With record-breaking viewership expected Monday night for the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, few moments could have a bigger impact on who becomes the next president. Both campaigns have been furiously working the refs in an effort to set the bar against which their candidate will be judged. They've also sharply disagreed over the role the moderator, NBC News' Lester Holt, should play. Clinton's campaign says Holt should aggressively fact check the candidates in real time while Trump's team calls for a hands-off approach.
Samantha Page, ThinkProgress: Hours after the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times published separate stories outlining the lies Donald Trump has told during his presidential campaign, Trump's campaign spokesperson told ABC's This Week that it isn't the media's job to factcheck the presidential debate. "I really don't appreciate the campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers," Kellyanne Conway said. She also opposed debate moderators questioning the candidates' truthfulness in any way. read more
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency in the city of Charlotte after unrest continued for a second night sparked by the fatal police shooting on Tuesday of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, a black man who they say was armed and others claim was holding a book as he waited for his son to get off a school bus. Police used tear gas Wednesday night to disperse crowds. McCrory announced he was accepting a request from Charlotte's police chief, declaring a state of emergency and calling in the National Guard.
Just five days ahead of the all-important first presidential debate, a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows some encouraging signs for Hillary Clinton. The Democratic presidential nominee leads Donald Trump by six points among likely voters in a four-way match up. The survey was taken AFTER Clinton's health controversy. She also leads Trump by seven points in a head-to-head matchup in what is the NBC/WSJ poll's first 2016 survey of likely voters. What is just as encouraging for the Clinton camp is that they are running nearly even when it comes to voter enthusiasm. Seventy-eight percent of Trump's voters said they are highly interested in the election, versus 75 percent of Clinton voters. The numbers give Democrats momentum heading into the biggest night (so far) of the campaign and also raises the stakes for Trump's first debate appearance. read more
Edward Snowden exaggerated his resume, stole test answers and failed training on U.S. surveillance law before he copied an estimated 1.5 million classified documents from the National Security Agency, according to a summary of a House Intelligence Committee report released Thursday. The committee unanimously adopted the investigative report a day before Oliver Stone's Snowden premieres in movie theaters. Committee members sent a bipartisan letter to Obama urging him not to pardon Snowden. The House report provides new details about Snowden's background, and calls into question his self-declared motivations and his work at the NSA before he fled to China and then Russia, where he now lives. It describes him as a "serial exaggerator and fabricator." read more
After learning that billionaire business mogul Mark Cuban had been invited by Hillary Clinton's campaign to attend the first debate, Donald Trump personally invited Gennifer Flowers to be his guest -- and she accepted. Cuban has been a vocal critic of Trump, saying that Trump is greatly exaggerating how rich he is. Cuban offered Trump $10 million if he agreed to a four-hour interview where Cuban would question him about his policies. Cuban, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $3.3 billion, has raised doubts about Trump's net worth, writing on Twitter that the Republican nominee doesn't have the cash to support his campaign. "I'll add an option," Cuban tweeted to Trump. "If you need it, I'll write you the check and you can keep the money rather than give it to charity."
Jon Reinish, New York Observer: Let's cut to the chase: Donald Trump is a liar. He doesn't stretch the truth, misspeak, shoot from the hip, tell it like it is, refreshingly unvarnish or have his own version. He lies. He has no relationship to the truth. Truth should be important. His campaign is built on lies. His proposition is a series of lies. Americans should have a problem with that. Each and every one of Trump's surrogates are liars -- morally vapid validators, town criers doing the dirty work of the village idiot. I don't care how poised, slick or sleek some acting coach's version of sophisticated they are. They push his lies in an attempt to normalize his message and persona, using the fascist technique of repetition equals truth. read more
The district attorney of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has filed manslaughter charges against officer Betty Shelby in the death of Terrence Crutcher six days ago. "We reviewed the facts of the allegations, it is our responsibility to determine if the filing of a criminal charge is justified under the law," District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said. Crutcher was not armed and had walked slowly back to his stranded SUV with his arms upraised. "We are happy that charges were brought," said Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for Crutcher's family.
More young men, particularly those who don't have college degrees, are living at home, working part-time or not at all, and regularly playing video games, a new study finds. But the prevalence of this lifestyle isn't due to a lack of jobs or difficult economy -- rather, many young men are consciously choosing video games over work -- and rates of happiness among this demographic are rising. "[H]appiness surveys actually indicate that they are quite content compared to their peers, making it hard to argue that some sort of constraint, like they are miserable because they can't find a job, is causing them to play video games," said researcher Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago.
Sen. Ted Cruz said Friday that he would vote for Donald Trump for president, two months after Cruz pointedly declined to endorse his former rival in a speech at the Republican National Convention. "After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump," Cruz wrote on Facebook. During the GOP primary, Trump insulted the looks of Ted Cruz's wife Heidi and suggested that Cruz's father Rafael was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In May, Cruz called Trump "a pathological liar," "utterly amoral," "a serial philanderer" and "a narcissist at a level I don't think this country has ever seen." He said if Trump was not stopped, "this country could well plunge into the abyss."