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    Either Donald Trump Can't Read or He's Just Happy to Be Nominated
    Photo: AP

    Today, the presumptive Republican nominee for president Donald Trump did something remarkable—he tweeted out a poll showing him trailing Hillary Clinton. Is this the first look at the presidential Donald Trump he promised to be in the general election?

    Perhaps he didn’t read it closely.

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    What Did Internet Troll Chuck Johnson Know About Peter Thiel’s Secret War on Gawker?
    Screenshot: GotNews

    Earlier this week, Forbes revisited the tale of the notorious right-wing internet troll Charles C. Johnson and his $55 million defamation lawsuit against Gawker Media. The lawsuit, which concerns a series of stories Gawker and Deadspin published in late 2014, was dismissed in Missouri earlier this year; a similar complaint has languished in California with no action for several months (Gawker Media expects that it will be dismissed as well). What makes Johnson’s litigation particularly noteworthy, however, is the circumstantial evidence surrounding it. According to Forbes, some of this evidence suggests that Johnson had knowledge of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel’s secret, decade-long legal attack on Gawker prior to its exposure last month.

    The magazine cites three pieces of evidence:

    1. A Facebook post from October 2015 in which Johnson claims that “Gawker will cease to exist in a year’s time,” an assertion he presented as based on some kind of insider knowledge:

    2. Johnson’s alleged communication with the law firm of Hulk Hogan’s litigation attorney, Charles Harder (who has also served as Thiel’s legal proxy):

    Sometime after filing his initial complaint against Gawker in Missouri last year, Johnson contacted Hulk Hogan’s Los Angeles-based law firm, according to a source familiar with the situation. That person said that Johnson had a phone conversation with lawyers at Harder Mirell & Abrams–the law firm that was paid by Thiel to represent Hogan–and that the two parties exchanged notes.

    (Harder didn’t confirm or deny this allegation, but Johnson denied it to Forbes.)

    3. Johnson’s alleged negotiations with a different, unnamed law firm in Los Angeles, in which he apparently characterized his lawsuit against Gawker as part of a broader campaign against Gawker Media:

    Representatives for Johnson have also talked to other LA-area law firms, another source told FORBES, and his case was pitched to at least one of them as part of a wider litigious plan against Gawker.

    Gawker was able to independently confirm that Johnson approached a Los Angeles law firm about representing him against Gawker shortly after a Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $110 million in damages (which would later rise to $140.1 million) in March of this year, and that he characterized his lawsuit as part of a broader legal campaign. According to a source with knowledge of Johnson’s approach, he was apparently cryptic about what this campaign entailed.

    Johnson is, of course, a well-known troll, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he had pitched his lawsuit against Gawker as something other than what it really was—that is, a legally dubious and poorly prepared claim. Furthermore, Johnson has denied any ties between either Charles Harder or Peter Thiel, and told Forbes that he has paid his own lawyer fees.

    In a separate statement to Gawker, Johnson wrote, “Forbes got a lot wrong and made up some stuff. Do you think I should sue them?” He directed further questions to his Missouri-based attorney, Jonathon Burns.

    The evidence cited by Forbes does not prove that Johnson is being bankrolled by Thiel (either via Harder or some other party). But it does raise questions about whether Johnson and Thiel, or Thiel’s representatives, have communicated about the latter’s vendetta against Gawker. Indeed, according to Johnson’s former account on Twitter—which took the extraordinary step of permanently banning him from the platform in May 2015—he’s been a Thiel fanboy for a number of years:

    • “Peter Thiel is probably the second smartest man in America.”
    • “When I finish with the media I’ll move on to higher education. Peter Thiel being shouted down was a disgrace.”
    • “I love Peter Thiel. Monopolies are good. You shouldn’t go to college. Let’s create new countries, build rocket ships, & live forever!”

    In a tweet dated March 12, 2015, Johnson claimed that, as a student at Claremont McKenna College, he attended a dinner where he talked with Thiel, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and Claremont professor Mark Blitz:

    What Did Internet Troll Chuck Johnson Know About Peter Thiel’s Secret War on Gawker?

    In a subsequent tweet, Johnson revealed the topic of discussion:

    What Did Internet Troll Chuck Johnson Know About Peter Thiel’s Secret War on Gawker?

    Charles Johnson refused to elaborate on the details of the dinner in response to a request for comment from Gawker. Bill Kristol, however, denied that the dinner took place. “I’ve never had a dinner with Peter Thiel and Charles Johnson,” he told Gawker. “I don’t remember anything like that.” Referring to Johnson, he added, “He’s the one who attended Claremont as an undergraduate, right? I may have met him then. But then he went crazy. I haven’t met with him since then.” (The other two attendees, Mark Blitz and Peter Thiel, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

    Considering the evidence at hand—Johnson’s boasts on social media, the Forbes report about his contact with Thiel’s proxy attorney, his apparent contact with Thiel in college, and both men’s shared political ideologies—it’s not hard to imagine that Thiel and Johnson are at the very least familiar with one another. Indeed, Thiel has a history of funding attention-seeking young conservatives who use the tools of journalism to achieve notoriety and political ends—he provided right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe with a $10,000 contribution in 2009.

    If the men do have such a relationship, Thiel might not want anyone to know about it—especially after his New York Times interview, in which he posed as a guardian of ethical journalism, a concept with which Johnson has often struggled. “Much of what he publishes is either wrong or tasteless,” the Times reported in 2014, referring to his involvement in inaccurate stories about U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, whom Johnson baselessly accused of paying for prostitutes, and Times reporter David Kirkpatrick, whom Johnson accused of posing nude for Playgirl after misinterpreting a satirical article published when Kirkpatrick attended Princeton. U.S. News & World Report described Johnson’s attempts to out an alleged rape victim as “appalling” and argued that his reporting “contributes heavily to the reluctance on the part of sexual assault victims to come forward.”

    An alliance with Johnson would also undercut Thiel’s purported disdain for outing public figures. At Claremont McKenna, Mother Jones has reported, he retaliated against one of his classmates by disclosing the classmate’s homosexuality in the comments section of the student newspaper’s website. He has claimed on Twitter that Barack Obama is secretly attracted to men and that America’s culture of political correctness punishes those who question the President’s public image as a straight, married man of two children.

    If you know any more about Johnson’s relationship to Thiel, please get in touch.

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    It’s incredibly frustrating for people who’ve been working in mainstream Democratic Party politics to hear their party described as something other than a party for ‘working people.’” Well, sure. Where could the mean people have gotten that idea?

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    Oakland Is Fresh Out of Police Chiefs 
    Photo: AP

    Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced on Friday that Oakland Police Chief Paul Figueroa, who had been at the job for all of two days, has decided to step down. Figueroa is the third Oakland police chief to resign in the last eight days.

    According to Schaaf, Figueroa’s decision to leave is unrelated to the two department scandals currently under investigation—at least 14 Oakland police are embroiled in a sexual misconduct case involving a teenage sex worker, and new allegation emerged Friday that officers exchanged racist text messages, including images of the KKK.

    Schaaf clarified her job description to the press: “As the mayor of Oakland, I’m here to run a police department, not a frat house,” she said. Schaaf acknowledged there are some “bad apple” cops in her city and promised to root them out and end the “toxic, macho culture” in the department.

    On June 9, Sean Whent stepped down as chief of police, a job he’d held for about two years (the East Bay Express has previously reported that Whent was forced out of the position by Oakland’s Independent Police Monitor Robert Warsaw as a result of the sex scandal).

    Schaaf immediately appointed Ben Farrow as interim head of the police force, then abruptly removed him from the position on Wednesday, citing “unspecified information” that caused her to want to fire him. Clear enough.

    Things have gotten so rotten in the Oakland police department that the exasperated city government has announced they are done appointing interim or acting police chiefs. Now there will be no Oakland police chief. Not until City Administrator Sabrina Landreth finds a new one and who knows when that will be.

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    Check Your Ticketmaster Account, You Probably Have Free Tickets Waiting
    Photo: AP

    Last month, Ticketmaster settled a $400 million class action lawsuit over its exorbitant fees. This month, they’re paying it out—in the form of discount codes and vouchers. Chances are, you have a free show or two sitting in your inbox.

    The suit affects about 50 million people who bought tickets on Ticketmaster between October 21, 1999 and February 27, 2013 and paid the company’s ridiculous overcharges. Emails alerting members of the class started going out last month under the subject, “Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster Class Action Settlement – Notice Regarding Discount and Ticket Codes,” but, contrary to my deepest-held delusions, 1999 was actually a very long time ago and there’s a good chance it’s sitting in an AOL mailbox you haven’t looked at since the band Smash Mouth wrote that Shrek song.

    It’s easy to check—just log in to your Ticketmaster account and click “Active Vouchers.” The vouchers are only valid for a limited list of eligible events, of course, so don’t even fucking try it with the Hamilton tickets. Or any tickets? Their list of eligible events is currently a dead link.

    Still, free shows!—free shows you paid for already—but free shows, nonetheless!

    [H/T Gideon Putnam Plotnicki]

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    Paul Ryan Floats Idea of Suing the Man He Endorses for President  
    Photo: AP

    Has Paul Ryan been brushing up on The Art of the Deal? Cause it seems like the House Speaker is copping a bit of Donald Trump’s signature litigious style.

    In an interview with the Huffington Post uploaded on Friday, Ryan implied that if the presumptive GOP presidential nominee were elected and went forward with his proposed ban on Muslims immigrating to the United States, he would consider taking Trump to court over it.

    “I would sue any president that exceeds his or her powers,” Ryan said, and claimed that Trump would not be given a “blank check” just because Republicans want to win the White House really really badly.

    What’s not entirely clear is whether Ryan would consider such a ban an overstep of presidential authority. Referring to the question of whether the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act would give Trump with right to enact his ban, Ryan said, “that’s a legal question, and there’s a good debate about [it].”

    In the wake of last Sunday’s horrific mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that claimed 49 lives and injured dozens more, Trump tried to capitalize on the tragedy by reiterating his call for a ban on Muslim migration to the U.S.

    Ryan has criticized the proposed ban several times, as early on as December when he said that Trump’s policy was “not conservatism.”

    Ryan has called Trump’s recent tirade against the ethnicity of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the Trump University case, “the textbook definition of a racist comment” and “absolutely unacceptable.”

    Ryan endorsed Trump for president on June 2 and still can’t say for certain whether he will come to regret it.

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    Apple Withholds Free MacBooks and Funds From RNC Over Trump Nomination 
    Photo: Getty

    If you call for a boycott on Apple products, as Donald Trump has, know that Apple will boycott you right back.

    Apple has told GOP leadership that it will not be donating technology or cash to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, as it has done in past years. Apple is the first Silicon Valley heavy-hitter to do so—Facebook, Microsoft, and Google have all pledged some financial support to the RNC.

    In 2008, Apple donated about $140,000-worth of MacBooks and other products to the Republican and Democratic conventions, according to campaign finance records. Apple did not send free merch to the 2012 conventions, because that year the Democrats announced a ban on corporate financing of its nominating events.

    But this year, Apple’s reason for withholding funds is definitely the GOP’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. According to Politico, Apple cited the dangerous and derogatory remarks Trump has made about women, immigrants, and minorities, when explaining to Republican leaders why it would not be aiding the party’s convention.

    Tony Romm noted in his report for Politico that tensions between Trump and tech companies (and particularly Apple) have been brewing for a while:

    Apple’s political stand against Trump, communicated privately to Republicans, is a sign of the widening tensions between Silicon Valley and the GOP’s bombastic presumptive nominee. Trump has trained his rhetorical fire on the entire tech industry, but he’s singled out Apple for particular criticism—calling for a boycott of the company’s products, and slamming CEO Tim Cook over Apple’s stance on encryption.

    In March, the New York Times reported that several corporations, including Google, Walmart and Apple were assessing whether they should “scale down” their contributions to this year’s RNC due to Trump’s raging bigotry.

    It’s customary for the tech industry not to be partisan when it comes to funding party conventions, and it’s not yet clear how Apple plans to participate, if at all, in the Democratic National Convention.

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    Decades-old NYPD Surveillance Files Found in Queens Warehouse  
    Photo: Getty

    Records detailing the New York Police Department’s surveillance of various activist groups during late 1950s up through the 1970s, which the department has long claimed to have lost track of, were discovered in a Queens warehouse during a routine inspection on Thursday.

    The documents were long believed to be somewhere in Police Headquarters. But they were not, they were in some random room in Queens. Finally the NYPD can breath a sigh of relief that their lost files have been located—they probably never thought this day would come.

    In the 1960s, what is now the NYPD’s Intelligence Division was called the Special Services Division, but most people just referred to it as the “Red Squad,” because it fought Communists. For 30 years, the files gathered under the Red Squad, which were supposed to be a matter of public record, were so disorganized that no one could study them. Eventually they disappeared altogether.

    NY1 News reported there could be upwards of 500 boxes in the warehouse. According to a handy index, the boxes contain extensive files on the Nation of Islam, the Black Panthers and the Puerto Rican activist group the Young Lords.

    New York City’s Records Department released a statement saying it is developing the parameters for public access to the files, but have yet to provide more details on the process.

    As the New York Times notes, the records can be placed on a historical continuum of police surveillance of New York City communities that has lasted to the present day:

    The files are bound to resonate not only among those subjected to surveillance decades ago, but also among current activists and organizations that have faced police surveillance and infiltration in the years since Sept. 11, 2001.

    After the terrorist attacks, the Police Department bolstered its spying capabilities; Muslim organizations and mosques in particular reported extensive surveillance. Others, including activists associated with causes ranging from the antiwar movement to cycling, have also found themselves watched.

    Civil rights attorney Gideon Oliver told NY1 News, “This is going to be the most complete record of police files, of surveillance of political actives, I would venture to say in existence.”

    Baruch College Professor Johanna Fernandez battled the NYPD in and out of court for a decade trying to obtain their records detailing surveillance of the Young Lords. One judge ended up throwing out a lawsuit Fernandez filed after finding that the NYPD had sufficiently proven they did not know where the documents were.

    That’s probably because the documents were nowhere near where they should have been, making them difficult to find.

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    Egyptian Court Affirms Death Sentences for Two Al Jazeera Journalists in Espionage Case 
    Photo: Getty

    An Egyptian court sentenced six people, among them two Al Jazeera journalists, to death Saturday for allegedly leaking secret documents to Quatar, in collaboration with ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s government.

    The Al Jazeera journalists—Ibrahim Helal, former head of news in Arabic, and Alaa Sablan—are not in state custody and were sentenced in absentia.

    Another journalist for a different outlet, the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Rassd News Network was also sentenced to death in absentia, according to Al Jazeera.

    The three other defendants sentenced to death—political activist Ahmed Afifi, academic Ahmed Ismail, and flight attendant Mohamed Kilani—are all in state custody.

    Morsi, the former Islamist President of Egypt, who was overthrown by the military in 2013, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for espionage (and has been sentenced to life in prison in three separate trials).

    This is the final ruling for the 11 people on trial in the espionage case, and confirms the ruling from May 7, which sentenced six defendants to death.

    Helal called the trial a sham in an interview with Al Jazeera:

    For me, the real betrayal of this nation is wasting its time and money in these silly things and fabricated cases…If your read the evidences, the only two kids of evidences they have are the secret investigations of the police which were disclosed and the second is the confessions of others who gave statements under interrogation and torture…. This is a political case.

    Al Jazeera condemned the Egyptian court’s verdict and denied their employees’ involvement in passing on state secrets in a statement on Saturday:

    The two journalists were falsely accused of wrongdoing under what is known as “The Espionage Case”, together with the deposed former president Mohamed Morsi, and a number of media professionals.

    Al Jazeera Media Network denounces, condemns, and entirely rejects the verdict. Al Jazeera believes this is an unjust and politicized sentence that is a part of the ruthless campaign against freedom of speech and expression, in order to muzzle the voice of free press. Al Jazeera finds the sentence incriminating to the profession of journalism which all international laws and legislation seek to protect, and to all journalists who should be enabled to report with objectivity, professionalism, and integrity.

    Dr. Mostefa Souag, Acting Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network, called the sentence, “an entire failure for the justice and court system in Egypt; a country classified as one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work in.”

    The Committee to Protect Journalists found Egypt to be the second worst jailer of journalists worldwide in 2015.

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    Chipotle Executives Accused of Profiting off Artificially Inflated Stocks During Food Safety Scandal 
    Photo: Getty

    Chipotle, the beloved fast-casual burrito chain that is now cooking its steak to the consistency of meatballs to ward off more food contamination lawsuits, finds itself in legal hot water once more.

    Several shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Chipotle executives claiming they conspired to award themselves, “hundreds of millions of dollars through a corrupt stock incentive plan” with negative financial consequences for investors, customers and the company as a whole.

    The complaint, first reported by Colorado Public Radio, also alleges that Chipotle co-CEO and founder Steve Ellis sold $78.3 million in company shares, “while the stock price was artificially inflated and before the fraud was exposed.”

    Chipotle is no stranger to its investors being mad at it.

    After separate outbreaks of Salmonella, Norovirus and E. coli sickened hundreds of hungry customers across the nation in late 2015, Chipotle’s stocks, much like its food, were in the toilet for months. In January, Chipotle was sued for allegedly defrauding its investors by failing to disclose that their burrito bowls are suspiciously like petri dishes.

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    Trump Suggests U.S. Government Not Profiling Muslims Enough 
    Photo: AP

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wants the United States to take a serious look at ethnic profiling, and then decide to absolutely do that.

    In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Trump was asked whether he supports more profiling of Muslims in America. “I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump said.

    It’s hard to tell whether Trump believes the U.S. government should ramp up its profiling of Muslims, or that it hasn’t thought to do it yet. It has.

    Either way, if we just follow the lead of “Israel” and “others” on ethnic profiling we should be fine, according to Trump: “They do it and they do it successfully. And, you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense.”

    Trump reiterated his request that the U.S. “respectfully” spy on mosques, adding, “They’re doing it in France.” Also, we do that here.

    Trump has been harshly criticized, even by some Republicans, for doubling down on his proposal to ban Muslim migration to the U.S. in the wake of last Sunday’s mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando that left 49 people dead.

    Trump also said the U.S. should profile Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, “People are dead,” Trump said in December, “A lot of people are dead right now. So everybody wants to be politically correct, and that’s part of the problem that we have with our country.”

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    Star Trek Actor Anton Yelchin Dies in Freak Car Accident [Updated]

    According to the Associated Press, actor Anton Yelchin has died at the age of 27 in a car accident.

    According to TMZ, friends noticed Yelchin was missing around 1 am after he was late to a rehearsal. The actor was discovered pinned to his mailbox by his car at the bottom of a steep driveway at his San Fernando Valley home. The car was in neutral and the engine was still running, according to TMZ. Foul play is not suspected.

    Los Angles Police Department spokesperson Jenny Hauser released a statement, confirming some details of his death:

    “On Sunday, June 19 at 1:10 in the morning, a fatal traffic collision occurred. It was the result of the victim’s own car rolling backwards down his steep driveway, pinning him against a brick mailbox pillar and security fence. The victim was on his way to meet his friends for rehearsal. And when he didn’t show up, his friends went to his house, where they found him deceased by his car. It appeared he had momentarily exited his car leaving it in the driveway.”

    Yelchin was born in Russia in 1989, and immigrated to the United States as an infant. His first role was in E.R. in 2000, and he had worked as an actor in a number of additional television shows over the following years. He rose to national attention with his role in the film Alpha Dog, before he was cast as Chekov in J.J. Abram’s rebooted Star Trek franchise.

    Since Star Trek, he had appeared in films such as Terminator Salvation, Odd Thomas, The Smurfs, and others. He is slated to appear in Rememory, We Don’t Belong Here and this year’s Star Trek Beyond. He was also cast in the upcoming Stephen King adaptation, Mr. Mercedes.

    Some of Yelchin’s costars have reacted to the news on Twitter:

    Other Star Trek alumni and fellow actors have weighed in as well:

    More as we have it.

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    In a move that some sources categorized as “unhinged fearmongering,” the National Rifle Association’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre not only adamantly stated that the organization would not change its opinion on gun control, but urged American citizens to buy more guns, because terrorists are “on the verge of overwhelming us.”

    In an interview Sunday morning with host John Dickerson on CBS’ Face the Nation, LaPierre asserted that the real issue with last week’s shooting at the gay club Pulse, which left 49 dead and 53 wounded, wasn’t the fact that it was a targeted hate crime against the LGBT community, or that the shooter, Omar Mateen, was able to purchase an assault rival despite being investigated by the FBI for terrorist connections. Instead, the de facto NRA spokesperson typified it as an excuse for the Obama administration to further their own gun control ban, and take away from the “real” matter at hand: terrorism.

    “What happened this past week is the President, the whole gun ban movement, said ‘hey, don’t look at terrorists, look over here, divert your attention, take your eyes off the problem,’” LaPierre told Dickerson, “because they don’t want to face the embarrassment of their failure in this terrorist area, and they want to cover their butts and not talk about it.”

    (As The Daily Dot pointed out, there have been no proposals to ban guns in their entirety, though there have been moves to put forward an assault weapons ban.)

    But when Dickerson brought up the subject of a government watch-list designed to bar suspected terrorists from purchasing weapons—a bill which was blocked this past December—LaPierre suddenly balked, stating that the bill was riddled with “misinformation and poorly researched stories.”

    What happens on the watch-list? People forget, law enforcement set it up, just the way they wanted it, federal law enforcement. NRA didn’t take the guy’s name off the list, the federal government did, FBI did, largely because of some of these politically correct policies that I think I’ve been talking about earlier.

    LaPierre added that blocking would-be terrorists from purchasing guns would be “tipping off the bad guy.”

    When Dickerson countered LaPierre’s stance by pointing out that he “also didn’t want terrorists with guns in their hands,” the NRA executive VP compared gun control legislation to “trying to stop a freight train with a piece of Kleenex,” while once again insisting that the shootings in Orlando were about terrorism, not accessibility to firearms.

    LaPierre concluded his argument with an old American pastime: McCarthyist paranoia.

    “The fact is, we need to face what’s coming,” he cautioned. “They’re trying to kill us. They’re not going to attack hard targets…They’re going to go for shopping malls, they’re going to go for churches. The fact is, we need vigilance, we need preparedness. We need a full court press on personal protection.”

    “They’re coming,” he added. “And they’re going to try to kill us, and we need to be prepared.”

    Contact the author at

    Image via YouTube.

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    RNC's New Head of Hispanic Relations on Anti-Trump Tweets: "Hillary Clinton"
    Photo: Media Matters

    Earlier this month, the Republican National Committee’s Director of Hispanic Media stepped down amid reports she was “uncomfortable” working for Donald Trump. This weekend, her successor spoke in no uncertain terms when asked if she, too, had trouble representing the party of Trump, proudly telling Telemundo that Hillary Clinton is bad.

    Before becoming the RNC’s new Hispanic spokesperson, Helen Aguirre Ferré frequently wrote tweets criticizing Trump, according to Media Matters. When quizzed on the since-deleted tweets by Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart on Sunday, Aguirre Ferré managed to say “Republican” five times and “Hillary Clinton” twice while somehow failing to mention Donald Trump at all. From The Washington Post (emphasis added):

    [Jose Diaz-Balart] also reminded her that she had deleted several tweets critical of Trump just before taking the RNC job. He asked: Does she have difficulty representing the GOP when Trump is the party’s standard-bearer?

    “Look, the Republican Party and the work of the Republican National Committee is to represent the Republican Party, and we support all of our candidates and I’m proud to be a member of the Republican Party,” Aguirre Ferre said in Spanish. “There is little doubt that we’re united in defeating Hillary Clinton. And if I could say something, Jose: I haven’t done anything to eliminate what you could see in a tweet or email that you would have to see with national security clearance or less. That’s what Hillary Clinton did in the past – she’s under criminal investigation by the FBI. So, I think that you have to speak clearly about what unites us and clearly we are united to support all of the Republican candidates.”

    When pressed, however, Aguirre Ferré admitted that Donald Trump was a Republican running for political office, and thus among the (presumably dozens of) candidates she was supporting this year.

    “Yes, Trump is the presumed nominee for the Republican Party,” said Aguirre Ferré, according to the Post, before returning to a topic closer to her heart. “You’re going to see a strong force that gives him what he needs to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

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    Anton Yelchin Death: Jeep Grand Cherokees Were Recalled for Rollaway Risk [Updated]
    Image: AP Images

    Fiat Chrysler earlier this year recalled certain Jeep Grand Cherokees for their “rollaway” risk after drivers were injured when they mistakenly thought they had shifted their car to park.

    Star Trek star Anton Yelchin died at his San Fernando Valley home on Saturday night when his own car pinned him to his mailbox at the bottom of a steep driveway. Yelchin was alone and, according to TMZ, the car was a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Friends found Yelchin when they went to his house after he failed to turn up to rehearsal.

    The voluntary recall, in April 2016, impacted 2014 to 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees that were manufactured between July 16, 2012, and December 22, 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    It’s unclear which model was involved in Yelchin’s accident, as well as what exactly led up to the 27-year-old’s death. The LAPD did not respond to requests for comment.

    According to a summary of the NHTSA report on the “defect” (PDF):

    The affected vehicles, equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a monostable gear selector, may not adequately warn the driver when driver’s door is opened and the vehicle is not in PARK, allowing them to exit the vehicle while the vehicle is still in gear.


    Drivers thinking that their vehicle’s transmission is in the PARK position may be struck by the vehicle and injured if they attempt to get out of the vehicle while the engine is running and the parking brake is not engaged.

    By April 12, 2016, Fiat Chrysler had identified 212 crashes, 308 claims of property damage, and 41 injuries related to the issue, according to a submission [PDF] to the NHTSA.

    Update: 10:00pm: According to Fiat Chrysler Automotive, the issue stems from the design of the electronic shifter. When the driver shifts the vehicle into park, the only indication to the driver is a light on the console: “unless due care is taken, drivers may draw erroneous conclusions about the status of their vehicles.”

    According to a representative from FCA, drivers of affected vehicles were notified and issued directions to properly operate the shifter. The company could not speak about this specific accident, nor whether Yelchin’s vehicle was one of the ones affected by the recall.

    Update: 10:00 am, June 20: LAPD confirms the car involved was a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

    Correction: The issue was related to whether a car was in “Park” and not related to the parking brake as an earlier version of this story suggested.

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    14 Children Dead After Russian Summer Camp Hosts Boat Trip Despite Storm Warnings
    Photo: AP

    Four people have been detained in connection with a doomed boating expedition that took the lives of 14 children in northern Russia this weekend, the BBC reports. 37 others are said to have survived.

    Russian officials say that three boats carrying 47 children and four adults capsized on Lake Syamozero on Sunday after a nearby summer camp hosted a boating trip despite repeated cyclone warnings in recent days.

    According to Russia Today, Children’s Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said that those who died “apparently had no life vests” and included orphans. Additionally, an emergency services spokesperson said that the disastrous trip would have either been canceled or accompanied by rescuers if it had been properly registered. From RT:

    The rescuers learned about the disaster from the locals after one of the survivors reached a village on the lakeshore.

    “If the group had been registered and wouldn’t have establish communication in due time, the rescue workers would’ve started the search immediately. But here time was lost,” the press service said.

    Tatiana, a local resident, told RT that the boat trip was a bad idea because of the weather conditions.

    “The wind was mad yesterday. It’s a crime to let children for a voyage on the lake,” she said, adding that the camp was not a place she would recommend people to send their children to. According to her, instructors at the camp were regularly drunk. She also mentioned that not long ago a security officer was killed on the camp’s premises.

    “They didn’t have the right to go out boating,” said area lawmaker Alexei Gavrilov, according to the Associated Press.

    The AP reports that two instructors as well as the director and deputy director of the hotel where the children were staying have been detained.

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    NRA Says Donald Trump's Pro-Gun Orlando Fantasy "Defies Common Sense"

    On Friday, Donald Trump publicly imagined a scenario in which armed bar-goers stopped the Orlando shooter by firing back at him in the darkened club, successfully making a pro-gun argument too stupid for even the NRA to defend.

    “If we had people where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac,” said Trump at a rally in Houston. “That would’ve been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks.”

    Speaking to ABC on Sunday, however, chief NRA lobbyist Chris W. Cox suggested that such a thing would not have been a beautiful sight at all and actually sounded pretty dumb.

    “No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms,” said Cox, forgetting about one person who, at least in passing, does think that. “That defies common sense. It also defies the law.”

    On CBS’ Face the Nation, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre made a similar comment, saying, “I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking.” Still, the organization managed to accept Trump’s comments by agreeing with them in the broadest sense possible.

    “What Donald Trump has said is what the American people know is commonsense,” said Cox. “That if somebody had been there to stop this faster, fewer people would have died.”

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  • 06/20/16--04:20: 140 Days and a Wake Up
  • 140 Days and a Wake Up
    Donald Trump voodoo dolls for sale at the Washington state Democratic Convention. Photo: AP

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    FBI Release Partially Redacted Transcripts of Omar Mateen's Conversations with Police
    Photo: AP

    On Sunday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the FBI would release a partial transcript of conversations between Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen and police negotiators. Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others at the gay club in Orlando before during in a gunfight with police.

    The transcripts, however, will not include Mateen’s declaration of loyalty to the Islamic State. “These are the calls with the Orlando PD negotiating team, who he was, where he was,” Lynch said on MSNBC. “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.”

    James Comey, the director of the FBI, has said that Mateen made three phone calls with police during the massacre, the Washington Post reports. The transcripts will be redacted “to avoid re-victimizing those people that went through through this horror,” Lynch said on CNN. “But it will contain the substance of his conversations.”

    “It’s been our goal to get as much information about this investigation into the public domain as possible,” Lynch said. “So people can understand, as we do, possibly what motivated this killer, what led him to this place and also provide us with more information.”

    Update – 11:30 am

    The Orlando Sentinel has summarized the transcripts:

    Mateen made the first call to a 911 dispatcher 2:35 a.m., while holding more than a dozen people hostage in the club’s bathrooms, according to the transcripts.

    During the 50-second call, Mateen spoke Arabic and praised “God the Merciful.”

    “I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings,” the transcript reads.

    The dispatcher asked Mateen twice for his name and where he was located. He answered only with “In Orlando.”

    Mateen also pledged allegiance several times to a person and groups, though the names were redacted by the FBI.

    He then hung up.

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    Wall Street Really Doesn't Want Clinton to Pick Elizabeth Warren for VP
    Warren leaving Clinton’s DC home on Friday. Photo: AP

    Politico has compiled several anonymous quotes from Wall Street bankers threatening that Hillary Clinton will lose the financial sector’s support if she names Senator Elizabeth Warren her vice-presidential nominee—a somewhat dubious claim that nevertheless makes for a very funny story.

    The securities and investment industry has donated $28.3 million to Clinton—more than any other industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Warren helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which banks do not like.

    “If Clinton picked Warren, her whole base on Wall Street would leave her,” one donor, who has raised millions for the presumptive Democratic candidate, said. “They would literally just say, ‘We have no qualms with you moving left, we understand all the things you’ve had to do because of Bernie Sanders, but if you are going there with Warren, we just can’t trust you, you’ve killed it.’” From Politico:

    All of the donors and senior Democrats interviewed for this story demanded that their names not be used both because they were not authorized to speak about the Clinton campaign’s internal deliberations and because they feared Warren’s wrath. “There is no upside to my talking to you on the record,” one big donor said. “Either I piss off the Clinton campaign or I piss off Warren, or both.”

    Several donors said they did not really fear Warren going on the ticket because they do not believe Clinton has a strong relationship with the senator and would not trust Warren to be a loyal No. 2, either on the campaign or in the White House.

    “First of all, they don’t particularly like each other,” said one prominent hedge fund manager who has raised millions for Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton before her. But, the manager added, “The absolute predicate for a vice presidential nominee is they have to understand they are No. 2 both during the campaign and once you take office, and I just don’t think Elizabeth Warren is that type of person.”

    Warren’s appointment is far from assured, given her contentious history with the former secretary of state. But she’s garnered headlines of late after roasting Donald Trump repeatedly on Twitter.

    “We are going to win this. Trump shouldn’t be president and he isn’t going to be president,” one senior Wall Street executive who is close to Clinton said. “Picking Warren would indicate weakness and panic for no reason and make them look like they are running scared of Trump. There will be plenty of time to galvanize the left and get them to come out. And Warren would be a nightmare to try and manage.”

    The two met at Clinton’s house in DC on Friday.

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