5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Primaries: Pawlenty loses in Minnesota, Hallquist makes history in Vermont

  • Manafort trial enters closing arguments

  • Generic ballot polls find solid Democratic advantage

  • Huckabee Sanders apologizes for false claim on Trump and black employment

  • Report: Pentagon spokeswoman investigated for retaliating against aides

There were a few surprises as well as history made in Tuesday's primary elections in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Vermont. In Minnesota, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty lost the Republican gubernatorial primary to underdog Jeff Johnson, and Rep. Keith Ellison won the Democratic primary for state attorney general, just days after he was accused of domestic abuse. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) won his primary, and ironworker Randy Bryce easily won the Democratic primary in the state's 1st congressional district, represented by retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) for 20 years. Christine Hallquist defeated three other candidates to win Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial primary, becoming the first transgender candidate to win a major political party's nomination for governor.

Source: The Week

The federal trial against Paul Manafort entered closing arguments Wednesday. Manafort faces 18 counts on charges including tax evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud, and prosecutor Greg Andres summed up the defendant's conduct: "Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and lied to get more money when he didn't." Manafort's defense rested Tuesday without presenting a case or calling any witness; in his closing argument Wednesday, defense lawyer Richard Westling said, "Sitting here today, Mr. Manafort is innocent. ... If you are thinking this evidence adds up to something, you shouldn't." Special Counsel Robert Mueller's prosecuting team spent two weeks laying out its case, including testimony from Manafort's former bookkeeper and former top aide Rick Gates.

Source: Fox News, HuffPost

Just one day after another round of primary elections, two polls found Democrats enjoying a solid lead over Republicans on the generic ballot. Per a CNN/SSRS poll released Wednesday, if congressional elections were held today, 52 percent of registered voters would pick the Democratic candidate compared to just 41 percent who would choose the Republican. A second poll, from Quinnipiac, found similar results albeit with a slightly slimmer margin, with 51 percent of respondents opting for the Democrat and 42 percent for the Republican. Democrats are banking on their generic ballot lead to translate to victory come fall, and they're additionally hoping to benefit from high voter turnout. Back in June, a nationwide poll using a generic ballot found Democrats with an 8-point lead.

Source: Quinnipiac University, CNN

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday claimed, incorrectly, that former President Barack Obama "only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans" while in office, while "President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years." On Tuesday night, Sanders acknowledged her mistake on Twitter: "I'm sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African-Americans created under President Trump." Per government statistics, black employment increased by nearly 3 million jobs during Obama's eight years in office.

Source: The Washington Post

The Defense Department's inspector general launched an investigation into Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, after receiving multiple complaints that she retaliated against staff members who once ran her personal errands, four people familiar with the matter tell CNN. White, one of Defense Secretary James Mattis' most senior civilian advisers, allegedly asked support staff to pick up her dry cleaning, buy things for her at the pharmacy, work on her mortgage application, and give her a ride to work when it snowed. Several people told CNN that in May, at least two staffers complained to senior officials and not long after, White retaliated by having them transferred. The investigation began weeks ago, CNN reports.

Source: CNN
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