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‘All that bootlicking on Fox News finally paid off’: Ex-Clinton pollster buried for advising Trump

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In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Eleanor Clift attempted to solve the mystery over why a former pollster for President Bill Clinton has been advising Donald Trump over his impeachment worries.

Referring to reports that Mark Penn met with the president when beckoned, Clift asked around to find an explanation for why a self-proclaimed Democrat would lend the president a helping hand.

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With former Clinton White House official Joe Lockhart calling Penn “a very divisive guy, not well-liked among his peers and he will inject chaos into the [impeachment] process,” Clift reports that former lobbyist and longtime Democratic strategist Paul Equale had a lesser opinion of Penn — who incidentally is also a contributor on Fox News.

“Unbelievable, what the (expletive) is he doing,” stated Equale. “He’s gone through the looking glass down the rabbit hole and then he drank the Kool Aid. If there was any question that he wasn’t a self-important opportunist, it’s now been answered.”

Continuing along those lines, he added, “None of this is about politics. It’s about what our mothers and fathers taught us—and certainly anyone who claims to have a credential as a Democrat of any stripe who gives advice to this president—particularly relating to impeachment—has political myopia and self-induced blindness.”

According to Jonah Blank, a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide, Penn has a long history of pushing attack-dog talking points that might appeal to Trump, telling the Beast, “He was promoting a racist ‘birther’ dog-whistle strategy long before Trump found it.”

According to Clift, “Penn has long been considered a ‘malign’ force by Democrats, as one put it to me in an email, part of the cast of characters like pollster Dick Morris who had sway over the Clintons in the 1990s. Together with Morris, Penn gained notoriety for ‘triangulation,’ steering Bill Clinton away from House Democrats and closer to the Republicans who won control of Congress two years into his presidency.”

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“Democrats theorize that Penn was angry about that, but his exile from Hillaryland put a mark on him. He ended up accepting an offer from Fox News, appearing regularly to opine about how Democrats were going off the rails, and to suggest Hillary might be readying another White House run,” she continued before pointing out that former Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted, “All that bootlicking on Fox News finally paid off for Mark Penn. He’s finally a White House insider again.”

According to the columnist, the Daily Beast was able to get a statement from Penn, who wrote in an email: “When the president of either party wants to meet, I think you should meet with them. What is nonpartisanship or bipartisanship about if just meeting with the president, at his request, is such a lightning rod. I am not working for him or paid by him nor will I be and only discussed publicly available data I talk about on TV and elsewhere. I am a lifelong Democrat and the president’s policies on immigration, abortion, equality and many other issues are far removed from mine.”

Nonetheless, another Clinton insider lambasted Penn, telling Clift, “Quite frankly, I was nauseated that he would consent to consult for Trump. Worse that he would actually go to the White House. This man who is not only a Clinton Democrat but who ran Hillary’s campaign. And hasn’t he actually said recently that Hillary might still jump in? Is he playing both sides or is he just coocoo?”

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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Judge blocking release of Jeffrey Epstein records has ties to officials linked to Epstein: report

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On Saturday, the Miami Herald reported that a judge who blocked the release of grand jury material in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex abuse case has ties to three officials with a vested interest in the outcome of the lawsuits surrounding the scandal.

"Krista Marx, the Palm Beach chief judge who also heads a panel that polices judicial conduct, has potential conflicts of interest involving three prominent players embroiled in the Epstein sex-trafficking saga: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who has been sued by the Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records; Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, whose department’s favored treatment of Epstein while he was in the Palm Beach County jail is part of an ongoing state criminal investigation; and ex-State Attorney Barry Krischer, part of the same investigation in connection with his decision not to prosecute Epstein on child-sex charges," wrote Julie Brown, a reporter who has extensively covered the Epstein case.

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WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse

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According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.

MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.

According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."

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