Quick Morning News

Morning Jumpstart

  • DNC chief quits as Democrats convene in Philly
  • Wasserman Schultz “did ugly and messy”
  • Is Russia meddling in US election?
  • Things to watch: Democratic convention
  • Protests hit Philadelphia
  • Trump: Muslim ban an “expansion”


DNC Chief Quits as Democrats Convene in Philly (NYT, WaPo, HuffPo, TMN, me)
• Democrats arrived at their nominating convention Sunday under a cloud of discord as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, abruptly said she was resigning after a trove of leaked emails showed party officials conspiring to sabotage the campaign of Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) (in the tank for Clinton all along)


• The revelation threatened to undermine the delicate healing process that followed the contentious fight between Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And it raised the prospect that a convention that was intended to showcase the Democratic Party’s optimism and unity, in contrast to the Republicans, could be marred by dissension and disorder (ya think? – that farting protest…)


• The day also veered extraordinarily into allegations, not easily dismissed, that Russia had a hand in the leaks that helped bring down the head of an American political party. Still, Democrats are hoping that focusing on Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, will galvanize the party to rally around Clinton (can’t believe i’m saying this, but russia hacked a ukraine election: why not here?)


• In her resignation statement, Rep Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla), said: “I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America’s future. I look forward to serving as a surrogate for her campaign in Florida and across the country to ensure her victory.” Donna Brazile, a vice chair, will be the interim chair through the election


• According to one congresssman involved in discussions leading up to her resignation, Wasserman Schultz initially resisted giving up her position and sought to blame subordinates. “There was a lot of drama. She made this as painful as she could. … She wasn’t going to resign until the president called her. She put a lot of people through hell.” (why she had to go)


Wasserman Schultz “Did Ugly and Messy”
• Senior Democrats are upset that she dragged the controversy on through the weekend. “We were going to come into the week and be united,” said the congressman. “But she did ugly and messy and stepped on the message of unity.” (fly on wall…) The person said that senior Democrats expect there to be more departures from DNC’s senior staff in coming days (heads rolling…)


• The breach of the DNC’s emails offered undeniable evidence of what Sanders’s supporters had complained about for much of the primary campaign: that the party was effectively an arm of Clinton’s campaign. The messages showed members of the committee’s communication’s team musing about pushing the narrative that Sanders was inept and an atheist


• Sanders said the situation was an “outrage” on Sunday before the resignation was announced and called for Wasserman Schultz to step down. Afterwards, he said it was the right decision. Donald Trump bragged on Twitter that he had always known that she was “overrated.” (sure sure – that what Vlad thinks, too?)


• Clinton’s campaign aides ignored questions as they quickly left a hotel a few minutes after the resignation was announced. Convention organizers expressed nervousness Sunday about the specter of Wasserman Schultz appearing onstage at all during the convention


• Clinton’s campaign handled the situation delicately. They gently warned her that she would face jeers from Sanders’s supporters in the convention hall, said an adviser to Wasserman Schultz. President Obama said in a statement that “for the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back.” (better than a knife in it, i suppose)


• Asked on 60 Minutes Sunday if she felt threatened by the “Lock her up!” chant during last week’s Republican convention (Sunday in Philadelphia by furious Democrats, too…), Hillary Clinton said, “No, I felt sad. … I don’t know what their convention was about, other than criticizing me. I seem to be the only unifying theme they had.” (not a bad point) (WSJ, me)
Is Russia Meddling in American Election? (NYT, WaPo, me)
• An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election? Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald Trump, has been only whispered (can’t wait for the film)


• But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intel agencies in disrupting the 2015 campaign (the question, of course, is why Putin would want trump: it’s not flattering to trump – but it’s plausible)


• The emails, released first by a supposed hacker and later by Wikileaks, exposed the degree to which the Democratic apparatus favored Hillary Clinton over his primary rival, Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), and triggered the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, on the eve of the convention’s first day



• Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult. But researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intel agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyperoperations at the WH, State Dept and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year (which is worrying enough about U.S. cybersecurity)


• Metadata from the released emails suggests that the docs passed through Russian computers. Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to Wikileaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects. Whether the thefts were ordered by Putin or just carried out by apparatchiks to please him is anyone’s guess


• Sunday morning, Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said on ABC that the emails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump” citing “experts” but offering no other evidence. Mook also suggested the Russians might help Trump because he had indicated in a NYT interview last week that he might not support NATO nations under attack from Russia


• Trump has also said he would like to “get along with Russia” if elected and complimented Putin, saying he is more of a leader than President Obama. Putin has in turn praised Trump. Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, said on ABC on Sunday that “there’s no basis” to suggest any ties with Russia (see last creepy bullet in story)


• Once the Democratic convention wraps up this week and Hillary Clinton becomes the party’s nominee, both presidential candidates will begin receiving the same classified intelligence briefings – a pared-down version of President Obama’s daily brief. The president decides how much intel they will get (phew – Trump on Twitter, Manafort’s Ukraine connections, Clinton on emails…) Hill, me)


• Evidence so far suggests the cyberattack was the work of at least two separate agencies, each apparently working without the knowledge that the other was inside the Democrats’ computers. The presumption is that the intel agencies turned the email trove over to Wikileaks, either directly or through an intermediary – timing seems too well-planned (was Wikileaks complicit or duped?)


• The experts cited by Mook include CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm brought in by the DNC when they thought they had been hacked. CrowdStrike said the intruders appeared to include a group it had previously identified by the name “Cozy Bear” or “APT 29” and had been inside the committee’s servers for a year (a year!)


• A second group, “Fancy Bear,” also called “APT 28” came into the system in April. It appears to be operated by the GRU, the Russian military intel service. The first group is very well known to the FBI’s counterintel unit, the CIA and other intl agencies. It was ID’d as the likely culprit into State and the WH


• Intriguingly, Trump’s campaign chairman, Manafort, through his lobbying firm, was one of several American advisers to Viktor Yanukovych, the Russian-backed leader of Ukraine until he was forced out of office two years ago. Yanukovych was a key Putin ally who is now in exile in Russia (there are concerns about Trump getting intel briefings because of this)


• Hillary Clinton said on 60 Minutes that she has no nickname for Donald Trump, despite his use of the derisive term “Crooked Hillary for her. She said she won’t indulge in “that kind of insult-fest.” Seated beside her, running mate Sen Tim Kaine (D-Va) said that “most of us stopped the name-calling thing about fifth-grade.” (that’s the level of speech Trump uses) (AP, me)

Things to Watch: Democratic Convention (AP, AP, NYT, TMN, me)
Trust Me: Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night in Philadelphia as the Democratic nominee for president is her big moment. Will she lay out her vision for the next four years? Open up on a personal level? Go after Donald Trump? Answer the vicious vitriol hurled at her during the GOP convention?  What about her trustworthiness? (this is her one shot)
The Milestone: Clinton’s speech is a sort of sequel to her 2008 speech, when she conceded the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama and said that her supporters hadn’t yet been able to “shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling.” Now she’s to be the first female presidential nominee of a major party. How will she play that in the speech?
Kaine Mutiny? Clinton’s new running mate, Sen Tim Kaine (D-Va) will speak Wednesday night. He’s a solid, if not flashy choice, and is known for his affable personality and relatively centrist views. But it’s disappointed liberals. There are rumblings of a “Kaine Mutiny” during his speech, maybe even some delegates turning their backs on him
Heart-Bern: Will they kiss and make up? Primary rival Bernie Sanders took a long time endorsing Clinton. Sanders plans to meet privately with his delegates today and address the convention tonight. And watch Tuesday’s roll call of the states. Will Sanders want a full roll call or let Clinton have unanimous nomination? (his supporters might object to that)
• Tonight’s theme at the convention is “United Together” (bit ironic, that). Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, and AFL-CIO president Rickard Trumka are the headline speakers. The convention will end with Clinton and Kaine taking a three-day bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio – battlegrounds

What About Bill? The former president is a master politician but has also been known to shoot off his mouth in unhelpful ways when campaigning for his wife. What will he say when he addresses the convention Tuesday night? The Clinton campaign team may be on edge (either way, he should be a highlight – and this is a swansong in a way, of his political career)
Fast Forward: On Inauguration Day, Clinton will be 69. If elected, would she want to serve a second term, which would keep her in office until she was 77? Plenty of Democrats are eager to step forward if the answer is no. And they see the convention as the perfect place to start pre-positioning for 2020. (piranhas) Note: Michael Bloomberg is set to endorse Clinton
Celeb quotient: After a GOP convention with pretty lame star power, Hollywood is turning out for Clinton. Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Lenny Kravitz and Cyndi Lauper will appear in Philadelphia. Actresses Lena Dunham, Eva Longoria, Debra Messing, America Ferrara and actor Tony Goldwyn, and NBAers Kareen Abdul-Jabbar and Jason Collins are expected
Beyond Obama: The stars of the Democratic firmament will also turn out for Clinton, led by President Obama and VP Joe Biden – both on Wednesday night. They’ll be trying to make the case that Clinton can carry on the work they’ve started without making it sound like it’s same old same old. Michelle Obama speaks tonight – (speech not partially written by Melania Trump…)

• Talk Media News’ intrepid reporters will provide on-the-scene coverage from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia all this week. Check back here with Talk Media News throughout the day and throughout the week for news and interviews (i’m in Philadelphia with the team – it’s hot here and seething with Democrats and press)

Protests Hit Philadelphia (AP, NYT, WSJ, me)
• Thousands of protesters from as far as Seattle and Florida took to Philadelphia’s sweltering streets Sunday, cheering, chanting and beating drums in the first major protests ahead of the Democratic National Convention, as the city wilts under a heat wave


• Throngs of Bernie Sanders supporters marched down a main thoroughfare to show their support of him and disdain for Hillary Clinton ahead of the convention. Chanting “Hell No, DNC. we won’t vote for Hillary” and “This is what democracy looks like,” the marchers headed from City Hall down Broad Street towards the convention site


• Many carried Sanders signs, and a huge Bernie Sanders puppet was also part of festivities. The Democratic donkey flew upside down. Some delegates chanted “Lock her up!” Police officers rode bicycles along each side of the march and the thousands of protesters cooled off in city fire hydrants that were opened along the road


• Earlier, Sunday, thousands of clean energy activists jammed a downtown street in their mile-long march from City Hall to Independence Mall, near the Liberty Bell. They held anti-fracking and anti-pipeline signs, some with illustrations like a train surrounded by a fireball and the words “No Exploding Trains.” Others held “Bernie or Bust” signs


• Like in Cleveland, police were using bicycles as barricades along the streets, and volunteers were handing out water to marchers. Shoppers came out of stores to watch the march like a parade. Chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” were met by counter echoes of “Hillary! Hillary!”


Trump: Muslim Ban an “Expansion” (WaPo, FT, me)
• Donald Trump said on NBC on Sunday that he hasn’t rolled back his Muslim ban, as some thought from his speech Thursday night. “In fact you could say it’s an expansion,” he said Sunday. “People were so upset when I used the word ‘Muslim’: ‘Oh, you can’t use the word “Muslim.”‘ Remember this. And I’m OK with that, because I’m talking territory instead of Muslim.” (sneak)


• Chuck Todd pressed Trump on whether he would limit all immigration from France and Germany, as they have been compromised by terrorism. Trump repeatedly dodged the question, instead saying it’s the fault of those countries that they’ve been attacked by terrorists. Trump eventually said he wanted “extreme vetting” and said he would name some countries in coming days


• Trump was asked to explain comments he made about NATO to NYT, saying that if an ally country were attacked, the U.S. might not defend it. “Now, a country gets invaded, they haven’t paid, everyone says, “Oh, but we have a treaty,” Well, we have a treaty, too. They’re supposed to be paying. … I’m a big believer in NATO, but if they don’t pay, we don’t have, this isn’t 40 years ago.”


• President Obama said in an interview with CBS on Sunday that Trump’s comments last week were “an indication of the lack of preparedness that he has been displaying when it comes to foreign policy.” NATO members promise that an attack against any of them is considered an assault against all (Trump has called NATO “obsolete” – sooo hardly a “big believer”)


• Obama, who has also criticized “freeriding” by NATO and other allies, said, “There is a big difference between challenging our European allies to keep up their defense spending, particularly at a time when Russia’s been more aggressive, and saying to them: ‘You know what? We might not abide by the central tenet of the most important alliance in the history of the world.'”

Get it fast. Sign up here for Morning Jumpstart

Victoria Jones – Editor
News is news
Comments are my own