POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - President Forced To Tap Strategic Umbrage Reserve In Wake Of Trump's Comments

A great council of thinkfluencers was convened to decide which metaphor people should divine when writing about the suction cup guy ascending Trump Tower. Mike Pence has a higher approval rating than Tim Kaine, but, then again, Tim Kaine is isn’t your *REAL* dad. And Ted Strickland earned scorn for saying Antonin Scalia’s death was well-timed, not remembering that people only forget inappropriate comments about Antonin Scalia’s death if they involve murder conspiracies. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, August 10th, 2016:

BRIDGEGATE BACK - Time for some more traffic problems in Chris Christie’s bid to be attorney general. Ted Mann:  “A top aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie privately told a colleague in late 2013 that the governor had lied to reporters when he said none of his senior staff or campaign manager had any knowledge of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, according to court papers filed early Wednesday. In the filings in U.S. District Court in Newark, lawyers for a defendant in the lane closure trial scheduled for September disclosed a text exchange between two Christie staffers, Christina Renna and Peter Sheridan, during a December 2013 news conference, at which the governor said he had been assured that his administration and campaign had no knowledge of the closures. ‘Are you listening?’ Ms. Renna texted Mr. Sheridan, according to the filing. ‘He just flat out lied about senior staff and [campaign manager Bill] Stepien not being involved.’” [WSJ]

The DEA says it’s making an important announcement tomorrow about marijuana, and presumably it’s that “fake weed = zombie.”  

GUY WHO GASPED AT TRUMP’S ‘2ND AMENDMENT’ COMMENT TOTALLY COOL WITH IT - CNN found the guy, who’s named Darrell Vickers, and he was shocked that Trump talked about people killing Hillary Clinton only because it was politically disadvantageous: “’We would have taken Mr. Trump to the shed and said, ‘Don’t say things like that because people will misconstrue it.’ But it was clear to my mind, and to the people around me, that he was trying to make a joke; and, unfortunately, people like some of the media ― for instance, like, Huffington Post ― will take that and screw that up and distort it.’” [Daily Beast]

TRUMP COOL WITH IT, TOO - Christina Wilkie: “Trump said he didn’t mean to suggest any harm. The real villains, he said on Fox News, were the media. ‘I have to say, in terms of politics, there is few things, and I happen to think that if [the media] did even bring this up, I think it’s a good thing for me,’ Trump told Sean Hannity. ‘Because it’s going to tell people more about me with respect to the Second Amendment ... because Hillary Clinton wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment.’” [HuffPost]

This claim about Hillary Clinton is not true, by the way.

SECRET SERVICE NOT SO COOL WITH IT - Tami Luhby and Jim Sciutto: “A US Secret Service official confirms to CNN that the USSS has spoken to the Trump campaign regarding his Second Amendment comments. ‘There has been more than one conversation’ on the topic, the official told CNN. The campaign told USSS Donald Trump did not intend to incite violence. ‘No such meeting or conversation ever happened,’ Trump tweeted in response to CNN’s report.” Whatever. [CNN]

FEDERAL LAW PROBABLY COOL WITH IT - Jason Linkins reports that “there is actually a federal statute against publicly inducing these kinds of oblique threats called ‘18 U.S.C. § 879 : US Code - Section 879,’ which you might know by its street name, ‘Threats against former Presidents and certain other persons.’...Fortunately for Trump, some relevant legal decisions play in his favor, most notably 1969’s Brandenberg v. Ohio. In that case, an Ohio-based Ku Klux Klan leader named Clarence Brandenberg was charged and convicted under Ohio’s criminal syndicalism statute for making violent threats in a public speech. The Supreme Court, however, reversed the conviction on the grounds that abstractly made threats were protected under the First Amendment, and that inflammatory speech could only be punished if it could be reasonably considered a call to ‘imminent lawless action.’” [HuffPost]  

Take that, Gyrocopter guy: “A man is trying to scale the all-glass face of Trump Tower in New York City using suction cups. A video recorded by a bystander and streamed online Wednesday shows police observing the man from an outdoor terrace. A police spokeswoman says officers responded to Donald Trump’s namesake skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan but had no further information. The 58-story building is headquarters to the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign. He also lives there.” [AP]

DELANEY DOWNER - Here are some lowlights from the Justice Department’s evaluation of the Baltimore Police Department, courtesy Julia Craven and Ryan Reilly: “A woman with a broken headlight was publicly strip-searched… An officer harassed a mother and her son outside their home, ultimately arresting the juvenile for ‘loitering.’ … The Justice Department found that officers had been accused more than 60 times of using the word ‘n****r,’ but the Baltimore Police Department didn’t classify the language as a racial slur…. Baltimore officers themselves described stopping people without evidence of wrongdoing and detaining them.” [HuffPost]

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THAT TIME TRUMP WAS LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO TELL THE TRUTH - He lied at least 30 times. David A. Fahrenthold and Robert O’Harrow Jr.:  “It was a mid-December morning in 2007 — the start of an interrogation unlike anything else in the public record of Trump’s life. Trump had brought it on himself. He had sued a reporter, accusing him of being reckless and dishonest in a book that raised questions about Trump’s net worth. The reporter’s attorneys turned the tables and brought Trump in for a deposition. For two straight days, they asked Trump question after question that touched on the same theme: Trump’s honesty. The lawyers confronted the mogul with his past statements — and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented. The lawyers were relentless. Trump, the bigger-than-life mogul, was vulnerable — cornered, out-prepared and under oath. Thirty times, they caught him.” [WaPo]

You should check out our former colleague and current Guardian politics reporter Sabrina Siddiqui’s new podcast: “Politics for Humans.”

ODD BEDFELLOWS: TRUMP AND HERITAGE FOUNDATION - Matt Fuller: “[F]or the Heritage Foundation ― and its cousin political operation, Heritage Action for America, which can more actively engage in political activities ― Donald Trump presents a rare opportunity: a politician without policies. The thought seems to be that Trump, in the absence of having real, intractable ideas himself, will just defer to the ideas of groups like Heritage. And the thing is: Heritage might be right. Trump has shown some willingness to take the outside conservative group’s suggestions. On Monday, during his much-ballyhooed economic speech in Detroit, Trump name-checked Heritage in citing some energy statistics, suggesting that at least someone on his team is reading those policy papers Heritage so neatly binds in spiral coil. Far more significantly, in May, Trump took Heritage’s list of eight suggested Supreme Court justices and put five of them on his list of 11 potential replacements.” [HuffPost]

IT ALWAYS TAKES TIME TO GET USED TO YOUR STEPDAD - “Republican vice presidential pick Mike Pence is gaining more popularity than his democratic counterpart, Tim Kaine, in the wake of the party conventions, according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday. Pence’s favorable rating has reached 36 percent among adults, an 18-point jump from a July Gallup poll conducted prior to the Republican National Convention. Kaine, however, has struggled to pick up as much momentum from the Democratic Convention. His image has improved by just 9 points since before the convention, placing his favorable rating at 33 percent, according to Gallup.  As both candidates have become better known, impressions of Pence have been more positive than those of Kaine. Kaine’s unfavorable rating is 30 percent, making his net rating only +3. Pence’s unfavorability is lower, at 25 percent, giving him a net rating of +11.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP IN FOURTH AMONG BLACK VOTERS - “Trump is polling worse among black voters than almost every single Republican presidential nominee since 1948 in polls taken between the party conventions and Election Day. Trump is currently in fourth place among black voters. You read that correctly: He’s trailing Hillary Clinton, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. Any one national poll typically has only about 100 African-American respondents — too small a sample to make much of the results. So here’s an average of the four live-interview surveys taken since the conventions, from ABC News/Washington Post, Fox News, Marist, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal.” [FiveThirtyEight]

RNC EMPTYING OUT - It’s makes Sheila Jackson Lee’s office look like a bastion of stability. Daniel Lippman: “In total, at least 11 staffers have left the RNC since March, although not all of the departures were related to Trump...In interviews, others cited familiar reasons for their resistance to the nominee – that they couldn’t work to help elect a man they thought was not qualified to be president; that Trump’s insensitive statements turned them against him; that he wasn’t conservative enough. Some also said they worried about the stain that working to elect Trump could have on their resume.”  [Politico]

TED STRICKLAND IS A BAD POLITICIAN - Between him and Katie McGinty, No Labels is going to have a pretty deep bench next January. Tami Luhby:  Ted Strickland, the former Ohio governor who is challenging Senator Rob Portman in a closely-watched race, apologized for saying Justice Antonin Scalia’s death happened at a good time. Speaking at an AFL-CIO event in Ohio Monday, the Democratic candidate noted the importance of which party controls the White House and Senate next year. ‘...The death of Scalia saved labor from a terrible decision,’ he said, according to a recording issued by the NTK Network, which calls itself a news aggregation site. ‘And I don’t wish anyone ill, but it happened at a good time. Because once that decision had been made, it would have been tough to reverse it.’” [CNN]

FANTASY SPORTS UNDER SCRUTINY IN STATEHOUSES - You know, that thing your cousin who dropped out of school spends all his time doing. Reid Wilson: “State legislators across the country are preparing for a nationwide battle over the booming and largely unregulated daily fantasy sports industry. The high-stakes fight pits established gambling interests against a nascent industry that counts about 1 in 6 Americans as players. More than half of the nation’s state legislatures are set to debate measures to codify the existence of daily and weekly fantasy sports sites, which could provide a lucrative new revenue stream for cash-strapped governments...The companies operate within a gray area of federal law: Sports betting remains illegal in all but four states under the 1992 Bradley Act, while the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act specifically exempted fantasy sports from a national ban on financial transactions involving online gaming.” [The Hill]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are a bunch of olympic athletes with puppies.

CREEPY THING CRAWLING ALL OVER WASHINGTON’S MONUMENTS - And it’s not just tourists’ disgusting children. Michael E. Ruane: “ It’s biofilm — a microbial invasion of uncertain origin that has begrimed the stone surface of one of the nation’s most hallowed monuments. Part algae, part bacteria, part fungi, the biofilm won’t eat your flesh, like the gooey Blob in the 1958 horror film, as a National Park Service spokesman remarked. But it’s not clear if it’s munching on the stone. And it can’t be killed. It has given the elegant white memorial on Washington’s Tidal Basin a dingy look, and, Blob-like, it is growing. ..’We don’t even know the who, what, when, where, why,’ said Judy Jacob, senior conservator with the Park Service’s Historic Architecture, Conservation, and Engineering Center in New York. ‘We’re just starting to understand what it is, and its relationship to stone,’ she said in an interview Monday.” [WaPo]

COMFORT FOOD

- Bon Appetit named Washington its “restaurant city of the year.”  

- A webapp that will generate a meme or GIF from any episode of “Futurama.”

- Austin car dealership helpfully reminds new generation that car dealers are awful.

TWITTERAMA

@jenvalentino: Henceforth I am referring to all journalists as First Amendment people. Be warned.

@SenScottBrown: Made it to Omaha for my triathlon, but @SouthwestAir lost my bike. Unreal. No clue where it is. Hopefully will get soon. Ugh.

@dceiver: imagine how an 18 year old feels about the geezers who voted to ensure they couldn’t discharge their student loans thru bankruptcy

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