How Donald Trump’s ‘Rigged’ Election Prediction Might Help Him

PHOTO: Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 1, 2016. In a packed convention center, in Columbus, Ohio, Donald Trump divulged what he called one of his greatest fears.

“First of all, it [the primary season] was rigged, and I’m afraid the [general] election is going to be rigged. I have to be honest. Because I think my side was rigged,” he said last week of the Republican presidential primaries. “If I didn’t win by massive landslides — I mean, think of what we won in New York, Indiana, California 78 percent. That’s with other people in the race, but think of it.”

He shared a similar sentiment in Davenport, Iowa, Thursday.

“Now we have one left, one left, one left,” he said, referring to his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. “And in theory, in theory, it should be the easiest, but it’s a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system. The elections are rigged.”

Manic Monday: A Timeline of Trump’s Whirlwind Day

Trump was known during the primary season for decrying the process as corrupt, railing against the party for undermining him, as he saw it, and claiming that the delegate system worked against him as a party outsider.

It became a rallying cry with many of his supporters who agreed that he was not getting a fair chance. He ultimately felled his primary challengers and became the Republican nominee.

But in these recent comments, he is not only laying the groundwork for explaining a possible loss but also heading down a more pernicious path, instilling in voters a sense that the electoral process is fraudulent and will not work for them.

It’s not an unprecedented claim for him to make. In 2012, after Republican then-nominee Mitt Romney lost his bid, Trump went on a Twitter spree. In a tweet now deleted (but archived, thanks to Salon), he said of President Barack Obama, “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!”

And another:

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Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!

  • 6,3596,359 Retweets

  • 1,7221,722 likes

But this time, his claims are personal and could work to great effect.

Political strategist Roger Stone is a confidant of Trump’s but has no formal role in the campaign; the two men, according to sources, speak occasionally. Stone gave an interview toBreitbart News this week in which he laid out how labeling the election as corrupt could help Trump.

“I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly,” Stone said. “He needs to say, for example, today would be a perfect example, ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.'”

In an interview with ABC News, Stone, a longtime political consultant, said Trump’s discussing voter fraud is “absolutely” a smart strategy.

“If you raise this question after you’ve been cheated, everybody will say you’re only challenging the election because you lost. I think you have to get the American people used to the idea that this is a possibility,” Stone said.

He said he believes that voter fraud exists in both parties.

But there is very little evidence to suggest widespread voter fraud in general elections.

ABC News contacted Romney’s legal team and the Republican National Committee, and neither provided examples of a rigged system in 2012 or other years.

Also, elections are overseen in 40 states by a secretary of state or lieutenant governor; 25 of them are Republican, and 15 are Democrats, according to Election Line, a nonpartisan, nonadvocacy clearinghouse of election information.

David Becker, an election expert at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said, “In 20 years covering elections, I have not seen anything less than the highest level of professionalism by election officials across the country. The voters can feel secure that the results they see on election night represent the true will of the people.”

Others agreed. “I’m not quite sure exactly what Mr. Trump had in mind with this statement, but whatever he meant, there is no realistic possibility of the 2016 general election being rigged,” said Daniel Tokaji of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. “Voter fraud is extremely uncommon — nowhere near the scale that would change the result of a presidential election in any realistic scenario.”

But Trump’s supporters are fiercely loyal to him, so simply suggesting the possibility of voter fraud could be enough to cast widespread doubt on the results and in the democratic process itself.

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What Would Donald Trump’s Department Of Justice Look Like?

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C.The Department of Justice has broad-ranging powers to decide who gets prosecuted with the full weight of the federal government. And some of the rhetoric used on the campaign trail this year, especially by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, worries some department veterans about the possibility of major political interference in law enforcement by the next administration.

“I think his campaign has demonstrated that he has the intent actually to potentially improperly influence judicial or prosecutorial matters,” said Carrie Cordero, who worked as a career national security lawyer in the department.

Cordero said she’s bothered by Trump’s repeated attacks on the Mexican heritage and alleged bias of a judge hearing a civil fraud case against Trump University. Other Justice Department analysts said Trump may have crossed another line last May, when he used an appearance on Fox News to single out Jeff Bezos, the owner of theWashington Post, for possible scrutiny of antitrust and tax issues at his Web retailer Amazon after the Post published negative stories about him.

Cordero also cited statements by Trump associates calling for his political opponent to face criminal charges. The Justice Department announced last month it would file no criminal charges against Democrat Hillary Clinton or her aides after the FBI director concluded “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring such a case based on the facts and the law.

But that decision remains unpopular with many Republicans at last month’s convention. New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, who’s playing a big role in the Trump campaign, used his speech there to build a case against Clinton.

“We cannot make the chief law enforcement officer of the United States someone who has risked America’s secrets and lied to the American people about it day after day after day,” said Christie, a former federal prosecutor, before asking the crowd to render a decision.

“What’s your verdict, guilty or not guilty?” Christie continued. “Guilty,” the crowd roared.

The wall between politics and prosecutions

Decisions to bring criminal charges are supposed to be insulated from politics at the Department of Justice so that no one with improper motives uses law enforcement for his or her own ends.

“The most awesome power that the federal government has over the day-to-day lives of people is not through the intelligence community and is not through the military. It’s through the Department of Justice,” said Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who closely follows the agency and edits the website Lawfare.

Wittes said the “tremendous” sweep of the federal prosecutor is not a new idea. In fact, he pointed out, former Attorney General Robert H. Jackson first addressed the topic in the Justice Department’s Great Hall in April 1940.

Since there are so many laws on the books, and not enough investigators to sort through all of the allegations of wrongdoing, Jackson said where authorities choose to train their limited resources matters a great deal.

“Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted,” he added.

The bottom line is, a lot of justice is about judgment. And history suggests people in the White House haven’t always respected those lines.

In October 1973, then-President Richard Nixon built momentum for his own impeachment when he fired special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox in the notorious “Saturday Night Massacre.” People from across the nation sent a flood of supportive telegrams, urging lawyers and investigators to continue digging into misconduct by the president and his allies.

Eventually, a new attorney general imposed limits on contacts between the White House and the Justice Department. Those limits mostly stood intact for 30 years. Then, a new controversy emerged: the Inspector General concluded that department officials in the George W. Bush administration had repeatedly and improperly used a “political litmus test” to hire prosecutors and judges for nonpartisan, career posts.

As happened a generation before, a new Republican attorney general ultimately took the reins, set out new rules, and steered the Justice Department past the trouble.

Some Republicans worry about a Clinton Justice Department

Republicans who served in the Justice Department said it’s ironic to issue dire warnings about a possible Trump administration when Democrats have their own appearance problems separating politics from law enforcement.

They cited a series of campaign finance and public corruption scandals during the administration of former President Bill Clinton, and allegations the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status during the Obama years. A Justice Department probe of the IRS actions ended with no charges, concluding “poor management is not a crime.” Many conservatives remain outraged at that decision.

“I’ve just watched the current Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, meet with former President Clinton on her plane and in clear violation of the ethics rules not recuse herself from an investigation immediately, not do the right thing,” said Mark Corallo, a former spokesman in the Department of Justice during the George W. Bush administration.

Corallo pointed out that just like Trump’s business interests, the Clinton family foundation is also a source of intense scrutiny. He said he followed a series of campaign finance investigations into government officials during Bill Clinton’s White House years, and he’s not eager to return to those days.

Ultimately, Corallo said, there’s no chance any Justice Department will be completely free of politics. But he said he’s confident people there can filter out their opinions and follow the rule of law, just as they have done for decades.

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Chris Christie criticizes Trump’s comments on Muslim-American parents

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized Donald Trump’s comments attacking the parents of a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq. Christie says the family has the right to say “whatever they want.”

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Will Smith Doesn’t Understand How People Can Support Donald Trump

Actor Will Smith attends the 'Suicide Squad' world premiere at The Beacon Theatre on August 1, 2016 in New York City.The Suicide Squad actor is not happy with how the Republican nominee refers to women
Will Smith is definitely not a fan of Donald Trump. During a recent interview with news.com.au, he expressed his outrage over the way the Republican nominee talks about women, specifically denouncing an incident during a GOP presidential debate when Trump called Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig.”

“For a man to be able to publicly refer to a woman as a fat pig, that makes me teary,” Smith said. “And for people to applaud, that is absolutely f—king insanity to me. My grandmother would have smacked my teeth out of my head if I had referred to a woman as a fat pig. And I cannot understand how people can clap for that. It’s absolutely collective insanity. If one of my sons — I am getting furious just thinking about it — if one of my sons said that in a public place, they couldn’t even live in my house anymore.”

The Suicide Squad star went on to say that he believes this view on women will prevent Trump from becoming the next president. “For me, deep down in my heart, I believe that America won’t and we can’t [elect Trump],” he said. “Of all the things he has said — and we could go through the laundry list — that was the one that was such an absolute illustration of a darkness of his soul. I just cannot figure out how people can clap for that…So, we are not even going to pretend it is going to happen. I have faith in America. America has had really critical times but the good [people] tend to make their way to the top.”

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Warren Buffett challenges Donald Trump to discuss tax returns

Warren Buffett challenged Donald Trump Monday to discuss their tax returns publicly.

“I’ll bring my tax return. He can bring his tax return…Just let people ask us questions about items on there,” Buffett said in his introduction of Hillary Clinton at an Omaha rally. “Nobody is going to arrest us. There are no rules against showing your tax returns.”

The Omaha billionaire said he’s willing to meet Trump any where and any time before Election Day to let the public inquire about their tax filings. Tax returns reveal a lot more about a person’s finances than financial statements do, Buffett said.

Trump has resisted releasing his returns, saying he is being audited by the IRS. This breaks with the longstanding tradition that presidential candidates release at least some recent tax returns. It’s also unclear whether Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate who is Indiana’s governor, will make his returns public.

Related: Nixon released his tax returns under audit. Why can’t Trump?

Many experts, however, say that being audited doesn’t stop Trump from revealing his returns.

Buffett acknowledged that he, too, is under audit, but said that’s not a reason to withhold tax returns.

Related: Will the public get to see Mike Pence’s tax returns?

The only reason to keep your tax return private is if you have something to hide, Buffett said.

“You’re only afraid if you’ve got something to be afraid about,” he said. “He’s not afraid because of the IRS. He’s afraid because of you.”

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Donald Trump Ducks Tax Disclosure

As Donald Trump’s tweets pile one atop another, generating sensational headlines, issues of true substance are tending to get lost in the shuffle. None is more important for voters to keep in mind than the failure of Mr. Trump to disclose his full income tax returns, something he is not likely to do by Election Day.

He is the first major party candidate since 1976 — since Watergate, essentially — to deny voters that vital measure of credibility. It is not required by law that candidates furnish their returns. But Americans have come to expect it.

The interest in Mr. Trump’s case is particularly high. He is running for the White House partly as a business wizard, but is he really as rich and talented as he boasts? Is he as philanthropic as he claims with his reputed billions? Has he truly no conflicts of interest in Russia, whose computer hackers he has bizarrely invited to spy on Hillary Clinton, his campaign rival?

These questions are of Mr. Trump’s own making, and a timely release of his tax returns would provide some answers. “There’s nothing to learn from them,” he tried to insist in May, arguing that he would not make the returns public until after an Internal Revenue Service audit is complete.

But the I.R.S. says Mr. Trump is free to release the returns at any time and to defend their accuracy, just as President Richard Nixon did while he was undergoing an audit. In the past, Mr. Trump has not hesitated to attack the I.R.S. as “very unfair,” but now he stands before the voters using the agency as a shield against disclosure.

We can only imagine how livid the Trump tweets would be if Mrs. Clinton were failing to meet this standard of campaign transparency. She has posted eight years of tax returns on her campaign website for all to see.

Mr. Trump’s contention that there’s nothing to learn from his tax returns should be a red alert to voters. Four years ago, Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, resisted disclosure, and Mr. Trump was among those pressing him to release his returns. When Mr. Romney finally complied, voters were surprised to discover that his effective tax rate was 14 percent — well below the official 35 percent rate for those in his top bracket. When asked about his own tax rate, Mr. Trump snapped: “None of your business.”

Appearing last week on Fox TV, Mr. Trump looked back and rued the Romney disclosure, declaring, “He might have lost the election over that.” Might Mr. Trump be worried about how his own returns would look to voters? He brags that he aims to pay as little in taxes as possible under the law, which probably means claiming tax breaks that ordinary voters do not exercise. In 1981, a report by New Jersey gambling regulators showed Mr. Trump had not paid any taxes for two years in the 1970s because he could report negative income as a developer.

The voters deserve to know what Mr. Trump is hiding, particularly considering his history of bankruptcies, the government investigations of Trump University and other dodgy parts of his branded universe. As the campaign rolls toward the fall, pressure will grow on Mr. Trump to be far more transparent than he has been. Responding with another pithy tweet won’t do.

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President Obama: Donald Trump Is ‘Unfit to Serve as President’

PHOTO: President Barack Obama and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (not pictured) speak during a press conference at the White House in Washington, Aug. 2, 2016. President Obama said today that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is “unfit to serve as president.”

In a press conference with Singapore’s prime minister, Obama added that Trump has shown he is not up to the task, in light of his handle on foreign affairs and his comments on military families.

“The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia means that he is woefully unprepared to do this job,” the president said at the White House.

Trump has come under fire in recent days for controversial comments he made about the family of fallen Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004. Khan’s father, Khizr, took on the Republican presidential nominee in a speech at the Democratic National Convention last week, criticizing him for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and suggesting Trump has “sacrificed nothing and no one.”

In an interview Sunday with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump criticized Khizr Khan’s wife for standing silently next to her husband at the convention and tried to defend himself against Khan’s accusations.

“I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot,” Trump said.

Trump later tweeted, “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same – Nice!”

Republicans leaders, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, have since praised the Khan family and other Gold Star families for their sacrifices, but they have not withdrawn their support for Trump.

The president said Republican denunciations of Trump “ring hollow” as leaders in the GOP continue to endorse him.

“There has to come a point at which you say, ‘Enough,'” Obama said.

“The question that I think that they have to ask themselves is, if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him? What does this say about your party that this is your standard bearer?” Obama said. “This isn’t a situation where you have an episodic gaffe. This is daily and weekly where they are distancing themselves from statements he’s making.”

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Donald Trump is not upset Melania’s nude photos surfaced

melania_-_copie_21Donald Trump’s campaign on Sunday defended hiswife’s old nude photos as an artful “celebration of the human body” and added that the Republican presidential nominee isn’t upset by their publication in The Post.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller noted that the shots of Melania Trump were taken before the couple knew each other.

“They’re a celebration of the human body as art, and [there’s] nothing to be embarrassed about with the photos. She’s a beautiful woman,” Miller told CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

In March, Trump retweeted an unflattering photo of rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, in response to a pro-Cruz group circulating a shot of Melania posing in the buff as a model.

Asked whether Trump was upset over the release of the latest images, Miller said the billionaire was “a little more focused on the direction of the country and what we need to do to get it turned around.”

GOP consultant Ed Rollins, who managed President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign, predicted the nudes would have virtually no impact on Trump’s chances.

He noted that “the Christian right has made adjustments” and supports Trump even though he fathered a child out of wedlock and got married three times.

Miller also denied any potential fallout.

“We’re in an era where the Kardashians have thrown everything in our face. No one will be talking about this in a week,” he said.

Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who worked for President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, likewise said voters “will be more focused on what Donald Trump says than what his wife looks like.”

“Her beauty can’t save Donald Trump from his own mouth,” Sheinkopf quipped.

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Is Donald Trump Good for Space?

Donald Trump And Mike Pence Hold Town Hall In Scranton, PAMaking America great again is only the start—next comes the galaxy
Klingons don’t vote in American elections. Nor do Romulans or Venusians or any other interplanetary constituencies. That’s too bad, because like it or not, they’ve got skin (even if it’s blue and heavily feathered skin) in the game. At least they do now that Donald Trump has weighed in on the American space program.

During a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on July 27, he was asked specifically about space and responded with Trumpian succinctness: “Honestly I think NASA is wonderful! America has always led the world in space exploration.” It was not quite in keeping with the spirit of Reddit, which encourages fuller responses; at 89 characters (including spaces) the answer still had breathing room before it could even be a full Tweet. But give Trump this: they were 89 very good characters.

NASA has indeed always brought the wonderfulness, even if the comparative pan scrapings that are its current budget make the glorious missions of the old Apollo days impossible. What’s more, not counting the first few years of the space race, when the U.S. was eating the U.S.S.R.’s space dust, Trump is right that America has long led the world in space exploration. It would be hard for an intelligent alien who flew through the solar system not to notice that the overwhelming majority of the spaceships on or around all of the planets have some starry, stripey logo on the side.

But Trump hasn’t always shown space the love. In a New Hampshire town hall meeting last November, he said, “In the old days, [NASA] was great. Right now, we have bigger problems. We have to fix our potholes.” In a May, 2016 issue of Aerospace America, he responded to a question about NASA funding with, “Our first priority is to restore a strong economic base to this country. Then, we can have a discussion about spending.”

But the prospect of a powerful cosmic Trump ultimately turns on the same question as the prospect of a powerful terrestrial Trump: Does he have the ideas and the temperament to lead? For starters, let’s consider the wall.

If Trump wants to protect America’s southern border, he would surely want to devote the same kind of attention to Earth’s cosmic borders. Of course, a wall along the Earth-Mars boundary-line would be a teensy bit longer than the 1,989-mile one separating the U.S. and Mexico, since basically you need to seal the entire outer orbit. Here a little geometry helps: Earth is an average of 93 million miles from the sun so a simple 2πr ciphering gives you a 584 million mile wall. That’s a lot of Mexican pesos or Martian mars-os or whatever currency you’re expecting someone else to pony up.

What’s more, if you know Venus like Trump surely knows Venus, well, we’d better secure our inner orbit too—so that’s another 584 million miles. Of course, the truth is you could always go over or under either wall, but that’d be true of one along the Mexican border too, wouldn’t it?

Ultimately though, it might be best for earthlings to keep Donald Trump to ourselves. He may be a bright orange, poorly understood life form, but he’s our bright orange, poorly understood life form. And we do have our cosmic reputations to think about.

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Joe Biden says Donald Trump ‘has no clue. Period.’

Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.PHILADELPHIA — Vice President Joe Biden soberly warned voters Wednesday about the risks of electing Donald Trump, contending no major party nominee “has ever known less or been less prepared” to lead the United States abroad.

Biden walked on stage to the “Rocky” theme and chants of his first name before quieting applause and lowering his voice to rebuke Trump. Biden criticized the Republican presidential nominee for “exploiting our fears.” He bashed Trump for trying to connect with blue collar workers, saying his reality show catchphrase “you’re fired” shows his “lack of empathy and compassion.”

“This guy doesn’t have a clue about the middle class. Not a clue … He has no clue about what makes America great. Actually he has no clue. Period,” Biden said at the Democratic National Convention, prompting standing applause and a chant of “not a clue!”

Some in the Democratic Party would have preferred to see Biden accepting the nomination this week instead of Hillary Clinton, the woman he endorsed Wednesday. The 73-year-old Biden considered running for president but announced in October he would not after the death of his 46-year-old son Beau.

Voters have generally held a more favorable view of Biden than Clinton. Biden previously represented Delaware in the Senate and got the nickname “Middle Class Joe” for riding the Amtrak between Washington, D.C. and Delaware.

Biden spoke slowly and scanned the Wells Fargo Center as he gave thanks for the support after his son died of brain cancer last year.

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. I’ve been made strong at the broken places,” Biden said.

“We talk about, we think about the countless thousands of other people who’ve suffered so much more than we have with so much less support…but they get up.”

Biden backed Clinton, calling her a “tough” and “smart” woman who has “always been there.” The vice president, who has worked on health care and sexual assault prevention initiatives during his time in office, said he understands the policies Clinton is passionate about.

Biden cited her support for affordable college, expanded health care and boosting wages for workers.

“To state the obvious, and I’m not trying to be a wise guy, that’s not Donald Trump’s story,” Biden said to laughter.

Biden added that he is more optimistic about the United States than when he was first elected to the Senate in his late 20s. He contended that America would not give into the “fear” stirred up by Trump.

Said Biden: “We do not scare easily. We never bow, we never bend, we never break.”

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