Liz Benjamin

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Day 3 at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where there is a jam-packed schedule tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

The focus will be on national security, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign and allies will position her as prepared to be the nation’s commander-in-chief, contrasting her with what it’s calling a “temperamentally unfit” Donald Trump. Speakers on that topic include former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and veterans.

There will also be discussion of gun control, with family members of victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre, and former NYC Mayor Mile Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned independent who mulled his own White House run. Since leaving City Hall, Bloomberg has spent millions of his own money to push gun control policies and candidates across the nation.

Also on tap: Speeches from VP Joe Biden and his wife, Jill; Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate; and keynote address from President Barack Obama, who will both discuss his own legacy and make the case for continuing his policies for another four years by electing his former secretary of state to succeed him in the White House.

While we’re waiting for the show to begin, here are some headlines for your consideration…

As Donald Trump calls on Russia to find and expose his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails, congressional Republicans – including House Speaker Paul Ryan – are pushing back and bashing Russia’s leader Vladamir Putin.

The response from Clinton’s senior police advisor Jake Sullivan: “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encourage a foreign power to conduct espionage against is political opponent. That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts.”

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani tried to spin Trump’s remarks, saying: “What he meant was that if Russia has them, they should turn them over to the FBI…They should be released before the election. They can be used to extort her, they can be used to influence her, to threaten her.”

Trump referred to Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine as “the former governor of New Jersey.” Kaine served as the governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, and is currently the state’s junior U.S. senator. Tom Kean, a Republican, served as the governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990.

Trump “will not be releasing” his tax returns due to a federal audit, his campaign manager said, despite pressure to release them and provide a window into his finances before the Nov. 8 election.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to reboot his national progressive profile after struggling to position himself as a leader of the party’s left wing.

Former President Bill Clinton’s approach in his convention speech, speaking of his wife in highly personal – even sexual – terms, and reopening the couple’s complex marriage to scrutiny was a significant gamble.

Women have made so much progress, that some female voters appear indifferent to another glass ceiling shattered by Clinton’s candidacy.

Asked what it was like to be recognized so often at the convention – and not always in a complimentary way, former Rep. Anthony Weiner responded: “This is like Comic-Con. And I was in, you know, ‘Batman Recovers’ or whatever the hell the third Batman is…Forgotten Batman.”

Chelsea Clinton would like to ask her friend Ivanka Trump how her father intends to fight for equal pay for women and accessible child care – two issues the GOP nominee’s daughter insisted on the convention stage last week are important to her father.

Giuliani insisted that the Democratic Party is an “anti-police party,” arguing that Barack Obama “created an anti-police atmosphere all throughout this country.”

Giuliani also said he has spoken to Israeli government leaders “at the highest levels,” who told him they don’t want to see a Clinton presidency.

Together the DNC and RNC will end up spending more than $110 million putting on the shows, which comes from deep-pocketed donors and corporations looking for free publicity.

The state DFS informed health insurers of their responsibility to provide the same level of coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as for medical or surgical care.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has told his senior staff and his family that after the November election he will make a decision about whether he will run for Illinois governor. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, once Durbin’s rival to lead the chamber’s Democratic conference, said he hopes Durbin stays put.

Trump says his son, Donald Trump Jr., won’t run for mayor of NYC, and it’s “almost impossible” for a Republican to win that office.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime best friend to the Clintons, said he believes Hillary Clinton will support the TPP trade deal if elected president, with some tweaks. His spokesman later sought to clarify those remarks, saying the governor was simply expressing what he wants Clinton to do if she is elected president.

One of Buffalo’s leading developers and downtown property owners, Paul Ciminelli, said it would be better to demolish One Seneca Tower instead of having the city subsidize its redevelopment.

James Lyman, a former Albany police officer, the longtime executive director of one of the state’s largest police unions, Council 82, was fired last month for undisclosed reasons following an internal investigation.

The Buffalo Common Council has approved a $5,000 annual car allowance for any Council member driving at least 120 days a year for work – excluding to and from City Hall – with their own vehicle.

After six months, the Onondaga County Comptroller’s lawsuit challenging raises for county officials will get its day in court. At a court hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning, attorneys will present arguments over whether the case should be dismissed.


Day Two of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and Democrats are trying hard to be the tumult and divisions of yesterday behind them. That could be difficult, though, since the roll call vote is the first major order of business this afternoon.

Sanders supporters will have one last chance to express their love for up/upset over Hillary Clinton during that vote. A Sanders spokesman said near the end of the tally, the Vermont delegation could move to make the Clinton nomination unanimous by acclamation.

After that’s over, the speeches get underway, with a number of New Yorkers scheduled to take the stage, including U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Queens Rep. Joe Crowley. Also on tap: “Mothers of the Movement,” women who lost family members to deadly interactions with police officers.

Celebrity appearances tonight include: Actresses Lena Dunham and America Fererra and singer Alicia Keys, who seemed in fine vocal form when she did her sound check this afternoon.

The keynote speech this evening will be delivered by former President Bill Clinton, who was in the convention hall last night and appeared to very much enjoy First Lady Michelle Obama’s turn at the podium. He’s the only speaker scheduled in the 10 p.m. prime time hour, so it will probably be a stemwinder. Also, there’s a film to be introduced by actress Meryl Streep.

Some headlines to keep you busy while we’re waiting for the action to begin…

Unlike four years ago in North Carolina, when didn’t even spend a full day at the convention, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spending multiple days – and holding multiple events – here in Philly.

Cuomo announced the “topping off” of the new Albany Capital Center, marking the completion of the steel construction phase of the new convention center downtown.

If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, it’s unclear, exactly, what her husband will do with himself. If he’s idle with a lot of time on his hands, it could be trouble.

The dress First Lady Michelle Obama chose for her convention speech had a lot of meaning.

Michelle Obama has now delivered two speeches that were very tough on Trump — albeit without mentioning him by name in either – and he has responded, uncharacteristically, with silence. Maybe because he (like his wife) is a fan?

The FLOTUS for president movement is well underway.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer courted Sanders supporters at the New York delegation breakfast this morning, pledging: “I’ll tell you, when I’m majority leader we’re going to change the trade laws in America.”

The RNC is gleefully promoting Day One discord at the Democrats’ convention in Philly.

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner says he would end his retirement to keep Donald Trump Jr. from becoming New York City’s mayor. “I’d come out of a retirement just to beat him like a rented mule,” he told FOX News.

Fans of “The Bachelorette” blasted Sanders on Twitter after his speech at the convention disrupted the show’s two-hour broadcast.

Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was booed by members of her own Florida delegation here in Philly, could be in trouble back home. The campaign of her primary challenger, law professor Tim Canova, says it has raised more than $100,000 since she stepped down from her party post.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Democrats for ousting Wasserman Schultz, saying emails that showed party bias against Sanders “did not represent our values.”

The hacker who claims to have stolen emails from the DNC and provided them to WikiLeaks is actually an agent of the Russian government and part of an orchestrated attempt to influence U.S. media coverage surrounding the presidential election, a security research group concluded.

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said that Democrats are trying to be united at every level of government, and do not intend to mount primary challenges against members of the IDC, unlike 2014, when they ran candidates against some IDC members.

A Cuomo aide says the governor wants a Democrat-controlled state Senate and will campaign with candidates “as election season ramps up.” Given his history on this issue, some Democrats are (understandably) skeptical.

Actress Susan Sarandon, a major Sanders sportier, confirmed on Twitter that she is having the “worst time” at the convention.

New York is extending the hours of operation at state pools, parks and beaches during the ongoing heatwave. The governor called this “the perfect way to beat the heat.”

An Assembly oversight panel is holding a hearing next week to press the Cuomo administration’s economic development agency for information about the Start-UP NY program, as well as the Buffalo Billion and other job creation efforts, the committee’s chairman said.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office says that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision is irrelevant to the case of ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted on public corruption charges last year, and that he should not remain free while appealing.

John Faso, a Kinderhook Republican and former assemblyman who is running for Congress in NY-19, was just called up for jury duty in a sexual assault case. He was excused.

KeyCorp remains on track to close its deal for First Niagara Financial Group on Aug. 1, Key officials said.

Katko’s 2nd Ad Features Democratic Testimonial

Freshman Republican Rep. John Katko, one of the Democrats’ top targets in the November elections, has released his second TV ad of the campaign, again trying to position himself as a pragmatist who is willing to work across the aisle to represent a closely divided district that has traded hands several times over the past several years.

The spot features two registered Democrats – John and Tina Socci of Cayuga County – who have been dramatically impacted by the state’s opioid/heroin epidemic, according to the Katko campaign.

The Soccis lost their daughter, Katie, five years ago when she was killed by her ex-fiancé – a man addicted to opiate-based painkillers. And then two years later, the Socci family lost their son, Chris, to a heroin overdose.

The couple has worked with the congressman in his efforts to address this crisis. In the ad they call him “a very good ally” and someone who understands the “danger of drugs,” thanks to his experience as a former federal prosecutor.

Katko is facing off in the NY-24 general election against Democrat Colleen Deacon, a former aide of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who won a three-way primary in June.

Deacon and the DCCC have sought to portray Katko as in lock step with his fellow Republicans, particularly presidential nominee Donald Trump, though the congressman has declined to formally endorse the New York businessman’s candidacy.

Katko’s new ad is starting to air immediately on broadcast and cable stations. The campaign did not provide any information on the size of the buy. Here’s the script:

“Our daughter was killed five years ago by her ex-fiancé.

He had become addicted to opiate-based painkillers and he strangled Katie to death…in front of their 18-month-old daughter.

Just over two years later, our son passed away…on his 25th birthday…from a heroin overdose.

We have adopted our granddaughter. I hope she grows up in a better world than this. We can’t bring back our son or our daughter, but we can help.

We know that John Katko is willing to do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to battle drug abuse, to battle domestic violence.

John Katko has helped us. John Katko has been a very good ally.

As a federal prosecutor, he knows the danger of drugs.

When John Katko tells you he is going to do something, he does it.

John Katko has earned the right to continue this fight.”

Continue This Fight from John Katko for Congress on Vimeo.

Derrick Keeps Trade Heat On Stefanik

Mike Derrick, the Democrat challenging Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in NY-21, has released his second TV ad hammering her for her support of fast tracking the controversial trade deal known as TPP (the Trans Pacific Partnership).

As he did in his first ad, Derrick notes that Donald Trump is against TPP, and this time he throws Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders into the mix for good measure.

“Trump and Bernie don’t agree on much, but they’re right that we need to stop unfair trade deals,” Derrick says in the ad. “Say no to TPP. And take on both parties in Washington.”

Again, Derrick is trying to appeal to the middle with this ad, specifically independents, who could very well be the swing vote in this race, though the presence of the Green Party candidate, Matt Funiciello, does likely cut into Derrick’s Democrat support (particularly with those die-hard Sanders supporters).

Stefanik’s campaign has gone to great lengths to stress that what the congresswoman supported and voted “yes” on was TPA, not TPP, crossing party lines to support President Obama’s request for fast track authority to negotiate trade agreements – something on which a number of the president’s fellow Democrats disagree, including Hillary Clinton, though she supported TPP before she was against it.

In the press release that accompanies this ad, Derrick’s campaign notes that a number of Stefanik’s fellow House Republicans – Reps. Chris Collins, Chris Gibson, and John Katko – opposed both fast-tracking and supporting the TPP.

Again, no word on the size of the buy for this ad or the duration of time it will run.


We’re about to get things underway here at the Wells Fargo Center for Day One of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. It has been a hectic day, especially for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC chair. (More on that below). While we await the day’s activities/festivities, here are some headlines for your perusal…

Addressing a roomful of thousands of military veterans, Hillary Clinton today offered a direct contrast to rival Donald Trump, presenting herself as a steady hand who as president would honor the nation’s commitment to veterans and to allies overseas.

Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders booed today as the former Democratic presidential contender told them, “We must elect Hillary Clinton.” He was appearing for the first time this week in Philadelphia, where he is set to address the convention tonight.

“What was clear for anyone watching Sanders’s unsuccessful attempts to calm the churning among his supporters is that the revolution he started is no longer one he can totally control. Or maybe even control at all.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, soon-to-be-former DNC chair, decided against gaveling in to the convention today in the interest of making sure Day One kicks off on a “high note.”

Schultz was heckled at a breakfast of delegates from her home state of Florida, with opponents booing her and shouting “Shame!” A row of police officers stood between the stage and the protesters as the congresswoman, who is up for re-election, finished her speech.

Sanders’ campaign considered demanding a private plane staffed and funded by the DNC as part of negotiations with Clinton heading into this week’s convention, according to a Sanders memo obtained by BuzzFeed News.

According to a DNC official, Sanders will turn over his delegates to Clinton tomorrow during a roll call vote.

Former VP Al Gore, one of eight Tennessee super delegates (though he hasn’t pledged his support to Clinton), is not attending the convention in Philadelphia because he has “obligations” at home, according to a spokeswoman. She did not elaborate.

Trump apparently plans to use VP Joe Biden’s famous jab at the dilapidated state of LaGuardia Airport as part of a lengthy jeremiad against the current administration – even though the federal government has committed to help finance the $4.2 billion demolition and rebuilding of the Queens plane terminal.

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore said he expectsTrump to be elected president and listed five reasons on his website why the GOP nominee will win in November.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate Republicans don’t support the interests of his city.

The Workforce Fairness Institute, which has for years fought union-backed legislation in Washington, is airing advertisements across the Democratic National Convention – targeted to mobile devices in and near the convention’s arena and conference center, delegate hotels and Philadelphia’s airport.

Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, considered a potential challenger to de Blasio next year, revealed in his 2016 financial disclosure report he received $1.65 million in contingency fees last year from a Manhattan personal-injury firm even though he left the firm in December 2012 after his election to the House.

Cuomo’s office says the 800,000 new jobs refers to those added in the private sector since he took office in 2011. PolitifactNY’s Dan Clark says that’s a true statement.

Here’s a list of Clinton’s biggest upstate donors.

Bill Bratton will not remain the commissioner of the NYPD past next year, he said in an interview with The New York Times, his most definitive comments to date on his future at the helm of the nation’s largest police force.

“Democrats are doing what they always do, telling themselves a story, and the story is that Donald Trump can’t win, and that’s just not true,” said veteran New York Democratic political consultant Hank Shein­kopf.

Filmmaker Josh Fox, who has spent a lot of time on the road with Sanders in recent months and is not a fan of Clinton, said the Democratic runner-up has revealed that America is more progressive than anyone previously suspected.

The United States is failing to seriously address lead poisoning in its low-income communities, a severe public health threat touching more than 535,000 children a year, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said.

The 43North business plan competition is down to 142 semi-finalists for this year’s contest. The $5 million business plan competition released the semifinalists after narrowing its field of entries from a pool of 542 initial entrants.

The MTA plans to shut down the New York City subway L train’s East River tunnel for 18 months for repairs starting in 2019.

Astronauts Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly, former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., actors John Cleese and James Franco and others are part of the lineup at Buffalo’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

Cuomo is reprising and re-iterating his call for energy conservation in light of an expected week of high heat and humidity, especially downstate where temps are expected to hit the 90s.

Average retail gasoline prices in New York have fallen 2.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.34 per gallon Sunday.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Here and Now, Day One in Philly

Good morning from the City of Brotherly Love, where Democrats will be trying hard to project a message of unity and togetherness, despite the ongoing fallout of the Democratic National Committee email scandal and resignation announcement of the party’s chair, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s erstwhile primary opponent, are scheduled to address the delegates at the Wells Fargo Center for Day One of convention.

Also on tap to speak tonight: A group of top labor leaders – SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Building Trades President Sean McGarvey, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

A small sample of some of the other events taking place today follows.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio starts the day in the Big Apple with a 10:30 a.m. press conference at the 84th police precinct in Brooklyn with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, and later will travel to Philadelphia, PA.

At 10:30 a.m., Team Sanders holds a briefing with members of the news media, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St., Third Floor, Conference Room 304, Philadelphia, PA.

At 11 a.m., Assemblyman Felix Oritz is hosting a “Podesta, Pasta, AND Politics” event at the DNC, Barbuzzo, 110 St. and 13th St., Philadelphia, PA.

At noon, Education Reform Now holds a “Camp Philos” panel & lunch, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA

At 1:30 p.m., a number of New York delegation embers will attend the “Celebrate Hillary Clinton and New York Women” event, El Vez, 121 S. 13th St, Philadelphia, PA.

At 3 p.m., American Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention holds a reception, The National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA.

At 3 p.m., there will be a “United Together” event featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, DNC, Philadelphia, PA.

At 3:30 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the DNC Convention Immigration Forum, National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, PA.

5:15 p.m., New York Democrats hold a labor welcome reception, Lucky Strike Philadelphia, 1336 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA

At 6:45 p.m., Coca Cola holds an opening reception of the 2016 International Leaders Forum, The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA.

Meanwhile, back home in New York…

At 4:15 p.m., state Gaming Commission members will tour the Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady construction site following their meeting in Schenectady.


Hillary Clinton thinks Republican National Convention rallying cries to throw her in jail “felt very sad.”

“I don’t know what their convention was about aside from criticizing me,” Clinton said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “I seem to be the only unifying theme. There was no positive agenda. It was a very dark, divisive campaign.”

Clinton said she won’t engage in the kind of “insult fest (Donald Trump) seems to thrive on.”

Support for Trump ticked up across battleground states following the Republican National Convention last week, according to the new CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll. He now has 42 percent support across the 11 battleground states surveyed — up from the 40 percent he had last week before the convention.

Trump will try to steal some of Clinton’s thunder during the Democratic convention with a slate of swing-state appearances that will test the appeal of his new running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

New York’s advertising campaigns promoting the state’s economic-development opportunities have faced criticism for their high costs and meager returns in job creation. Now they have encountered another challenge – this time from a former North Carolina Supreme Court judge.

Donald Trump Jr. said that he’d “love to” make New York City great again by running for mayor — after he’s helped his old man win the White House.

Some New York Republicans say it’s a little too early to talk about political futures for the Trump kids, though they could be members of strong bench of candidates in the future.

Anti- and pro-Airbnb forces have each scheduled media buys and other measures designed to grab the attention of Clinton and Democratic delegates in Philadelphia this week.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called on federal authorities to probe security at New York airports, pointing to a recent report that highlights security “blind spots” at La Guardia and Newark airports.

US Attorney Preet Bharara’s corruption probe into the dealings of two shady businessmen and donors to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has expanded north. He has subpoenaed the offices of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino about dealings with de Blasio financial backers Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who have been linked to recent city pay-to-play scandals.

Nearly half of the $663,706 raised by the state Republican party since January for its “housekeeping account” came from just three individuals, including lightening rod donor David Koch.

State Senate Democrats plan to use Senate GOP Majority Leader John Flanagan’s full-throated endorsement of Donald Trump during last week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland as an issue during the upcoming fight for control of the chamber.

De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will announce today that cops are getting more tactical equipment, including helmets and bulletproof vests.

The de Blasio administration has failed to make its last two payments to the NYPD pension fund.

Sports radio host Mike Francesa waded into political waters this month, contributing $2,000 to Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips, a Republican running for the State Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jack Martins, according to State Board of Election filings.

Several recent congressional primary contenders not only lost their elections, but also were left with some significant campaign debts.

Long lines at the bridges into Canada have been getting even longer this summer – and there’s no sign they will shorten any time soon. The problem rests with too few open inspection booths, bridge officials on both sides of the U.S-Canadian border say, leading to long delays – sometimes more than an hour – at the Peace, Rainbow and Lewiston-Queenston bridges.

A long-simmering murder case in Potsdam connected to the strangulation of a 12-year-old boy is shaping up as an important legal test of a cutting-edge method of teasing DNA evidence out of microscopic amounts of biological matter.

New York City’s first zoning resolution, responsible both for the density of Manhattan and its sidewalk, subway and traffic congestion, is turning 100.

Could a lift bridge, a shorter span or even a tunnel under the Buffalo River someday replace the Skyway? Rep. Brian Higgins said that such alternatives could be less expensive than the proposed costs of rehabilitating the 60-year-old bridge.

One day after lifting a “boil water” public health advisory, the Erie County Water Authority on Sunday reported 11 separate water main breaks in parts of Amherst, Depew, Hamburg, West Seneca, Lackawanna and Lancaster.

A former student of the Emma Willard school in Troy is claiming she was sexually abused by a staff member nearly two decades ago. The school has launched an investigation into the incident.

For the first time in six years, owner and 90-year-old socialite Marylou Whitney won a race at Saratoga Race Course this afternoon to applause and chants of “Mare-ee-lou!”

The drought that has taken ahold of the Northeast is hitting farmers particularly hard.

The Weekend That Was – DNC in Philly Edition

The CapTon team has arrived in Philadelphia, PA for the Democratic National Convention, where Hillary Clinton will be formally nominated to run for president.

Though the Democrats had hoped to avoid the division and drama experienced by the Republicans in Cleveland last week, they’ve already had their fair share – and it isn’t even Day One yet.

That’s thanks to a trove of emails from Democratic Party officials that were made public by Wikileaks, revealing exactly what the establishment thought about Clinton’s erstwhile primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the lengths to which they were willing to go to sideline him when they were supposedly staying neutral in the intra-party contest.

Given the ongoing uproar over Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state – and the FBI’s refuel to bring charges against her, a major GOP talking point – the last thing the Democrats want or need right now is another mess involving emails.

Hoping to curb the fallout from this latest email debacle, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, has heeded calls – led by Sanders himself – for her to step down. Wasserman Schultz, who was already a polarizing figure and unpopular with some Democratic leaders, reportedly discussed her decision to depart with both Clinton and President Obama.

She announced she’ll resign at the end of the convention. DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as the party’s interim chair, though plans remain intact for her to remain one of CNN’s talking-head contributors for the convention. She will not, however, be compensated for her appearances.

Also today, a large crowd of Sanders supporters protested in Philadelphia, marching to the convention site (The Wells Fargo Center) and chanting “Hell, no, D.N.C., we won’t vote for Hillary.”

Team Clinton will be trying hard to put forth a united front as the official convention business gets underway tomorrow, just as Team Trump did in Cleveland. But Sanders supporters will likely work hard to make their presence known – likely both inside and outside the arena – throughout the week.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers will again be front and center at this convention, and a number of elected officials – Gov. Andrew Cuomo; NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio; Rep. Nita Lowey, a Westchester congresswoman who gave up a run for the U.S. Senate in 2000 so Clinton could run, providing her with a launchpad to the White House; and both U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand – have speaking roles.

There will be lots of blog content coming your way, but here are some headlines for you to peruse in the meantime…

Here’s 12 things to know about Clinton’s VP pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

Kaine called Clinton his soulmate on Saturday, in his first appearance as her vice presidential pick in front of a crowd of 5,000 at Florida International University.

Clinton and Kaine will launch a bus tour of two critical battleground states – Pennsylvania and Ohio – after the convention wraps up.

But with Kaine’s selection Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, the gifts he received in the four years he served as Virginia’s chief executive and his time as lieutenant governor before that are certain to be cited by his Republican critics as a sign that the now-U.S. senator is not as squeaky clean as he portrays himself.

Russians may have hacked internal Democratic Party emails to help Trump, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said.

Clinton will have some real star power supporting her White House bid in Philadelphia this week, with Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Demi Lovato and America Ferrera planning to show up, but A-listers backing Sanders – like Susan Sarandon – are still on the fence.

Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg, the former NYC mayor who mulled his own presidential run this year, will endorse Clinton during a prime time speaking slot at the convention. (He hasn’t been a registered Democrat since 2010).

Donald Trump suggested in an interview that he would expand his proposed immigration restrictions to include anyone entering the United States from countries or territories “compromised” by terrorism, including allies such as Germany and France.

Trump fired off consecutive tweets attacking Democratic party officials for mocking Sanders’ “heritage” within minutes of calling Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” in reference to her Native American background.

Trump said he prevented Ted Cruz from being violently pulled off the Republican National Convention stage by entering the Cleveland arena as hundreds of angry delegates lashed out at the Texas senator.

Trump has already begun picking candidates for some of the top slots in his administration — and several names are very familiar. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is considered a front-runner to head the Department of Homeland Security. NJ Gov. Chris Christie is mentioned as a potential U.S. AG pick, and Dr. Ben Carson may head the Department of Health and Human Services.

President Obama’s Kenyan half-brother wants to make America great again — so he’s returning to the U.S. to vote for Trump.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s DNC speech is a high-stakes appearance before a national audience, made riskier because some Democrats will expect oratory perfection as if it is a Cuomo birthright, remembering his father’s star turn on the convention stage in 1984.

With little to do but wait until U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara reveals where his investigation is taking him, Cuomo has maintained a determined face in public, with lots of appearances in both June and July.

Cuomo announced Saturday that all seven lanes of the Tappan Zee Bridge would be open to traffic, four days after a crane collapsed on the bridge, blocking northbound and southbound traffic.

Three days after the 25-story boom of a crane toppled onto the Tappan Zee Bridge, creating havoc and a huge traffic jam but killing no one, three separate investigations were proceeding into what caused the accident.

The NYT opines: “If (Cuomo) is serious about ‘a redesign of the M.T.A. on every level,’ he should look for new ways to pay for mass transit. Raising the gas tax would be one option. Another is to support the strategies promoted in a proposal called the ‘Move NY Fair Plan.'”

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano issued a warning to those targeting and gunning down police officers, saying: “Target our citizens, target our police, and you’re going home in a body bag.”

The state Department of Taxation has a warrant against former Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella’s 2008 re-election campaign because it owes the state $3,298.92 for not paying withholding taxes from its employees’ paychecks.

State Business Council President and CEO Heather Briccetti says “economic development incentives are a useful tool, when well designed and thoughtfully applied,” but the Cuomo administration needs to take a broader look at what it’s doing overall to help or harm New York’s business climate.

The state Department of Transportation will conduct the first comprehensive study of alternatives to Buffalo’s Skyway, examining the 60-year-old structure, alternative routes and what effect changes to the bridge could have on I-190.

Acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr. so far has collected more campaign money than any other candidate in the race to become Erie County’s top prosecutor. Interestingly, there was one contribution Flaherty didn’t want – $500 from defense lawyer Thomas J. Eoannou. (He returned the money).

Niagara County’s jail, where three inmates died since medical care was privatized, will be getting its third provider of inmate medical services in less than a year.

Health officials on Friday reported the first baby born in New York City with the Zika-related birth defect known as microcephaly, a condition marked by an abnormally small head and impaired brain development.

Cuomo says a new Dick’s Sporting Goods distribution center in Broome County will create 466 full-time jobs over the next five years.


Day 4 – the final day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, which will bring us to the coup de grace of this entire event: Donald Trump’s formal acceptance of the GOP presidential nomination.

It’s not going too far to say this is the most important moment of Trump’s political career, a moment that could significantly alter the course of his general election battle with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Trump will be introduced by his daughter, Ivanka, a frequent campaign trail for her father and the final adult Trump child to be speaking at the convention.

We haven’t seen his youngest child, 10-year-old Baron, who is Trump’s son with his third wife, Melania, but he might make a post-speech appearance, as it’s traditional for the entire family to join a nominee on stage for the big balloon drop.

And yes, there are balloons, which are a convention standby. Some traditions are indeed being preserved here at this unconventional convention. How Trump plans to top his Day 1 reveal – with fog machines pumping and Queen’s “We Are the Champions” blaring over the speakers – remains to be seen.

Also we’ll see how Trump plans to take back the narrative and top off a convention that has been marked by controversy and upheaval. Will he go into more detail about his various policy proposals? Will he deliver a message of unity from the stage? Or will he continue to be defiant and divisive, belittling his critics and those who continue to have reservations about his candidacy.

Here are some headlines to peruse while we await the final show…

Just hours before accepting the preisdential nomination, Donald Trump taunted his party during a speech to top donors, ripping into his rivals and joking that, had he run as an independent, he could have defeated the GOP.

Trump’s speech needs to be the performance of a lifetime. It will cap off a convention that has so far been a rolling disaster of infighting and poor planning – all playing out on the national stage at a time he desperately needs a boost to compete against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has featured at least as prominently at the convention so far as Trump. For a convention that’s supposed to be all about the GOP nominee, his opponent is getting more than her share of the attention.

Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey said he feels like “a little kid on Christmas Eve” ahead of Trump’s big moment, adding: “”I can’t wait to see him tonight. I’m ecstatic.”

Speaking to his home state delegation this morning, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pointedly and repeatedly refused to endorse Trump, saying that he was not “a servile puppy dog.”

Donald Trump Jr. said his father does not need Cruz’s endorsement going into the general election. “We got it de facto from the people that matter,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “Those are the voters the people that my father has been speaking to directly. The hardworking people in this country that have been left in the dust.”

“The New York delegation was engaged in a way I’ve never seen,” said Rep. Tom Reed, a Corning Republican who joined in the “Endorse Trump” chants of Cruz’s speech last night. “The boos kept getting louder. There was just more and more energy.”

The guest lists for six suites at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week offer a peek into the VIP access enjoyed by the party’s most important financiers.

The Trump campaign’s sharp attacks against Ohio Gov. John Kasich this week may have imperiled a crucial behind-the-scenes effort to build out the Republican nominee’s meager operation in the battleground state.

Trump and Clinton are deadlocked in Ohio, according to a new Suffolk University poll that shows the crucial state very much in play.

Trump’s campaign says it set a new record for its money-raising effort, garnering $3.5m from online fundraising today. Also, Trump fulfilled his promise to forgive the $47.5m he loaned his presidential campaign on the way to securing the GOP nomination.

Ivanka Trump sent out a fundraising appeal on her father’s behalf hours before her big convention appearance introducing his acceptance speech.

Trump may be the nominee, but here in Cleveland, his children are the attraction.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani misstated Clinton’s home town by several hundred miles during his speech to the NY delegation, saying she lives in Chappaquiddick (Massachusetts), not Chappaqua (Westchester County).

21st Century Fox today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota – a comedian-turned-politician – traveled to Cleveland to deliver a few jabs to the Donald Trump-Mike Pence ticket, while another Democratic senator, Cory Booker of New Jersey, made the case for fighting with love.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales and use taxes. The bill, dubbed the “tampon tax” bill, passed with broad support at the end of May.

Also signed into law by the governor: a bill that gives state employees up to four hours each year to receive prostate cancer exams. Previously, only those outside of New York City were offered paid leave.

The Erie County Water Authority knew by 3 a.m. yesterday that a huge water main break may have exposed more than 100,000 residents to contaminated water, but no public advisory was sent for at least three more hours.

The chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, Amy Paulin of Westchester, is questioning the Cuomo administration’s plan to subsidize upstate nuclear reactors and its potential cost to New York residents.

The Late Late Show Starring James Corden traveled to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., to shoot a very special episode of Carpool Karaoke with Michelle Obama


The formal program on Day 3 at the RNC convention in Cleveland is (ostensibly) all about Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who will accept the nomination to be Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate.

Pence will be introduced by one of the men he (ahem) trumped in the veepstakes, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who will be joined by is wife, Callista.

Delegates will also hear this evening from another Trump progeny, Eric; as well as three of the men Donald Trump defeated in the GOP primary: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (who is speaking via a pre-taped video), and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; among others.

The theme of the night is “Make America First Again,” though these themes have been only loosely addressed for the past two nights, so it’s unclear exactly how that figures into this evening’s program.

Team Trump is hoping, once and for all, to put to rest the dust-up over Melania Trump’s Day One speech, which lifted parts of Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech, thanks to a longtime Trump Organization staffer who took responsibility for the gaffe.

While we await the start of this evening’s festivities, here are some headlines to peruse…

Donald Trump arrived – via helicopter – in Cleveland today, and was met by his children; his running mate, Illinois Gov. Mike Pence; and several New York Republicans, including state GOP Chair Ed Cox and Long Island Rep. Peter King.

Meredith McIver, the in-house speechwriter for the Trump Organization, took responsibility for penning the Melania Trump address featuring uncanny echoes of a 2008 Michelle Obama speech, and said she offered to resign but Trump wouldn’t let her.

McIver lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is a registered Democrat. She has been working for Trump since 2001 — and they’ve co-authored numerous books together for several publishers, including the 2004 hit, “Trump: How to Get Rich.”

Trump’s take (on Twitter): “Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!”

Thanks to the uproar caused by his wife’s convention speech, the pressure is on for Trump’s own speech tomorrow night to be bulletproof. The candidate’s chief speechwriter, Stephen Miller, reportedly has reassured colleagues that the text as prepared for delivery is wholly original.

Elmira native Eileen Collins, a retired NASA pilot and the first woman to pilot the space shuttle, will address the convention tonight as part of Trump’s “Make America First Again” lineup of speakers. He role has drawn some criticism from former NASA officials and others who think the candidate is anti-science.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, one of New York’s highest ranking Jewish elected officials, ripped into Trump as “dangerous, offensive and grossly uninformed” and someone who has given “explicit endorsement to anti-Semitic imagery.”

Veteran WNY political operative Michael Caputo is wistful about what might have been for him here in Cleveland if not for one ill-advised tweet.

Trump may soon call for the federal government to provide the nation’s 800,000 police officers with training in anti-terrorism intelligence gathering, according to former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“I would bet my life, if you put me in front of 12 fair and decent Americans and you let me prosecute this case against Hillary Clinton, she would go to jail,” Giuliani, a part-time Palm Beach resident, told the Florida delegation this morning.

When Democrats gather in Philadelphia next week to crown Clinton as their presidential nominee, some of the party’s top U.S. Senate challengers won’t be there.

Protestors were arrested in Cleveland today.

Wendy Long, a long shot candidate who is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer this fall, may be trying to out-Trump Trump.

Trump has not given up on the hope that he can persuade Ohio Gov. John Kasich to grace the stage of the Republican convention with his presence and, implicitly at least, his endorsement.

Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has ripple effects on government corruption cases nationwide, two Democratic state lawmakers from Long Island – Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Charles Lavine – are proposing a measure to strengthen existing state protections against government bribery.

This is Jessica Singleton’s last week as chief digital officer of the City of New York. She’s headed to Harvard Business School, and had previously delayed her application in order to continue working for the de Blasio administration.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said it would take “upwards of almost a year” for the department to put into action reforms promised as part of a deal with the mayor and City Council speaker that circumvented a package of police reform bills supported by a majority of the Council.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to make permanent his Task Force To Combat Worker Exploitation, which is aimed primarily at protecting immigrant workers, permanent, and would also addressing the misclassification of employees.

Derrick’s 1st Ad: Trump Right, Stefanik Wrong on TPP (Updatedx2)

Mike Derrick, the Democrat seeking to unseat Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in NY-21, is taking an unusual approach with his first TV ad of the campaign, aligning himself with newly-minted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the Trans Pacific Parternship.

“I don’t support Trump, but he’s right that we need to stop the job-killing TPP deal, and take on both parties in Washington,” Derrick, a retired U.S. Army colonel, says in the ad.

Stefanik crossed party lines back in 2015 to vote in favor of the TPA (edited, see below), putting her on the same side of the issue as President Obama, who now finds himself at odds with the woman who is seeking to replace him, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

During the Democratic presidential primary, Clinton came under fire from her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, for her past support of trade deals -including the North America Free Trade Agreement under her husband’s administration – which have been blamed for job losses in key swing states like Ohio, (which, of course, is where the Republicans are holding their national convention this week).

Clinton subsequently came out strongly against the TPP, although it took her a while to get to that point, opening her up to criticism from opponents on both the left and the right.

It’s interesting that Derrick is choosing to say that he sides with Trump – not Clinton – on the TPP. He’s clearly trying to appeal to disaffected Republicans and independents with this approach. NY-21 is a closely divided district that has changed hands between the two major parties several times over the past few election cycles.

Derrick hasn’t exactly caught fire with his campaign, though he has some time yet. The Democrats fielded a very weak candidate against Stefanik in 2014, Aaron Woolf. She easily defeated him, but was also helped by a strong showing by the Green Party candidate, Matt Funiciello, who is running again this year.

No word from the Derrick campaign about the size of the buy for this ad or the duration of time it will air. Here’s the script in full:

“Narrator: “Who’s right? Donald Trump, who says kill the TPP trade agreement, or Elise Stefanik, who supports it?”

Mike Derrick: “I don’t support Trump, but he’s right that we need to stop the job-killing TPP deal, and take on both parties in Washington.”

“I’m Mike Derrick. I approve this message, and in the 28 years I served in the U.S. Army, no one asked if I was a Republican or Democrat. I put service first. Did what’s right. And that’s what I’ll do in Congress.”

UPDATE: Stefanik spokesman Lenny Alcivar emailed a response to Derrick’s ad, calling it a “false” attempt to “deceive voters about Elise’s strong, bipartisan record of results for the North Country.”

He noted that Stefanik has never supported TPP, but did back TPA – Trade Promotion Authority, commonly known as Fast Track – which would enable the Obama administration to negotiate trade agreements based on predetermined objectives and priorities. Approval of the TPA was seen as essential to finalizing the TPP, a proposed trade agreement between the United States and 12 other nations.

“(T)he news citations used to support Mike Derrick’s blatantly false claim are about TPA, not TPP,” Alcivar said. “Either Mike Derrick doesn’t know the difference between TPP and TPA, or he knowingly misrepresented her position because he has no new ideas of his own.”

As for Stefanik’s position on TPP, Alcivar said she has long said she’s “talking to stakeholders on both sides,” and is continuing to do so.

UPDATE2: Derrick’s campaign has released a statement in response to the Stefanik campaign statement, basically accusing her of either flip-flopping on this issue or at least trying to have it both ways, asking: “Why would she vote to fast track its approval if she doesn’t support it?”