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April 21, 2014
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The Justice Department will announce later this week new criteria to use when recommending clemency applications to President Obama, a move that Attorney General Eric Holder said could result in "thousands" of applications for reduced sentences.

The change is aimed at reducing prison sentences for those who were convicted years ago under drug laws that no longer carry as harsh of punishments. Yet the new criteria could affect many other non-violent drug offenders who feel they deserve some leniency, too.

"The White House has indicated it wants to consider additional clemency applications, to restore a degree of justice, fairness, and proportionality for deserving individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety," Holder said in a video statement posted to the DOJ's website Monday.

Holder did not elaborate on what the new criteria would entail, saying only that it would make the department's clemency review process more "expansive." And to handle the potential flood of applications, he said the DOJ could "potentially" beef up its staff with dozens of new attorneys.

Obama hasn't used his clemency powers much, though both he and the DOJ have signaled in recent months that they planned to do something to aid non-violent drug offenders. Back in January, New York Deputy Attorney General James Cole said having so many low-level offenders clogging up jails "is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system." Jon Terbush

4:11 p.m. ET

Donald Trump didn't exactly have the smoothest Republican convention, but now that he's out of the hot seat, he can safely gloat over the spontaneous combustion that is the current Democratic National Convention. He weighed in on the Debbie Wasserman Schultz scandal on Monday using the catch phrase from his reality TV show, The Apprentice.

"They said Debbie, you're fired," Trump said, making a finger gun. "Get out, Debbie. Out. Boom."

It's nice to warm your hands over a dumpster fire, rather than, you know, be that dumpster fire, isn't it, Trump? Watch it all, below. Jeva Lange

3:34 p.m. ET
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Al Gore must've had the words "better late than never" in mind when he finally got around to endorsing Hillary Clinton on Monday. The former vice president's endorsement arrived a whopping 49 days after Clinton clinched enough delegates to claim the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and on the very day that the Democratic National Convention begins:

Gore, who has known the former secretary of state for more than two decades, had said he was waiting until a nominee was officially selected before offering his opinion — though he didn't exactly speak up when Clinton secured the nomination in the beginning of June. When Gore finally endorsed Monday, he was "one of the last Democratic heavyweights" to do so, Politico reported.

Though Gore is a superdelegate, he'd already announced he won't be at the convention this week because of "obligations in Tennessee." Becca Stanek

3:18 p.m. ET
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Nobody is claiming Hillary Clinton's nomination isn't a historic moment for women, but some in her campaign are concerned that all the "ra ra feminism" might be alienating another important group of voters — men.

For the length of her campaign, Clinton has struggled to make inroads with men; male support of Clinton lagged in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll by 13 percentage points (women, on the other hand, supported Clinton by that same margin). And at the Democratic Convention, her campaign has attempted to find a balance between celebrating her historic moment and sidelining those to whom the gender of a candidate is less of a motivating factor, including younger women. As campaign spokesman Brian Fallon dryly told The New York Times before declining to comment, "It will not be lost on anyone that she is a woman."

Already the tricky navigation has begun, with Clinton's campaign launching from New York City, as opposed to the modern women's rights epicenter of Seneca Falls — a location that had been kicked around by some of Clinton's advisers. Likewise, just as Clinton's story is inevitably tied up in the women's movement, at the convention organizers have aimed to address more universal experiences too, such as Clinton's work with the Children's Defense Fund.

That might not be enough for some people, still. "She drives me crazy with this woman thing," said Misty Leach, 43, a Sanders supporter. "'I'm going to be the first woman president' to me just feels like she's entitled." Jeva Lange

3:12 p.m. ET
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In a heated discussion Monday at an event sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) compared Jewish Israelis' settlement of the West Bank to termites' quiet destruction of homes. "There has been a steady [stream] — almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you've been eaten up, and you fall in on yourself — there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever-increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming," Johnson reportedly told the group. The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation advocates boycotting Israel.

Johnson also suggested "'Jewish people' routinely steal land and property from Palestinians," The Washington Free Beacon wrote. "You see one home after another being appropriated by Jewish people who come in to claim that land just because somebody did not spend the night there," Johnson said. "The home their [Palestinian] ancestors lived in for generations becomes an Israeli home and a flag goes up."

Head over to The Washington Free Beacon for the full story — including Johnson's comparison of the Israeli defense minister to Donald Trump. Becca Stanek

2:28 p.m. ET

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz probably could've benefited from the foresight one snarky Twitter user had before she fired off a tweet last week chuckling at the woes of her counterpart, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. One week after taunting Priebus with a tweet saying she was available if he needed assistance handling his own convention, the leak of thousands of internal DNC emails implicated Wasserman Schultz in potentially biased actions against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the primary race and prompted her to announce her resignation Sunday. "Regret" is probably a good word for what she might be feeling about this tweet:

With the convention not yet underway, Wasserman Schultz has already been booed by her Florida delegation at a Monday morning breakfast and relinquished her role gaveling the convention to order.

Priebus — probably wisely — has yet to volunteer to help keep the Democratic National Convention "in order." Becca Stanek

1:44 p.m. ET

Bernie Sanders was loudly booed and heckled by his delegates and supporters in Philadelphia on Monday as he addressed them ahead of the Democratic National Convention. "We have got to defeat Donald Trump. We have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine," Sanders said as the crowd broke out in jeers and chants of "we want Bernie."

"Brothers and sisters!" Sanders yelled over the boos, trying to calm the crowd. "Brothers and sisters! This is the real world that we live in. Trump is a bully and a demagogue. Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign."

The crowd finally quieted enough for Sanders to finish speaking, although his supporters have been in a riotous mood all day in Philadelphia, particularly in the wake of the DNC email leak that revealed some officials had wanted to tip the scales during the primary for Hillary Clinton. Earlier Monday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed into silence by crowds waving "Bernie Sanders" and "Emails" signs.

Sanders himself appeared nothing but grateful when speaking to his delegates, though. "This campaign has been a fantastic beginning," he said. "And from today onward, we continue the fight." Jeva Lange

12:25 p.m. ET
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Michael Jordan is famously private — so private, in fact, that he has been accused of being too quiet about social justice issues. "He took commerce over conscious," Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accused in 2015. "That's unfortunate for him, but he's got to live with it."

No longer. On Monday, Jordan released a statement about police violence against the black community. "I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late," he said. "I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent."

Jordan cited the death of his father, who was killed in a roadside robbery in 1993. "I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well," he said.

In an effort to help Americans come together and "achieve constructive change," Jordan said he is donating $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as well as to the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Institute for Community-Police Relations. "We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers — who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all — are respected and supported," Jordan said.

Terrence Cunningham, the IACP president, was so surprised that he said his team actually vetted the money to confirm it was coming from Jordan, The Undefeated reports. "What an interesting piece: police, race relations and athletics," Cunningham said. "I'm thinking many of the 800,000 police officers were at some point athletes. I'm a white guy from suburbia, and I remember that when I played football it was all about the sport, and racism melted away."

Read Jordan's entire statement here, and more about the impact of his words and donations at The Undefeated. Jeva Lange

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