POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Opponent Bad, Hillary Clinton Says In Bold Political Gambit

The House of Representatives voted to take down Confederate flags from veterans cemeteries, though it approved an amendment to allow Bo and Luke Duke to keep the symbol on their car. Republicans in Congress went all out to make sure it's still legal to hassle LGBTQ people, in case you were still wondering how Donald Trump won over GOP voters. And Paul Manafort tried to soothe House Freedom Caucus concerns that Trump's not conservative, presumably telling them to ignore things Trump says and does and focus instead on this flickering candle as he turned down the lights. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, May 19th, 2016:

OOPS! - Christina Wilkie: "A Donald Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention has been indicted in Maryland on federal charges that include using a minor to make child pornography, illegal possession of a machine gun and illegal transport of explosives. Caleb Andrew Bailey, 30, from Waldorf, Maryland, was indicted late Wednesday, according to a release from the Department of Justice. Bailey is listed by the Maryland Secretary of State as a delegate who will vote for Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Trump won the Maryland Republican primary in late April with 54 percent of the vote statewide. Bailey was selected at the same time." [HuffPost]

'FROM THE MAN WHO BROUGHT YOU SARAH PALIN' - Does that phrase inspire confidence? Also, "A.B. Culvahouse Jr." sounds like a fake name. Kevin Cirilli and Jennifer Jacobs: "Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has tapped lawyer A.B. Culvahouse Jr., a longtime Washington fixture, to help vet his potential running mates, according to people familiar with the campaign. The role for Culvahouse, who visited Trump Tower in Manhattan earlier Wednesday for a meeting with Trump's aides, is a familiar one. He ran the vetting process for Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 that ultimately selected Sarah Palin." Heckuva a job, Culvie! [Bloomberg]

HOUSE AFFIRMS GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO BE A JERK - One of the many awful national arguments going on right now is over whether it's lawful to be terrible and cruel to LGBT people. No doubting what side House Republicans are on! Jennifer Bendery: "During debate on a military spending bill, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to nullify a provision in a separate bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, that the House passed late Wednesday. The provision opens the door to government contractors citing religious liberty as grounds for firing or harassing employees who are LGBT….As the votes came in, it became clear Maloney had the support to pass his amendment. The clock ran out and the tally was 217-206….But the vote isn’t official until the gavel comes down, and the Republican lawmaker in the speaker’s chair held the vote open for several more minutes -- a sign that GOP leaders were working on flipping some of their members from yes to no." [HuffPost]

Expect more of this awful nonsense in the coming months.

HOUSE GOP DOES ODDLY UN-RACIST THING - Yay! Matt Fuller: "In a sign of just how quickly things can change on Capitol Hill, the House adopted an amendment on Thursday to remove Confederate flags from cemeteries run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Less than a year ago, it was a Confederate flag amendment that derailed the entire appropriations process in the House, with Republicans unwilling to vote on a proposal to remove even one Confederate flag image -- found on the Mississippi state flag -- from one hallway in the Capitol." [HuffPost]

HuffPost's Ryan J. Reilly won't be getting that all-expenses-paid junket to the St. Louis County Jail after all. Better luck next time!

DELANEY DOWNER - Roberto Acosta: "Leaders of a north side church are puzzled after five-gallon jugs of water being distributed to city residents have been set on fire on multiple times. First Lady at the Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ Sandra Jones was moving pallets of water for distribution Wednesday, May 18 from a holding area behind the North Dort Highway building when she caught a whiff of burning cardboard and noticed some flames. 'Then the fire just started blazing... I just started pouring water on it and calling for help,' she said. 'By the time they got back there was another one that was on fire and then there was another one around the corner that was on fire. I'm like this is just crazy.'" [mlive.com]

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PERSON MAKES OBVIOUS STATEMENT - Hillary Clinton does not think Donald Trump should be president, which is handy for her because she wants to be president instead. Nolan D. McCaskill: "'I know how hard this job is, and I know that we need steadiness as well as strength and smarts in it, and I have concluded he is not qualified to be president of the United States,' Clinton told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in an interview Thursday." [Politico]

TAKE THAT, PUERTO RICAN WORKERS! House Republicans finally agreed to a plan to prevent Puerto Rico from utterly collapsing -- which makes them sad -- but they also made sure young workers there get paid less -- which makes them happy. Nicole Duran: "The White House welcomed compromise legislation drafted in the House Wednesday night to help Puerto Rico address its debt crisis but took issue with some provisions, including one that would allow companies to pay less than the federal minimum wage." [Washington Examiner]

Speaking of being mean, here's Norman Bates lookalike Tom Cotton -- a.k.a. a Republican senator from Arkansas -- doing a callback to the '80s and '90s by saying enough people aren't in prison. Classic!

DONALD TRUMP IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY NOW - And vice versa. Kyle Cheney: "Donald Trump’s Republican doubters like to think of him as an aberration, a one-time dalliance with a candidate who, once he’s defeated this fall, will be swept off the stage, leaving the GOP back in their rightful hands. They’re already wrong: Even if Trump never sets foot in the White House, his stamp on the Republican Party will linger long past 2016." [Politico]

EVEN BLACK REPUBLICANS GETTING OK WITH TRUMP - Darren Sands: "A group of top black Republicans is moving quickly to coalesce around Donald Trump — despite initial reservations about the presumptive nominee. In Washington, party officials are already working to address black conservatives’ concerns and attempt to put Trump in front of black audiences this year. The message from the RNC is sunnier than most public polling: Trump, the line goes, could win 15 to 20% of the black vote in November." [Buzzfeed]

This is the same Donald Trump who wanted an actual race war on his TV show.

TRUMP ADVISER TALKS, UH, POLICY WITH CONSERVATIVES - Tarini Parti: "In a closed-door meeting, Paul Manafort 'alleviated a lot of concerns' raised by House Freedom Caucus’ board members, said Tennessee GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Trump endorser who set up the meeting. Conservatives have been skeptical of Trump, given his past support for liberal positions and contributions to Democrats." [Buzzfeed]

READ HUFFPOST'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH EX-POTUS GEORGE WASHINGTON - Tyler Kingkade: "Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, probably wouldn’t have gotten along with our Founding Fathers. This is especially obvious when you compare George Washington’s writings about religious freedom and Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the country." [HuffPost]

The Oklahoma legislature is trying to make performing abortions is felony, because why not waste everyone's time with a law that's obviously unconstitutional?

GRR ANGRY SANDERS VOTERS ARE ANGRY -The 2016 election is a comments section come to life. David Weigel: "Sanders supporters are crying 'fraud' over delegate selection and threatening to sit out the election. They have promised to press their case to the convention floor. It happened in 2008, in the final throes of Clinton’s failed bid against Barack Obama. What remains unclear is whether this year’s divisions will go deeper or longer." [WashPost]

Clinton allies are trying to let down Sanders gently, and also to get rid of him finally.

MARCO RUBIO IS THE TIM TEBOW OF POLITICS - Both are overrated, and both achieved inexplicable success followed by predictable failure. So this isn't that surprising. Blair Guild: "Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, a native Floridian who has represented the Sunshine State in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall for years, will soon be replaced. On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted a suggestion for Smith’s replacement: Tim Tebow." [HuffPost]

LIBERTARIAN VEEP HOPEFUL RE-PROVES GODWIN'S LAW - Does this save Hillary Clinton the trouble of calling Donald Trump a Nazi? Maybe! Maggie Haberman and Thomas Kaplan: "William F. Weld, the twice-elected former Republican governor of Massachusetts, who was last seen campaigning in the 2006 Republican primary for governor of New York, now hopes to be on a national ticket as the vice-presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party….In his first interview since accepting an invitation to be the running mate of former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, Mr. Weld assailed Donald J. Trump over his call to round up and deport the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. 'I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear that, honest,' Mr. Weld said Thursday." [NYT]

And libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson wants everyone to stop worrying that he has any money to spend on his campaign.

DID CONGRESS JUST DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR US? - It seems like it, which is super-weird. Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears: "The improbable deal, which both sides have pursued since President Obama first took office, gives the EPA the power to require companies to provide health and safety data for untested chemicals and to prevent substances from reaching the market if they have not been determined to be safe. Under current law, the agency must prove a chemical poses a potential risk before it can demand data or require testing, and these substances can automatically enter the marketplace after 90 days." [WashPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - The NFL is paying back the government for sponsoring military stuff at games.

VETS GET MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACCESS FINALLY - Department of Veterans Affairs doctors aren't allowed to suggest cannabis as a treatment for patients with PTSD and other ailments, but Congress just took a big step toward changing that. Mollie Reilly: "The Veterans Equal Access Amendment, introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, effectively strikes down a Department of Veterans Affairs restriction on its doctors recommending medical marijuana as treatment for veterans experiencing pain, PTSD or other conditions. Under current regulations, veterans had to seek these recommendations outside of the VA system and pay out of pocket for the related expenses." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Weird Canadians go all the way to California to get married in front of a whole mess of cats.

- Cool old photos of Mount St. Helens blowing up.

- This optical illusion is dumb but whatever.

TWITTERAMA

@KirkCousins8: Today the @Creed Greatest Hits album was played during the team lift. Today was a good day.

@JanieVelencia: Has anyone come up with coffee delivery yet in our new on-demand service economy?

@aedwardslevy: we'll call it CoffeeGrindr

@LoganDobson: polls are noisy, which is why i always used to put a note at the top of my questionnaire scripts instructing the callers to whisper

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