Campaign 2016 updates: As support slips, Donald Trump apologizes for lewd comments about women

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Donald Trump makes vulgar statements about women in leaked audio.

Republicans in tight House races denounce Donald Trump’s comments, but stop short of withholding their support

The wave of Republican candidates shunning Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after a recording emerged Friday of him boasting about groping women is beginning to reach California’s House races.

Freshman GOP Congressman Steve Knight (R-Lancaster) has been hit by his Democratic opponent and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with ads attempting to tie him to Trump. He called Trump’s comments “repulsive” in a Facebook post Friday night.

Knight’s political consultant Matt Rexroad told The Times in August that Knight had not endorsed a candidate for president. He did not respond when asked Friday if Knight would vote for Trump. Knight’s House seat is one that national Democrats are intent on capturing due to shifting demographics and the idea that Trump may cause problems down the ticket.

Justin Fareed, a 28-year-old GOP candidate locked in an expensive race to replace outgoing Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), called the comments “disgusting” but stopped short of pulling his endorsement of Trump.

His campaign did not immediately respond when asked whether Fareed still endorsed Trump or was planning on voting for him.

Fareed told the Montecito Journal that he supported Trump’s candidacy just before the June primary. His opponent, Democratic Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, and a Democratic super PAC have launched ad campaigns attacking Fareed for his endorsement.

“It is absolutely disgusting that Donald Trump talks about women in such vulgar terms, and inexcusable that Justin Fareed believes he is qualified to lead our country,” Carbajal said in a statement Friday. “If Justin Fareed represented our Central Coast values, he’d stand up to Trump’s demeaning rhetoric and hateful agenda.”

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican who is challenging Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove, called Trump’s comments “indefensible,” but his campaign did not immediately respond when asked whether he would vote for Trump.

Jones said he would vote for Trump but backed off after Trump attacked the Muslim parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain killed in the Iraq war, telling a Sacramento radio station in August, “I don’t know what I am going to do, to be honest with you.”

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Reaction from Republicans and Democrats to Donald Trump’s comments boasting about groping women

The release of a recording of Donald Trump bragging about groping women drew harsh statements from both Republicans and Democrats condemning the GOP presidential nominee. Here are some of those comments:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

“These comments are repugnant, and unacceptable in any circumstance. As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape.”

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Trump apologizes for bragging that he groped women, but dismisses uproar as a ‘distraction’

(Tom Pennington / Getty Images)

Donald Trump apologized Friday night for his boasting about groping women, but dismissed a newly released 2005 recording of his vulgar remarks as “nothing more than a distraction.”

“Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” said Trump, whose frequent derogatory comments about women have proved a major liability. “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”

In the videotaped statement posted on his Facebook page, Trump also tried to minimize the significance of the lewd remarks that included a statement that he could grab women by the crotch because he was a “star.”

“Let’s be honest – we’re living in the real world,” Trump said. “This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.”

Trump’s statement came hours after the Washington Post’s release of the 2005 recording threw the Republican Party into disarray, with GOP leaders roundly condemning their own presidential nominee.

Coming two days before a crucial presidential debate in St. Louis, the extraordinary spectacle threatened to doom Trump’s prospects in the Nov. 8 election.

“These comments are repugnant, and unacceptable in any circumstance,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who bemoaned Trump’s “utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan had planned to campaign with Trump in his Wisconsin congressional district on Saturday, but announced Trump would no longer be attending.

“I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said in a statement. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.”

Trump said he would spend Saturday preparing for the debate with top advisors, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. He, too, denounced Trump.

“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” Priebus said.

Updated 9:54 p.m. This post was revised with new details.

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Watch: Donald Trump, in video statement, says ‘I apologize’ for comments about groping women

Here is the transcript of his statement:

I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them.

Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.

I have traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who have lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future.

I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow and will never, ever let you down.

Let’s be honest: We’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today. We are losing our jobs, we’re less safe than we were eight years ago, and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground.

I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.

We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.

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Top Utah Republicans, Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, pull support from Donald Trump

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John McCain: Trump should ‘suffer the consequences’ of tape

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Sen. John McCain, who is locked in a tough reelection fight in Arizona, added to the onslaught of Republicans condemning a 2005 audio recording released Friday of Donald Trump saying he’d groped women and making other lewd comments.

“There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments. No woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior,” McCain said in a statement. “He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.”

Last year, Trump mocked McCain’s military record in comments that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has used repeatedly to suggest the Republican is the wrong choice for veterans. McCain has offered grudging support for Trump, saying he would support his party’s nominee.

McCain is looking to stave off a competitive challenge from Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a three-term Democratic congresswoman from northern Arizona.

See where Republicans line up in our Trump endorsement spectrum.

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Speaker Paul Ryan disinvites Trump to his campaign event, says he’s ‘sickened’ by tape

Hours after audio was released that showed Donald Trump making sexually suggestive comments about a woman, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan castigated him in a statement and said Trump would no longer attend their scheduled event on Saturday.

“I am sickened by what I heard today,” Ryan said in a statement. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.”

On Saturday, Ryan was scheduled to campaign with Trump for the first time, embracing a GOP presidential nominee whom he denounced on several occasions in the past. But, he said in the statement, “he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”

In an oddly worded announcement earlier this week, Ryan’s campaign office said Trump would attend Wisconsin Fall Fest, a GOP fundraiser in his congressional district, with Sen. Ron Johnson, Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans.

Trump issued a statement soon after Ryan put out his, saying his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, would attend the event.

“Gov. Mike Pence will be representing me tomorrow in Wisconsin. I will be spending the day in New York in debate prep with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Jeff Sessions, and then flying to St. Louis on Sunday for the 2nd Presidential Debate,” he wrote.

A Ryan aide declined to comment when asked if the speaker would rescind his Trump endorsement. The aide said the men did not speak Friday night.

In recent months, Ryan has criticized Trump for making what he called “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He was referring to Trump’s argument that the Mexican ancestry of an Indiana-born judge made it impossible for him to preside impartially over a federal fraud suit against Trump University, the nominee’s defunct real estate education program.

Times staff writers Seema Mehta and Michael Finnegan contributed to this report.

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Fellow Republicans assail Trump for lewd comments about women in leaked audio

The release of audio on Friday that showed Donald Trump crudely talking about groping women unleashed a flurry of responses from Republicans condemning the party’s nominee.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, assailed Trump on social media.

“Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world,” Romney, who is not supporting Trump, tweeted.

Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, who had indicated he would vote for Trump, reversed his position Friday and called on Trump to drop out and allow Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to lead the ticket.

“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Gov. Pence to lead the ticket,” Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune.

In the audio from 2005, obtained by the Washington Post, Trump makes lewd comments about women, saying some let him grab them in the crotch.

Trump is heard talking with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” as they were riding a private bus to the set of “Days of Our Lives” for a Trump cameo.

“I moved on her and I failed — I’ll admit it,” Trump is heard saying about an unidentified woman. Using a vulgar term, Trump says he tried to have sex with her and mentions that the woman was married at the time.

Anna Navarro, a Republican strategist who backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the GOP primary, said she was appalled by the audio.

“It is absolutely disgusting,” Navarro said on CNN. “This is not locker room banter.”

For his part, Bush offered the following response:

The Times has been compiling an endorsement spectrum of where prominent Republicans line up on Trump. Check it out.

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Romney slams Trump for ‘vile degradation’ of women

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Excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches emerge in hacked email

(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton’s refusal to release transcripts of her paid speeches to major banks dogged her candidacy during the primary, when her opponent Bernie Sanders used the issue to paint her as too close to Wall Street.

Now excerpts from some of those speeches have emerged in a hacked email released by WikiLeaks on Friday. The January email, which was sent by the Clinton campaign’s research director to campaign chairman John Podesta and other campaign officials, was first noticed by Buzzfeed.

The excerpts were referred to as “flags” compiled by the Henry Walker Agency, the speaker’s bureau that represented Clinton, suggesting staff was keeping tabs on remarks that may be controversial down the line.

One comment in particular could prove problematic in an election in which immigration and international trade have been flashpoints.

In a 2013 speech to a Brazilian bank, Clinton said “my dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.” She goes on to say that she wants “energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”

In a 2014 speech to Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, she also ruminated about her connection to the middle class.

Two years before Sanders and Donald Trump electrified voters with complaints about a “rigged” system, Clinton said “I do think there is a growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged.”

She said she didn’t have that concern during her “solid middle class upbringing.”

“I’m kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it,” Clinton said.

It’s unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email. But U.S. officials have accused hackers backed by the Russian government of trying to meddle in this year’s election.

“We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange,” the head of WikiLeaks, “who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton,” said campaign spokesman Glen Caplin.

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‘When you’re a star they let you do it,’ Trump says as he boasts of his sexual advances

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Donald Trump boasted crudely about his sexual conquests in a 2005 audio recording made a few months after his marriage to Melania Trump, saying he sometimes got his way with women because he was “a star.”

The recording, obtained by the Washington Post and released Friday, features the Republican presidential nominee making extraordinarily vulgar comments about women.

He is heard talking with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” as they were riding a private bus to the set of “Days of Our Lives” for a Trump cameo.

“I moved on her and I failed — I’ll admit it,” Trump is heard saying about an unidentified woman. Using a vulgar term, Trump says he tried to have sex with her and mentions that the woman was married at the time.

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Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump’s taped lewd remarks ‘horrific’

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Audio reveals Donald Trump making lewd comments about women

(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

Donald Trump boasted in vulgar terms in 2005 about making sexual advances on a woman, the latest hurdle for a candidate who has struggled to make inroads with women voters.

In a 2005 audio, obtained by the Washington Post and released Friday, Trump is heard talking with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” as he bragged about making advances on an unidentified woman. The two were headed to the set of “Days of Our Lives,” where Trump was making an appearance on the soap opera.

“I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it,” Trump is heard saying. “I did try and f— her. She was married.”

Trump talks about taking the woman furniture shopping in an effort to seduce her.

“I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture,’” Trump said.

He added, “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”

At one point, speaking about women, he is heard saying, “Grab them by the [crotch],” though Trump uses a more vulgar term. “You can do anything.”

Trump released a terse statement moments after the Post published the story on Friday.

“This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” said Trump. “ I apologize if anyone was offended.”

In the audio, Trump also notes how he likes to just kiss women who he believes are attractive.

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” he said.

Following last week’s presidential debate, in which Hillary Clinton castigated Trump for his comments about a Miss Universe winner whom he called “Miss Piggy” after she gained weight and “Miss Housekeeping” because of her Latina roots, his support among women has declined, according to polls.

An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll taken after the debate showed 27% of likely female voters said the debate made them think worse of Trump. About 30% said their opinion of Clinton had improved.

Throughout the campaign, Trump’s poll numbers among women have been far from stellar. Clinton and her Democratic allies have hammered him in television and radio ads for his caustic comments that date back to the 1980s.

Earlier this week, Trump said some of his past comments about women were for purposes of “entertainment.”

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Paul Ryan wants Donald Trump to emulate Mike Pence in next debate

(Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)

In the next presidential debate, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants Donald Trump to follow the lead of his running mate, Mike Pence.

The pressure for Trump to perform well against Hillary Clinton is on as ballots are already being cast in several states.

“I think these debates have a huge impact, probably more than in past times. And so I’m hoping for a really good debate on Sunday, and then he’s got one more after that. I think Mike Pence knocked it out of the park. I think he did a great job,” Ryan said Friday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

During the vice presidential debate earlier this week, Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, frequently interrupted Pence, hammering home Trump’s insults of women, Mexicans and others. Yet Pence was undeterred, continuously sidestepping Kaine’s demands that he defend Trump’s views.

Trump, in the first debate with Clinton last month, was often put on the defensive, forced to explain himself rather than attack his Democratic rival.

On Thursday, Trump held a town-hall-style event in anticipation of his next meeting with Clinton on Sunday.

“We’re hoping for a good debate performance, and I think Donald’s going to do that,” said Ryan, who will make his first campaign appearance with Trump in Wisconsin on Saturday. “I think he’s got the potential to absolutely do that. ... [I]f we can pick up where Mike Pence just left off, I think this whole thing can come together.”

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Lots of people have questions about the USC/L.A. Times tracking poll; here are some answers

A lot of readers have noticed that our USC/Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking poll is different from other polls. Since we started publishing the poll in July, it has had Donald Trump in the lead more often than not. That’s in contrast to overall polling averages.

Here are some of questions we’ve been asked so far:

How is the Daybreak poll different from other surveys?

The poll asks a different question than other surveys. Most polls ask people which candidate they support and, if they are undecided, whether there is a candidate they lean to. The Daybreak poll asks people to estimate, on a scale of 0 to 100, how likely they are to vote for each of the two major candidates or for some other candidate. Those estimates are then put together to produce a daily forecast.

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Years after the Central Park Five were exonerated, Trump still suggests they’re guilty

Donald Trump indicated this week that he still believes the five teenage boys exonerated after being convicted in the brutal 1989 assault of a Central Park jogger are guilty.

The case against the men, all minorities, and the rape that left the victim, who is white, in a coma, transfixed a nation reeling from rising big-city crime rates.

At the time, Trump took out full-page ads in the New York newspapers calling to “bring back the death penalty” and said the “murderers” should “suffer.”

But the boys said their confession was coerced, and in 2002, another man, serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the assault. His DNA matched evidence from the crime scene.

Trump told CNN this week he wasn’t buying it.

“They admitted they were guilty,” Trump said in a statement to CNN’s Miguel Marquez. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”

The five had all been convicted on various charges and spent between six and 13 years in prison. In 2014, a federal judge approved a $41 million settlement for their wrongful conviction.

Trump quickly called the settlement a “disgrace.”

One of the men, Raymond Santana, dismissed Trump’s statement at the time as a “pathetic” attempt to seek publicity.

“I kind of feel sorry for him,” Santana said.

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Our TV critic weighs in ahead of debate: Election as cliffhanger, but we can’t stop watching

Los Angeles Times television critic Robert Lloyd writes that the presidential campaign appears as a long-running saga in the era when the networks and cable have moved to shorter series:

“The current presidential election, whose next major installment comes Sunday night with the second presidential debate, is a show that seems to have dragged on forever, especially if you regard it on one hand as the continuation of a story that began back in the Clinton administration and on the other as including 11 years of ‘The Apprentice,’ as hosted by Donald Trump. (And it is a show, even if it is a show with real-world consequences for the whole real world.)

“The campaign has come to us not in a single digestible package, but from many angles, on multiple platforms, from screens and second screens and however many screens you can keep open. It is everywhere you look, taking up space, choking the air.

“And like any mystery show, any cliffhanging, nail-biting serial that catches our attention, we get invested, we hang on to an end that will either satisfy or disappoint us.”

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Trump says the government is allowing immigrants into the country illegally to vote

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Donald Trump said Friday that U.S. officials are allowing immigrants to enter the country illegally so they can vote in the November election.

Trump’s views are at odds with election laws that allow only U.S. citizens to be eligible to vote in the presidential election this fall.

“They are letting people pour into this country so they can go and vote,” Trump said during a meeting with a border patrol union leader at Trump Tower in New York City.

The comments came during a talk with officials from the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing border patrol agents that has endorsed Trump.

The organization’s national vice president, Art Del Cueto, told Trump that border patrol agents were given instructions not to deport immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, even those with criminal records, according to a pool report.

When Trump asked why, De Cueto said: “So they can go ahead and vote before the election.”

Trump called the press pool over to hear the information.

“That’s huge,” Trump said. “You hear a thing like that, and it’s a disgrace. Well, it will be a lot different if I get elected.”

Deportations have skyrocketed under President Obama’s tenure in the White House, but the administration also has put priority on deporting criminals, rather than those among the 11 million immigrants here illegally who are otherwise law-abiding.

Trump has promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico to deter illegal entry, remove those already here and substantially limit legal immigration.

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More than 75 evangelical leaders call Trump out on bigotry, racism

A group of more than 75 evangelical leaders have declared that despite poll numbers showing evangelical support for Donald Trump, they do not.

The list, posted Thursday on a petition, includes a multiracial group of African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans and whites.

“We cannot ignore this bigotry, set it aside, just focus on other issues, or forget the things Mr. Trump has consistently said and done,” the declaration reads. “No matter what other issues we also care about, we have to make it publicly clear that Mr. Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women is morally unacceptable to us as evangelical Christians.”

The authors make clear that this denouncement of Trump is not a show of support for Hillary Clinton.

But they point to what they call the rise of white nationalism, “xenophobic appeals to religious intolerance” and demonizing of minority groups — immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims — as examples of why they refuse to support the Republican nominee. This could throw into question Trump’s lockdown of the evangelical vote.

More than 4,000 people had signed the petition online by Friday morning. The goal is 5,000.

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The next parenting frontier: Should kids watch the presidential debate? Discuss.

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Hurricane Matthew and upcoming voter registration deadlines -- to extend or not?

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L.A.’s young Sophie Cruz, daughter of immigrants, poses a debate question: What if my parents are deported?

(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Remember the Los Angeles child who braved the crowds to hand Pope Francis a letter during his visit to Washington?

Young Sophie Cruz may have another turn in the spotlight at Sunday’s presidential debate, asking: “What happens to me if my parents get deported?”

The question from the 6-year-old whose parents are in the United States illegally is among those likely being considered from online submissions for Sunday’s debate, according to advocacy groups. The top 30 online questions may be posed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Hers is now ranked 20th most popular.

The effort has gained support of influential allies, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration advocacy group and music mogul Russell Simmons.

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Evan McMullin names a running mate — for real this time

Evan McMullin named a running mate for his conservative independent presidential bid — again.

The long-shot candidate announced Thursday that Mindy Finn, a digital media strategist and founder of Empowered Women, will join his campaign. McMullin is running as an alternative conservative option to Republican nominee Donald Trump.

But Finn’s name won’t make it on some state ballots in November after McMullin’s campaign mistakenly submitted the placeholder name “Nathan Johnson” to meet qualifying deadlines. Some of those states include California, Texas and Alabama.

The fake name sparked a social media search for the “real” Nathan Johnson in early September.

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They teamed up to conquer Wall Street. Now, one is bankrolling Clinton and the other Trump

When Republican senators investigated a little-known San Francisco nonprofit steering as much as $50 million a year to climate change activists, the right-wing media outlet Breitbart News pounced on the report.

Breitbart branded the organization, the Sea Change Foundation, as a vehicle for “rich liberals who are secretly funding the green movement’s war on Western industrial civilization.”

As it turned out, though, the money to support both Sea Change and Breitbart came from the same place — Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund based on Long Island, N.Y., churning astonishing profits with a formula of algorithms and equations that only a select group of math geniuses understand.

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