U.S. ELECTION WRAP: FBI’s Dark Cloud in Clinton’s Silver Lining

FBI's Comey News Conf.: Clinton E-Mail Probe Findings

The FBI may not have recommended indicting Hillary Clinton over her e-mail practices as secretary of state, but FBI Director James Comey, in a long statement that will give her opponents plenty of ammunition to use throughout the 2016 campaign, didn’t let Clinton off the hook either 

  • FBI will refer the final decision to the Justice Dept
    • “No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said
  • Though the FBI isn’t recommending charges, their findings are a blow to Clinton’s story and, potentially, her campaign
  • Bloomberg View’s Al Hunt says while Comey was right to recommend no prosecution, the e-mail episode “says something disturbing about Clinton’s relationship with a loyal and able staff: No adviser, it seems, is empowered to tell the boss when she’s wrong”
    • Hunt writes Clinton needs to find a “Dr. No” --“That’s somebody more powerful than the smart loyalists she surrounds herself with, somebody with the stature to say: ‘Ma’am, you cannot do that’”
  • Link to QuickTake on Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system
  • Republicans were quick to blast decision:
    • Donald Trump in Twitter post: “The system is rigged”
    • Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other GOP leaders condemned the lack of charges
    • Some GOP affiliates using the occasion to fundraise: Republican Party of Minnesota emailed supporters today asking for contributions, with the subject “Breaking: Hillary is guilty”
  • Clinton’s campaign, on the other hand, said it was glad “this matter is now resolved”

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ON THE TRAIL

  • President Obama campaigns today with Clinton in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Paul Ryan calls on Trump to “clean up the way his new media works” while speaking with radio host Charlie Sykes
  • Sen. Richard Burr and Gov. Pat McCrory will not attend Trump’s rally in their home state of N.C. tonight, the News & Observer reports
  • Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback, will not attend the RNC this month: ESPN’s Adam Schefter
  • Trump’s VP announcement is expected next week, an adviser tells CNN
  • Newt Gingrich will join Trump at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio tomorrow, National Review reports

 

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POLLS

 

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STAFF

  • Clinton hired two staffers with labor ties, Lori D’Orazio and Michele Gilliam, as deputy labor campaign directors
    • Gilliam previously worked for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign

 

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ENDORSEMENTS

  • Alliance for Retired Americans endorses Clinton
    • NOTE: Organization has more than 4.4 million members
    • ’’We shouldn’t be cutting Social Security, we should be expanding it": Clinton, in statement on endorsement

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CONGRESSIONAL

  • SENATE: Political analyst Charlie Cook writes that new polling provides evidence that campaign for control of Senate “is even more volatile than we thought” and the “playing field is larger than originally anticipated”
    • Mark Kirk of Ill., Ron Johnson of Wis. are “the two most vulnerable Republicans,” while Marco Rubio’s decision to seek re-election gave “big lift” to GOP and odds in FL-SEN race “now 50-50”
    • Democrats seeking upset wins against Richard Burr in N.C., Roy Blunt in Mo., John McCain in Ariz.
    • Senate elections will be “another chapter in what will likely be a decade-long battle” for control of chamber, noting that Democrats are the defending party in 25 of 33 Senate races in 2018
  • CA-SEN: Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, seeking to defeat Democratic state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, “probably will have to do so by forming an unusual coalition of Latinos and Republicans,” Washington Post reported
    • Harris won 40% and Sanchez had 19% to advance in “Top 2” primary last month; winner to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer
  • NC-SEN: National Republican Senatorial Committee released Snapchat filter attacking Democrat Deborah Ross for opposing flag-desecration constitutional amendment, referring to Republican Sen. Richard Burr’s opponent as “Radical Ross”
    • GOP Senate campaign arm cites 1995 Charlotte Observer quote by Ross, then legal director of N.C. branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, that Americans have right to burn flag as “symbolic speech”
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against flag desecration amendment in 1995, when it fell three votes short of advancement
  • NH-SEN: Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan highlights education in her second TV ad, saying that “innovation starts by expanding opportunity” and that she froze tuition at state universities and lowered community-college costs
    • Hassan opposing Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte
  • OH-SEN: Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s campaign unveiled $1 million ad campaign claiming he’s “best qualified to stand up for China for American manufacturing,” Toledo Blade reported
    • TV ad shows Burke Byer, president of Cincinnati-based Byer Steel, saying “we would not be in business today” if Portman hadn’t helped to impose tariffs on China
    • Democratic ex-Gov. Ted Strickland’s campaign said in statement that Portman opposed action against China in 2005 as U.S. trade representative, and has “unabashed, decades-long record of pushing unfair trade policies that have outsourced hundreds of thousands of our jobs to places like China”
  • PA-SEN: Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has mentioned gun issue on Senate floor “only in passing” since a 2013 background-check proposal he co-authored failed to advance in chamber, according to Philadelphia Inquirer analysis
    • Toomey said that focusing on floor speeches is a “ridiculous metric” and that he’s promoted compromise gun legislation in news conferences and at other events
    • “I’m the guy that’s trying to find common ground,” said Toomey, who’s opposed by Democrat Katie McGinty
  • WI-SEN: Democrat Russ Feingold’s campaign released TV ad saying Johnson “is all Washington,” accuses him of voting for tax “loopholes” and “bad trade deals” and to “weaken protections against Wall Street abuse”
    • On tax and trade policy, ad cites Johnson’s votes in 2015 against Democratic proposal to curb inversions and in 2011 for trade pacts with Korea, Panama and Colombia
    • NOTE: Senate approved the trade pacts with 83, 77 and 66 votes respectively; Mass. Democrat John Kerry voted for all three and Wis. Democrat Herb Kohl and N.Y. Democrat Chuck Schumer voted for the Korea and Panama pacts
    • In linking Johnson to Wall Street, ad cites Johnson’s votes for budget blueprint authored by Paul Ryan and against extending FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee Program and confirming Richard Cordray as director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • CO-06: Americans for Prosperity, conservative group backed by billionaire businessmen David and Charles Koch, will send “hundreds of staffers” to suburban Denver district to aid Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, Washington Post reported
    • Coffman opposed by Democratic state Sen. Morgan Carroll in district that Obama won in 2012 election
  • FL-19: Republican Francis Rooney says in TV ad that he’ll “fight to build a big” wall on U.S.-Mexico border and that “illegal immigrants” who commit crimes “should be deported”
    • Rooney, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican under President George W. Bush, competing with Chauncey Goss and Dan Bongino in Aug. 30 primary for strongly Republican southwestern district of retiring GOP Rep. Curt Clawson
  • TN-08: Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey in TV ad said that his “proven conservative record” includes banning state income tax, opposing Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, and “perfect ratings” from the National Rifle Association, anti-abortion, and pro-small business groups
    • Kelsey in crowded GOP field seeking to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher in strongly conservative western district

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