US politics

As Elizabeth Warren, the progressive Democratic senator, dropped in for a chat with Hillary Clinton at the latter’s colonial brick residence on Whitehaven Street in Washington DC on Friday, it was easy to forget how rapidly the political mood has shifted in the capital this week.

Last weekend, Clinton was contemplating the possibility of an embarrassing defeat by Bernie Sanders in California, one of the Democrats’ stronghold states, and the socialist senator from Vermont was growling menacingly about a “contested convention” in Philadelphia this summer. Read more

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The party host has confirmed it was a great night, thanked everyone for coming, and wished you all a safe journey home. But one guest is still clinging to the drinks table and opening himself a new bottle of beer. That guy is Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday the Vermont senator took his refusal to officially admit that the good times were over to a poignant new venue: the White House. Read more

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Last night, eight years after her failed 2008 presidential bid, Hillary Clinton declared herself this year’s Democratic presidential nominee and the first woman to claim her party’s nomination.

On Wednesday, she did something almost as momentous: she took the day off. Read more

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If Hillary Clinton were able to handpick an evening to claim the Democratic nomination, she could hardly have picked a better moment than tonight.

With polls soon to close in New Jersey, California, Montana, New Mexico and the Dakotas, Clinton is at long last in spitting distance of the Democratic nomination, an achievement that will make her the first woman in US history to secure her party’s nomination. Read more

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Another day, another Donald Trump scandal.

While winning the Republican primary was meant to herald the beginning of an easier campaigning period for the New York billionaire, today Trump is facing almost as many daily controversies as he was in February. As usual, his biggest obstacle tends to be himself.

For days now, Trump has been trying to defend comments he made last week about the judge presiding over a case against Trump University, a now defunct educational group which purported to teach students how to invest in real estate like Trump. (Gina Chon and I wrote about the history of Trump University and its potential legal ramifications for Trump back in January.) Read more

The three remaining candidates in the race – Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders – are all out in California today – and for good reason.

New polls show that Clinton and Sanders are locked in a tightening Democratic primary there, while Trump has declared plans to put California in play come November. (The deeply blue state has voted Democratic in every presidential election since George H W Bush ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988.) Read more

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Okay, Hillary, you’re giving it a shot.

In yesterday’s newsletter I said Hillary Clinton had not found an effective line of attack on Donald Trump. Today she was a different person, throwing everything at him in her first all-out assault on the Republican presidential nominee.

We’ll still have to see whether the mud sticks, but it was fierce stuff as she assailed him for being “temperamentally unfit” and pushing a “dangerously incoherent” foreign policy, as Demetri Sevastopulo reportsRead more

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With Hillary Clinton casting around for an effective attack line on Teflon Donald Trump, Barack Obama had another shot at the task for her on Wednesday.

The president went for the “false consciousness” approach, telling the middle-class they were deluding themselves if they thought Trump’s economic policies would help them rather than the mega-rich. Read more

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Among all of Donald Trump’s punching bags, few top the media, at once Trump’s sworn foe and his greatest ally.

Today, the emphasis was on foe, as Trump faced off against his press corps at Trump Tower in a news conference that was ostensibly about the media’s coverage of a Trump fundraiser for veterans in January, yet ended up being more about Trump’s relationship with the media. Read more

Donald Trump has disappointed millions of people in America – and probably the head of every television network who hoped to make a killing – by deciding not to debate with Bernie Sanders. On Thursday he revealed that the campaigns were in discussions about a debate, which would have been a huge television hit. But on Friday he reversed course, saying it would be “inappropriate” because Sanders has no way to beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Read more

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Donald Trump held a press conference to celebrate crossing the 1,237 delegate line, which ensures victory when the Republican Party holds a formal nomination vote at its July convention in Cleveland. He took the occasion to hit out at Barack Obama for doing a “horrible job” after the US president said in Japan that world leaders were “rattled” by the property mogul’s rise and the isolationist “America First” message of his campaign for the White House. “When you rattle someone, that is good,” said Trump, who has spent the past 10 months rattling everyone from Mexican immigrants to the Republican establishment. Read more

Hillary Clinton had a rough day after the state department, which she ran as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, rapped her on the knuckles for using a personal email account and private server when she was the top US diplomat. In a report sent to Congress, the inspector-general declared that Clinton did not ask for legal approval to set up what critics refer to as her “home brew” server and would not have been given permission by officials had she asked. Here is our story on emailgate, which threatens to dog Clinton as she fights to keep Donald Trump out of the White House. Read more

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If you have spent the past decade wondering what has happened to Kenneth Starr, wonder no more. The famous Whitewater independent counsel who spearheaded the investigation of Bill Clinton in the 1990s is back in the limelight, seventeen years after Clinton’s impeachment. Read more

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On Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Kate McKinnon and Larry David – the actors impersonating Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – waltzed into the sunset to the tune of Tchaikovsky’s the Nutcracker in a gauzy, dry ice-filled dream sequence that sees the rivals cheerily reminisce over the primary’s high and lows, laugh, embrace and even pirouette.

Would that were the case. Read more

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At 6.27am on Thursday, while most of America was still asleep, Donald Trump took to Twitter with a snap conclusion about EgyptAir flight 804. “Looks like yet another terrorist attack,” he wrote. “When will we get tough, smart and vigilant. Great hate and sickness.”

The rapid-reaction tweet was another example of the style that delights supporters, exasperates party leaders and tantalises the media. It also provided a template for how a terrorist incident might play out in the autumn if one were to take place on US territory.

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After earning a reputation for some of the toughest questioning of Donald Trump during the Republican race, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly threw in the towel on Tuesday night with a very soft interview with the tycoon. The man who once said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” and retweeted comments that described her as a “bimbo” said in the interview that, “I like our relationship right now”. Read more

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Donald Trump faces yet another barrage over his stance on women. Priorities USA, an outside group supporting Hillary Clinton, released the first in a series of political attack ads that will air on television in the swing states of Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Nevada. The video shows numerous women speaking but with their voices dubbed over by Trump delivering some of his controversial comments on women. Some of the lines include, “Does she have a good body? No. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely” and “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter perhaps I would be dating her.” Read more

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Donald Trump spent much of the past day on Twitter attacking a New York Times story that depicted his treatment of women as “degrading”. The paper quoted a former model who described how he urged her to change into a swimming costume when they met at a pool party that he was hosting at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. She later accused the paper of mispresenting her, saying Trump had been a gentlemanRead more

Every presidential nominee over the past four decades has released his tax returns for all to devour, but Donald Trump says his effective tax rate is “none of your business”. That snippy response to an ABC interviewer’s question dominated the presidential news.

He did say “you’ll see it when I release it’, then added something that has got less attention: “I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” That’s hardly unusual coming from a canny billionaire, but it carries a certain irony as Trump doesn’t seem to think it’s OK for other businesses to do the same thing. Read more

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After a fractious Republican primary, Donald Trump and his erstwhile Republican critics appear to be attempting a different approach ahead of the general election: party unity.

On Thursday, Trump travelled to Washington to meet Paul Ryan, the House speaker, and a handful of other Republican officials – an experiment that went basically as well as it possibly could have. Read more