Liz Benjamin

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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?”


We’re here at “The Q” (AKA the Quicken Loans Arena) in Cleveland, OH for Day 2 of the Republican National Convention. The action is scheduled to get underway shortly.

The theme of the night is “Make America Work Again,” and speakers include Dr. Ben Carson, a former presidential candidate; UFC President Dana White; U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; House Speaker Paul Ryan; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (also a former presidential contender); and two of the presumptive nominee’s children: Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Team Trump will be trying to right the listing convention ship after the plagiarism mishap of Melania Trump’s big speech last night, which dominated the news cycle today and was definitely NOT the narrative the campaign was looking for.

Also happening tonight: The roll call of states putting the candidate’s name into consideration, which will – we think – end with the formal endorsement of Donald J. Trump for president.

Of course, given yesterday’s floor fight in which an anti-Trump faction failed in its effort to force a vote on releasing delegates from the candidate to whom they were pledged during the primaries, it’s entirely possible that something unexpected is in the cards.

“Unexpected” is actually the unofficial theme of this unconventional convention, which the reality TV start-turned-presumptive presidential nominee promised would be anything but average. So far, he’s delivering, though it’s a safe bet things aren’t turning out quite the way he had hoped.

Here are some of the day’s headlines…

Donald Trump’s campaign blamed Hillary Clinton for the backlash to Melania Trump’s convention speech, as the presumptive Republican nominee’s wife faces accusations of plagiarism due to strong similarities between her speech and Michelle Obama’s convention address in 2008.

Even more than the candidate himself, Trump’s campaign chief, Paul Manafort, has emerged as the early star of the Republican National Convention.

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer quoted My Little Pony in a bid to prove Melania Trump’s speech did not plagiarize Obama’s remarks eight years ago.

New Jersey governor and former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said he didn’t think Trump was going to pick him to be his running mate, though he knew he was “close.”

Fast approaching her final decision on a running mate, Clinton appears to be looking closely at Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a Buffalo native.

Several staffers from California in Cleveland for the Republican convention are reportedly being quarantined after falling ill from the norovirus.

President Obama won’t discipline HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who has been mentioned as a potential Clinton running mate, for violating a rule prohibiting federal officials from making personal political statements while in an official capacity.

Trump spent the night after Day One of the convention at home in Manhattan. (Helps to have a private plane at your disposal).

Clinton’s campaign is rolling out the red carpet for its top fundraisers at the convention in Philadelphia next week – including exclusive parties and panels with Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and briefings from all of the senior campaign staff.

Georgina Bloomberg regrets not heeding her father’s advice and taking an accounting class when she went to college. She also said she has learned to be proud of her last name, but hated simply being seen as “someone’s daughter” when she was younger.

Cuomo announced DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc., the nation’s leading sports and fitness retailer, will invest $100 million to build a regional distribution facility at the Broome County Corporate Park in Conklin.

Citing high security costs, Wright State University in Ohio is pulling out of its presidential debate scheduled for September 26, and the debate will move to Hofstra University on Long Island.

A crane collapsed on the Tappan Zee Bridge today, causing minor injuries and blocking all lanes of traffic on the busy span north of New York City.

University at Albany President Robert Jones is leaving the school to become chancellor of the University at Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – a post he described as his “dream job.”

Due to reports of shark sightings, stretches of Coney Island Beach have been closed and reopened “multiple times” today.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has a working workout almost every day at the Y in his old Brooklyn neighborhood, to which he is chauffeured from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side.

Charging that automaker Volkswagen AG showed “total disregard for the rule of law,” state Eric Schneiderman announced that the state has filed a lawsuit against the company over its sale of cars outfitted with illegal “defeat devices” to beat emissions test and its alleged attempted cover-up of its actions.

New York City is one step closer to a year-round subterranean park now that the Lowline, a one-acre underground green space, has received a preliminary go-ahead from city officials.

With a personal-best fundraising performance, Republican Rep. John Katko has a significant financial advantage over Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon in the NY-24 race. He raised $522,491.19 in the second quarter of 2016.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reportedly told investigators this month that Roger Ailes sexually harassed her 10 years ago.

Ailes is departing the network and will receive at least a $40 million buyout.

Katko’s 1st TV Ad Highlights Bipartisanship

Freshman Republican Rep. John Katko, whose race is widely viewed as one of the nation’s most competitive House contests, is out with his first TV ad of the campaign, which focuses on his ability to “work across the aisle to get things done.”

This is notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Katko’s district, NY-24, is fairly closely divided and has changed hands between the major parties over the past several election cycles, which means whoever the incumbent is needs NOT to hew too closely to the party leadership and orthodoxy.

In Katko’s case, that has translated this year into shying away from the GOP’s controversial presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, while the Democrats try every way possible to make the bash billionaire businessman an anchor around the congressman’s neck.

Katko is among the many Republicans across New York and the nation who have opted not to make the trip here to Cleveland to attend Trump’s convention. He has said repeatedly – as recently as six days ago – that the presidential hopeful would have to significantly change his tone and lack of substance in order to win his endorsement.

Katko is facing off in November against Colleen Deacon, a political newcomer and former aide to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who won last month’s three-way Democratic primary.

The ad is starting to air “immediately” on broadcast and cable TV across the district, according to the Katko campaign. No word on the size of the buy or the duration of time it will be on the air. Here’s the script…Katko himself is the narrator:

“Some say it’s the miles that make the man.

The experiences we have…the people we encounter.

I spent two decades as a federal prosecutor…and the last two years as Central New York’s representative in Congress.

We’ve had great success…passing more bills than any first term member from either party.
Working across the aisle to get things done right.

Because the best solutions to our problems come from right here…no matter how many back road trips it takes to find them.”


So the 2016 RNC convention is just underway – Day One, “Make America Safe Again” – and already we have had some significant drama.

Despite the message of unity and broad-based support for the presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, that his team is working overtime to deliver, there’s still considerable anti-Trump sentiment at play here at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.

That was on display this afternoon when the Dump Trump forces made a last-ditch attempt to get a minority report out of the Rules Committee and onto the floor for a vote – an effort to let delegates vote their conscience and be released from any pledged support for any particular candidate.

This effort was put down during a Rules Committee meeting several days ago before most delegates arrived in Cleveland. Today, Team Trump again sought to scuttle the effort by rejecting calls for a roll call vote, declaring the anti-Trump faction the loser in a voice vote, even though its supporters had secured signatures from more than enough states – 11, all told – to force the matter.

This sparked a shouting match on the floor between the pros and the antis. The convention’s presiding officer, Arkansas GOP Rep. Steve Womack, announced delegates from three of the 11 states that had signed on to the minority report had since withdrawn support, rendering their petitions insufficient and thus the effort had again been killed.

You can read more about today’s dust-up here, and here.

So now we’re waiting for the prime time speakers, which will include Trump’s wife, Melania; former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani; actor Scott Baio; retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa); U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (Mont.).

Not only is he speaking at the convention tonight, but NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was also scheduled to co-host a fundraiser for a super PAC backing Trump along with onetime presidential contender Ben Carson. All this after Giuliani said earlier this year that he would vote for, but not officially endorse, the presumptive GOP nominee.

There’s a lot of speculation – including by Giuliani himself – about what, if anything, the former mayor will be asked to do in a Trump administration.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is not a sore loser in the veepstakes, saying he agrees with Trump’s selection of a running mate and telling New York Republicans: “(Indiana Gov.) Mike Pence will do much more to unify the party than I would.”

Trump wasn’t Long Island Rep. Peter King’s first choice for the Republican presidential nominee, but the congressman, who briefly flirted with his own long shot presidential run, said the presumptive nominee is better than his Democratic alternative.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is playing a new, ad hoc role within the Trump campaign: Emergency “surrogate” governor to states whose own GOP governors who refuse to endorse the candidate, and are not attending the convention.

As the RNC prepared to kick off its convention, a trio of notable Hillary Clinton supporters gathered for a press conference just down the street. Touting the pro-Clinton, pro-Democrat slogan “Better Than This,” were former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego.

Wasserman Schultz said she believes the GOP convention will serve as a “great recruiting tool” for Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton today decried the Louisiana shooting that left three police officers dead and three wounded, telling the NAACP it was a “terrible crime.” “This madness has to stop,” she said at the civil rights organization’s annual conference in Cincinnati.

With Trump set to secure the Republican nomination for president this week, the ghostwriter behind Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal,” revealed the real estate mogul’s true character that the book ignored. “I put lipstick on a pig,” writer Tony Schwartz said.

Following twin attacks that have killed eight police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., this month, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association today renewed its effort to arm patrol officers with high-powered rifles.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the MTA announced how the agency will spend $27 billion as part of the five-year Capital Program to renew and expand the MTA network.

SolarCity has raised $345 million in funding that it will use to help install solar energy systems on its customers’ rooftops. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company raised the funding from four partners in June and July by packaging the tax equity from the incentives that accompany many of the solar arrays that SolarCity installs.

Roger Ailes’s tenure as the head of Fox News may be coming to an end. Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James — co-chairmen and CEO, respectively, of parent company 21st Century Fox — have reportedly settled on removing the 76-year-old executive, though it remains unclear if he will be fired or forced to resign.

The head of the failed city-run Build It Back program should fire or resign, after the controversial rebuilding debacle proved to be a “boondoggle” of bureaucratic red tape and poor construction work, according to Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich, who is mulling a run for NYC mayor next year.

Cuomo did not attend his own Adirondack Summer Challenge this year, sending LG Kathy Hochul to do the honors instead.

Former Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop has registered for the first time as a federal lobbyist, to represent Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in Patchogue on issues of health, Medicare and Medicaid.

Property tax levy growth for local governments will be capped at 0.68 percent for 2017, decreasing slightly from 2016, when it was 0.73 percent, according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Real estate developers continue to be among Cuomo’s biggest donors. One of the largest contributions to his re-election war chest this year comes from LLCs linked to the Durst Organization.

Here and Now

Day One at the RNC convention here in Cleveland, where the theme is “Make America Safe Again.”

Speakers at the convention this evening include the presumptive presidential nominee’s wife and “businesswoman,” Melania Trump; former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuiani; and retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was reportedly on the short list to run for VP, but got passed over in favor of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Also on tap: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a former presidential contender himself; CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander/star of Duck Dynasty Willie Robertson; actor Scott Baio; U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Marcus Luttrell; Pat Smith, the mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith, and others.

The New York GOP delegation will be hearing at a breakfast this morning from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was also passed over for VP this year; Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), and CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow, who has been mentioned multiple times as a potential U.S. Senate candidate in either New York or Connecticut, but has so far declined to run.

Members of the “Dump Trump” movement will make a last ditch attempt at today’s Rules Committee meeting on their effort to loosen the requirement that delegates vote for the presidential candidate to whom their are pledged.

At 4 p.m., two New York Republicans mentioned as potential 2018 gubernatorial candidates – Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro – co-host “cocktails and conversation” with Robert Trump at a Cleveland Mexican “grill and tequileria.”

Meanwhile, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is campaigning in Cincinnati, OH today. She’ll be attending the NAACP’s 107th annual convention, where she’ll launch an effort to register 3 million new voters in advance of the fall elections. (Trump declined an invitation to address the NAACP gathering).

Clinton will also be delivering a speech at 5 p.m. during the American Federation of Teachers’ biennial convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Other speakers include Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Back home in New York, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family departed last night on a vacation in Italy. They are scheduled to return on Saturday, July 24.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and is scheduled to make an announcement at 10:30 a.m., New York Transit Museum, Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn.

A fuller schedule of the day’s events, including happenings back home in New York, appears at the end of this post.


A lone gunman killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge yesterday morning. The shootings occurred when police responded to a 911 call that a man dressed in black and armed with what appeared to be an assault-style rifle was walking near a shopping plaza about a mile from police headquarters.

The shooter, Gavin Eugene Long, was a retired Marine with an online trail of rants complaining about the treatment of African-Americans by police after Alton Sterling’s death.

The NYPD ordered its officers to change tactics in the wake of the shooting in Baton Rouge. Police were ordered to patrol with partners — no officers were assigned single posts or patrols.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declared that the nation had become a “divided crime scene” and said that the Islamic State was watching as Americans murdered police officers. After President Obama issued a call for calm, Trump jabbed on Twitter that Obama “doesn’t have a clue.”

In an odd and seemingly uncomfortable clip of an interview that aired last night on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Trump and his newly-minted VP running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, appeared to disagree on the upsides of running a negative campaign and conveyed an uneasy rapport with each other.

As convention goers arrived in Cleveland, they were greeted by protesters, naked people, fireworks, multiple parties and few individuals with long guns exercising their public carry rights, which the governor declined to suspend for this event – despite calls from local law enforcement to do so.

Cleveland had something of a practice run last month, when more than a million people attended the parade celebrating the Cavaliers’ NBA title. This week an estimated 50,000 will descend on the city, which hopes to showcase its attractions, from the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame to a rejuvenated downtown.

Over the span of Trump’s business career, project after project has produced allegations of bad faith, broken promises, blatant lies or outright fraud. A survey by the New York Times of his four decades of wheeling and dealing reveals an operatic record of dissembling and deception.

Arizona Republican senator and prominent Trump critic Jeff Flake believes the GOP must purge the presumptive nominee’s supporters after the election in order to survive.

Trump reportedly plans to roll out the names of potential Cabinet members this week, after his vice presidential announcement failed to generate the enthusiasm he was hoping for.

Fred Dicker: “New York Republicans narrowly avoided a major blowup with Donald Trump’s campaign in Cleveland Saturday after operatives for state Chairman Ed Cox initially refused to allow Newt Gingrich, a top Trump surrogate, to address their delegation” this morning.

United Airlines suspended pilot and Republican West Virginia lawmaker Michael Folk from flying pending an investigation after he said Clinton should be executed.

More >

The Weekend That Was – Cleveland Edition

Well, we made it to Cleveland! Eight hours worth of relatively uneventful driving by our intrepid CapTon teammate (for the convention weeks, anyway), Carl Brewer. Check him out at @CarlB40.

While we get our bearings and prepare for some epic RNC coverage, here are some headlines from the weekend to peruse…

A gunman killed three police officers and wounded three others in Louisiana’s capital, Baton Rouge, just days after the police shooting of a black man there sparked nationwide protests, one of which led to the massacre of five Dallas policemen.

The suspect, identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, Mo., was killed by the police.

President Barack Obama condemned violence against law enforcement and called on Americans to “temper our words and open our hearts.”

The Republican National Convention released its program this afternoon, adding actor Scott Baio and reality television star Willie Robertson to the speaker lineup.

Hillary Clinton’s team is ringing in the start of the Republican National Convention by emphasizing a rift between Donald Trump and Ohio GOP leaders.

A West Virginia Republican lawmaker said his comments made on Twitter calling for Clinton’s public execution weren’t meant to be taken literally.

Clinton holds a modest but solid lead over Trump in the race for president, according to three new surveys released on the eve of the GOP convention.

Controversial Carl Paladino, Trump’s New York chairman, has a high-profile role at the convention here in Cleveland, but admits he needs to temper some of his public statements – and tweets – and “stick to the issues” to avoid becoming a negative storyline for his candidate.

Trump’s choice of Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate may free up Clinton to put a politician with a more moderate profile — like Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine — on the Democratic ticket.

If Clinton picks Labor Secretary – and WNY native – Thomas E. Perez as her running mate, his friends and supporters say it will be because he earned it. But if she doesn’t, it may be at least partly because he’s also earned the wrath of conservatives and business interests who already appear to be waging a war of words against him.

Clinton pledged to introduce an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision within the first 30 days of her administration

A man suspected of robbing people at gunpoint in Brooklyn was fatally shot today by New York City police officers after exchanging gunfire with them, the authorities said.

An aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo refuses to make public a trove of records that could shed light on the state’s economic development contracts, including the Buffalo Billion contracts that have sparked a federal investigation.

PolitifactNY vets Cuomo’s claim that New York is poised to have “the lowest tax rate for the middle class in 70 years,” and finds that statement mostly true.

Former Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey, the man often credited with orchestrating Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s climb to power, has met at least twice with FBI agents investigating public corruption, according to three sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is suing Svetlana Andreevna Zakharova, also known as Lana Travis, after she accused him of assaulting her at the Plaza Hotel back in February.

Fund-raising declarations filed by New York politicians and their allies on Friday were perhaps most notable for what they did not contain, as contributions have slowed due in part to investigations into two top Democrats – the governor and mayor of NYC.

A surge in the use of K2 is presenting a challenge for New York law enforcement.

The Syracuse Nationals set a goal for themselves for this year: they were going to hit one million dollars raised for charity over the course of the 17 years the event has been going on. They exceeded their goal.

Cuomo announced the marketing plan to promote this year’s fair at the reimagined State Fairgrounds. The advertising campaign involves upgrades to the event website and phone app along with radio, television, specialty print and digital ads that will run in media markets across New York State.


Hillary Clinton enters the summer damaged by perceptions that she violated the law by using a private email system while serving as secretary of state, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

In the crucial moments after Trump announced he had chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate with a tweet, Clinton’s campaign sprang into action, while Trump’s team missed several opportunities to capitalize on its own news and be the first to frame the narrative around the new partnership.

The New York Times calls Trump’s selection of Pence his “biggest compromise yet with the establishment Republicans he claims to reject.”

Stephani Williams, a Republican convention delegate from Utah who opposes Trump’s nomination for president, learned about Carl Paladino the same way many others have over the years: via email. “You should be hung for treason Stefani,” Paladino wrote to Williams in an email she shared with the press. “…There will not be a Republican Party if you attempt to replace Trump. I’ll be in your face in Cleveland.”

Under wraps for 13 years, the government has released once-top secret pages from a congressional report into 9/11 that questioned whether Saudis who were in contact with the hijackers after they arrived in the U.S. knew what they were planning.

Ohio is an “open carry” state, which has further heightened concerns about security at the GOP convention in Cleveland – particularly outside where protests will be taking place.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio denounced some of the more extreme slogans of the Black Lives Matter movement in a radio conversation with an African-American NYPD officer today – even as he continued to praise the group as “necessary.”

Glenwood Management, the development company at the center of two federal corruption convictions of former Albany leaders, hasn’t completely given up its political giving.

Convicted former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos still has nearly $1 million left in his campaign account after spending more than $650,000 in the past six months on lawyers in his corruption trial.

Black Lives Matter supporters demonstrated in front of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Midtown office yesterday in response to the former mayor publicly denouncing the group as “anti-American” and “inherently racist.”

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose political plans beyond 2017 are currently unclear, has raised nearly $820,000 for an unspecified run, Campaign Finance Board filings will show.

AG Eric Schneiderman wants the governor to sign legislation authorizing off-hour arraignments.

New York’s top court this month delivered a big victory to state prosecutors who want to remove some of the worst sex offenders from society – possibly forever.

In the race to succeed outgoing state Sen. Hugh Farley, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, is far outpacing Democrat Chad Putman and fellow Republican Christian Klueg in campaign cash — thanks to a $160,000 transfer to himself.

Rep. John Katko raised $522,000 for his re-election campaign in the latest quarter, a record high for his campaign, according to disclosure reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

A “pay bill” that enacts a 2 percent retroactive raise for members of the Public Employees Federation has gone to Cuomo’s desk for signing.

Clinton Correctional Facility was locked down last night following an incident in the yard involving many inmates.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art may shed more than 100 staff positions, museum officials said, as part of a broader financial overhaul intended to reverse deepening deficits.

Here and Now

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

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, and will take questions from listeners.

At 11 a.m., Assemblyman Michael Blake moderates the “State of Inequality in Education Roundtable” event at the America’s Innovation Economy Breakouts of the NLC National Leadership Retreat, The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Also at 11 a.m., advocates for people with developmental disabilities and elected officials hold a news conference to highlight the “300 Days to Better Pay” campaign calling for a funding increase in the state budget for wages for underpaid staff, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:15 p.m., Rep. John Katko will join local families, advocates, treatment and prevention specialists, healthcare providers, and law enforcement to highlight the importance of legislation on its way to the president’s desk to help end the heroin and opioid drug epidemic, Prevention Network, 906 Spencer St., Syracuse.

At 1 p.m., Assemblyman Ronald Castorina and representatives from the Moravian Cemetery raise concern about the Pokemon Go app, Moravian Cemetery, 2205 Richmond Rd., Staten Island.

At 2 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks to kick off NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program, Henry Street Settlement, 301 Henry St., Manhattan.

At 4:00 p.m., Blake moderates a discussion with Obama administration advisor Valerie Jarrett, The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump was supposed to reveal his VP pick (Indiana Gov. Mike Pence?) at 11 a.m. in Manhattan, but has delayed that announcement due to the attack in Nice, France.


Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton forcefully condemned what she called the “radical jihadist” terror attack in Nice, France, where a large truck rammed into a crowd of Bastille Day celebrators, killing more than 70 people.

After the Nice attack, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he had stepped up security measures at high-profile locations here in New York, including airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems.

Tim Tebow will not be speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, despite reports that the former NFL quarterback was slated to appear at the GOP gathering’s closing night. “It’s amazing how fast rumors fly. And that’s exactly what it is: A rumor,” he said in a video posted on Instagram.

The Dump Donald Trump movement got dumped last night. Efforts to unbind delegates pledged to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee failed by decisive margins during a contentious meeting of the GOP convention’s Rules Committee.

Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence – the first House Republican to endorse Trump for president – will speak at next week’s GOP convention, but Trump’s New York co-chair, Carl Paladino, won’t, but is a member of the credentials committee.

A number of upstate New Yorkers who were early Trump supporters have been rewarded with convention positions. Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey, for example, is the first person from the area in decades to serve on the GOP platform committee.

The Clinton campaign is trying to capitalize on the Pokemon Go craze, but combining it with a voting registration drive. “I don’t know who created Pokemon Go, but I’m trying to figure out how we get them to have Pokemon Go…to the polls,” Clinton joked during an appearance in Virginia.

“That craze is the one of the stupidest ones that I’ve seen,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said of Pokemon Go, which has caused participants to fall off cliffs and crash their cars.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine took the stage with Clinton, lashing out at Trump and appearing to audition as the presumptive Democratic nominee’s running mate.

The Trump campaign decided it would one-up Clinton, posting a video to Facebook showing a mock-Pokemon Go game called “Crooked Hillary No,” in which a user attempts to catch the Democratic candidate.

“A complete lack of accountability” under NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is to blame for a deed lifting to allow a nonprofit nursing home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to be flipped to luxury condos and a $72 million profit, according to an investigation released by the city’s corruption watchdog.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will report today having more than $5.1 million in campaign cash on hand. That’s significantly higher than the $3.6 million he reported in January and the $2.3 million last July.

De Blasio’s re-election campaign said that it had raised $1.1 million over the first six months of the year. His campaign said nearly three-quarters of its contributions were for $250 or less and came about as the mayor, a Democrat who is seeking a second term in 2017, held 21 fund-raisers around New York City.

The daughter of NYPD chokehold victim Eric Garner screamed at organizers of a town hall meeting on race relations and community policing yesterday after missing a chance to speak with the host — President Obama. According to a CNN producer, Obama met with Garner after the event entitled “The President and the People,” which aired at 8 p.m.

The House Majority PAC said it has reserved $1.18 million in TV and cable airtime in the Binghamton, Syracuse and Utica markets for campaign ads in the NY-22 race. The ads presumably will attack state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who has the Republican and Conservative Party lines in a race against Democrat Kim Myers, of Vestal.

NY-19 Republican congressional candidate John Faso’s campaign criticized Democrat Zephyr Teachout for accepting Cuomo’s rather generic endorsement of his 2014 primary rival.

Cuomo confirmed that the 2016 edition of the Super DIRT Week racing extravaganza will be moved to Oswego Speedway because of construction delays at a big racing complex under development near Central Square.

Airbnb today is set to unleash an ad campaign opposing a bill designed to crack down on the home-sharing industry in New York City. But unlike earlier planned versions of the ad, the new spots will not specifically call on Cuomo to veto the legislation.

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