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2:55 PM ET, June 30, 2016

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 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Chris Christie Becomes Powerful Figure in Donald Trump Campaign  —  Defeated by Donald J. Trump in the 2016 primaries and derided by fellow Republicans for his subsequent embrace of Mr. Trump, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has quietly emerged as one of the most influential advisers …
RELATED:
CNN:
Chris Christie being vetted for Donald Trump VP, source says  —  Washington (CNN)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — a former Donald Trump rival turned top defender — is being vetted as a possible running mate for the presumptive Republican nominee, a source confirmed to CNN on Thursday.
Jessie Hellmann / The Hill:
Trump campaign vetting Chris Christie for VP: reports
Paul Bedard / Washington Examiner:
Fox targeted by FEC Dems in first-ever vote to punish debate sponsorship  —  Finally making good on long-harbored anger at conservative media, Democrats on the Federal Election Commission voted in secret to punish Fox News' sponsorship of a Republican presidential debate …
RELATED:
Tom Jensen / Public Policy Polling:
Presidential Race Shaping Up Similarly to 2012  —  PPP's newest national poll continues to find the Presidential race shaping up pretty similarly to how the 2012 contest played out, with Hillary Clinton holding a 4 point lead that matches Barack Obama's final margin of victory last time around.
Discussion: BostonGlobe.com and Raw Story
RELATED:
Daily Mail:
Trump on top: Republican pulls ahead of Hillary Clinton by 4 points in shock poll after trailing by 5 a week ago  — Rasmussen Reports poll of 1,000 likely voters shows Donald Trump with 43 per cent, compared with 39 per cent for Hillary Clinton  — Last week the same pollsters found Clinton ahead …
Conor Friedersdorf / The Atlantic:   Mitt Romney: My Conscience Won't Allow Me to Vote for Trump or Clinton
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Trump skepticism hardens in GOP  —  Over the past several weeks, Donald Trump has managed to deliver several scripted speeches that stayed on message.  He's hired top staffers to bulk up his skeletal campaign.  And he's kick-started a fundraising operation, while focusing most of his rhetorical fire on Hillary Clinton.
Discussion: RedState and Daily Kos
RELATED:
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
GOP Senator Mike Lee Goes Off On Radio Host Who Asks Why He Hasn't Endorsed Trump  —  Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah delivered a forceful response when asked on Wednesday why he hasn't endorsed Donald Trump.  —  Lee chastised Trump for parroting conspiracy theories about Ted Cruz's father …
Pam Key / Breitbart:
GOP Sen Mike Lee, Newsmax's Malzberg Get Into Heated Debate Over Lack of Trump Endorsement
Discussion: CNN and fox13now.com
NBC News:
After Saying He Forgave Loans to Campaign, Trump Won't Release Proof  —  When Donald Trump said last Thursday he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign, the announcement drew plenty of coverage.  Many even reported Trump's statement as if the deal was done.
Nick Gass / Politico:
Democrats groan after Bill Clinton meets Loretta Lynch  —  Attorney General Loretta Lynch described her Monday meeting with Bill Clinton aboard a private plane as “primarily social,” but some Democrats are struggling to stomach the optics of the attorney general's meeting with the former president …
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Aram Roston / BuzzFeed:
Sources: Donald Trump Listened In On Phone Lines At Mar-A-Lago  — Several workers said Trump used the equipment to secretly listen in on phone calls in the mid-2000s.  —  At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump …
Jessica Elgot / Guardian:
Boris Johnson rules himself out of Tory leadership race  —  Main public face of Brexit makes shock announcement hours after his key ally Michael Gove launched his own campaign  —  Boris Johnson has unexpectedly ruled himself out of the Conservative leadership race, hours …
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Howie Carr / Boston Herald:
Nothing sorry about Trump One  —  ABOARD TRUMP ONE — The candidate loosened his tie and offered me some advice.  —  “Whatever you do, don't apologize,” he said.  “You never hear me apologize, do you?  That's what killed Jimmy the Greek way back.  Remember?  He was doing okay 'til he said he was sorry.”
Scott Wong / The Hill:
House to vote on gun legislation  —  A week after Democrats staged a nearly 26-hour sit-in demanding a vote on gun control measures, Speaker Paul Ryan  —  (R-Wis.) said the House will vote next week on legislation to block suspected terrorists from buying guns.
RELATED:
Lindsey McPherson / Roll Call:
House Plans Vote on Guns Next Week
Discussion: Washington Post and Daily Kos
Emily Smith / Page Six:
Mika's hush-hush divorce fuels Joe romance chatter  —  MORE FROM:  —  “Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough could soon go public as a couple.  Page Six has exclusively learned that Brzezinski and her husband of 23 years have quietly divorced.
Bill Gertz / Washington Times:
Russia to release Clinton emails?  —  U.S. intelligence agencies are said to be closely watching Russian online blogs and other postings for any signs that Moscow hackers have covertly obtained the bulk of Hillary Clinton's email messages stolen from her private email server and are preparing to make them public.
CNN:
Navy report: Failure at every level for US ships captured by Iran  —  Iran video appears to show U.S. sailor in tears  —  Washington (CNN)A devastating new report by military investigators released Thursday found that the 10 sailors captured by Iranians in January suffered from “failed leadership” …
Jay Reeves / Associated Press:
At 150, KKK sees opportunities in US political trends  —  BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Born in the ashes of the smoldering South after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan died and was reborn before losing the fight against civil rights in the 1960s.  Membership dwindled, a unified group fractured …
Discussion: Politicus USA
Katie Glueck / Politico:
Trump's Pennsylvania campaign is missing in action  —  Nearly everyone can agree that Donald Trump's path to the White House goes through Pennsylvania.  —  But local party leaders in some of the state's most pivotal counties say there's been almost no outreach from his campaign so far …
Seth Abramovitch / Hollywood Reporter:
Nancy Grace to Depart HLN After 12 Years (Exclusive)  —  EMAIL ME  —  One of cable's most recognizable and controversial figures tells THR she will embark upon a new chapter involving “a very large digital component.”  —  Nancy Grace, who parlayed her stint as a successful prosecutor …
Lisa Hagen / The Hill:
Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office  —  on Wednesday hammered his former primary rivals for going back on a pledge to back the eventual GOP presidential nominee.  —  Trump said his primary opponents who now refuse to support his candidacy should not be allowed …
Discussion: RedState
Alan I. Abramowitz / Sabato's Crystal Ball:
Donald Trump, Partisan Polarization, and the 2016 Presidential Election  —  Recent presidential elections in the United States have been characterized by sharp divisions between Democrats and Republicans on a wide range of issues along with high levels of party loyalty and straight-ticket voting.
Discussion: Mother Jones
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
‘Never Trump’ plots its last stand  —  are plotting a last-ditch effort to deny him their party's nomination at the convention in Cleveland.  —  A coalition of delegates, lawyers, rules experts and PACs has formed in what participants say is the most coordinated effort to date to dump Trump from the Republican ticket.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Ronald Brownstein / The Atlantic:
Culture Is Replacing Class as the Key Political Divide
Jason Noble / Des Moines Register:
Iowa Supreme Court upholds ban on felons voting in Iowa
Discussion: Daily Kos and The Nation
Sara Jerde / Talking Points Memo:
Celeb Chef Says He Won't Let Trump Dine At His Restaurants During RNC
Discussion: Plain Dealer and alan.com
Lucas Nolan / Breitbart:
Wikipedia Removes Orlando Shooting From ‘Islamist Terror Attack’ List
Discussion: Jihad Watch
Sarah Rumpf / Heat Street:
British MEP Daniel Hannan Spent Nine Minutes Smacking Down CNN Journalist
Discussion: The Right Scoop
Tim Mak / The Daily Beast:
GOP National-Security Experts Are #ReadyForHer
Discussion: Politicus USA
Gray Rohrer / Sun-Sentinel:
Lawyer seeks federal bribery charges against Bondi over Trump donation
Discussion: Raw Story
 Earlier Items: 
Associated Press:
McHenry gun shop to raffle off AR-15 rifle to benefit Orlando shooting victims
Eliza Newlin Carney / American Prospect:
Don't Blame the Voters  —  Supporters of Republican presidential …
Discussion: Real Clear Politics
New York Times:
Democratic Group Prepares Trove of Research to Unload on Donald Trump
Isaac Arnsdorf / Politico:
Kaine accepted clothes, vacation as gifts
Discussion: Hot Air and The Week