The Daily 202 – Law professor challenges DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The Daily 202 – Law professor challenges DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz


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Trade animates liberal opposition to DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Tim Canova joins a union-organized&nbsp;protest in Pembroke&nbsp;Pines, Fla. The&nbsp;law professor at Nova Southeastern University&nbsp;is trying to topple Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a House primary. He has the&nbsp;support of Bernie Sanders. (Photo by Angel Valentin/For The Washington Post)</p>

Tim Canova joins a union-organized protest in Pembroke Pines, Fla. The law professor at Nova Southeastern University is trying to topple Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a House primary. He has the support of Bernie Sanders. (Photo by Angel Valentin/For The Washington Post)


PEMBROKE PINES, Fla.—I wrote a story yesterday about how Bernie Sanders’s endorsement has given money and credibility to an obscure law professor’s primary challenge against DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (Read the piece here.)

What struck me most during three days on the ground in South Florida, though, is the degree to which the Trans-Pacific Partnership prompted the challenger, Tim Canova, to get into the race in the first place and how much the trade issue, as much as Bernie’s support, galvanizes his core band of supporters, most of whom come from the labor movement.

As President Obama looks to push the TPP through during the lame-duck session, the vehement opposition from progressive activists here underscores another real dividing line in the Democratic civil war that will persist long after the convention in Philadelphia. The fallout from the now-imperiled trade deal has even created a schism within organized labor over how to retaliate against apostates.

Hillary Clinton, for her part, flip-flopped on TPP during the primaries in the face of union opposition. Despite that, Donald Trump is still to her left on the issue – with his calls for massive tariffs on imports and a promise to “break” NAFTA, one of her husband’s signature achievements.

The Democratic intelligentsia in Washington is alarmed by what it sees as a rising tide of protectionism. Many economic elites and 1 percenters in both parties are alarmed by how much this fever has gripped each side’s base. (The protectionists on the right have branded the deal as ObamaTrade.)

Wasserman Schultz, who must remain loyal to the president in her role as the titular head of the Democratic Party, voted to give Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals, a key procedural hurdle that prevents Congress from adding poison pills in during ratification. But, mindful of the blowback, the congresswoman continues to avoid taking a position on the underlying trade agreement itself.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz&nbsp;and her husband Steve arrive for the official State dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping&nbsp;last September. (Reuters/Mary F. Calvert)</p>

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her husband Steve arrive for the official State dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping last September. (Reuters/Mary F. Calvert)

Canova, who teaches at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, had not been super engaged in the local community. But he joined a group of activists last year in trying to get an audience with Wasserman Schultz to express their displeasure with the TPP. They said they couldn’t get the time of day. Canova then hosted a seminar for his students and the general public about the pitfalls of the trade deal. A few dozen people showed up.

Several activists who attended that session urged him to consider running against the DNC chair as a way to draw attention to the issue. “I knew right then and there that this guy belongs in the big leagues,” said Fred Frost, a political campaign lead locally for the Communication Workers of America.

Canova decided to announce in January without ever thinking he’d get Sanders’s endorsement. Now he’s raised almost $1.5 million.

One of his first hires was Deborah Dion, who had been the South Florida political director for the AFL-CIO. They had become friends during the TPA fight. She introduced him to her network. “Debbie used to be great, but she’s just gotten caught up in this whirlwind of Wall Street money and she’s in a box,” said Dion. “It’s time for a change.”

The TPA vote was now almost exactly a year ago. Wasserman Schultz was one of 28 House Democrats, and 13 Senate Democrats, to side with the president over labor.

Not all of Canova’s volunteers look like your typical Sanders supporter. “I’m a liberal Irish Democrat. I wouldn’t describe myself as a socialist, but I like social programs,” said Dan Brennan, 58, the political committee chair for the Transport Workers Union Local 568, which represents baggage handlers for American Airlines in Miami. (They have 700 members who live in Wasserman Schultz’s district and endorsed Canova, citing the TPA vote.)

Wearing an untucked polo shirt, Canova joined 40 labor activists during the evening rush hour last Wednesday in picketing a Verizon store. The location is in a strip mall, between a Five Guys and a “European Wax Center.” In 90-degree heat, they went to the nearest intersection to get passing motorists to honk.

The first-time candidate talked with Annie Castillo, an AT&T service technician who he met at anti-TPP protest last year, about what it is like to suddenly be an in-demand guest on cable news. “They say smile. Then they say don’t smile,” Canova told her. “There are some days I wonder what the hell I’m doing, but I just try to keep the faith.”

DWS has not faced a serious primary challenge since she ran for the state legislature as a 26-year-old in 1992. She walked into this House seat when her mentor, Peter Deutsch, retired in 2004. And she’s easily won ever since.

The biggest labor federation is making clear it will continue to have her back. Daniel Reynolds, president of the Broward County AFL-CIO, has known Wasserman Schultz since she was a legislative assistant for Deutsch in the Florida legislature. “She’s been a go-to person for every issue we have, except TPA,” he said in a phone interview. “We’re not happy with that vote, clearly, but you don’t take a 98 percent friend and cast them aside and say they’re not good for labor. … TPA was a bad vote, but I can point to hundreds and hundreds of voters that were absolutely the good vote.”

Ben Rhodes (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)</p>

Ben Rhodes (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

— The Iran deal has also emerged as a major issue in this primary. The district includes a long stretch of coastline with many politically-active Jewish retirees. Canova emphasizes his opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement. “She’s Jewish; I’m not. But I’ve had a Jewish stepdad for 40 years, and I was a volunteer on a kibbutz,” he said in an interview, referring to the incumbent. “And she voted for the Iran agreement. Either she got duped by [Obama deputy national security adviser] Ben Rhodes or she was in on it.”

“Debbie is the first Jewish woman ever to serve Florida in Congress,” her spokesman, Ryan Banfill, emailed in response. “The Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) inspires her public service. She has always been a steadfast vote and voice for our friend and ally Israel. So there are very good reasons South Floridians have always had faith in Debbie when it comes to Israel’s strength and security.”

— Canova says he’s “having fun—most of the time.” His challenge might be quixotic, but he promises to give it his all through the primary on Aug. 30. “I live alone,” Canova told me during a two-hour interview. “I had a girlfriend, and I don’t want to say too much about it. It’s been long distance. It just got to the point where when you’re in a long distance [relationship], when somebody’s visiting, it takes up all your energy. I basically said if I put too much time into this relationship right now, and I don’t win this race, I’m going to resent for the rest of my life the relationship. August isn’t forever. We’ll see how it goes.”

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost’s morning newsletter.
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck) Sign up to receive the newsletter.


— North Korea attempted to fire a ballistic missile from its east coast, but the mission is believed to have failed. South Korean officials say it was a medium-range Musudan missile. This is the fourth time Pyongyang has tried and failed to launch this type. (CNN)

Stephen Curry savors a Game 7 victory.&nbsp;(AP Photo/Ben Margot)</p>

Stephen Curry savors a Game 7 victory. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

— After trailing three games to one in the Western Conference finals, the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 in Game Seven to secure a spot in the NBA Finals. MVP Stephen Curry scored 36 points and eight assists, including 15 points in the fourth quarter. They now face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the championship round.

Bernie Sanders poses for a selfie&nbsp;at Oracle Arena. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)</p>

Bernie Sanders poses for a selfie at Oracle Arena. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

— Bernie went to the game, in Oakland, with Danny Glover. The duo arrived at halftime, and they sat behind the Thunder basket. “Good seats but not the ones frequented by millionaires and billionaires,” the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli emailed in a pool report for the press corps. “Afterward, when the Warriors won, the parallels were not lost on Sanders. ‘We came in the second half and the Warriors turned it around,’ Sanders said.‘The Warriors were down 3-1 and they turned it around and I think that that’s what we’re going to do, too. A very good omen for our campaign.’ So was it because of him? ‘Absolutely. No question about it,’ Sanders said and smiled knowingly. ‘What other explanation is there?’ What If they had lost? ‘Hey, in politics,’ Sanders said. ‘You gotta take your shots.’ After the game Sanders dined with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.”

It was the end of an eventful day for Sanders. Animal rights activists jumped the barricades and tried to rush the podium during Bernie’s rally in front of Oakland City Hall immediately before the game. Two Secret Service agents surrounded Sanders, and security tackled the protesters. Sanders was speaking again within two minutes of the interruption. Here are the three best photos of the incident:

(Anda Chu/Oakland Tribune via AP)</p>

(Anda Chu/Oakland Tribune via AP)

An agent (on the left) reached for his gun, but did not draw his weapon:

(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)</p>

(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Agents surrounded Sanders during the incident (video here):

(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)</p>

(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)


The Italian navy released video of the moment a migrant vessel capsizes, throwing its human cargo into the sea. (Reuters)</p>

The Italian navy released video of the moment a migrant vessel capsizes, throwing its human cargo into the sea. (Reuters)

  1. More than 700 migrants died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in just the past few days. Most were trying to get from the Libyan coast to Italy. This is the deadliest period of migration to Europe so far this year. (Chico Harlan)
  2. An African tribunal sentenced Chad dictator Hissene Habre to life in prison for crimes against humanity, finding him guilty for sexual slavery, kidnapping and ordering the deaths of more than 40,000 people. John Kerry called the ruling a landmark victory against war crimes that could bring other global perpetrators to justice. (Paul Schemm)
  3. Iraqi forces are now engaging with ISIS on the southern edge of Fallujah and believe they have the city close to surrounded. (Mustafa Salim and Missy Ryan)
  4. A U.N. plan to deliver food and medicine to hundreds of thousands of Syrians continues to be imperiled by government obstruction, underscoring the faltering Washington-and-Moscow-led efforts to provide aid in the war-torn country. (Hugh Naylor)
  5. The number of people in Afghanistan who are displaced because of violence is 1.2 million, double what it was in 2013, according to an Amnesty International report out this morning. Many of the displaced residents have taken refuge from Taliban-strong areas in Kabul and other cities, stretching local resources at a time when international funding has declined. (Antonio Olivo)
  6. Nearly 40,000 striking Verizon workers are returning to work after a seven-week strike, following a successful agreement that provides 1,400 new jobs and a 10 percent pay raise for employees. (AP)
  7. The decision to shoot a gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo after a 4-year-old boy fell into its enclosure has sparked outrage, with some calling for the boy’s parents to be punished for leaving him unsupervised. (Peter Holley)
  8. A 27-year-old in Kentucky was charged with plowing his car though more than 100 crosses in a Memorial Day display to honor veterans and then fleeing the scene.Volunteers worked all day to replace the crosses. (Sarah Larimer)
  9. The high school student who was denied permission to wear her hijab at The Citadel was admitted to Norwich University, a private military college in Vermont. Her father told The Post they are still considering legal options against The Citadel and are working with a lawyer at the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (Susan Svrluga)
  10. Kidnapped soccer star Alan Pulido was rescued by authorities in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, less than 24 hours after being taken by an armed man outside a restaurant. (Cindy Boren)
  11. The Secret Service is disciplining 41 agents related to the leak of Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s personnel records. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he is “appalled by the episode.” (Lisa Rein)
  12. The girlfriend of Florida Senate candidate Alan Grayson (D) is changing her name in an effort to pick up his House seat. Around 11 p.m. last night, she changed her name on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) from Dena Minning to Dena Grayson. It suggests they’re either engaged or got hitched. (Orlando Political Observer)
  13. Florida fisherman called police after discovering two alligators eating a dead body in the Everglades. Local authorities have recovered the corpse and are trying to figure out more about the cause of death. (Sun-Sentinel)
  14. Japanese rescuers are searching for a 7-year-old boy who disappeared in a bear-infested forest after his parents abandoned him there as punishment. Police said they are deciding whether the parents will face charges. (Peter Holley)
  15. China stoked controversy after unveiling parking spots designed just for women. They are 1.5 times bigger and framed in pink. (LA Times)

The Trump Tower soars 33 stories over the center of downtown Baku. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/The Washington Post)</p>

The Trump Tower soars 33 stories over the center of downtown Baku. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/The Washington Post)

If you read one thing –> For a President Trump, global real estate deals present unprecedented gray areas,” by our Kevin Sullivan, in Baku, Azerbaijan: “In the center of downtown, an unfinished five-star hotel sits locked and empty, a ghostly shell completely dark at night except for the glowing white letters at its elegant, sail-shaped peak: TRUMP TOWER. Here, in an oil-producing nation wedged between Russia and Iran on the strategically important Caspian Sea, Trump has partnered with a young billionaire, Anar Mammadov, 35, whose family is part of a longtime ruling regime that the U.S. State Department and others say is plagued by endemic corruption and human rights abuses. … If elected, Trump would be the first U.S. president to preside over a global business empire. … Among (his assets) are properties in nations where the United States has important economic and national security concerns — such as Turkey, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan — that could put Trump’s personal business interests on a collision course with the duty of a president to act solely in the best interest of the United States.”


HRC supporters listen to her during a rally in San Francisco.&nbsp;(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)</p>

HRC supporters listen to her during a rally in San Francisco. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

— Hillary canceled several events in New Jersey to spend more time in California, the latest manifestation of her growing concern that the country’s most populous state could snub her in next Tuesday’s primary. The schedule change comes after Bernie hasbarnstormed California non-stop for more than a week. Some polls show the race is a toss-up. (Abby Phillip)

— A major environmental group, the NRDC Action Fund, will back Clinton today in its first-ever endorsement in a presidential election, Abby Phillip scoops. The political affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council says the move is reflective of the need for left-leaning groups to unite against Trump. “Hillary Clinton is all that stands between us and Donald Trump’s radical proposals to reverse decades of environmental progress,” says NRDC Action Fund Board Chair Patricia Bauman. The endorsement is a blow to Sanders ahead of the California’s primary. He routinely attacks Hillary for being slow to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline and says the Paris climate accord does not go far enough.

— “California is the ‘big enchilada,’ so to speak,” Sanders said on “Meet the Press.” Even so, the senator scaled down his attacks on Clinton while stumping in the state this weekend, only briefly mentioning her during events in Bakersfield and Santa Barbara.“Acting on the stump as if Clinton hardly exists could be seen as just another example of blocking out reality,” Callum Borchers writes. “But it could also be seen as a tacit acknowledgment of reality — evidence that Sanders is trying not to inflict further rhetorical damage on Clinton, even as he campaigns all the way to the wire.” Subtle hints support the latter interpretation…

Sanders told supporters in Santa Barbara that his campaign is really about “reinvigorating American democracy,” but he did not mention winning. And he briefly entertained the idea of losing on “Meet the Press,” offering opinions on the kind of running-mate that Clinton should choose. “I would hope, if I am not the nominee,” Sanders said, “that the vice presidential candidate will not be from Wall Street, will be somebody who has a history of standing up and fighting for working class families and … a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.”

Hillary Clinton speaks in San Francisco last week.&nbsp;(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)</p>

Hillary Clinton speaks in San Francisco last week. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

— Looking to the general: Clinton’s strategists are actively trying to figure out how they can present Hillary as a CHANGE AGENT in a way that is plausible/believable to voters. “In a campaign season shaped by voter fury, Clinton’s team and her Democratic allies believe that assailing Trump alone may not secure the White House for their candidate,” Philip Rucker reports from California. “Clinton must be seen as a credible leader for middle-class Americans exasperated by the gridlocked government and an economic system that they feel has failed them. … At Clinton’s New York campaign headquarters, her advisers are grappling with how to convince swing voters that a former secretary of state, senator and first lady who owns a home in Washington, has cultivated deep ties to Wall Street and has played a starring role in the political scene for a quarter-century will usher in change.” Two notable quotes from Phil’s story:

  • “Trump is a blow-the-place-up kind of guy, and that’s not who Hillary Clinton is or ever will be,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster who advises the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action. “At the end of the day, Trump’s version of blowing the place up will become justifiably frightening to voters.”
  • Republican admaker Fred Davis thinks Trump starts the general election with the advantage: “Trump is the vote for change in this election. She simply can’t be. He’s the future; she’s the past. He’s exciting; she’s same-ole, same-ole. . . In today’s climate, I think change overwhelms safe.”

— The new narrative –> HRC’s messaging is muddled: “So far Clinton has cycled through a half-dozen official and unofficial slogans and themes,” The Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey reports. “She launched her presidential campaign talking about ‘four fights’ for America (though the exact nature of the fights, and their order, shifted). The Clinton campaign’s placards have a different take and say ‘Fighting for us.’ The rationale for Clinton’s campaign has also been framed as ‘breaking down barriers’ and providing ‘real results.’ Online, Clinton’s slogan is different still, represented by the hashtag #ImWithHer. And now Clinton’s moving to ‘Stronger together’ — a catch phase also used in 2013 for a Virginia lieutenant governor campaign and by the Service Employees International Union (which endorsed Clinton.) Clinton’s ever-evolving message identity highlights a broader critique of her candidacy: that she tries to be all things to all people, and that she does not let voters see who she really is underneath all the image-making.”

  • The importance of a consistent message is all the more significant because she is running against a master promoter.
  • Clinton’s latest slogan — “Stronger together” — downplays gender.
  • Her first ad as a Senate candidate in 2000 used the slogan “More than a first lady.”

Lewis&nbsp;Elbinger, a 68-year-old Sanders supporter, enjoys the day&nbsp;in&nbsp;Mount&nbsp;Shasta, Calif. (Carlos Javier Ortiz/The Washington Post)</p>

Lewis Elbinger, a 68-year-old Sanders supporter, enjoys the day in Mount Shasta, Calif. (Carlos Javier Ortiz/The Washington Post)

— Who are the Bernie dead-enders? Hillary has been handily winning among seniors, but the Woodstock crowd has been with Bernie. Stephanie McCrummen goes deep on the graying generation that feels the Bern: “It is a glorious day in Northern California, and Lewis Elbinger, a 68-year-old Bernie Sanders supporter, is feeling great — or, as he puts it, ‘high vibe.’ In the five decades since he first painted a white peace sign on his forehead, protested the Vietnam War and hitchhiked to India to become a monk, in fact, he has never felt more optimistic about the country than at this very moment. ‘A consciousness is rising,’ he says. Such is the evolving devotion to a man who is called by some of his supporters ‘the candidate we’ve been waiting for.’ Of these, few have been waiting longer than [Elbinger] … a proud member of the Woodstock generation that forms the solid, ever-hopeful core of the Sanders coalition. He is certain that Sanders can not only win the nomination but also ride the wave of rising consciousness all the way to the White House, ushering in the era of peace, love and prosperity that his generation has long imagined.”

— Clinton chairman John Podesta said the former Secretary of State now realizes her email use was a “mistake.” “If she could go back, she would do it differently,” he wrote in a memo to supporters. (Buzzfeed)

— Trump and Clinton are locked in a dead heat in New Hampshire (44-44), according to a Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University poll. The presumptive nominees share nearly identical unfavorable ratings (35-61 vs. 34-62). Half of Trump voters say they support his candidacy only because they oppose Clinton.


Trump addresses the crowd at the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)</p>

Trump addresses the crowd at the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

— The Donald has spent the past few days railing against a federal judge assigned to handle a fraud case against Trump University. On Friday, Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered the release of internal Trump University documents, including “playbooks” that advised sales personnel how to market high-priced courses on getting rich through real estate. The ruling was issued in response to a request by The Post. Students have alleged they were misled and defrauded. The trial is set for November. (Tom Hamburger has more.)

Trump went off on the judge during an 11-minute monologue in San Diego. “As Trump angrily rambled on and on — at one point, explaining why a law firm involved with the case has the name it does — the crowd grew quiet,” Jenna Johnson reports. “Some turned their attention to theircellphones, while others looked around the room for something more interesting. ‘’We’ll come back in November,’ Trump said, finally wrapping up, to the delight of his crowd. ‘Wouldn’t that be wild if I’m president, and I come back to do a civil case?’”

The Republican also questioned whether the federal judge can be impartial because of his Hispanic heritage. Curiel “happens to be, we believe, Mexican,” the presumptive nominee said. “I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself. I think it’s a disgrace that he is doing this.”

Trump continued his diatribe on Twitter yesterday:

This drew stern rebukes from across the ideological spectrum:

— Latino Republicans in California are filled with dread about Trump and the long-term damage he will do to the party’s brand: “The state GOP lost a generation of Latino voters in the aftermath of that ballot measure, Proposition 187. And now Latino Republicans fear they will lose yet another generation as a result of Trump becoming the standard-bearer,” Seema Mehta writes in the Los Angeles Times. “Hector Barajas, a Republican strategist, said Trump’s candidacy will make them redouble their efforts to recruit and train Latino candidates. ‘Our message to folks is, look, you’re going to have to create your own Republican party, create your own organizations within your own community,’ said Barajas.“

— Fred Malek, the finance chair for the RGA, writes an op-ed for today’s Post that says “Trump’s attacks on fellow Republicans must end. Now.

— Trump bluster and delusions of grandeur were on display at the National Mall this weekend: About five thousand came to see Trump speak at the Rolling Thunder “Ride for Freedom” parade. But that was not enough for The Donald. “I thought this would be like Dr. Martin Luther King,” he grumbled, “where the people would be lined up from here all the way to the Washington Monument, right?”

“He claimed that the anticipated throng was out there, but ‘unfortunately, they don’t allow ’em to come in.’ That was a lie; there were no hordes outside the security perimeter, pleading for admittance,” Eugene Robinson reports. “Since everyone present could easily discern the truth, Trump must have been lying to himself — perhaps to ease the sting of what can only be seen as an awful week for his campaign.”

— Post columnist Michael Gerson, a speechwriter in George W. Bush’s White House, says Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan kowtowing to Trump is “the most depressing moment” of 2016: “Ryan drags himself slowly. Rubio eventually went with a quick Band-Aid pull. But the largest political choice each man has made this year will be one of the worst mistakes of their careers. … Some Republicans keep expecting Trump to finally remove the mask of misogyny, prejudice and cruelty and act in a more presidential manner. But it is not a mask. It is his true face. Good Republican leaders making the decision to support Trump will end up either humiliated by the association, or betrayed and attacked for criticizing the great leader. Trump leaves no other options.” Other prominent conservatives have also been pillorying Rubio for caving to Trump in order to advance his own political ambitions. (Elise Viebeck has a round-up.)

— “Trump has taught me to fear my fellow Americans,” Richard Cohen explains in his column for today’s Post. “I don’t mean the occasional yahoo who turns a Trump rally into a hate fest. I mean the ones who do nothing. Who are silent. Who look the other way. … When I see these Trump supporters on television — the commentators, the Politician’s Puttanesca (a dish to poison the body politic) — I have to wonder where they would draw the line. The answer seems to be: nowhere. They want to win. They want to beat Hillary Clinton, a calling so imperative that sheer morality must give way. Muslims and Mexicans are merely collateral damage in a war that must be fought. What about blacks or Jews? Not yet… When Trump insisted that he could compel a military officer to obey an illegal order, I heard the echo of jackboots on cobblestone.”

— “Trump’s abject inability to tolerate criticism is the telltale sign of a narcissistic personality,” conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin notes.

— Stephen Hawking understands theoretical physics, but he can’t understand why anyone would vote for Trump. “He is a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator,” Hawking said on “Good Morning Britain.” ( AP)

— Donald will hold a press conference at his New York tower today to release details about his pledged donations to veterans charities. The Post’s David Fahrenthold, who last week pressured the mogul to follow through on his commitment to give $1 million of his personal money, breaks down where they are expected to go and what we still don’t know.

— Ben Carson, a Trump surrogate, likened America to a cruise ship that’s “about to go over Niagara falls.” Appearing on “Fox and Friends” yesterday, the retired neurosurgeon said there is “tremendous carnage and death” ahead. “What you have to do first is recognize the problem, stop the ship, turn it around and then move in the other direction,” he said.

— Trump trails Clinton by months – even years – in his digital operation. From the AP’s Thomas Beaumont: “Precision digital-marketing data, a person’s online footprints, have become an electoral science that Democrats have dominated, and Republicans have chased, for a decade. The information now guides a range of decisions, like the types and volume of advertising, where to deploy campaign staff to mobilize voters, and where a candidate should visit.” Clinton’s campaign has been collecting data since she announced her candidacy 11 months ago, while Trump has dinged data-collection processes as overrated. “If you weren’t doing it several months ago, then you really are starting from scratch,” said former Obama analytics director Elan Kriegel, who now heads Clinton’s team.

FRESH SCRUTINY OF TRUMP’S FINANCIAL DEALINGS — Three tough stories popped this morning:

1. As Trump prepared to run, Bloomberg reports that he transferred more than 110 “Trump” trademarks into a new Delaware-based company in order to cut his income-tax bills. “Among the trademarks he moved are his own name and those of some of his best-known properties, including ‘Trump National Golf Club,’ ‘Trump Tower’ and ‘Mar-a-Lago,’ his private club in Palm Beach, Florida.” Moving the trademarks to his new company will enable Trump to avoid other states’ income taxes on royalties paid for their use — an income stream worth perhaps tens of millions of dollars or more.

2. Trump often boasts of his hard-nosed business tactics against China, bragging that he owns a “big chunk” of the Bank of America building because he won a legal battle. But court documents and interviews undercut the story he tells on the stump. From the New York Times: “To strike the deal, Mr. Trump had to attend elaborate dinner parties featuring foreign foods he did not want to eat. He delayed the closing because of Chinese spiritual beliefs and hunted around New York for a ‘feng shui’ master to help with the building décor, instead of indulging his tastes for marble and gold, according to former associates of Mr. Trump … But when his Hong Kong partners sold the property without his support, Mr. Trump waged a bitter, long-shot legal battle against them. And far from winning his share of the Bank of America building, according to court documents, he had to settle for it after losing in court.”

3. More than a dozen financial experts and fellow multi-millionaires said Trump’s personal wealth could be much lower than he suggests, saying an overstated net worth coupled with a very low tax rate could be the reason Trump is failing to release his returns. From Politico: “His businesses apparently generate a lot of revenue but may not put much cash in his pocket; He assigns himself a net worth that is impossible to verify and may be based in part on fantasy; And he is selling assets and increasing debt in ways that suggest a man scrambling for ready cash.”

— Rob Portman’s first three ads are going on the air Wednesday. They highlight his work to cut down on prescription drug and heroin addiction problems in Ohio. It’s a sign of how incumbents are localizing races. (Sean Sullivan)


Delegates hold signs during the Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando. (Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski)</p>

Delegates hold signs during the Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando. (Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski)

— Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson locked down the Libertarian nomination for president at the national party convention in Orlando, and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld was approved as his runningmate. But a hotly-contested convention nearly denied the team the nomination, with many Libertarian stalwarts hesitant of being dragged anywhere near the mainstream. David Weigel reports:

With Trump and Clinton so unpopular, many believe their party could play a pivotal role in 2016. But Weld was a heavy carry for a party divided into moderate and radical factions, and highly suspicious of converts: Even as Weld pledged his lifetime support to the Libertarian Party, some argued his gubernatorial tenure saw too much government expansion and gun control measures. Others said they had intended to support Johnson and wavered after he persuaded Weld to join the ticket. “A lot of people have felt let down by some of Gary Johnson’s not particularly Libertarian positions,” said Colorado delegate Caryn Ann Harlos. “It would help him if he has a member of the radical wing on the ticket.” In the end, Weld and Johnson were approved on separate tickets, with Weld squeaking by with just 50.6 percent of the vote.

As some in the party seek to pursue a nationally-competitive ticket, others remain committed to its more offbeat roots: Delegates booed Johnson for suggesting the government have a role in issuing drivers licenses and for saying he would have signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “We’re at a threshold here,” Johnson told the crowd, “a real threshold to grow this party.” (It didn’t help matters visually that the Libertarians shared the convention complex with a comic convention, Politico’s Shane Goldmacher notes, with costumed political activists intermingling with sci-fi fans dressed as ninjas, hobbits and storm troopers.)

Libertarian National Committee Chairman Nicholas Sarwark, at a news conference, claimed that there have been “back-channel” talks with the Koch political network about supporting a Johnson-led ticket. Sarwark also said he had been speaking to Matt Kibbe,former president of conservative advocacy group Freedomworks, about supporting the party’s nominee.


— “A British vote to leave the E.U. could shatter the United Kingdom,” by Griff Witte:“When Scotland voted in an independence referendum in September 2014, nationalist leaders pitched it as a once-in-a-generation chance to break a three-century-old bond. But less than two years after Scots opted to remain in the United Kingdom, the specter of secession again looms over the lush green expanse of the British isles … If Britain chooses to ditch the E.U. [next month] despite a vote to stay from the Euro-friendly Scots, nationalist leaders say they will revive the push for an independent nation in order to keep Scotland inside Europe. And they think that the second time around, they would win. The potential for a British breakup as fallout from the June 23 referendum underscores just how much is at stake when the country decides whether to become the first nation to withdraw from the 28-member E.U. … The very existence of Great Britain could also be on the line.”


Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, a leader of the Never Trump movement, teased news about a conservative independent candidate for president:

Here’s how Trump responded, with Kristol’s retort:

Here’s a Ben Sasse meme for Memorial Day:

Commentators reacted after Sanders moved to oust Barney Frank from a leadership position at the Democratic convention:

Spotted at Princeton:

Ivanka Trump posted a new photo of her kids:

Eric Swalwell adopted a puppy, Penny:

Ryan Costello celebrated his anniversary:

Kathy Castor enjoyed the beach:

Lawmakers celebrated Memorial Day:

Have you heard? Veep’s Jonah Ryan is running for Congress:

Selina Meyer also has a Twitter feed, in case you missed it:


— Wall Street Journal, “Economic Scars Help Explain Bizarre 2016 Race,” by Gerald Seib: “The search for an explanation of this year’s bizarre political climate leads to a basic conclusion: The recession that started in 2007 and the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 scared and scarred the electorate more deeply and more permanently than has been recognized before. Yes, the economic statistics say there’s been a recovery—a relatively nice one at that. But mentally, many Americans have never recovered, and perhaps never will. The experience has altered their attitudes about the political and economic systems and their leaders, and left them willing to consider risky alternatives. The deeply negative views of these two suggest Americans still aren’t finding the answers they have been seeking.  Here’s one way of reading where we stand: The country hasn’t so much chosen Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton—assuming she survives her primary challenge—as the two best alternatives, but rather has found itself left with them at the end of a primary process in which other alternatives were cast aside.”

— New York Times, “Television Networks Struggle to Provide Equal Airtime in the Era of Trump,” by Michael M. Grynbaum: “For broadcasters, turning down an interview with a candidate is anathema to a news culture trained to pursue maximum access. Yet the starkly different strategies of the candidates are straining the industry’s bedrock notions of evenhandedness. … Networks are seeking novel ways to maintain balance, like staging voter town halls that provide candidates with equal airtime; seeking a wider spectrum of on-air contributors and campaign surrogates; and bringing more fact-checking into segments … Still, the presence of Mr. Trump can be irresistible.”


Michael Hayden: Trump Is Helping ISIS,” from HuffPost:“Trump may have vowed to ‘bomb the [expletive]’ out of the Islamic State, but his anti-Muslim rhetoric may actually be helping the terror group, according to one of the United States’ top foreign policy experts. Michael Hayden, the former head of both the CIA and the NSA, explained ’the jihadist narrative is that there is undying enmity between Islam and the modern world.’ ‘When Trump says they all hate us, he’s using their narrative,’ Hayden said. ‘He’s feeding their recruitment video.’”


The VA Declared Thousands Of Living Veterans Dead, Cut Off Their Benefits,” from TownHall: “When the VA isn’t leaving veterans to die waiting in line for healthcare at hospitals across the country, the disastrous system is declaring veterans who are alive and well…dead. VA officials are now admitting the agency declared more than 4,000 living veterans, dead, cutting off their benefits. Navy Veteran Mike Rieker from Florida is one of them. ‘The system failed, whatever they’re doing doesn’t work. It was supposed to be corrected and of course it wasn’t,” Rieker [said]. ‘Things move at the speed of darkness at the VA.’”


On the campaign trail: Here’s the rundown:

  • Clinton: East Brunswick, N.J.; New York, N.Y.
  • Sanders: Emeryville, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Calif.
  • Trump: New York, N.Y.

At the White House: President Obama receives a hurricane preparedness briefing at FEMA headquarters, then honors the 2016 NCAA Champion Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team at the White House. Vice President Biden is in Kiawah Island, S.C.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out of session.


“Politicians have used you and stolen your votes. They have given you nothing,” Trump said in Bismarck, N.D.. “I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years. I’m the only one.” (Why not just go ahead and promise a chicken in every pot?)


— Some sunshine and some shower chances to kick off our work week, per our friends at the Capital Weather Gang: “Some fog is possible during the rush hour this morning, but then look for partly sunny skies as temperatures warm into the lower to middle 80s. Humidity is at moderate levels with dew points mainly in the low to middle 60s. I’d call it moderately muggy, but not ‘mature summer swelter’ mugginess. A shower or thunderstorm could pop up this afternoon — best chances south and east of the city.”

— The Nationals beat the Phillies 4-3.

— Another alarming incident of sexual assault in the Metro: “A Southeast Washington man was charged Friday with first-degree sexual abuse after police said he forced a 17-year-old male to leave a Metro station and then sexually assaulted the youth in a public bathroom at a Chevy Chase mall. Dominick Simons, 25, initially encountered the teenager as the pair walked into the Bethesda Metro station … according to documents filed in D.C. Superior Court. Police said Simons asked to use the teen’s phone, then walked away with it. When the teen demanded he return the phone, Simons told the youth he had a gun and threatened to shoot if the teen ‘made noise about it’ … Simons returned the phone, police said, but forced the teen to board the Metrorail train and ride with him to the Friendship Heights station.” (Keith L. Alexander and Lori Aratani)

— A 66-year-old Army veteran and motorcyclist was killed in a crash shortly following Sunday’s Rolling Thunder demonstration in Washington. Police said the collision occurred just outside the Rosslyn tunnel, where the man encountered unexpected traffic and was unable to brake in time. (Martin Weil)

— An off-duty police officer shot a man in Northeast D.C. after he tried to steal crab legs from a Giant. The value of the crab legs was listed as $76.54. (NBC Washington)

— In the Arlington County board race –> “Liberal challenger against maverick incumbent,” by Patricia Sullivan: “The next address on Libby Garvey’s list was marked ‘SR’ — strong Republican — but the Democratic politician who chairs the Arlington County Board didn’t hesitate. She told the homeowners she was running for another term, has the support of a well-known Republican colleague — and is facing a primary challenger because of it. The next day, that opponent, Erik Gutshall, wielded his own clipboard as he campaigned in a different neighborhood … Arlington’s June 14 primary pits an admittedly wonky, progressive candidate against a political veteran who has infuriated her party by shunning the liberal stances that are a hallmark of this diverse, wealthy, inside-the-Beltway community. It is another political Rorschach test for the deep-blue Arlington electorate, which over the past two years has wavered between a fiscally conservative candidate who questions the status quo and candidates who put more faith in the community’s long-established methods of coming to agreement on government spending.”


Seth Meyers took a closer look at Clinton’s emails:

Hillary’s Emails: A Closer Look

Watch the Rolling Thunder roll into D.C.:

Rolling Thunder bikers roll into nation’s capital

107-year-old Virginia McLaurin attended her first baseball game:

Sanders spoke with Jimmy Kimmel about his 28th wedding anniversary:

Senator Bernie Sanders on Celebrating His 28th Wedding Anniversary

Special Ops troops staged a rescue demonstration in Tampa:

Watch Special Operations troops stage a rescue demonstration in Tampa


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