<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Politics]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usWed, 25 May 2016 17:03:45 -0400Wed, 25 May 2016 17:03:45 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[No 'Decision' or 'Timeline' Yet on Trump Endorsement: Ryan]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 14:30:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/PaulRyan-AP_16140578310835.jpg

House Speaker Paul Ryan has not yet decided whether to endorse presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

"I haven't made a decision," Ryan told reporters in an off-camera briefing Wednesday. "I don't have a timeline in my mind." 

A spokesperson for Ryan shot down accounts that an endorsement was imminent.

Ryan announced earlier this month he was “not ready” to endorse the party’s presumptive nominee. But he says his team is working closely with Trump’s campaign, saying the two staffs meet “virtually every day.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Va. Gov. Threatens to Withhold Funding From WMATA]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 13:51:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/2016-05-25_1135.png

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is threatening to withhold funding from WMATA if the agency's safety protocols don't meet his standards.

McAuliffe signed the executive directive Tuesday during WTOP's "Ask the Governor" segment. 

The directive instructs transportation officials in the state to create and staff a Metro Safety Commission. The commission would have the authority to oversee compliance with safety directives at WMATA.

"We've got to get WMATA in accordance with us and what we think are the important issues," McAuliffe said. 

McAuliffe said officials in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., plan to create legislation regarding Metro safety, but that cannot be done until January 2017 when the legislative session begins.

"I've had it," McAuliffe told News4's Mark Segraves. "I'm just not going to sit here for eight more months and worry about safety."

The governor said complaints about the system from residents prompted the directive.

"I can't take so many people contacting me saying they don't want to get on the Metro," McAuliffe said. "This is a huge economic driver of the Commonwealth of Virginia." 

Metro Board Director Jack Evans has said D.C, Virginia and Maryland would have to come up with more money help fund Metro, but McAuliffe said he needs to know the money is being spent wisely. 

"Don't come to me asking for more money until I and the Virginia residents know the money is being spent smart now. Don't ask for more money until we know the system is safe," McAuliffe said. "We want action. We want results."

McAuliffe's threat comes just a week before the system kicks off its massive maintenance plan.

The agency's SafeTrack plan will start June 4 with 13 straight days of single-tracking on the Orange and Silver lines between Ballston and East Falls Church.

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<![CDATA[Va. Gov. Says Feds Found No Wrongdoing]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 16:56:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/VA-Governor-Terry-GettyImages-511714986.jpg

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday that federal investigators looking at donations from his 2013 campaign have told his attorney there's no indication he did anything wrong.

The governor said on a WTOP radio program that his attorney reached out to federal prosecutors following reports that McAuliffe is a subject of a federal investigation.

"My lawyer reached out to the Justice Department, and asked if they've had any indication of any wrongdoing on my part, and the answer was no,'' McAuliffe said.

His attorney, James W. Cooper, and a Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return requests for comment.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press earlier this week that McAuliffe is the subject of a federal investigation related to campaign finance.

The governor said he believes the investigation centers around a donation connected to a Chinese businessman, Wang Wenliang. Federal law forbids foreigners from contributing to U.S. political campaigns, but McAuliffe said Wang has held a green card for nearly a decade and is a legitimate donor.

McAuliffe also criticized federal law enforcement officials for leaking information about the probe and said he and Wang have been treated unfairly.

"This poor man has been dragged through the mud for giving a legitimate contribution,'' McAuliffe said.

Wang is a member of China's ruling Communist Party and a delegate from the northeastern province of Liaoning to the country's ceremonial legislature, the National People's Congress, according to the body's website.

Membership in the congress, which meets only once a year, is often awarded based on contributions to China's economy and society. Proposals raised by Wang at the two-week annual session focused on economic development in the northeast and improving China's foreign trade links, according to a website run by the Chinese Cabinet's information office.

In 2012, Wang was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration from the University of South Carolina, the school said in news release.

It described him as a "major benefactor engaged in U.S.-China relations, Southeast Asia relations and relations on the Korean peninsula,'' and said he had supported scholarly and exchange programs at New York University and the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business, where he established the Hodges Scholars Program to fund research and scholarships for students and faculty in China.

McAuliffe said he doesn't think he's even met Wang, though he believes he has met people from Wang's company.

A spokeswoman for Wang declined to comment.

One of Wang's companies, New Jersey-based West Legend, gave $70,000 to McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign and $50,000 to his inaugural committee in 2013, according to Virginia campaign finance records.

Wang's campaign giving appears limited to McAuliffe. Neither West Legend nor Wang has given to any other state-level campaign, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonprofit money-in-politics tracker. Nor has Wang personally given to federal candidates, according to the Federal Elections Commission's database.

McAuliffe, a Democrat and longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, said he's also confident the investigation won't harm Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.

"I don't think this has anything to do with Hillary Clinton,'' McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe is a former board member of the Clinton Global Initiative, a program of the Clinton Foundation. The foundation reports that it received $1 million to $5 million from one of Wang's companies, Rilin Enterprises, but does not say when the money was given.

Rilin, one of China's biggest architecture and design companies, has taken on multiple international projects, including construction work on China's consulate in New York City and its United Nations representative office, according to Chinese media reports.

One of Wang's companies, Dandong Port Group, has a trade deal to ship Virginia soybeans to China. Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore said Dandong has purchased "hundreds of millions'' worth of Virginia soybeans in recent years.

Wang is chairman of the group, based in the Chinese city of the same name along the North Korean border.

Wang is also an active environmentalist. Democratic Leader Harry Reid last year thanked Wang for his "commitment and dedication'' to restoring the Dandong Yalu River Estuary Wetland in China, according to a statement published in the congressional record.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Words Matter... a Lot!]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 11:03:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/1104-redskins-generic.jpg

Well, The Washington Post certainly set off a firestorm with its published poll on whether the word "Redskins" offends Native Americans.

The Post went to a lot of trouble to describe how it located people self-identifying as Native Americans. The poll of just over 500 respondents showed nine out of 10 took no offense.

Some used the results as justification to back away from demands that team owner Dan Snyder change the name. Native American activists denounced the poll, declaring that no poll and no appeal to pride could erase the racist meaning of the name.

The New York Times was among several publications that picked up reporting on the poll. Times sportswriter Dan Barry allowed how offensive names can be muted over time: "Not long ago, for example, 'queer' was considered a pejorative for gays and lesbians; now it has become what linguists call a reclaimed epithet — a word adopted by a group in empowering defiance."

But Barry mostly quoted activists and academics about the racist history of the name and its lingering effects. The Barry article had 780 responses by the time the comment section was closed two days later.

The backdrop of this poll has important implications. If you believe city leaders, Snyder is serious about funding a new team stadium on the site of old RFK. But Snyder has said he would never change the team name. That's a sticking point because the entire D.C. Council has voted against the name, signifying that it would be a deal-killer.

■ Huh? No. 1. The Daily Caller is a conservative news and opinion website. It focuses mainly on national and international political affairs. But on May 21, it put up a much-mocked story on seven reasons why the District of Columbia doesn't deserve statehood and why it would be "an epic disaster."

The No. 1 reason listed? "The city's mismanagement of the dysfunctional Metro system." Woefully, there is not even a hint that Metro is a regional transportation system.

The story also slams the city's history of corruption. If corruption were a standard for denying voting rights and self-government, many states — New York and Illinois come immediately to mind — would forfeit their statehood status.

The Notebook will give the rookie reporter some slack. His LinkedIn profile says he has worked for the Daily Caller only since January and that his previous job for three years (while in college) was as a conference center technician who set up ballrooms and audiovisual equipment. No professional journalism background, but again, you have to start somewhere.

■ Huh? No. 2. Federal prosecutors may have given up their investigation to prove former Mayor Vincent Gray knew all about that dastardly 2010 shadow campaign.

But the upcoming prison sentencing of two key players in the scheme is keeping the scandal in focus for the media and, especially, The Washington Post. The Post has several reporters still trying to untangle the scheme and connect Gray to it.

But Gray's supporters are crying foul at the latest Post story. It fills in the blanks of some redacted court documents addressing what Gray knew or didn't know during the scheme at the time. The Post story has Gray's former girlfriend confirming she is the person in the documents emailing about the shadow campaign, suggesting she at the time told Gray about those concerns. (If true, that would tie Gray to having at least contemporaneous knowledge of the shadow effort, something he always has denied.)

The "huh" comes in when the former girlfriend, public relations veteran Linda Greene, talks to The Post for its latest story. Did Greene, in fact, tell Gray of concerns about "off the books" spending?

"I think I did," Greene told The Post. "I would say it's most likely I did. I can't say I definitely did."

Read that sentence again. No wonder the prosecutors were wringing their hands trying to indict Gray. As Gray's veteran campaign aide Chuck Thies so simply put it, "Summary: She said she said that she said something she said to him that maybe she didn't say or maybe he didn't hear."

Gray now is running for the Ward 7 council seat held by Yvette Alexander, a former ally. Greene has held a fundraiser for Alexander.

Gray's supporters contend the Post mashup is just another story trying to derail Gray's comeback. (A Post editorial on Gray slammed him again and endorsed Alexander, saying that although she hadn't been a very good council member, she was at least ethical.)

Supporters of Gray firmly believe prosecutors in 2014 derailed Gray's bid for re-election as mayor by getting Jeffrey Thomson — who financed the shadow campaign — to plead guilty and implicate Gray just a month before the primary won by Muriel Bowser that year.

The moneyman Thompson — who steadfastly has refused to make any public comment on the case — will be sentenced June 10 for his role in the shadow campaign and other corruption crimes. Gray's Democratic primary faceoff with Alexander is four days later, June 14. (The sentencing was set before Gray announced his campaign.)

■ Clarification. It wasn't the bourbon. We promise. Reporting last week on the Bourbon & Bluegrass event at President Lincoln's Cottage, we bungled a key fact. The Lincoln Cottage is on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, but the cottage is independently run by a nonprofit. Find all you need (and maybe donate) at lincolncottage.org. Our apologies go to the hard-working folks who support the cottage.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Calls Trump a 'Bully' Who Threatens Economy]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 17:36:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Clinton5232332734.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in a speech to union workers in Detroit on Monday, railed against Republican Donald Trump on everything from wages and immigration to paid family leave.

"He could bankrupt America like he's bankrupted his companies," Clinton warned during remarks at the Service Employees International Union's annual convention. "Ask yourself: how could anybody lose money running a casino? Really."

Clinton also unleashed on the presumptive Republican nominee for his charged rhetoric, NBC News reported.

"We need a president who will use the bully pulpit to stand up for working families. But the last thing we need is a bully in the pulpit," Clinton said to big applause.

Clinton said Trump's plan to deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants would not only affect union families, but also the many Latinos she's met across the country who are concerned about what a Trump presidency could mean for them.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Hits Highest Job Approval Since 2013: Poll]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 18:45:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-533205868.jpg

President Barack Obama enjoys the highest approval from Americans since his second term began, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

Fifty-one percent of registered voters say they approve of the job Obama is doing as president, compared to 46 percent who disapprove. Obama's approval rating remains dismal with self-described Republicans, who disapprove of his performance by an 88 percent to eight percent margin.

But Americans haven't always been so pleased with him. His approval rating sunk as low as 40 percent before the 2014 midterm elections but subsequently rebounded, particularly since primary voting in the 2016 presidential race got underway at the beginning of this year.

The president's relative political strength could be a significant boon for Hillary Clinton, whose 2016 candidacy is largely focused on preserving key aspects of his Democratic policy-making.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Gore: Trump's Climate Change Stance Is Concerning]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 09:53:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-519674944.jpg

Former vice president and climate change activist Al Gore is concerned that a potential Donald Trump presidency could roll back progress in the fight against climate change.  

"He has said some things on the climate crisis that I think should concern everyone,'' Gore said in an interview with NBC's "Today" show. 

Trump has called climate change a hoax created by China.

In the Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore used charts and graphs to make the connection between increasing carbon emissions and the changing climate.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the film's release on Tuesday, Paramount is offering free downloads of it on Amazon, XFINITY on demand, iTunes and other digital retailers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Clinton, Trump 2 of Most Unpopular Likely Nominees in Decades]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 07:43:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000014798412_1200x675_690909763884.jpg Mark Murray of NBC News discusses the results of the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the most unpopular likely presidential nominees in decades. Murray said this illustrates just how polarized American politics are right now.]]> <![CDATA[Poll: Clinton's Lead Over Trump Shrinks to 3 Points]]> Sun, 22 May 2016 12:39:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Trump+Clinton+.jpg

Hillary Clinton's advantage over Donald Trump has narrowed to just three points, resulting in a dead-heat general-election contest with more than five months to go until November, according to results from a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The Democrat Clinton gets support from 46 percent of registered voters, while the Republican Trump gets 43 percent. In April, Clinton held an 11-point advantage over Trump, 50 percent to 39 percent, and had led him consistently by double digits since December.

In a more hypothetical matchup, Democrat Bernie Sanders leads Trump by 15 points, 54 percent to 39 percent.

The NBC/WSJ poll — conducted May 15-19 — comes after Trump has become the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, but also as the ongoing Clinton-vs.-Sanders Democratic race has become more contentious in recent days.

Photo Credit: AP/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton: Trump is a 'Pretend Successful']]> Sun, 22 May 2016 13:52:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/Clinton+MTP+Trump+Taxes.png

Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump a "pretend successful" who is only focused on "making himself appear great," an attack on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

In an interview on "Meet the Press" Sunday, Clinton told NBC News' Chuck Todd there is "no evidence [Trump] has any ideas about making America great," adding that as the campaigns move forward "we're going to be demonstrating the hollowness of his rhetoric."

Clinton attacked Trump for not releasing his tax returns and proving "that he actually has the level of success he claims to have." She also noted the only two returns that have been made public show he hasn’t paid "a penny in income taxes."

"And yet he goes around talking about make America great. You know, that means paying for our military. That means paying for our roads. That means paying for the VA. If you’ve got someone running for president who's afraid to release his tax returns because it will expose the fact that he pays no federal income tax, I think that’s a big problem," Clinton said.

Photo Credit: 'MTP'
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<![CDATA[Sanders Won't Back Wasserman Schultz in Fla. Primary]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 20:44:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/BernieSanders-AP_16139614761695.jpg

Bernie Sanders said Saturday he would not back Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary race for Florida’s 23rd congressional race, NBC News reported. 

During a pre-taped interview with CNN that will air Sunday, Sanders said he would support Nova Southeastern University law professor Tim Canova over Rep. Wasserman Schultz. He also added that she would not reappointed her to head the DNC if he is elected president.

"Well, clearly, I favor her opponent," Sanders told "State of the Union" anchor Jake Tapper. "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz's." 

Canova is a Sanders supporter and has accused Wasserman Schultz of backing Hillary Clinton.

In a statement provided to NBC News Saturday, Wasserman Schultz said she has been neutral in the race and would remain so despite Sanders' support of Canova.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[DC Board of Elections Working on Accessibility at Polling Places]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 20:25:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Ian+Watlington.jpg D.C.'s Board of Elections said it is taking steps to help people with disabilities get inside polling places for next month's primary.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Top ‘SNL’ Sketches During Wild 2016 Race]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 12:45:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Bernie-Larry-SNL-Ship-.jpg

The tale of two Hillarys that played out during a "Saturday Night Live" parody of "A Christmas Carol” in December epitomized the show’s efforts this season to satirize a presidential race that’s upended expectations, great and otherwise.

In the sketch, Amy Poehler materialized as a ghostly visitor – her 2008 version of Hillary Clinton – who remarked to Kate McKinnon's contemporary rendering, "You’ve changed your hair!” But differences went far beyond the bob: The skit scored with the juxtaposition of Poehler's forced-smile Clinton against McKinnon's more intense model, who is working as hard to be liked as to win.

The segment not only captured a changing dynamic in the campaign, but reflected an evolving approach by a show that began satirizing presidential electoral politics with the 1976 Ford-Carter race.

Poehler returned during a season in which "SNL" figures of years past – Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump and Larry David as Bernie Sanders – threatened to overshadow the current cast the same way Clinton, Trump and Sanders dominated attention amid a large field of candidates.

Meanwhile, appearances by the prime presidential wannabes inhabiting characters other than themselves – Clinton as an earthy bartender, Sanders as an immigrant and Trump as a smarmy music executive while hosting in November – added a new level of surreality to the usual candidate cameos in a campaign year that's unspooled like a Reality TV show run amok.

For "SNL," which ends its 2015-2016 run this weekend with Fred Armisen as host, it's been a season like no other amid a campaign that holds the same distinction.

As the show gets ready to break before returning in the fall for the presidential race homestretch, revisit some of best of "SNL" comedy drawn from the some of the strangest of political times.

Set ‘Em Up Val
The real Hillary Clinton appeared to be having fun as she played bartender Val to McKinnon’s uptight candidate. “Maybe you should take a vacation,” Val advised.

Dueling Hillarys
Arguments over whether Poehler and McKinnon does the better imitation are pointless. Both, as this clip shows, succeed at capturing Clinton at different points.

Crying Uncle
Bobby Moynihan’s “Weekend Update” staple – the perennially sloshed, ill-informed, ranting reductionist Drunk Uncle – made an unsurprising endorsement: “Finally someone is saying the things that I have been thinking – as well as saying.”

Trump’s Palace
In this November sketch, the real Trump plays President Trump consulting close advisers (including Omarosa Manigault of “Apprentice” fame) during a 2018 Oval Office meeting.

His Ship Comes In
Sanders meets David as the candidate appears as a (Democratic) socialist immigrant on a sinking ship where the one percent seek special treatment. 

Masterful Mash-up
In the best "SNL" segment of the season, David stars in "Bern Your Enthusiasm," employing his Sanders imitation in a takeoff of his own HBO show, complete with the bouncy theme music.

Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter. 

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<![CDATA[Trump Delegate Faces Child Porn, Explosives, Gun Charges]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 18:19:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CalebBaileyMug.jpg

A Donald Trump delegate in Charles County, Maryland, is facing federal charges related to child pornography, illegally transporting explosives and illegally possessing a machine gun, authorities said.

A federal grand jury indicted 30-year-old Caleb Andrew Bailey, of Waldorf, on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland and law enforcement agencies announced Thursday.

In light of the charges, Bailey has withdrawn as a Trump delegate and the Charles County Republican Central Committee is moving to replace him, a spokesman for the committee said.

"We strongly condemn these allegations and leave it in the capable hands of law enforcement," spokesman Hope Hicks said Thursday. "He will be replaced immediately."

Investigators said postal workers found a package with ammunition and explosives at a postal facility in Capital Heights on Feb. 18.

The package, which was addressed to someone in Wisconsin, was linked to Bailey a few days later when he called the U.S. Postal Service inquiring about the package. Investigators said Bailey did not have a federal explosives license to transport the explosives.

Authorities arranged to meet with Bailey at a postal facility May 5 to discuss the package, but Bailey did not show up for the meeting.

Law enforcement then searched Bailey's properties and found a machine gun, investigators said.

According to the indictment, investigators also discovered that Bailey engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a minor to produce child pornography and he possessed child porn.

Bailey faces up to 50 years in prison for charges including unlawful transport of explosives, illegal possession of a machine gun, production and attempted production of child pornography and possessing child pornography.

Bailey is in custody pending a detention hearing May 24 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

<![CDATA[4 Sanders DNC Rallies Approved]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 21:34:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/bernie+sanders+rally.jpg

Four pro-Bernie Sanders rallies, with estimated attendance of 38,000 activists, have been approved for public demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention in July, the city said Thursday.

The four rallies, given permits Wednesday night, bring the total to five for approved rallies and marches during what is expected to be a bustling week of political activity in Center City and South Philadelphia. The convention officially runs July 25-28, but two of the five approved rallies and marches of more than 7,000 activists will be held July 24 -- the day more than 4,000 delegates arrive from across the country.

NBC10 first reported Wednesday that an anti-fracking, clean energy group called Food & Water Watch was the first to receive a city permit for public demonstration. A group organizer said more than 5,000 activists are expected July 24 at a march from City Hall to Independence Mall.

For the largest of the four pro-Sanders rallies approved, more than 30,000 people are expected to attend weeklong demonstrations called “March for Bernie at DNC,” which will be held at FDR Park in South Philadelphia. It’s within earshot of where conventioneers will gather at the Wells Fargo Center to nominate their party’s presidential nominee.

The rally has been approved for five straight days, starting July 24 and ending July 28. The permit from the city also allows activists to gather each day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The “public assemblage,” as the city technically describes demonstrations, could evolve from rally into protest depending on what happens during delegate voting inside the convention.

Unlike the Food & Water Watch rally, which has a "sponsoring organization" identified by the city, three of the four pro-Sanders demonstrations have no group named, including the FDR Park demonstration..

Their permits were submitted by individuals, and the city would not identify them, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney said.

She cited personal privacy concerns for the applicants.

The fourth pro-Sanders demonstration approved Wednesday has a sponsoring organization identified.

A group called Black Men for Bernie has been approved to hold a “We the People Restoration Rally” at Thomas Paine Plaza across from City Hall on July 27-28. They will be allowed to gather from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The purpose of the rally is “to address economic inequality, human rights, poverty, criminal justice reform and lack of ownership,” according to the city’s permit approval document.

A message left for the group was not returned.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Trump Delegate Indicted on Child Porn, Weapons Charges]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 16:57:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Donald-Trump-Office-NY-AP_16135465999162.jpg

A man slated to be a delegate for Donald Trump has been indicted on child pornography and other charges, according to officials, NBC News reported. 

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that Caleb Andrew Bailey of Waldorf, Maryland, was indicted by a federal grand jury. Bailey is charged with using a minor to produce child pornography as well as possessing child pornography. 

Officials also charged him with illegal possession of a machine gun and illegal transportation of explosives. 

A spokesman for the Maryland Republican Party told NBC News the person named in the DOJ report was the same person slated to be a Trump delegate. Bailey won the slot by being directly elected on Maryland's ballot last month. 

"We strongly condemn these allegations and leave it in the capable hands of law enforcement," spokesman Hope Hicks said Thursday. "He will be replaced immediately."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Vote on LGBT Rights Fails, Causes Chaos on House Floor]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 16:31:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/SeanMaloney-AP_172102760084.jpg

An amendment to help protect LGBT people from discrimination failed by just one vote Thursday, creating chaos on the House floor, NBC News reported. 

During the vote, Republicans allowed a few members of their party to switch their votes to ensure the measure wouldn’t pass. The vote was originally scheduled for two minutes, but was held open for eight minutes.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-New York, would have prevented contractors from securing government work if they discriminate against members of the LGBT community. 

House Democrats chanted “shame, shame, shame” on the floor as the measure went from 217 votes down to just 212 when the vote was gaveled.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Expanded Role for Trump Aide Paul Manafort]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 15:54:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/PaulManafort-GettyImages-524993070.jpg

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s top aide, will be taking on a bigger role in the presumptive nominee’s campaign, NBC News reported.

Manafort will become campaign chairman and chief strategist, signaling a sign of future changes as Trump focuses on the general election.

Manafort joined Trump’s campaign in late March to lead the delegate effort when Trump’s rivals were pushing for a convention fight.

The campaign stressed that Corey Lewandowski will maintain his title as campaign manager and will “continue overseeing day to day operation” and will work with Manafort on political strategy and communications, according to Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell Apologizes for 'Ugly Women' Comment]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 10:22:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ed+rendell+getty+2.jpg

Ed Rendell has apologized for "incredibly dumb and selfish" comments he made referring to "ugly women in America" while criticizing Donald Trump.

The former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor felt the heat almost immediately after a quote attributed to him appeared in a Washington Post story about Donald Trump's appeal to voters.

"For every one he’ll lose 1½ , two Republican women. Trump’s comments like ‘You can’t be a 10 if you’re flat-chested,’ that’ll come back to haunt him," Rendell had said. "There are probably more ugly women in America than attractive women. People take that stuff personally.”

His opinion about the attractiveness of American women was met with swift backlash.

"I was totally taken off guard, because he’s more diplomatic and really has a very good vocabulary most of the time," said Gwendolyn Collins, president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women. "He might not have taken his medicine, or someone slipped him a mickey. It’s not like him to say something like that."

And on Twitter:

Rendell told the AP he was sorry about his "incredibly dumb" comments and that he meant to make light of his his own appearance and argue "there's more of us than there are of them."

Here's part of his apology



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Pennsylvania Co
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<![CDATA[GOP Senator Bob Bennett Apologized to Muslims for Trump While on Deathbed]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 02:35:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/BENNETT_AP_100520113661.jpg

On a hospital bed,just days before he died, former Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett apologized to Muslims in America for Donald Trump's rhetoric, NBC News reported.

"And he was very emotional," Bennett's son Jim said "And said, 'I want to go up to every single one of them and apologize, I want to go up to every single one of them and tell them how grateful I am that they are in this country and apologize on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump.'"

Jim Bennett said that when he later spoke to his mother, Joyce Bennett, about the conversation, she told him that expressing a sense of inclusion for ostracized populations, especially Muslims, had become "something that he was doing quite a lot of in the last months of his life."

Bennett, a three-term Republican Senator who lost in Utah's 2010 Republican primary to two tea-party opponents, had become increasingly concerned with Trump's rhetoric in recent months.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Lobs 'Rape' Allegation at Bill Clinton]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 03:42:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TrumpMarALago-AP_282114720228.jpg

Donald Trump used the word "rape" in rehashing a controversial claim by an alleged Bill Clinton mistress in the 1990s that was never ultimately corroborated in court, NBC News reported.

His comments came in a wide-ranging interview on Wednesday with Fox News' Sean Hannity that was taped earlier Wednesday and aired that night.

Hannity questioned whether The New York Times, after publishing an extensive evaluation of Trump's professional and personal relationships with women, would take the same approach to Bill Clinton's affairs.

"For example, I looked at The New York Times. Are they going to interview Juanita Broaddrick? Are they going to interview Paula Jones? Are they going to interview Kathleen Willey?" Hannity asked Trump, listing women who have made allegations against Bill Clinton. "In one case, it's about exposure. In another case, it's about groping and fondling and touching against a woman's will."

Trump replied, "And rape."

"And rape," Hannity agreed.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merril said in a response: "Trump is doing what he does best, attacking when he feels wounded and dragging the American people through the mud for his own gain. If that's the kind of campaign he wants to run that's his choice. Hillary Clinton is running a campaign to be President for all of America."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[No 'Fundamental Split' in the Democratic Party: Biden]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 21:42:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/bidenGetty-467221349.jpg

Vice President Joe Biden said he doesn’t believe there’s a “fundamental split in the Democratic Party,” NBC News reports.

Biden said he believes Sanders will back Clinton in the same way Clinton called for party unity when she lost the Democratic primary in 2008. 

"I'm confident that Bernie will be supportive if Hillary wins, which the numbers indicate will happen. So I'm not worried," he said. "There's no fundamental split in the Democratic Party." 

Biden also dismissed concerns that Sanders’ attitude has pushed his supporters to become more disruptive. The vice president did urge the Vermont senator to address outbursts like the one that took place over the weekend at the Nevada Democratic convention.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Mayor Hits Back at Trump]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 18:07:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/oakland-trump.jpg

Oakland is one of the most dangerous places in the world, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently told a reporter.

But to its mayor, there's another place that's much more dangerous.

“The most dangerous place in America is Donald Trump’s mouth,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a tweet Wednesday.

Trump's views on the 400,000-person city in California's East Bay were documented in a New York Times Magazine article called "Mr. Trump's Wild Ride," published Wednesday. Trump was discussing a bombing in Baghdad when he was asked what he thinks is the most dangerous place in the world he's visited.

“There are places in America that are among the most dangerous in the world,” Trump told reporter Robert Draper. “You go to places like Oakland. Or Ferguson. The crime numbers are worse. Seriously.”

Oakland is indeed a crime-ridden city. On the one hand, the final number of homicides investigated by Oakland police in 2015 was 83, according to FBI statistics. The East Bay Times reported 93 homicides in 2015, which was seven more than in 2014. But that figure was still far below the city's high of 175 in 1992, the East Bay Times reported.

And in 2015, Oakland was listed as the country's third most dangerous city in the United States, behind Detroit and Memphis, FBI crime data shows, though the definition for dangerous crime and the parameters of cities used vary. For instance, the Insurance Journal put Oakland in the No. 9 spot for the country's most dangerous cities.

But crime rates do seem to be improving. As Schaff's office pointed out, that as of Monday, violent crime was down 14 percent in Oakland and homicides were down 43 percent.

And in terms of being the most dangerous place in the world? Caracas, Venezuela; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and San Salvador, El Salvador win the notorious spots 1, 2 and 3.

Oakland's longest serving city councilmember Larry Reid, who called Trump an "idiot," says it's time for Trump to see what the city has to offer.

"Mr. Trump, stop shooting from the hip," Reid said. "Come visit the areas you're talking about and you'll appreciate Oakland like everybody else appreciates Oakland."

NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area; Inset: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[1st of Many DNC Protests OK'd]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 07:47:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DNC-Tues-P9.jpg

On the day that thousands of Democratic delegates from every state and territory of America get off planes and check into their hotels in Philadelphia this summer, thousands more will already be rallying in Center City as part of an anti-fracking and clean energy coalition.

The first sights and sounds of the Democratic National Convention will come from 5,000 activists marching on Market Street from City Hall to Independence Mall the afternoon of July 24, a day before the convention kicks off.

That’s how many people a group called Food & Water Watch has told the city to expect for their “March for Clean Energy Revolution.”

The group is the first to receive approval by the city of Philadelphia to demonstrate during the DNC week, the mayor’s office said this week. Eight other requests have been submitted, with one given a preliminary denial and seven others still pending.

Some groups seeking permits are planning large-scale rallies or marches, either in Center City or South Philadelphia, where more than 4,000 delegates will gather July 25-28 at the Wells Fargo Center to nominate the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. More permit applications may come in the weeks ahead. Groups can submit applications up to five days before planned events.

The rallies and marches add another layer of security concerns to an event the Department of Homeland Security has put in the same class as Pope Francis’ visit last September. The designation of National Special Security Event came with $43 million in federal funds to help offset the local cost of law enforcement, but the city doesn’t believe the DNC will be on the same scale of the pope visit, which shut down most of Center City.

“It's a much, much smaller event than the Pope, akin to the Navy-Army football game in terms of the influx of people and dignitaries,” Mayor Jim Kenney’s spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, said. “You'll feel the excitement in Center City, but the bulk of activity will be in the Wells Fargo (Center) area.”

Less formal rallies and marches are trying to gather steam on social media, and convention officials are also expecting “Black Lives Matter” protests during the week, including at the convention site in South Philadelphia.

Besides the thousands of delegates, thousands more are also coming to the city for the week, including most of the biggest political figures in the Democratic Party.

The permit applications give an early glimpse into what visitors and city residents alike can expect during the week.

The Food & Water Watch demonstration will begin around noon, July 24, at City Hall, and those gathered will then march down Market Street to Independence Mall, according to Sam Bernhardt, the group’s senior Pennsylvania organizer.

“We expect to have 5,000,” Bernhardt said of activists from around the country who are part of “a growing revolution for clean energy.”

“Hey, we hope to have 10,000,” he added.

So far, the lone group denied initial approval of a “permit for assemblage,” is locally-based Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, which also marched at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Its lead organizer said the group plans to go ahead with its march and rally on the opening day of the convention July 25 -- whether or not it receives approval. The group applied for a permit to march the length of South Broad Street from City Hall to FDR Park.

“The last time we marched, in 2000 at the RNC, we had about 10,000,” said Cheri Honkala. “We had buses come in from all over the country.”

Other permit applications include: Equality Coalition for Bernie Sanders’ “March on the DNC 2016, Global Zero’s “Race to Zero,” Black Men for Bernie’s “We the People Restoration Rally,” and a public art installation by two Brooklyn, N.Y., artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese called “The American Dream Project.”

Three other “March for Bernie” permits submitted did not include sponsoring organizations, according to the mayor’s office.

The National Park Service, which oversees security at Independence Mall, reportedly received at least one permit for a demonstration at the national park site at Sixth and Market streets the week of the DNC.

The city received $43 million to fund its security measures, including $9 million in police overtime, due to the convention being designated a National Special Security Event.

Like the pope's visit, the U.S. Secret Service will be the lead agency coordinating security during the event. The Secret Service did not return messages for comment.

“We're working with state and federal officials (including Secret Service) to make the event a successful one both for visitors and Philadelphians,” Hitt said. “These preparations have been underway for many months and we look forward to a great event.”

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump and Republican Party Agree to Join Fundraising Forces]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 07:06:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trump+ryan.jpg

Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee have finalized an agreement that will allow individual donors to contribute nearly half a million dollars each toward electing the presumptive nominee and other down-ballot Republicans this fall, NBC News reported. 

The agreement, announced late Tuesday night by both the Trump campaign and the RNC, sets up two joint fundraising committees—the Trump Make America Great Again Committee and the Trump Victory Fund.

The agreement cements a shift in campaign strategy that's been in the works for weeks, as Trump adopts more traditional campaign tactics with an eye toward the general election.

The deal must still be ratified by the participating states and that could still take several days, sources tell NBC News.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Two Radical Changes]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 17:15:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Muriel-Bowser-AP_816174278725.jpg

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s ambitious — and expensive — plan to close the homeless shelter at D.C. General is getting a major rewrite.

And a key House committee on the Hill is showing District citizens who’s boss of the city’s budget.

First, the mayor’s housing plan.

The D.C. Council on Tuesday approved a move to scrap Bowser’s plan to build smaller, alternative housing on five privately owned sites around the city and close the decrepit D.C. General shelter in 2018.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson instead offered a substitute bill moving three of those five projects onto parcels already owned by the city. That move alone would save millions of dollars and deny lucrative profits to private developers. (That was a big criticism of Bowser’s plan in the first place.)

Under Mendelson’s revised homeless plan, the remaining two sites on private land would be purchased by the city upfront, again denying huge profits to current owners. If the owners don’t want to sell at a given price, the Mendelson bill allows for eminent domain to seize the properties.

The council move irritated the mayor, who says it jeopardizes her ability to close D.C. General in 2018. WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle reported overhearing Bowser scream an obscenity — “f—-ing liar!” — at Mendelson for saying that the changes wouldn’t impact the 2018 closing and that the mayor hadn’t consulted with the council enough. The mayor’s office declined to comment on the reported slur.

From Mendelson’s committee report: “The Committee closely examined its cost-effectiveness, its potential for complications due to zoning disputes, its long-term impact on the District’s ability to meet its obligation to shelter families experiencing homelessness, the adequacy of individual proposed sites for the intended purpose, and the overall feasibility of the plan to close D.C. General as rapidly as possible.”

That’s a long way of saying the Bowser plan was too expensive and had not had enough community involvement with picking sites.

The report, in particular, said the proposed Ward 3 site on Wisconsin Avenue NW (and now moved adjacent to the 2nd District Police Headquarters on Idaho Avenue NW) would have created “windfall” profits for private owners.

Both the mayor and the council agree D.C. General is no proper home for anyone. But the mayor and council still will need to work out details on the scattered-site homeless plan. And community groups — and zoning concerns — still need to be heard.

Visit tinyurl.com/shelter-draft-bill and tinyurl.com/shelter-committee to read the revised bill and the committee report, respectively.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill Tuesday, the city’s bold move to radically change how Congress reviews the city’s annual budget may be hitting the wall many have expected.

The House Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday approved on a partisan vote a bill to nullify local legislation allowing “budget autonomy.”

In short, the city decided it would change the congressional charter under which the local government has operated since 1974. Instead of awaiting formal approval of the budget each year, as it has done for more than four decades, the city decided the local budget need only be subject to a 30-day review period, like most D.C. legislation.

City voters backed the change to the charter, and it survived its own legislative review period on the Hill. But the Government Accountability Office and Republican leaders of the House said all along the move was illegal. D.C. officials disagree, citing a court case decided by a D.C. Superior Court judge.

The full Republican House likely will move the bill nullifying the city’s grab of more independence. If it comes up for a vote in the Senate, it may pass. And if it is attached to some must-pass legislation, Democratic President Barack Obama is unlikely to put up a fight based on his treatment of the city in the past.

At a press conference Tuesday, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton vowed to fight on. “We are by no means giving up on Congress,” she said, noting only full statehood would get the city out from under congressional rule.

■ Bourbon & Bluegrass. The Notebook was out at President Lincoln’s Cottage on Sunday for the Friends of the Soldiers Home fundraising concert. The weather cooperated, and about 300 people showed up for bluegrass, lawn games and Rocklands Barbeque.

With our friend Pepin Tuma, we walked the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, on which the cottage sits. It is remarkable space, but much of it is in disrepair. The stately Grant Building is empty and fenced off.

As much fun as we had at the Bourbon and Bluegrass event, we couldn’t help but think a new tune needs to be played to save the old buildings.

Take a walk on the grounds the next time you visit President Lincoln’s Cottage. The buildings are magnificent to see; just look past the fencing of the Grant Building. It needs a savior.

And here’s your chance — the upcoming Memorial Day holiday on May 30 is a perfect day to go. There’s a wreath-laying ceremony at the Logan Mausoleum and guided tours of the cemetery where Abe Lincoln himself would walk, struggling with the grief of the Civil War dead and wounded. The cemetery is beautiful and haunting and far less crowded than other national cemeteries on this important day.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Change to Mayor's Homeless Plan Leads to an F-Bomb]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 15:53:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150517+DC+General.jpg

The debate over where to house the District's homeless after the large and aging D.C. General shelter closes apparently led to a tense moment this afternoon between the district's top two leaders.

D.C. Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a plan that would house homeless people in new shelters built in almost every ward on public-owned land. 

That new plan, which News4 first reported last week, radically alters what Mayor Muriel Bowser had proposed, which was to build new shelters on land that was privately owned.


The new council plan would save taxpayers more than $100 million, according to its author, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.

But the mayor contends it will delay closure of the troubled D.C. General shelter. 

Reporter Martin Austermuhle at WAMU says the Council vote led to Bowser shouting the F word at the council chairman, calling him a liar.

"You're a f---ing liar! You know it can't close in [2018]!" the mayor shouted, according to a tweet from Austermuhle.


News4 reached out to the mayor's office, which declined to comment.

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