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July 21 2016 11:12 PM

Donald Trump Begins Presidential Nomination Speech by Almost Patting His Daughter’s Butt

Donald Trump, proud father:

And from another angle:

“Yeah, she's really something, and what a beauty, that one,” Trump told a Rolling Stone reporter who had complimented Ivanka last fall. “If I weren't happily married and, ya know, her father....”

July 21 2016 10:50 PM

Reince Priebus Tells Inspirational Story of GM Exec Who Helped Fuel Nazi War Effort

In his speech at the Republican convention on Thursday night, RNC chairman Reince Priebus told “a little-known story of American greatness.” The subject of this story was General Motors president William Knudsen. Here’s how Priebus told it:

July 21 2016 10:39 PM

It’s Really Happening

This just happened.

May God forgive us all.

July 21 2016 10:22 PM

Trump Campaign Says FBI Crime Stats Are Wrong Because … Hillary?

If the leaked draft of Donald Trump's RNC speech is accurate, the Republican nominee is going to imply Thursday night that the threat of being violently attacked is the most pressing problem facing U.S. citizens:

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement ... The first task for our new Administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their communities.

While violence does, obviously, take place in the United States, making crime the centerpiece of a 2016 presidential campaign is a somewhat surprising choice given that America has on the whole been getting steadily safer for more than two decades. Here are stats from the FBI, whose numbers are generally considered the starting point for any discussion of the issue:

The Trump campaign has an answer for this problem, it appears: arguing that the FBI is no longer trustworthy because it did not recommend prosecuting Hillary Clinton. You can see campaign manager Paul Manafort making that case to Jake Tapper on CNN in the video above; here's a partial transcript.

TAPPER: Now crime, obviously, violent crime, horrific, but just empirically, according to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades. How can Republicans make the argument that somehow it's more dangerous today when the facts don't back that up?
MANAFORT: People don't feel safe in their neighborhoods. I'm not sure what statistics that you're talking about but I know for a fact the information we see—
TAPPER [or another off-screen voice]: FBI statistics.
MANFORT: Well, the FBI is certainly suspect after what they just did with Hillary Clinton, but as far as crime in the neighborhood is concerned, people don't feel safe.

And there you go—the FBI's findings, which go back decades and have been compiled under both Republican and Democratic presidents, are suspect because Hillary Clinton was not prosecuted for keeping her State Department email on a private server.

July 21 2016 9:33 PM

RNC Live Blog: Trump Took an Extraordinarily Long Time to Accept the GOP Nomination

Welcome to Slate’s Republican National Convention live blog, where our team will be sharing insights and analysis during the convention's final day.

July 21 2016 9:16 PM

The Story Behind the Most Odious Line in Trump’s Republican Convention Speech

A draft version of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention appeared online ahead of the address on Thursday. That draft was a tour de force of fearmongering, demagoguery, and anger.

One line in the speech stood out, though. In January, a young woman was killed in Nebraska after an undocumented immigrant who was street-racing with a blood alcohol level of three times over the legal limit crashed his car into hers. The speech describes the incident:

“One ... border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years-old, and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law.”

Then, Trump puts the blame squarely on President Barack Obama and suggests that this one case demonstrates the need to enact his proposed policy of deporting 12 million undocumented immigrants. The language he uses to do this is stark and ugly. It is the most odious line in the entire speech (italics are mine):

I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family. But to this administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.

Yes, Trump goes full “child sacrifice” in the biggest moment of his life. Putting aside the grotesquery of Trump’s framing—trying to find a policy to accommodate this nation’s millions of undocumented immigrants equals the ritualistic killing of children—what is the story of Sarah Root?

Root had just graduated from Bellevue University with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in investigations when Eswin Mejia, 19, of Honduras crashed into her car. His blood alcohol level was .241. Root died in the hospital a short time later.

According to Fox News, Immigration and Customs Enforcement encountered Mejia in May 2013 in Nogales, Arizona, when he was 16, and designated him as an unaccompanied child before sending him to Omaha in 2014 to live with his brother.

After Root’s death, Mejia was let out of jail on bond in early February and then fled—he is now on ICE’s most-wanted list. The Omaha World-Herald documented the “systemic failure,” from the local to the federal level, that led to Mejia’s flight from justice.

On a scale of 1 to 7, Mejia was listed as just a 2-level flight risk despite being from another country and not a U.S. citizen.

Douglas County Judge Jeff Marcuzzo set Mejia’s bail at just 10 percent of $50,000, so he only needed to post $5,000 to secure his release.

No prosecutor objected to this bail amount.

Root’s father asked a police investigator about the bail amount on repeated occasions, and the police investigator repeatedly called ICE to request that Mejia be detained “due to bond amount and elevated flight risk.”

ICE denied those requests and has given a number of ex post facto explanations. In an initial statement, it said this: “[Mejia] did not meet ICE’s enforcement priorities ... because he had no prior significant misdemeanor or felony conviction record.”

Mejia, however, had failed to appear in court for driving the wrong way on a one-way street and an arrest for driving without a valid driver’s license. He had an outstanding warrant and had twice failed to appear in court.

Nonetheless, he went free and is now a fugitive. ICE deputy director Dan Ragsdale has essentially since said that this was a mistake. “Simply put, Eswin Mejia should be in custody,” Ragsdale told Omaha ABC affiliate KETV. “I have made it clear to the ICE field office that similarly situated aliens should be subject to enforcement action.”

“This answer isn’t good enough, so we’re going to expect something different,” Root’s father Scott said.

Indeed, the family is upset with the response, and the mother Michelle met with Trump after he gave a speech in Iowa in May, in which he said about Sarah’s death, "you had a horrible killing here in Omaha, we don't have to go into it ... illegal immigration." Michelle Root now supports Trump, having twice voted for Obama, and is pushing for congressional action called Sarah’s Law that would require ICE to hold in custody any undocumented immigrant who is charged with a crime that resulted in a death or serious bodily injury.

Merits of Sarah’s Law and the tragedy of her story aside, the way Trump’s speech uses her death is one of the greatest shames of this convention.

July 21 2016 8:52 PM

Women Will Vote for Trump Because Their Husbands Can’t Pay the Bills, Trump Adviser Says

In a continuation of the Trump campaign's record of brilliant and successful outreach to female voters, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort helpfully explained to Chris Matthews just why Donald Trump is sure to win the support of American women this evening on Hardball:

July 21 2016 8:43 PM

Cartoonish Olympic Terror Plot Involving Martial Arts Thwarted in Brazil

Brazilian officials arrested 10 members of an Islamist organization on Thursday who were plotting a terrorist attack on the Olympic Games being held in Rio de Janeiro next month. The suspects, who are all Brazilian citizens, are part of a group called Defenders of Sharia. The Brazilian justice minister described the group as “absolutely amateur” and poorly organized in its support of ISIS.

The preparations for the Games have been fraught with controversy, and while terrorism is now a common and ever-present worry at global events like the Olympics, the biggest safety concern has been crime. The arrests have refocused attention on the possibility of terrorism in Brazil, which has struggled to put the finishing infrastructural touches on the Olympic Games.

Despite the terror warning shot, in this case the arrested men seem to be almost comically inept. None of the men knew one another other and each assumed Arabic code names, despite scant connection to the Arab world. The group’s general plan, according to the justice minister, was: "Let's start training in martial arts, let's start learning how to shoot.” They were reportedly trying to buy guns from Paraguay, but it's unclear how far along in the process the group was. “It’s hard to call them terrorists,” the federal judge overseeing the case said. “But even though they don’t have a very solid organization, the arrests are warranted from a legal point of view.”

July 21 2016 7:47 PM

The Thursday Slatest Newsletter

Today's biggest stories:

Have a good night out there.

July 21 2016 6:51 PM

Here’s a Leaked Draft of Trump’s RNC Speech

This is a leaked draft of Donald Trump's RNC acceptance speech. Enjoy!

Friends, delegates and fellow Americans: I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order.
Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.
Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims.
I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.
The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.
It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation.
I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.

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