Let's recap Dick Cheney's dive into the national conversation on the growing violence in Iraq: On Tuesday night, the former vice president and his daughter Liz produced a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing President Obama on the situation ("Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong...."). On Wednesday night, Fox News star Megyn Kelly threw everyone off guard by strongly suggesting to Cheney that he was the one who got it wrong on Iraq. On Thursday night, Stephen Colbert took his turn hitting the Cheney piñata.
Cheney is merely the leader of the newly reunited "Iraq Pack," Colbert said. By the nickname Colbert assigned him, "Ol' Dead Eyes," Cheney is apparently Sinatra, which would make George W. Bush the Dean Martin and John McCain the Sammy Davis Jr.? Maybe John Bolton is Steve Lawrence and Paul Wolfowitz his Eydie Gorme?
Lots of people have mocked Cheney's chutzpah; only Colbert suggests invading his "balls of mass destruction." --Peter Weber
European Union leaders are meeting today in Brussels to continue talks regarding next steps following last week's Brexit vote. Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, who campaigned against the Brexit, attended the summit on Tuesday but will be absent on Wednesday. The U.K. has been given some time to let the dust settle before activating Article 50, thus triggering the formal leaving process, but on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "I want to say very clearly tonight that I see no way to reverse this. We all need to look at the reality of the situation. It is not the hour for wishful thinking." EU Council President Donald Tusk echoed that sentiment, saying Europe is ready to "start the divorce process."
The remaining 27 members of the EU are eager to stem the fallout of the vote and maintain the strength and integrity of the trading bloc without Britain. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said, "We have to show Europe brings a real added value that can be felt by our fellow citizens." Jessica Hullinger
Donald Trump is kind of famous for his insults. "We combed through a treasure trove of trash talk to bring you this delightfully disparaging montage," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live, and he's not lying. But, of course, not everybody loves hearing presidential candidates spout off schoolyard taunts, and that includes Kimmel's Troompa Loompa troupe. This is such a faithful homage to Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory that it's hard to believe Paramount and Warner Bros. haven't sued Kimmel, but that's not your problem, and the orange Oompa Loompa knockoffs put on quite a show. Watch below. Peter Weber
On Tuesday, House Republicans on the select Benghazi committee released their final report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in eastern Libya. The report found no evidence that Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, was culpable for the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Clinton responded to the report Tuesday during a speech in Denver.
"I understand that after more than two years and $7 million spent by the Benghazi Committee out of taxpayer funds, it had to report today it had found nothing — nothing — to contradict the conclusions of the Independent Accountably Board or the conclusions of the prior, multiple, earlier investigations carried out on a bipartisan basis in the Congress," Clinton said. "I'll leave it to characterize this report, but I think it's pretty clear, it's time to move on."
Clinton's characterization of the Benghazi investigations is, unsurprisingly, similar to the findings of Benghazi panel Democrats, who released their own report. But it's also the conclusion of the Washington Post editorial board, which said that the Republican report "adds exactly nothing substantial to the story." Despite the Benghazi attack not helping the GOP in the 2012 elections, "Republicans have persisted in attempting to milk the 'scandal' for the past four years," the editorial board said. "They have done so even though repeated previous investigations — including by a GOP-led House intelligence panel — found nothing to contradict the Obama administration’s basic account."
On the other hand, as Philip Bump says at The Washington Post, the "damage has already been done" for Clinton. In one recent poll, 23 percent of voters — including half of Donald Trump's supporters and 44 percent of Republicans — agreed that it is "definitely true" that "as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton knew the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi was going to be attacked and did nothing to protect it." Clinton's trustworthiness numbers have also plummeted, and the House Benghazi Committee revealed Clinton's use of a private email server, now under FBI investigation, Bump notes, which "arguably holds the most potential for damaging Clinton's campaign." Peter Weber
On Tuesday, Donald Trump gave a scripted speech, with teleprompter, in front of a wall of garbage in Pennsylvania, then a more extemporaneous one in St. Clairesville, Ohio. The tone was different, but the message was the same: Free trade deals are bad. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster, done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country — just a continuing rape of our country," Trump said. "That's what it is, too — it's a harsh word. It's a rape of our country. This is done by wealthy people that want to take advantage of us and that want to sign another partnership."
This is not the first time Trump has bashed trade deals, nor is it the first time he has equated free trade with rape. And while Trump is clearly aiming to win over Rust Belt communities in the Midwest, his language is at odds with decades of Republican Party advocacy of unfettered free trade, and Trump face immediate criticism from Republican business leaders and business groups typically aligned with the GOP. "Under Trump's trade plans, we would see higher prices, fewer jobs, and a weaker economy," tweeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, adding in another tweet: "Even under best case scenario, Trump's tariffs would strip us of at least 3.5 million jobs."
Trump, in his speeches, promised to pull out of NAFTA and withdraw from the TPP, which has not been ratified by Congress. And he criticized his likely Democratic presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, taking credit for Clinton withdrawing her support for TPP. You can watch Trump's "rape" comments below. Peter Weber
The former summer palace of King Kamehameha III in Honolulu is off limits to the public, but that's not stopping websites and blogs from touting it as a must-see destination, much to the dismay of the state of Hawaii.
— Michelle B. Van Dyke (@michellebvd) June 29, 2016
The 180-year-old Kaniakapupu palace is in a closed watershed area, and anyone found on the property will be cited, The Associated Press reports. Last week, someone etched crosses into the structure's crumbling walls, and the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources has had enough; they've sent letters to more than a dozen websites and blogs that recommend hikes to Kaniakapupu and asked them to stop promoting the closed palace.
The department says some outlets, like Exploration Hawaii, have removed information on the historic site, and others have promised to remove directions to Kaniakapupu. Thankfully, there's still plenty for visitors to do while in Honolulu. Catherine Garcia
Scotty Moore, the longtime guitarist for Elvis Presley and one of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists, died Tuesday at his home in Nashville. He was 84, and had been in poor health.
Moore started playing the guitar at age 8, and after moving to Memphis in the 1950s, was asked by Sam Phillips of Sun Records to play on Presley's first single, "That's All Right (Mama)." Presley was just a teenager at the time, and after the single was successful, Moore, bassist Bill Black, and drummer D.J. Fontana founded the Blue Moon Boys, a band that backed Presley on such hits as "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Blue Suede Shoes," and "Jailhouse Rock." The band also appeared in four of Presley's movies — Jailhouse Rock, Loving You, King Creole, and G.I. Blues.
Moore worked with several other musicians, including Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Jeff Beck, and Keith Richards. Richards once said: "When I heard 'Heartbreak Hotel,' I knew what I wanted to do in life. It was as plain as day. All I wanted to do in the world was to be able to play and sound like that. Everyone else wanted to be Elvis; I wanted to be Scotty." In 2000, Moore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with other sidemen who "spent their careers out of the spotlight." Catherine Garcia
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has signed legislation that requires elementary schools to give kids at least 20 consecutive minutes of recess, defined as free play, every day.
The law, signed Monday, also allows schools to consider recess instructional time so they don't have to make the school day any longer to meet the requirements, The Associated Press reports. An earlier version of the bill wanted to ban teachers from taking away recess from kids as a form of punishment, but that was dropped in a compromise, and the law now asks teachers to make a good faith effort to not keep students from recess. Catherine Garcia