Biden and Warren launch tag-team attack on Trump over comments on judge
If things had gone differently, it could have been an early look at the Democratic presidential ticket.
But instead, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Vice President Joe Biden acted as independent players as they delivered stinging rebukes Thursday of Donald Trump and the GOP as a whole in back-to-back speeches before a left-leaning law group.
Speaking first, Warren tore into Trump as a fraud who sought to manipulate the legal system by going after the judge presiding over the Trump University case.
Trump’s attacks on the Mexican heritage of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is ethically banned from responding, are “exactly what you would expect from a thin-skinned racist bully,” Warren said.
But her primary purpose was in seeking to connect Trump to the two top congressional Republicans — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom she accused of launching a “full-scale assault on the integrity of the courts,” and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, whom she said had refused to condemn intimidation and smears from fellow Republicans against qualified judicial nominees.
“Donald Trump chose racism as his weapon, but his aim is exactly the same as the rest of the Republicans: pound the courts into submission to the rich and powerful,” she said.
Biden, noting he has not commented much publicly about Trump or the case, said Trump’s approach to it suggested he “cannot be trusted to respect the independence of the judiciary as a president.”
“I think his conduct is really undermining, and threatening, and potentially doing damage to the constitutional imperative of an independent judiciary that the American people can have faith in,” Biden said.
Biden said Trump’s comments suggesting he would pursue his own civil case on the issue as president would “border on an impeachable offense.”
“To use the office of the presidency, were he to acquire it, to intimidate and undermine an independent judiciary would be a blatantly unconstitutional abuse of power,” Biden said.
The latest Clinton endorsement? Joe Biden (sort of)
Did Vice President Joe Biden just endorse Hillary Clinton?
In what was for him a typical rhetorical roller coaster of a speech Thursday evening, it seems that he did.
His apparent endorsement, on the heels of President Obama’s earlier in the day, came more than 35 minutes into remarks to the American Constitution Society about the consequences of a long-term vacancy on the Supreme Court, as the Senate idles over Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.
“Anybody who thinks that whoever the next president is, and God willing, in my view it will be Secretary Clinton,” Biden said, before the audience interrupted him with applause.
He went on about the topic at hand, noting that even if the next president submits a new high court nominee that Senate leaders are willing to act on, it would still be some time before that person would be seated on the court.
“But even if it is a Democrat, the idea that this will be brought up within a month or two or three is highly unlikely,” he said. “Even in a functioning system, it happens in over two months.”
Just hours earlier, Biden met with Bernie Sanders at his official residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, part of Sanders’ day of meetings with top-ranking Democrats, including Obama.
Biden congratulated the Vermont senator “on energizing so many new voters and bringing them into the Democratic Party,” according to a statement released by the vice president’s office. They also discussed how to continue “a national conversation” on how to grow the middle class.
Biden hinted at support for Clinton before, saying in a recent ABC News interview that he was confident Clinton would be the nominee and the next president.
Elizabeth Warren ‘ready to get in this fight’ for Hillary Clinton
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose populist messages about income inequality and the abuses of Wall Street earn her great admiration among liberals, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Thursday, citing the former secretary of State’s experience in government as a key asset to Democrats this fall.
“I’m ready to get in this fight and work my heart out for Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States,” the Massachusetts senator said in an exclusive interview on the “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Warren, who had remained on the sidelines in the battle between Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, said the primary is now over and that the party must unite to defeat Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.
“Clinton won because she’s a fighter,” Warren said. “She’s out there. She’s tough, and I think this is what we need.”
Sanders has not formally ended his campaign. He has said he will remain in the race until Washington, D.C., voters cast their ballots Tuesday in the final primary contest.
High-profile Democrats are now lining up behind Clinton. Earlier Thursday, President Obama released a video offering his support for Clinton.
Speaking on “Maddow,” Warren said she had not been vetted as a possible running mate for Clinton, and insisted the focus must be on defeating Trump in the fall.
“Now we’re about to enter another big fight, a general election fight that pits a tough woman who is willing to lead against a small, insecure bully,” said Warren, noting Trump is a “genuine threat” to the country.
In recent weeks, Warren and Trump have battled on social media, with Trump labeling Warren “Pocahontas” to mock her claim that she has a Native American heritage.
Warren, who is likely to hit the campaign trail for Clinton this fall, said Democrats -- after a lengthy primary -- were battle-tested and ready for November.
“We really can push this country in a better direction,” she said. “We can help level the playing field.”
Bernie Sanders has nothing to say about Hillary Clinton at D.C. rally
There was no mention of fighting on until July. No blistering critique of the Democratic Party establishment. Not even a word was uttered about Hillary Clinton.
Bernie Sanders used what will likely be one of his last campaign rallies to go back to where he began: delivering an hourlong policy sermon about economic and racial injustice, the scourge of big money in politics and the need for a political revolution. Sanders did not follow the lead of the celebrity speaker who took the stage before him, Cornel West, who urged the crowd in Washington -- the site of next week’s final Democratic primary -- to resist pressure from the corporate media to vote for “milquetoast neoliberal” Hillary Clinton.
Sanders did not get into his intraparty rivalry at all. The only moment that he seemed to deviate from his standard stump was when he made a pitch for D.C. statehood, something Clinton also supports. The tone of the speech, and the absence of defiance toward Democratic Party leaders, suggested the Vermont insurgent is not positioning to dig in for the duration, as he had earlier suggested he might. He did not even give much of a hint about how he might help Democrats defeat Donald Trump, should the party successfully unify over the next several weeks.
Sanders mocked Trump’s outlook on climate change for a couple of minutes, but otherwise made little mention of him Thursday night.
Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters in D.C.
Opinion: Trump bigotry has shameless defenders, from GOP pols to CNN shills
Sen. Elizabeth Warren to endorse Clinton
Follow Trail Guide tonight for Elizabeth Warren’s comments about Hillary Clinton.
Earlier on Thursday, President Obama offered his support to Clinton.
Sanders supporters have mixed feelings ahead of D.C. primary
Some Bernie Sanders supporters in Washington, D.C., had mixed emotions heading into Tuesday’s primary here, the last of the presidential nominating contests.
Although they plan on voting for the Vermont senator next week, some said their subsequent votes in November will be cast for a less fitting candidate under less-than-ideal circumstances.
“I guess I’ll have to hold my nose,” said one resident, Gary Rossi, about voting for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election. “I mean, what else?”
But not all Sanders supporters see voting for Clinton as a bad thing.
“Hillary can represent us well enough if she listens to the left side of the party,” said Marlin Dohlman, a registered Democrat in Washington.
She added that Sanders “doesn’t disappear” just because he won’t be the party’s nominee.
For Sandra Jibrell, Sanders appealed to her because she is “sick and tired” of candidates running on certain platforms and not following through.
“I am tired of the Clintons,” she said. “I don’t think Hillary’s going to bring anything new.”
Jibrell acknowledged that she didn’t expect Sanders to win, but she wants the Democratic Party to embrace his policy proposals.
For some Sanders supporters, voting for him in the primary is a matter of principle, even if the nomination eludes him.
“It’s important to show what you believe in as a voter,” said Katie Beckman-Götrich, who registered as a Democrat to vote for Sanders. “It’s the primary, so it’s the time to show that.”
Former rival Martin O’Malley endorses Clinton, aligning with Obama
“Democrats, independents and Republicans alike must come together to confront the fascist threat to our democracy presented by Donald Trump,” O’Malley said in a statement. “The stakes in this election could not be higher, and the choice is clear.”
‘Bernie is going to be good for the party,’ Harry Reid says after meeting with Sanders
Bernie Sanders returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with Democratic leaders as he considers his next steps after President Obama’s endorsement of rival Hillary Clinton.
Sanders huddled with Sen. Harry Reid at the minority leader’s office and then had a session with the likely incoming leader, Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York.
“I’m not pushing him to do anything if he needs a little time to decide what he wants to do,” Reid said, deflecting questions about whether Sanders’ campaign was coming to an end.
“I don’t think Bernie Sanders is holding out for anything. I think he is somebody who is interested in changing the direction of the country. He’s done that with this historic election.”
Reid added: “I didn’t hear a single word from him about trying to change the fact that she’s the nominee.”
While Reid made it clear where the presidential contest stood — “Hillary’s the nominee” — he praised Sanders’ influence and contributions to the race, as well as to Democratic successes in Congress, noting the Vermonter’s key role in passage of the Affordable Care Act.
“Bernie is going to be good for the party,” said Reid, adding he was envious of Sanders’ “vitality” on the campaign trail. “I’m confident he will be a good good campaigner for the Democratic senators and the Democratic nominee.”
Schumer, likewise, praised Sanders’ contributions and put a positive spin on the road ahead.
“He’s not bitter; he’s not angry,” Schumer said.
Schumer said: “We’re going to have a great and constructive relationship.”
Clinton to Trump: ‘Delete your account’
Donald Trump tweeted about President Obama’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Thursday.
And here’s Clinton’s response.
When presidents try to name their successors
Obama endorses Clinton: ‘I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office’
President Obama formally endorsed Hillary Clinton as his successor to the White House on Tuesday, saying he doesn’t think anyone has ever been more qualified for the job she seeks as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
“I know how hard this job can be,” he said. “That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”
The Clinton campaign tweeted a video of the endorsement, about two hours after Obama met at the White House with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who continues his own candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
But Clinton has outdistanced Sanders in votes and delegates to the July nominating convention and claimed the nomination this week. Fellow Democrats are rallying around her and quietly or publicly urging Sanders to start working toward bringing the party together for the general election.
Obama’s move to endorse Clinton while Sanders is still technically in the race illustrates the president’s growing confidence that his job of unifying the party will be much easier than he once feared. He and his staff increasingly are talking about the unanimity among Democratic voters against the candidacy of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Obama for weeks has questioned Trump’s temperament and preparation for the job, two ideas he hit on hard in his endorsement video.
“I have seen her judgment. I have seen her toughness. I have seen her commitment to our values up close,” he said of Clinton, who was his Democratic rival in the 2008 primary race and then later served as his secretary of State.
Obama and Clinton plan to campaign together in Wisconsin next Wednesday, according to Clinton campaign officials.
In his video, Obama thanked Sanders for shining a spotlight on income inequality and for bringing young people into the process.
Clinton and Sanders may have been primary season rivals, he said, “but they are both patriots who love this country, and they share a vision for the America we all believe in.”
President Obama endorses Hillary Clinton
President Obama tossed his support behind Hillary Clinton on Thursday, calling the former secretary of State the most qualified candidate to succeed him in office.
“She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done,” Obama says in the three-minute video.
Bernie Sanders pledges to help Democrats defeat Trump but will campaign through the D.C. primary
Bernie Sanders brought 12 million votes’ worth of political capital to a series of high-level meetings in Washington on Thursday, with Democrats wondering just how he intends to spend it – or squander it.
The Vermont senator spent more than an hour at the White House late Thursday morning for an Oval Office sit-down with President Obama, after which he struck a somewhat conciliatory tone but offered no clarity about his plans to either drop out of the presidential race or back presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.
Sanders’ chances of becoming the Democratic nominee are nearly nonexistent, dependent solely on a dramatic swing of support from superdelegates away from Clinton. But he entered Thursday’s meeting with Obama, and a later one with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), with some bargaining chips, aware of Democrats’ desire to avoid any whiff of intraparty dissent.
Sanders says he’ll campaign through next week but appears conciliatory toward Clinton
Hillary Clinton asserts foundation discloses its donors
The Clinton Foundation may have fallen short on disclosing details about a few donations, Hillary Clinton acknowledged, but she downplayed the instances as aberrations rather than a systemic failure of disclosure.
“We had absolutely overwhelming disclosure,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Were there, you know, one or two instances that slipped through the cracks? Yes. But was the overwhelming amount of anything that anybody gave the foundation disclosed? Absolutely.”
Clinton was responding to Donald Trump’s accusations that the foundation accepted money from foreign governments while she served as secretary of State.
“Money that has been given to the foundation goes to support humanitarian work,” Clinton said. “And if people want to influence anybody in office, I think they would choose the political route.”
Clinton also told Cooper that she plans to pick her running mate before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. That potential list will include women, she said.
Elizabeth Warren: Donald Trump uses ‘racism as his weapon’
Donald Trump uses racism to attack people and cares about no one but himself, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will say Thursday in a harsh attack on the presumptive GOP nominee.
“Donald Trump chose racism as his weapon,” Warren will say in a speech in Washington, according to excerpts released by her office. “But his aim is exactly the same as the rest of the Republicans — pound the courts into submission to the rich and powerful.”
Warren has unleashed several rants against Trump on social media and will defend the federal judge who’s the target of his latest attacks. She will talk about Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s history of receiving death threats from drug cartels and an assassination attempt against him. This man can handle Trump’s “nasty temper tantrums,” Warren will say.
She also will blame Republican leaders in Congress for allowing Trump to repeat his attacks on the judge. House Speaker Paul Ryan (D-Wis.) condemned the remarks but has endorsed Trump.
“Donald Trump is a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud who has never risked anything for anyone and serves nobody but himself,” Warren was to say.
Sanders’ revolution at a crossroads: Opposing paths, mixed messages
In these final days of Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency, the defiant insurgent has been at his least predictable, shifting continuously from plotting to overturn the will of voters in a convention showdown to assuring he would be a forceful voice for Democratic unity.
These two sides of the Sanders conscience are familiar, at least to obsessive watchers of cable news. They have manifested themselves day after day in the comments of the two top strategists guiding the Sanders effort. The men often come across as out of sync.
Now Sanders is looking to both of them for advice as he plans what to do next. In a campaign famously light on insider political consultants, Sanders relies heavily on the pair: the chairman channeling his revolutionary rage and a seasoned Democratic strategist reflecting the Sanders who is a longtime player of the inside game.
Right up until Sanders’ disappointing defeat in California, the two operatives were sending mixed messages.