The Week in Politics: Everything You Need to Know
Trump University Lawsuit
Trump University is currently the focus of two class action lawsuits and a $40 million lawsuit from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has called the organization “a fraud from beginning to end.”
Donald Trump has defended the University, criticizing U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel who he’s called “biased,” a “hater,” and in a speech, alluded to Curiel’s ethnicity saying that he “happens to be, we believe, Mexican.”
Trump later defended his comments about Curiel, saying “He’s proud of his his heritage. I respect him for that,” Trump said, dismissing charges that his allegation was racist. “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”
Judge Curiel was originally going to set the date of the trial for this summer but decided to postpone it until after the election cycle, fearing a “media frenzy.”
Curiel then ordered the release of documents associated with the Trump University case, including the school’s “playbook.” Those documents revealed a moneymaking scheme that preyed on and pressured potential customers.
Following the attacks against the judge, Trump was criticized by Megyn Kelly and House Speaker Paul Ryan—both of whom were former critics, and then grudging advocates of the presumptive Republican nominee.
Clinton’s Email Server Woes
Last week, a 78-page report released by the Inspector General found presidential candidate Hillary Clinton guilty of breaking federal rules with her private email server, but Clinton and her campaign adamantly deny any wrongdoing.
“Well, there may be reports that come out, but nothing has changed,” Clinton said in an interview with Univision’s Los Angeles. “It’s the same story.”
New developments in the story emerged when Clinton’s former tech aide Bryan Pagliano announced he’s going to exercise his right to the Fifth Amendment, protecting him from self-incrimination in a deposition given to conservative group Judicial Watch about his involvement with the setup of Clinton’s email server.
Pagliano also said in a court filing that there’s no valid reason to make an audio or video recording of the session, since he doesn’t plan to answer any of the questions in the deposition scheduled for June 6.
Judicial Watch is pursuing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit related to Clinton’s private email server, a scandal that has dogged her campaign throughout the primary season. The group says that they are going to fight Pagliano’s proposal to ban recording of the testimony.
Contentious Trump Press Conference on Veteran Funds
The press conference was supposed to give an explanation from Donald Trump accounting for the $6 million he said he raised for veterans groups. It started off addressing the veterans funds, listing the various organizations where Trump was sending money.
“I raised close to $6 million. It will probably be over that amount when it’s all said and done, but as of this moment, it’s $5.6 million,” Trump asserted.
Trump said most of the money had already been distributed, blaming the delay on the need to vet the groups.
“I had teams of people reviewing statistics, reviewing numbers and also talking to people in the military to find out whether or not the group was deserving of the money,” the presumptive Republican nominee told reporters.
He continued, “I wanted to keep it private because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business if I want to send money to the vets.”
However, the press conference turned into an onslaught of accusations and name-calling directed at media organizations, and in some cases, specific journalists.
“The press should be ashamed at themselves, and on behalf of the vets the press should be ashamed of themselves. They are calling me and they are furious,” Trump said.
At one point, he called ABC reporter Tom Llamas a “sleaze” and said that CNN’s Jim Acosta “a real beauty” after the reporter asked him if he would be able to cope with being scrutinized.
Trump also assured the crowd of journalists that he would be just as combative if he were elected president:
“Yeah, it is going to be like this,” Trump said. “You think I’m gonna change? I’m not gonna change.”
Hillary’s Foreign Policy Speech
Hillary Clinton wasted no time attacking Donald Trump on foreign policy, touting her experience as Secretary of State and repeatedly questioning the Republican nominee’s ability to exhibit the temperament necessary for presidency.
“Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different, they’re dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies,” she said
“He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility,” Clinton continued.
The Democratic frontrunner spent most of the thirty-five minute speech listing ways that Donald Trump would be unfit as president, parsing over comments about torture, nuclear arms, his admiration for countries that are hostile to the United States, and a desire to push away allies.
Sanders and Clinton, Neck and Neck in California
The largest state remaining in the Democratic primary season is California, and multiple polls put Hillary Clinton only 2 percentage points over her rival Bernie Sanders.
Two polls, the NBC/WSJ/Marist and Field polls released on June 2 show Clinton and Sanders within two percent in California—and if you include the PPIC poll—three out of the last four polls have shown Clinton leading by 2 points.
The NBC poll shows a 49-47 split; the Field poll shows a 45-43 split; the PPIC poll shows a 46-44 split.
A Sanders win in California would be embarrassing for Clinton, whose husband won the California primary during the 1992 cycle to solidify his nomination against the current California governor Jerry Brown.
Even if she doesn’t win in California, the proportional delegate system should give her enough delegates to surpass the threshold and receive a majority of delegates, although that victory would be muted by the upset.
Paul Ryan Endorses Trump
After months of saying he wasn’t ready to endorse the presumptive nominee of the Republican party, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan published an op-ed in his hometown paper announcing that he is going to vote for Donald Trump in the fall.
Ryan admits that Trump and he have differences, but that “on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”
Less than 24 hours after the endorsement, Speaker Ryan’s differences with Trump came to the forefront when he criticized the Republican nominee for saying the judge in the Trump University lawsuit was biased because of his Mexican heritage.
David French looks like Mike from “Veep.” Discuss. pic.twitter.com/lRxC5F32Wz
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) June 1, 2016
David French Floated as Third Party Candidate
Conservative Republicans are lobbying behind lawyer and National Review contributor David French in an ongoing attempt to find a suitable alternative to Donald Trump.
The two biggest backers endorsing French as a third party candidate are 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney and Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard.
“I know David French to be an honorable, intelligent and patriotic person. I look forward to following what he has to say,” the former Republican presidential nominee tweeted.
“To say that he would be a better and a more responsible president than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is to state a truth that would become self-evident as more Americans got to know him,” Kristol writes in a recent article touting French’s virtues.