Trump defends himself on ‘collusion’ but throws rest of his campaign under the bus

During Donald Trump’s joint press conference Thursday with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Trump took time to distance himself and himself only from any “collusion” with Russia.

“The entire thing has been a witch hunt,” Trump said of the inquiry into ties between his campaign and Russian operatives. “There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign—but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians, zero.”

Naturally, Trump mangled “only speak for myself” and appears to have technically said “always,” but the implication was clear.

It’s a moment CNN’s Jake Tapper and Jeffrey Toobin turned over following the press conference. Toobin called it “a very categorical denial” of Trump’s own conduct.

“But as for his campaign, it was a lot more cautious and less definitive,” Toobin added.

Wonder what Trump’s campaign staff thinks of that. Hey, thanks Don, nice workin’ for ya. Next time you need me, feel

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Race and education make a bigger difference in who you vote for than ever before

If you’d told me before the 2016 election that the Democratic candidate was going to finally win Orange County, California (the most legendary Republican stronghold of all), as well as Fort Bend County, Texas, and Cobb County, Georgia (the suburbs that gave us Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich, respectively), it would have been safe to assume that would be part of a crushing Democratic victory, something on the order of LBJ vs. Goldwater.

On the other hand, if you’d told me that the Republican candidate was going to win places like Kenosha County, Wisconsin, Trumbull County, Ohio, or Monroe County, Michigan (bastions of organized labor that kept the Democratic faith over the decades, even during their 1980s low-water mark), that would have sounded like a catastrophic Dem wipeout, probably wore than Walter Mondale’s benchmark of futility.

But if you’d told me that both things would happen in the same election, if I hadn’t slowly and cautiously backed out

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Former House intelligence chairman calls Russian election interference ‘wildly successful’

If only there was something we could do about this:

Russia’s efforts to interfere with last year’s U.S. presidential election were “wildly successful,” former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Tuesday, and are still bearing fruit today in the form of continued infighting at the highest levels in Washington.
“Their purpose was to sow discontent and mistrust in our elections. They wanted us to be at each others’ throat when it was over,” Rogers said, according to Reuters, at a panel discussion hosted by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “It’s influencing, I would say, legislative process today. That’s wildly successful.”

It’s long been true that Russian hacking efforts against other nations have been an effort to “sow discontent and mistrust” in those elections. It’s a cheap way of discrediting democracies for a crony-filled government trying their level best to avoid democracy happening to them. But whether

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New York Times: FBI Director Comey blew up election in effort to ‘shield’ FBI from criticism

The New York Times has a deep-dive into Comey’s FBI suggesting what we’ve long suspected; Comey’s letter to Congress “informing” them that the FBI had “new” information in the long-running hunt for something damning in Hillary Clinton’s emails was done not out of high-minded concern for the country but two considerably less noble concerns; distrust of Democrats in the Justice Department—especially Attorney General Loretta Lynch—and protecting the department itself from criticism.

Fearing the backlash that would come if it were revealed after the election that the F.B.I. had been investigating the next president and had kept it a secret, Mr. Comey sent a letter informing Congress that the case was reopened.

He most emphatically did not, of course, acknowledge that his FBI was actively investigation the Donald Trump campaign for potential collusion with Russian hacking efforts. The public deserved to know that the FBI was investigating the next

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A chief RNC digital strategist’s $1 million racket: Direct all party business to your own company

One of the coolest millions you could ever make is to found a political company, then get a prime RNC post and direct all the party’s candidates to use the services of the business you founded. Nice work if you can get it—if you can stomach working for the Republican party, that is. And we assume you can’t.

But it sure wasn’t a problem for Gerrit Lansing, co-founder of the political donations company Revv, then chief RNC digital strategist, followed by a short-lived stint in Trump’s White House, writes Shane Goldmacher.

The Republican Party’s top digital strategist in 2016 got a nearly $1 million payout from a firm he co-founded that collected online contributions to the party and its nominee, Donald Trump — despite earlier claims that the strategist had severed his ties to the company. […]

Republican operatives representing multiple GOP presidential and Senate campaigns said that Lansing pushed them to use the

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Surprise: New data shows racism was a prime motivator for Trump voters

Analysts are now digging through the 2016 American National Election Study released last week and political science professor Thomas Wood reached the perhaps not so surprising conclusion that racial bias was a prime motivator for white Trump voters, while white Clinton voters were conversely much less influenced by it. 

First, Wood used the answers from about 1,200 respondents nationwide to show how the incomes of 2016 voters corresponded to their candidate. In his research, Wood only analyzed white voters in order to isolate competing motivational factors.

2016 was plainly an anomaly. While the wealthy are usually most likely to vote for the Republican, they didn’t this time; and while the poor are usually less likely to vote for the Republican, they were unusually supportive of Trump. And the degree to which the wealthy disdained the 2016 Republican candidate was without recent historical precedent.

Just to give you a taste, the dashed line in the

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This week in the war on workers: How far did union households swing toward Trump?

Did Donald Trump really make major inroads with union households? Sociologists Jake Rosenfeld and Patrick Denice take a look at the (imperfect) data and conclude that the story is more complicated than the headlines have made it out to be.

On the one hand, “In 2016 the partisan split among union households was smaller than at any time since Ronald Reagan’s re-election in 1984.” But there’s a but, and it centers on third-party candidates:

Trump did outdo Mitt Romney’s performance among union household voters – but by only 3 points.  Much more significantly, between 2012 and 2016 the share of the union household vote going to the Democrat in the race shrank from 58% to 51%, with the share of union household members saying that they voted for neither the Democrat nor the Republican in the race tripling, from 2% to 6%.

This isn’t great news, but it’s

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