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Clinton returns to D.C. lamenting mistakes of 2016 campaign

Dem nominee on role of misogyny, fake news in election loss

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Hillary Clinton lamented having stayed “too focused on a path” in the 2016 election. (Screenshot via CSPAN)

As Hillary Clinton has reemerged in the national spotlight to promote her new book, some critics have groaned and wondered why she won’t just go away. They were not among the crowd at the Warner Theatre on Monday night.

In fact, the veneration for the first female U.S. presidential nominee of a major political party was palpable among attendees, who paid upwards of $82 for a ticket to the event.

The topic of discussion was her new book “What Happened” — a self-examination of the 2016 presidential campaign and actions that led to her loss and the election of President Trump to the White House — and Clinton had many explanations for that outcome and the way forward.

Clinton laid out a balanced approach to explain her loss, attributing the outcome not just to her missteps, but also outside forces that tipped the election in Trump’s favor.

“I just decided I was going to write it, and it was painful,” Clinton said. “I say in the book that I’d write about something, and I’d have to go lie down because it was just so hard to think about the mistakes I made and missed opportunities, but then also to come to grips with these other big forces at work that I think had a determinative impact on the outcome.”

Clinton recalled after the election before she started writing the book in February being “so devastated,” trying to feel better by cleaning out closets and taking walks in the park. The process of the writing the book, Clinton said, was “cathartic,” but also important for her view of democracy.

“It really hit me there were these very important issues that needed to be discussed, debated even, that our democracy and country relied upon that kind of self-examination,” Clinton said.

A key factor Clinton identified in her loss was not realizing the game had changed since her runs with her husband President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and her earlier campaign in 2008 — even during the 1960s and 1970s — when clear policy proposals were crucial for presidential candidates.

“You realize that the press is not putting out the policy that you’re putting out everyday, they’re covering an empty podium,” Clinton said. “And I kept thinking, ‘Well, we’re still going to break through because we really care do about what kind of jobs and infrastructure and health care and other things you want to do for them and their families and their incomes, but there’s a disconnect.”

Although Clinton said she “stayed too focused on a path” and “was not as adept” at changing to the new environment, she cautioned a less detailed approach might not be the path in the future and speculated “people will want details” again in 2020.

Lissa Muscatine, co-owner of Politics & Prose and Clinton’s chief speechwriter in the State Department and the White House, moderated the forum and queried Clinton on factors attributed to her loss, from Russian interference to fake news and misogyny.

Clinton recalled feeling compelled to exercise constraint as a woman and not respond during the second presidential debate when Trump could be seen on camera lurching close behind her as she spoke.

“As you might think back — funny gestures, facial expressions, heavy sighs — these really do affect viewers,” Clinton said. “And I just ended up believing that in addition to the gender-linked aspect of this, there was a history of people in presidential debates who had deviated in a way to show frustration, anger, dismissiveness, whatever their feelings were, and paid a heavy price for it, and I thought whatever price they paid, I would pay double or triple.”

Clinton recalled with indignation the Russians hacking the emails of her campaign chair John Podesta, which she described as being “stolen,” and given to Wikileaks — a website Clinton called “nothing more than a tool of Putin and the Kremlin.” Clinton said Trump’s associates “certainly” knew about it, citing a tweet from Roger Stone that Podesta’s time in a barrel would soon come.

Although Clinton said the emails were “anodyne,” she said they were later weaponized as fake news — in one case to potentially violent consequences as a result of the Pizzagate scandal in which Clinton was accused of running a child trafficking ring out of the basement of D.C. pizzeria. (The restaurant doesn’t even have a basement).

“Even I have to say I don’t believe it was meant to be believed to influence somebody to pick up an AR-15 and drive from North Carolina to Washington to liberate the imaginary children from the imaginary basement of the pizza parlor,” Clinton said. “But in came this young man believing that he was on a mission because he saw it on Facebook, he saw it in other places online, he saw it in quote, news outlets. And so, he was there on a mission of rescue. People could have gotten killed; he [fired] his automatic weapon inside this pizza parlor.”

Citing her loss to Trump by 53 percent among white women, Clinton said a major factor was former FBI Director James Comey reopening the email investigation — only for him to close it again one day before the election .

“All of sudden, people are told being told something’s going on, they’re going to investigate her again, or whatever,” Clinton said. “We could see that a lot of women in particular turned away. They were discouraged. I don’t blame them. They didn’t know what to believe. I mean, it was outrageous.”

When Muscatine mentioned Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whom Clinton heavily criticizes in her book for raising doubts about her connections to Wall Street, the audience at the Warner Theatre audibly booed and hissed.

But there were also moments of levity at the event. Muscatine at one point engaged Clinton in a game of having to choose one of a pair of words. Asked about “tea” or “coffee,” Clinton replied “coffee.” Asked about “beach” or “mountains,” Clinton replied “beach.” Asked about “Trump” or “Putin,” Clinton replied she’d have to “take that under advisement” because she “ran against both of them.”

Attendees at the event — who consisted mostly of middle-class women but also members of D.C.’s LGBT community — came to the Warner Theater adorned in Clinton campaign T-shirts leftover from the 2016 election. One vendor outside sold campaign buttons with slogans reading “Hillary 2016” and “Hil Yes!”

Blake Smith, 20, a gay student at George Washington University, worked for Clinton’s presidential campaign and came to the event wearing a T-shirt comprised of a collage of images of Clinton.

“I just think she gets a bad rap,” Smith said. “And I think that people treat her really unfairly, and I think that she’s really, genuinely a good person and she cares about this country.”

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District of Columbia

Accused drug dealer charged with fentanyl distribution leading to deaths of two D.C. gay men

June 13 indictment links previously arrested suspect to deaths

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(Bigstock photo)

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for D.C. has announced that federal prosecutors on June 13 obtained an indictment against one of two D.C. brothers previously charged with multiple counts of illegal drug distribution that now charges him with “distributing cocaine and fentanyl” on Dec. 26, 2023, that resulted in the deaths of D.C. gay men Brandon Roman and Robert “Robbie” Barletta.

In a June 13 press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jevaughn ‘Ledo’ Mark, 32, is charged in a new “secondary superseding indictment” linked to the Roman and Barletta deaths. It says he and his brother, Angelo Mark, 30, “previously were charged on April 9 in a 17-count superseding indictment for participating in a conspiracy that distributed large amounts of fentanyl and cocaine in the metropolitan area.”

The press release says Jevaughn Mark is currently being held without bond on charges that include eight counts of unlawful distribution of fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin and distributing 40 grams or more of fentanyl between Jan. 10, 2024, and March 13, 2024. According to the press release, the charges were based on six illegal drug purchases from Jevaughn Mark by undercover U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and undercover D.C. police officers.

Court records show that Angelo Mark was charged in a criminal complaint on March 22 with multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and is also being held without bond.

D.C. police and Fire and Emergency Medical Services reports show that Roman, 38, a prominent D.C. attorney and LGBTQ rights advocate, and Barletta, 28, a historic preservation expert and home renovation business owner, were found unconscious when police and emergency medical personnel responded to a 911 call and arrived at Barletta’s home on Dec. 27. The reports show that Roman was declared deceased at the scene and Barletta was taken to Washington Hospital Center where he died on Dec. 29.

A police spokesperson told the Washington  Blade in February that police were investigating the Roman and Barletta deaths, but investigators had to wait for the D.C. Medical Examiner’s official determination of the cause and manner of death before the investigation could fully proceed.

Both men were patrons at D.C. gay bars and their passing prompted many in the LGBTQ community to call for stepped up prevention services related to drug overdose cases, even though the cause and manner of death for the two men was not officially determined until early April.

In April, the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner disclosed that the cause of death for both men was an accidental consumption of several drugs that created a fatal “toxic” effect. The Medical Examiner’s office said Barletta’s death was linked to the consumption of at least four different drugs and Roman’s death was caused by the “combined toxic effect” of six drugs. The Medical Examiner’s office disclosed that cocaine and fentanyl were among the drugs found in the bodies of both men. And for both men, the manner of death was listed as “Accident/Intoxication.”

When the cause and manner of death were disclosed by the Medical Examiner, D.C. police spokesperson Tom Lynch said the police investigation into the deaths remained open but said, “There are no updates on the investigation that we are ready to release to the public.”

But the Medical Examiner’s findings prompted Johnny Bailey, the community outreach coordinator for HIPS D.C., an LGBTQ supportive organization that provides services and support for those who use recreational drugs, to say he strongly believed that Barletta and Roman did not intentionally consume some of the drugs found in their system.

“I’m going to say I do believe this was a poisoning,” Bailey told the Blade. “I think it is unfair to call some things an overdose because an overdose is when you do too much of a drug and you die from that drug,” he said. “This is like if you have a few glasses of wine every night and someone puts arsenic in your wine, no one would be like, ‘oh, they drank themselves to death.’ They were poisoned. And that’s what I think is happening here,” he said in referring to Barletta and Roman.

In announcing the new charges against Jevaughn Mark that link him to Barletta and Roman’s deaths, the U.S. Attorney’s press release discloses that he supplied fentanyl in the drugs he sold unknowingly to the undercover DEA and D.C. police officers when one of the officers, posing as a drug buyer, did not ask for fentanyl.

“In each instance, the DEA/MPD agents requested to buy ‘Special K’ or Ketamine from Jevaughn Mark,” the press release says. “In every instance, Jevaughn Mark supplied a mixture of fentanyl and other substances, including heroin, but not ketamine,” it says.

The release says that after the earlier indictment against Jevaughn Mark was issued, law enforcement agents conducted a search of his Southeast D.C. home and “recovered two firearms, cocaine, fentanyl, about $38,000 in cash, body armor vests, and drug trafficking paraphernalia.” It says on that same day authorities executed another search for a second residence linked to Jevaughn Mark, where they located a bedroom used by his brother Angelo Mark.

“From Angelo Mark’s bedroom, law enforcement recovered seven firearms, 900 rounds of ammunition, dozens of pills, cocaine, fentanyl, drug trafficking paraphernalia, and about $50,000 in cash,” the press release says, adding, “Based on the evidence, both brothers were indicted in the first superseding indictment.” 

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Delaware

Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events

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A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit freestate-justice.org.

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit avalonfoundation.org.

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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Baltimore

People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

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Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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