Quick Morning News

Morning Jumpstart

  • Obama-Clinton: Road trip buddies
  • FBI interviews Hillary Clinton: Emails
  • Suicide bombing near Saudi holy site
  • Trump Veepstakes: This week?
  • Trump defends Star of David tweet
  • House Democrats plan gun disruptions
  • Sex may spread Zika more than thought
  • America celebrates the Fourth
Obama-Clinton: Road Trip Buddies (AP, NYT, me)
• They’ve been bitter rivals, allies and colleagues. Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the WH hinge on rallying President Obama’s coalition to her cause. Obama’s legacy depends on her success. Eight years after they spent millions tearing each other down, the foe-to-friend story will be at the center of the Obama-Clinton show in Charlotte, NC, today, aides to both say
• In his remarks, the president will act as a character witness for his former SecState, who is struggling to convince voters of her trustworthiness and honesty. There’s no better politician to testify on her behalf, many Democrats believe, than the man who once counted himself among the Clinton skeptics but came around to be one of her biggest boosters (without trust, she’s done)
• The WH hasn’t ruled out Clinton and Obama traveling to the event together on Air Force One. The cost of the trip would be shared between the WH and Clinton’s campaign according to a complicated formula worked out by Obama’s legal counsel to comply with federal election law. Donald Trump tweeted Monday night, “Who pays?” (after implying there was something creepy)
• Clinton aides believe Obama will be particularly effective rallying young people, as well as black and Hispanic voters, and will be instrumental in voter registration efforts. Obama also has regularly found ways to blast Trump’s message and mock his style in a way widely viewed as an effective tweetable model for other Democrats (don’t think Obama can literally stand Trump)

• But Obama plans to take a largely positive message on the road as his campaigning picks up later this summer. That’s in part because he’s campaigning for the continuation of his agenda as well as Clinton’s. Obama makes his first campaign appearance amid a wave of popularity unlike anything he’s experienced since his first time (he’s above 50% – is great sex even above 50%?)

• The Clinton campaign has a competition among its Hillary supporters. The prize? The winner gets to stand on stage in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention and give a speech nominating Clinton on behalf of the Democratic Party. All you have to do is submit a video about what Clinton’s nomination means to you and why it’s important to elect her
FBI Interviews Hillary Clinton – Email Server (NYT, Hill, TMN, me)
• The FBI interviewed Hillary Clinton on Saturday morning for its investigation into whether she or her aides broke the law by corresponding through a private email server set up for her use as SecState, a controversy that has dogged her presidential campaign and provided fodder for political rivals
• The voluntary interview, which took place over three and a half hours at the FBI headquarters in DC, largely focused on the Justice Dept’s central question: Did the actions of Clinton or her staff rise to the level of criminal mishandling of classified info? (so it’s coming to a close, but they’ve got to go through her statement and compare it with everything else)
• The RNC called the step “unprecedented,” while Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump  tweeted on Saturday: “It is impossible for the FBI not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. What she did was wrong!” (wrong isn’t always criminal; if it was, he would be in a somewhat different position himself)
• In an phone interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC after her meeting, Clinton said, “I’ve been eager to do it, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to assist the dept in bringing its review to a conclusion.” (oh i’ll bet) A person familiar with the substance of the session characterized the meeting as “civil” and “businesslike.”

• Wikileaks on Monday published 1,258 emails from Clinton’s server that she either sent or received about the Iraq War. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told ITV last month the site had gathered “enough evidence” for the FBI to indict Clinton, “but if Loretta Lynch is the head of the

[DoJ] in the U.S., she’s not going to indict Hillary Clinton,” Assange said

• The WH is warning Cabinet members not to speak later this month at the Democratic National Convention, where Hillary Clinton will be officially nominated. It’s seen as a move by the WH to distance itself from election-year politics in the waning months of the Obama admin (NYT)

Suicide Bombing Near Saudi Holy Site (BBC, Reuters, Reuters, TMN, me)
• A suicide bomber on Monday killed four security officers and injured five others near one of Islam’s holiest sites in the Saudi city of Medina, according to the Interior Ministry. A bomber detonated his explosives after being stopped outside the Prophet’s Mosque, a statement said. Al-Arabiya said the bomber pretended he wanted to break his Ramadan fast with the officers
• The mosque is the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad and Medina the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca. (this is really shocking – this site is holy to all Muslims – that even ISIS or anyone would do this is truly disgusting) Earlier, at least one explosion rocked Qatif, an eastern city which is home to many minority Shia Muslims
• A suspected suicide bomber also died after detonating a device near the U.S. consulate in the city of Jeddah. Two security officers were slightly injured as they tackled the man, but no one else was hurt. No was has taken responsibility for the attacks, which come as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close ahead of the Eid-al-Fitr holiday (that’s no accident)
• A massive truck bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday left at least 165 people dead. PM Abadi said he would ban “magic wand” fake bomb detectors, some based on cheap devices for finding golf balls. A British businessman was jailed for 10 years for selling 6,000 devices to Iraq, but Iraqi security forces still use them, despite warning that the devices are useless (wicked on wicked)

• SecState John Kerry offered Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina help to investigate those behind the killing of 20 people at a Dhaka restaurant, as police examine how the young, affluent and educated attackers were radicalized. Police say all six Islamist gunmen killed in Friday’s attack were locals. ISIS has claimed responsibility

• NASA has successfully put a new probe in orbit around Jupiter. Juno capped a five-year journey to the biggest planet in the solar system late Monday with a do-or-die engine burn to sling itself into orbit. NASA’s mission control burst into wild cheering on receipt of radio messages from Juno that the braking maneuver had been successful. Now the spacecraft will sense the planet’s deep interior (Reuters)
Trump VeepStakes: This Week? (NYT, NYT, TMN, me)
• Republican Donald Trump’s VP choice, which he had initially envisioned revealing in dramatic fashion at the Republican convention, is expected to come as early as this week. The change, according to two people familiar with planning, was driven largely by concerns that the media coverage of the selection could drown out Trump’s appearance at his own convention (very funny)
• Trump met in New Jersey on Monday with Sen Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) as he screens potential running mates. One person briefed said that the campaign began vetting Ernst in recent days. She’s a retired National Guard lieutenant and veteran of the Iraq War and her military background could help Trump given his lack of foreign policy experience
• Earlier in the weekend, Trump met with Gov Mike Pence (R-Ind), another potential VP candidate. In a tweet Monday, Trump praised Sen Tom Cotton (R-Ark) (omg), another military veteran. Meanwhile, Sen Bob Corker (R-Tenn), another potential VP nominee, is set to appear with Trump at an event in North Carolina today
• Trump has publicly acknowledged his list of potential running mates is down to “four or five people.” Included are Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga) who last week received vetting docs. Of note is the expanded role internally in the campaign of Kellyanne Conway, who is close to both Pence and Gingrich
• The list of known candidates suggests that Trump is most interested in choosing someone with govt experience, but there’s no agreement within Trump’s campaign about precisely what he needs in a nominee. For all the advice his aides dispense, Trump relies on himself most frequently, and it remains to be seen whether he will heed suggestions (does he ever)
Trump Defends Star of David Tweet (NYT, Mic, Guardian, me)
• Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday defended a tweet he posted two days earlier that included an image depicting Democratic rival Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of cash and a Star of David, while Clinton called the image anti-Semitic (money, Star of David, words “corruption” = anti-Semitism or stupidity so great that you couldn’t run a bath, let alone USA)
• In a tweet Monday, Trump said he hadn’t meant the six-pointed star to refer to the Star of David, which is a symbol of Judaism. Rather, he said, the star could have referred to a sheriff’s badge, which is shaped similarly except for small circles at the ends of each of its six points, or a “plain star.” (not sure what that would have been meant to convey – that she’s a star?)
• Trump later released a statement saying Clinton’s criticism of the image was an attempt to distract the public from “the dishonest behavior of herself and her husband.” He was referring to a criticized meeting last week between Bill Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch as an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server nears a conclusion
• Trump’s tweet came after Mic News reported Sunday that the image attacking Clinton – which included the words “History made” and, inside the star, “most corrupt candidate ever!” – had been shared on a neo-Nazi web forum called /pol.. Reuters confirmed the image was posted there 22 June by viewing a link – though the page has been updated and the image removed (of course)
Clinton: “Blatantly Anti-Semitic”
• “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 part of a pattern should give voters major cause for concern,” Clinton said in a statement emailed to reporters on Monday (he’s retweeted things by people with neo-Nazi connections several times during the campaign)
• Trump posted and deleted the post Saturday, then tweeted a similar image in which the star was replaced by a circle, but you could still the edges of the star. (why delete it?) Monday, he lashed out at journalists. “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!” Trump tweeted
• Saturday’s incident was the latest departure by Trump from a recent effort to appease Republicans worried about his brash public persona by trying to appear more restrained. Trump has fired his campaign manager and begun using a teleprompter for speeches after having referred to Mexicans as “rapists” and mocked a disabled reporter – Clinton’s using that in ads
• Ed Brookover, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said on CNN Monday that the campaign felt it had “corrected” the issue about the star by deleting Trump’s original tweet. Brookover said of the image’s earlier appearance on the neo-Nazi forum: “These images get posted and reposted on social media on many forums. There was never any intention of anti-Semitism.” (course not)
• Monday, Dan Scavino, Trump campaign’s social media director, said the star wasn’t sourced from an anti-Semitic website, but “lifted from an anti-Hillary Twitter user.” “As the social media director for the campaign, I would never offend anyone and therefore chose to remove the image.” (so why post it in the first place? – and if you think it’s not offensive, why remove it?)
• President Obama praised Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel as “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world.” Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial announced Saturday that Wiesel had died at the age of 87 (AP)
House Democrats Plan Gun Disruptions (Roll Call, Hill, me)
• The Congressional Black Caucus said in a memo to Democratic offices that its members should be “as disruptive to Speaker [Paul] Ryan (R-Wis) as possible next week,” when the House gets back today as part of a “day of action on the floor in regards to gun violence.” (it’s not going to be boring, then, now the House is back)
• “During votes – Members are encouraged to have a picture – not poster board, but a printed piece of paper with an image of a constituent killed by a firearm” the memo said. Ryan said last week the House will vote this week on legislation to block suspected terrorists from buying guns following a nearly 26-hour sit-in by House Democrats demanding a vote
• Friday, the House posted text of a new bill introduced by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif). Included are gun control proposals that are substantially similar to an NRA-backed proposal from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), which the Senate failed to advance last week on a largely partisan vote, 52-47
• “All across America, families are demanding real action to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and suspected terrorists, not a toothless NRA bill that will do nothing to keep our communities safe,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said in a statement Friday. Reps John Lewis (D-Ga) and John Larson (Conn) have asked to meet Ryan about possible amendments

• A spox for Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) said Democrats will continue to demand a vote on Rep Peter King’s (R-NY) bipartisan “No, Fly, No Buy” bill which imposes a ban on firearms sales to those on terror watchlists, unless they can prove they don’t belong on the list

• Conservative MPs in Britain begin the process of choosing their next leader and UK PM today when the first round of voting gets under way. (voting off the island) Home Secretary Theresa May goes into the ballot with a lead. Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb and Liam Fox also hope to succeed David Cameron (BBC)
Sex May Spread Zika More Than Thought (NYT, Hill, me)
• An outbreak of the Zika virus in the continental U.S. could begin any day now. But while there’s plenty of discussion about mosquito bites, some researchers are beginning to worry more about the other known transmission route: sex. Intimate contact may account for more Zika infections than previously suspected, these experts say
• Two reports now suggest that women in Latin America are much more likely to be infected than men, although both are presumably to be equally exposed to mosquitoes. The gender difference appears at the age at which sexual activity begins, and then fades among older adults (not of concern to some older men in Congress, though – except stop younger women from birth control)
• In most parts of the U.S., health officials have presumed that the risk of Zika infection is low, except possibly at the peak of summer, the height of the mosquito season. But wider sexual transmission may alter that calculus. Prevention campaigns, for instance, would have to be retooled with a greater emphasis on protected sex
• Meanwhile, in Congress, Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a Zeka funding bill put forward by Republicans, objecting to a range of measures, including most prominently that the bill allows Zika funding for community health centers and other providers, but not Planned Parenthood – (lots of poorer, younger women go there)
• Democrats blasted that as a political move, saying that Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive services could help prevent the spread of the virus through sex, and help women avoid pregnancy and the potential serious birth defects that come with Zika. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has vowed to bring up the same $1.1 bn package for another vote
America Celebrates the Fourth (AP, WaPo, me)
• In Philadelphia, celebrity guest Leslie Odom Jr, a Philadelphia native who plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” read the Declaration of Independence. Meanwhile, in Plymouth, Mass, a barge being used for a fireworks celebration Monday night exploded and caught fire. Authorities were on the scene
• History was made in the traditional hotdog-eating contest at New York’s Coney Island when long-time champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut took back the Mustard Yellow International Belt from last year’s upstart winner Matt Stonie. Chestnut set an unofficial new world record by downing 70 hotdogs in 10 minutes (and didn’t throw up – which also I think should get a prize)
• More than a million spectators in New York City braved a light sprinkle of rain as they watched Macy’s annual July Fourth fireworks display. The nearly 30-minute long show featured dazzling blues, reds and white among other colors from the more than 56,000 pyrotechnic shells launched from barges in the East River
• It’s the last Fourth of July at the WH for President Obama as his family hosted military families and two of the president’s favorite performers, singer-songwriter Janelle Monae and rapper Kendrick Lamar – inside the WH because of the rain. Obama called America a “miracle” that needs to be defended, then embarrassed daughter Malia by singing Happy Birthday to her
• Scandal if you were watching Washington’s fireworks outside on Monday night where the weather was cloudy and if you also saw PBS’s “A Capitol Fourth,” you might have noticed many of the fireworks on TV looked glorious in a clear sky. Yes – stock footage. Twitter was outraged. PBS said it “the patriotic thing to do.” One tweeter called it the “fraudulent” thing to do (treason…)


• How well do YOU know America? Take this surprisingly confounding Fourth of July quiz, including pet ownership, pizza eating, flag flying, sandwich fillings and circumcision (not actually together) (Guardian, me)

Get it fast. Sign up here for Morning Jumpstart

Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.