Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Klein: Too Soon to Talk Reconciliation With ‘Regular’ Dems

From the Morning Memo:

There has been a lot of happy talk lately from the so-called “regular” state Senate Democrats about making inroads towards a reconciliation with IDC Leader Jeff Klein in advance of what they hope will be a successful election season that results in their winning back control of the chamber. 

Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said on “The Capitol Pressroom” that she’s keeping the “lines of communication open” with the five-member IDC and is “obviously looking forward to a future that brings Democrats back together.” 

She also noted that unlike in 2014, neither side has mounted any primary challenges against the other’s candidates in this year’s elections. 

But IDC Leader Jeff Klein threw cold water on the idea of a peace agreement during a Capital Tonight interview last night, saying any speculation of a reconciliation, or about who might be in the majority come January 2017, is “premature.” 

“We have 63 members of the state Senate that are all up for re-election this year,” the Bronx Democrat said. “And I think after November we’ll see what happens once the election is over. I think it’s really too early to tell. There’s a lot of very close races, a lot of good candidates on both sides of the aisle.”

“I think the only that thing I can say on this point, as far as speaking for my members, is that there’s going to be a long way towards November on who actually is in the majority,” Klein continued. 

“But I’m just hopeful that we can continue to govern as we have been, the Independent Democratic Conference, you know, working to make sure the Senate works.”

Klein also declined to sign on to the regular Democrats’ view that Donald Trump’s controversial candidacy will hurt down-ballot GOP candidates, or that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy will assist Democratic Senate candidates in her Democrat-dominated home state.  

“I think it’s too early to tell,” Klein said, while stressing that he is “overwhelmingly” supporting Clinton for president. He noted Trump is “holding his own” on Long Island, which is again a battleground in the fight for control of the Senate, while Clinton’s strong numbers in NYC won’t likely make a difference for Senate Democrats, since there are no really competitive races in the five boroughs. 

“I always say this, you know, when election time rolls around I’m a Democrat and I want to elect Democrats,” Klein said. “But when the dust settles on an election, I think it’s incumbent upon all of us, andI think  that’s what the voters really want, is for us to govern and I intend to do that post-November into the new session.”

Klein praised Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan for accomplishing top IDC priority items like a $15 minimum wage increase (though not upstate, at least in the short term), paid family leave and an effort to combat so-called zombie properties.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Ditto, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

At 8 a.m., NYC Councilman Daneek Miller, Sen. Leroy Comrie, Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, the NYC Parks Department and volunteers from the community clean up O’Connell Park in Queens, 96th Street and Murdock Avenue, St. Albans.

At 9:30 a.m., state Republican Chairman Ed Cox visits the Cayuga Victory Center to greet field staff and volunteers for the 24th Congressional District, 64 Owasco St., Auburn.

At 10 a.m., Sen. Marty Golden hosts a screening of “Silence Patton: First Victim of the Cold War” for veterans and military personnel. Attendees include the movie’s director Robert Orlando who leads a discussion after the screening, Alpine Cinemas, 6817 5th Ave., Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., the NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council holds a rally before its annual breastfeeding subway caravan, City Hall steps, Manhattan. (After the rally, which Sen. Liz Krueger, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and other elected officials will attend, the group will ride the A train to Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Restoration Plaza).

At 11:30 a.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik holds a “Results Tour” campaign event to highlight her efforts to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, New York Air Brake, 748 Starbuck Ave., Watertown.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Cox visits the Onondaga Victory Center to greet field staff and volunteers, Onondaga GOP Headquarters, 2910 Erie Blvd. E., Syracuse.

From 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., 1199SEIU members who work at New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital will come together with their patients and community supporters for a candlelight vigil to highlight their fight for a fair contract and the connection to quality patient care, New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital, 55 Palmer Ave., Bronxville.

Headlines…

Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over Donald Trump in a pair of new national polls published on Thursday, as the Republican nominee ends one of the worst weeks of his campaign.

Facing urgent calls to stabilize his candidacy and declining poll numbers, Trump struggled to refocus his message after threatening to withhold his endorsement from top Republican officeholders, including Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House.

Clinton is repeating her false claim that the FBI said her statements on her use of a private email were “truthful.

Clinton was rushed by animal rights protesters at a campaign rally in Nevada and deflected by suggesting they were there to protest Trump.

Clinton officially began planning for her White House this week, tapping campaign chairman John Podesta and long-time aide Minyon Moore to prepare her transition planning effort.

Michael J. Morell, acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013, writes in the New York Times about his decision to vote for Clinton, saying the nation will be “much safer” with her in the White House.

Trump landed his helicopter in Nissequogue, Long Island last night and flew back with a heavier campaign war chest after a cocktail party fundraiser.

Rep. Richard Hanna says his office has been swamped with phone calls in the two days since he became the first Republican in Congress to say he will vote for Clinton in November’s presidential election. “A lot of those callers left ugly and disgusting messages,” he said. “Some of them were from very foul-mouthed people, but some people were very kind.”

State Sen. Jack Martins, the Republican candidate running to replace retiring Democratic Long Island Rep. Steve Israel, will vote for Trump, his party’s presidential candidate, but has not endorsed him, said Martins’ spokesman E. O’Brien Murray.

A small group of New Yorkers calling itself “Let’s Move Melania into the White House” announced its formation at the Sojourn Restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Referencing the $400 million the United States paid Iran in January, Long Island Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin said he thinks President Barack Obama either doesn’t know what he’s doing, or he knows “exactly what he is doing and is playing for some other team.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ban on state-funded travel to North Carolina has taken a toll on a wide range of people here in New York, some of whom are scratching their heads over how they wound up in the midst of a political battle.

Like many other New Yorkers, black voters are worried about crime, schools and the cost of housing. But unlike some other groups, African-Americans have remained overwhelmingly supportive of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. In a Q poll this week, 72 percent of black voters said the mayor deserves re-election, compared with 23 percent of whites.

Real-estate executive Paul Massey said he will run against de Blasio next year. Massey, a Republican and political newcomer who founded the firm Massey Knakal before selling it to Cushman & Wakefield, would stake a pragmatic campaign less about ideology and more about managing the city, a spokesman said.

Massey’s campaign is off to an uncertain start, as there were some paperwork problems at the state Board of Elections, and the NYC Campaign Finance Board had no knowledge of his filing.

A New York federal judge ruled Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son can stay free on bail while appealing their convictions on corruption charges, saying jury instructions in their trial could be flawed in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Skelos and son his son, Adam, are seeking a new trial thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s conviction, also on corruption charges.

A lengthy delay in paying a Rochester-based builder led to finger-pointing among state entities, with the state Dormitory Authority saying it needs more information before the money can be released.

More >

Extras

Vice President Joe Biden wished President Barack Obama a happy birthday today, tweeting, “Happy 55th, Barack! A brother to me, a best friend forever,” along with an image of a friendship bracelet, with beads that spell out “Joe” and “Barack.”

Bill Bratton, who will depart the NYPD in September for a presumably lucrative job at Teneo, a global consulting firm with ties to the Clintons, told Charlie Rose last night that his 31 months as police commissioner have been a financial sacrifice.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a close Trump ally, said it’s former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s fault that the media is talking about an “intervention” with the Republican nominee, although he said there might be an “evolution” of the Manhattan billionaire’s campaign.

Former Giuliani aide Matt Higgins, a vice chairman of the Dolphins who also serves as CEO of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ RSE Ventures, issued an endorsement for Clinton.

Trump is using his book. “Art of the Deal,” as a fundraising tool, even though his ghostwriter has publicly denounced him.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is backing House Speaker Paul Ryan’s re-election bid, but, like Trump, is refusing to endorse Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte.

Ryan suggested that his endorsement of Trump for president is not written in stone.

Melania Trump denied that she had ever broken immigration laws, in response to a Politico report that calls into question whether she committed visa fraud and worked without authorization during her early visits to the U.S.

Actor Bradley Cooper was surprised by the backlash from fans of his 2014 film “American Sniper” after his appearance at the Democratic National Convention.

Now that Hillary Clinton has assembled a bipartisan cadre of billionaires to support her candidacy, how does she disperse the moneyed elite to help her in a campaign focused on income inequality?

Hoosick Falls residents who drank from the tainted municipal water supply have, on average, more than 30 times the national level of a toxic chemical in their blood, according to state health department data obtained by POLITICO.

Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a freshman Democrat from Long Island, brought in $121,000 worth of campaign cash from REBY members – more than a quarter of the money they have given to Senate candidates and parties this year.

The Onondaga County Legislature has added a new wrinkle to an ongoing rift with Comptroller Bob Antonacci, passing a resolution Tuesday requiring him to cooperate with an audit of the county’s payroll process.

HUD has rejected Syracuse’s request for $2.9 million to revive its shuttered program to detect and remove toxic lead paint from city homes, but could not offer an immediate explanation as to why.

New York will receive more than $10 million as part of a settlement between 48 states and the maker of Provigil, a drug used to treat excessive sleepiness, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Suffolk County and New York City.

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears live on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.

At 10:30 a.m., members of the New York State Cemetery Board will meet, New York Department of State Offices, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Ave., 11th Floor, Room 1112, Albany.

At 10:45 a.m., Rep. Nita Lowey will hold a press conference to call for expedited approval in the House of a bill to fund efforts to fight the Zika virus, 222 Mamaroneck Ave., Suite 312, White Plains.

At 11 a.m., Assemblyman Ron Castorina, NYC Councilmen Joe Borelli and Steven Matteo, and Founder and President of Blue Lives Matter NYC Joe Imperatrice introduce the “Blue Lives Matter” bill making the assault of a police officer a hate crime, 122 Precinct, 2320 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, DOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia, Assemblyman Ron Kim, Councilman Peter Koo, President of the Korean American Association of Queens Paul Yoo and representatives from the 149th Street Merchants Association attend opening of 149th Street Bridge after five years of being barricaded, corner of 149th Street and 41st Avenue, Murray Hill, Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., the Mount Vernon Department of Public Works will hold a “snow drill,” during which DPW staff will run through logistics to ensure that, when winter weather comes, snow removal and street cleaning is smooth, equitable, and organized, Parking Lot at Brush Park, 582 South Third Ave., Mount Vernon.

At 11:30 a.m., members of the clergy and NYC Deserves Better join forces to “address the national crisis of racial divide and the comprehensive unrest as a result of the failed leadership in our city,” Mount Neboh Baptist Church, 1883 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., Harlem.

At 1 p.m., Sens. Jeff Klein and David Carlucci release “Protecting Our Children: How Pokémon GO and Augmented Reality Games Expose Children to Sex Offenders, Westchester and Rockland Counties” report, Rockland County Courthouse, 1 S. Main St., New City.

At 2 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Sunken Meadow State Park, Field 3, Route 25A and Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park, Long Island.

At 5:30 p.m., state GOP Chair Ed Cox holds a media availability preceding the 2016 annual NYGOP Rising Stars reception honoring Rep. Elise Stefanik, outside Savory Downtown, 300 Washington St., Watertown.

At 6 p.m., Dwayne Simpson hosts fundraiser to re-elect New York State Assemblyman Walter Mosley, discussing “how best to work on the issues we’ve been fighting for and will continue to work on as the election cycle progresses,” 1684 Bergen St., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

The great Republican freak-out about Donald Trump has commenced. Friends are said to be planning an intervention. Staffers are “suicidal.” Reince Priebus is livid. Unnamed GOP bigwigs are once again fantasizing about replacing Trump on top of the ticket.

Close Republican allies of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Arizona Sen. John McCain are coming to their defense after Trump handed the two veteran GOP figures an extraordinary political snub by declining to endorse them in their primary elections this year.

Trump, who cancelled a rally in Plattsburgh today due to unspecified scheduling conflicts, is expected to attend a private, $5,000-a-person cocktail party on Long Island, where Republicans say they expect to raise $1 million for his campaign.

A day after Trump and his son, Eric,were accused of victim-blaming in their comments on sexual harassment, the GOP nominee reiterated his advice that women who are abused at work should take it upon themselves to either leave their jobs or stick it out.

Hillary Clinton jabbed at Trump’s practice of manufacturing his companies’ products overseas, building on her argument that the Republican rival is focused on enriching himself more than bolstering U.S. businesses.

President Barack Obama granted commutations to the sentences of 214 convicted felons in federal prison, including two from Central New York.

The Cuomo administration’s economic development czar tangled at a hearing with a bipartisan group of Assembly members who raised questions about job creation programs, including Start-Up NY. ESDC head Howard Zemsky alternated between being pointed and diplomatic as lawmakers questioned how his agency spent money and whether job creation claims have been inflated.

“I’m not interested in throwing good money after bad when we have such paltry results,” said Assemblywoman Addie Russell, a North Country Democrat, who told Zemsky it was time for a “re-think” of the START-UP NY program.

Zemsky was frustrated by the attention on START-UP, calling it just “one tool in the toolbox” and “not the entirety of New York State’s economic development efforts, by any stretch of the imagination.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo maintains his START-UP NY program is creating thousands of jobs at no cost to taxpayers, even as legislators in Albany are challenging the premise. While in Buffalo, the governor said those lawmakers are missing the bigger picture, seeming to single out Assemblyman Robin Schimminger without naming him speifically.

If state lawmakers want a hefty raise, Cuomo said, they should have to make the case publicly — and before the November elections.

As a state panel considers the question of whether to give state lawmakers a hefty pay hike, Democratic state Senate candidate Sara Niccoli and several of her fellow candidates are offering an answer: “a resounding no.”

Cuomo announced the next steps in his goal to bring high-speed Internet to the entire state by 2018.

It’s game on for players of daily fantasy sports in New York — and just in time for football season. Cuomo signed into law a bill that legalizes daily fantasy sports websites and gives the state Gaming Commission the power to regulate them.

Cuomo says he has made mass transit a “personal priority,” but advocates want more details.

Fully containing and removing dangerous contaminants from Bethpage-area groundwater plumes could cost between $268 million and $587 million and require treatment for up to 100 years, according to a report released by the DEC.

Companies that sell mosquito repellants are trying to suck New Yorkers dry by touting “Zika-preventive” products like bracelets, patches and ultrasonic devices that are completely ineffective, state AG Eric Schneiderman said.

James O’Neill, the next leader of the NYPD, is stepping into the ultimate high-wire act. The city’s business leaders and many conservatives want the incoming commissioner to keep aggressive, quality-of-life policing. Activists who supported Bill de Blasio’s bid for mayor want a more receptive ear to the concerns of minorities. City Hall wants a less political figure.

More >

Extras

President Obama cut short the sentences of 214 federal inmates, including 67 life sentences, in what the White House called the largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century.

The Obama administration said that $400 million in cash paid to Iran soon after the release of five Americans detained by Tehran was not ransom for them as some Republicans have charged.

One day after Donald Trump declined to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan’s re-election bid, GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence announced he “strongly” supports Ryan, who he called a “longtime friend” and “strong conservative leader.”

Top Republicans and political allies to Trump are planning an “intervention” with the candidate following several disastrous days of a political firestorm that has encircled the Republican presidential nominee.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s most loyal defenders, warned that his friend was in danger of throwing away the election and helping to make Hillary Clinton president unless he quickly changes course.

Outgoing NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton dismissed Trump’s claim to be the law-and-order presidential candidate, saying in an MSNBC interview: “I wonder if Mr. Trump’s ever taken a punch in his life.”

Trump all but erased his enormous financial disadvantage against Clinton in the span of just two months, according to figures released by his campaign.

Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal casino will close at the end of the Labor Day weekend amid labor strife stirred by the last in a series of bankruptcies for the former gambling empire of the presidential candidate, who hasn’t been involved in the management of the casino for years, though his name remains on the façade.

Maria Comella, a longtime aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said she plans to vote for Clinton, saying that for Republicans coping with Trump “silence isn’t an option.”

In an advisory opinion issued today, the head of the state agency charged with overseeing open government laws rejected NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s argument that some of his outside advisors were “agents of the city” and therefore exempt from the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

A new state bill would make it a hate crime to use physical force on a police officer – and its chief sponsor argued the past two years of Black Lives Matter demonstrations have made cops a target for violence.

“In the end, the fate of Exelon Corp.’s money-losing reactors in Illinois and New York may have come down to one governor who desperately wanted to rescue them and another who wasn’t so sure.”

Two sponsors are renewing a call for a vote on the Right to Know Act, which was tabled by NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito after she agreed to let outgoing NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton adopt the rules administratively.

De Blasio and NYPD officials celebrated the city’s next top cop during a “family style” dinner at Denino’s on Staten Island last night, City Hall said.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent cease-and-desist letters to seven companies marketing products with false claims of preventing Zika virus, the mosquito-borne illness that has created a global public health crisis this year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced 97 percent of New Yorkers will have access to high-speed broadband, with goal of serving all by end of 2018.

About 70 percent of firms surveyed in the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook said higher minimum wages would incentivize them to pursue automation.

Long Island activists and superstorm Sandy victims urged Republican Senate and Assembly candidates to reject political contributions from wealthy donors with ties to the fossil fuel industry.

For hundreds of property owners in Syracuse, insurance rates are about to go up. FEMA will enact new flood insurance maps in November, which add 876 properties in Syracuse to the flood zone.

Hanna: Rejecting Trump ‘The Right Thing To Do’

Rep. Richard Hanna said his decision to cross party lines and become the first Republican House member to announce he will vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump “wasn’t fun,” but was “easy” and the “right thing to do.”

The NY-22 Republican, who hails from the Utica area and is not seeking re-election this fall, called on his fellow Republicans to join him in rejecting the party’s presidential nominee, whom he called “unqualified and a danger to this country.”

“You see it daily,” Hanna said today during an interview with TWC News. “It’s not just what he did last week or the week before that, it’s a constant stream of events and attitudes and ideas that he has, and his demeanor, and the way that he controls or doesn’t control himself that tells me that he’s completely unfit.”

“So, the question becomes well what do you do about that? Well, we have choices. And I think that anybody who sits out this election is making a mistake.”

“If you care about the future, it’s clear to me that Trump should not be supported,” the congressman continued. “He doesn’t represent much other than his own personal interest. He seems to be extremely narcissistic and the list is endless. I think this is a time for people to reflect and be a good American. You don’t have to be a good party member to be a good American. Being a good American is the most important thing all the time, but particularly right now.”

Hanna said he has been “pretty beat up” since announcing his intention to vote for Clinton yesterday in an OpEd he penned for the Syracuse Post-Standard, but insisted he’s “OK with that.”

The congressman, who is one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the New York delegation, (the other, Rep. Chris Gibson, is retiring at the end of this year, too), said that voting for Trump would be a “huge, monumental mistake.” Asked what he likes about Clinton, Hanna replied:

“She has experience, and she certainly knows the issues, which is clear. If you looked at her resume, you know, some of the things that Trump has said about Russia and Crimea is just completely off the wall. That’s not what we need. So experience does matter. And I also agree with her on a few issues that are personal to me: LGBT rights, women’s health care, the environment. Those things are important. And

“I think that sure it’s easy to find complaints. A lot of people have, and I don’t dismiss that. But again, we have to make a choice, and I do not want to have this job and not have stood up for what I believe when I had an opportunity to do it…I think the man has given enough people enough reason to reject him and I think more people should do it publicly.”

Hanna was challenged in the last election cycle by Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, an outspoken conservative and Trump supporter, who came within six percentage points of ousting him despite the fact that she launched her campaign late and was considerably underfunded.

Tenney announced her intention to challenge Hanna again this year – before the congressman opted not to seek re-election. She won a three-way primary for the GOP line, and will face off in the November general election against Democrat Kim Myers, the daughter of the founder of Dick’s Clothing and Sporting Goods and a Broome County legislator from Vestal.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Columbia, St. Lawrence and Erie counties and New York City.

At 8 a.m., PBA members visit the Prospect Park Y, where NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio normally works out, to show frustration with his administration’s refusal to reach an agreement about a market pay rate, 357 9th St., Brooklyn.

At 9 a.m., homeless New Yorkers and advocates for the homeless hold a press conference outside the governor’s NYC office, calling on him to keep his promise to build 20,000 new supportive housing units, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry holds a hearing on the Cuomo administration’s economic development programs, including – but not limited to – the Buffalo Billion, START-UP NY and Excelsior Jobs, Hearing Room C, LOB, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Hudson Area Library, 51 North 5th St., Hudson.

Also at 10 a.m., de Blasio will hold public hearings for and sign nine pieces of legislation, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., dozens of parents will deliver letters to City Hall demanding that the de Blasio administration expand access to New York City’s high-quality, high-performing public charter schools, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., state AG Eric Schneiderman will make an announcement on so-called “Zika-prevention” products, 120 Broadway, 25th Floor, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Reclaim NY will host a press conference in front of the Suffolk County Courthouse to announce the filing of Article 78 litigation against three localities in Suffolk County that repeatedly failed to comply with FOIL, 400 Carleton Ave., Central Islip.

Also at 11 a.m., Riders Alliance activists will be at the 149th St. – Grand Concourse subway station to launch a tour of low-income neighborhood subway stations in order to collect hundreds of “photo petitions” to the mayor.

At 12:35 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, SUNY Potsdam, Barrington Student Union, Multipurpose Room, 44 Pierrepont Ave., Potsdam.

At 3 p.m., de Blasio will join Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to announce plans for a new state-of-the-art recreation center, 1250 East 229th St., the Bronx.

At 3:30 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, University at Buffalo, North Campus, Center for Tomorrow, 101 Service Center Rd., Amherst.

Headlines…

Ignoring pleas from his advisors and party leaders, Donald Trump continued to attack the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier and declined to endorse for re-election several Republicans who criticized him, including the House speaker, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who both face primaries this month.

In an extraordinary denunciation of Trump’s temperament and competence, President Obama urged leaders of the Republican Party on to withdraw their endorsements of the real estate developer’s candidacy, flatly calling him “unfit to serve” as the nation’s 45th president.

Rep. Chris Collins continued to defend Trump for his clash with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, saying Trump had every right to fight back after the soldier’s father criticized him at last week’s Democratic National Convention. “We all know Mr. Trump. If you take a swing at him, he’s going to punch back,” Collins said.

Long Island’s Republican congressmen – Reps. Lee Zeldin and Pete King – stood by Trump as their presidential nominee, but they said they hope he learns to become more focused on issues and a better communicator as a candidate.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie expressed support for the Khans, but stopped short of criticizing the Republican presidential nominee.

Trump said that women who are sexually harassed in the workplace can take action within their company, leave their employer while still seeking retribution, or quit. “I think it’s got to be up to the individual,” the GOP presidential nominee said. “It also depends on what’s available.”

A federal lawsuit by former Trump University students against the school’s founder will proceed toward trial, the judge in the case ruled.

The same judge denied a media request to release of videos of the Republican presidential candidate testifying in a lawsuit about the now-defunct Trump University — images that Trump’s attorneys had argued would have been used to tarnish the campaign.

Meg Whitman, a Hewlett Packard executive and Republican fund-raiser, said she would support Hillary Clinton for president and give a “substantial” contribution to her campaign in order to stop Trump, whom she berated as a threat to American democracy.

Silent protesters. A group in AARP shirts. A crying baby. They all ended up having to leave Trump’s rally in Virginia on yesterday, for various reasons.

Clinton raised nearly $90 million for her presidential campaign and the Democratic Party in July, according to a release from her campaign. That includes a huge bump in fundraising during and immediately after Clinton accepted her party’s presidential nomination at the convention in Philadelphia.

Three more top Democratic National Committee officials plan to leave the organization, including the chief executive and the finance head, as fallout from an email-hacking scandal further shook the party’s leadership ranks.

A man is in custody after police responded to a call about someone showing up with a gun at Trump Tower last night.

Rep. Richard Hanna faced no backlash from Republicans in Congress or rump’s campaign after igniting a firestorm with his decision to vote for Clinton for president.

The co-chair of Trump’s campaign in New York, Onondaga County GOP Chair Tom Dadey, blasted Hanna’s decision, calling it “shameful…but not at all surprising.”

Local officials praised Bill Bratton’s tenure as NYPD commissioner in the wake of his sudden resignation – but some advocacy groups who’ve opposed his policing strategies said his departure couldn’t come soon enough.

Bratton is reportedly going to take a job at the controversial consulting firm Teneo Holdings, where he will head up a new “risk division.” One of the company’s founders was a top aide to Bill Clinton, and the firm has close ties to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s choice of James O’Neill to succeed Bratton as commissioner was meant to provide continuity while offering an olive branch to those who said Bratton’s policing tactics were unfair to minorities.

More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

At 8:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will provide the keynote address at the National Institute of Mental Health’s 23rd Annual Conference on Mental Health Services, Bethesda Marriott Hotel, 5151 Pooks Hill Rd., Bethesda, MD.

At 9 a.m., the New York City Land Development Corporation Board of Directors executive committee meets, NYCEDC Office, 110 William St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence co-sponsor a NYC Smart Gun Symposium on advancing smart gun technology, NYC Public Advocate Tish James is scheduled to speak, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

Also at 10 a.m., the state Division of Community Services/Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Advisory Council holds a public meeting, 123 William St., Manhattan; 99 Washington Ave., Albany and 65 Court St., Buffalo.

At 10:30 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, 633 3rd Ave., 38th Fl., Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., community leaders and elected officials – including Sen. Terrence Murphy, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino – attend a rally against the Coast Guard’s proposal to increase commercial anchorage sites on the Hudson, Hudson Valley Marina, 44 Kings Ferry Rd., Verplanck.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the New York City Housing Authority and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs announce a new partnership to increase enrollment in IDNYC among NYCHA residents, Community Center, 1553 University Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 10:30 a.m., U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Olympic athletes launch push to urge the House to pass legislation that would prevent the IRS from taxing Olympic and Paralympic medalists on medals or other prizes awarded to them in future Olympic games, Lake Placid Olympic Training Center, United States Olympic Committee, 196 Old Military Rd., Lake Placid.

At 11 a.m., Picture the Homeless holds a protest of what they describe as “the NYPD’s widespread, illegal practice of telling people perceived as homeless to ‘move along,'” 9 East 41st St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney will join with Warren Zysman, the CEO of the Drug Dependency Treatment Center, ACI, as well as survivors of opioid addiction, to demand adequate funding for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that was signed into law on July 22, Addiction Case Interventions, 255 W 36th St., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Schumer pledges support for federal funds to dredge the Ogdensburg Harbor, Port of Ogdensburg, Ogdensburg.

At 1 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen will attend a professional development session for “SEP Jr.,” which is the first school-wide elementary school computer science program in New York City and will launch in schools this fall, Microsoft Technology Center, 11 Times Square, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks at the annual New York State Financial Control Board meeting, 633 3rd Ave., 38th Floor, Manhattan.

Also at 2 p.m., Sen. Martin Dilan, Adams, NYC Councilman Antonio Reynoso and the Doe Fund hold a march to oppose presence of K2 in Bedford-Stuyvesant and support local businesses that refuse to sell K2, Lewis Avenue and Broadway, Brooklyn.

At 2:15 p.m., Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance attends National Night Out events across Manhattan, LaGuardia Houses, 250 Clinton St., Manhattan.

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Mount Vernon will join cities across the country in participating in National Night Out, Levister Towers Courtyard, 241 South 9th Ave., Mount Vernon.

At 6:30 p.m., Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda host a Parkchester Town Hall regarding maintenance fees, St. Paul’s Church Gymnasium, 1891 McGraw Ave., the Bronx.

Headlines…

Donald Trump has taken his assault on Hillary Clinton the furthest he has ever before; calling his Democratic rival “the devil” and saying that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders should have stayed in the race and not thrown his support behind his former primary rival.

After he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, Trump received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels. The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall – one of five he received during the war.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence defended a military mom’s right to criticize Trump’s comments about the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. Army veteran during a campaign stop in Nevada, and then lashed out at the media’s coverage of the controversy at the next.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said John McCain only criticized Trump for his comments about a gold star family because of the Arizona senator’s re-election bid.

Trump previewed an excuse for a general election loss, saying he thinks it is going to be “rigged.”

Trump took aim at yet another venerable news outlet, saying that The New York Times “is just absolutely a disaster” and “so unfair” to his campaign. “No matter how good I do on something, they’ll never write good,” he complained.

The investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett unleashed a withering attack on Trump for refusing to release his tax returns, asserting he had something to hide, and for misleading voters about his success as a businessman and ability to improve the American economy.

Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio will reportedly host a lunchtime fund-raiser for presidential nominee Clinton on Aug. 23 with attendance costing a whopping $33,400 per person.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Clinton surrogate, engaged in a heated verbal battle on CNN. Both are paid commentators for the network.

Trump campaign aides Ed Brookover and Jimmy Stracner were fired yesterday, becoming the embroiled campaign’s latest victims to end up on the chopping block, according to a report. Both axed aides joined the Trump campaign from Dr. Ben Carson’s failed White House bid.

A Long Island engineering company and one of its former executives were charged by state AG Eric Schneiderman in a scheme to minimize insurance payments to homeowners whose residences were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos said he is suspending payments to a Uniondale engineering firm and rejecting its new $1.5 million county contract after the state attorney general charged HiRise Engineering PC with multiple felonies for allegedly forging Superstorm Sandy damage reports.

A majority of New York City voters continue to disapprove of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s job performance, according to a Q poll released yesterday, but he would still probably fare well in a matchup against at least two of his potential Democratic primary rivals.

New York City police officers are planning to begin protests outside de Blasio’s Brooklyn gym and Upper East Side home this week, as they try to highlight frustrations with City Hall and what they see as the mayor’s lackadaisical work ethic.

The city’s rising test scores show de Blasio should “absolutely” get a longer extension of mayoral control, the mayor said. “These are exactly the kinds of things you want to see from a school system – and it’s working. So I think this is a great ratification of the virtue of mayoral control of education,” he explained.

De Blasio defended the deal he struck to sell Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital — now the subject of an investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Forty-six percent of NYC voters say the ongoing battles between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio are “honest disagreements,” while 40 percent say the political heavyweights are locked in a “personal feud,” the Q poll shows.

More >

Extras

Americans are evenly divided on whether they view the Democratic Party more favorably (44 percent) or less favorably (42 percent) after the party’s national convention last week, the Gallup poll found. However, their ratings of the Republican Party after the GOP convention two weeks ago were significantly worse.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks Donald Trump made a fatal error when he criticized Ghazala Khan, whose son died during the Iraq war and who stood by her husband’s side last week as he delivered a stinging rebuke of Trump’s immigration policies at the Democratic National Convention.

“Trump has a history of lashing out after being attacked, but to ridicule a Gold Star Mother is out-of-bounds,” said the new national commander of the near 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary.

Most New York City voters participating in a new Q poll said de Blasio doesn’t deserve to be re-elected in 2017 but they also don’t believe the current crop of would-be challengers are any better.

Canada’s most-read newspaper, the Toronto Star, ran a story questioning Trump’s sanity.

Hofstra University is continuing to prepare to host the first presidential debate on Monday, Sept. 26, despite Trump’s complaints that the event and another debate conflict with the airing of NFL football games, the university said.

Prominent state Democrats are accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of directly contradicting Hillary Clinton’s message of party unity by bringing his escalating war with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Lenore Skenazy says
Cuomo’s claim that preventing sex offenders from playing Pokémon Go will keep kids safer “appears to be based on nothing more than fear without research.”

NYPA made errors and overrode applicant scores when it distributed low-cost power to companies, according to an audit released today by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Auditors found NYPA overstated the number of jobs retained under the ReCharge NY program by nearly 30,000 in public reporting.

Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake teared up today as he talked about being grabbed by cops and shoved after he tried to defuse a street confrontation.

City officials missed multiple opportunities to protect a Lower East Side nursing home from being developed into luxury housing – including weeks before the property was sold, a new report by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer found.

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton filed for Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy protection in order to prevent former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan from moving to seize his assets.

De Blasio announced that he will appoint Sree Sreenivasan, the former Chief Digital Officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Columbia University, as the city’s new Chief Digital Officer, following the departure of Jessica Singleton.

A local Supreme Court judge has ruled against the City of Syracuse and its police chief in an unusual lawsuit brought by the Syracuse Citizen Review Board, the city’s police watchdog agency.

“The Simpsons” has weighed in on the 2016 presidential race with a political parody of its classic “Mr. Plow” commercials.

Cuomo will be in Buffalo tomorrow to announce a new initiative to help individuals and families fighting substance use disorders.

It’s been a rough day for SolarCity shareholders.

Here and Now

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

At 10 a.m., New Yorkers protest the $7.6 billion nuclear subsidy and bailout outside the Public Service Commission meeting, outside 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany. (The PSC is holding its regular session at 10:30 a.m.)

Also at 10 a.m., Millions March NYC plans to “shut down City Hall Park” in calling for the firing of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, an end to Broken Windows policing; reparations for all survivors and victims of police brutality from the NYPD budget; defunding of the NYPD’s $5.5 billion budget and re-investment into minority communities, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Assemblyman Michael Blake holds a press conference on what he says was a excessive force incident with members of the NYPD on Saturday, 1 Police Plaza, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Dan Donovan records an interview with Korean War veteran George Parsons for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, 265 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island.

At 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a press conference to discuss New York City students’ state test scores, Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan. (NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina will also attend).

At noon, Sen. Tony Avella stands with community residents plagued by a “zombie” abandoned property, 25-18 163rd St., Queens.

At 4 p.m., Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor and state Sen. Sue Serino urge the Assembly to pass “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” car crash bill on the anniversary of the Wonderly deaths, Worrall Avenue and Eastbound Route 55, Poughkeepsie.

At 7 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is honored at The River Project’s 30th anniversary celebration, Hornblower Hybrid, Pier 40, Houston Street at the Hudson River, Manhattan.

Headlines…

Two big subjects popped out from the TV screen on this week’s Sunday political talk shows: the candidates’ responses to criticism leveled by grieving families, and questions about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. presidential race.

Hillary Clinton slammed Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about the family of Army Captain Humayun Khan who died in Iraq and said the accumulation of Trump’s statements throughout the election year made her wonder “where the bottom is.”

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump said he had sacrificed a lot in his life. “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” he said. “I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve done – I’ve had – I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”

Democratic leaders and candidates for Congress began over the weekend to call on Republicans to disavow Trump. And the top two Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, signaled their strong disagreement with the nominee, but stopped short of condemning him in blunt terms.

While acknowledging that some of his supporters “will not vote” for Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders argued on “Face the Nation” Sunday that his signature issues stood a better chance of being addressed by a President Clinton than they would by a Donald Trump.

With the presidential conventions now out of the way, Trump’s top aides were ready to forgo a campaign in Democrat-dominated New York, but were overruled by the Donald, who wants to compete in his home state. He’s scheduled to appear in Plattsburgh Thursday.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has endorsed Trump, but his granddaughter says she’s still “nursing a grudge” against the nominee, who questioned her grandfather’s heroism, and is backing Clinton.

The CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll found Clinton has 43 percent support in 11 battleground states after the Democratic convention, while Trump has 41 percent support. In the same poll last week, Trump led Clinton 42 percent to 41 percent.

With Clinton and Trump officially securing their parties’ presidential nominations over the last two weeks, for the first time in 72 years, both major party candidates call themselves New Yorkers. The last time two Empire State residents battled it out for the presidency was in 1944.

The Commission on Presidential Debates rebutted Trump’s assertion that Democrats are trying to “rig” the presidential debates by putting them up against nationally televised football games, reiterating that they are a nonpartisan organization that does not make decisions based on the desires of candidates.

The NY Post has published more nude photos of Trump’s wife, Melania, from when she was a 25-year-old model in 1995.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that the state make it a condition of parole for sex offenders that they stay away from Pokémon Go and similar interactive games.

Assemblyman Michael Blake, a Bronx Democrat, has filed a formal complaint against the NYPD, claiming he was roughly handled by an officer after asking about police activity in his district.

In a rare legislative endorsement, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is formally backing his former chief of staff’s state Senate run. Micah Lasher is seeking the seat being vacated by Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who won the NY-13 primary in June.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer says it takes too long for dangerous food to be taken off shelves, and demanded that the FDA rework its recall guidelines. He was particularly upset that a 21-state ­E. coli outbreak linked to tainted flour began in December — but the recall wasn’t issued until May.

NYC politicians aren’t allowed to use their campaign cash to pay lawyers representing them in criminal matters, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has found a way around this problem. Now facing multiple investigations of his campaign fund-raising tactics, the mayor is using an obscure loophole in campaign finance laws to pay the lawyers defending him.

Current and former aides say it’s not unusual for de Blasio to have outbursts and be condescending to his staffers, while others insist he is tough but fair.

James Booth quit his post as secretary of the Orange County GOP because he can’t stomach Trump, who he called a “horrible human being.”

On statewide tests for third through eighth graders this year, New York City’s most troubled schools kept pace with the rest of city schools, showing similar gains in reading and math. These schools are part of the de Blasio administration’s Renewal Schools program.

The most recent state campaign finance reports show that former Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walsh received $16,550 in wages for April and May even though he was automatically removed as party leader after his March 31 conviction on federal corruption charges. He’ll be returning the money.

A coalition that includes developers and landlords has written to Cuomo asking him to sign into law a bill that would prohibit the advertising of illegal units on online home-sharing sites like Airbnb.

Fred LeBurn says Cuomo “became a progressive by accident,” and deconstructs the governor’s convention speech.

NYC has tapped the Doe Fund to expand a program that puts formerly homeless and jailed New Yorkers to work cleaning streets and getting rid of graffiti.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has, as promised, vetoed changes to the county charter that were approved by legislators 2½ weeks ago.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s term is expiring next year, and she has begun to weigh what she will do next. “I keep all my options open,” she said. “I definitely want to continue to be very active locally in New York City, to be involved in changes that happen here.”

Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, a Brooklyn Democrat, and her husband, Leon, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in late 2013, and owe more than $30,000 in back taxes.

The temporary arrangement to care for Dr. Eugene Gosy’s 9,500 patients ends this week, but another doctor is stepping in to ensure the big pain management practice remains open. Dr. James Hitt will begin working today as medical director.

In 2014, Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino touted the soon-to-be redeveloped former Fort Orange Paper Co. as an example of the county’s successful efforts at economic revitalization. But more than two years later, the dilapidated buildings still sit silent, the developers unable to secure money to pay for a new proposed $250 million paper factory.

Nassau’s sewer and storm-water district saved no money during the first year the county’s sewer system was run by a private company, according to the county’s Office of Legislative Budget Review.

Dowling College has reached agreements with Long Island University and five other colleges to accept its students as the struggling Oakdale institution continues to wind down its operations, officials have announced.

This week, lawyers will begin the process of finding 12 New Jersey residents who can — or who will say they can — impartially consider the evidence against the two defendants at the Bridgegate trial set to start in September.

Boot-camp style prisons have slowly closed after analysis and other studies found the programs had no notable impact on recidivism. The Federal Bureau of Prisons ended its boot camps in 2005. New York has closed two facilities in the past several years, leaving Moriah and Lakeview, in Chautauqua County, as the only ones left in the state.

A rare blooming of a corpse flower, known for its stench, has drawn about 25,000 people to the New York Botanical Garden since July 20, a spokesman for the Bronx garden said.