HUFFPOST HILL - Donald Trump: I'm A Loser

Ted Cruz called an upcoming vote to repeal Obamacare "meaningless political theater" -- making it totally different from that time he shut down the federal government in a failed attempt to repeal Obamacare, because that actually resulted in $24 billion worth of economic losses. The New York Times did a story about Hillary Clinton's weird email server, prompting conservatives to complain that the mainstream media is soft on Hillary Clinton's weird email server. And Donald Trump confessed that he has "thin skin," which is surprising because we thought he had thick, mottled skin that is constantly covered in pancake makeup. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, July 24th, 2015:

HILLARY CLINTON'S ENDLESS EMAIL DRAMA - Maybe the Times boofed its story, but why oh why did Clinton have her own email server? Gah. Sam Levine: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said that there had been 'a lot of inaccuracies' surrounding a New York Times report that the inspectors general at the State Department had asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal probe into whether emails with classified information had been mishandled in relation to the personal account she used while secretary of state. Clinton pointed to comments by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the Select Committee on Benghazi, who said on Friday that the IG had personally told him he did not request a criminal probe. A Justice Department official said in a statement Friday morning that 'the Department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. It is not a criminal referral.'" [HuffPost]

ALL EYES ON THE HIGHWAY BILL - Jen Bendery: "The Senate inched forward Friday on a $45 billion, three-year bill to fund the nation's highways, bridges and roads -- one week before all funding runs out. Senators voted 51-26 on a procedural motion that puts the bill one step closer to final passage. The Highway Trust Fund runs out of money on July 31, which would cause construction on transportation projects across the country to grind to a halt. In an effort to expedite the bill's passage, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday he will only allow two amendments to the bill: one on repealing the Affordable Care Act, to appease Republicans, and one on extending reauthorization of the Export-Import bank, to appease Democrats. McConnell is also expected to bring the Senate into session on Sunday to pass the bill." [HuffPost]

CRUZ GOES CRAZY - Last week, Cruz declined "to go into the gutter with personal attacks impugning character" when asked about Donald Trump. Today, Cruz did some major impugning, Sam Levine reports: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of lying and railed against the Kentucky senator's leadership during a fiery speech on the Senate floor Friday morning. Cruz, who is running for president, was angry that McConnell will not allow senators to attach amendments to a highway funding bill -- even though McConnell indicated in January that he would allow an open amendments process as majority leader. McConnell said on Friday that he will only allow two amendments on the bill: one to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and one to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which guarantees loans for those who purchase American exports and is an institution that Cruz strongly opposes. The bank's authority expired on June 30. The Texas senator said that McConnell had previously told him that no deal had been struck to reauthorize the bank when the Senate was considering the Iran Review Act and whether to grant President Barack Obama Trade Promotion Authority. 'I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie,' Cruz said." Take note: that's how to call someone a liar while giving yourself a veneer of deniability that you called someone a liar. [HuffPost]

Cruz was mad McConnell had "filled the tree," a parliamentary trick for preventing amendments. Here's what it actually looks like:

DONALD TRUMP: I HAVE FEELINGS, TOO, YOU KNOW - The Donald says he has thin skin, despite the appearance of rough, scaly armor you see on TV. Jacob Kerr: "As soon as Trump called in for his interview, he scolded co-host Joe Scarborough for not mentioning him in an earlier segment about which candidates could beat the latest entry into the large Republican presidential field, Ohio Gov. John Kasich…. Later in the segment, Scarborough, who could hardly keep a straight face during the exchange, again asked Trump if he was 'that thin-skinned.' 'Yes, oh, I'm thin-skinned,' Trump replied." [HuffPost]

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WHEN PIGS FLY - Laura Barron-Lopez: "The government has launched a price-gouging investigation into five airlines that allegedly increased airfare after an Amtrak crash in Philadelphia halted rail service in May, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a breakfast Friday. The Department of Transportation sent letters to five airlines -- Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, American and United -- requesting information on pricing for air travel through the Northeast Corridor, Foxx told reporters. Foxx said the investigation will 'begin the process of uncovering whether in fact airlines drove up prices in direct response' to the May 12 incident." [HuffPost]

@JohnJHarwood had a great tweet today.

CONGRATS, RICK PERRY -- YOU’RE HALFWAY THERE! - The bespectacled Texan is only maybe guilty of committing one felony, not two, from allegedly abusing his power as governor, a state appeals court ruled Friday. "Critics of Mr. Perry argue that he overstepped his authority following the 2013 arrest of Rosemary Lehmberg, the district attorney in Travis County, who is a Democrat. He threatened to veto $7.5 million in state funding for the public corruption unit in her office unless she resigned. When she would not resign, Mr. Perry followed through, vetoing the money and saying that he could not support ‘continued state funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence.’" [New York Times]

TODAY IN ‘WHO ASKED FOR THIS?’ - Sexy Congress, a website that appears to have been created to satisfy those who wish The Hill’s "50 Most Beautiful" issue came out every day, has been up for long enough for us to evaluate the rankings. At press time, female lawmakers held the top 46 spots on the list (and hello to #47, Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich, the hottest thing to come out of New Mexico since the weather). This could prove that women are naturally more beautiful than men, but really means that only men are gross enough to sit at work and rate politicians based on their looks. [Sexy Congress]

Mitch McConnell voted in 1993 to legalize fetal tissue donations after abortions, Laura Bassett reports.

THESE CAMPAIGN LOGOS AREN’T WINNING ANY MORNINGS - Politico is not impressed! "But just what are these tiny details -- the arrows, the fonts, the spacing -- trying to tell us? Politico Magazine rounded up designers and critics to tell us who is getting their message across -- or, on the other hand, whose logo looks like it's announcing a major clearance sale." [Politico]

For instance, here’s Bobby Jindal trying to appeal to fans of upside-down, broken candy canes, John Kasich drawing inspiration from the instructions on hand dryers, and Rick Perry seemingly unveiling an NHL expansion team’s emblem.

Captain Kirk to Ted Cruz: You know nothing of my work.

NAIROBI DRIVERS GET A TASTE OF WHAT IT'S LIKE GETTING AROUND D.C. - Obama returns to his birthplace his father's birthplace of Kenya this weekend, and security is tight. "Major Nairobi roads will be temporarily closed and authorities said the international airport will be closed at times coinciding with Obama's landing and departure Sunday for Ethiopia. Safaricom, a mobile network operator, warned of disruptions while Obama is in Nairobi to meet entrepreneurs and hold talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta" [Associated Press]

WEINER READY FOR MORE ACTION AFTER PERIOD OF REST - Ex-congressman Anthony Weiner, best remembered for, well, you know, has a new gig, Dhyana Taylor writes: "Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has been hired by a crisis communications firm, where he'll be able to use his scandal-ridden past to help others get through tough times." [HuffPost]

DO ANY HISPANICS LIKE TRUMP? - Scott Conroy found a few who do, but the data suggest most Hispanics don't like Trump much. "A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted last month found that 71 percent of American Hispanics do not consider Trump to be a serious candidate, while only 18 percent thought that he was serious. And in a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Thursday, 84 percent of Hispanics said that they 'definitely would not' vote for Trump. But what about Hispanic Republicans? Is it really possible that they might back Trump, as the candidate himself claims they will? Trump's pronouncements to this effect appear to be based on a Gravis Marketing poll conducted in Nevada earlier this month, which did show Trump with a commanding 31.4 percent lead among Republican Hispanics in the state. His closest competitor, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, had the support of 11.4 percent of Republican Hispanics in Nevada, according to the poll. Gravis, an automated polling firm, has conducted polls that proved to be wildly inaccurate in the recent past, and its methodology was criticized heavily during the 2014 midterms." [HuffPost]

This week's HuffPost Politics Podcast examined the stale pieces of hard candy and lint balls used as payfors in the Senate highway bill.

JOHN KERRY TAKES FEARLESS STAND AGAINST AMERICA DYING - The secretary of State wagged his lengthy, delicate finger at Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Friday, Jesse Burns writes. "'I told them that their chants of 'death to America' and so forth are not helpful, and they're pretty stupid, Kerry said." [The Hill]

RICK SANTORUM FINE WITH PORN NOW - Steven Nelson: "[A]s the 2016 presidential race heats up, the reliable social conservative – running again – says he’s forgotten his position on the issue, perhaps dooming it to increasing irrelevance after a two-decade lull in prosecutions that coincided with a boom in availability of Internet porn. 'I don’t even remember that position to be very honest with you,' Santorum said during a recent roundtable interview at U.S. News. 'I wish I could say I was cognizant of everything that’s on my website.'" [USNews.com]


COMFORT FOOD by @DhyanaTaylor

Americans shoving slightly less garbage down their insatiable gullets.

- Magicians pull off the ultimate photobombing act on local news

- Key and Peele and the secret politics of a capella groups

TWITTERAMA by @DhyanaTaylor

@Lahlahlindsey: why does facebook show me how long my friends have been fb friends with people i don't know

@MattBellassai: my greatest strength is my ability to say "just one more bite" over and over until i've destructively eaten everything in my wake

@CurlyCrayy: flashback friday is pointless. mainly bc i was over your baby pics yesterday,

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