TRAIL GUIDE
NATION POLITICS TRAIL GUIDE

Secret Service agent scuffles with photographer at Donald Trump rally

Donald Trump faces questions of white supremacy support and Hillary Clinton charges into Texas ahead of Super Tuesday.

  • Photographer trying to cover protests is tackled at a Donald Trump rally
  • Trump blames a "lousy earpiece" for his hesitance to disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan
  • Here's everything you need to know about Super Tuesday
  • Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz press Trump to allow release of an interview said to show he has alternate views on immigration
  • Trump and Bernie Sanders are political opposites but both praise healthcare in other countries. Here's why

David Duke speaks out about Donald Trump's disavowal: 'Do whatever you need to do to get elected'

David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who plans to vote for Donald Trump, on Monday laughed off the GOP front-runner's disavowal.

"That's fine. Look, Donald Trump do whatever you need to do to get elected to this country because we need a change," Duke said in an appearance on “The Alan Colmes Show” on Fox News Radio.

Duke, a former Louisiana legislator, said during the Monday interview that he regretted his involvement with the KKK, but also blamed Jewish people in the media for negative coverage of Trump. He even used a spin on the "Oscars so white" meme to make his point.

"“There’s no question – the Jewish establishment despises, hates and fears Donald Trump and they’ve gone crazy," Duke said.

He added that he fears that the government is trying to destroy Americans of European ancestry, but insisted he does not hate all Jews.

"In fact, I really admire the Jews who’ve stood up against Jewish racism, Jewish tribalists. The reason they have this power in America, the reason they control Hollywood – Hollywood is not 'so white,' it’s 'so Jewish,'" Duke said.

Trump was facing heat for his refusal Sunday to renounce the support of Duke, a onetime Louisiana gubernatorial and presidential candidate, during a CNN interview. Trump later said he couldn't hear host Jake Tapper because of a faulty earpiece.

Rival Marco Rubio said not rejecting Duke disqualifies the businessman from the presidency.

Trump pointed to his disavowal of Duke during a news conference Friday.

John Oliver's anti-Trump 'Drumpf' campaign

In a blistering 21-minute segment, "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver systematically picked apart the mystique surrounding Donald Trump. 

Going one by one through each of the attributes voters seem to like about Trump — that he's a tough, spectacularly wealthy and savvy businessman who "tells it like it is" — the comedian argued on his HBO show that Trump's persona and track record simply do not align.

New ads: We were taken in by Trump University

Ads featuring people who say they were scammed by Donald Trump’s real estate school have drawn an angry counterattack from the Trump campaign and a demand that they be taken down.

In the ads, three people say they each spent about $35,000 for Trump University but got little in return. Trump faces three lawsuits over the defunct operation, two in Southern California and one filed by New York's attorney general.

“I was duped by the Donald,” says one man identified as Bob. “He can make people believe practically anything.” In another, a man identified as Kevin says, “Trump is just a fraud, a misrepresentation, a BS artist” and “America, don’t make the same mistake I made with Donald Trump.”

In response, Trump released two ratings surveys he said were filled out by those two men; both gave the Trump University course high marks.

“It’s a minor civil case that I have not settled out of principle,” Trump said in a statement.

Trump said the “false and libelous” ads were “clearly coordinated with lightweight Senator Marco Rubio.”

The ads were paid for by the American Future Fund, a political group in Iowa that does not disclose its donors.

“The truth hurts,” said Stuart Roy, a spokesman for the group, calling the accusations of coordination with Rubio “ludicrous.”

Trump’s opponents in the race, notably Rubio, have begun slamming Trump’s business record in recent days, trying to dent his aura of corporate wizardry and inject doubt into his promises to help working voters.

In response to Trump, Rubio’s camp doubled down with more taunts. At first, the Trump campaign incorrectly attributed the ads to Conservative Solutions, a super PAC supporting Rubio, drawing more mockery from spokesman Jeff Sadosky: “If the wall he promises is of the same quality as the legal work he gets from his lawyers, it’ll crumble within days.”

Joe Pounder, a spokesman for the Rubio campaign, said, “The chemicals from his spray tan seem to be impacting the Trump campaign.”

Donald Trump pressed to release immigration interview

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz called on Donald Trump on Monday to release remarks he made on immigration during an off-the-record interview this year with the New York Times.

Trump reportedly showed some "flexibility" in his hardline views on immigration, according to BuzzFeed, which first reported the details of Trump's remarks.

"Donald Trump should ask the New York Times to release the audio of his interview with him so we can see exactly what it is he truly believes about this issue that he has made the cornerstone of his campaign," Rubio said at a campaign stop in Arkansas.

Cruz took similar aim in his home state of Texas:

Added Cruz's communications director, Alice Stewart: "What’s he hiding? Trump should immediately come clean with the voters about who he is, what he’s done, what he really believes, and what’s on those tapes," she said in a statement.

Hillary Clinton has a few thoughts on Trump's temperament

Hillary Clinton on Monday gave another glimpse at the line of attack she would pursue against Donald Trump.

At a campaign rally in Virginia — where Clinton's actual Super Tuesday rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, again barely merited a mention — the Democratic front-runner had a lot to say about Trump’s temperament.

“You can’t just say whatever pops into your head if you want to be the president of the United States of America,” Clinton said. “People around the world actually listen to what the president says.” She asked voters to imagine Trump trying to build a coalition with Arab nations to defeat Islamic State after all the incendiary comments he has made about Muslims.

“When you’ve got somebody running for president who is insulting people, insulting their religion, that makes a hard job even harder,” Clinton said. “We have got to pay attention to what people say… because it has consequences.”

Then Clinton asked voters to imagine an unpredictable and impulsive Trump calling the shots in the White House situation room, reminding them of how high the stakes were when she was there, advising President Obama on the operation that took out Osama bin Laden.

“We need somebody who has the experience and the temperament to deal with what is gong on in the world,” Clinton said. 

Secret Service agent throws photographer to the ground at Trump rally

A Secret Service agent at a Donald Trump rally in Virginia grabbed a Time photographer by the throat Monday and slammed him onto the ground, according to video of the encounter and eyewitness accounts.

The scuffle began when Time photographer Chris Morris tried to step out of a media pen to photograph Black Lives Matter protesters being ejected by law enforcement officers from Trump’s campaign rally at Radford University in Radford, Va., Morris said.

“I stepped 18 inches out of the pen, and he grabbed me by the neck and started choking me and then he slammed me to the ground,” Morris told CNN after he was briefly detained and then released.

Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, confines news media at his rallies to a pen enclosed by metal barricades. His campaign often instructs reporters and photographers to stay within the pen.

Time posted a video showing the agent grabbing Morris by the neck and shoving him to the ground. Other videos show Morris, a camera around his neck, on his back kicking as the agent tries to subdue him.

Morris, a veteran White House photographer, is also seen swearing at the agent and demonstrating how he was grabbed by the neck before he was taken out of the rally to raucous cheering by Trump supporters.

Trump often draws extended cheers at his rallies when he attacks the news media. On Monday, he told the crowd in Virginia that half the press was “absolute sleaze.”

It’s unclear why the Secret Service enforces the campaign’s confinement of the media to a pen. Campaigns do not typically prohibit reporters from interviewing spectators at their rallies. Hundreds of spectators are seated between the media pen and the candidate, whose large security detail keeps the public at a distance.

Time said it expressed concerns to the Secret Service about the level and nature of the agent’s response to Morris. “Morris has also expressed remorse for his part in escalating the confrontation,” the magazine said.

The Secret Service said it was working with local law enforcement “to determine the exact circumstances that led up to this” and promised to provide more details as it investigates.

Chris Christie: Don't ask me about Donald Trump

 (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Once again sparring with his home-state reporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday held a news conference to unveil a judicial nomination but refused to answer any questions about his controversial decision to endorse Donald Trump for the White House.

“There’s going to be only on-topic questions today, so permission denied,” Christie said when a reporter tried to squeeze in a political question. Asked why, he said: “Because I don’t want to.”

Christie, whose presidential dreams crashed with a sixth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, jumped on to the Trump bandwagon Friday, after months of ridiculing the GOP front-runner’s extreme proposals to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and to build a wall along the length of the U.S.-Mexico border. Christie then repeatedly encouraged voters to press Trump on how he would make good on his promise to have Mexico pay for the wall.

The endorsement has been widely criticized in relatively moderate New Jersey. A former top fundraiser for Christie's presidential campaign, Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Meg Whitman, called it “an astonishing display of political opportunism." On Sunday, in an appearance on ABC, Christie offered weak defenses of some Trump's positions before saying he endorsed him because Trump offers the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton.

With his popularity at home faded, Christie faces a tough two years trying to push his agenda through the Democrat-controlled Legislature in Trenton. On Monday, he nominated a Republican, David Bauman, to an empty seat on the state Supreme Court; Christie also nominated Bauman in 2012, but the Senate refused to confirm him.

Christie said Democrats in New Jersey’s Legislature should confirm Bauman – just as Republicans in Congress should hold hearings to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“As I’ve always said, I think that’s absolutely the right thing to do,” Christie said Monday. “People can vote up or down, however they choose, but hearings should be held.”

On that, Christie differs from Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to block hearings on any nominee high-court nominee submitted by President Obama, a position Trump endorsed in a Feb. 13 debate: “Delay, delay, delay,” Trump said.

Do other candidates add up to more or less delegates than Donald Trump? If more, odds of contested convention increase.

David Wasserman, campaign analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, on what he's watching for on Super Tuesday.

John Kasich's top strategist: 'For us, Super Tuesday is March 15 when Ohio has a say'

 (Jim Cole / Associated Press)
(Jim Cole / Associated Press)

No matter what happens on Super Tuesday, John Kasich insists that there's one certainty: He will remain in the Republican presidential race until at least March 15, when his home state of Ohio votes . 

As Republicans in 11 states -- many of them in the South -- award delegates Tuesday, Kasich's main focus will be on Massachusetts, which has a more moderate electorate and is similar to New Hampshire, where he finished in second place to front-runner Donald Trump earlier this month.

But the Ohio governor's eyes will really be on the contest in two weeks. 

"We always knew March 1 was never good for a candidate like Kasich, because of so many conservative Southern states" John Weaver, Kasich's chief strategist, said Monday. "For us, Super Tuesday is March 15 when Ohio has a say."

All told, the delegate math for Kasich will remain an uphill battle even if he nabs all 66 delegates in Ohio's winner-take-all contest. So far, he's failed to win any states and remains far behind Trump in the delegate count. 

Many establishment Republicans have urged him to exit the race so that the party can unite around a single candidate -- perhaps, say some, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida  -- to challenge Trump. 

Weaver, optimistic about the weeks ahead, said that if Rubio loses Florida -- which also votes March 15, is a winner-take-all contest and has 99 delegates -- the field will clear and his candidate will be well positioned. 

"It's could very well be a two-person race at that point -- us and Trump," he said. 

No jokes today, folks. Marco Rubio talks serious stakes in fighting Donald Trump

Protester draws Donald Trump's ire at Virginia rally

Donald Trump's KKK comments now starring in pro-Marco Rubio ad

Rahm Emanuel: Donald Trump is 'playing with dark forces'

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday slammed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for "playing with dark forces"  by not strongly disavowing the support of white supremacist leader David Duke.

The mayor was responding to Trump saying over the weekend that he doesn't "know anything about David Duke" when asked whether he repudiates the endorsement by the former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Emanuel also hit Trump for retweeting a quote by fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

"Donald Trump, from 'The Apprentice' show, that was kind of a faux reality show where you audition for a job. He's now auditioning for the biggest job in America, and it's not just the biggest job in America, the biggest job in the world," Emanuel said after casting an early vote in the March 15 primary election. "And over the weekend, whether it was dealing with Mussolini or David Duke, his statements or the lack of clarity around his statements, you know, you sleep in the bed you make. And I think that playing with dark forces come back to haunt you. And this is not a joke."

Democratic official endorses Bernie Sanders based on his cautious approach to war

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) quit her high-ranking post at the Democratic National Committee to support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying she believes he can better serve the country as a commander in chief.

Gabbard, who was DNC vice chair, resigned on Sunday and endorsed Sanders, an independent seeking the party's nomination for president. On Monday, she told CNN that her experience as an Iraq war veteran and listening to fellow veterans helped drive her decision.

“As a soldier and as a veteran, and what I hear from military families across the country, is how real war is,” Gabbard said on CNN. “This is something that has a very real cost.”

She pointed to Clinton's record of advocating for intervention  her vote for the Iraq war as a senator and, as secretary of State, her help in orchestrating the overthrow of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and her continued push for regime change in Syria. Clinton’s support for involving the U.S. in foreign conflict shows a lack of “good judgement” and “oversight,” Gabbard said. 

“You can tell what a person will do in a future by their record and what they’ve done in the past,” she said.

She said she agrees with Sanders’ cautious view of going to war and on military action, and that stepping away from the establishment backing of Clinton came at a critical time in voting.

“This is not about politics — this is about the very high stakes that exist in this election,” Gabbard said. “I couldn’t stand on the sidelines any longer.”

It is a fundamentally undemocratic response to insinuate that people should be stripped of their choice 'for the good of the party.' That’s why I’ve vowed to continue our campaign as long as we have revenue and support, until the people have decided.

Ben Carson, the former neurosurgeon and GOP presidential candidate writing in an op-ed article published by Fox News on Monday, explaining why he intends to stay in the race for the White House

Donald Trump blames a 'lousy earpiece' for not disavowing the KKK on CNN

Donald Trump declined to disavow David Duke and the Klu Klux Klan in an interview over the weekend because of a “lousy earpiece,” the GOP presidential front-runner said Monday.

Trump was asked on Sunday on CNN about his support from white supremacists, including Duke, and he responded that he didn’t know anything about Duke, a former KKK grand wizard, and refused to denounce groups he didn’t know anything about. But on Monday he blamed the answer on an inability to clearly hear CNN host Jake Tapper’s questions.

“What I heard was 'various groups,'” Trump clarified on NBC’s “Today.” He ignored questions about why he didn't answer Tapper directly about Duke, repeating only that he didn't want to lump in unnamed other groups that he believed he'd been asked about.

"I don’t mind disavowing anybody, I disavowed David Duke," he said, pointing to his condemnations posted on social media after Sunday's exchange on CNN.

Trump blaming his inability to hear the question didn't square with what he said to Tapper, though. The first words of his answer on CNN were a specific reference to Duke. 

"Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?" Trump told Tapper.

In 2002, Trump refused to run for president in the Reform Party in part because Duke was a member, Trump said then.

Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” published an op-ed article in the Washington Post on Monday, calling out Trump for his comments. He said the candidate’s words “disqualify” him from running as president.

“Sunday’s distressing performance is just the latest in a string of incidents that suggest to critics that Donald Trump is using bigotry to fuel his controversial campaign,” Scarborough wrote in the article “Trump’s feigned ignorance about the KKK raises disturbing questions.”

“So is this how the party of Abraham Lincoln dies?” Scarborough wrote. 

Why Trump and Sanders are praising healthcare in other countries

Among presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton is the only one who wants to keep the Affordable Care Act. Above, an Obamacare sign-up site in Miami. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
Among presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton is the only one who wants to keep the Affordable Care Act. Above, an Obamacare sign-up site in Miami. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Declaring the U.S. healthcare system the "envy of the world," as President George W. Bush did during his 2004 reelection campaign, was once an easy applause line for politicians.

But this year, two leading presidential contenders, Republican Donald Trump and Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, have invoked America's foreign competitors when discussing their healthcare plans.

There is a lot abroad that might interest Americans.

Canada, Britain, France and other developed countries not only spend substantially less on healthcare, but their citizens also often report better access to medical care and far fewer financial worries.

They also enjoy better health. Although Americans three decades ago lived as long as Britons and longer than Germans, the Irish or the Portuguese, they now live on average two years less than residents of these countries.

Why Super Tuesday is so important to the presidential candidates in both parties

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz rally in Atlanta. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz rally in Atlanta. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

After starting small, the presidential campaign has exploded into a nationwide contest that on Tuesday could all but decide the Democratic and Republican nominating fights.

Twelve states from Alaska to Massachusetts will hold caucuses and primaries that day, awarding a big chunk of the delegates needed to secure the two major party nominations.

The balloting marks a fundamental shift, away from the close-quarters campaigning in states such as Iowa and New Hampshire and the drive for momentum that came with winning or, for the second- and third-place finishers, beating expectations.

From here out, the race is about cold, hard mathematics and piling up convention delegates.

By the numbers

All things Clinton | All things Trump

How does Clinton or Trump get to 270 electoral votes? Play with our map.

Who's endorsing who? Find out which celebrities support each candidate.

Find out which Republicans support Donald Trump

Get free news and analysis in your inbox daily from our political team.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
68°