5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Democrats win turnout battle in Tuesday primaries

  • Trump revokes security clearance for former CIA Director John Brennan

  • Manafort trial enters closing arguments

  • Generic ballot polls find solid Democratic advantage

  • Report: Pentagon spokeswoman investigated for retaliating against aides

Democrats outperformed Republicans with regards to turnout in all four states that held primary elections Tuesday, boosting the party's hopes for a blue wave this fall. NBC News specifically cited Wisconsin as a troubling sign for Republicans: Democratic voters outnumbered Republicans by nearly 82,000 in the Badger State on Tuesday, despite the ultra-competitive GOP Senate primary there. Minnesota, Connecticut, and Vermont also held primaries Tuesday. In Minnesota, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty lost the Republican gubernatorial primary to underdog Jeff Johnson, while Rep. Keith Ellison won the Democratic primary for state attorney general just days after he was accused of domestic abuse. Christine Hallquist won Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial primary, becoming the first transgender candidate to win a major party's nomination for governor.

Source: The Week, NBC News

President Trump has revoked security clearance for John Brennan, the former director of the CIA. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the decision Wednesday, reading a statement from Trump at the press briefing that claimed Brennan had displayed "erratic conduct," including "wild outbursts on the internet and television." Brennan has been a frequent critic of Trump. Per Sanders, the White House is additionally considering rescinding clearance for other officials, such as former FBI agent Peter Strzok; former national security officials Susan Rice, James Clapper, and Michael Hayden; and current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Sanders denied that revoking the security clearances was a form of retaliation against those who have chosen to publicly criticize Trump.

Source: CBS News, The Week

The federal trial against Paul Manafort entered closing arguments Wednesday. Manafort faces 18 counts on charges including tax evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud, and prosecutor Greg Andres summed up the defendant's conduct: "Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and lied to get more money when he didn't." Manafort's defense rested Tuesday without presenting a case or calling any witness; in his closing argument Wednesday, defense lawyer Richard Westling said, "Sitting here today, Mr. Manafort is innocent. ... If you are thinking this evidence adds up to something, you shouldn't." Special Counsel Robert Mueller's prosecuting team spent two weeks laying out its case, including testimony from Manafort's former bookkeeper and former top aide Rick Gates.

Source: Fox News, HuffPost

Just one day after another round of primary elections, two polls found Democrats enjoying a solid lead over Republicans on the generic ballot. Per a CNN/SSRS poll released Wednesday, if congressional elections were held today, 52 percent of registered voters would pick the Democratic candidate compared to just 41 percent who would choose the Republican. A second poll, from Quinnipiac, found similar results albeit with a slightly slimmer margin, with 51 percent of respondents opting for the Democrat and 42 percent for the Republican. Democrats are banking on their generic ballot lead to translate to victory come fall, and they're additionally hoping to benefit from high voter turnout. Back in June, a nationwide poll using a generic ballot found Democrats with an 8-point lead.

Source: Quinnipiac University, CNN

The Defense Department's inspector general launched an investigation into Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, after receiving multiple complaints that she retaliated against staff members who once ran her personal errands, four people familiar with the matter tell CNN. White, one of Defense Secretary James Mattis' most senior civilian advisers, allegedly asked support staff to pick up her dry cleaning, buy things for her at the pharmacy, work on her mortgage application, and give her a ride to work when it snowed. Several people told CNN that in May, at least two staffers complained to senior officials and not long after, White retaliated by having them transferred. The investigation began weeks ago, CNN reports.

Source: CNN
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