POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Trump Finally Finds Group Of White People Who Don't Like Him

Donald Trump says he may not assume the presidency if he wins this November, but it’s unclear whether his running mate, a novelty Don King Chia Pet someone gave him in the ‘80s, would accept the challenge. A spokesman for Ben Sasse said the 2016 election is a dumpster fire and also that Sasse would be skipping the RNC to watch a dumpster fire ― which is it, Ben Sasse? Do you associate with dumpster fires or not? And Bernie Sanders will endorse Hillary Clinton next week, having exhausted most of his political capital by withholding his endorsement. That said, if he plays his cards right, Hillary might, MIGHT appoint a transportation secretary whose deputy communications director once attended a New Organizing Institute bootcamp. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 7th, 2016:

OUR NATIONAL POLICY OF MURDERING BLACK PEOPLE PERHAPS SHOULD BE CHANGED - Jen Bendery: “Five hours into a hearing with FBI director James Comey about Hillary Clinton’s emails, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) changed the subject to something a bit more important: black people being killed by police officers. Cummings, who is black, all but begged Comey to do something to help break the pattern of unarmed black people being killed by police. Just this week, Alton Sterling was shot dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while selling CDs outside of a convenience store, and Philando Castile was shot and killed near St. Paul, Minnesota, after being pulled over for a busted tail light. ‘Mr. Director, if you do nothing else in your 2,000-plus days left, you have to go help us get a hold of this issue,” Cummings said. “It is so painful. I can’t even begin to tell you.” [HuffPost]

Check out this picture of John Boehner sitting on the House floor. Sad!

SANDERS TO ENDORSE CLINTON NEXT WEEK - Looks like the debt-free college thing did the trick . . . that or the near-continuous denunciation from his colleagues. Ken Thomas: “The Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns are discussing a potential event next week in New Hampshire, during which the Vermont senator would endorse Clinton’s White House bid. A Democrat familiar with the plans said Wednesday if the two sides continue to make progress, Clinton and Sanders would appear at the joint event Tuesday in New Hampshire. The Democrat spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the plans. Clinton and Sanders officials declined comment on the possible rally, which was first reported by NBC News.” [AP]

COMEY TESTIFIES  - Mike McAuliff: “FBI Director James Comey on Thursday defended his decision to forgo a criminal case against Hillary Clinton, telling an angry congressional committee that the former secretary of state’s handling of her email system simply doesn’t merit prosecution...Comey stood by his statement that the FBI’s investigation was wholly unpolitical and based entirely on the facts, but said that he understood why people might question the decision. He said the choice not to prosecute boiled down to two things: what Clinton knew about what she was doing, and what she intended. He noted that while someone could be prosecuted under espionage law for ‘gross negligence’ in handling classified material, it had only happened once in 100 years. And in this case, he repeated, Clinton’s actions did not rise to a prosecutable level. ‘My conclusion was and remains that no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case,’ Comey said.” [HuffPost]

He also dismantled the David Petraeus argument: “Clinton used a private email server for some of her official business as secretary of state, [Comey said],which may have compromised sensitive information. By contrast, Petraeus, who resigned in disgrace from the CIA in 2012, knowingly shared classified information ― war strategies, intelligence capabilities, conversations with President Barack Obama ― with Paula Broadwell, his lover and biographer. ‘The Petraeus case, to my mind, illustrates perfectly the kind of cases the Department of Justice is willing to prosecute,’ Comey said. Petraeus initially lied to the FBI about his violations, but then confessed to them as part of a plea agreement.” [HuffPost’s Jen Bendery]

DELANEY DOWNER - Sandra E. Black, Jason Furman, Emma Rackstraw and Nirupama Rao with some economic sadness: “The share of men between the ages of 25 and 54 either working or actively seeking work—the prime-age male labour force participation rate—has been falling for more than 60 years in the US—from a peak of 98% in the 1950s to 88% today… Very little of the decline in the participation rate can be accounted for by improvements in options outside the labour market and related reductions in labour supply. These men are not increasingly relying on a spouse’s income or government income, nor are they increasingly engaged in caregiving. Instead, the evidence is consistent with reduced labour market opportunities for lower-skilled workers, a factor that is also consistent with the decline in relative wages of lower-skilled workers. Though this demand shift has happened in other OECD economies, the consequences for participation have been larger in the US, suggesting that the relative lack of support provided by US institutions has played a role.” [voxeu.org]

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TRUMP MEETS WITH HILL REPUBLICANS, THINGS DON’T GO WELL - Donald Trump’s stint atop the Republican Party is beginning to remind us of Gob’s stint atop The Bluth Company.  Sean Sullivan and Philip Rucker: “Trump’s most tense exchange was with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been vocal in his concerns about the business mogul’s candidacy, especially his rhetoric and policies on immigration that the senator has argued alienate many Latino and other voters in Arizona. Flake stood up at the meeting and introduced himself to which Trump said: ‘You’ve been very critical of me.’ ‘Yes, I’m the other senator from Arizona – the one who didn’t get captured – and I want to talk to you about statements like that,’ Flake responded, according to two Republican officials. Flake was referencing Trump’s comments last summer about the Vietnam war service of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Flake told Trump that he wants to be able to support him – ‘I’m not part of the Never Trump movement,’ the senator said – but that he remains uncomfortable backing him, the officials said. Trump said at the meeting that he has yet to attack Flake hard, but threatened to begin doing so.” [WaPo] 

Also, this: “Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) left the meeting worried about Trump’s grasp on the basics of the Constitution. At a lunch with reporters afterward, he recalled that the candidate did not seem to know what he was promising to defend. ‘I wasn’t particularly impressed,’ said Sanford. ‘It was the normal stream of consciousness that’s long on hyperbole and short on facts. At one point, somebody asked about Article I powers: What will you do to protect them? I think his response was, ‘I want to protect Article I, Article II, Article XII,’ going down the list. There is no Article XII.’” [Ibid.] 

This was never going to be a good time: “Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told reporters he had ‘a longstanding appointment downtown.’ Another member said he had to be at the doctor’s office and couldn’t make it. A third said he had a ‘breakfast meeting.’ The member — who asked not to be named — then pulled out his schedule for Thursday morning. When he saw that there wasn’t any event on his schedule, the member took out a pen and wrote ‘Breakfast meeting’ on it. ‘See, I have one!’ he joked.” [Politico’s Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan] 

@nielslesniewski: Republican senators emerge from a back alley behind a gas station after meeting with @realDonaldTrump 

DONALD TRUMP MAYBE DOESN’T WANT TO BE PRESIDENT -  Jason Horowitz: “The traditional goal of a presidential nominee is to win the presidency and then serve as president. Donald J. Trump is not a traditional candidate for president. Presented in a recent interview with a scenario, floating around the political ether, in which the presumptive Republican nominee proves all the naysayers wrong, beats Hillary Clinton and wins the presidency, only to forgo the office as the ultimate walk-off winner, Mr. Trump flashed a mischievous smile. ‘I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it happens,’ he said, minutes before leaving his Trump Tower office to fly to a campaign rally in New Hampshire. It is, of course, entirely possible that Mr. Trump is playing coy to earn more news coverage. But the notion of the intensely competitive Mr. Trump’s being more interested in winning the presidency than serving as president is not exactly a foreign concept to close observers of this presidential race.” [NYT] 

SHOW TRIAL FANS: GET YER POPCORN - Julian Hattem: “A total of five congressional committees will either hold hearings with high-profile law enforcement officials over the next week or have already begun inquiries to the FBI about its investigation of the former secretary of State. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called for Clinton to be barred from the intelligence briefings typically given to presidential nominees and said that State Department officials should be subjected to administrative penalties for support of the former secretary’s use of a private email server. Senate GOP leaders, meanwhile, are pushing for the FBI to release the transcript of its 3.5-hour interview with Clinton over the July Fourth weekend. Congress has just a few days left before it skips town for the presidential nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and Republicans are giving signals that they intend to spend much of that time hammering home their criticism that the presumptive Democratic nominee is deceitful and has endangered national security.” [The Hill] 

BEN SASSE HAVING IT BOTH WAYS ON MERITS OF DUMPSTER FIRES - Sasse spokesman James Wegmann told HuffPost’s Matt Fuller that the election “remains a dumpster fire,” but Wegmann told The Hill that his boss “will not be attending the convention and will instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners.” Hypocrisy alert.

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a jerk cat.

THE NEXT BRITISH PRIME MINISTER WILL BE A WOMAN - Krishnadev Calamur, Matt Ford and Kathy Gilsinan: “Either Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom will become the first woman since Margaret Thatcher in 1979 to assume that post. May, the home secretary who campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the EU, won the Thursday second round of voting in the Conservative leadership race. Leadsom, the energy minister who supported Brexit, finished second; Michael Gove, the justice secretary who also supported leaving, finished last and was eliminated. Theresa May, the home secretary who campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the EU, won the first round of voting in the Conservative leadership race. Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister who supported Brexit, finished second, followed by Michael Gove, the justice secretary who also supported leaving. Liam Fox, the former defense secretary, finished last, and was eliminated from the race. Stephen Crabb, who got the second-fewest votes, dropped out and backed May. The BBC adds: ‘Further voting will narrow the field to two. The eventual outcome, decided by party members, is due on 9 September.’” [The Atlantic]

COMFORT FOOD

- How “Ghostbusters” went from script to screen.

- It’s hard being a supervillain with impeccable timing.

- Why Hollywood is addicted to godawful sequels.

TWITTERAMA 

@emmaroller: Awkward RNC pitch: “the ethnic energy and international connections bolstering Cleveland and many of its neighborhoods will become evident.”

TRUMP: will you speak in Cleveland?

CRUZ: maybe... what’s in it for me?

TRUMP: [pulls off sheet covering 500 cans of soup]

CRUZ: I’m in

@LOLGOP: Trump is vetting Christie just to have more insults to shout at him when his seat isn’t warm enough.

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