HUFFPOST HILL - Fictional President From 'Independence Day' Having Best Week In Washington

Donald Trump said last week he'd forgive his personal loans to his campaign, but he still hasn't done so, forcing potential campaign contributors to wonder whether they feel like paying for upkeep on that yellow weave. The Pentagon lifted its ban on transgender services members today, provoking immediate furor over which latrines they can use in war zones. And yet another encounter between Bill Clinton and a woman is causing trouble for HIllary. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 30th, 2016:

DEMOCRATS' GUN SIT-IN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS - Scott Wong: "A week after Democrats staged a nearly 26-hour sit-in demanding a vote on gun control measures, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the House will vote next week on legislation to block suspected terrorists from buying guns. In a conference call Thursday, Ryan told rank-and-file Republicans that the House will take up a terrorism package that will include measures to disrupt radicalization and recruitment, as well as a provision to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns, according to a source on the call." [The Hill]

TRUMP MAKES TIMELY COMMENT ON KEY ISSUE - It took three days to come up with this. Three days. Christina Wilkie: "Donald Trump on Thursday responded to a landmark Supreme Court ruling earlier this week on abortion, telling radio host Mike Gallagher that if Trump had been president, the court would have reached a different decision. 'Now if we had — Scalia was living, or if Scalia was replaced by me, you wouldn’t have had that, OK? It would’ve been the opposite,' Trump said of the ruling, which struck down a restrictive Texas abortion law." Except the lawsuit against the abortion rules would've just won 5-4, instead of 5-3. [HuffPost]

THIS IS JUST SUCH CLASSIC CLINTON CRAP - Was Bill Clinton up to something shady? As usual, it looks that way, but who knows? Michael McAuliff: "Democrats suffered heartburn thanks to Bill Clinton Thursday, when they were forced to defend a private meeting between the former president and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, whose Justice Department is investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system." [HuffPost]

No, dummies, Hillary Clinton didn't email Vladimir Putin asking for topless pics.

HECKUVA JOB, CHRIS CHRISTIE! The New Jersey governor apparently is an influential advisor to Donald Trump. Which idea was his, the racist attacks on that judge or saying Ted Cruz's father helped murder JFK? Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman: "Already, Mr. Christie has begun the task of designing a government on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Tapped to lead Mr. Trump’s transition efforts, Mr. Christie has taken a role that some of his allies liken to that of a White House chief of staff, soliciting views on what a potential Trump administration should look like." [NYT]

Trump isn't just a demagogue about trade he's also a massive hypocrite!

MAYBE TIM KAINE ISN'T SO BORING AFTER ALL - Isaac Arnsdorf: "Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine took advantage of the state’s lax gift laws to receive an $18,000 Caribbean vacation, $5,500 in clothes and a trip to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA basketball Final Four during his years as lieutenant governor and governor, according to disclosures he filed." [Politico]

BECAUSE WHO'S MORE RELATABLE THAN A BILLIONAIRE'S SPOILED OFFSPRING? Maybe Eric Trump will butcher an elephant live on TV! Hadas Gold: "According to a source close to Trump’s circle and briefed on the convention plans, all of Trump’s grown children will be speaking at the convention. Though the plans are still in flux, there will be a clear focus on Ivanka, who may have a Wednesday night speaking slot. There are even discussions of having Ivanka introduce Trump when he accepts the nomination on the convention's final night, instead of the tycoon’s wife, Melania." [Politico]

Haircuts: Janie Velencia, Daniel Marans, Bob Tognetti.

DELANEY DOWNER - A rumor that President Barack Obama will give a thousand bucks to everyone on food stamps has circulated so widely that one state government posted an official statement denying it. “This rumor is 100% false,” the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services said on its website this week. The rumor, different versions of which circulated on Facebook, claimed Obama would give $1,000 in nutrition assistance benefits if they called a number on the back of the debit cards used to distribute benefits. The story earned a debunking from Snopes.com, a website that dispels urban legends, email chain letters and fake news stories. Snopes writer Kim LaCapria said the site was inundated with emails last week asking if the rumor was true. [HuffPost]

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SIREN: FRANKING PRIVILEGES CONTESTED - Amanda Terkel: "House Republicans are trying to block their Democratic colleagues from mentioning the gun violence sit-in on social media, arguing that the words 'sit in' or photos with signs calling for an end to gun violence violate rules on official business. Rep. Judy Chu’s (D-Calif.) office ran into problems Thursday when it asked the Franking Commission — the bipartisan body that signs off on communications between lawmakers and constituents — to approve an ad directing people to its Facebook page." [HuffPost]

FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION DEMOCRATS FUEL CONSPIRACY THEORY - Also, the FEC is just plain broken. Callum Borchers: "The drama surrounding that memorable Fox News Republican presidential debate last August just never ends. The event that sparked Donald Trump's fury against Megyn Kelly apparently also riled Democratic members of the Federal Election Commission, who concluded in a vote last month that Fox News broke the law when it loosened qualification criteria to include more candidates, according to the cable channel." [WashPost]

IN FAIRNESS, HE'D RUN OUT OF PODCASTS ON HIS IPHONE - The latest horrible thing Donald Trump allegedly has done is eavesdrop on employees' and guests' phone calls at his gauche Florida estate. Aram Roston: "At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff." [BuzzFeed]

THIS IS NOT NORMAL - The Washington Post is tallying what prominent Republicans plan to vote for Hillary Clinton. Aaron Blake: "While many, many Republicans have declined to embrace Trump's candidacy, a growing but significantly smaller group has gone so far as to express support for Clinton. This list focuses on the latter, and it will be updated in the weeks ahead." [WashPost]

JESSE HELMS IS ROLLING OVER IN GRAVE - Hillary Clinton could win North Carolina because Trump's campaign is a trainwreck. Gabriel Debenedetti: "By announcing Wednesday that the rescheduled event will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, rather than Green Bay, Wisconsin — the original plan several weeks ago — the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign telegraphed that it sees newfound promise in a battleground state that narrowly rejected Obama in 2012." [Politico]

ANTI-TRUMP REPUBLICAN OFFERS LIPSTICK FOR HIS PIG - Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) is a leading GOP voice against Donald Trump, but he has a cunning plan for the veepstakes. Sam Stein: "In an interview with The Huffington Post, Lee said that Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) should be on Trump’s short list, calling the two good choices. Asked about another colleague, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Lee initially balked but then said that he too would help flesh out Trump’s ticket." [HuffPost]

Here's Mike Lee going HAM on Trump last night during some radio show.

IS TRUMP OPPO REALLY EVEN NECESSARY AT THIS POINT? Maggie Haberman and Ashley Parker: "In 2016, [American Bridge] is taking every opportunity to do the same thing with Donald J. Trump. It is maintaining an archive of digital video footage, with 6,500 clips of Mr. Trump speaking or being mentioned, going back to the 1980s, and 17,000 hours of footage over all. It has also compiled more than 5,000 pages of research on the presumptive Republican nominee and has 25 trackers monitoring him." [NYT]

Case in point: This LA Times story about Trump trying to block an Indian casino.

THIS DEFINITELY WILL BE RECEIVED WARMLY BY PEOPLE WITH 'SUPPORT THE TROOPS' BUMPER STICKERS - Jennifer Bendery: "The Pentagon is lifting its ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. armed forces, effective immediately, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday. The new policy means transgender service members may no longer be involuntarily discharged or denied reenlistment based on their gender identity. Those currently on duty who have been keeping their gender identity hidden may now serve openly." [HuffPost]

JERK WHO WAS MEAN TO LGBT PEOPLE AFTER ORLANDO SHOOTINGS LOVES RUBIO - Presidential loser Marco Rubio is thrilled to be supported for reelection to his Florida Senate seat by a bad person who runs a heartless organization. Amanda Terkel: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) picked up the endorsement this week of a conservative leader who has opposed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and railed against the influence of 'homosexual-rights activists.'" [HuffPost]

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AG- OH, I SEE - Sorry, Trump: There may not be enough Americans angry about pressing one for English to elect you president. Ana Swanson: "But now, it seems like America's post-crisis confidence has finally recovered, as the U.S. economy continues to rebound, and China's soaring growth rates have slowed. According to polling data released by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Americans said that the United States is the world's leading power in 2016, up from 38 to 40 percent between 2010 and 2014. And only 34 percent of Americans think China is the world's leading economic power, down from a high of 44 percent in 2013." [WashPost]

IT'S LITERALLY CALLED 'THE KEYSTONE STATE!' Donald Trump is about to prove everything we know about campaigning wrong, or is going to have his ass handed to him on Election Day. Katie Glueck: "Nearly everyone can agree that Donald Trump’s path to the White House goes through Pennsylvania. But local party leaders in some of the state’s most pivotal counties say there’s been almost no outreach from his campaign so far, and there’s scant evidence of any Trump-driven ground organization. What infrastructure is in place lags behind the Democratic coordinated campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton." [Politico]

NO ONE LIKES TRUMP. SAD! Phillip Bump: "As we noted on Wednesday, we should be wary of reading too much into national polls at this point — or, really, ever — but there's one bit of data in the Fox poll that seems particularly important. When Democrats were asked whether they preferred Clinton as their party's nominee or Bernie Sanders, Clinton was preferred by 21 points. When Republicans were asked if they wanted Trump or 'someone else' — a majority picked someone else." [WashPost]

There's more where that came from. Take the U.S. Senate, for instance.

OOPS - Some geniuses at U.S. Joint Base Andrews in Maryland scared the hell out of everyone this morning, but it turned out to be a false alarm. Andy Campbell: "The military base was holding active shooter training, but authorities scrambled after reports of a 'real-world' active shooter situation. Police found no evidence of an active gunman, the base reported on Twitter. [HuffPost]

THE DAY THE CLOWN SCAMPERED - British voters (outside of Uxbridge and South Ruislip) won't have Boris Johnson to kick around anymore. Or is it the other way around? Paul Waugh: "Boris had kept out the usual jokes from his speech, but then said he had a 'punchline'. When he uttered the fateful words, his voice cracked under the emotion. Referring to the prospect of becoming Prime Minister in a post-Brexit Britain, he said 'having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament… I have concluded that person cannot be me.…'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Jason Pierre-Paul made a fireworks safety video. Be safe, people!

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS CAUGHT WITH DRUG MONEY - Har Har, Ryan Grim reports: "Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a high-profile supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, has been caught on video with $70,000 in drug money. The footage, provided exclusively to The Huffington Post, also captures Rep. Earl Blumenauer, another Oregon Democrat, as well as a prominent local businessman, Tyson Haworth. The video, however, was not a sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration or FBI. Instead, it’s an effort to highlight a gaping and dangerous hole in national cannabis policy, if such a thing even exists…. The most glaring danger, highlighted by the video, is that $70,000 in cash sitting on the table in front of Merkley, Haworth and Blumenauer. It’s money that Haworth owes in local taxes, but he can’t cut a check, because banks can’t legally work with drug dealers."  [HuffPost]


- Good news for double-nerds: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has restored its big model of the original Starship Enterprise.

- Bad news for people who don't like being eaten by huge snakes: There's one loose in a park in Maine.

- The evil weirdos behind the original, creepy talking doll Furby have brought it back, only now it's connected to the internet to make even more unnerving.


@theferocity: OMG, you can ask for a Lexus SUV to take you wherever you want from #AspenIdeas into town! That's it. I'm selling out. Fuck the struggle.

@JenKirkman: Until further notice, yes, everyone is sexist.

@robdelaney: People are mad online about a thing! I will be mad about it online too and people will want to have sex with me!

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