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Long IslandPolitics

Clinton: Cleared but stung

Controversy over Donald Trump's tweet of a meme

Controversy over Donald Trump's tweet of a meme that used a shape similar to a Jewish star, piles of cash and an image of Hillary Clinton continued over the holiday weekend. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Marc Piscotty

A parting shot from the FBI

Simply put, Hillary Clinton and staff screwed up by being "extremely careless" but "no reasonable prosecutor" would find it amounted to criminal conduct, FBI Director James Comey said.

Now what? Plenty of fallout, spin, incrimination and speculation about the severity of her errors, the quality of the probe, the Obama factor, and still, how Clinton's behavior would stack up against opponent Donald Trump's.

Saw no evil, tweeted no evil

Two days after his Twitter account featured a meme of a “most corrupt” Clinton set against a pile of cash and a six-pointed star, Trump accused those outraged of seeing things:

“Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!” he tweeted Monday.

But senior Trump adviser Ed Brookover gave a different spin to CNN, suggesting it was a mistake, albeit an innocent one with no intention of anti-Semitism, despite the meme’s previous circulation online by white nationalists.

“We corrected it,” Brookover said. The tweet Saturday was deleted and a new version appeared without the star.

But how did the offending meme end up on Trump’s account? “Who knows how this came to our attention,” Brookover said.

Confused by these explanations? As Trump fan Sarah Palin said last week, “the splodey heads keep ‘sploding.” (Video here).

The far-right stuff

Migration to Trump’s Twitter account from social media outposts of avowed racists and anti-Semites isn’t a one-time thing.

Back in March, a Fortune magazine analysis found Trump and his aides repeatedly retweeting comments from such corners. In November, Trump retweeted a meme of fake statistics that purported to show 81% of white homicide victims were killed by black assailants. The original image was traced to a Nazi sympathizer’s Twitter stream.

Trump’s explanation then? “I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert,” he told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News.

Clinton campaign weighs in

The Clinton campaign reacted to Trump’s denial with a statement from its director of Jewish outreach, Sarah Bard.

“Donald Trump’s use of a blatantly anti-Semitic image from racist websites to promote his campaign would be disturbing enough, but the fact that it’s a part of a pattern should give voters major cause for concern,” Bard said. “Now, not only won’t he apologize for it, he’s peddling lies and blaming others.”

Trump shot back in a statement that “Clinton, through her surrogates, is just trying to divert attention from the dishonest behavior of herself and her husband.”

Swing state showdown

President Barack Obama will make his 2016 campaign debut alongside Clinton Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina. Obama won the battleground state in 2008 and lost it in 2012.

It’s also Clinton’s first campaign appearance since she was questioned by the FBI Saturday in the investigation of her State Department email practices.

Hours after the Democrats’ event, Trump will hold a rally in Raleigh. With the Democrats due to land on Air Force One, Trump tweeted "Who pays?" It's a routine question. The basic answer is that the cost is divided between the federal government and the campaign. 

Polls in late June showed the race in North Carolina essentially tied.

Such a tease

Trump dropped a few names that have figured in running-mate speculation on Twitter.

He was getting together Monday with Iowa Sen. Joni Enst (“She has done a great job”), met Sunday with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (“very impressed”) and gave props to Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (“great on Meet the Press yesterday.”)

Trump added in another tweet: “The only people who are not interested in being the V.P. pick are the people who have not been asked!”

By the way: Army vet Ernst in 2014 made the bizzare statement that she had "reason to believe" there really were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- a claim Trump has explicitly called a lie perpetrated by the Bush administration.  

Boomer voters passing torch

Millennial voters have caught up to the Baby Boom generation in numbers over the past two election cycles.

Younger voters were vital to Barack Obama’s winning margins in 2008 and 2012, and when they turn out strong, Democrats tend to benefit, according to Hofstra political science professor Richard Himelfarb. Read the story by Newsday’s Laura Figueroa.

What else is happening

  • Clinton leads Trump 46% to 40% in a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll. When Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein are included, Clinton had 39%, Trump 35%, Johnson 8% and Stein 3%.
  • Clinton will campaign Wednesday in Atlantic City to spotlight Trump’s casino hotel bankruptcies and his record of failing to pay contractors what they were owed.
  • Bernie Sanders supporters planning protests during the Democratic convention are reserving sites in campgrounds outside Philadelphia, The Associated Press reports.
  • Mexican-Americans worried about Trump are building ties to American Jewish networks and emulating Jewish models of political activism, Politico reports.
  • Trump's slamming of trade deals does resound among some in the labor-union rank-and-file, a problem for Clinton, but his silence on big tech issues has industry reps concerned....
  • The book-publishing industry is cashing in on Trump, reviving old, out-of-print biographies and rushing out new books that explore his political rise, The New York Times says.
  • Trump is Clinton’s fault, tweeted Green Party candidate Jill Stein: “The groundswell for Donald Trump was created by the economic misery of NAFTA & Wall Street deregulation — policies promoted by both Clintons.”

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