The Hill’s Convention Report: Trump rails on mail voting at surprise convention appearance | Republicans prepare for convention close-up | New York AG investigating Trump Org
Welcome to The Hill’s Convention Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.
We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the convention front.
LEADING THE DAY:
President Trump made a surprise appearance at the GOP convention hall in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, as Republicans officially nominated him to be their party’s presidential candidate in the November general election against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The GOP convention has been dramatically scaled back due to the coronavirus, but Republicans showed how they would go further than Democrats by sending top administration officials — from the president on down — to rally supporters at the convention site.
Vice President Pence introduced the president ahead of the in-person roll call vote, which came as a contrast to the virtual roll call held by Democrats. Many of the delegates did not appear to be wearing masks and the Mecklenburg County public health director sent a message to convention officials expressing concern.
In a freewheeling speech that went on for more than an hour, Trump joked about serving for 12 more years and railed against the expansion of mail voting, calling it the “greatest scam in the history of politics.”
The president, who has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud in mail voting, accused Democrats of “trying to steal the election from Republicans.”
“They’re using COVID to steal the election,” Trump said.
This came on a day when Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was back in front of lawmakers for a second round of testimony. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) threatened to subpoena DeJoy for allegedly failing to produce documents detailing Postal Services changes and delays to service.
What to expect tonight…
Republicans will kickoff the primetime convention programming tonight beginning at 9 p.m., with a roster of speakers that includes Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), one of only two Black Republicans in Congress, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, widely viewed as a top contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
Former NFL star Herschel Walker will have a speaking role, as will Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who went viral for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home.
The theme for the week is “Honoring the Great American Story.” Monday night has been dubbed “Land of Promise.” The president will appear before the convention on every night, but in some instances it will be through prerecorded content. Trump is expected to highlight his meetings with front line workers on Monday night.
Republicans say the Democratic convention promoted a dark vision of the nation wracked by the health and economic crises and racial turmoil.
Trump campaign officials say they will strike an optimistic tone this week about the way forward.
Of course, the party’s message will also lean heavily into hostilities with China, support for law enforcement, illegal immigration and casting the Democrats as left-wing extremists.
Trump strides into convention as underdog, by Brett Samuels.
Trump faces race against the clock on the economy, by Niv Elis.
Trump’s biggest roadblock to reelection is the coronavirus, by Jonathan Easley.
The Biden campaign launched a new ad on Monday in an attempt to offer a counterpunch on the first day of the Republican National Convention.
The digital ad, dubbed “Heal America,” focuses on the White House’s response to crises in public health due to the coronavirus, the economy, climate change and the nationwide reckoning on racial injustice.
“We need a team that’s up to the task,” a narrator says. “Leaders who can rally the nation to fight this virus. To not only rebuild our economy but build it back better.”
The Biden campaign also rolled out a slate of endorsements from Republicans, led by former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a frequent Trump critic.
The list is rounded out by former Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.), Steve Bartlett (R-Texas), Tom Coleman (R-Mo.), Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), Chris Shays (R-Conn.), Alan Steelman (R-Texas) and Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.), as well as former Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.), who is now an independent.
Meanwhile, the anti-Trump Lincoln Project has lost George Conway but added former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
FROM THE COURTS….
The New York Attorney General is investigating whether President Trump misled lenders about his assets and debts in order to obtain loans. In a lawsuit filed on Monday, the state’s top legal officer Letitia James accused the Trump Organization and its executive vice president Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, of failing to comply with subpoenas in the investigation.
The probe is still ongoing and authorities haven’t yet determined whether the president or his business ran afoul of the law. And much of the investigation remains shielded from the public eye, with large parts of the Monday court filing redacted.
One piece of information revealed on Monday, however, was that James had launched the investigation after the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, testified to Congress last year that President Trump had inflated the value of his assets in financial statements when he sought loans, better insurance rates and tax breaks.
The Hill’s Harper Neidig has more on the investigation here.
In a bit of relief for Trump, the Democratic district attorney for Manhattan agreed on Monday to delay enforcement of a subpoena for eight years of the president’s corporate and personal tax records. The delay came days after a federal district judge in New York knocked down Trump’s latest effort to invalidate the subpoena and set up another round of litigation in an already-lengthy legal battle.
The Hill’s John Kruzel breaks down the case here.
FALLOUT FROM ANOTHER POLICE SHOOTING:
Protests erupted in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday after video surfaced of a city police officer shooting a Black man as he tried to get into his car. State officials are investigating the shooting, which comes amid a national reckoning over racial injustice and police brutality.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) identified the man as Jacob Blake, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a statement that he was transported to a hospital in Milwaukee in serious condition.
Police haven’t said what happened in the lead up to the shooting, though witness accounts reported by The Kenosha News held that Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women prior to the shooting. In a tweet, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said that Blake’s three sons were in the car he was entering when he was shot.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Monday that Trump would be briefed on the shooting, saying the video “tells a story that is very troubling.”
“It’s too early to tell in terms of what actually happened from what I was briefed on. Obviously the video tells a story that is troubling and yet, at the same time, we’ll get a full briefing within the next couple of hours,” Meadows said.
Biden also weighed in on the shooting on Monday to call for an investigation.
“Yesterday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back as police attempted to restrain him from getting into his car. His children watched from inside the car and bystanders watched in disbelief. And this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force. This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.”
We’re nearly one week out from primary day in Massachusetts
And the Bay State’s Democratic Senate primary between Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy is heating up, but this time, it’s their campaign managers that are going head to head.
It all started Monday morning when Kennedy’s campaign manager Nick Clemons sent an email to Markey’s campaign manager John Wash, calling on him to denounce online attacks from self-described Markey supporters online. Members of the press were BCCed on the note.
“You and I are both campaign veterans. We know that supporters get passionate. We know that in the heat of an election, things get sharp,” Clemons wrote. “But we also know that at the end of the day, the buck stops with the candidate and his or her campaign. We have both the opportunity and the responsibility to set the tone for our supporters to follow.”
“We are requesting a personal and public statement from Senator Markey himself instructing his followers to immediately end the attacks on Joe’s supporters, the threats to Joe and his family’s life, and the destruction of Kennedy for Massachusetts campaign materials and property.”
Walsh responded on Twitter, saying the senator’s campaign had called out attacks, and urged the Kennedy campaign to focus on the issues.
“Instead of more disingenuous political stunts, the Kennedy campaign should join ours in closing out the race discussing solutions to the real injustices people face – Medicare For All, the Green New Deal, racial and economic justice – as Senator Markey has done since day one,” Walsh said in a series of tweets.
Meanwhile, another candidate appears to be making a last ditch effort in the Bay State’s Senate race…
Vermin Supreme, a mainstay of neighboring New Hampshire presidential politics who has promised a pony for every American (yes, ponies) if elected, announced he was launching a write-in campaign for Senate under the Libertarian Party.
“The disaffected, disenfranchised, and disempowered people of Massachusetts deserve a better choice for representation,” Supreme tweeted, with an… interesting video attached.
The disaffected, disenfranchised, and disempowered people of Massachusetts deserve a better choice for representation.
— Vermin Supreme (TM) (@VerminSupreme) August 24, 2020
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