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Outside the DNC: Russia, audits and Jill Stein
PHILADELPHIA – Reporter Alexander Braterski had already purchased his train ticket from Lancaster to Philadelphia, but he contemplated changing his plans once he heard Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would be speaking in Scranton on Wednesday.
Braterski is an American correspondent for Gazeta.ru, which he described as one of the largest online media outlets in Russia.
Braterski covered the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, he said, but he was denied media credentials for the Democratic National Convention.
Democratic Party officials have said they believe Russia may have hacked their emails, which were released through WikiLeaks prior to the start of the convention, according to Associated Press reports.
The emails appeared to show party officials favoring Hillary Clinton over challenger Bernie Sanders and led to party head Debbie Wasserman Schultz announcing she would step down after the convention.
Trump made waves Wednesday morning, urging Russia to continue hacking the Democratic Party’s emails at a speech in Florida, according to multiple reports.
State Rep. Kevin Schreiber, an at-large delegate from York City, said the email leaks haven’t been a major topic of conversation among delegates.
But Auditor General Eugene DePasquale referenced Trump’s “Looney Tunes” statement during a speech he gave to fellow state delegates.
“(Trump) essentially advocated for treason,” DePasquale said. “You can’t make this stuff up.”
DePasquale’s lunchtime speech was his first appearance in Philadelphia for the convention.
The former York City economic development director and state representative stayed behind in Harrisburg to deliver a news conference Tuesday morning on his department’s audit of the Department of Health’s nursing home oversight.
A proxy cast his vote, which was bound for Hillary Clinton, on Tuesday night, he said.
DePasquale referenced that audit, along with his department’s uncovering of deficiencies in staffing for ChildLine, at the beginning of his speech.
He continued his speech by voicing his support for the Democratic Party’s candidate for president.
“It’s on us not to just be against Donald; that’s easy,” he said. “We must show support for Hillary and her agenda.”
State Rep. Patty Kim, a delegate from Dauphin County, said she enjoyed DePasquale’s speech and appreciates the work his department has been doing to clean up government.
DePasquale was able to fulfill his promise of speaking to the state’s delegates at lunch, but the delegation missed seeing Sanders and his replacement, actor Danny Glover, during breakfast Wednesday morning.
Schreiber and Kim praised the party’s ability to come together behind Clinton, but hundreds of protesters near City Hall weren’t as willing to support the first woman ever nominated for president by a major political party.
Signs spotted at the protest included “Demexit,” “Hillary Lies Matter” and the most prevalent, “Bernie or Bust.”
Despite Sanders supporters being the primary attendees of the protest, another presidential candidate was able to captivate the crowd with an impromptu appearance.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein delivered a short speech urging all protesters – anti-fracking, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ equality, etc. – to come together.
Stein admitted that Clinton is the “lesser evil” compared to Trump, but said, “that lesser evil has paved the way for that greater evil.”
“That’s because people stop coming out for politicians who keep throwing them under the bus,” she said. “People don’t come out to support lesser evils. That’s how come Congress flipped from being a blue Congress to being a red Congress.
“It was not a set of Republican victories. It was Democratic defeats.”
Stein’s speech concluded to a spattering of “Jill, not Hill” chants.