- Eli Kantor
- Beverly Hills, California, United States
- Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; email@example.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com
Thursday, July 28, 2016
The Hill (Op-ed)
By Kristie De Peña
July 27, 2016
In an increasingly rare gesture of unity, the Senate and House (Senator Patrick Leahy D-VT and Representative Zoe Lofgren D-CA) jointly introduced the bicameral Refugee Protection Act earlier this month. Among its many sweeping improvements for refugees and asylees are smaller — but critical — changes to legal procedure that will help solve problems which have long plagued immigration courts.
Improving the speed and integrity of the process has become urgently necessary. The Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) faces the largest caseload in history, and is badly backlogged. Between 2010 and 2016, the caseload has more than doubled.
Currently, most prospective refugees, asylees, and immigrants have no access or right to legal counsel. Affording counsel in certain circumstances, as the proposed legislation empowers the Attorney General to do, will not only increase the odds that justice will be done, but will help immigration cases move more expeditiously through the system.
Granting counsel in immigration cases will help in several ways. It allows overburdened immigration judges to offload tasks, like eliciting critical facts from applicants, to the appointed lawyers. Legal counsel can also expeditiously review copies of relevant documents provided by the Department of Homeland Security—another proposed change to the process—which will help avoid costly delays.
Counsel can also coordinate translators ahead of hearings to translate applicants’ statements, identify the relevant facts, and present them clearly and concisely to the fact-finder. Due to the nature of immigration proceedings, final determinations rely most heavily on facts presented by the applicant. The judge often finds it necessary to ask multiple, similar questions to ensure that he or she thoroughly understands the nature of the claim and does not overlook critical information.
The delays and confusion in the current system often leave individuals waiting for years to get into the courts, prolonging separation from their families. Individuals stuck in immigration court limbo lack legal status in the United States, which exposes them to potential abuses.
Employers may underpay workers, or subject them to harmful working conditions, knowing that their lack of status leaves them without recourse. Even more dangerously, terrorists or other enemies of the United States may approach frustrated immigrants trapped in status purgatory on the hunch that they might be open to recruitment, but will be too afraid to report these encounters to authorities if they aren’t.
The large number of unaccompanied children in the immigration court system makes the need for reform even more urgent. Between January and June 2016, over 25,000 children (traveling alone) were apprehended at the border. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) immediately detain apprehended children from noncontiguous countries (like El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) and place them in standard removal proceedings.
After a brief discussion with the child, CBP determines whether they qualify for special protections or will face removal; within 72 hours, CBP transfers custody to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) or Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) depending on that determination.
In many cases, these children qualify for asylee status, but their age, lack of English speaking skills, and ignorance of the legal process can leave them without a fair chance of successfully applying for legal entry and status.
Compare this to the criminal court system, which generally appoints children a Guardian Ad Litem and an attorney (who is sometimes the same person). These roles require not only fact-finder responsibilities, but zealous advocacy on behalf of the child. Countless standards govern the acceptable behavior of attorneys, the court, and other involved parties to ensure that the child is adequately protected. Children facing immigration courts deserve similar protections.
Our immigration system is rife with pressing problems Congress must address, many of which may seem insignificant and tedious. But the bigger problems are often symptomatic of a host of smaller ones. Congress must assert its legislative authority in a good-faith effort to get the details right, showing that it wants to treat people fairly. Otherwise, it becomes not only inevitable, but necessary, for the executive branch to step in and make stopgap repairs to our broken immigration system.
This is far from ideal, as executive overreach through inaction threatens the separation of powers and the integrity of America’s constitutional system. The Refugee Protection Act’s proposal to provide legal counsel to some refugees, asylees, and immigrants is an excellent example of a smart fix to a seemingly small but actually very big problem in American immigration policy.
Passing this bill will put Congress, and our country, in a better position to tackle bigger immigrations issues moving forward.
Kristie De Peña is the immigration policy counsel at the libertarian think tank the Niskanen Center
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com
Latino USA (Op-ed)
By Matthew Kolken
July 26, 2016
Last night I watched Michelle Obama’s eloquent and persuasive speech in Philadelphia that many will remember as the highlight of the Democratic National Convention. The First Lady invoked vivid images of her children, and the joy she experienced watching them grow from “bubbly little girls” into poised young women. I couldn’t help but think to myself, where has Mrs. Obama’s powerful voice been over the last two years when an entirely different set of children were under the watchful eye of “big men with guns” and “black SUVs.”
No, I’m not talking about Trump’s kids, but children from Central America who have been locked away in remote deportation internment camps, where they are held in substandard and life threatening conditions by Mrs. Obama’s husband, the President. Only for these vulnerable children, the big men with guns aren’t there to shuttle them off to school, but to keep them locked in cages, or to tear them from the safety of their beds and deport them in the middle of the night.
I’m talking about the scared nine-year-old little boy suffering from a dislocated shoulder that shrieked through the night in pain and was told by facility doctors to drink more water. I think about three-year-old Catherine Checas, whose t-shirt was stained from the blood in her vomit, and the victims of sexual assault. I also think about children being caged in cold concrete cells where they sit shivering, scared, and alone.
All I can think about is State sponsored child abuse.
See, because that is what immigration lawyers in the trenches think about every day as we try to protect these kids through the challenges of this unusual life in the dark shadows of deportation jails, and how we urge them to ignore those who question their humanity. And yes, I just intentionally paraphrased Mrs. Obama’s speech. Deal with it.
In all fairness, maybe Mrs. Obama’s silence was mandated by the powers that be, a.k.a. her husband. With the Wikileak release of DNC emails we recently learned that Democratic insiders viewed advocate’s calls for temporary protection of Central American children to be “irresponsible.” This is as troubling as it is outrageous, but not as outrageous as the shadow war that the Obama administration has waged against the children fleeing for their lives, or Hillary Clinton’s call to deport them in the height of the refugee crisis in order to send a clear message.
But there is hope, if not change.
On July 6, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Obama administration must immediately move to release detained immigrant children “as expeditiously as possible.” The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) who represents the immigrant children in the lawsuit, has issued a demand that the Obama Administration “reassess” its “inhumane” practices of caging children in deportation jails.
CHRCL Executive Director, Peter Schey released the following statement to the Court’s decision: “We hope this decision by the Federal Court of Appeals convinces the Obama Administration that its policy of detaining immigrant mothers and children is inhumane and illegal and must come to an end. During the past two years this Administration has wasted over one hundred million dollars unnecessarily detaining thousands of refugee children commingled with unrelated adults in unlicensed secure facilities in violation of well-established child detention standards. This disgraceful policy should now be brought to an end by President Obama.”
Victor Nieblas, the past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) was similarly disturbed. He remarked that: “Detaining and re-traumatizing children and their mothers fleeing widespread violence in Central America is a shameful legacy for President Obama to leave behind. This detention and rapid deportation policy is fundamentally inhumane, undermines refugees’ access to legal counsel and fair process, and is in violation of federal Court Orders issued in the Flores class action case. It has already resulted in the wrongful deportation of children and families back into the very violence from which they fled and must end once and for all.”
Immigration lawyer and whistleblower Bryan Johnson was not so political in his response to the members of the Obama administration who he accuses of being complicit in the commission of crimes against thousands of children: “We will hold you accountable. We will not stop. Justice will be had, however long it may take.”
So, Mrs. Obama, as your daughters set out on the world, let’s hope that when they look back they can see that their mother had the courage to fight for all children, especially the most vulnerable among us. There is still time. Please use your voice to help put an end to your husband’s shameful and illegal family detention practices.
Matthew Kolken the managing partner of Kolken & Kolken Immigration Lawyers, located in Buffalo, New York. He has appeared nationally on both MSNBC and CNN, and his legal analysis has been solicited by the Washington Post’s Fact Check of the immigration statements of Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Presidential candidate Donald Trump. His opinions on immigration issues have been published in Forbes Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Fox News Latino, and NBC Latino among others.
Wall Street Journal (Op-ed)
By Colin Powell
July 26, 2016
Many years ago, after I had become a four-star general and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Times of London wrote an article observing that if my parents had sailed to England rather than New York, “the most they could have dreamed of for their son in the military was to become a sergeant in one of the lesser British regiments.”
Only in America could the son of two poor Jamaican immigrants become the first African-American, the youngest person and the first ROTC graduate from a public university to hold those positions, among many other firsts. My parents arrived—one at the Port of Philadelphia, the other at Ellis Island—in search of economic opportunity, but their goal was to become American citizens, because they knew what that made possible.
Immigration is a vital part of our national being because people come here not only to build a better life for themselves and their children, but to become Americans. With access to education and a clear path to citizenship, they routinely become some of the best, most-patriotic Americans you’ll ever know. That’s why I am a strong supporter of immigration-law reform: America stands to benefit from it as much as, if not more than, the immigrants themselves.
Contrary to some common misconceptions, neighborhoods with greater concentrations of immigrants have lower rates of crime and violence than comparable nonimmigrant neighborhoods, according to a 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Foreign-born men age 18-39 are jailed at one-quarter the rate of native-born American men of the same age.
Today’s immigrants are learning English at the same rate or faster than earlier waves of newcomers, and first-generation arrivals are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or cancer than native-born people. They experience fewer chronic health conditions, have lower infant-mortality and obesity rates, and have a longer life expectancy.
My parents met and married here and worked in the garment industry, bringing home $50 to $60 a week. They had two children: my sister Marilyn, who became a teacher, and me. I didn’t do as well as the family hoped; I caused a bit of a crisis when I decided to stay in the Army. “Couldn’t he get a job? Why is he still in the Army?”
We were a tightknit family with cousins and aunts and uncles all over the place. But that family network didn’t guarantee success. What did? The New York City public education system.
I’m a public-education kid, from kindergarten through to Morris High School in the South Bronx and, finally, City College of New York. New York University made me an offer, but tuition there was $750 a year. Such a huge sum in 1954! I would never impose that on my parents, so it was CCNY, where back then tuition was free. I got a B.S. in geology and a commission as an Army second lieutenant, and that was that. And it all cost my parents nothing. Zero.
After CCNY, I was lucky to be among the first group of officers commissioned just after the Army was desegregated. I competed against West Pointers, against grads from Harvard and VMI and the Citadel and other top schools. And to my surprise, I discovered I had gotten a pretty good education in the New York City public schools. Not only in geology and the military, but also in wider culture. I had learned a little about music, about Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and theater and things like that. I got a complete education, all through public schools, and it shapes me to this day.
This amazing gift goes back to 1847 when the Free Academy of the City of New York was created with a simple mandate: “Give every child the opportunity for an education.” And who would pay for it? The citizens and taxpayers of New York City and State. They did it and kept at it when the Academy became CCNY in 1866, because they knew that poor immigrants were their children. They were the future.
They still are. Today some 41 million immigrants and 37.1 million U.S.-born children of immigrants live in the U.S. Taken together, the first and second generations are one-quarter of the population. While some countries, like Japan and Russia, worry that population decline threatens their economies, America’s economic future vibrates with promise from immigrants’ energy, creativity and ambition.
Every one of these people deserves the same educational opportunities I had. It wasn’t, and isn’t, charity to immigrants or to the poor. Those early New Yorkers were investing in their own future by making education and citizenship accessible to “every child.” They knew it—and what a future it became!
We still have that model. But today too many politicians seem to think that shortchanging education will somehow help society. It does not. It hurts society. We need people who know that government has no more important function than securing the terrain, which means opening the pathways to the future for everyone, educating them to be consumers, workers, leaders—and citizens.
We are all immigrants, wave after wave over several hundred years. And every wave makes us richer: in cultures, in language and food, in music and dance, in intellectual capacity. We should treasure this immigrant tradition, and we should reform our laws to guarantee it.
In this political season, let us remember the most important task of our government: making Americans. Immigrants—future Americans—make America better every single day.
Gen. Powell was secretary of state (2001-05); chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93); and national security adviser (1987-89). This is adapted from his comments at a May 25 forum hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at City College of New York.
New York Times (Opinion)
By Thomas Edsall
July 28, 2016
How do you deal with an opponent immune to the truth, whose appeal is atavistic rather than rational? How do you pick off enough of his constituents and prevent him from making inroads into yours?
In Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies face a candidate for whom there is no precedent in presidential politics.
It remains unclear whether Trump can be brought to his knees the way Mitt Romney was by ads like “Coffin” and “Firms,” which alleged that Romney’s investment firm, Bain Capital, closed factories and shipped jobs abroad.
In April, during the primary campaign, Politico reported that
So far this campaign season, anti-Donald Trump forces have spent close to $70 million on ads attacking the G.O.P. front-runner — more than triple what Trump has spent on his entire campaign. Even more shocking than the whopping amount of cash deployed against the mogul, though, is that the ads haven’t been working. In fact, they might even be helping Trump.
Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster currently working for the pro-Clinton “super PAC” Priorities USA Action, contended in a phone interview that Trump’s immunity to criticism worked only in the primaries among Republican voters: “Trump is not Teflon.”
Among all voters, Garin argued, “a majority has come to the conclusion that Trump is unfit for the job and that he would represent a significant risk as president.” Polling and focus group testing, Garin said, have shown that one ad produced by Priorities, “Grace,” has been highly effective. It shows Grace, who was born with spina bifida, her parents, Chris and Lauren Glaros, and a clip of Trump ridiculing a disabled New York Times reporter.
When I saw Donald Trump mock someone with a disability, it showed me his soul. It showed me his heart. And I didn’t like what I saw.
I asked Garin, along with other strategists and political observers, how they would respond to a long list of Trump’s rambling, theatrical promises, which he would, in fact, be unable to keep. Just a partial list of these includes refusing to defend America’s NATO allies, returning 11 million undocumented immigrants to their home countries, saving $300 billion annually on a prescription drug program that spends only $78 billion a year, nationalizing concealed weapons permits and vowing that “If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store ... You can leave Happy Holidays at the corner.”
Should Democrats, I inquired, point to the infeasibility of Trump’s proposals and the damaging results of any attempts on his part to follow through? That approach would not work, Garin said, because voters, including many of Trump’s supporters, don’t really “believe he will build a wall, or get Mexico to pay for a wall” — they have already discounted many of Trump’s over-the-top assertions as hyperbole.
“The real case has more to do with his character and temperament,” Garin said. “The biggest concern is that he is temperamentally unsuited to lead the country.”
Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster unaffiliated with the Clinton campaign, argued in an email that there were risks in attacking specific Trump proposals as unrealistic:
To argue you can’t do it just makes you part of the status quo and the problem in Washington. Voters will feel if you say you can’t do some of these things or something in these arenas, we will hire someone who can.
In an interesting warning to Democrats, Arthur Lupia, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan, wrote me:
Responding directly to Trump’s claims often requires repeating them, which gives them extra oxygen. There is a growing literature on attempts to correct “misinformation.” A common theme in this literature is that if a person repeats misinformation or otherwise draws attention to it in an attempt to counter the misinformation, the original claim can be reinforced, rather than diminished, in people’s memories.
Making a related argument, a Democratic strategist who sought anonymity in order to protect his relationship with the Clinton campaign, wrote me:
The problem for Democrats is that in quarreling with the Trump program, they are getting tangled up with specifics, and as a result, they may be seen to be oblivious or insensitive to the underlying message: about illegal immigration or crime or terrorism or loss of local control or American responsibility for world affairs that seems endless and pursued at the expense of concentration on domestic concerns.
This strategist cited the futility of accusing Trump of hyping crime:
This seems counterproductive: Voters are not judging a 10-year performance on crime if they are worried about an experienced or feared increase now. The effect of a defense of this nature may be perceived as belittling or minimizing the concern.
Democrats have to negotiate a tricky path in communicating their candidate’s “identification with the main concerns of many of Trump’s voters” on such issues as immigration, the strategist argued. This empathy has to be thematic and not programmatic identification: we plainly cannot agree with regressive changes in the tax code, or canceling the Paris agreement, or deporting 11 million people.
Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, a liberal advocacy group, described the problem of attempting to refute Trump point-by-point:
Democratic think tanks and surrogates and experts will dissect his proposals and show how they fail, but that won’t mean much. He’s an attitude, a direction, not a policy agenda.
Clinton’s task, in Borosage’s view, is not an easy one for a politician who has been in the national spotlight for more than a quarter of a century: “H.R.C.’s challenge is to claim the future — one that is different than the past,” Borosage wrote.
In his speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Bill Clinton sought to address the issue Borosage raises of how Hillary Clinton can plausibly “claim the future.” The former president referred to his wife’s record of making “positive changes in people’s lives” and noted that his wife is a “woman who has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything.”
Borosage brought up a second point, that Hillary Clinton, who has campaigned on the theme that she will protect and enhance the Obama legacy, needs to jump an additional hurdle: “Her biggest challenge is to be different than Obama — bolder, challenging Wall Street, corporate trade and tax deals.”
Borosage’s argument — that the Trump campaign is based on attitudes and ingrained belief systems, not on a set of policies — points to the difficulty of addressing Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology at Princeton and the author of “Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Age of Economic Integration” pointed out in an email, for example, that net illegal migration has been zero or negative for eight years, so building walls and increasing border enforcement is addressing a problem that no longer exists.
Similarly, The Wall Street Journal reported in July 2015 that numerous studies have shown that immigrants — regardless of nationality or legal status — are less likely than the native population to commit violent crimes or to be incarcerated.
These facts are unlikely to dissuade voters convinced that immigrants are taking jobs, committing crimes and undermining American values. From their point of view, any crime by an illegal immigrant is one crime too many.
There are many Democrats who believe that taking on Trump does not require nuance or calculation. “When 60 percent of voters say they’ll never consider voting for you and you have a 29 percent approval rating, you’ve got a serious image problem,” Jim Jordan, who managed John Kerry’s presidential campaign and served as executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, wrote me in an email. “Trump is already gushing blood. This is just blocking and tackling for the Clinton folks.”
Jordan argues that “the two real imperatives” for Democrats are 1) “to deny Trump the ‘I’m-on-your-side’ space,” and 2) “to keep hammering on how bizarre and dangerous he is to America and our interests around the world. His weird man-crush on Putin and his invitation this week to Russia to invade the Baltics seem like good places to start.”
Despite Jordan’s confidence in Democratic presidential prospects, at the moment Trump has moved ahead of Clinton by 1.1 percent in the RealClearPolitics aggregation of recent polling.
La Opinión (Editorial)
July 27, 2016
Promises of comprehensive immigration reform if a candidate wins the election are familiar for the Latino community, as is the disappointment of trusting someone in vain. These experiences have resulted in a critical view of claims like the one made by Senator Charles Schumer, that a reform would be approved within three months if Democrats regain control of the Senate.
The New York lawmaker, who expects to become the Senate’s majority leader, outlined legislative priorities in case Democrats can win back the majority in November. According to opinion polls, this is a real possibility. However, the perspective of a simple majority of Democrats doesn’t mean much in a system that in fact requires 60 votes to advance any measure. Support from a few Republicans will still be needed.
In that same scenario of a Democratic victory, it will be very tough for Republicans to lose control of the House of Representatives, because of the partisan redistricting that happened in several states in 2010. As a result, a strong opposition in the House may continue.
This analysis of the situation provides a realistic view. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make Schumer’s statement any less important.
Millions of families lose sight of the fact that this is a political game of chess, when what is at stake is staying in the country after years of making sacrifices. When the threat of the family potentially being split up is a daily worry, the words of a senator become a beacon of hope.
Even more so, when the Republican option is deportation as an immigration policy. And when Republican Latinos insult the intelligence of immigrants, implying that there isn’t much difference between being ignored and pursued. They obviously never had to live through that.
Let there be no doubt that we’ll all have our eyes on Washington if Democrats win.
We’ll see if political capital gets invested in immigration reform, or if the past repeats itself once a candidate reaches the White House. Fulfilling the promise of immigration reform was seen as divisive during the first year in office, and the perfect moment vanished and never returned.
Today, Schumer’s words have the purpose of encouraging Latinos to participate in the elections. We hope that this isn’t another disappointment, for the good of millions of undocumented immigrants who during a period of many years have earned the right to live in the United States with peace of mind.
By Jessica Garrison, Jeremy Singer-Vine, and Ken Bensinger
July 27, 2016
Donald Trump has made restoring American jobs a centerpiece of his campaign, a pledge he reiterated last week when he accepted the Republican nomination for president: “I’m going to bring our jobs back to Ohio and Pennsylvania and New York and Michigan and all of America,” he said.
This month, Trump is bringing jobs to Florida, as he looks to hire 78 servers, housekeepers, and cooks at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and the nearby Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter.
But instead of making sure those jobs go to Americans, he is seeking to import foreign workers for the positions, which pay $10.17 an hour for housekeepers, $11.13 an hour for servers, and $12.74 for cooks. He filed applications this month claiming he couldn’t find enough Americans to do that work, and is seeking temporary visas to bring in 65 workers at Mar-a-Lago along with another seven waiters and six cooks at the golf club.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment. A call to Mar-a-Lago was not returned, and an employee at the Jupiter golf club declined to comment. But in the past, Trump has defended his use of guest workers by saying there was no other way to fill the jobs.
“You can’t get help,” Trump told MSNBC’s Morning Joe in September. “Getting help in Palm Beach during the season is almost impossible.”
Officials at a nearby career services agency have seen it differently. Last year, Tom Veenstra, a senior director at Palm Beach’s career services center, told BuzzFeed News that he had “hundreds of people in our database that would qualify for a lot of those hospitality jobs.”
In an email Wednesday, Veenstra said his agency, which is chartered by the state of Florida, has a database of 1,327 Palm Beach County residents interested in server, cook, and chef positions. He said local hotels are currently seeking his agency’s help to fill more than 856 such jobs. Mar-a-Lago does not appear to be among those that contacted the agency directly, he said, adding that he could not immediately provide information about the Jupiter golf club.
H-2 visas allow employers to bring people from other countries into America as “guest workers” to fill temporary positions. One of the strictest rules of the H-2 program is that American workers must always be given preference in hiring. Companies seeking these visas are required by law to show that they already tried, but failed, to find Americans for the job. A BuzzFeed News investigation found that many companies go to extraordinary lengths to avoid hiring American workers so they can bring in foreign workers on H-2 visas instead.
In addition to this latest request for 78 visas, in the year since Trump launched his presidential campaign, companies owned by him or bearing his name had already sought and won permission from the Department of Labor to hire at least 149 foreign guest workers.
During his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg raised this as a reason to question Trump’s convictions, stating, “He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the U.S. visa system so he can hire temporary foreign workers at low wages. “
The jobs were at resorts, golf courses, and vineyards in New York, Florida, and Virginia. The companies appear to have followed recruitment rules when seeking guest workers, posting those positions in the state online job board and placing ads, as required, with local newspapers such as the Palm Beach Post.
New York Times
By Ashley Parker
July 27, 2016
Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power’s cyberspying on a secretary of state’s correspondence.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which researchers have concluded was likely the work of two Russian intelligence agencies.
Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least meddle in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally telling the female questioner to “be quiet — let the president talk to them.”
The Clinton campaign immediately accused Mr. Trump of both encouraging Russian espionage against the United States and meddling in domestic politics.
“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
Mr. Trump has largely dismissed assertions that Russia was behind the Democratic committee breach as conspiracy theories — a view he reiterated again when he said the hack “is probably not Russia.”
But at the news conference at one of his Florida golf courses, as the third day of the Democratic National Convention was set to begin in Philadelphia, the Republican presidential nominee refused to unequivocally call on Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s president, to not meddle in the United States’ presidential election.
“I’m not going to tell Putin what to do,” Mr. Trump said. “Why should I tell Putin what to do?”
He added that if Russia, or any foreign government, is, in fact, behind the hack, it simply shows just how little respect other nations have for the current administration.
“President Trump would be so much better for U.S. relations” than a President Clinton, Mr. Trump said. “I don’t think he respects Clinton.”
As an avalanche of criticism poured over Mr. Trump, some Republicans defended his comments as a worthy attack on Mrs. Clinton. Former Representative Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr. Trump was right to keep hammering Mrs. Clinton on the subject of her private emails.
Mr. Hoekstra said he was untroubled by Mr. Trump’s goading on of a foreign power.
“Trump is bringing up a fairly valid point: Hillary Clinton with her personal email at the State Department, has put the Russians in a very enviable position,” Mr. Hoekstra said. “Most likely the Russians already have all that info on Hillary.”
By Kyle Cheney
July 27, 2016
Democrats launched a sustained and withering attack Wednesday on Donald Trump, deploying the party’s highest-caliber stars in prime time to land their fiercest blows yet on the Republican presidential nominee.
“His lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in that phrase he is most proud of making famous, ‘you're fired,’” roared Vice President Joe Biden. “He is trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That is a bunch of malarkey.”
The third night of Democrats’ national convention in Philadelphia featured a strategic takedown of Trump’s candidacy. Speakers like former CIA director Leon Panetta and retired Admiral John Hutson painted Trump as too volatile and erratic to hold the nuclear codes.
Former Republican New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg derided Trump as a “dangerous demagogue.” Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called Trump an “immigrant-bashing carnival barker” and a “bully racist.” They picked apart and pillioried Trump’s business record and his slam of Sen. John McCain for getting captured during his military service in Vietnam.
And they ripped Trump for his newest controversy: urging earlier Wednesday that Russia recover and release Hillary Clinton’s private emails.
Even President Barack Obama, whose speech was largely a rosy recollection of his presidency and a boost to Clinton, mentioned Trump at least six times.
President Barack Obama touted the strides made during his presidency while urging voters to support Hillary Clinton.
"He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either," Obama said. "He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated."
And in a more oblique but cutting swipe, Obama appeared to lump Trump together with America's enemies. "Anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end," he said.
Trump's campaign returned the harsh rhetoric with its own, slamming Democrats for speaking in "cheap, petty terms beneath the dignity of a convention."
"[T]hey resorted to the politics of fear, trying to convince Americans not to vote for change -- they spoke on behalf of the big banks and the big elites, not on behalf of suffering Americans," said senior Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller. "They want to keep the system rigged for their donors. Period. Rigged trade deals, a rigged economy, and open borders that benefit the few at the expense of the many."
It was easy, at times, to forget that the event was meant to be a Clinton pep rally. Speaker after speaker focused on Trump, and the day included emotional homages to Obama, Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, all leaving office early next year.
Obama at the end of the night made the most forceful case for Clinton of the convention's first three days.
"That is the Hillary I know, that's the Hillary I've come to admire, and that's why I can say with confidence, there has never been a man or a woman -- not me, not Bill, nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America," he thundered.
"I hope you don't mind, Bill," he said as the grinning former president looked on, "but I was just telling the truth, man."
The fevered attacks on Trump reinforced an emerging narrative of the election: the most unifying message each party has to offer is the one that rips the other side as unfit for office. Republicans spent their convention last week stamping out an anti-Trump rebellion, but they appeared to heal their wounds with increasingly harsh calls to send Clinton to prison.
“Lock her up,” became the driving rallying cry of the convention.
Democrats, meanwhile, struggled to squelch an even greater rebellion among supporters of Bernie Sanders, who created havoc on the first night of the convention and displayed a deep fracture within the party. But they, too, found their stride in the anti-Trump calls on their third day.
“Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy,” said Bloomberg, an independent who had, to that point, received a somewhat subdued reception from the crowd.
The anti-Trump calls also helped smooth over the left’s lingering concerns with Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, who addressed delegates after Biden. Kaine described Trump as a “moral disaster” and highlighted all the Republicans who have broken from the mogul.
The United States, he said, “is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew.”
Kaine was formally nominated to be vice president earlier Wednesday, a vote by acclamation that occurred with little fanfare. His speech revealed that he’s likely to fill the time-honored attack dog role that has often fallen to vice presidential candidates.
Trump, for his part, did his best to eat into Democrats’ monopoly on the news cycle.
It began with an unforced error, when Trump’ call for Russia to commit cyber-espionage against Clinton sparked a media frenzy and critics in both parties expressed dismay that he would cross such a line.
“I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the Republican nominee said at a news conference in Florida, about the messages deleted from Clinton’s private server. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
His campaign scrambled to walk back Trump’s comments, suggesting they were sarcastic and that he never insinuated Russia should hack the emails of a political opponent.
After the controversy flared, Trump maintained a wall-to-wall day of campaign events, including some that coincided with the night’s primetime speakers. He hosted a Reddit “Ask me Anything” session and held two rallies that featured more red meat for supporters.
Trump’s Russia comments made their way into the Democratic narrative Wednesday as well. Panetta said the remarks showed that Trump “once again took Russia’s side.”
“As someone who was responsible for protecting our nation from cyber attacks, it is inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible,” he said.
Trump was also an early target of speakers on the DNC program. “Millions have joined us in rejecting Donald Trump's bullying, racism, and his attempt to divide our American family,” said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who’s leading the party’s effort to make gains in the House.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s had a rocky relationship with Clinton throughout the primary, also ripped Trump for controversies surrounding Trump University.
But it was de Blasio's predecessor, Bloomberg, who seemed to crystallize the unusual — and unusually harsh — argument that Democrats and their allies have been making against Trump.