POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - GOP Primary Field Upgraded From 'Crowded' To 'Gray Davis Recall'

06/16/2015 05:55 pm ET

Donald Trump's unwieldy presidential campaign launch answered the question of what would happen if that rambling drunk guy beside you at the bar ran for the White House. Trump said that he “beat[s] China all the time,” suggesting he has an active Words With Friends history with the country. But otherwise, the summer news doldrums continued, raising the question: do CNN’s body language experts and MSNBC’s shark attack experts ever hang out? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 16th, 2015:

HOUSE MIGHT VOTE ON TPA WITHOUT TAA - Jake Sherman and Manu Raju: "The House is on the brink of scheduling a standalone vote on giving President Barack Obama fast-track trade authority without accompanying worker assistance legislation, according to multiple sources familiar with the plan." Oof. [Politico]

"We're working on it," Mitch McConnell told HuffPost's Ryan Grim (in the briefest of hallway interviews) about the possibility of a standalone fast-track bill.

SENATE VOTES TO OUTLAW TORTURE - Man, Jeb Bush picked the absolute worst possible time to run for president. Ali Watkins: "In a landmark showing, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to outlaw the practice of torture and solidify a noncoercive method of intelligence interrogation, indicating a firm departure from the years of the Bush-era torture program -- a period that many have characterized as one of the darkest chapters in the nation’s history. The road to that symbolic vote, though, was not an easy one, despite still-simmering outrage after the December release of a gruesome Senate summary report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. Even in the days leading up to the vote, anti-torture advocates both on and off the Hill remained concerned that the CIA’s defenders would rally to tank the measure. In an effort led by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), senators voted in a landslide 78-21 to tack an amendment onto the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that would forbid the use of torture by any agent of the U.S. government and standardize certain noncoercive interrogation methods across the government’s military and intelligence arms." [HuffPost]

Gawker FOIA'd emails to and from Texas Governor Gregg Abbott's office about the Jade Helm '15 conspiracy. The winner is the guy who sent Abbott some tinfoil for a hat.

DARRELL ISSA TRIES TO CRASH BENGHAZI COMMITTEE HEARING - It's like the college freshman who returns to his high school. No one really wants him there. Martin Matishak: "Former House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) tried to crash former Hillary Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal’s deposition before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Tuesday. Issa marched into the closed-door deposition and remained inside for about a minute before he was escorted out by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). The pair briefly exchanged hushed words in a nearby hallway before Issa stormed off, throwing an empty soda can into a nearby trash bin. NBC News producer Frank Thorp posted a video showing Gowdy and Issa.Gowdy returned to the private session after the incident. 'Sorry about that,' he said as he went back into the interview." [The Hill]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Obama administration probably finds this pretty annoying: Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), top Democrat on the House committee overseeing the trade bill, pointed to the Obama administration's emphasis on trade assistance when asked if Democrats were willing to let the program die. "We're not going to let TAA expire as long as the president is emphatic that it has to continue," Levin said Tuesday. "As long as the president is emphatic that before any trade bill there has to be TAA, TAA is not in jeopardy." [HuffPost]

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Donald Trump does not, for the record, identify as black.

DONALD TRUMP BEGINS EPIC PIECE OF PERFORMANCE ART... RIGHT? - Until today, we never knew what Andy Rooney would be like on cocaine. Our questions have been answered. Igor Bobic: "Celebrity hotelier Donald Trump officially announced his campaign for president on Tuesday, promising to restore America's standing in the world in a rambling speech that strongly resembled performance art. 'Our country needs a truly great leader,' the reality TV star told supporters gathered at Trump Tower in New York City. 'We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal,' he added, making sure to mention his book. 'We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, bring back our manufacturing, bring back our military and take care of our vets.' Entering the stage via escalator -- one of the most unusual entrances in the history of presidential announcements -- Trump eschewed his prepared remarks and launched into a long-winded tirade against just about everybody: President Barack Obama, Democrats, Republicans and multiple foreign nations. 'I beat China all the time. All the time,' he boasted." [HuffPost]

A+ trolling, DNC Press Secretary Holly Shulman: "Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days. He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward [to] hearing more about his ideas for the nation."

Their loss, our gain: "Newly minted presidential candidate Donald Trump may have just shaken up NBC's broadcasting schedule. Now that the real-estate mogul has announced his 2016 bid, it remains to be seen whether he'll wrap the whole thing up in time to get back to hosting the network's hit show, 'Celebrity Apprentice.' 'We will re-evaluate Trump’s role as host of 'Celebrity Apprentice' should it become necessary, as we are committed to this franchise,' Rebecca Marks, NBC's executive vice president of publicity, told TPM in a statement." [TPM]

@aedwardslevy: Candidates Mark Halperin has rated as tied or below Trump on substance: Bush, Graham, Huckabee, Carson, Cruz



Bobby Jindal is going to use a stairlift

CLINTON CHARGED CHARITIES HIGH FEES FOR SPEECHES - But she was broke, so, really, the organizations were still doing their good work. Ken Vogel: "When Condoleezza Rice headlined a 2009 fundraising luncheon for the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, she collected a $60,000 speaking fee, then donated almost all of it back to the club, according to multiple sources familiar with the club’s finances. Hillary Clinton was not so generous to the small charity, which provides after-school programs to underprivileged children across the Southern California city. Clinton collected $200,000 to speak at the same event five years later, but she donated nothing back to the club, which raised less than half as much from Clinton’s appearance as from Rice’s, according to the sources and tax filings. Instead, Clinton steered her speaking fee to her family’s own sprawling $2 billion charity...The groups range from smaller charities like Long Beach’s Boys and Girls Club and an AIDS service provider, Chicago House, to public policy advocacy groups, large universities and trade associations." [Politico]

JEB BUSH PROBABLY NOT GETTING GREENPEACE ENDORSEMENT - His views on climate are about as dated as his diet. Igor Bobic: "Jeb Bush accepts that the climate is changing, but he is less certain about the notion, supported by an overwhelming number of scientists, that human activities have contributed to the problem. The former governor of Florida weighed in on the matter Tuesday during a town hall in Derry, New Hampshire, his first campaign stop since announcing his run for president earlier this week. 'The climate is changing, whether men are doing it or not,' Bush said, further calling for 'policies of adaptation' to prep for its harmful consequences across the country. Bush also drew applause when he said he remained "a little skeptical" about taking advice on issues like climate change from Pope Francis, who is expected to call for urgent action on climate change, which the pontiff describes as mostly man-made." [HuffPost]

@DylanByers: CURRENT RCP AGGREGATE

Bush
Walker
Rubio
Carson
Huckabee
Paul
Cruz
Christie
*Trump*
Perry
--
Santorum
Fiorina
Kasich
Graham
Jindal

ENTIRE PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS LOOKS DOWN AT FEET, MUMBLES SOMETHING ABOUT HAVING PLANS LATER - This is even more embarrassing than that time no one went to Carolyn Maloney's improv show. Lauren French: "Rep. Alan Grayson, who is eyeing a run for a Florida Senate seat, is hoping to position himself as the progressive alternative to Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic primary. But there’s one hitch: Some of the progressives who’ve worked closely with Grayson in Congress over the years aren’t that keen on his candidacy.The wariness of fellow liberal Hill Democrats toward the verbose Floridian crystallized in late April, when Grayson pitched the 70-member Congressional Progressive Caucus on a plan to make a new leadership position for him. Caucus members quashed the effort, in part because they didn’t want to give Grayson a de facto endorsement from the left wing of the party. 'Alan’s problem is Alan … and the fact that he goes it alone. Many of us felt that the leadership we have needs to be disciplined enough to, on occasion, swallow their own individual wants for the good of the whole,' said a fellow Democrat, speaking on background to avoid riling Grayson." [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog who sneezes on command.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROLL CALL - Felicitations to the Capitol Hill publication that is most likely to stay home on a Saturday night to do its homework. Fun fact: HuffPost Hill was actually founded in John Jay's basement. Kyle Trygstad: "Roll Call celebrates its 60th anniversary Tuesday with the same mission dreamed up by founder Sid Yudain -- serving as a hometown newspaper for the legislative community. The front page of the first issue of Roll Call, published on June 16, 1955, featured a letter from Vice President Richard M. Nixon, whose interest spoke to the need and awaiting audience for Capitol Hill coverage from a different perspective...Originally run out of the congressional office of Rep. Albert Morano, R-Conn., for whom Yudain worked at the time, members of Congress served as Roll Call’s first correspondents. More than 50 years before Twitter, the weekly newspaper published on Wednesdays and kept Capitol Hill abreast of news that might otherwise fly under the radar: primary election losses, staff moves, member illnesses." [Roll Call]

COMFORT FOOD

- How to make pork buns.

- The sickest baller in all the suburbs.

- Thirty-six questions that remain after the
Game of Thrones" season finale
.

TWITTERAMA

@JGreenDC: At this point Trump should troll serious political journalists by making a concerted effort to win the Iowa caucuses.

@jmantle: I think I've heard Donald Trump's speech before, but usually it is two or three barstools away from me.

@aterkel: Donald Trump haiku:

I have many websites.
I have them all everywhere.
I hate the Chinese.

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