HUFFPOST HILL – Benghazi Matter Finally Put To Bed, Will Never Be Spoken Of Again

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivered a speech in front of a pile of trash, which is pretty much what people predicted would happen in the worst-case Y2K scenario. The RNC revealed the design for its convention stage, though it’s unclear where the steam jets and pyrotechnic machines will be fired to herald Trump’s entrance. And the Senate failed to pass a Zika bill in part because of a Confederate flag rider, though, to be fair, that’s only the 98th dumbest reason for a bill to fail this year. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 28th, 2016:

HORRIBLE NEWSBREAK: “Two suicide bombers detonated explosives in the international arrivals terminal at Istanbul Ataturk Airport late Tuesday evening following a shootout with Turkish police, killing at least 10 people and themselves, according to a senior Turkish official.” [HuffPost]

THE HUGENESS OF YESTERDAY’S SUPREME COURT DECISION – Laura Bassett: “Now that the Supreme Court has struck down abortion restrictions in Texas that would have forced most clinics in the state to close, judges are likely to block similar laws in seven other states. Six of those states — Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wisconsin — have laws being challenged in courts that require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 on Monday that the Texas version of that law is unconstitutional because the requirement is medically unnecessary and “places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion.” [HuffPost]

LATINOS DON’T LIKE TRUMP, PT. 583, 443,324 – Hopefully this article will yield another taco salad photo from Trump. Nico Pitney: “The Huffington Post interviewed and surveyed public statements by 49 of the country’s most influential Latino Republicans, as identified by the conservative site Newsmax. Three-quarters of them either explicitly stated they are not currently supporting Trump or would not comment on his campaign at all. Of the remaining 11, three said they will support ‘the Republican nominee’ without citing Trump by name, and five others said they support Trump despite having major reservations. That leaves just three of 49 who are willing to support Trump by name with no major reservations: Jennifer Korn, deputy political director at the RNC; Rep. Alex Mooney, a tea party-backed freshman congressman from West Virginia; and Gus Barreiro, a former state legislator from Florida.” [HuffPost]

Zephyr Teachout held a strong lead over her opponent Will Yandik in New York’s 19th according to polling before today’s primary. Go ahead and get used to seeing the name Zephyr Teachout… Zephyr Teachout, Zephyr Teachout, Zephyr Teachout.

DELANEY DOWNER – Federal drinking water rules are so relaxed that not even the city of Flint, Michigan, has been cited for a violation, even though many Flint residents have been relying on bottled water for drinking and cooking since last year. The Natural Resources Defense Council said Tuesday that 18 million Americans got water from systems that violated federal standards last year, according to federal data. And the environmental advocacy group said an untold number of water systems break the rules without landing in the Environmental Protection Agency’s database of water regulation goofs — including Flint. “Flint’s absence in the federal data system raises the question: If Flint’s extraordinary lead contamination problems are not included in the EPA’s official compliance data,” the NRDC’s report says, “how many other municipalities’ serious lead problems are being swept under the rug by officials responsible for protecting public health?” Zephyr Teachout. [HuffPost]

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THE U.S. SENATE: [] [] [0] DAYS SINCE SCREWING OVER PUBLIC HEALTH – At what point does the upper chamber simply tell us all to eff off and dispatch Ron Johnson to distribute buckets of standing water around the country? Mike McAuliff: “A spending bill that included cash to combat the Zika virus failed in the Senate Tuesday, mired in partisan add-ons that targeted women’s health service providers and sought to allow the flying of the Confederate flag. The $1.1 billion in funding for the nation’s Zika response was attached to a larger funding bill that would pay for military construction and veterans affairs. That measure had passed in the Senate on a bipartisan vote earlier in the year, but it differed from the version that passed the House, which had less money for combatting the disease. To align the separate measures, Republicans in both chambers working in a conference committee wrote a new version of the bill that excluded Democrats’ concerns. It passed on a party line with no hearings or debate in the House last week while Democrats staged a sit-in there over guns.” [HuffPost]

POLITICAL STUNT FINALLY WRAPS UP, YIELDS NOTHING OF VALUE Let’s not let all of this distract us from Trey Gowdy’s biggest discovery over the last two years: that he looks stellar in a plaid bucket hat.  Mike McAuliff: “After spending more than two years and $7 million, the House Select Committee on Benghazi released a report Tuesday that found — like eight investigations before it — no evidence of wrongdoing by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or other members of the Obama administration. The House voted to create the committee after Republicans were frustrated that even their own GOP-led committees failed to find wrongdoing in the events surrounding the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. But the new report also fails to find evidence of wrongdoing, revealing as all previous reports did that the administration’s response to the terror attacks was flawed, but not malicious or derelict.” [HuffPost]

DONALD TRUMP’S MONEY FOUND TO BE LIVING APART FROM MOUTH  David Fahrenthold: “In recent weeks, The Post tried to answer the question by digging up records going back to the late 1980s and canvassing a wide swath of nonprofits with some connection to Trump. That research showed that Trump has a long-standing habit of promising to give to charity. But Trump’s follow-through on those promises was middling — even at the beginning, in his early days as a national celebrity. In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school. In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent. The Post contacted 167 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly.” [WaPo]

This from the guy who doesn’t think marital rape is a thing: “An attorney for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee tweeted an image Tuesday accusing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of murder.  Donald Trump lawyer Michael D. Cohen tweeted the image of a joyful Clinton saying, ‘I presided over $6 billion lost at the State Department, sold uranium to the Russians through my faux charity, illegally deleted public records, and murdered an ambassador. Elect me!‘ ‘This picture says it all!’ Cohen said in the tweet.” [HuffPost]

GOP WILL GET TO CONFIRMING JUDGES THIS AFTERNOOOOOOOOOON – Or when President Trump nominates a Ziplock bag of Robert Bork’s hair to the fifth circuit. Jen Bendery: “Hardly any GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee showed up to a hearing this month to vote out a batch of Obama’s court picks. There were so many missing members the committee didn’t have the 11 people it needed to reach a quorum, which meant no one could do anything. That left the eight Democrats and two Republicans who did show up just sitting there, looking at each other…Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), John Cornyn (Texas), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), David Perdue (Ga.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) were all MIA. Eventually, Tillis wandered in, giving the committee just enough people to vote out the four nominees on the docket. But that was just a blip in the judicial confirmation process. Far more significant is the fact that 14 Republican senators are quietly blocking their own nominees in the committee.” [HuffPost]

TODAY IN WITCH HUNTING – Nice to see Ted Cruz back at work. Sam Stein and Jessica Schulberg: “In explosive testimony Tuesday, a witness before a Senate panel about Islamic terrorism accused the two Muslim members of Congress of having attended an event organized by the Muslim Brotherhood. The charge was leveled by Chris Gaubatz, a ‘national security consultant’ who has moonlighted as an undercover agitator of Muslim groups that he accuses of being terrorist outfits, and it was directed at Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Mich.) and André Carson (D-Ind.). At the heart of his accusation is the attendance by those two members at a 2008 convention hosted by the Islamic Society of North America — a Muslim umbrella group, which Gaubatz claims is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood…Responsibility for this rare instance lies with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who oversaw the hearing as chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts and whose staff likely screened the testimonies of the witnesses.” [HuffPost]

ANTONIN SCALIA HANDS UNIONS A VICTORY FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE – Cristian Farias: “Earlier this year, the justices were evenly divided and thus failed to reach a final ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a constitutional challenge to so-called ‘fair-share’ fees — which any worker can be required to pay if a union bargains on their behalf, even if they are not personally a member of the union. In January, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court seemed poised to rule that these fees, which critics say are a form of “compelled speech” under the First Amendment, were unconstitutional. But following the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who himself had shifting views on the issue, the court couldn’t seem to reach a consensus. In March, it issued a nine-word decision that effectively upheld an earlier ruling that sided with the teachers’ union at the center of the case. In a one-line order issued Tuesday, the court declined to reconsider that 4-to-4 outcome, which means this particular dispute is effectively over . . .” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here’s a bunch of corgis attending CorgiCon.

RNC STAGE SADLY NOT WHAT YOU’D HOPE IT’D BE – Louis Nelson: “The 1,711 square foot video board will sit center stage above the speaker, the focal point of a stage flanked by silver-colored ‘blades’ that will hide wires and lighting from viewers both inside Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena and on television. Republican National Convention CEO Jeff Larson guaranteed at a preview event Tuesday that Trump’s acceptance speech on the final night of the event will happen inside the arena and will not be moved to another, larger location.” [Politico]

OOPS – Evan Halper: “Democrats released but redacted a transcript of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal answering the committee’s questions to make the point that Republicans do not want the public to know what went on during the his interrogation, during which GOP members arguably used their subpoena power to conduct political opposition research unrelated to Benghazi. But the redaction marks are easily erased by anyone able to use a computer’s cut-and-paste function… It shows that Republicans did, indeed, leverage their subpoena of Blumenthal for political gain, digging into his financial contracts with David Brock and forcing him to reveal the details of a lucrative financial arrangement that congressional sources would ultimately leak to Fox News. And for Democrats, the exchange exposes once again the absurd amounts of money people in the orbit of the Clintons sometimes seem to rake in just for, well, being in the orbit of the Clintons. ‘I’d say it’s about $200,000 a year,’ Blumenthal said when asked by a committee member how much the part-time work offering up advice and ideas was worth.” [LATimes]

 

COMFORT FOOD

– Visualizing immigration to the United States.

 

– Iceland’s soccer team celebrates its victory over England — which can’t seem to do anything right these days — with a Viking chant.

 

– A J-Pop cover of the theme from “Ghostbusters.”

 

– Zephyr Teachout.

 

TWITTERAMA

@s_m_i: “What’s your plan for econonomic independence?” “Vote for me” “No, but what’s the plan?” “Vote for me, it’ll be fantastic” “Ok but what’s th

 

@swin24: OH in the newsroom: “have fun! hashtag benghazi!”


@BenjySarlin
: I’m sure Speaker Ryan can’t wait to get on the GOP’s new agenda of passing sweeping tariffs and renouncing trade deals

 

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