McCaskill: Trump May Have Violated the Logan Act With Russian Remarks

GOP nominee Donald Trump has insisted that his inviting Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails on Wednesday was a joke, but Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is not laughing. While on MSNBC Thursday afternoon, the senator suggested Trump had violated federal law.

“The notion he would invite a foreign nation to conduct an attack against our country, it’s just beyond the pale. And I believe it violates the Logan Act and he should be investigated for that. I don’t think it was a joke at all,” she concluded.

The Logan Act prohibits American citizens from negotiating with foreign actors who have a hostile relationship with the U.S.

Is McCaskill overreacting here? 

Trump told "Fox and Friends'" Brian Kilmeade he was of course being sarcastic when he made those off-the-cuff remarks. Yet, liberal pundits and Clinton surrogates have run with the controversial comment to prove he's not fit to lead. 

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called it "beyond the pale" and even questioned Trump's loyalty to the United States.

Uh oh: IRS To Review GOP Inquiry Into Clinton Foundation

Guy wrote that some have called it a slush fund; others have noted that it’s a bank where favors are deposited with the Clinton family. Either way, Hillary Clinton may soon have to face questions about the dealings of her family non-profit, which has already found itself in ethical hot water over the timing of some donations and corresponding actions favorable to the donors. For example, Hillary Clinton (and Barack Obama) was against the Columbia Free Trade Agreement, mostly due to human and labor rights concerns. One energy company, Pacific Rubiales, was at the center of the labor controversy. Its founder Frank Giustra gave millions to the Clinton Foundation, as did Rubiales, and Clinton did a 180-degree turn in her position on the matter. Giustra is now on the Clinton Foundation’s board of directors. 

Also, there were arms deals that soared into the billions that went to governments that donated millions to the Foundation. Well, now, the Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that they’re referring that matter as to whether anything felonious occurred at the Foundation to their exempt organizations division for review, the same division that landed the embroiled the IRS in scandal after it was alleged that this division was targeting conservative non-profits. The Daily Caller was the first to report on this matter (via Fox News):

The IRS confirmed in a letter it is looking into claims of “pay-to-play” practices at the Clinton Foundation, after dozens of Republican lawmakers requested a review of potential “criminal conduct” at the organization founded by the family at the center of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Commissioner John Koskinen wrote in a July 22 letter to Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn that the issue has been “forwarded” to the IRS “Exempt Organizations Examinations” program in Dallas.


Asked for comment on the referral, the agency said in a statement: “The IRS receives referrals from a variety of sources. We forward all referrals to the appropriate area for consideration of whether there are issues that justify further review. We have standard processes and procedures we follow when we receive information or referrals from outside groups. Due to federal privacy protections, the IRS cannot comment on individual taxpayers or organizations.”

The request for an examination came in a July 15 letter from 64 House Republicans including Tennessee Rep. Blackburn. In the run-up to the Democratic convention where Hillary Clinton was nominated for president Tuesday, they asked the FBI, IRS and Federal Trade Commission to examine the dealings of the foundation.

"From the information we have been able to gather, it appears the Clinton Foundation is a 'pay to play' sham charity that needs to be investigated," Blackburn said in a statement on Tuesday. "The Clintons have used their Foundation to personally enrich themselves at the expense of American foreign policy. At a minimum, the Foundation’s tax-exempt status needs to be reviewed and revoked immediately."

Just like the FBI, don’t expect much from the IRS referral. There may be a lot of damaging information and odd coincidences between the donor, the donation, and the favorable event that benefited an interest connected with the individual, but this is from an agency that’s also been dragging its feet as to whether they did target conservative organizations. That’s still a thorn in its side, and I doubt the agency will be enthusiastic about possibly torpedoing Clinton with a finding that play-to-play does occur at the Clinton Foundation. It’s a wonderful mirage. At the same time, we can say that Clinton is still under FBI investigation since their probe into the charity hasn't concluded. 

ICYMI: Clinton Campaign Manager Laughs When Asked When Hillary's Next Presser Is

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has not held a press conference in a shamefully long time. Guy alerted us to the half-a-year mark in June. It’s now up to 260 days.

Ask her campaign manager Robby Mook about it and you’ll be greeted with giggles.

When Washington Post editorial board editor Ruth Marcus asked if the press conference blackout would continue into a Clinton administration, Mook again laughed it off.

“I will not speculate about anything after the election because I’ll be on vacation,” he said.

“I’m saying that I can’t even tell you what we’re doing 10 days from now, we make these decisions on a rolling basis,” he said.

GOP nominee Donald Trump mocked Clinton for her fear of the media during his own presser this week. “I think it’s time” to hold one, he challenged his opponent.

The last time Clinton tried to hold a press conference, it was a disaster. In addition to the awful optics of her outfit, which many pundits compared to an orange jumpsuit, Clinton did herself no favors by dismissing questions about her email server and joking whether the press meant she had “wiped it with a cloth?”

The potential for gaffes can help explain why Clinton prefers pre-taped, sit down interviews. As November nears, however, voters will demand she be more transparent.

Obama Talks About Himself Nearly 120 Times During Speech about Hillary

There is no doubt that Barack Obama loves himself some Barack Obama.  

In a speech that was supposed to be about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Obama made sure that Americans did not forget what all he has done these last eight years.  He reminded us of his passing of Obamacare, expanding clean energy regulations, efforts to pass gun control, and passing the Iran deal.  

We learned about Obama's strange, yet unexplained connection to grandparents in Kansas.  We heard all about how good of a father he is and his relentless work ethic.  

He also asked the American people to carry Clinton as they carried him.  And finally, he made it clear that he would be "passing the baton" of the Oval Office to Hillary only because of his sheer grace.

Democratic Delegate: Stop Shouting USA, 'That's A Trump Chant'

Oh, the things that are overheard by members of the media. Here’s a rather unsettling one from Fox News’ Shannon Bream picked up on the convention floor, where a Democratic delegate was irked that the arena was shouting “USA” to drown out the anti-war hecklers chanting “no more wars” and “lies” during former CIA Director Leon Panetta’s address. Apparently, Democrats shouldn’t do that because it’s a “Trump chant.”

So, being proud of your country, showing some patriotic fervor, and trying to push back against the fools being rude to Panetta is…bad because it’s somehow connected to Trump. That’s insane. The “USA” chants have long pre-dated this cycle and the 2008 cycle. It was heard at sporting events after the 9/11 attacks, where the country was more unified than ever—and lockstep behind then-President George W. Bush. I miss those days.

The truth of the matter is that shouting “USA” isn’t a Trump activity; it’s an American one. This isn’t something to get all crazy about. Additionally, it was somewhat appropriate, given that Panetta was interrupted as he discussed his parents’ immigration to the United States from Italy, where they started a restaurant and carved our their slice of the American dream, so yeah—“USA!” “USA!”

'Pearls Before Swine' Cartoon Mocking NSA Wiretapping Censored

The comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" is no stranger to controversy and is well-known for pushing the envelope. Apparently, yesterday's scheduled strip went a bit too far, and was not published in newspapers. Pearls Before Swine's cartoonist Stephan Pastis tweeted it out anyways, saying that he thought the strip was "harmless" and that the censorship was unnecessary.

Check it out:

Personally, I don't see the issue. Part of the appeal of Pearls Before Swine is that it's an edgier comic that takes more risk with its humor--it's not the saccharine Family Circus. It's also a strip known for its (often awesomely-bad) puns. This is nothing from the norm, and I don't understand why this couldn't be printed.

If this is the world we're living in now, I don't like it.

D’Souza Film Likening Hillary to a Criminal Becomes Most Successful Documentary of the Year

It turns out all you need for a successful documentary is a conservative message and Dinesh D’Souza. In the summer before the 2012 election, D’Souza released 2016: Obama’s America. While voters didn't heed the movie's warning judging by the election results, the film still enjoyed some serious box office success, earning $33.4 million. D'Souza has struck gold again with Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, which just became the top-grossing documentary of 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 12 days, it has already generated $5.2 million.

Timing is everything. D’Souza decided to release the film as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions were getting underway.

On the eve of the GOP gathering in Cleveland, Hillary's America took in $77,500 from five theaters in Texas for a stellar location average of $25,833. And last weekend — as the media's attention turned to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, which kicked off Monday — the film expanded nationwide into a total of 1,217 theaters, grossing $4 million and coming in No. 10.

“The big criminals are still at large,” D’Souza says in the trailer, as he watches a Hillary Clinton press conference on TV from jail. “The system doesn’t go after them because they run the system.”

In addition to portraying Clinton as a criminal, Hillary’s America also uncovers the Democratic Party’s racist history that the film says stretched into the 20th century. D’Souza is also seen interviewing conservative pundits who define progressivism as social control with a dangerous reliance on Big Government.

“What if their plan is to steal America?” D’Souza asks.

Looking at the recent box office numbers, Americans are enamored with D’Souza’s message. This time, will those numbers be reflected in the election?

RELATED: D'Souza Explains 7 Things the Left Doesn’t Want You to Know About Their History

Money Talks: DNC Hack Exposes Federal Appointments for Major Dem Donors

PHILADELPHIA -- By now, you've probably heard that the Russian-linked DNC hack has exposed how party officials intentionally tilted the playing field against Bernie Sanders throughout the "Democratic" primary process. You've heard about how they peddled anti-Bernie stories to the press while voting was still going on. You've heard about how they mulled exploiting his religion, or lack thereof, to undermine his image among certain demographics. And you've heard about how they've discussed minorities as commodities and "customers" to be electorally-acquired through 'propaganda.' (Perhaps all of this could have been kept under wraps if the party had taken cyber security warnings more seriously, as opposed to privately mocking them in highly ironic emails). But here's another element of the email leaks that has received less attention thus far, via the transparency group Open Secrets:

Email exchanges involving top officials at the Democratic National Committee released along with private documents by WikiLeaks show that DNC officials hoped to reward top donors and insiders with appointments to federal boards and commissions in coordination with the White House. The revelations give an inside look into how the Democratic Party attempted to leverage its access and influence with the White House to bring in cash. In an April 20, 2016 email, DNC National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan canvassed what appears to be the committee’s finance department – its fundraising office – for names of people (mainly donors) to reward with federal appointments on boards and commissions...The White House strongly denied any link between financial support for the party and appointments.

That denial is not credible. At all. Obamaworld has been selling access to the White House and to Obama himself for years -- both in connection with presidential library fundraising efforts, as well as through Obama for America "Organizing for Action," or whatever they ended up renaming it.  It has not been subtle. And while it's in no way unprecedented for an administration to reward deep-pocketed donors with plum positions like ambassadorships (remember this?), Ed Morrissey notes one significant break from protocol revealed in these messages: "In truth these boards and commissions are routinely used to reward supporters. Usually, however, that isn’t handled by fundraising staff so as to avoid making it into an explicit quid pro quo."  The other issue at play here is hypocrisy.  Attendees of this convention have spent the week applauding one anti-Citizens United, Koch brothers-bashing, money-in-politics-lamenting speech after another.  We must reduce the corrosive influence of money on our politics, these liberals bray, even as their party rents out the White House and hands out prestigious presidential appointments to their own ultra-rich financiers.  As has always been the case, forever proven by Barack Obama, the Left is really against other people's money in politics.  When piles of sweet, sweet cash help their own heroes and causes, it's fine. Because that's different.  And that's how a mega-wealthy Clinton Foundation donor magically found himself on a sensitive national security panel despite his lack of qualifications; he was forced to resign when this came to light.  Speaking of the Clinton Foundation and credible accusations of sleazy pay-for-play impropriety, it looks like it's time for yet another federal investigation:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen referred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless” ... The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.” Koskinen’s July 22 reply came only a week after the House Republicans contacted the tax agency. It arrived to their offices Monday, the first opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The Exempt Organization Program is the division of the IRS that regulates the operations of public foundations and charities. House Republicans singled out Laureate Education and Uranium One as two companies that seemed to have paid lavish sums to the Clintons and later received official government benefits.

Ah yes, the IRS' Exempt Organization program. I'm sure they'll get right on this, in a characteristically evenhanded and above-board manner. Incidentally, we've written about both Laureate Education and Uranium One in this space previously. As we mentioned yesterday, James Comey recently declined to comment on whether the Clinton Foundation's practices were the subject of an FBI investigation, as Fox News' Catherine Herridge has reported.  I'll leave you with this investigative piece from NBC's Ronan Farrow on lavish spending, high rollers, and access-peddling at both parties' national conventions:

Here is The DNC Schedule For Thursday

The following 2016 Democrat Convention speaker agenda has been provided by the Democratic National Committee and is subject to change. The convention, being held in Philadelphia, started Monday and concludes Thursday. Below is the agenda for Thursday, July 28, 2016. 

Program hours: 4:30 PM Eastern Start Time

Location: Wells Fargo Arena

Beth Mathias

Beth works two jobs and her husband works the nightshift at a factory in Ohio. Hillary met Beth at a roundtable in Marion.

Jensen Walcott & Jake Reed

Jensen was fired from her job at a pizza restaurant in Bonner Springs, KS for asking her boss why she was paid 25 cents less than her male co-worker and friend, Jake. After Jensen and Jake’s story came to light, Hillary tweeted “Good for you, Jensen. Every woman deserves equal pay, no matter what her age. Keep up the hard work—and courage!”

Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan’s son, Humayun S. M. Khan was a University of Virginia graduate and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving the United States in the ten years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Clinton spoke extensively about Kahn during a speech in Minneapolis.

Chelsea Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Well…At Least Obama Mentioned ISIS In His Speech

As Cortney noted on Monday, out of 61 speeches delivered that night—none mentioned ISIS. Now, after last night, which featured Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), and President Barack Obama as speakers, you would hope that the president would mention the threat we face from this Islamic terrorist group. Oh yes—the Republican National Committee was watching as well.

During the president’s speech that was prefaced by a video in which history did not begin until 2008 (or so it seemed), Obama praised Clinton (of course), tore into Trump, and said that America was already great. He also said that the Republican National Convention was fraught with pessimism (via ABC News):

"A lot’s happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge -– I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America," he said.

"I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America," he declared.


"This is a more fundamental choice -– about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government," he said. "We Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward."

In a remarkable series of broadsides leveled at Clinton's opponent, Obama rebuked Trump and the dire picture painted of the country by the GOP presidential nominee.

"America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump," he said, questioning Trump's qualifications.

"He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either," he said of Trump. "He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated."

He did mention ISIS, though–twice. But, as Sean Spicer, communications director for the RNC noted, there was no mention of Iraq, where we’re deploying more troops; no mention of Israel; no mention of Libya (Benghazi); no mention of his push to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) into law; and no mention that the national debt has surpassed $19 trillion.

TPP isn’t the most popular swan song for the president to include on his playlist right now, though he seems to want to make signing it into law his last major act as president. The national debt has grown under Obama, which isn’t good—and it’s not like debt matters to Democrats anyway. You mention Benghazi, and then the media starts the whole inquiries into Clinton about her role—where she recently told CBS News’ Scott Pelley that security wasn’t her “ball to carry.” This also leads back into her email fiasco, which every Democrat so desperately wants to move on from, but can’t because we’re now debating whether the Democratic National Committee tried to rig the election for Clinton when she faced Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primaries. It sure injected a dose of animus into the Bernie camp present in Philadelphia. They’re playing it safe, though it still doesn’t shield the president from awkward moments, like when he said that Clinton would say anything to get elected—and a person who would change nothing in Washington.

Nevertheless, I guess the Democrats get a cookie (or gold star) for at least acknowledging that there is a vicious radical Islamic terrorist group called ISIS, they’re operating in Iraq, and they really want to kill us.

Oh, as for Tim Kaine—Hillary's running mate––he spoke, gave awkward Donald Trump impressions, and didn’t mention a single accomplishment from his days as Virginia’s governor. 

Is Tim Kaine Really Pro-life?

Hillary Clinton's new running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has claimed to be pro-life. As a "traditional Catholic," it's a personal matter to him, he's insisted. When he was governor of Virginia, he supported parental consent laws for young women seeking abortions as well as a partial-birth abortion ban. In 2005, before he ran for governor, he supported abstinence education.

Yet, pro-life groups have been quick to point out that once Kaine entered the U.S. Senate, everything changed. Since 2012, he has a voting record that has earned him a 100 percent rating from the pro-abortion group NARAL. 

The Susan B. Anthony List released a statement over the weekend arguing the Clinton-Kaine ticket could not be more "pro-abortion extreme." Kaine, the group points out, refused to support the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the latter of which prohibits late-term abortions after five months, while serving in the Senate.

If these stark flip flops didn't convince you that Kaine is all talk and no action when it comes to being "pro-life," consider that Tuesday night he reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment. Hyde is common sense legislation that prevents taxpayers from funding abortions. While the Virginia senator had before opposed it, this week he decided he's fine with it.

“You cannot be ‘personally’ opposed to the destruction of innocent human life and take no action to stop it," SBA List Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement Wednesday. "Voters should not be fooled by Tim Kaine. There is no daylight between him and Hillary Clinton on this issue. They are absolute extremists pushing the Democratic Party further and further left on abortion, alienating the one-third of Democrats who call themselves pro-life."

When he accepted his party's vice presidential nomination on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, he assured voters that Clinton would fight to defend Roe v. Wade. In other words, he's forgotten about the fight he first pledged to wage.

Kaine can claim he's pro-life, but his record proves otherwise.

Russia Disrespects Obama Once Again, Joins Chinese Navy in South China Sea for Joint Training

Russia has teamed up with the Chinese navy in the South China Sea to conduct a joint training exercise which only escalates tensions over the contested islands.  

The China’s Defense Ministry insisted the “routine” drills were only aimed at strengthening their relationship with Russia.

“This is a routine exercise between the two armed forces, aimed at strengthening the developing China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership,” China’s defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference.  “The exercise is not directed against third parties.

These drills deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation, raise the ability to jointly deal with security threats, and benefit the maintenance of regional and global peace and stability,” he continued.

Chinese ships have challenged vessels from the U.S., the Philippines and other nations in disputed waters, and China considers the United Nation's tribunal ruling earlier this month to be completely invalid.

Dems Are Now Offering a Reward For Trump's Tax Returns

Trump has long insisted he can’t release his tax returns because they’re currently under review, reiterating this position on Wednesday at a news conference in Florida.

But that’s not stopping Democrats (and Republicans) from wanting to know what’s in them. Some donors have even offered rewards for their release.

Moishe Mana, a top fundraiser for Clinton, has offered to give $1 million to the charity of Trump's choice if he makes them public. He joins an unnamed Republican donor working with Clinton ally David Brock who has made a similar offer of $5 million.

"Through his financial documents, we are trying to break into the image that he's portraying to the American people," said Mana, a real estate developer in Miami. "He says he's a successful businessman who wants to do for the country what he did for his company. Well, go ahead, show me the money."

The issue again surfaced this week after the DNC email hack, which the Obama administration has said was likely Russia’s doing.

Trump insists he has no ties to the country, but Democrats say they can’t be so sure without the release of his tax returns.

“Think of what's gone on just this week and connect the dotted lines," billionaire venture capitalist and Clinton donor J.B. Pritzker told the AP. "I'm not sure what's going on, but it sure doesn't look good. The question is who his investors are, and whether there are any in China or Russia that are affecting his personal income."

Mana had similar beliefs. If he’s elected president, "how much in debt would we be to other countries? This is about the security of the United States. We have the right to make sure he's not in debt to other countries."

The IRS has said there’s no legal reason Trump can’t release his tax returns while they are being audited. 

Pelosi: White Men Don't Support Hillary Because They're God-fearing Homophobic Gun Nuts

In an interview on Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, PBS host Judy Woodruff asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi about the fact that Donald Trump is handily beating Hillary Clinton among ‘non-college educated’ white men, and how the Democratic nominee would be able to counter that.

Pelosi said that Clinton will be able to make up for the deficit with a strong economic agenda, but then proceeded to explain why the Democratic nominee is doing so poorly among this demographic.

“So many times non college educated white males have voted Republican, have voted against their own economic interest because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G’s,” she said, “God being the woman’s right to choose.”

Her answer—revealing how Democrats truly feel about this segment of the population—is reminiscent of President Obama’s infamous remarks in 2008 when he categorized conservatives as those who’ve become “bitter and cling to their guns” and “religion.”

Analysis: In His Element, America's Speech-Giver-in-Chief Soars, Kaine Fizzles

(1) The Bernie folks booed Leon Panetta, President Obama's former Defense Secretary and CIA director. Too serious about killing terrorists and keeping the country safe for the far-Left's liking, it seems.

(2) Joe Biden was likable, over-the-top, and a little bit goofy.  Per usual. His personal family loss engenders sincere nonpartisan sympathy, which manifested itself again tonight. He played the blue collar card, as always, and ripped into Donald Trump -- employing the word "literally" too often, as always, and getting hyper-political immediately after promising an apolitical part of the speech. In other words, Biden was Biden. If you like that sort of thing, you dug it.  He'd be a much better nominee than Hillary.  Trump is lucky to have her.

(3) I wasn't sure how Mike Bloomberg would play, but he did very well. Reviled by conservatives for being a petty, gun-grabbing nanny-stater (who occasionally tells important truths), Bloomberg specifically tailored his address to independent voters. He praised Republicans and Democrats alike, drawing some boos for mentioning education reform and deficit reduction. But his audience was sitting at home, not in the hall.  His message was well-designed and effective.  Bloomberg framed his remarks as an appeal to pragmatism and sanity, begging people to reject Trump and select Hillary, whom he called the only responsible choice:

(4) Tim Kaine was...not good. He seems like a nice, genuine guy -- despite having gutlessly sold out to the abortion extremists who dominate his party. Twitter compared him to a goofy dad, which seems about right. The content of his speech was instantly forgettable, with the possible exception of his cringe-y Trump impression. His delivery was halting and tentative. He seemed uncomfortable in the limelight. He did not look or sound like someone who's ready to be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.  It probably won't matter.  His personal background is impressive. He's known as a good man with a good family. And his (ostensible) moderation is at least a symbolic departure from the inexorable leftward slide of the party. But Kaine is a do-no-harm VP pick, and so he cleared that low bar this evening.

(5) President Obama's tenure in office is nearly over, thankfully. Despite a gauzy introductory video and some requisite boasting about his record, Obama's two signature "accomplishments" -- Obamacare and the Iran deal -- are enduringly unpopular, failing, and built on lies. The vast majority of Americans believe we're on the wrong track as a nation under his divisive leadership. The president's approval rating has benefited from America's historically-alienating and -disliked major party nominees.  His tribute to Hillary Clinton, and his criticisms of Donald Trump, played very well in an arena packed with adoring fans.  Obama was in his element, giving a soaring speech, the themes of which often diverged from his actions and tone on the job.  He devoted portions of the address to describing Trump as un-Republican and non-conservative, fashioning passages to appeal to disaffected center-right voters.  And of course he offered a heavy dose of liberalism to the gathered partisans.  He talks a good game on unity, and he did so again tonight.  Practicing what he preaches is not his strong suit.  Bottom line: Hillary's favorable rating is horrendous.  And as of this week, it's identical to Trump's.  She joined Obama on stage as the conclusion of what felt like his presidential valediction, all smiles.  It's her moment.  But she is not a talented, trusted, or beloved politician.  If she's going to get a bounce -- and she likely will -- she can thank both Obamas and her husband for it.  I'm sure Chelsea will be lovely, and Hillary will give a workmanlike speech, but I almost wonder if this would actually be the better -- if totally implausible -- play for her:

Onward, to Thursday's anticlimactic finale....

Obama Addresses the DNC: "There Has Never Been Anyone More Qualified to Serve as President"

It was 12 years ago that Barack Obama addressed the Democratic convention for the first time in the 2004 presidential campaign.  

He was praised for his bailouts of car manufacturers, passing into law of Obamacare, and efforts to pass gun control in an opening video before making his case for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  

Obama ripped the Republican convention by saying that the speeches were mostly pessimistic views of America.  

Obama said that Clinton's VP pick should clear up any doubt about her judgment.  He added that Clinton is the most qualified candidate in the history of the United States. 

He ironically said "democracy works" as he mentioned Bernie Sanders, the man who had the election rigged against him.  

Obama closed his speech with his famed sermon of 'hope,' as he asked the democratic party to accept and elect Hillary Clinton as the next president.  

Wikileaks Releases Hacked DNC Voicemails on Third Night of Convention

While vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and President Obama took the stage at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, Wikileaks was releasing another batch of hacked DNC files. This time, instead of emails, they've offered us several voice recordings. 

Wikileaks has released a total of 29 voicemails. Other outlets who have already done the work of listening to all 14 minutes of the mp3 files have found nothing incriminating

Yet, the first batch of DNC documents has already resulted in a major shakeup within the DNC, including the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The emails suggested that under her leadership the primary process was unfairly skewed toward Hillary Clinton and left Bernie Sanders out in the cold, explaining why Sanders supporters were often heard booing and jeering throughout this week's convention.

Great: Kaine Encourages Crowd to Applaud Kasich's RNC Absence

We perhaps knew this was coming. At the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine used the GOP's own hesitations of Donald Trump to prove he's unfit to lead.

“Any party that would nominate Donald Trump as president has moved too far away from the party of Lincoln,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night. “If you’re looking for that party,” he continued, “look no further” than the Democrats.

Kaine officially accepted his party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday and attempted to create a much-needed sense of unity in the Democratic Party. He acknowledged the Bernie Sanders supporters and urged them to come to the Clinton camp so they can defeat Trump in November.

“We all should feel the Bern and we all should not want to get burned by the other guy,” he said, trying to quiet them down.

Kaine threw some shade at Donald Trump several times throughout his speech, starting when he told the crowd that his son Nat deployed with his Marine battalion two days ago.

His son left "to protect & defend the very NATO allies that Trump now says he would abandon.”

Kaine said Clinton has a passion for the causes she fights for. As for Trump, he has a passion “for himself,” Kaine said.

The Virginia senator offered his best impression of Trump, mocking the GOP nominee’s famous phrase, “Believe Me.” Trump’s creditors, his “ripped off students” and more all got hurt by “believing” Trump, Kaine insisted.

Even Republicans have proven they don't trust Trump, he continued. Namely, he reminded voters how Barbara Bush said she doesn't know how women can vote for him after the remarks he's made about them. As for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had the honor of hosting the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, "didn't even show up" because "Trump is such a moral disaster."

Kaine really hammered home the trust issue, perhaps knowing what a handicap it’s been for Clinton this campaign. He tried to assure voters by telling them he believes Clinton is the commander in chief we need.

“I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life,” he said.

Joe Biden Addresses the DNC: "Obama's One of the Finest Presidents Ever!"

Joe Biden literally came running onto the stage Wednesday night to the theme of "Rocky" before addressing the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

He strongly suggested that Donald Trump has no clue about the middle class. Better yet, Biden said Trump has "no clue period."

Biden began to whisper and warned of Trump's lack of preparedness regarding national security. 

He then left the audience and viewers with a motivational speech regarding the future of America.  

'Our Children Are At Risk': Sigourney Weaver Shows Eerie Video on Climate Change at DNC

Actress Sigourney Weaver offered a dark picture of the world’s future during her speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night. In her remarks, Weaver warned Americans that if we don’t act to combat climate change, doom is imminent.

The DNC then aired a video featuring Weaver as the narrator.

“It’s happening now,” Weaver says in the video. “The droughts, the record heat waves,” etc.

“This is not something we’ve seen before,” she claims. “Our children are at risk.”

Using remarks from everyone from Pres. George H.W. Bush to Pope Francis, the short film insists the world is at risk thanks to global warming. The video also uses sound bites from families whose homes have been destroyed by natural disasters to prove Weaver's point.

In one particular scene, a man who claims to be a conservative Republican expresses his own concerns about climate change.

“A thermometer is not Republican,” he says. “A thermometer is not Democrat.”

The film also highlights Donald Trump’s climate change denial and contrasts it with Hillary Clinton’s promise to tackle it.

“Together we can do this,” she says. “For our future, for our children.”

The video was inundated with footage of homes burning in wildfires and cars drowning in hurricanes.

This, after liberal pundits claimed Trump’s speech at the RNC last week was too dark. 

Awkward: Hillary For America Shares Photo of Bernie Supporter

The Hillary for America tweet looked innocent enough at first: an emotional woman crying tears of joy over Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic Party's nomination for president. After all, Clinton is the first female nominee for president for a major political party--it was a historic day for women, regardless of political affiliation.

There's just one problem: the girl pictured in the tweet, Nida Allam, is not a Clinton supporter. At all.

One of Allam's friends complained on Twitter that Clinton's campaign had "Tokenized" her because she is wearing a headscarf. Others were quick to note that she is definitely not "with her."

Moral of the story: ask before tweeting pictures of "supporters" at a very divided convention.

The Last WWII Veteran in a State Legislature Loses Primary

It's an end of an era for state legislators across the country as the last veteran of World War II lost his seat in a Georgia primary election on Tuesday.

Republican John Yates, who is also the oldest known state lawmaker, lost his bid for re-election against Karen Mathiak in an election run-off. Despite coming in first place in his May primary (missing the 50 percent threshold to avoid a run-off by merely 50 votes), Yates lost the run-off to Mathiak by about 500 votes.

Yates fought in the Battle of the Bulge and flew more than 200 missions in a Piper Cub Aircraft. He has been a state representative for his district south of Atlanta since 1993.

Here Are 5 Women That Are Better Role Models To Young Girls Than Hillary Clinton

"If there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say: I may become the first woman president, but one of you is next," Hillary Clinton told the Democratic National Convention audience via satellite Tuesday night.

This remark, said in a tone one might use to talk to babies, was the cherry on top of a slate of speakers who lauded Clinton’s landmark accomplishment as the country’s first female presidential nominee of a major party. The word “historic” was on everyone’s lips as Democrats claimed moral superiority for their support of a woman for president.

Never mind the fact that she is a serial liar embroiled in multiple scandals, or that behind closed doors she is insolent and disrespectful, or that she and her husband have gotten rich by blatant corruption and theft.

Yes, never mind all that. Young girls should still look up to Clinton as their hero who broke the glass ceiling.

When I was little, I wouldn’t have wanted Clinton as a role model. I was emboldened by women who were powerful and successful not because of their gender, but because of their rock-solid values and relentless hard work. Here are five women who are braver, stronger and more inspiring than the Democratic nominee.

They come with a bonus: you don’t have to shove their moral shortcomings under your mental rug when you tell your daughters about them.

1. Malala Yousafzai

A champion for girls’ education in Pakistan since she was a young teenager, Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban when she was 15 years old on her school bus. But she wasn’t silenced. She spoke at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, established the Malala Fund (which has poured millions of dollars into funding secondary education for girls in developing countries) and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

2. Ruby Bridges

Six-year-old Bridges was the first black student to attend a segregated all-white elementary school. Every day she walked to school escorted by federal marshals while racists screamed threats at Bridges and threw things at her. Teachers refused to teach her and parents took their children out of Bridges’ class, but she remained remarkably strong and never gave up the fight for integration.

3. St. Kateri Tekakwitha

The first Native American saint in the Catholic faith, Tekakwitha suffered from a bout of smallpox that killed her entire family. When she was 19 years old, she converted to Christianity and refused marriage, facing ostracism in her Mohawk village. She fled her home and spent two months canoeing 200 miles through the wilderness to get to a Catholic mission. She died at age 24 from disease.

4. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to earn a medical degree. She was admitted to the Geneva Medical School after male administrators jokingly voted to accept her. Defying all expectations, she graduated top of her class and spent her life treating poor children and women in Europe and America. She even opened her own practice and women’s medical college with her sister, who became a doctor as well. She became blind in one eye after catching a disease from a young patient, but continued to pave the way for women’s medical education her whole life.

5. Nelly Bly

Elizabeth Cochran, known by her pen name Nellie Bly, broke barriers and uncovered important stories as one of the country’s first investigative journalists. Angered by a local paper’s column that said women should only cook, clean and raise children, Cochran began writing pieces under the Bly name. When papers tried to assign Bly the women’s beat, she resisted. She soon gained national prominence for her groundbreaking stories about mental health institutions, prisons, poverty and more.

The list of female trailblazers more inspiring than Clinton could fill entire libraries. Don’t let commentators paint Clinton as the best woman to ever walk the earth; our young girls deserve better than her.

Trump: I Hope The Russians Hacked and Reveal Hillary's Deleted Emails

Earlier today, Donald Trump touched off another political firestorm when he directly addressed the Russian government during a press conference -- stating that he hopes Moscow's SVR managed to hack Hillary Clinton's unsecure email server, and musing that they'd be "rewarded mightily" for revealing its contents. He added that the Russians "probably" are not behind the (increasingly damning) DNC hack -- warnings about which the Democrats reportedly ignored for months -- which cuts against virtually all evidence and official conclusions.  Here's your nominee, Republicans:

In addition to an immediate slam from the Clinton camp, Trump's running mate rushed out a distancing statement within minutes, and the Republican Speaker of the House quickly called Russia a "global menace led by a devious thug" who should "stay out of this election." Former senior intelligence officials from both parties strongly condemned the billionaire's comments, one of whom will likely address the issue at greater length in his convention speech tonight. Let's get a few things straight, right off the bat: It is unacceptable for an American presidential nominee to encourage foreign meddling in our elections, especially via espionage. Trump is a dangerously reckless person who blurts out whatever is on his mind, then doubles down when criticized.  He also has a long history of publicly egging hackers on, in pursuit of sundry goals and conspiracies.  These are reasons why so many Americans view Trump as unqualified and unfit for the presidency.  With all that being said, and earnestly so, this extraordinary flare-up also reflects very poorly on the Democratic nominee.  This may seem like a small quibble, but it's an important point in terms of timing:

Hillary Clinton's egregiously unsecure server was wiped clean and effectively no longer exists -- she and her unaccountable team of lawyers saw to that long ago. The foreign penetration of her emails, therefore, has already taken place. And there's no use pretending it didn't happen, as Hillary continues to try to do. Several very senior US officials have called that outcome a virtual certainty.  It is extremely likely that the Russians and other foreign governments have all of those messages, thousands of which are classified.  The cache included more than 100 messages that were classified at the time they were sent and received by the Secretary of State, including top secret information.  It is possible and appropriate to be critical of both Trump's half-joking yet deeply irresponsible comments, as well as Hillary Clinton's deliberate misconduct that consciously compromised national security secrets for her own political protection.  Another angle, via Sean Davis:

[The Clinton campaign] did not explain how the e-mails, which Clinton said were about nothing more than her “yoga routines” and wedding planning for her daughter, could possibly pose a national security risk to the United States. Sullivan also failed to explain how unclassified e-mails “private personal e-mails” wholly unrelated to her work as Secretary of State — Clinton declared in an infamous 2015 press conference that she “did not email any classified material to anyone on my email” — could compromise American security.

Yes, Hillary repeatedly stated that the tens of thousands of emails her oversight-free team permanently destroyed had nothing whatsoever to do with her work, and therefore couldn't be classified or relevant to any investigation or FOIA requests.  But the FBI director determined that "several thousand" work-related emails were withheld, including classified ones -- not counting any of the unrecoverable messages that were wiped away for good.  Now Clinton's campaign is admitting that foreign powers hacking her unsecure email server is a threat to US national security after all.  This, in turn, is a concession that Clinton's scheme damaged our national security interests unto itself.  And she's supposed to be the responsible, tested candidate in this race?  Davis also reminds readers that Ted Kennedy asked our Soviet enemies to interfere in the 1984 election in order to defeat Ronald Reagan.  (That by no means justifies what Trump has done.  But at least he's created this mess out in the open.  Kennedy surreptitiously tried to undermine an American president by colluding with sworn US enemies, a fact we only discovered after the Evil Empire disintegrated). In any case, if Trump is not creepily aligned with, or financially tied to, Putin's Russia, he's doing a terrible job of convincing people of his innocence.  His campaign has slammed the door shut on releasing his tax returns (maybe some pro-Hillary foreign intelligence agency should hack and leak them, in the name of the public interest -- right Donald?), and then there's this:

Breathtakingly, it is not far-fetched to say that the Russian government is actively seeking to help Donald Trump win the presidency. If that's true, the next logical question is why.  Parting thought: If you're defending Trump today with an 'ends justify the means' mentality, imagine how you'd react if a foreign adversary were intervening on behalf of Hillary Clinton -- especially if she were openly cheering them on?  I suspect many enraged Trump followers would cite that hypothetical development as further evidence that she needs to be locked up. Also:

ISIS Used Nuns As Human Shields After Killing Priest

ISIS-affiliated attackers used nuns as human shield after murdering a priest in France Tuesday morning.

Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik shouted "Allahu Akbar" as they left the 9 a.m. Mass, pressing guns to the heads of the two nuns they grabbed to discourage police snipers. A video from Le Telegramme shows the attackers leaving the church while French police wait outside. Gunshots occur near the end of the clip.

Kermiche, who was under house arrest, and Malik slit a priest's throat after entering the church during a service. They had forced 85-year-old Fr. Jacques Hamel to kneel while they gave a sermon in Arabic. The priest was killed for attempting to resist, while three nuns and a couple were held hostage.

The two men had multiple knives and fake explosives, including a false explosive belt and a kitchen timer wrapped in foil. Police killed both attackers as they attempted to escape.