Lock him up: Trump’s Air Force One video may have violated law


President Trump tried to give his latest attack on Mayor Bill de Blasio — a video filmed aboard Air Force One — an aura of authority, but he may have broken the law in the process. In the background was the presidential seal, which is a big no-no, according to Virginia Canter, an ethics lawyer with the non-partisan Citizens Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Misusing the seal is a misdemeanor that carries a potential penalty of six months behind bars, Canter said.

David Leonhardt: Trump’s 2020 dirty tricks


“President Trump offered a preview last week of his 2020 campaign tactics, and they were ugly. He intends to use the power of the presidency to harass his political opponents and create an air of scandal around them. By doing so, he hopes to make at least some voters believe that all politicians are equally corrupt rather than recognizing that Trump himself is the most corrupt president in a long, long time.”

MAGA Country was targeted by Russian hackers


A small county in the Florida panhandle that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump is one of two that were penetrated by the GRU, Russia’s spy agency, in 2016. The hackers accessed the voter registration database of Washington County, a 25,000-person county where Trump garnered 77.4% of the vote. The news highlights the urgent need for increased election security ahead of 2020.

Ukraine prosecutor: Bidens are innocent


Ukraine’s prosecutor general said in an interview that he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter, despite accusations by Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. “I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections,” Yuriy Lutsenko said. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing.”

Election assistance agency pleads for more funding


Officials from the Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency charged with managing the nation’s electoral systems and helping states adopt good election administration practices, are pleading for more money before the 2020 elections. The agency is operating at half the capacity it had 10 years ago, while threats have increased. “What we are working on is the infrastructure of our democracy,” Vice Chair Benjamin Hovland said. “What we need is an investment from Congress to help us do that work.”

Kamala Harris campaign ‘infuriated’ by Biden veep talk


After the Congressional Black Caucus floated former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris as a “dream ticket,” the Harris campaign is doing its best to keep its focus on the race while pushing back on the idea. Biden’s strong showing in early polls, including in South Carolina, have led many to suggest a Biden-Harris team-up, much to the ire of the Harris team.

Support for Joe Biden’s presidential bid grows


Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has expanded his lead over a wide field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination by 5 percentage points since he entered the race in late April. It seems increasingly obvious that Joe Biden is a clear front-runner, and the man to beat in the Democratic primary.

Biden predicts a post-Trump ‘epiphany’ for GOP


Former vice president Joe Biden, at the moment leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field, stopped in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where speaking with voters, he offered a prediction for how American politics would be reshaped after President Trump is out of office. Biden also commented on the state of the GOP in general, saying: “If you notice, most Republicans — leaders, don’t lose from the left. They lose on the right. … I think there is not a middle ground.”

Pompeo confronts Russia on election meddling


Unlike his boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out Russia on its interference in the 2016 election while meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday. “If the Russians were to engage in that in 2020, it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been,” he said, adding he would “encourage them not to do that, we would not tolerate that. Our elections are important and sacred and they must be kept free and fair and with no outside country interfering in those elections.” Way to go, Pompeo.

Florida gov says Russians hacked two counties


Two Florida counties were hacked by Russians prior to the 2016 elections, but there was no “manipulation” of voting results, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters on Tuesday. DeSantis said the FBI recently briefed the governor and other members of his administration on what he called an “intrusion” into the two unidentified counties. “There was no manipulation, or anything, but there was voter data that was able to be got,” DeSantis said. “It did not affect any voting, or anything like that.”

Melissa Kwarteng: Why we need ranked choice voting


“How will this improve our current system? Right now, hyper-partisanship has created an environment where the winner feels no accountability to opposing voters. However, if during the campaign, candidates are encouraged to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters in order to win, those elected will naturally provide more unifying leadership. Furthermore, independent candidates will no longer be considered ‘spoilers’ and will have an equal opportunity to win.”

Michelle Goldberg: Twitter isn’t real life (if you’re a Democrat)


“In his own horrific way, Trump seemed to expand the possibilities of American politics, making it seem as if the old rules of electability no longer applied. Many of us assumed that the expansion would go in both directions, since Trump’s rise represented such a catastrophic failure of the political center. But there are a lot of Democrats who don’t want a revolution, or even a protracted political fight. They just want things to be the way they were before Trump came along, when ordinary people didn’t have to think about Twitter at all.”

Duterte on track to tighten grip on power


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte looks set to strengthen his grip on power after unofficial results of a mid-term election showed big wins for his candidates, and resounding public endorsement of his controversial rule. Nine of 12 available seats in the all-important Senate looked set to go to pro-Duterte candidates.

Are Americans losing faith in our elections?


Is Vladimir Putin succeeding? Polls show that Americans are losing faith in our electoral system and in the media that reports on our elections. “This is Vladimir Putin’s game plan — sow distrust, discord, disillusionment, and division,” says Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “There’s a real danger to such distrust in the integrity of our election system that has lasting damage,” he warns.

Istanbul braces for election do-over on June 23rd


After failing to change the outcome of Istanbul’s mayoral election through a recount of the votes, Turkish president Erdogan decided that voiding the vote and re-doing the election was his only chance of winning. The new election is set for June 23rd, and residents of Istanbul are not sure how to feel about it.

Michael Kruse: Beto’s long history of failing upward


“Celebrating defeat is unusual for a politician, and doing so makes O’Rourke notably different from the rest of the unwieldy field of Democrats running for president. In contrast to the 20 or so other 2020 candidates—all of them in various ways overachievers who tout the litanies of their successes—O’Rourke instead presents his loss to Cruz as a prominent selling point.”

Amy Klobuchar: How to protect U.S. elections from foreign interference


“Currently, political ads sold on TV and radio are required to disclose the organizations that paid for them. This is a simple requirement that the Supreme Court — including the late Justice Antonin Scalia — upheld. But right now, the same rules don’t apply to ads sold online. This leaves a huge loophole in the law — especially because online ads have become more popular than ever.”

Political chaos engulfs Turkey


Following Turkey’s top electoral body’s move to annul recent local election results after receiving immense pressure of president Erdogan, Turkey’s opposition party is now asking that the body annul last year’s presidential election results. The electoral body reasoned that the local elections should be annulled because some officials overseeing the election were not civil servants. The opposition party responded by pointing to the fact that last year’s presidential elections also used officials that were not civil servants.

Derek Chollet: ‘All Americans should embrace centrism’


“Eisenhower’s approach was hardly the stuff of passion and instant gratification. That’s the point. What’s often needed is steady and thoughtful leadership — the kind of courage from those who get things done. It may not win the news cycle. Yet other presidents have found success by following this tradition — by steering a middle course between the extremes with a combination of ambition and humility, recognizing that there are rarely perfect answers or absolute wins. They pursue the politics of the possible over the politics of purity.”

Majority supports abolishing Electoral College


A majority of voters says the Electoral College system should be abandoned in favor of a national popular vote, according to a new NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll. The survey finds that 53% of voters say the outcome of the presidential election should be determined by the popular vote, and 43% say the Electoral College system should remain in place, cutting sharply along political lines. Democrats by and large support abolishing the current system.

Brian Miller & Miles Rapoport: In praise of same-day voter registration


“New Census data suggests an estimated 3.6 million voters did not cast a ballot in the 2018 midterm election because of a problem with their voter registration. To have so many Americans unable to vote because of an inefficient and unnecessary layer of bureaucracy is shameful. The good news is this is a solvable problem, and many states are taking positive action. Same-day registration, a policy spreading in states across the nation, allows eligible voters to register or fix a problem with their registration when they go to the polls to vote.”

MA GOP moves to protect Trump in primary


The MassGOP approved a plan last week to award all of the party’s delegates to the Republican candidate who clears more than 50% of the vote in the state presidential primary. The strategy is a departure from the 2016 primary, when the state party used a proportional method to award delegates to the 17 Republicans running for president. It’s clearly intended to protect Donald Trump from primary challengers such as former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

Bill Weld: The 2020 Republican alternative to Donald Trump


So far, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is the only ostensible Republican willing to challenge Donald Trump in the 2020 GOP primary. Weld is a relic of a bygone Republicanism, before anti-immigration, anti-trade grievance culture became fashionable. Can he hope to make a dent in Trump’s 89% approval among Republicans? He’s starting with “NeverTrump” Republicans, Trump-skeptical conservatives, and right-leaning independents.

Ron Paul endorses Tulsi Gabbard


While appearing on the Russian propaganda outlet RT, former Congressman Ron Paul announced his support of Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard. Both Gabbard and Paul share similar foreign policy views — views that may be considered bizarre at best, and self-defeating at worst.

Facebook opens EU ‘war room’


As Facebook prepares to combat misinformation in the upcoming European elections, the social media giant has opened a European “war room” in Ireland. The space will be used by Facebook employees to fight back against fake news and misinformation on the platform during the lead up to the EU’s elections.

Buttigieg attends Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class


Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, joined the large crowd at former President Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class in rural Georgia. Buttigieg later had lunch with Carter and his wife and “enjoyed a conversation about topics ranging from faith to the rigors of the campaign trail.”

Klobuchar: ‘[Trump] has every reason not to protect [2020] election’


While on CNN, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar emphasized that President Trump does not take election interference seriously and will not protect the country in 2020. She shared how little Trump is doing and how much he is doing to ensure interference happens again. She said the Trump administration sank bipartisan election security legislation that she co-sponsored.