Jared Kushner has explaining to do; former Obama officials run for California office

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Jack Ohman monitors Jared Kushner’s secret communications for his father-in-law. Here’s what he found.

Our take


Jared Kushner has some explaining to do on Russia, if he can: The investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election – and possible collusion by President Donald Trump’s campaign is now at the door of the Oval Office and inside the Trump family.


Bill McEwen, Fresno Bee: There is no doubt that city leaders long ago enabled gangs to flourish. They didn’t much care about what went down on the south side of town, especially in southwest Fresno. As long as the violence there didn’t leak out to the “good part” of Fresno, it wasn’t seen as a big problem. The question remains: What can be done to protect children and families from gangs intent on protecting their turf and profiting from crime?

Dan Walters: Unions represent just one-sixth of California’s workers, but enjoy heavy clout in the Capitol and are using it this year to advance their agendas.


Derek Cressman: Eric Bauman emerged as the new chairman of the California Democratic Party this month by a razor-thin margin that revealed deep divides among Democratic activists. If Bauman wants to unify progressive Berniecrats and longtime party stalwarts, he should lead an effort to ban corporate contributions to state parties and candidates.

Mike Hannigan: The Legislature is considering a bill barring companies from asking about criminal records first. Employees with criminal records are just as motivated, loyal and successful as those without records.

Take a number: $171,000

Before becoming current lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom wondered whether the office ought to exist, at least as currently configured. As Newsom runs for governor, the race to replace him is unusually intense, probably a reflection of the Democratic energy fueled by Donald Trump.

The insider, Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez, has been running for it for months, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León raised $133,500 into his lieutenant governor’s committee in donations of $1,000 or more in May, though he hasn’t said whether he will enter that race or some other in 2018.

The most intriguing candidates are first-timers: Eleni Kounalakis was President Obama’s ambassador to Hungary and a major Hillary Clinton fundraiser. She raised $76,000 in May in donations of $1,000 or more. Asif Mahmood is a Southern California physician inspired to run by President Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. Represented by San Francisco consultant Ace Smith, Mahmood raised $119,000 in May in donations of $1,000 or more. San Francisco attorney Jeff Bleich, Obama’s ambassador to Australia, raised $171,000 in May in donations of 1,000 or more. No Republicans have raised their hands.

Their take

Billings Gazette, Montana: We call on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to honor his pledge to step up support for our national parks. Yellowstone’s neighbors don’t want the park budget slashed.

Mercury News: Donald Trump was elected to the drain the swamp, not the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The president’s choice of David Bernhardt to serve as deputy Interior Department secretary would be a disaster for California’s environment and water quality.

L.A. Times: Attorney General Xavier Becerra hasn’t uttered a peep about the status of California’s investigation into whether Exxon Mobil defrauded investors by publicly questioning the link between fossil fuels and global warming while internally accepting the science and trying to find ways to mitigate the risks to its own enterprise.

Orange County Register: Government has created a vicious cycle by encouraging more people to go to college through generous grants and below-market-rate loans, which drives up tuition costs, which requires ever more government subsidies.

Charlotte Observer: While campaigning, Donald Trump asked African-Americans what they had to lose if they voted for him. Apparently, a lot. Other Americans will also lose out if the Trump administration goes through with its plans to pull back on civil rights enforcement.

Biloxi Sun Herald: We condemn Rep. Karl Oliver for his reprehensible Facebook post calling for a lynching. Oliver did not simply call for the murder of the leadership of New Orleans for removing four Confederate monuments from the city, he called for their lynching. Even in the best light, his words are as dark as midnight.

Syndicates’ take

Nicholas Kristof: On a Portland train car, we saw that courage and leadership are alive – if not always in Washington, then among ordinary Americans, standing together against a threat to our shared humanity.

Kathleen Parker: The Trump family’s politics are like “The Godfather.” President Trump, like Vito Corleone, has surrounded himself with family members, especially daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. But whom can he trust?

Ruben Navarrette: The news is filled with stories of people behaving badly. And if rudeness were an Olympic sport, Texas would win all the medals.

David Brooks: Jared Kushner seems to have been fiercely, almost selflessly, loyal to family. But the clannish mentality has often ill served him during his stay in government.


“I draw the line on sending women warriors into battle. Too many bad things can happen to them, if captured, that wouldn’t happen to a man.” – John West, Sacramento

Tweet of the day,

“I worked w/many inspiring young people during @BarackObama yrs. @BuffyWicks is top of list. Thrilled she's running! https://act.myngp.com/el/1073631256436541952/-206508150140433920 …” – David Axelrod, @davidaxelrod. That’d be Buffy Wicks, candidate for an East Bay California Assembly seat.