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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Bill Clinton and Sally Yates dress down Trump: Key moments from Night 2 of the Dem convention

Democrats trotted out both its party elders and its rising stars on Tuesday to make a forceful case against President Donald Trump while also boosting former Vice President Joe Biden.

The second night of the Democratic National Convention pulled back on the at-times stilted interviews with Americans in their homes and instead focused on marquee names, including Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Here are the key moments of the night.

Sally Yates talks about Trump driving her out of office

Sally Yates, a former deputy attorney general, lambasted the president, whom she said has “trampled the rule of law.”

Yates kicked off her speech by noting that “speaking at a political convention is something I never expected to be doing,” but she argued that the stakes of November’s election are too high not to.

Yates, who served at DOJ under both Republican and Democratic presidents for nearly 30 years, stepped in as the department’s acting chief for 10 days, before Trump fired her for “refusing to defend President Trump's shameful and unlawful Muslim travel ban,” Yates said Tuesday.

“From the moment President Trump took office, he's used his position to benefit himself rather than our country,” Yates said, accusing Trump of attempting to “weaponize” the Justice Department for his personal and political benefit.

“Put simply, he treats our country like it's his family business, this time bankrupting our nation's moral authority at home and abroad,” she added.

Bill Clinton accuses Trump of 'denying, distracting and demeaning'

Former President Bill Clinton used his relatively brief address to rail against Trump, characterizing his White House as chaotic and incapable of accepting responsibility.

"At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center," Clinton said. "There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes — his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.”

Clinton went after Trump's coronavirus response, pointing out the U.S. is the only industrialized country to triple its unemployment amid the crisis. He said Trump's character — one that has him spending hours watching TV and attacking his enemies — is not one to combat a global emergency like the pandemic.

"Denying, distracting and demeaning works great if you're trying to entertain or inflame, but in a real crisis, it collapses just like a house of cards," Clinton said.

Stacey Abrams: Biden will defend free and fair elections

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams threw her support behind Biden as part of a montage of elected officials who shared Tuesday’s keynote address.

“We stand with Joe Biden, because this isn’t just about defeating Donald Trump,” Abrams said. “We are in this to win for America.”

Abrams’ name was floated with a number of potential picks for Biden’s running mate, particularly as he hinted at selecting a woman of color for the job. Abrams entered national attention during the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, which she lost by a slim margin amid complaints of the state’s voting infrastructure. She hinted at the controversy in her remarks.

“In a time of voter suppression at home and authoritarians abroad, Joe Biden will be a champion for free and fair elections,” she said.

Abram’s comments were part of a Brady-Bunch-esque keynote address that included several elected officials, including members of Congress, Navajo President Jonathan Nez and state legislators.

Schumer: ‘Trump has quit on you’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Trump a quitter, touching on some of his most explosive scandals of the summer. Schumer claimed Trump hid in a bunker while Black Lives Matter protests sprang up in front of the White House. He also lambasted Trump for saying, “It is what it is,” when asked about the death toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Presidents should never say, ‘It is what it is,'” Schumer said. “America, Donald Trump has quit on you.”

Schumer expressed a message of hope for his fellow Democrats that their party would retake the White House and the Senate. He outlined policy objectives, from fighting racism in the criminal justice system to building up internet infrastructure in the country. Voting in Democrats, Schumer said, would allow the country to wake up from “this long, national nightmare.”

“We need a president with dignity, integrity and the experience to lead us out of this crisis, a man with a steady hand and a big heart who will never, ever, quit on America,” Schumer said. “That man is my friend Joe Biden.”

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