ICYMI: FBI frees Hillary, Trump goes to D.C. and Ben Sasse’s big plan for the convention (2016)
The week of July 4 will be remembered most for FBI Director James Comey’s Washington, D.C. press conference on Tuesday calling Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information “extremely careless” — and yet excusing her of being tried as a felon.
Or is it?
Donald Trump, for his part, could not grab headlines as easily this week. As the nation mourned collectively over racially-motivated shootings throughout the country, the Red vs. Blue spectacle of our presidential race remained on channels unwatched as all eyes turned toward visceral videos of public shootings.
But that’s not to say it wasn’t an eventful week, even with some humor. Continuing his quixotic anti-Trump crusade, Ben Sasse might’ve had the funniest moment of the week.
So, in case you missed it here’s what went on the week of July 4:
1. Sen. Ben Sasse plans to watch ‘dumpster fires’ instead of going to GOP convention
In perhaps the least political statement made among the 16 Washington pols declining to attend Trump’s coronation at the GOP convention in Cleveland, anti-Trump ringleader Ben Sasse had this to say through a spokesperson to The Hill:
“Sen. Sasse 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.”
2. Hillary’s e-mail saga continues to grow
Here’s what has the GOP in an uproar: The minimum legal threshold to indict Hillary Clinton on the allegations at hand would be “gross negligence” on her part in regards to 18 U.S.C. section 793(f). And although “no reasonable person” would have acted as she did, and she was “extremely careless” — that is not against the law.
And, although it appeared that threshold may have been crossed, FBI Director James Comey doubled down on his decision to free Hillary from potential charges in a a 5-hour testimony before Congress. It stirred up a new controversy to continue the saga, as many pointed toward her earlier claims as being false — statements that could themselves be a felony if made knowingly. That has in turn prompted the State Department to re-open an earlier investigation into her private email server.
Congress has also called on the FBI to investigate whether or not she lied under oath.
3. Bernie Sanders (finally) to endorse Hillary Clinton for President
In spite of consistent pleas from third-party candidate Jill Stein to join her and combine their progressive agendas into one big movement — even going so far as to ask him to be leader of the Green Party — Sanders leaked that he is finally set to endorse Hillary.
It comes over a month after the final contest between the two proved her the victor in every measurable way. Sanders has been busy helping to shape the Democratic Party platform ahead of its finalization in Orlando this month, working to include language consistent with his push for a $15 minimum wage, free public university education, and a halt to the Trans-Pacific Partnership which he believes will hurt chances for Americans to secure jobs back home.
“I thought the [draft] platform was more progressive than any that I read in recent memory, and there was what I would call ‘the Sanders effect,'” says Nancy Jacobson, an Orange County Democrat and member of the DNC platform committee.
4. Conflicting reports over Trump’s visit to Washington
Although Trump himself said in a tweet published on Thursday he had “great meetings” with House and Senate Republicans, news outlets reported internal strife among he and some of the Republican establishment. In a most egregious confrontation, the Washington Post says he and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona battled over the businessman’s rhetoric against minorities and turned into an ugly exchange over whether Flake could win re-election or not.
Trump was reminded that Flake’s seat will not be up for grabs until 2018, before mudslinging against Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk.
That prompted House Speaker Paul Ryan to post a message of constructivism and party unity.
— Paul Ryan (@PRyan) July 7, 2016
5. The Veepstakes continue
Rumor has it that Chris Christie is no longer being seriously considered, but that Newt Gingrich is the favorite to become Trump’s VP nomination. That hasn’t stopped chatter of Joni Ernst having a shot at it, especially considering she knows how to make ’em squeal. Trump himself has said his list has about ten or so names on it — perhaps even daughter Ivanka’s.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side of the equation, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker sort of alluded to being vetted for the position while Elizabeth Warren remains a favorite among media types and progressives who would like to see an all-woman ticket this fall.
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