THE BIG IDEA by Karen Tumulty: As questions grow regarding the private email system that Hillary Clinton used when she was secretary of state, she has been reassuring her supporters with a reminder that this is not the first time they have seen this movie. “I won’t pretend this is anything other than what it is: the same old partisan games we’ve seen so many times before,” the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination said Friday night in a fiery speech in Clear Lake, Iowa. “I don’t care how many super PACs and Republicans pile on.”

The problem, her nervous allies say, is that this does indeed feel like familiar territory. And that is why the fact that the Justice Department is now investigating feels so ominous.

“She’s lost the ability to close this story down,” said one prominent Democratic attorney, who has handled many cases involving national security.

And even if the facts of the investigation ultimately do not turn out to be so bad, that means the questions surrounding it could drag on for months—mostly likely, well into the 2016 primary season.

What seems familiar to political veterans is Clinton’s characteristic reluctance to part with information. For instance, she did not turn over her private email server until last week—after the Justice Department insisted upon it.

In 1994, she faced a similar decision when news organizations asked to review documents surrounding a failed investment that Bill and Hillary Clinton had made in an Arkansas land development known as Whitewater. In the end, there was not all that much there. And early on, Bill Clinton’s political team had argued that “turning over the Whitewater documents was the only way to manage the story,” then-White House senior adviser George Stephanopoulos recalled in his memoir.

But the Clintons refused to release the paperwork, which led to the appointment of an independent counsel—and ultimately, to a sprawling investigation that led to Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment over the affair that he had had with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In the course of that probe, Hillary Clinton in 1996 also earned the dubious distinction of being the first First Lady ever called to testify before a grand jury.

At this point, the FBI’s investigation is still being characterized as a security review, not a criminal probe. And officials say that the former secretary of state is not a target.

But history—and particularly, the Clintons’ history—suggests that the road ahead may well be a long one.


— EARLY LOOK: Americans for Prosperity is launching a $1.4 million ad buy in Ohio this week  against former Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who is challenging Sen. Rob Portman (R) in 2016.  The Koch-backed group went on the air in the 2014 cycle with early testimonials panning Obamacare but not with spots, like this one, that expressly call for the election or defeat of a candidate. The ad shows African-American Bruce McKee talking about the “devastation and job loss” in Ohio when Strickland was governor.

— Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and ex-economic policy adviser to 2008  nominee John McCain, tells this year’s GOP crop how to speak about a “brighter economic future.” Like other Republicans this election cycle, Holt-Eakin tackles the income inequality argument that is marking the 2016 contest. He argues that the GOP must “have a vision for addressing poverty:” “Poverty strategies and social safety net reforms must be relentlessly pro-work,” he argues, adding that people get out of poverty by finishing school, getting a job and getting married before having kids. On the call to raise the minimum wage, the economist tells Republicans not to “get into a bidding war with progressives” because they will never beat those who think policy is “free” stuff. He also cautions not to fall into the progressive trap that “all inequality is bad,” adding that “some inequality is good and valuable.” “The intellectual Achilles heel of the progressives’ argument on inequality is that they cannot identify the right amount of inequality and simply oppose any inequality (or increases in inequality).” Read the full open letter here.


  1. A State Department official told a federal judge Monday that 305 more of Hillary Clinton‘s emails were flagged for further review by intelligence agencies to see if they contained classified information.
  2. As soon as today, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to propose the first-ever rules to curtail methane gas by as much as 45 percent over the next decade.
  3. Egyptian President Abdeh-Fattah el-Sissi signed an expansive new terrorism law that defines terrorism as any crime that disturbs the public order. The law’s broad aims prompted concerns from human rights activists and some Egyptian politicians and judges.
  4. The Obama administration eliminated the final hurdle preventing Royal Dutch Shell from drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean, which could now begin with exploratory wells this summer. It took Shell eight years and $7 billion to get this far.
  5. Republican governors continued to investigate, and try and cut off funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates, with the latest action occurring in Florida. Other states where GOP governors have acted include Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Utah.
  6. The first two female soldiers are set to graduate from the Army’s tough and prestigious Ranger school, but they can’t try out for the elite 75th Ranger Unit.
  7. The IRS said a breach by hackers was much bigger than originally thought — totaling 610,000, more than double the number of original victims. The hackers used stolen information to gain access to previous tax returns, the Post’s Lisa Rein reports.


  1. Hillary Clinton is stepping up her fundraising game in the super PAC world, though some of her most reliable donors are still reluctant to join the fray because of her stated aversion to the “corrupting” influence of big money in politics.
  2. Donald Trump reported to jury duty in New York City on Monday. Per the New York Times, he showed up at 9:07a.m. in his limo, braved a wild media scrum, sat “lost in thought” for much of the morning, signed some autographs, and held forth during the afternoon on the size of his key chain, his Scottish mom, and the end of his Oreo-eating habit if Nabisco moves to Mexico. Being that it was a slow August, he was dismissed for six more years at 3:45p.m.
  3. Scott Walker suggested that he agreed with Trump’s vision to end birthright citizenship, the Post’s Jenna Johnson reports. The Wisconsin governor gave a rambling and confusing answer to reporters, who dogged him with the question at the Iowa State Fair. “Do you think that birthright citizenship should be ended?” asked MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, to which Walker answered: “Well, like I said, [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid said it’s not right for this country. I think that’s something we should — yeah, absolutely, going forward.”
  4. Carly Fiorina said it’s time to be “realistic” and accept that until a GOP president is elected, the Iran nuclear deal was likely to take effect. “The rest of the world has moved on,” she said, adding she’d renegotiate if president.
  5. Jeb Bush dismissed The Donald’s newly-released immigration plan, saying the proposal “needs to be grounded in reality.” Trump wants to build a wall along the southern border paid for by the Mexican government or the revocation of remittances sent home by undocumented immigrants. “How do you revoke remittances?” Bush asked.


With Trump’s Rise, Hard-Line Immigration Ideas Take Hold in GOP,” by David Fahrenthold, Jenna Johnson and Max Ehrenfreund: “The ideas once languished at the edge of Republican politics, confined to think tanks and no-hope bills on Capitol Hill. To solve the problem of illegal immigration, truly drastic measures were necessary: Deport the undocumented en masse. Seize the money they try to send home. Deny citizenship to their U.S.-born children. Now, all of those ideas have been embraced by Donald Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential race…’What you have to give to Trump is, whatever way he’s done it, he has pushed this front and center,’ said Roy Beck of Numbers­USA, which wants to lower overall U.S. immigration…The elites of the Republican Party, Beck said, ‘absolutely did not want this discussed in this debate. And instead it’s front and center. It’s strange, but it is the triumph of the working class of the Republican Party.'”


— ZIGNAL VISUAL: The storyline about Hillary Clinton’s email server has sharply and unfavorably skewed the coverage around the Democratic frontrunner. According to our analytics partner Zignal Labs, over the last five days, there were nearly 400,000 mentions of Clinton on social, traditional and broadcast media. The former first lady was discussed most on Twitter, where 25 percent of the chatter was about the email server (the same percentage as on broadcast TV).

More troublesome for Hillary, however, was that 75 percent of that coverage skewed negative — a result, Zignal says, of chatter about the email server and the challenge Bernie Sanders’ upstart campaign.

Here’s a word cloud reflecting the chatter around Clinton for the last five days:


Pictures of the day:

Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) shared remembrances (and old photos) of former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, who died Saturday:

On a lighter note, Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham visited the Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair:

Tweets of the day:

Bernie Sanders agreed to meet with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) lashed out at the FDA over a recent decision about painkiller OxyContin:

Donald Trump reflected on his time at the Iowa State Fair:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) visited the world’s northernmost town, Ny-Alesund in Norway:

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) celebrated the engagement of his daughter Jessica:

Instagrams of the day:

Scott Walker enjoyed a pork chop and a Summer Shandy (that’s beer and lemonade) at the Iowa State Fair:

Chris Christie joined CNN’s New Day (along with Fox and Friends):

And Graham spoke at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox:


Huffington Post, “Jeb Bush’s Cavalry Arrives Amid Worry He’s Ceding Too Much Ground,” By Scott Conroy and Sam Stein: “When the super PAC Right To Rise was created, few anticipated Bush’s summer struggles. Bush, as a two-term governor of the biggest U.S. swing state, a card-carrying member of America’s most famous Republican family and a Spanish-speaking reformer who purported to give the party its best chance to retake the White House next year, was supposed to have scared potential rivals from jumping into the race. Instead, Bush finds himself facing 16 GOP foes of varying formidability, but a shared conviction on one thing: Bush absolutely can be beaten…A slew of rhetorical missteps has kept Bush from breaking away from the pack, while an unexceptional performance at the first Republican debate in Cleveland appears to have consigned him to not-quite-frontrunner status. The candidate who appeared at the outset to have the most political assets has become highly dependent on just one — money — and in desperate need of another — energy. ‘There’s still time,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden…'[But] I would disagree with those who just assume this will pass, and instead I’d be arguing that you have to move more aggressively at this stage.'”

— New York Times, “Lobbying Fight Over Iran Nuclear Deal Centers on Democrats,” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “From his rented vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, President Obama has been making phone calls to Democratic members of Congress, trying to rally support for the nuclear deal with Iran that faces a vote next month…They are up against an equally determined and well-financed effort by opponents of the deal, led by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee…The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, who is close to Mr. Netanyahu, has been contacting scores of lawmakers to make the case against the agreement. ‘The ambassador has met with more than 60 senators and congressmen in the last month,’ said an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity without authorization to publicly detail the lobbying efforts. ‘He’s speaking to everybody — particularly Democrats, who ultimately will decide this issue. He wants to make sure that they hear Israel’s views directly.'”

— Wall Street Journal, “Obama Administration Pushes for Deal to Start Flights to Cuba by Year’s End:” by  Felicia Schwartz, Jack Nicas and Carol E. Lee: “The Obama administration is working to reach a deal with Cuba by year’s end that would allow travelers to fly on scheduled commercial flights between the countries, U.S. officials say, chipping away at a travel ban without requiring Congress to lift it…The agreement would allow airlines to establish regular service between the U.S. and Cuba as early as December…The Obama administration is also exploring further steps to loosen travel restrictions for Americans to the island nation despite the decades-old congressional ban, officials said…Only Congress can lift the long-standing U.S. travel and trade embargoes imposed against Cuba in the 1960s following the rise of Fidel Castro to power. But Mr. Obama has executive authority to grant exceptions to them.”


Birthers say these 4 GOP candidates might be ineligible to be president. From Talking Points Memo: “The birther movement has come home to roost as the Republican presidential primary heats up. In a column published last week on the conspiracy theory website WND, author Jack Cashill noted that questions had been raised about whether four of the 17 candidates in the GOP field were really ‘natural born citizens’ and therefore eligible to run for President Ted Cruz has already dealt with those questions publicly … but Cashill also listed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) among those who were suspect.”


New Clinton email count: 305 documents referred with potentially classified information. From the Washington Times: “More than 300 of former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails — or 5.1 percent of those processed so far — have been flagged for potential secret information, the State Department reported to a federal court Monday … The reviewers have screened about 20 percent of the 30,000 emails Mrs. Clinton returned to the department, which means if the rate of potentially secret information remains steady, more than 1,500 messages will have to be sent to intelligence community agencies, known in government as ‘IC,’ to screen out classified information.”


–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Marco Rubio will speak at the Des Moines Register’s soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, hold a meet-and-greet in Des Moines and attend the Republican Party of Dallas County annual steak fry. John Kasich will also speak at the Iowa State Fair. Lincoln Chafee will give a speech in Plaistow, N.H.. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders are speaking at the Nevada AFL-CIO convention in Las Vegas.

–On the Hill: Both chambers are in recess.

–At the White House: President Obama is on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.


“There’s no August recess here,” Dylan J. Williams, the vice president of government affairs at J Street, which supports the Iran nuclear deal, told the New York Times.


–“With the hottest day of the workweek behind us, we can watch this steady build-up of clouds and a chance of showers and thunderstorms through the balance as we await a Friday cold front. We might still manage to break into the low 90s today thanks to morning sunshine, but afternoon clouds and widely scattered showers prevent us from getting any hotter, but the humidity hangs around,” reports the Capital Weather Gang.

–James Wagner asks how the talent-filled Nationals can have a losing record 117 games into the season.

Lenny B. Robinson, aka Route 29’s “Batman,” 51, died after a roadside collision following his pulling over to fix his engine on I-70 near Hagerstown, Md.


Watch Scott Walker respond to someone holding an anti-Walker sign during his speech at the Des Moines Register Soapbox:

Watch Keegan-Michael Key chat with Jimmy Fallon about rehearsing a comedy bit with President Obama:

Watch Conan O’Brien interview John Sununu about President George H.W. Bush: