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Monday's Mini-Report, 8.1.16

08/01/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* ISIS: "The U.S. launched a new campaign of airstrikes Monday aimed at dislodging ISIS from its stronghold in Libya. The 'precision airstrikes' were launched in support of Libyan government forces (GNA) that are attempting to drive ISIS from Sirte, a city halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi, the Pentagon and Libya's official government confirmed."
* Zika: "The Florida Department of Health has identified 10 more people who likely contracted Zika virus through a mosquito bite, Governor Rick Scott said Monday -- bringing the total number of people with locally transmitted Zika to 14. Pregnant women are advised to avoid travel to the area just north of downtown Miami, health officials said."
* Afghanistan: "A powerful explosion shook Kabul, the Afghan capital, in the early hours of Monday, and Taliban militants claimed that they had targeted a heavily guarded guesthouse for foreign contractors on the outskirts of the city."
* BLM: "The Movement for Black Lives -- under the catch-all banner of the Black Lives Matter movement -- has put together what it describes as a 'clear vision of the world where black humanity and dignity is the reality.'"
* The latest mass shooting: "A manhunt was underway in Austin after a gunman opened fire on a crowded downtown street as bars were closing Sunday, killing one person and wounding four others, police said."
* Nebraska: "A sex tape scandal has created a political storm in Nebraska. Republican state Sen. Bill Kintner, reported to be one of the most conservative lawmakers in Nebraska and a politician who frequently touts Christian morality, has been accused of keeping and possibly sending a sex video of himself from his state computer, prompting calls for his resignation."
The Republican National Committee headquarters, Sept. 9, 2014. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

RNC 'autopsy' co-author gives up on the Republican Party

08/01/16 04:13PM

Shortly after the 2012 election cycle, Sally Bradshaw, a veteran Republican official and a longtime aide to Jeb Bush and George H.W. Bush, co-authored the Republican National Committee's "autopsy" report, which many in the party ignored, despite its worthwhile recommendations.
This cycle, Bradshaw is the latest Republican to decide she just can't stay in the party any longer. The Atlantic reported this afternoon:
Longtime Republican operative Sally Bradshaw tried to remake the GOP so its candidate would be a shoo-in this November. Now, she's leaving the party entirely.
In an interview with CNN, Bradshaw, a Jeb Bush adviser who helped author the so-called "GOP autopsy" after the Republicans' 2012 defeat, suggested she cannot in good conscience vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, and has re-registered as an Independent.
Bradshaw told CNN, "As much as I don't want another four years of (President Barack) Obama's policies, I can't look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can't tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won't do it."
The longtime Republican added, "If the race in Florida is close, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. That is a very difficult statement for me to make."
This got me thinking about just how many other Republicans have given up on the GOP of late. Bradshaw is a high-profile defection, but is she effectively alone?
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers a speech at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), June 3, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Wong Maye-E/AP)

McCain blasts Trump, but the condemnation comes with a catch

08/01/16 12:41PM

It's safe to say Donald Trump and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have an uneasy relationship. It was almost exactly a year ago that the Republican presidential candidate said of McCain, "He's not a war hero.... He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, okay?"
And yet, the Arizona senator has been consistent, maintaining his support for his party's nominee, no matter how far Trump went. Today, McCain rebuked the Republican presidential hopeful once more, using unusually stark terms.
John McCain rebuked Donald Trump on Monday for his recent comments about Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a slain U.S. soldier, challenging the GOP nominee to "set the example for what our country can and should represent."
"Arizona is watching," Sen. McCain said in a lengthy statement. "It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us."
The entire statement, which is fairly long, is available online here.

It's a rather robust condemnation. "In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier's parents," McCain said of Khizr and Ghazala Khan. "He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States -- to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates."
McCain added, "Lastly, I'd like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We're a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation -- and he will never be forgotten."
It all sounds quite encouraging, right up until one notices what's missing: the part in which McCain withdraws his support for Trump's candidacy. It's the part that doesn't exist.

Monday's Campaign Round-Up, 8.1.16

08/01/16 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Doing his best to keep the Khizr Khan story alive, Donald Trump once again turned to Twitter this morning where he said, "Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same - Nice!" He added soon after, "This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!" (The capitalized letters appeared in the original.)
* Hillary Clinton will make a campaign stop in Omaha, Nebraska, today, likely hoping to pick up its one up-for-grabs electoral vote in the eastern part of the state (then-Sen. Barack Obama won it in 2008, but not 2012). Quoting a local official, the Washington Post reported yesterday that Clinton will be the first Democrat to campaign in in Nebraska during the general election since FDR in 1936.
* On a related note, Warren Buffett will reportedly introduce Clinton at her Omaha event today.
* Speaking of billionaires, Mark Cuban has thrown his support behind Clinton. At an event in Pittsburgh on Friday, the Dallas Mavericks owner and "Shark Tank" investor questioned Trump's mental state.
* Over the weekend, Trump published this unintentionally amusing tweet, "Hillary Clinton should not be given national security briefings in that she is a lose [sic] cannon with extraordinarily bad judgement [sic] & insticts [sic]."
* The Clinton campaign's public statements have caused confusion, but as things stand, it appears Hillary Clinton supports repealing the Hyde Amendment but Tim Kaine does not.
* Some Trump donors reportedly tried to set up a meeting with Charles Koch last week, but he rejected the overture. Soon after, Trump claimed the Koch brothers reached out to him, and he turned them down.
A column of tanks drive from a rebel-territory to Donetsk near the town of Shakhtarsk, eastern Ukraine on Nov. 10, 2014. (Photo by Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty)

Facing foreign-policy test on Ukraine, Trump flunks

08/01/16 11:20AM

When Republican officials were writing the party's national platform, Donald Trump and his campaign team showed no interest in the document's contents -- with one exception.
The Washington Post reported two weeks ago that Team Trump made a special effort to alter the party platform on U.S. policy towards Ukraine. The change brings the Republican platform in line with the wishes of the Russian government, even while contradicting the Republican Party's foreign-policy orthodoxy.
Reporting from the GOP convention, the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza said he'd spoken to a Republican congressman who said the "most under-covered story of convention" is Team Trump's efforts to change the party platform "to be more pro-Putin."
On "This Week" yesterday, George Stephanopoulos asked Trump about what happened.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, why did you soften the GOP platform on Ukraine?
TRUMP: I wasn't involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved--
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your people were.
TRUMP: Yeah. I was not involved in that.
Asked if he understood what his campaign aides did to the platform's language, Trump added, "They softened it, I heard."
Right around the time viewers saw Trump make this acknowledgement, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told "Meet the Press" viewers that "no one" from Team Trump had anything to do with this change to the platform. That's not only in conflict with the Washington Post's report, it seemed to be at odds with what Trump himself said on a different network at the same time.
Given some of Manafort's work in Ukrainian lobbying, some skepticism about his assurances on the subject are probably in order.
And then the story got much worse.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of Russian ambassadors in Moscow, Russia, June 30, 2016. (Photo by Ivan Sekretarev/Pool/Reuters)

Asked about Putin, Trump says, 'What do you call a relationship?'

08/01/16 10:40AM

It's getting a little confusing. In his infamous press conference last week, Donald Trump was asked about his associations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I never met Putin," Trump replied. "I don't know who Putin is."
That's not consistent with what the Republican presidential hopeful has said before. For example, Trump told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts in 2013, "I do have a relationship" with Putin. A year later, Trump said, "I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success."
As recently as late last year, Trump said in reference to Trump, "I got to know him very well."
Yesterday, however, the GOP candidate distanced himself from his own comments. ABC's George Stephanopoulos had this exchange with the GOP candidate yesterday:
TRUMP: [J]ust so you understand, he said very nice things about me. But I have no relationship with him. I don't-- I've never met him--
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet, you said, for three years, '13, '14, and '15, that you did have a relationship with him--
TRUMP: I had-- no, I-- look. What-- what do you call a relationship?
Pressed further, Trump contradicted practically everything he's said in years past, telling Stephanopoulos, "I don't know what it means by having a relationship. I mean, he was saying very good things about me. But I don't have a relationship with him. I didn't meet him. I haven't spent time with him.... I wouldn't know him from Adam except I see his picture, and I would know what he looks like."
This is what it's come down to. Trump has said he does have a relationship with Putin, he doesn't have a relationship with Putin, and he's not entirely sure what constitutes a "relationship."
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, July 29, 2016, in Denver, Colo. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)

Trump picks an unfortunate fight with a fire marshal

08/01/16 10:00AM

Donald Trump has picked all kinds of fights with all kinds of people, but Colorado Springs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey was an unlikely target for the Republican presidential nominee.
And yet, here we are. The Denver Post reported over the weekend that Trump was furious with Lacey because the marshal capped the attendance at a Trump campaign event on Friday.
Criticizing the fire marshal on Friday, Trump said he didn't know what he was doing and was "probably a Democrat."
Lacey, was recently honored by the city as "Civilian of the Year" for his role in helping the wounded at a 2015 mass shooting at a local Planned Parenthood.
Towards the end of his appearance, Trump told supporters, "Now because of your fire marshal, who I am not a fan of, he's probably a Democrat, probably a guy than doesn't get it, I'm going to go into the other room and say hello to people that didn't get your location."
According to the fire marshal, the Trump campaign distributed too many tickets for the venue, and Lacey felt it necessary to look out for public safety. In other words, Lacey was doing his job.
But that's not the funny part of the story. This is the funny part of the story.


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Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.



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