Weekend traffic: Trump, stadium concerts, Tall Ships and I-694 closure

The weekend calendar is chock full with large events that have the potential to spawn big time traffic jams, especially in downtown Minneapolis where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pays a rare visit to the state Friday. His invitation only "Trump Victory Fund" fundraiser at the Minneapolis Convention Center is set to start during the peak of the evening rush hour. About the same time,expect another burst of traffic as thousands will descend on U.S. Bank Stadium where country singer Luke Bryan takes the stage at the $1 billion home of the Minnesota Vikings. Metallica takes over the stadium's stage Saturday night. Some streets immediately around the stadium will be closed for the shows, including 4th Street between Park Avenue and I-35W, and Chicago Avenue between 4th and 6th streets. Compounding the traffic flow is the ongoing closure of westbound Washington Avenue from Portland Avenue to 2nd Street S. The city will deploy 17 traffic control agents and two supervisors both nights to help keep traffic around the stadium moving, In Shakopee, Saturday marks the opening of the Renaissance Festival, which will bring extra traffic to Hwy. 169. There is no late summer lull in the road construction department. The eastbound lanes of I-694 will be closed for bridge painting from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday between East River Road and I-35W. Bridge work also will bring a closure on northbound 35W will be closed overnight Saturday from I-694 to County Road H.  MnDOT warns travelers to expect heavy traffic on all highways leading to Duluth where the Tall Ships festival runs through Sunday. And from the State Patrol: Drive sober. A DWI enforcement campaign begins Friday and runs through Sept. 5. Transit riders have a new way to get between the Mall of America, Burnsville Transit Station and Marschall Road Transit Station in Shakopee. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority launches Route 495 on Saturday with 39 trips (18 southbound and 21 Continue Reading

Frustrated White House free traders mount campaign to weaken Trump tariffs

Since President Donald Trump announced plans last week to hit steel and aluminum imports with new tariffs, his trade adviser Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have been all over television celebrating their victory and rebutting suggestions that the move would incite a damaging trade war. But economic adviser Gary Cohn and other free-trade advocates inside the White House and the Treasury Department are mounting a last-ditch effort to blunt the impact of Trump’s head-turning decision, even as the president insisted Monday that he wasn’t going to be convinced out of it.Story Continued Below Cohn and like-minded officials in the administration are hoping the parade of senior GOP lawmakers, donors, lobbyists and business groups loudly opposing the pending decision will convince Trump that his proposed tariffs will damage the U.S. economy. There was a growing sense among some administration officials that the best way to talk Trump out of the tariffs was to make sure he hears from people outside of the White House, since he’s ignoring advisers inside the building. West Wing aides led by Cohn, who directs the National Economic Council, are planning a White House meeting for Thursday with executives from industries likely to be hurt by big tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, two officials familiar with the matter said. The meeting is tentative and the participants have not yet been set in stone, but industries that could be hit hard by the tariffs include automakers and beverage companies. The meeting is meant to counter the session with steel and aluminum industry executives last week in which Trump stunned the world by announcing he would slap tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. Cohn and other critics of the tariffs have acknowledged privately to associates that Trump is unlikely to completely reverse himself. Trump, aides close to him said, is resistant to publicly flip-flopping on high Continue Reading

Where’s the California love? Trump is first president in decades to skip a visit in initial year

President Trump’s love for all things gold apparently doesn’t extend to the Golden State.Trump is about to become the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower 64 years ago to skip a visit to California during his first calendar year in office. And he doesn’t appear to have any plans to take Air Force One to the country’s most populous and economically powerful state before he marks his first full year in office Jan. 20.Even past presidents who, like Trump, didn't win the state's electoral votes made it a destination, if only for California’s allure as the Golden State of campaign cash.For Trump, it's ground zero for “the resistance.”A president so fixated on the 2016 election results as Trump may not want to be reminded that just 31% of California’s voters chose him while 61% decided “I’m with her” — giving Hillary Clinton over 4 million more votes and the state’s 55 electoral votes.A few weeks afterward, President-elect Trump alleged on Twitter that there was “serious voter fraud” in California, as well as in Virginia and New Hampshire, claims for which he never suggested evidence.Since then, California has been at the forefront of those states and organizations pushing back against Trump’s policies to vastly scale back federal healthcare subsidies, environmental protections and safety regulations, and to crack down on legal as well as illegal immigration.Trump noticed early on. California is “out of control,” he told Fox News in February.“It’s hard to imagine an environment less alluring to him right now than deep-blue California,” said Dan Schnur, a professor of political communications at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and a former Republican.“He’ll get here eventually, but we probably shouldn’t hold our breath that it’s coming anytime soon,” Schnur added.Of the 29 states Trump has visited Continue Reading

Latino Victory Fund: We’ll Double Down On Controversial Ad Strategy After Virginia Win

With Democrat Ralph Northam winning Virginia's fiercely competitive governor's race Tuesday night, you would think that would mean a sigh of relief for the Latino group that inserted itself into the last week of the campaign, drawing harsh criticism over an ad that showed a pickup truck with a Confederate flag and a bumper sticker for Republican Ed Gillespie chasing down minority children.But Latino Victory Fund, which briefly ran the ad early last week, says it will instead double down on its strategy.The group, which works to elect Democrats, argues that this type of messaging campaign serves to defend the Latino community against ads like one from Gillespie that highlighted the danger posed by MS-13 gang members, which the group said promotes suspicion of Hispanics at large.Where others saw a mistake from the group and said the ad cast all Gillespie supporters and Republicans as racist, Latino Victory Fund says the outrage just boiled down to crocodile tears from bullies who were finally hit back, echoing what Democratic Party chair Tom Perez said on Meet the Press. Officials for the group said that before the Virginia election results were known they were preparing an op-ed for later this week that would have laid out this strategy regardless of who won the race, BuzzFeed News learned."Our ad was an honest reflection of the fears facing communities of color in Virginia and across the country. It was designed to raise Latino voters' awareness of Gillespie’s bigoted campaign tactics, and it accomplished that goal," said Cristóbal J. Alex, Latino Victory Fund president. "Faced with vicious, racist attacks, we usually turn the other cheek or point our finger at the bully. This time we threw a jab to the throat and we will continue raising our voices wherever and whenever racism rears its head."Much of the reaction to the ad was negative, with the Republican National Committee calling it "disgusting" and saying, "Democrats’ closing argument is that Continue Reading

STASI: The $5M the rich and clueless spent at this week’s Trump fund-raiser should be sent to Puerto Rico

The rich and clueless forked over $5 million Tuesday night to curry favor with a billionaire President as millions of American citizens were suffering unimaginably — and some dying — without any light or power to refrigerate food or vital medicine in Puerto Rico. The rich and clueless spent $35,000 per couple to eat some of the priciest food in the world with the most unhinged President of the century. This as hundreds of thousands of American children and babies were crying and begging their helpless parents for something — anything — to eat in the Apocalypse that is Puerto Rico. The rich and clueless paid an unimaginable $250,000 per couple last night to sip $10 bottles of water in a city with perfect tap water at that dinner's even more exclusive round table with the commander-in-chief as millions in Puerto Rico remained without safe drinking water for five days. The rich and clueless sat with Donald Trump last night at the elegant Le Cirque restaurant, as President Trump ignored the reality that is the total annihilation of the American territory of Puerto Rico, while raking in big bucks for the Trump Victory Fund. The rich and clueless spent millions for up-close and personal access to the President as he continued to stir division, diversion and racial politics along with their gourmet meals. The richest and most clueless of presidents took the time out during one of the worst modern humanitarian crises to hit American citizens, to again rally his base by ranting against Colin Kaepernick's and the NFL players' protests against oppression of blacks and people of color — which Trump himself reignited as a diversion. I'm not saying that the guests at the exclusive fund-raiser haven't sent money, and help to Puerto Rico — many have — nor that FEMA isn't doing what they can, but that $5 million they forked over to further the President's agenda should have gone into furthering the Continue Reading

Trump victory increases uncertainties for global economy

Donald Trump’s promise to put America first helped propel him to the U.S. presidency, but it also has unleashed uncertainty on the global economy — skewering major trading partners and offering few specifics that might calm allies, businesses and investors.Financial markets reacted quickly and negatively to the unknowns of a Trump stewardship of the world’s largest economy. Stocks stabilized Wednesday morning, while U.S. Treasury notes lost value, pushing up interest rates. Many analysts asked: Could Trump shed his aggressive rhetoric?“We simply can’t know what type of President Trump will be,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics.RESULTS: President and national | Wisconsin and MilwaukeeMORE COVERAGE:Clinton concedes | Ryan: 'Go big, go bold' | Johnson lays out 100-day goals  | Possibility for Priebus | Bice's winners and losers | Election 2016 sectionTrump campaigned by threatening to rip up trade deals he deems unfavorable. He promised penalties for U.S. firms that offshore factory jobs. He would label China a currency manipulator. He would repeal Obamacare. He staked his credibility on erecting a wall along the Mexican border and limiting immigration — ideas that connected with a mainly white working class that has felt abandoned by political leaders.The president-elect has promised to spur growth with a roughly $6 billion tax cut over the next decade, a policy that could help the U.S. economy but also cause its national debt to jump, according to outside economists.Yet the Republican nominee provided so few fleshed-out policy details that he created the impression of a White House that would be run largely on his instincts. For several investors and analysts, that approach has left a deep sense of unease about the direction of the U.S. economy under his watch.Among other things, Trump has dismissed the monthly U.S. government Continue Reading

Trump to hold Phoenix rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Donald Trump will hold his Saturday rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in central Phoenix, as the candidate makes his first stop in Arizona as the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee.The campaign of the celebrity billionaire signed a contract Tuesday to rent the venue, which accommodates about 15,000 people, planners have told The Arizona Republic. The rally is scheduled for 4 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m.Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, said the coliseum is ideal because it is "centrally located and indoors" and can be easily secured by law enforcement -- a key feature given recent clashes surrounding Trump events.Thousands of supporters are expected.Protesters are also expected outside the event, as they have been during Trump's three prior campaign stops in Arizona.Trump will travel to Phoenix following a campaign event in Las Vegas. While here he will also attend a private fundraiser at a Paradise Valley home rich with Arizona history.Trump and the Republican National Committee are joining forces for the "Trump Victory" fundraiser, which will give supporters the chance to mingle with the presumptive nominee as he engages in more traditional campaign fundraising. Trump has largely relied on his own pocketbook to fund his bid for the White House.Arizona planners are also trying to arrange a meeting between Trump and tribal leaders. The Navajo Nation — the nation's largest tribe, with about 300,000 living on the tribe's reservation — has reached out to Trump's campaign as part of its efforts to meet with candidates of both major parties.The Saturday rally will mark Trump's fourth visit during his year-long bid for the White House.Prior stops in Phoenix, Mesa and Fountain Hills were marked by demonstrations that culminated in the arrests of three people during protests that choked traffic leading into Fountain Continue Reading

President Trump calls Hillary Clinton ‘Crooked H’ in tweet after Donna Brazile story

Late Thursday night, President Trump tweeted, "Donna Brazile just stated the DNC RIGGED the system to illegally steal the Primary from Bernie Sanders. Bought and paid for by Crooked H...." in response to an explosive piece by former Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile. In her forthcoming book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, Brazile took 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to task for rigging the DNC in her favor. An excerpt of the book was published in Politico. In the piece, Brazile alleges that before Clinton became the Democratic nominee, her campaign signed a joint fundraising agreement with the DNC and Hillary Victory Fund, in which her campaign would finance the DNC in exchange for oversight from the Clinton campaign.Usually, the nominee doesn't take over fundraising until after they have accepted the nomination.Brazile writes:  "The agreement — signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias — specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff."  More: Elizabeth Warren agrees DNC was 'rigged' in Clinton's favor When Brazile found out about the agreement, she said she called Clinton's former primary campaign rival, Bernie Sanders, to tell him the news.Brazile writes that Sanders "took this stoically. He did not yell or express outrage. Instead he asked me what I thought Hillary’s chances were."Brazile, previously resigned from her job as a CNN contributor after Wikileaks revealed she had passed debate questions on to the Clinton campaign. Other tidbits from the Continue Reading

Tim Kaine visits Phoenix amid new Donald Trump furor over vulgar remarks

Sen. Tim Kaine, this year's Democratic vice-presidential nominee, fired up campaign workers Friday with a stop at his team's Phoenix headquarters.Kaine, D-Va., arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Friday, three days after he clashed with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, in a vitriolic debate. He also arrived as GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign was rocked by an unearthed 2005 recording of Trump using vulgar and obscene terms about women.In Phoenix, Kaine denounced Trump for not only his 11-year-old conversation about women, but also for continuing to say that he believes the "Central Park 5" — suspects who were accused but eventually exonerated in a notorious 1989 New York City rape case — were guilty. MORE:  6 things to know about Tim Kaine"Now we got the news out about these sick-to-your-stomach kinds of things that he said about women, which is just more wood on that bonfire because this thing about women is just a very persistent theme with him," Kaine said. "He's clearly got a problem in that way. That he can't look at a woman and see a woman as an equal. That's just not in his DNA."In a written statement earlier in the day, Trump dismissed his lewd chatter as "locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.""(Former President) Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close," Trump said. "I apologize if anyone was offended.”At the time of the Central Park attack, Trump paid for full-page newspaper advertisements demanding that the death penalty be reinstated in New York. Kaine said Trump's continued claims about the wrongfully convicted Central Park 5 are "perpetuating a discredited myth," just like he did with the discredited theory that President Barack Obama was not really born in the United States."But it also says something else about him: Continue Reading

Trump casts long shadow over Virginia governor’s race

WASHINGTON — President Trump hasn’t hit the campaign trail in Virginia's gubernatorial race, but his presence is clearly felt in the first competitive statewide contest since his election last year.The Nov. 7 election battle between Virginia’s current Democratic lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam, and former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie could be a bellwether for Trump's impact on midterm elections across the country next year.Northam held a narrow 4-point lead over Gillespie among likely Virginia voters who are either decided or leaning toward a candidate in a Suffolk University poll released Thursday. That lead is within the margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.4 percentage points for the poll. Trump’s approval rating stands at 37% in the state and 63% of survey respondents said the country is on the wrong track, according to the poll.Northam, 58, a pediatric neurologist and former Army physician, said his election would “absolutely” be a repudiation of Trump. He said he wants to take the state to the next level on jobs, education and health care while promoting an “inclusive” Virginia.“People are watching to see what direction this country is going to go in,” Northam told USA TODAY.But Gillespie, seen as an establishment Republican who has distanced himself from Trump, said the race is all about Virginia and fixing its “lagging” economy.“I’ve got 20 different specific detailed policy proposals to make life better for all Virginians, and the lieutenant governor just doesn’t have that,” said Gillespie, a former lobbyist who also served as counselor to George W. Bush.Save for several tweets, Trump has been largely missing from the race.But nearly a third of likely Virginia voters say Trump is a factor in their vote for governor, and 45% say they see their vote for governor as a way to send a Continue Reading