5 Stories You'll Care About in Politics This Week

What the ABC News political team is tracking in the week ahead.

ByABC News
July 26, 2015, 6:24 AM

— -- That Donald Trump is something. Who would have thought we would ever see a presidential candidate take a chainsaw to the tax code, or pulverize cell phones on camera, or call another candidate a “cancer,” or marvel about “Sharknado,” or call the Senate Republican leader a liar.

Oh, and there was another guy who wore a white hat down to the Texas border. Then there’s the candidate whose emails are so interesting the Department of Justice may read them next.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:

She's Got Mail

Fresh revelations about Hillary Clinton’s email use from her time as secretary of state are raising new questions about handling of classified material -- plus the possibility of a new Department of Justice probe. Federal watchdogs are directly undermining Clinton’s claim to have never sent classified materials from her private server and that’s before they -- or members of Congress or the public -- have even gotten close to seeing everything.

A new House Benghazi committee meeting Wednesday and a fresh e-mail document dump toward the end of the week will keep the story-line alive, along with the willing participation of her rivals in the Democratic and Republican fields in furthering a saga that’s damaged Clinton’s political standing.

Sweet 16

Ohio Gov. John Kasich gave us a clean, bracket-friendly number of Republican candidates -- just in time for the first elimination round. OK, the start of debate season won’t quite be that. But qualifying as one of the 10 candidates for the August 6 Fox News debate is a ticket to first-tier potential with those without podiums likely to struggle for relevance.

That’s why Chris Christie is spending $250,000 in July, why Rick Perry is on the Trump warpath, and why Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham are engaging in viral video stunts. The pre-fight period could be as intense as anything that happens on stage since the stakes are arguably higher.

Trumped Up

Donald Trump is the most dangerous man in politics right now. He’s loud, outspoken, unbound by typical rules of human interaction, and is a billionaire. He’s also, per the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, the GOP frontrunner.

Yet his threat to bolt the Republican Party if he isn't treated right has GOP leaders whispering about a new Ross Perot, only without the polish and with a brighter hat. Trump’s dominance makes it tempting for bubble candidates to punch the field’s bully. His comments demeaning John McCain’s service record might have hurt him, but The Donald has continued to show his media mastery.

Black Lives Matter

The movement for criminal justice reform and against police brutality has become a touchstone in presidential politics. Interestingly, Democrats are taking the brunt of the early heat from African-Americans involved in the campaign for reform.

Bernie Sanders has been the subject of #berniesoblack mockery. Martin O’Malley was booed at a liberal gathering last weekend when he said that “white lives” and “all lives” matter, too. He apologized, which Jeb Bush said was a mistake.

“Yes, black lives matter,” Hillary Clinton declared. This movement remains an unpredictable force in the emerging campaign, touching on the always-complicated politics of race and still-gelling bipartisan efforts around legal reform.

Oh That Joe

There’s only one big question left about the 2016 field, and it has to do with the vice president of the United States. What Joe Biden will do is a favorite topic of Washington happy hour talk, with occasional murmurs from “insiders” who are sure he still wants to run.

Biden associates say his mind has been far from politics since his son, Beau, died under tragic circumstances. That’s not the same as saying Biden won’t run, though. A “Draft Biden” movement continues to collect signatures, while the vice president himself remains silent on the subject. “End of the summer” is his self-imposed deadline.

While few think he’ll actually do it, he may just be looking for the right moment that suggests that Clinton might be vulnerable.