"President Trump named John R. Bolton, a hard-line former American ambassador to the United Nations, as his third national security adviser on Thursday, continuing a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history. Mr. Bolton will replace Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer who was tapped last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation but who never developed a comfortable relationship with the president." Bolton was an outspoken advocate of military action during the George W. Bush administration, and has "called for action against Iran and North Korea."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R) released a statewide radio ad of a country music singer who slams Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-16) as too liberal for Texas. In the one-minute spot, the singer says, “Liberal Robert wanted to fit in. So he changed his name to Beto. And hid it with a grin.” (Twitter)
The radio ad comes after the general-election matchup was solidified Tuesday night between Cruz and O’Rourke. With over 80 percent of precincts reporting, Cruz “was besting four little-known challengers with 85 percent of the vote, while O’Rourke was at 62 percent in a three-way nominating contest. O’Rourke’s share of the vote was surprisingly low, and in some border counties, he was losing to primary rival Sema Hernandez or only narrowly leading her.” (Texas Tribune)
In a conference call before the polls closed, Cruz called O’Rourke “a left-wing, liberal Democrat — he is running like Bernie Sanders across the state, and the voters of Texas will have a decision of what policies and values reflect their own values.”
“For Cruz, it was a remarkable escalation in his approach to O’Rourke, signaling a new chapter in the race.” (Texas Tribune)
ANALYSIS. “The Cruz-O’Rourke race is set to be a clash of ideology and style. Cruz, the buttoned-up incumbent, was the only senator to vote against even launching a formal debate over immigration policy last month, declaring that Trump’s call to grant legal status to roughly 1.3 million young immigrants amounted to amnesty. O’Rourke, the mop-topped challenger, is a strong supporter of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Cruz has been a strong proponent of gun rights, while O’Rourke has signed on to a new bill that would restore and build on the expired ban on assault-style weapons.”
“Even if O’Rourke comes up short, state Democratic leaders say his campaign will be helpful for rebuilding the party.” (Washington Post)
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"When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election," deputy communications director Bryan Lanza encouraged him to respond. "You should do it," Lanza wrote in a September 2016 email, "emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. 'partnership with Russia.'" The Trump campaign has "sought to paint the 30-year old energy consultant as a low level volunteer" in the campaign, but recently disclosed emails show that Papadopoulos had contact with "senior campaign figures" in the Trump campaign, "such as chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and adviser Michael Flynn," who encouraged him to "broker ties between Trump and top foreign officials."