Donald Trump stops short — doesn’t accuse Russia of U.S. meddling

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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech in Krasinski Square, in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday. AP/Petr David Josek

One day before his sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Germany, we have an attempt to split the baby. From the Associated Press:

WARSAW — President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to confront “new forms of aggression” targeting the West and called for Moscow to stop fomenting unrest around the world. Yet he pointedly stopped short of condemning Russia for meddling in the U.S. election.

 

Buoyed by an electrified crowd in Poland chanting his name, Trump sought to show he wasn’t overlooking Russian actions that have elicited global consternation, especially from nearby nations in eastern and central Europe. He warned that Western interests were being tested by “propaganda, financial crimes and cyber warfare,” forcing NATO to adapt.

 

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran, and to join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself,” Trump said in a speech in Warsaw’s Krasinski Square.

But these are the paragraphs that won’t help Trump’s relationship with the U.S. intelligence community:

It was a critique that the president did not appear to extend to Russia’s actions last year during the presidential campaign. In a news conference before his speech, Trump questioned the veracity of American intelligence about foreign meddling in the U.S. election, arguing that Russia wasn’t the only country that may have interfered.

“Nobody really knows for sure,” Trump said.

But the New York Times focused on the stark, broader message from the U.S. president:

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” he said, employing the same life-or-death language as in his inauguration speech, which promised a war against the “American carnage” of urban crime. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”

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This rivalry between Mary Norwood and Peter Aman in the race for mayor of Atlanta continues to throw sparks.

On Wednesday, Norwood said her fundraising report (which won’t be available in detail until Monday) will show that she’s raised more than $1 million for the contest. She’ll report more than $650,000 in cash on hand. From the press release:

Mary Norwood supporters represent a wide cross section of diverse Atlanta voters, providing undeniable evidence of her potent city-wide grassroots appeal: 85% of her contributors reside in neighborhoods in every sector of the city and 94% of her donations have come from individuals. 94.4% of donations are from the 10-county metro region and 97% of Norwood’s donations are from within the state of Georgia.

Many of those stats are directed at Aman, the former CFO of the city of Atlanta and a man of some means. A spokeswoman for Norwood said absolutely no personal loans are involved in her fundraising.

Also on Wednesday, the Aman campaign said it had obtained the endorsement of Clair Muller, the former councilwoman for District 8. Only last week, Aman let it be known that he had the backing of the current councilwoman from District 8, Yolanda Adrean.

Why that’s important: Mary Norwood is an at-large member of council, elected citywide. But she lives in District 8, which includes the western part of Buckhead.

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In the wake of Jon Ossoff’s 6th District loss, Democratic leaders are testing out a new, economic-focused message for 2018, Politico reports:

The rebranding attempt comes as Democrats acknowledge that simply running against President Donald Trump wasn’t a winning strategy in 2016 and probably won’t work in 2018 either. The slogan, which is still being polled in battleground House districts, aims to convince voters that Democrats have more to offer than the GOP and the self-proclaimed deal-maker in the White House.

Their “Better Deal” includes a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that includes mainly direct government spending rather than private investment, doubling the minimum wage to $15 an hour and a trade agenda aimed at winning the industrial Midwest. But Politico reports that many centrists and liberals are already declaring their independence.

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Not surprisingly, the Democrats in the hunt for governor are slamming Secretary of State Brian Kemp for the decision to release publicly-available data to a Donald Trump commission investigating voter fraud. We’ve yet to hear whether his Republican adversaries agree with the decision …

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U.S. Rep. Jody Hice didn’t face a single challenger for his 10th District congressional seat last year, but our friends over at GeorgiaPol report the Monroe Republican may have some competition in 2018. From their article yesterday:

In an announcement on LinkedIn, Joe Hunt announced his intent to run in the Republican primary against Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA-10).  Mr. Hunt, whose LinkedIn profile lists that he is the Vice President of Franchise Relations at Zaxby’s Franchising, Inc., intends to run as more of a centrist and on a “shoe-string budget”.

Meanwhile, The Athens Banner-Herald reports  that three Democrats have also jumped into the race:

Chalis Montgomery, a mother, educator and musician living in the Barrow County community of Bethlehem, has begun mounting a grass-roots campaign for the seat.

 

Earlier this year, Montgomery was among a group of about two dozen Democratic and progressive women who challenged a Hice staff member at a meeting in Winder regarding the congressman’s stance on the Affordable Care Act.

 

Also announcing an intention to seek the 10th District seat is Democratic candidate Kellie Lynn Collins, a resident of the McDuffie County town of Thomson. Collins’ campaign website, kelliecollinsforcongress.com, describes her as an entrepreneur whose work has included some modeling.

The newspaper also reports that University of Georgia philosophy professor Richard Winfield has also declared himself an “exploratory candidate” in the 10th.

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Republican Hunter Hill has some reinforcements for his gubernatorial campaign. The state senator rolled out the names of 42 members of his finance team, led by chair Randy Rizor, a physician and U.S. Army veteran.

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Attorney Steve Reilly, one of four Democrats to be vying for Rob Woodall’s 7th District congressional seat, plans to kick off his campaign on July 25 in Lawrenceville. It’ll happen at Hometown Barbeque.


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