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Morning Reads: Trump and Sanders to Debate? Exxon Shareholders Reject Climate Change

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Trump and Sanders to Debate?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands with female supporters at a rally on May 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Here’s our Thursday edition. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. We’re going to take a short break, too, and will be back with a new Morning Reads on Tuesday. 

Developing –> It’s Anything Can Happen Day here at Morning Reads. What started as a joke might become reality. Danny Freeman at NBC News reports, “In the latest twist to this unpredictable 2016 presidential race, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders independently agreed Wednesday night to debate each other.

“On ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Trump was asked if he would consider holding a debate with Sanders. Trump agreed to the idea. ‘If he paid a sum toward charity I would love to do that,’ said the business mogul, noting that a Sanders vs. Trump debate ‘would have such high ratings.’ Sanders quickly responded with a tweet reading, ‘Game On. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.'”

He just can’t help it! –> “A fresh string of attacks by Donald Trump this week on rivals in the GOP establishment — including one delivered against a prominent Latina governor in her home state — raised new doubts about his ability or desire to unite the party’s badly fractured leadership,” Jose A. DelReal and Jenna Johnson write at The Washington Post. “… Trump had been expected by many political strategists and party leaders to extend olive branches to his foes and vanquished opponents, many of whom could be crucial allies in the general election against the Democratic nominee, most likely Hillary Clinton. Yet the real estate mogul does not always appear to be interested in doing so. The revived feuding this week has only added to the concerns of holdouts such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI), who reiterated Wednesday that he was not ready to endorse Trump and remained opposed to some of his core policies.

“…The attacks — delivered in Trump’s distinctive and belittling style — would no longer appear to be in his best interest now that the primary campaign is over and he faces a tough and well-funded opponent in Clinton. They could also further undercut his standing among women and minorities, who are strongly opposed to him in public-opinion polls.”

Trump talk in Japan –> President Obama has arrived in Japan for the G7 summit and at a press conference said world leaders are “rattled… for good reason”  by the prospect of a Trump presidency. Cassandra Vinograd at NBC News reports, “He suggested Trump’s controversial proposals were more about ‘getting tweets and headlines’ than ‘actually thinking through’ what’s needed to keep America safe or the ‘world on an even keel.'”

At The New York Times, Gardiner Harris writes, “This week’s summit meeting in Japan is the first among major allies since Mr. Trump moved decisively toward securing the Republican nomination, and Mr. Obama’s counterparts are likely to want more detail in his explanations of an election that has prompted fascination and apprehension overseas. Mr. Obama’s Japanese hosts are particularly alarmed at the prospect of a Trump presidency because the real estate developer has been bashing Japan for decades.”

The latest on Hillary’s emails –> Politico: “A State Department watchdog concluded that Hillary Clinton failed to comply with the agency’s policies on records while using a personal email server that was not — and, officials say, would never have been — approved by agency officials, according to a report released to lawmakers on Wednesday. The long-awaited findings from the State Department inspector general, which also revealed Clinton expressing reluctance about using an official email account, were shared with Capitol Hill Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO. The report detailed how some employees who questioned the wisdom of the homegrown setup were told to stop asking questions, and the audit confirmed apparent hacking attempts on the private server.”

BUT, Charles Tiefer at Forbes says “the report has more in it that vindicates Clinton than nails her. It does not add any new serious charges or adverse facts. And, it shows she was less out of line with her predecessors, notably Colin Powell, than has been charged. Powell’s handling of his email was so similar, in fact, that when House Republicans drag this issue through hearings up to Election Day, Powell should be called as a witness – a witness for Clinton. To put it differently, she is having a double standard applied to her.” (h/t Pat Ivers)

Bathroom pass –> “The Obama administration on Wednesday faced the first major court challenge to its guidance about the civil rights of transgender students in public schools, as officials from 11 states filed a lawsuit,” David Montgomery and Alan Blinder report for The New York Times. “The officials, in states from Arizona to Georgia to Texas to Wisconsin, brought the case in Federal District Court in Wichita Falls, Texas, and said that the Obama administration had ‘conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over common-sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.'”

Exxon wins one –> Samantha Page at ThinkProgress: “After a long battle to even get on the agenda for ExxonMobil’s 2016 Annual Meeting, the company’s shareholders on Wednesday voted against four initiatives to address climate change, even while the company is facing an investigation for its climate denial activities. Investors were hoping to force Exxon to add a climate expert to its board, to enact a policy to avoid 2°C warming, to increase capital distributions (with the understanding that continued investment in assets likely to be stranded is not a good long-term strategy), and to report on the impact climate change policies worldwide to the company’s bottom line. ”

What’s in a name? –> This is crazy, even for Congress. “The Republican-controlled U.S. House on Tuesday passed legislation — newly rebranded with the word ‘Zika’ in it — that Democrats say is in fact not at all about the addressing the threat of the virus but making it easier for pesticides to contaminate the nation’s waterways,” Andrea Germanos writes for Common Dreams. “Previously called the ‘Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act,’ the ‘Zika Vector Control Act’ passed the House 258-156. According to House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md), H.R. 897 ‘is nothing but a Trojan horse, with practically nothing to do with Zika.'”

Morning Reads was written by Michael Winship and edited by Theresa Riley. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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