats and Republicans never reached a deal in the dispute. … Other Senate Democrats are likely to follow Schumer and Feinstein’s lead.”
-- Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) was heckled by a woman at a town hall after saying he would consider voting in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination. From Felicia Sonmez: “Jones was heckled at a Birmingham town hall for his statement that he will keep an ‘open mind’ on Kavanaugh … ‘You have enough information. We love you. But you will vote no. And you have enough information to vote no,’ the woman said after Jones expressed disappointment that more documents related to Kavanaugh’s tenure in the Bush White House have not been released … She then threw [a pair of] stuffed lips toward Jones and said [repeatedly], ‘You can kiss my a-- if you vote yes.'”
-- School voucher advocates believe Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court could be the key for government funding to start flowing to private and parochial schools. The New York Times’s Erica L. Green reports: “Over his decades-long legal career, Judge Kavanaugh has argued in favor of breaking down barriers between church and state. … School voucher champions see Judge Kavanaugh as a critical vote in overturning long-standing constitutional prohibitions, often called Blaine Amendments, that outlaw government funding of religious institutions in more than three dozen states. The amendments have been used to challenge programs that allow taxpayer funding to follow children to private and parochial schools, and are seen as the last line of defense against widespread acceptance of school voucher programs.”
-- As the Senate moves toward confirming Kavanaugh, Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell have joined forces in a lesser-noticed effort: to reshape the entire federal judiciary. Sean Sullivan and Mike DeBonis report: “The Senate will return Wednesday from an abbreviated summer recess to confirm two more federal appeals court judges by the end of the week. That would come on top of a record-breaking string of confirmations: The Senate already has installed 24 appellate judges [under Trump], the highest number for a president’s first two years in office. … The Senate’s rapid approval of appellate judges is likely to have its own broad impact on the nation, as the 13 circuit courts will shape decisions on immigration, voting rights, abortion and the environment for generations. … There are 179 authorized judgeships for the U.S. Court of Appeals. With 24 confirmations and 13 vacancies to fill, Trump and the Republicans have the power to install more than 20 percent of the judges on the nation’s second-highest courts.”
THE REST OF TRUMP’S AGENDA:
-- Trump is claiming executive authority to override dozens of provisions in the defense authorization bill he signed earlier this week. The New York Times’s Charlie Savage reports: “In a signing statement that the White House quietly issued after 9 p.m. on Monday — about six hours after Mr. Trump signed the bill in a televised ceremony at Fort Drum in New York — Mr. Trump deemed about 50 of its statutes to be unconstitutional intrusions on his presidential powers, meaning that the executive branch need not enforce or obey them as written. Among them was a ban on spending military funds on ‘any activity that recognizes the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea,’ the Ukrainian region annexed by Moscow in 2014 in an incursion considered illegal by the United States. He said he would treat the provision and similar ones as ‘consistent with the president’s exclusive constitutional authorities as commander in chief and as the sole representative of the nation in foreign affairs.’”
-- Turkey raised tariffs on a number of U.S. imports in retaliation for Trump’s decision to double tariffs on Turkish metals. Kareem Fahim reports: “The tit-for-tat measures are part of a broader dispute between the two countries over the fate of an American citizen, Andrew Brunson, who is being prosecuted by Turkish authorities on terrorism-related charges. … Turkey has suffered the most from the feud, which has helped push its currency, the lira, to record lows against the dollar. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has accused the United States of bullying behavior and economic sabotage, vowed on Tuesday to boycott U.S.-made electronic goods, including Apple’s signature iPhone.”
-- Trump’s trade war appears to be creating unease among China’s leaders. The New York Times’s Keith Bradsher and Steven Lee Myers report: “In recent days, officials from the Commerce Ministry, the police and other agencies have summoned exporters to ask about plans to lay off workers or shift supply chains to other countries. With stocks slumping and the currency dropping 9 percent against the dollar since mid-April, censors have been deleting a torrent of criticism online, some of it directed at President Xi Jinping’s leadership. State news outlets, by contrast, have sought to promote the official line, with the authorities restricting the use of the phrase ‘trade war.’”
-- The Trump administration plans to unveil a proposal to unravel one of Obama’s signature climate regulations. Politico’s Emily Holden reports: “The new climate proposal for coal-burning power plants, expected to be released in the coming days, would give states wide latitude to write their own modest regulations for coal plants or even seek permission to opt out, according to the document and a source who has read other sections of the draft. That’s a sharp contrast from the aims of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a 2015 regulation that would have sped a shift away from coal use and toward less-polluting sources such as natural gas, wind and solar. That plan was the centerpiece of Obama’s pledge for the U.S. to cut carbon dioxide emissions as part of the Paris climate agreement … ”
-- A Mexican business executive who frequently travels to the United States to visit family had her visa revoked. Arelis R. Hernández reports: “In a statement, agents said they determined Nicoll Gutierrez, who was traveling with her U.S.-born toddler, was an ‘intending immigrant’ — a term used to describe visitors likely to overstay their visas and try to remain in the United States illegally. They also cited her use of legally available government health benefits in 2016, when she visited Maryland while pregnant and experienced complications, as one reason for her exclusion. … It is not uncommon for foreign visitors to be turned away by border officials if those officers believe they plan to stay. But tougher enforcement and proposals for broader and more restrictive measures for legal immigration are heightening the barriers for noncitizens, immigration lawyers say, particularly those from specific countries and including those who have followed all the rules.”
-- Three poor Arkansans filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for approving Medicaid work requirements in their state. Amy Goldstein reports: “In June, Arkansas became the first state to begin phasing in requirements that thousands of poor residents must work at least 80 hours a month, look for a job, or otherwise engage in their community to start receiving Medicaid or keep it. … [The lawsuit] contends that the administration’s approval of the state’s plan is unconstitutional, violates Congress’s power and undermines the basic purpose of the safety-net program created in the 1960s as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Peter Strzok thanked those who have supported him since he was fired from the FBI:
Stunned and humbled by the extraordinary outpouring of support already received from thousands of fellow everyday citizens taking time to fight for our country and our shared American ideals. Thank you.— Peter Strzok (@petestrzok) August 14, 2018
Sabato's Crystal Ball shifted the Wisconsin gubernatorial race leftward:
Crystal Ball is going to be moving WI-GOV from Leans R to Toss-up. Been evident for a while that Walker is in trouble but we wanted to wait until the primary. Tony Evers seems like the most credible Dem, and he will face Walker.— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) August 15, 2018
A pair of Democratic congressional candidates, who could become the first Muslim women elected to Congress, celebrated their historic primary victories:
Politicians and commentators from both sides of the aisle criticized Trump's reference to Manigault Newman as a "dog." From a House Democrat:
Mr. President, it is beneath you and the office of the presidency to call any woman a dog. It is degrading and demeaning, and I pray that you will stop this vulgar behavior. Our country is better than this.— Elijah E. Cummings (@RepCummings) August 14, 2018
From an outgoing Republican senator:
This kind of language is unbecoming of a President of the United States. There is no excuse for it, and Republicans should not be okay with it. https://t.co/0TLmRT7y22— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 14, 2018
From a GOP strategist:
“When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas”.— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) August 14, 2018
In this case, there are so many dogs with so many fleas, it’s hard to tell them apart.
And yes, yes. My apologies to dogs. https://t.co/N01NRgXliM
From the executive director of the Billy Graham Center:
I sure do hope that we can all agree—Trump supporters and opponents—that no person needs to be called a dog, let alone an African-American woman. This is not hard. This is not right. This is not presidential. This is not worth of evangelical support. This is just wrong. https://t.co/mTViPofwzo— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) August 14, 2018
George Conway, who is married to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, appeared to troll the president:
(Earlier in the day, Conway implied Trump often made false statements:)
Interesting analogy. Likewise, what if a CEO routinely made false and misleading statements about himself, the company, and results, and publicly attacked business partners, company “divisions” (w/ scare quotes!), employees, and analysts, and kowtowed to a dangerous competitor? https://t.co/dTjUk7kApQ— George Conway (@gtconway3d) August 14, 2018
A Post reporter noted Trump's previous statements on referring to women as dogs:
In first GOP debate in 2015, Trump was asked if calling women “dogs" was presidential. He said, “I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness.” The crowd loved it, and he became president. Video here: https://t.co/PVmJf0tWMe https://t.co/JKyNookVVw— michaelscherer (@michaelscherer) August 14, 2018
From an MSNBC producer:
Trump tweets in last two months:— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 15, 2018
• Calls Omarosa "that dog"
• Insults the intelligence of Don Lemon and LeBron James
• Calls Maxine Waters an "extraordinary low IQ person" pic.twitter.com/9YB70hTsb9
A House Democrat lambasted the White House press secretary's response to accusations that Trump used the n-word:
The White House cannot guarantee @realDonaldTrump has not said the worst word in our language. No one wants another “I’m disappointed” tweet from a GOP leader. Pick up a hose or be blamed for the fire.— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 15, 2018
A Weekly Standard writer highlighted the Trump recordings that have already been uncovered:
Hearing rumors there might also be tapes out there of Trump insulting American POWs and Gold Star mothers and saying that there were some "very fine people" at a torch-lit neo-Nazi march. Trying to confirm. https://t.co/fQB4VMyVni— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) August 14, 2018
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recognized Navajo Code Talkers Day:
Today a grateful nation salutes the Navajo Code Talkers whose bravery & skill saved the lives of countless Americans during WWII. History will forever marvel at the Navajos who used their language as an unbreakable code to help secure Allied victories. #NavajoCodeTalkersDay pic.twitter.com/dAvya5Fg6x— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 14, 2018
Ivanka Trump visited Pennsylvania:
Great to welcome @IvankaTrump to #Pittsburgh’s Robotics Row today! Her visit was an excellent opportunity to showcase Western #Pennsylvania’s fast-growing technology industry & highlight the importance of workforce development & supporting STEM education. https://t.co/A2PYuwNV1h pic.twitter.com/vldZtoiRMu— Keith Rothfus (@KeithRothfus) August 14, 2018
A former secretary of state promoted his new book:
Both my granddaughter and Ben the Diplomutt are excited for my new book, Every Day Is Extra. She wants to read it, Ben wants to chew it into pieces, and both are wondering "what the hell happened to the young guy on the cover?" pic.twitter.com/Lz11XaPPYV— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) August 14, 2018
And this prescient 1912 headline went viral:
106 years ago today. pic.twitter.com/aXST5LVQjb— Heather Anne Campbell (@heathercampbell) August 14, 2018
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Chicago Tribune, “A Holocaust denier is running for Congress. One of his constituents would be Auschwitz prisoner No. 27,276,” by Kristen McQueary: “Her eyes water once or twice but not when she speaks of leaving her farm in Poland at the age of 14 and being transported to a place called Auschwitz. Not when she mentions the sour soup, the icy barracks, the fenced-off field where putrid smells arose at nighttime. … No, her voice cracks when she mentions the United States, her home, and her frustration at those who will never appreciate the gift of it. ‘It’s such a good country,’ she says, her face twisting. ‘If I make it, with no education, no penny, everyone can make it. They kill each other and for what?’ Across Harlem Avenue and a few miles north, a man she does not know is running for Congress. … His name is Arthur Jones. He is a Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier who believes the stories of torture and death of more than 6 million Jews during World War II are grossly exaggerated.”
-- NBC News, “How three conspiracy theorists took 'Q' and sparked Qanon,” by Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins: “In November 2017, a small-time YouTube video creator and two moderators of the 4chan website, one of the most extreme message boards on the internet, banded together and plucked out of obscurity an anonymous and cryptic post from the many conspiracy theories that populated the website's message board. Over the next several months, they would create videos, a Reddit community, a business and an entire mythology based off the 4chan posts of ‘Q,’ the pseudonym of a person claiming to be a high-ranking military officer. The theory they espoused would become Qanon, and it would eventually make its way from those message boards to national media stories and the rallies of President Donald Trump.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Ex-Trump Aide Seb Gorka is Giving Out Fake Fox News Business Cards,” from Mediaite: “President Donald Trump’s former aide Sebastian Gorka is giving out phony Fox News business cards, Mediaite has learned. Gorka, who was fired from his nebulous role at the White House late last year, has been giving out business cards that include his personal information, like his Gmail address and cell phone number — as well as a poorly edited and outdated Fox News logo. While a home spun business card might seem like a minor controversy — especially for Gorka, whose other controversies include wearing the badge of a Nazi-aligned group and shoving this reporter on camera — Fox News does not play games when it comes to guests or contributors abusing the brand name. Gorka’s latest mishap comes at a time when the pundit is no longer welcome on Fox News’ ‘hard news’ programs …”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Democrats have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism, poll finds,” from USA Today: “According to a Gallup poll published Monday, a majority of Democrats no longer hold a positive view of capitalism, while nearly 60 percent of them feel good about socialism. More than 70 percent of Republicans, on the other hand, see capitalism positively, while only 16 percent of them have a positive view of socialism. The positive view of socialism among Democrats, and those who lean Democrat, actually dropped a point from 58 percent in 2016. But in those same two years, positive feelings about capitalism plummetted from 56 to 47 percent. Faith in the invisible hand of the market weakened most among young Americans. While 57 percent of those between ages 18 and 29 viewed capitalism positively in 2016, only 45 percent felt the same way in 2018.”
Trump will receive his intelligence briefing. He has no other events on his public schedule.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“She really was a dog with a bone when it came to this tape.” — Former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson echoing the president’s attack on Manigault Newman. (John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Washington should see a rain-free day. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “It’s a classic midsummer kind of day around here, even though we’re trending downward on temperature averages. Sunshine is dominant and partly to mostly sunny is the rule. With high pressure exerting control, temperatures rise above average, or to the upper 80s and lower 90s.”
-- The Nationals lost to the Cardinals 6-4, slipping back to .500 after 120 games this season. (Chelsea Janes)
-- The Unite the Right anniversary rally cost the District $2.6 million, according to a preliminary estimate from the D.C. government. Fenit Nirappil reports: “The city plans to ask the federal government to reimburse those costs. Congress budgeted $13 million this year for a fund to help the District pay for responses to large-scale protests and events, which are common in the nation’s capital but have become more frequent during the Trump administration.”
-- A lawsuit filed against the District claims D.C. officials failed to provide adequate mental-health services for severely troubled children. From Peter Jamison: “The suit, filed in federal court Tuesday on behalf of two unnamed minors, states that the District did not give the children access to intensive outpatient counseling and mentoring programs. As a result, they were repeatedly institutionalized at psychiatric facilities, violating the District’s obligations to provide the least restrictive care possible under Medicaid and the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to the lawsuit.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) discussed 2020 with Stephen Colbert:
Trevor Noah sat down with Manigault Newman to discuss her new book:
A Democratic congressional candidate in North Carolina released a campaign ad saying she would oppose Pelosi's potential speakership bid:
Flash flooding in Upstate New York transformed a peaceful waterfall into a raging cascade:
And Zion Williamson, a 285-pound freshman basketball player at Duke, stunned viewers by dunking from behind the free throw line: