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Your politics briefing: Clinton rips Trump as ‘not qualified’

During an interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo

During an interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo on Thursday, May 19, 2016, Hillary Clinton spoke out about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Credit: CNN

Clinton: ‘No way’ I’m not nominee

As Hillary Clinton launched her sharpest attack yet on Donald Trump Thursday, she also sent a blunt message to Bernie Sanders: I won the nomination, you lost, and we have to unite to stop the “dangerous and divisive” candidate from the GOP.

“I will be the nominee for my party,” Clinton said in a CNN interview. “That is already done, in effect. There’s no way that I won’t be.”

Taking note of her Democratic rival’s pledge to “do everything possible” to defeat Trump, she said, “I certainly expect Sen. Sanders to do what he said he would.”

Sanders conceded nothing. His recent primary wins and polls showing him stronger against Trump demonstrate “millions of Americans have growing doubts about the Clinton campaign,” a spokesman said.

Worrisome for Clinton is that over time, Sanders’ supporters have grown more hostile toward her. Political data analyst Nate Silver notes a YouGov poll found, by 61% to 38%, Sanders voters view her unfavorably.

Until Thursday, Clinton had not directly answered questions on whether Trump was qualified to be president. But decrying his “irresponsible, reckless, dangerous comments,” she told CNN, “I have concluded he is not qualified to be president of the United States.” (For video of the interview, click here.)

A Trump statement — attacking Clinton for opposing his “temporary Muslim ban,” among other things — said, “She has bad judgement and is unfit to serve as president.”

Not over, not quite

Clinton and Trump are closing in on mathematically clinching their parties’ presidential nominations, but neither can do so until the final state primaries on June 7, Newsday’s Yancey Roy writes.

Polling seesaw

A new CBS News/New York Times poll has Clinton leading Trump by 6 points — 47% to 41% — down from 10 points a month ago. Trump trailed Bernie Sanders by 13 points, down from 17 points.

The take-away: Interesting conflicts

It’s going to be up to the candidates to police themselves on avoiding financial conflicts of interest if elected, because the legal boundaries for the nation’s chief executive are fuzzy, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

For example, there’s no law that would stop billionaire Trump from keeping a hand in directing his various private ventures. Clinton might need to keep a distance between the Clinton Foundation and her official duties.

Trump’s bridge to Christie

Trump went to bat for his ally Chris Christie Thursday night, headlining a fundraiser to help the New Jersey governor retire nearly $250,000 in campaign debt, Newsday’s Laura Figueroa reports.

He also attended a separate event to help the state Republican Party pay off almost $500,000 in legal fees from investigations of the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane closures. When Christie was still a rival candidate, Trump used the Bridgegate scandal as an attack line against him.

For all their kumbaya, Trump couldn't or simply didn't resist humiliating his famously portly ally about his weight. 

Educating Trump

A Trump foreign policy adviser said he is trying to impress upon the candidate that “there must be more precision in the use of the language that he uses as the potential leader of the free world.”

Former Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told Al Jazeera English that the real estate mogul sees the world from the perspective of a global businessman and suggested the billionaire’s bombastic rhetoric is just a starting point for negotiations.

Speaking of which, he told his friends at Fox & Friends early Friday by phone: "We can't afford to be so nice and foolish any more ... ISIS is laughing at us." 

Ryan likes Trump court list

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump’s list of 11 people he would consider nominating for the U.S. Supreme Court was “a very good step in the right direction.”

Trump’s move was seen as an effort to reassure conservative Republicans. Ryan, who has not endorsed Trump, said talks with the billionaire’s team aiming at narrowing differences are “making progress, but that’s all I’ve got to say at this point.”

What else is happening:

  • Trump is elevating a top adviser, Paul Manafort, to the new role of campaign chairman and chief strategist ...
  • Newt Gingrich is getting free attention from the VP tease. Trump told Fox: "Anybody that supports me is on the short list." Minimal, but something.
  • Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Yahoo News that Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business was an “error in judgment.” He also said he would not be comfortable with Trump commanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal ...
  • Sanders denounced a bipartisan compromise reached among House leaders and the White House to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt as doing too much for Wall Street investors ...
  • Whether Trump wins or loses, his allies have won seats on the Republican National Committee that will give them influence over the party beyond 2016, Politico writes ...
  • The "GOP elite" Trump complained was "rigging" the process against him are in large part now clearly in his camp
  • Bridling at Trump labeling her city as among the most dangerous, Oakland, California, Mayor Libby Schaaf responded, “The most dangerous place in America is Donald Trump’s mouth” ...
  • On his deathbed, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) sought to apologize to Muslims for his party’s nomination of Trump, according to The Daily Beast ...

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