Reaction mounts to Dallas horror
Both major-party candidates cancelled appearances following the fatal sniper attacks on Dallas police.
Donald Trump postponed a speech in Miami. He tweeted shortly after 7 a.m. Friday, following the cold-blooded sniper slayings of five Dallas police officers: "Prayers and condolences to all of the families who are so thoroughly devastated by the horrors we are all watching take place in our country."
While Trump seemed to restrain his propensity to assess blame in disasters, his campaign's Virginia state chairman posted on Facebook: "Liberal politicians who label police as racists—specifically Hillary Clinton and Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam—are to blame for essentially encouraging the murder of these police officers tonight." But Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks condemned the remarks.
Clinton had first been expected to address the shootings Friday in Scranton, Pa., but later in the morning cancelled her appearance there with Vice President Joe Biden. Shortly after 9 a.m. she tweeted: "I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families & all who serve with them."
Before and while the assassins struck, Black Lives Matter protests were under way in reaction to police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. Early Thursday evening, Clinton had tweeted: "“Too many African American families are mourning. Too many young black men and women have been taken from us.”
President Barack Obama said from Poland that the U.S. is "horrified" after "a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement." It was his second statement in 12 hours on the worst attacks on officers in many years.
Former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh from Illinois, now a talk-show host, drew early attention with an acid Twitter message: "This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you." Later it was deleted. Walsh warned in December that Republicans who don't back Trump are "cowards."
On a Facebook account, Trump said: "We must restore law and order. We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street.
"The senseless, tragic deaths of two people in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done."
It ain’t over even when it’s over
Republicans on a House committee failed to shake FBI Director James Comey’s confident declaration that Hillary Clinton’s “carelessness” on State Department emails wasn’t criminal.
Comey also said that the FBI believes Clinton told the truth when questioned last weekend for the now-closed investigation.
But the GOP saw an opening when Comey said the bureau had not examined the veracity of Clinton’s testimony in a congressional hearing because it had not been asked to do so. The committee chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), said the FBI would quickly receive a referral asking for an investigation.
Also still to come: The State Department is reopening an internal probe of possible mishandling of classified information by Clinton and top aides, which could lead to “administrative sanctions.”
The most serious would be loss of security clearances.
The take-away: No upside
Even as Comey drew the lines for the panel on why Clinton’s actions do not deserve prosecution, he made life no better for her from a political and public relations standpoint, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
Hello, Senator Loser
Trump met privately with Republican senators in Washington and lashed out at those who aren’t supporting him.
After Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona stated some of his reservations, Trump suggested he would go after him and predicted he would lose his re-election. Flake then informed Trump that he was not on the ballot this year, the sources said.
Trump also singled out Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and called Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois — who did not attend — a loser, according to The Washington Post.
Trump also met with House Republicans, and House Speaker Paul Ryan said afterward, “I thought he did a great job engaging with our members.”
‘I solemnly [mic drop] — see ya’
Trump gave an enigmatic answer to The New York Times when asked about a hypothetical scenario in which he would win the election — but elect not to actually serve as president.
“I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it happens,” he said after flashing what was described as a mischievous smile.
Bernie in the wings
Bernie Sanders may be moving toward endorsing Clinton next week following a full meeting of the Democrats’ platform committee, a well-placed source tells Newsday’s Dan Janison.
The expectation in Sanders circles is that the self-declared democratic socialist from Vermont will be able to cite policy stands he pushed into the platform.
“We have got to do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton,” Sanders said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.
Polls with asterisks
A new Pew Research Center poll showed Clinton leading Trump by 9 points. There’s a caveat: The survey was taken in late June, so the political impact of the FBI’s report on the Clinton emails remains to be seen.
In California, the nation’s most populous state, Clinton was ahead by 30 points in the latest Field Poll. It was concluded last Saturday — three days before Comey’s announcement.
What else is happening
- After meeting with Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz said he was offered and accepted a speaking slot at the Republican convention. An endorsement was not discussed, Cruz said.
- A spokesman for Sasse, the GOP senator from Nebraska, said he “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.”
- Rep. Lee Zeldin of Shirley, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, was asked whether he was bothered by Trump’s “Star of David” tweet. I don’t think it helps him,” he replied.
- Two cousins of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, assailed him for talking about the horrors their grandparents and other family members suffered in the Holocaust as he defended Trump against accusations of playing to anti-Semitic supporters.
- GOP national chairman Reince Priebus called “unfathomable” and ‘maddening” the refusal of Mitt Romney and some other Republicans to support Trump.
- Clinton hasn’t held a full news conference since Dec. 4, 2015. The Washington Post online now has an up-to-the-minute clock on how much time has elapsed since.