The Slatest
Your News Companion

June 24 2016 10:45 AM

Nationalist Presidential Candidate Praises "Proud Germans"

Donald Trump, who's in Scotland, reacted to the calamitous Brexit vote mostly by talking about how it would affect his golf course. But he also took a few moments to ruminate on the impact the "Leave" win would have elsewhere in Europe; speculating (not unreasonably) that other anti-immigrant parties would be emboldened. His comment on Germany in particular was ... interesting.

1. One of Trump's campaign slogans is "America First," which was also the name of a 1930s and 1940s U.S. political movement known for its advocates' admiration for Hitler and open anti-Semitism.

2. "To a level you wouldn't believe?" Oh, I'm sure we would believe it. We would most definitely believe that Germans could have a lot of German pride—too much of it, even.

June 24 2016 10:04 AM

Brexit Could Trigger the Breakup of the United Kingdom

Following his country’s stunning vote to withdraw from the European Union, a triumphant Nigel Farage, leader of the pro-Brexit U.K. Independence Party, proclaimed Thursday night that “a dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom.” But thanks to this result, the kingdom may not be united for much longer.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said this morning that Scotland sees its future firmly in the EU and that it is “democratically unacceptable” that the country will be removed from the union against its will. “We proved that we are a modern, outward-looking, and inclusive country, and we said clearly that we do not want to leave the European Union,” she said. “I am determined to do what it takes to make sure these aspirations are realized.”

Scots voted 62 to 38 percent against the Brexit on Thursday, with “Remain” winning all 32 council areas in the country. Sturgeon said another referendum on Scottish independence is “highly likely.”

Scotland last held an independence referendum in 2014, voting 55 to 45 percent to remain in the United Kingdom. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party has maintained that it would hold another referendum if there were a “significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014.” Thursday night’s vote was about as significant a change as you can imagine.

The last time around, EU officials were skeptical about the idea that Scotland could declare independence and simply remain a member state, suggesting that as a new country, it would have to apply for membership and wait its turn along with Albania, Serbia, and other wannabe members. It seems very possible, though, that the eurocrats may be friendlier to the notion of Scotland keeping its membership this time around, if only to stick it to the English.

Fallout from Brexit will definitely raise the stakes for Scottish independence. For one thing, the pro-Brexit British government likely to take the place of the departing David Cameron, is likely to enact more restrictive immigration and asylum policies. An independent Scotland, on the other hand, will probably to go in the opposite direction and could even join the EU’s passport-free travel zone, the Schengen Area. If that happens, what’s to stop EU workers and non-European immigrants from using independent Scotland as a stepping stone to travel to the rest of Britain? The idea of physical border controls between Scotland and England, two countries that have been united since 1707, still seems pretty unfathomable, but we’re in a brave new world today.

The consequences for Northern Ireland, which voted 56 to 44 percent to remain and is the only part of the U.K. that has a land border with the EU, could be even more serious. EU integration has been critical to the peace that has mostly prevailed in the region since the 1990s, after years of sectarian violence. Thanks to the EU, Northern Ireland has been able to remain under British rule, while still enjoying free commerce and unencumbered travel to the Republic of Ireland. Also thanks to the EU, which state Northern Ireland is a part of simply didn’t matter quite as much. Additionally, Northern Ireland has received billions of pounds in funding from the EU, helping it attract growing tourist, IT, and—thanks to Game of Thrones—film production industries, after decades of economic stagnation.

In the lead-up to the Brexit vote, Cameron had warned that withdrawal from the EU could lead to the reimposition of border controls between Northern Ireland and the republic. This morning, Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, a member of the republican Sinn Fein party, called for a vote on pulling Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and uniting it with the Republic.

That seems unlikely to happen, but the vote has already added another fault line to Northern Ireland’s already polarized politics. If Protestants and Catholics go back to arguing about which country they should be a part of, rather than just how to share power, it doesn’t bode well for Northern Ireland’s hard-won and fragile peace and stability.

June 24 2016 9:57 AM

Donald Trump Celebrates How Great Brexit Will Be for His Golf Business

Britain’s surprising vote to leave the European Union had immediate repercussions on Friday, both at home, where the British pound plummeted and Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would resign, and around the globe, where stock markets are in turmoil. Donald Trump, meanwhile, greeted the news like only Donald Trump could: by celebrating that it would be good for his golf business.

“When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly,” Trump told reporters in Scotland, where he was to mark the opening of his Trump Turnberry golf resort, and where, it should be noted, a majority of Scottish voters were in the “Remain” camp. “For traveling and for other things,” Trump added, “I think it very well could turn out to be a positive.”

Trump’s reaction to the news wasn’t only about his golf course, of course; it was also about his electoral chances this November. “I think it's a great thing that's happened. It's an amazing vote, very historic,” the presumptive GOP nominee said. “People are angry all over the world. They're angry over borders, they're angry over people coming into the country and taking over and nobody even knows who they are. They're angry about many, many things in the U.K., the U.S., and many other places. This will not be the last.”

And just in case the sight of a major U.S. presidential candidate holding a promotional event in the U.K. the day after it voted to leave the European Union wasn’t bizarre enough, there were also Nazi-themed golf balls.

June 24 2016 8:55 AM

Bernie Sanders: “Yes,” I’ll Vote for Hillary Clinton

Bernie Sanders on Friday said that he will vote for Hillary Clinton this fall. “Yes,” the Vermont senator said when asked the question on MSNBC. “I think the issue right here is: I’m gonna do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump.”

Bernie, though, also made it clear that he has no plans to officially end his campaign before Democrats arrive in Philadelphia later this summer. “What my job right now is,” he said, “is fight for the strongest possible platform at the Democratic convention.” Nonetheless, his admission that he plans to vote for his rival is the latest—and most direct—acknowledgement that the primary race is indeed over. (The furthest Sanders would go during a lengthy C-SPAN interview on Wednesday was to concede, “It doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee.”)

It turns out, nothing brings a party together quite like campaigning against a race-baiting demagogue who poses a unique danger to the world.

June 24 2016 7:52 AM

David Cameron Will Resign as U.K. Prime Minister Before October

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will resign within the next four months, after UK voters expressed a narrow preference for leaving the European Union in yesterday's referendum.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street a few hours after the results were announced, Cameron said he had informed the Queen and would remain on-hand to "steady the ship." The Brexit triumph has sent the pound to a 30-year low against the dollar, and put the political future of the United Kingdom in question.

"The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected," he said. "The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered."

It marks a shocking end to his tenure. Elected in 2010, Cameron had already steered the UK through one existential crisis, in 2014, in the form of a Scottish independence vote. But in an attempt to hold his party together through last year's general election, Cameron pledged to put EU membership to a vote. He campaigned ardently for the country to remain.

A number of ministers in his party, including several prominent Brexiteers, published a letter yesterday asking Cameron to stay on, regardless of the results. He has declined. But Brexit will be his legacy.

June 24 2016 12:16 AM

Cameron’s Finished. Corbyn’s Damaged. The Brexit Fallout Will Be Widespread.

It’s official: Great Britain has voted to leave the EU. This post was written before the final results.

Now that it seems clear that Leave will win the referendum, David Dimbleby, the MC of the BBC’s results coverage, has shifted his focus to party politics. If it seems like he’s smack-talking pols from all over the political spectrum, that’s because he is. The mainstream parties have so much egg on their faces that they might all have to find new faces to lead them very, very soon.

In the ruling Conservative Party, Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to step down as leader—he didn’t have to call the referendum, and since the campaign he led failed, and exiting the European Union will likely plunge the country into crisis, no one seems to think he can stay in the job. In Britain’s parliamentary system, whoever is leader of the majority party will become the prime minister, so it’s a big deal. Cameron said before last May’s election that he would stand down at some point during this term—so the jockeying has been going on for many months. Until about six hours ago, Home Secretary Theresa May seemed the most likely to win the job, but since she was in the Remain camp, her star has dimmed. Among the Leave camp, the likeliest winners are David Davis (a longtime Euroskeptic but at 67 a little old for the job) and Boris Johnson, the clever but buffoonish former London mayor.

Those people Dimbleby is making stutter belong to the Labour Party. The party was pro-Remain, but its campaign strategy clearly failed. Since many of the people who voted Leave are “natural” Labour voters, a Leave result will be seen as a total failure for Jeremy Corbyn’s team. The main reasons for voting Leave are either xenophobia or anger at the political class—or perhaps a mixture of both—but none of the Labour grandees talking to Dimbleby seems to have any ideas at all for how these disenchanted Labour voters might be brought back into the fold. (I’m not even going to mention the Liberal Democrats; they’re totally irrelevant right now.)

And UKIP, Nigel Farage's nationalist party, will surely be celebrating long and loudly. But if Britain really does withdraw from the European Union, their work is done. I’m reminded of Evan Wolfson, the architect of America’s marriage-equality movement. When the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land a year ago, Wolfson’s Freedom to Marry dissolved. What on earth does UKIP still have to offer the British public once Britain exits the EU?

Right now there are all kinds of rumors and whispers about announcements and special sessions of Parliament going around. It feels too early to speculate about what will happen, but big changes are definitely coming soon.

June 23 2016 8:46 PM

Clinton Email Discussing Her Personal Email Address Omitted From Thousands Given to State Department

Hillary Clinton’s emails were in the spotlight again on Thursday, as the State Department confirmed to the Associated Press that she had failed to turn over a 2010 email where she discussed her personal account with her aide, Huma Abedin. The omission raises questions about what other emails were potentially missed.

From the AP:

The email was included within messages exchanged Nov. 13, 2010, between Clinton and one of her closest aides, Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin. At the time, emails sent from Clinton's BlackBerry device and routed through her private clintonemail.com server in the basement of her New York home were being blocked by the State Department's spam filter. A suggested remedy was for Clinton to obtain a state.gov email account. "Let's get separate address or device but I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible," Clinton responded to Abedin. Clinton never used a government account that was set up for her, instead continuing to rely on her private server until leaving office.

The email in question was not part of the tens of thousands of emails that were turned over from her private server in response to public records lawsuits. “Abedin, who also used a private account on Clinton's server, provided a copy from her own inbox after the State Department asked her to return any work-related emails,” the AP reports. “That copy of the email was publicly cited last month in a blistering audit by the State Department's inspector general that concluded Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup violated federal standards and could have left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers.”

"Secretary Clinton had some emails with Huma that Huma did not have, and Huma had some emails with Secretary Clinton that Secretary Clinton did not have," Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said.

June 23 2016 5:06 PM

The Thursday Slatest Newsletter

Today's biggest stories:

Have a good night out there!

June 23 2016 4:41 PM

Today's Trump Apocalypse Watch: Haggis Interlude

The Trump Apocalypse Watch is a subjective daily estimate, using a scale of one to four horsemen, of how likely it is that Donald Trump will be elected president, thus triggering an apocalypse in which we all die.

It's usually a bad sign for a presidential candidate when Congressional candidates in your own party don't want you to campaign for them in their districts/states. This down-ballot distancing happened to Barack Obama in 2012, and although he obviously ended up winning, things got pretty hairy for a while. But Republican Illinois senator Mark Kirk is taking it to the next level: Not only does he not want to be seen with Donald Trump, he's running an ad denouncing the real-estate heir by name. Writes Slate's Josh Voorhees:

“Mark Kirk bucked his party to say Donald Trump is not fit to be commander in chief,” declares Kirk’s latest television commercial in Illinois. The 30-second spot is not a full-on attack ad against the GOP’s presumptive nominee, but it does amplify the Democrats’ main critique that Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president. (The ad also touts the GOP senator’s support for holding a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and of a “women’s right to choose” as further proof of his bipartisan bona fides.)

Here's some sophisticated political analysis: Donald Trump is going to have a hard time winning the state of Illinois in November.

Trump himself, incidentally, is headed to Scotland on a business trip involving two golf courses, one of which is involved in a dispute with local property owners who've signaled their distaste for Trump, as you can see above, by raising Mexican flags on their property.

I don't think that has any bearing on whether Trump is going to win the election, but it's funny!

160322__SLATEST_Trumpocalypse-1_5-Horse

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons

June 23 2016 3:08 PM

CNN Rewards Trump’s Ex-Campaign Manager for Lying to, Bullying Reporters by Hiring Him

If you or I lost our job after a period of a few months in which we were nearly prosecuted for assaulting a professional peer, were repeatedly caught lying in public by other peers, and were the subject of national headlines about how we'd called one former coworker a "cunt" and another a "fucking bitch," what do you think our chances of immediately getting another job would be? I'd say they'd be pretty damn low! Not so, though, for just-fired Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who has just been hired by CNN as part of the network's ongoing quest to become America's least-respected news outlet. From Politico:

Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is joining CNN as a political commentator, according to a source familiar with the arrangement.
It's a salaried position and will make Lewandowski exclusive to CNN, effective immediately.

After the high-profile March 8 incident in which Lewandowski grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields (then denied doing so until security footage was released that showed him in the act), BuzzFeed actually reported that he'd pulled a similar move with a CNN reporter:

At a press conference earlier this month in West Palm Beach, Florida, Lewandowski physically pushed CNN reporter Noah Gray away from Trump as he tried to ask the candidate a question, according to a source with close knowledge of the incident.

(Lewandowski said the BuzzFeed report was "factually inaccurate.")

One thing that gets buried sometimes amidst CNN's embarrassing willingness to do anything Donald Trump wants and its affinity for "provocative" bimbos like Piers Morgan and Don Lemon is that the outlet actually also employs a lot of very good journalists around the world; when there's a breaking domestic or international crisis, CNN is actually a very useful source of information. It's just too bad that at all other times its content is the television equivalent of walking into a lamppost.

By the way, here are the official guidelines for employee conduct issued by CNN's corporate parent, Time Warner. The section about promoting a "respectful workplace" and "maintaining a safe and healthy work environment" starts on page 8.

Update, 3:15 p.m.: I forgot to mention that it's been previously reported that Lewandowski is subject to a "legally binding nondisclosure agreement" that prohibits him from disparaging Donald Trump or any member of Trump's family. And this is someone who CNN is paying to comment on the ongoing presidential election, 50 percent of whose major-party candidates are Donald Trump. Truly a stellar hire on every level.

READ MORE STORIES