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FBI questions Hillary Clinton about her private email server

Hillary Clinton is interviewed by federal investigators for several hours about her use of private email to conduct government business.

  • The FBI is looking into whether Clinton or anyone else mishandled classified information
  • Newt Gingrich on the possibility of being Donald Trump’s vice president: “If it’s about funerals, I’m not interested”

Catch up with these #longreads over the holiday weekend:

  • How Trump handles competition: Go inside his secret smear campaign against an Indian casino
  • How Tim Kaine went from “wild card” vice presidential pick to shortlist favorite
  • The time House Democrats mistakenly released a transcript confirming a big payout for a Clinton pal

GOP Sen. Cotton says Trump can ‘make the case for himself’

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), sometimes mentioned as a possible running mate for Donald Trump, shied away Sunday from making a vigorous case for Trump’s candidacy aside from sharply criticizing Hillary Clinton.

As Trump prepares to make his pick as early as next week, Cotton passed on several chances to praise the billionaire candidate in an interview, even when “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd explicitly asked him to make the case for Trump’s election.

“Donald Trump can ultimately make the case for himself,” said Cotton, before making his only affirmative statement about Trump’s qualifications: “Donald Trump, like most Americans, like most Republicans, believes in protecting America’s core national interests.”

Todd noted that Cotton didn’t seem like an enthusiastic Trump supporter.

“Maybe I don’t just demonstrate enthusiasm much in life, Chuck, especially in such dangerous times as these,” said Cotton, who spent much of the interview talking about national security threats.

But it’s also a risky time for Republicans in elective office, forced to choose between embracing their party’s volatile presumptive presidential nominee and distancing themselves from him. The safest route for many is to sidestep direct questions about Trump and turn the conversation to their critiques of Clinton.

Cotton argued that Clinton is disqualified to serve as commander-in-chief because of her “cavalier attitude” about transparency in government.

He also blamed her for difficulties in President Obama’s administration, in which she served as secretary of State, including the rocky relationship with Russia and the instability in Iraq and Libya.

“Fine,” said Todd, “but you just gave the case against Clinton. What’s the case for Trump?”

“Well, Chuck, the case against Hillary Clinton’s judgment in foreign policy is very strong,” said Cotton, who was a prominent opponent of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S.

Asked about Trump’s foreign policy, Cotton’s answer suggested he has another job in mind besides vice president.

“I’m a senator,” Cotton said. “We play an important role. And I’m going to continue to play that role whoever is president.”

Ex-campaign manager dismisses complaints about Donald Trump’s six-point-star tweet

A campaign imbroglio over another Donald Trump tweet — this one invoking imagery said by his detractors to be anti-Semitic — made its way onto one of the Sunday network news shows.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,’’ Trump’s recently fired campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, disputed any anti-Semitic connotation. He attributed the criticism to “political correctness run amok.’’

At issue was a tweet from Trump on Saturday that depicted a photo of Hillary Clinton, superimposed over $100 bills, with a six-pointed red star bordering these words: “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!’’

The same image had been posted anonymously earlier on a message board that features a litany of falsehoods, crude insults and anti-Jewish hatred. Mic.com first reported on the message board post.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, deleted his tweet a couple of hours later without explanation and replaced it with an image that swapped the star for a simple circle.

He had come under swift criticism from, among others, Erick Erikson, a conservative Atlanta radio host and blogger who memorably disinvited Trump from a Republican event last August.

“A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption. Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists,’’ Erickson tweeted on Friday.

Asked for comment by CNN, Lewandowski said that Trump’s original message was “a simple tweet,’’ adding:

“You can read into things that are not there. This is a simple star.… It’s the same star that sheriff’s departments across the country use all over the place to represent law enforcement.’’

Lewandowski, who departed Trump’s campaign on June 20 and is now a paid commentator for CNN, also chided news organizations while further defending his former boss.

“That’s the mainstream media trying to attack Donald Trump for something that really isn’t there,’’ Lewandowski said. “They put up a new tweet with a circle. The message is the same.… The message is that Hillary Clinton is corrupt.’’

Former campaign bus rolls into Los Angeles as anti-Trump protest art

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For a few months last summer, the old Greyhound bus was leased to Donald Trump’s Iowa campaign and toured the early primary state with his name emblazoned on the side.

A former Greyhound bus with “T.RUMP” emblazoned along its side slowly made its way down the Pacific Coast Highway, trailed by the occasional honk, a burst of expletives or a show of thumbs — some up, some down.

When it pulled into the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Torrance on Thursday, electrician Louis Canal, 48, of Diamond Bar, walked up to it and posed for photos.

The Trump supporter didn’t see what was off about the bus, which is not associated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and is a piece of traveling protest art.

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Possible Clinton running mates audition with attacks on Trump and defenses of their views on trade

Two prominent Democrats under consideration to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate attacked Republican Donald Trump on trade policy Sunday while defending their own past positions.

Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio both zeroed in on Trump and his history with workers, dismissing divisions among Democrats on trade as irrelevant in comparison with the risk they see in the presumptive GOP nominee.

Trump would be the “outsourcer in chief,” Perez said. Trump “outsources his ties to China,” Brown said, adding that his own suit was made by union workers in Cleveland.

But in their morning turns on the Sunday shows, both also demonstrated how — as high-profile surrogates — they would gloss over past differences with fellow Democrats with the name of Clinton.

If he were Clinton’s running mate, Perez would have to finesse the fact that as President Obama’s Labor secretary, he has campaigned for the Trans Pacific Partnership deal, or TPP. Clinton supported the pending Asia trade pact when she served in the Obama administration, but has since backed away from it, as well as the North American Free Trade Agreement her husband signed.

TPP is a point of contention for labor leaders and progressive voters, including many energized by the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Perez restated the need for tough labor protections, whether in U.S. laws and regulations or in international trade agreements. Clinton and Obama both fight for that, he said.

“We want to make sure we have the strongest protections for workers that we’ve ever had,” he said. Pressed three times by NBC moderator Chuck Todd on whether he now supports the TPP, Perez said, “Yeah, no, absolutely. ... If we’re going to succeed in protecting American workers, we have to make sure that we have tough, enforceable provisions.”

On ABC, Brown watched a montage of video clips that showed his own statements against NAFTA in a series with those of Trump, who wants to renegotiate the terms of that deal. Despite their similarity on that point, Brown went after Trump’s lack of specificity on policies to help workers.

“Trump has not proposed anything,” Brown said, noting that Clinton has proposed beefing up prosecutors and trade enforcers to watch-dog U.S. trade abroad.

ABC host Martha Raddatz asked whether voters would believe that Hillary Clinton has really had a change a heart.

“They’re going to believe because she clearly understands these issues and she talks in great depth about them in individual interviews and rallies,” said Brown. “You get none of that from Donald Trump.”

Inside Donald Trump’s secret smear campaign against a tribal casino

(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

Soon after an American Indian tribe announced plans to open a casino at a Catskills horse track, ads started appearing in local newspapers and on radio, sounding an alarm about unbridled crime and corruption.

They came from the New York Institute for Law and Society, a new self-described grass-roots anti-gambling group targeting the St. Regis Mohawks. Its campaign in 2000, supposedly supported by 12,000 “pro-family” donors, warned of the evils an Indian casino would bring: “increased crime, broken families, bankruptcies and, in the case of the Mohawks, violence.”

But there were no 12,000 donors. Virtually all the money for the campaign, more than $1 million, came from Donald Trump.

The institute was the brainchild of Trump’s longtime lobbyist and consultant, Roger Stone, and Trump himself was hands-on — not just paying the bills, but signing off on ad copy or radio scripts depicting the tribe as violent criminals and drug dealers. When Stone hired private investigators to dig up dirt on the Mohawks, Trump secretly paid the bills.

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