The Daily 202: 2020 primaries reveal the atrophy of political ‘machines’

with Mariana Alfaro

Note to readers: James Hohmann is on vacation until July 20. We have an all-star lineup of guest hosts from The Post to ensure you stay informed during his absence. 

The political “machine” is one of the most mythological forces in elective campaigns. They were influential for generations in cities whose mayors and leaders handed out jobs and contracts through patronage that enforced partisan outcomes. 

Simply typing “the Daley machine” into Google instantly offers vast search results about of the storied Chicago family that ran Cook County from the mid-1950s until, frankly, just a few years ago. New York and Philadelphia also had legendary machines. 

But those big-city machines lost much of their mojo in the last decade as politics flattened and a band of new progressives used the Internet and social media to fundraise and organize, toppling the old guard. 

Except in South Jersey, where a man who does not hold any government or political title — George Norcross, an insurance executive — wielded such outsize influence across the lower third of New Jersey that his endorsement alone usually dictated the outcome in Democratic primaries in that region. 

That’s what made Amy Kennedy’s upset victory Tuesday in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District primary so stunning to local activists – much more so than being part of family whose political lineage goes back generations and runs from the White House to congressional seats in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. 

Kennedy ran her first race ever as an unabashed opponent of the South Jersey Democratic machine. 

That measure alone won her, the wife of former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), the backing of a band of anti-establishment activists who have fought for breakthroughs for years. 

Kennedy won in a landslide because she ran as “anti-machine, anti-Norcross, anti-corruption,” said Sue Altman, head of New Jersey’s Working Families Alliance. “I’m saying: that is the message.” 

South Jersey Democrats have lost their fair share of statewide primary battles to their internal party rivals up north, with Gov. Phil Murphy and Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker. Murphy has been in a bitter feud with Norcross and his top political ally, state Senate President Steve Sweeney, for several years. 

Still, Norcross and Sweeney have never lost in a primary in their own backyard, until now. Altman said that local academics are studying the campaign to figure out how the machine got toppled. 

Some dismiss the Amy Kennedy victory as an anomaly because she was able to raise money and draw attention because of her family name.

“This is a Kennedy — a Kennedy with serious financial backing and the governor’s backing, winning against what was frankly a weak candidate,” Mike DuHaime, a GOP strategist and longtime adviser to former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (R), told the Philadelphia Inquirer

On the national level, Joe Biden’s march to securing the Democratic presidential nomination reassured the party establishment and more moderate forces that the party had not been taken over by the ideological wing represented by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

But on the ground, in races for the House and local offices, these liberal forces are having success.

That’s especially true when they focus on presenting candidates who represent either generational change or a challenge to entrenched power. 

Marie Newman, after narrowly losing in 2018, defeated Rep. Dan Lipinski (D) in the March primary for a southwestern Chicago district. The Lipinski family has held that seat since 1983, after Bill Lipinski won his first congressional race. Then his son was handed the nomination after his retirement in 2004. Bill Lipinski grew up inside the Daley machine: His big break came in the 1970s when then-Mayor Richard Daley appointed him to the local Democratic Party committee. 

Newman has never held elective office. 

And Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, fell way behind in his primary to a former school principal, Jamaal Bowman, despite Engel receiving the backing of most senior Democrats in New York and in Congress. While the race has not been officially called, as officials are counting the huge number of mail-in ballots, Bowman has a lead of 25 percentage points that makes him the prohibitive favorite to win the primary. 

Relatively new political machines have faced turbulence, even right here in the District of Columbia, where Ward 4, the northernmost portion of the city, produced two of the last three mayors, first Adrian Fenty and then his ally, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, both Democrats. But Bowser’s handpicked successor on the D.C. Council, Brandon Todd, lost last month in a primary to Janeese Lewis George, an insurgent running her first race.

Some believe that Bowman, Newman and other liberals will lock arms with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to try to aggressively move the caucus to the left. 

But allies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who backed Engel, have privately said they believe such a group would be staunchly progressive – but would not turn into anything resembling the tea party faction that divided Republicans for the last decade. 

In South Jersey, for instance, Amy Kennedy’s family has long ties to Pelosi and there was almost no policy differences between her and Brigid Callahan Harrison, the establishment-backed candidate. 

But to Altman, patronage is policy, at least in New Jersey. “Amy is hands down more about transparency, more about anti-corruption,” Altman said. 

New Jersey’s local party bosses have maintained their machine through an elaborate system of public contracts awarded to allies and political donations to favored candidates, Altman says. 

It all gets enforced through “the line” — which is what everyone there calls the placement on the ballot for candidates who are endorsed by the county party. 

Those candidates are slotted first, very prominently, on the actual ballot, and county officials will stick other candidates on the far end, almost difficult to find. “They wouldn’t keep this in place if it wasn’t successful,” Altman said. “It’s like starting a 100-yard race 80 yards in.” 

In late 2016, when Sweeney was challenging Murphy for the nomination in the governor’s race, Sweeney simply withdrew because Murphy had lined up enough support for northern county party bosses that a continued race was futile. 

And that’s how Norcross and Sweeney kept such a powerful hold in the southern wing of the state, which made Kennedy’s fierce challenge to the machine so fascinating. 

Altman’s group jumped in to provide advice, saying the Kennedy family simply did not understand a lot of these idiosyncrasies to the Garden State. 

These anti-establishment forces in South Jersey, like their allies who have been defeating other machines, are already eyeing challenges in the 2021 legislative and municipal races to come, but first they would need to get Kennedy over the top in the general election against Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who was a conservative Democrat who switched parties in December rather than vote to impeach President Trump. 

It’s a swing district, which supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, then backed Trump in 2016. If Kennedy wins, she will instantly become the highest-ranking Democrat in the region. 

And Altman will have an unofficial title for Kennedy: “figurative head of the South Jersey Democratic Party.”

More on the elections

Republicans are looking into moving their Jacksonville, Fla., convention to an outdoor stadium.

“While no decision has been made, Republican officials are studying two outdoor professional sports stadiums near the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena where the convention is currently slated to be held. They are also looking more broadly into the logistics of pulling off an outdoor convention, according to two Republicans involved in the planning,” Josh Dawsey reports. “Trump was recently briefed on the options of moving the convention away from the indoor arena, officials said, and is expected to make a final decision in upcoming days. … An outdoor convention could pose its own set of problems, however. Florida is particularly hot in the summer, where temperatures sometimes climb near 100 degrees, and rain is also a threat.”

Charlotte, N.C., where the convention was originally going to be, is tamping down on infections. Jacksonville, meanwhile, has seen a massive surge in cases, writes Philip Bump. Trump picked Jacksonville because it had few regulations that could stop crowds from gathering for him. But now the city has a new mask mandate and attorneys are suing to block the convention in an attempt to curtail a spike of cases similar to the one that came in Tulsa after a Trump rally. “If Trump and his team were considering the long term, they would have understood in early June that Charlotte posed less of a medium- and long-term risk specifically because of the rules against which Trump was chafing — and that Jacksonville’s laissez-faire approach to containment made it more likely to have to impose restrictions at the time of the convention.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is said to be hindering fundraising for the convention.

“DeSantis, a Republican, has directed his top fund-raiser, Heather Barker, to tell donors not to give to the convention because of a personal dispute between the governor and Susie Wiles, his former campaign manager who is serving as an informal adviser to the convention planners, according to multiple people familiar with his actions,” the Times reports. “Ms. Wiles is a veteran Republican operative who led Mr. Trump’s Florida team in 2016 and who ran Mr. DeSantis’s 2018 campaign for governor. Mr. DeSantis’s relationship with Ms. Wiles soured over his suspicion that she had leaked embarrassing information. Ms. Wiles, who lives in Jacksonville, rejoined the Trump campaign as an unpaid adviser last week … Ms. Barker, the top DeSantis fund-raiser, has been explicit with donors in Florida that the governor will not be helpful with rounding up money for the convention because of the involvement of Ms. Wiles.”

Biden released a U.S.-centered economic plan that challenges Trump’s “America First” agenda.

“In one of his most far-reaching plans since emerging as the presumptive Democratic nominee, Biden called for the federal government to spend $400 billion over four years on materials and services made in the United States, as well as $300 billion on U.S.-based research and development involving electric cars, artificial intelligence and similar technologies,” Sean Sullivan and Jeff Stein report. “He also advocated a 100-day ‘supply chain review’ that could require federal agencies to buy only medical supplies and other goods manufactured in the United States. And he urged an end to loopholes that let procurement officers and federal contractors get around existing ‘Buy American’ clauses. … The plan won some praise Thursday from liberal leaders. ‘All in all, on the right track,’ Columbia University economics professor Jeffrey Sachs wrote in an email to The Post. Sachs supported Sanders for president and now backs Biden.”

“Tucker Carlson doesn’t know what patriotism is,” writes Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

“Setting aside the fact that the right wing’s right to lie about me is one of the rights I fought to defend, let me be clear: I don’t want George Washington’s statue to be pulled down any more than I want the Purple Heart that he established to be ripped off my chest. I never said that I did,” writes Duckworth, a potential Biden running mate, in a Times op-ed. “But what I actually said isn’t the reason Mr. Carlson and Mr. Trump are questioning my patriotism, nor is it why they’re using the same racist insults against me that have been slung my way time and again in years past, though they have never worked on me.  They’re doing it because they’re desperate for America’s attention to be on anything other than Trump’s failure to lead our nation, and because they think that Mr. Trump’s electoral prospects will be better if they can turn us against one another. Their goal isn’t to make — or keep — America great. It’s to keep Mr. Trump in power, whatever the cost.” 

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.), whom Duckworth once defended, questioned her values. “Crenshaw suggested to an online audience this week that [Duckworth] agreed with ‘the destruction of America,’ adding his voice to a chorus of Republicans who have questioned the Democrat’s values since she suggested that protesters who opposed monuments to some of the Founding Fathers should be listened to,” David Weigel reports. “‘I think a general message that the left stands for the destruction of America, and the right doesn’t, probably works pretty well with veterans, even liberal ones,’ Crenshaw said in a Wednesday night ‘MAGA meetup’ organized by the Trump campaign.” When “Saturday Night Live” made fun of Crenshaw’s war scars in 2018, Duckworth called their jokes “absolutely appalling,” insisting that “no one should ever mock a veteran for the wounds they received while defending our great nation.” 

The coronavirus

U.S. schools hope to reopen for 56.6 million K-12 students. 

“In just a matter of weeks, tens of millions of children will start a new school year, and what that will look like has become the nation’s thorniest political and epidemiological issue. School officials have to figure out how to resume schooling while limiting the risks to children, their teachers, school staffers and their communities,” Joel Achenbach, Laura Meckler and Chelsea Janes report. “This dicey decision point has generated tension between Trump and his own public health experts at the CDC, with Trump saying the CDC is ‘asking schools to do very impractical things’ to allow classes to resume. The reopening of schools is likely to be halting and improvisational. It could be marked by setbacks. There is no proven strategy for the remobilization of 56.6 million K-12 students amid a pandemic like this one. ‘It’s not going to be easy because we’ve never done it before,’ [said] Anthony S. Fauci. …

“There is no formula for how to reopen schools safely, though school officials are developing strategies for keeping kids separated as much as possible. Many school districts are adopting ‘hybrid’ plans with students alternating between in-school and at-home learning and attending class in shifts to allow more space between desks and fewer people in buildings. Many rural districts, however, are planning full reopenings, knowing they may need to close if cases spike. But in Arizona, where cases are surging, the Phoenix Union High School District said Thursday it would keep all students home for the first quarter. … Distance learning has not gone well in much of the country. … Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia suffered privacy breaches, online harassment and multiple technical failures. Public schools in Memphis offered no live instruction, and students were not required to turn in work.”

The CDC is under more pressure from the administration following its guidance to keep students’ desks six feet apart, among other steps to reduce infection risks at schools. Lena Sun and Josh Dawsey report. “‘There is a view the CDC is staffed with ‘deep state’ Democrats that are trying to tweak the administration,’ said one adviser … White House officials, who see the president’s reelection prospects tied to economic recovery, also say they’ve been deeply frustrated by what they view as career staffers at the agency determined ‘to keep things closed,’ according to a senior administration official … Trump believes the CDC is ‘ineffective’ and a ‘waste of time’ but doesn’t blame CDC Director Robert Redfield and generally likes him, said another official speaking on the condition of anonymity. ‘He just thinks he is a poor communicator,’ the official added. … But Redfield is not a voice in coronavirus task force meetings, and ‘is never really in the Oval [Office] with the president,’ said another senior administration official.”

A growing chorus is making the case for shutting down again as the country records at least 3,099,000 cases. 

“Governors across the country are facing growing pressure from public health experts and local leaders to reimpose stay-at-home orders as the only way to regain control of coronavirus outbreaks that threaten to overwhelm hospitals and send the death count rocketing,” Griff Witte reports. “The majority of states have pressed ahead with reopenings. As case numbers in the U.S. surge, that has unnerved public health experts who see a disaster in the making. … [Anthony] Fauci told the Wall Street Journal in a podcast released Wednesday that some states ‘went too fast’ with their reopenings and suggested that the solution may be to go back to square one. … During an appearance Thursday, Fauci dialed back his remarks, saying that a ‘complete shutdown’ would be ‘obviously an extreme.’ … But other public health specialists insist a pause is not enough, and that the United States won’t be able to reopen to the extent that many other countries have until it learns how to do so safely. ‘We see the hurricane coming. In some places, it’s already here,’ said Thomas Tsai, a Harvard health policy researcher and surgeon. ‘The question is whether you’re going to evacuate your citizens from the path.’ The evidence so far, Tsai said, suggests not.”

Federal workers are returning to the office. 

“Leading members of Congress on civil service issues are challenging orders by federal agencies for teleworking federal employees to return to their regular worksites. ‘I think we have to press the pause button immediately,’ Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, said,” Eric Yoder reports. “Senators representing Maryland and Virginia sent a letter Thursday to the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management warning against premature reopenings that could lead to new coronavirus cases. … Many federal employees working remotely fear their workplaces have not been prepared to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and say they are safer working from home. The Trump administration, which has let agencies decide when and how their workforces would return to the office, says workers can safely return with proper precautions.”

TSA says 1,018 employees have tested positive for the virus. Its 50,000-strong force of screening officers has borne the brunt, accounting for 907 of the cases. Six employees have died, as has a contractor. Face coverings are now mandatory for officers. (Ian Duncan)

The Trump administration’s approach to testing is chaotic and unhelpful, state leaders say. 

“The Trump administration’s erratic approach to testing for the novel coronavirus has left state leaders and commercial laboratories confused, frustrated and unprepared for the fall, Democrats on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions found in a report released Thursday,” Rachel Weiner reports. “The Senate Democrats’ report is based on interviews during the past two months with state health officials, clinical laboratories, test and equipment manufacturers, and industry associations. It details supply chain issues that continue, as states across the South confront coronavirus outbreaks with limited testing. People in many states have waited hours in line to be tested, and then wait a week or more for results. State leaders said they were forced to compete with each other and the federal government for supplies.”

  • Things are “going to look worse” next week in Texas, said Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The state on Thursday set single-day records for coronavirus deaths, with 9,700 people hospitalized, the highest number since the epidemic began. Still, Abbott said that “the last thing we want to do is shut things down again.” “The only strategy we have to prevent that from happening is by everybody wearing a mask,” he said. (Dallas Morning News)
  • The Florida Department of Health confirmed 8,935 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 232,718, with 120 new deaths. The deaths are the most the state has confirmed within a 24-hour period. (Miami Herald)
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state officials said the state will shelter wildfire evacuees in hotels and require temperature checks amid different measures to protect people from the virus as the state battles an increase in blazes. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Maryland’s Anne Arundel County issued one of the region’s most strict mask mandates as the D.C. region sees a four-day increase in cases. The seven-day average of new cases in the DMV has risen daily since Monday. On Thursday, the region’s rolling average stood at 1,081 — on par with mid-June, when a sharp drop in cases began to stall. (Dana Hedgpeth, Ovetta Wiggins and Rachel Chason)
  • Maryland fined four nursing homes for failing to fulfill an order from Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to test all residents and staff for the virus and report the results to the state. (Rebecca Tan and Rachel Chason)
  • The Catholic Church received at least $1.4 billion in virus aid, with millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection after paying victims of clergy sex abuse. The church’s haul may have reached or exceeded $3.5 billion, the AP reports, making it one of the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s relief efforts.
  • The MLB flew Dominican players to the U.S. for the season’s restart but didn’t test them for the virus first. A spokesman said that tests are harder to come by in the Dominican Republic. Six Washington Nationals players were on the flights and are isolating in D.C. One has tested positive during an intake screening last week, while the rest remain in quarantine out of caution. (Jesse Dougherty)
  • The Big Ten announced that fall sports teams, including football, will play only against conference opponents, becoming the first Power Five conference to announce an adjustment to its college football season because of the pandemic. (Emily Giambalvo)
The Post has followed six families in six countries amid the pandemic for six months. 

“In far-flung corners of the Earth, six families, like millions of others, would struggle to ride out the wave as it crested and then receded and then threatened to rise again. This account, detailed in dozens of interviews over several months, is their story — and the world’s,” Steve Hendrix, Max Bearak, Rachel Cheung, Marina Lopes, Shibani Mahtani, Niha Masih, Loveday Morris and Pamela Rolfe report. 

Quote of the day

“I actually took [a cognitive] test very recently when the radical left was saying ‘Is he all there? Is he all there?’ I proved I was all there cause I aced it, I aced the test,” Trump told Sean Hannity in response to Biden saying he’s taken a cognitive test. “I took it at Walter Reed, a medical center, in front of doctors, and they were very surprised.” 

The Trump presidency

The Supreme Court said the Manhattan District Attorney can pursue Trump’s financial records, but not Congress – yet. 

“In one of two lopsided 7-to-2 rulings, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected Trump’s argument that he did not have to comply with a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and said Vance had authority to pursue the president’s personal and business financial records. In the other, the court said the restrictions the president proposed on congressional demands for private, nonprivileged information ‘risk seriously impeding Congress in carrying out its responsibilities,’” Robert Barnes reports. “Still, the court put a hold on the congressional subpoenas, suggesting overreach on the part of the lawmakers. The court sent the cases back to lower courts, where, the justices said, Trump also could challenge the specifics of Vance’s inquiry. 

“On the whole, the rulings were a disappointment for those who hoped to see the president’s long-withheld financial records before November’s election. But perhaps the court’s more lasting message came in the first sentence of Trump v. Vance: ‘In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence,’’ Roberts wrote, citing an ancient maxim. ‘Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States.’ Trump’s nominees to the court, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, joined Roberts and the court’s four liberals in the outcome of both cases. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the decisions a victory for the president, but Trump did not seem to agree, saying that he was the victim of a ‘political prosecution’ and that he was being treated worse than other presidents.”

Trump’s angry reaction underscores the decisions’ political ramifications.

“While it appears that Trump will be able to keep his financial records and tax returns out of the public eye between now and the election, the court rejected his lawyers’ claims of ‘absolute immunity’ and sent one of the cases back to the lower court for further litigation. The decision will give Democrats, including [Biden], more ammunition in their attempts to raise ethical questions about a president who has fought relentlessly to keep his financial records out of the public eye, said Russell Riley, a presidential historian at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center,” Toluse Olorunnipa and John Wagner report. “‘In the short term, this sets aside the immediate problem of having to confront whatever it is in those records that Trump doesn’t want people to see,’ he said. ‘But it also generates an additional vulnerability for Biden to exploit among that small group of people who may still be undecided.’” 

The Supreme Court said much of eastern Oklahoma remains Indian land. 

“The land at issue contains much of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city. The question for the court was whether Congress officially eliminated the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation when Oklahoma became a state in 1907. In a 5-to-4 decision invoking the country’s long history of mistreating Native Americans, the court said ‘we hold the government to its word’ and the land Congress promised to the Creek Nation is still Indian land,” Ann Marimow reports. “Most directly, the ruling means that federal officers, not state authorities, have the power to prosecute tribal members for major crimes committed in the defined area. Less certain is how the decision affects the authority of state and city leaders when it comes to imposing taxes, zoning laws and other regulations.”

Ousted U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman said Barr pushed him to resign and take another job.

Berman said Attorney General Bill Barr wanted him to “resign last month and take another job — including as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission — to clear the way for Trump to install a political ally as the leader of the powerful federal prosecutors’ office in Manhattan,” Karoun Demirjian and Ellen Nakashima report. “Berman, who testified privately before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, described in a written statement the unusual sequence of events that led to his departure June 20. … Barr repeatedly urged Berman to take the civil division position. Berman declined and said he would leave when a nominee was confirmed. He told Barr there were important investigations he wanted to see through to completion.” 

A judge asked an appeals court to revive the case against Michael Flynn. 

“The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will now decide whether to take a second look at U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s plan to examine whether the government’s move to undo Flynn’s plea of guilty is in the public interest,” Ann Marimow and Spencer Hsu report. “Sullivan’s request for rehearing comes after a divided three-judge panel on June 24 ordered him to put an end to the case and said Sullivan was wrong to appoint a retired federal judge to argue against the government’s position. In response, Sullivan’s attorneys told the court that while the panel majority’s opinion is couched as a fact-bound ruling, it marks a ‘dramatic break from precedent’ that ‘threatens to turn ordinary judicial process upside down.’” 

Michael Cohen is back in jail amid a dispute over his tell-all book. Cohen, Trump’s onetime lawyer, “arrived at a Manhattan federal courthouse, where he expected to complete routine paperwork related to his home confinement amid the coronavirus pandemic,” the Times reports. He was instead “stunned when probation officers asked him to sign a document that would have barred him from speaking to reporters or publishing a book during the rest of his sentence, his legal adviser said. Mr. Cohen, believing the agreement violated his First Amendment rights, refused to sign it, the adviser, Lanny Davis, said. Less than two hours later, federal marshals stepped out of an elevator with handcuffs and took Mr. Cohen back into custody.” 

Roger Stone should report to prison on Tuesday, the Justice Department said. Stone asked a federal appeals court in the District to extend to Sept. 3 the date on which he must surrender to a federal prison because of the coronavirus. But the DOJ said his report date is “a reasonable exercise of that court’s discretion based on the totality of the factual and legal circumstances,” Hsu and Marimow report.

Trump said he has no love for the Confederacy. 

“I’m against it. It was my opponent. I was born in New York, I’m against it,” he said in an interview with columnist Marc Thiessen. “I am a Yankee. But I also believe in free speech, and I believe in history. You can’t erase history. If you erase it, you’re going to repeat it.” His concern, he said, is that if you give in to the cancel culture, where does it end? “You take out the Confederate? Okay, good. Then they’re going to take out all opposition to the Confederates. I mean, they don’t want George Washington. . . . I’ve seen them rip down statues [of] abolitionists. It will never stop.”

Top military officers are labeling the Confederacy as treasonous while the Pentagon takes a “hard look” at renaming installations that honor it. “The Confederacy, the American Civil War was fought, and it was an act of rebellion,” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, told members of the House Armed Services Committee. “It was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution, and those officers turned their back on their oath.” (Alex Horton

Social media speed read

New Yorkers, including members of the Central Park Five and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), painted “Black Lives Matter” in front of Trump Tower:

Meanwhile, crowds gathered in Malvern, Pa., for a Pence rally:

And a Houston doctor posed an important question: 

Videos of the day

A statue of Melania Trump in Slovenia was set on fire and removed:

Billy Eichner came up with a few ideas for a Mary Trump line of children’s books:

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