Donald Trump Tantrums Over Hispanics Voting Legally in Nevada
Donald Trump has reason to be upset about the long lines of Hispanic voters in Nevada on the last night of early voting, but not for the reason he says.
John L. Smith
The Daily Beast, November 7, 2016
For months Donald Trump has been saying he wants a wall built by Hispanics, and on the last day of early voting in Nevada he certainly got one.
Thanks to an unprecedented Democratic Party push in the Latino community headed in part by fired-up Culinary Union Local 226, a line of last-minute early voters was so long that one polling place at a Cardenas Market had to be kept open until just after 10 p.m.—three hours later than usual. Voters were packed tighter than the watermelons in the store’s produce department.
Yvanna Cancela, political director of Local 226, excitedly tweeted, “Looks like Trump got his wall after all. A wall of beautiful voters.”
The time extension was legal, and the polling place was observed by officials from the Clark County Registrar of Voters office, but the last-night crush of humanity immediately raised a suspicion of favoritism or even fraud by the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party Michael McDonald, who seemed downright Trumpian at a Saturday rally in Reno.
“Last night in Clark County, they kept a poll open ‘til 10 o’clock so that a certain group could vote,” McDonald said.
Sound familiar? When you’re losing, always remember to cry foul.
“The polls are supposed to close at 7,” McDonald continued, revealing his ignorance of the process. “This was kept open until 10. Yeah, you feel free right now? You think this is a free and easy election? That’s why it’s important.”
Not that Trump needed any encouragement to chatter about the system being “rigged” against him, but when he took the stage he chided, “It’s being reported that certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open for hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring democratic voters in. Folks, it’s a rigged system. It’s a rigged system and we’re going to beat it. We’re going to beat it.”
Clark County’s population is more than 30 percent Hispanic. More than 57,000 voters cast ballots on the final day in Clark County, surpassing the high turnout in 2012 and setting a record. Many voters waited in line for hours at the Hispanic supermarket on Bonanza Road near Lamb Boulevard in the predominately Latino section of the the Las Vegas valley. They were greeted at one point by a clearly energized Catherine Cortez Masto, the former state Attorney General challenging Republican Rep. Joe Heck to fill Harry Reid’s U.S. Senate seat.
But it wasn’t the only early voting polling location to remain open while registered voters were in line to cast their ballots, Clark County spokesperson Dan Kulin said.
No one in line was turned away, and the final ballot was cast at 10:10 p.m. at Silverado Ranch —several miles from the Mexican market that had become the focus of the state GOP chairman’s fretting.
Given an opportunity to clarify the inaccurate speculation from the campaign’s Nevada surrogate, Trump Kellyanne Conway doubled down in a Sunday “State of the Union” interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“We just always want the laws followed and the rules followed, and I do predict that you’re going to see really long lines—serpentine-like lines of Tuesday—of folks there for Donald Trump on Tuesday,” she said, adding that she believes Hillary Clinton’s campaign receives “special favors and perhaps special rules.”
Tapper reminded her that polls commonly are kept open so that those already in line can vote. That’s the way it was in Clark County.
“In reality, we did not extend the closing time,” Kulin said. “We keep processing voters as long as they’re there.”
Although the volume was higher than normal, the process remained the same.
“Friday was a record-breaking single day of early voting turnout for us,” the spokesman said. “The last day of early voting is typically the busiest, and certainly we saw that again on Friday. … We’re there to help voters exercise their rights as citizens to vote. early voting helps make voting more convenient for the voters, and so when voters show up to vote early we will help them exercise their right.”
But what about GOP concerns over voter fraud?
“We’re not aware of any significant concerns,” Kulin said.
Labor organizer Cancela added, “Veiled racism is still racism.”
John L. Smith is a longtime Las Vegas journalist and author. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @jlnevadasmith
The FBI just said—again—that it won’t be criminally charging Hillary Clinton for spilling secrets. But the probes into Clinton’s activities are far from over. And now, the Bureau and its leadership could be the ones coming under investigators’ scrutiny.
FBI Director James Comey pronounced on Sunday that investigators have found nothing in emails to and from Hillary Clinton recently recovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop that alters the FBI’s decision not to recommend criminal charges against the Democratic nominee.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” Comey wrote in a letter to the heads of four congressional committees. The FBI chief had previously said that while Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” to use a private server for official business when she ran the State Department, “no reasonable prosecutor” would have pursued a criminal case against them for mishandling classified information.
Comey’s announcement suggested that the FBI will not continue to pursue Clinton over her controversial email system, which came as welcome news to her campaign less than two days before Americans head to the polls. Comey had been under immense pressure to go through the emails and determine their relevance to the case, and he told lawmakers that agents had been working “around the clock.”
But Clinton’s email saga is unlikely to die when the next president is chosen on Tuesday. It’s also unlikely that Comey will escape further examination and questions about his leadership; he drew withering criticism from Republicans and Democrats for revealing the existence of the emails in another letter earlier this month without elaborating on what they said or whether they were significant. Even the president, in an unusual move, publicly criticized the Bureau’s handling of the episode.
Republican lawmakers continue to investigate whether Clinton committed perjury when she testified before Congress about her email system. And in a statement Sunday evening, the chairman of the Republican National Committee insisted that “the FBI found evidence Clinton broke the law” and said that the bureau “continues to investigation the Clinton Foundation for corruption involving her tenure as Secretary of State.”
The FBI did open a preliminary inquiry into the foundation, but it has essentially halted. Agents have reportedly been at odds with corruption prosecutors over whether there’s sufficient evidence to pursue the case.
For their part, Democrats are ready to launch their own investigation of the FBI and why Comey decided to reveal the existence of the emails rather than avoid public comment on an investigation so close to an election, as Justice Department guidelines advise. Last week, two senior members of Congress called on the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate how former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, an adviser to Donald Trump, obtained information about Comey’s earlier letter to Congress telling them of the new emails. Giuliani has since tried to backtrack his statements and said he wasn’t in touch with active FBI agents on the matter.
Reps. Elijah Cummings and John Conyers asked the watchdog to investigate the source of leaks to Giuliani, saying it was “absolutely unacceptable” for the FBI to disclose information about a candidate so close to an election. “Leaking this information to former FBI officials as a conduit to the Trump campaign is equally intolerable,” they wrote.
“In the days that come, we will have many questions about the FBI’s handling of this investigation,” Conyers said in a statement Sunday evening.
Members of Congress and their staff appeared taken by surprise with Comey’s letter confirming that the Clinton matter was once again being put to rest. Republican and Democratic aides said they’d received no briefings yet from the FBI and that they only knew as much as Comey had told them.
His latest letter also left open the question of whether investigators had looked at emails sent among Clinton’s aides, and whether any of them might face further scrutiny. While Comey said that nothing had changed his conclusions, which were that neither Clinton nor her aides should face charges, his new letter only mentioned the review of the new emails “with respect to Secretary Clinton.” He didn’t mention Huma Abedin, a close Clinton aide and Weiner’s estranged wife, with whom she reportedly shared the laptop that contained the emails in question.
Abedin swore under oath in a deposition that she’d handed over all devices that she used to conduct State Department business when she worked for Clinton there.
Brian Fallon, Clinton’s campaign press secretary, responded to the FBI’s announcement on Twitter: “We were always confident nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it.”
Comey’s announcement rallied Clinton’s Democratic supporters in Congress.
“While the original letter should never have been sent so close to an election, the expeditious review of these emails should put to rest—once and for all—the irresponsible speculation indulged in by the Trump campaign and others,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.
“This should end the email saga once and for all,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. “The October surprise that came only 11 days before Election Day has unfairly hurt the campaign of one candidate and changed the tenor of this election.”
Appearing at a rally in Cleveland, her first event since the FBI’s announcement, Clinton didn’t mention Comey’s letter. After an introduction by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, the Democratic nominee delivered a fairly standard stump speech and encouraged voters to get to the polls.
“We’ve arrived at a moment of reckoning in this election. Our core values as Americans are being tested,” Clinton told a crowd at the Public Auditorium, before riffing on issues like the costs of childcare, clean energy jobs, paid family leave and making college tuition affordable.
But whatever damage the re-examination of her emails cost her may be irreparable. As of Saturday, some 40 million votes have already been cast in the presidential election—all of them without the knowledge that the FBI’s inquiry has once again concluded without criminal charges. This includes more than 18 million votes cast in 12 battleground states.
Following Comey’s initial letter to lawmakers, Trump rose in the polls and Clinton declined slightly, though she retook a modest lead by this weekend.
—with additional reporting by Tim Mak
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