Hillary Clinton is content to let Donald Trump grab the attention while she campaigns
As Donald Trump stumbles from one self-inflicted wound to the next, that other candidate in the presidential race — the one Trump has been too distracted to engage with very much — has also been out on the campaign trail, garnering much less attention as she relentlessly focuses on selling her message.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has been doing a lot of skating — right through some notable mishaps that could have caused serious damage if she were running against a more disciplined opponent.
A week that might otherwise have been difficult for Clinton is turning into one of the best of her campaign, as her Republican rival’s troubles eclipse her own, enabling her to hit the stump unfettered, staying on message and on task in events in one hotly contested state after another, with the national polls moving in her favor.
‘A sense of panic is rising’ among Republicans over Trump, including talk of what to do if he quits
Donald Trump’s relations with the Republican Party – and his political fortunes – worsened dramatically Wednesday, as party leaders fretted openly about the inability of his campaign staff to control him and even began to discuss what to do if their unpredictable nominee suddenly quit the race.
“A sense of panic is rising” among GOP elected officials and operatives, said Ed Rogers, a former Republican White House official.
“Serious, senior lawyers” have begun researching how the rules would work if the party had to replace Trump on the ticket, a senior GOP figure in Washington with close ties to the party hierarchy confirmed.
Serena Williams is asked about Donald Trump
Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was asked questions about Maria Sharapova, equal pay issues, Team Great Britain flagbearer Andy Murray and one about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The gist of the Trump question wasn’t entirely clear but the essence was: How did she, as an American, feel about a candidate like Donald Trump?
“I don’t involve myself in politics,” she said, adding, “but I think it is important we should pass the message of love, as opposed to hate.”
Local GOP tweets picture of executioner ‘ready for Hillary’
The Riverside County Republican Party tweeted out a picture of a shrouded hangman holding a noose, with a caption below saying, “I’m ready for Hillary.”
According to the Riverside Press Enterprise, the tweet was sent out by the county party’s official Twitter account at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The tweet has since been removed.
Riverside County GOP Chairman Scott Mann said he was “horrified” by the tweet, and promised to take action against the person responsible.
Donald Trump’s tough week could cost him in swing states, and he’s running out of time to recover
Debora Matthews, a 64-year-old Republican, loaded plastic grocery bags into her sport utility vehicle one day this week, down the road from where Donald Trump was entertaining a crowd at a high school auditorium. Matthews shook her head in disgust at the campaign, unable to help her 18-year-old daughter figure out whom to vote for and considering a Democrat for president for the first time in her own life.
“His mouth is digging a hole for himself that he’s falling into,” Matthews said of Trump. “It’s kind of scary.… You can’t be that way when you’re handling the lives of the people in our country.”
If Trump recovers from one of his worst weeks as a candidate, he will need to cement, rather than repel, voters like Matthews in swing states like Virginia.
Interviews with dozens of voters here and in Arizona, another battleground, suggest that many of Trump’s core supporters remain locked in and are willing to ignore, forgive or defend the candidate’s statements. But Trump may be losing a chance to close the deal or make gains with those who are less committed during a crucial phase of the campaign. The small percentage of voters who have not made up their minds in presidential elections often begin forming stronger opinions during and after the two party conventions, the second of which concluded last week.
Hillary Clinton starts Colorado rally with dig at Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton kicked off her rally in Colorado on Wednesday with a jab at Donald Trump when she told supporters her campaign would need to “come to some bigger spaces,” the next time she’s in town.
She also added that she likes fire marshals, alluding to Trump’s criticism of fire marshals who he claims are not letting all of his supporters into his rallies for political reasons.
Homeland Security sending advice to election officials to protect voting machines from cyberattack
The Department of Homeland Security is preparing advice for election officials to better protect electronic voting machines, online ballots and vote counts from hackers, following the high-profile breach of Democratic National Committee emails, the head of the department said Wednesday.
“We are actively thinking about election cyber security right now,” Jeh Johnson said at a breakfast with reporters in Washington hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Any effort to guard election computers from being breached is complicated by the fact that there are more than 9,000 different voting jurisdictions in the U.S., and each has its own leadership and way of operating, he said.
“There are some short-term and long-term things I think we should do to bolster the cyber security around the election process,” Johnson said, stopping short of detailing what kinds of weaknesses hackers could find to influence election results. “There are various different points in the process we have to be concerned about,” he said.
After the problem of hanging “chads” on punch cards confounded vote counters in Florida during the 2000 presidential election, Congress moved to overhaul the electoral process. Since 2002 it has allocated more than $3 billion in grants to help local officials upgrade voting processes and equipment.
In some areas, officials purchased computerized voting systems to replace punch-card machines. But some digital voting booths don’t leave a paper trail, and a few are connected to the Internet in order to receive software updates from the manufacturer, which has lead to concerns that results could be altered by hackers.
In addition, some voting jurisdictions allow military service members stationed overseas to vote online, a system that experts believe could be vulnerable to hackers.
We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid.
— Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security secretary
The 2002 law “raised the bar” for securing ballots, Johnson said. “But there is more to do,” he added. “The nature of cyber threats has evolved.”
Anxiety about outside influence over election results is high. Supporters of Hillary Clinton have expressed concerns that Russian hackers, who are believed to have infiltrated a computer network of the Democratic National Committee, might try to adjust tallies in Trump’s favor. Some suspect Russia might prefer Trump because he has vowed to improve relations with Russia and said he would reconsider U.S. commitments under NATO to protect former Soviet Bloc states in Eastern Europe.
Trump told voters in Ohio this week that he, too, was afraid the November election is “going to be rigged.”
Homeland Security officials are debating whether the U.S. election system should be considered “critical infrastructure,” a designation that could prompt the department to spend more time and resources on protecting the integrity of vote tallies, Johnson said.
“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Johnson said. “There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process,” he said.
Donald Trump asks supporters in Florida how ‘embarrassing’ it would be to lose to Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump asked the audience at his rally in Florida on Wednesday how embarrassing it would be to lose to Hillary Clinton in the general election in November.
Trump calls Clinton ‘a founder of ISIS’ at Florida rally
Donald Trump told supporters at a Florida town hall that Islamic State should give Hillary Clinton an award as a founder of the group, criticizing her tenure as secretary of State for creating the conditions that have allowed the terrorist group to thrive.
Trump assures Florida supporters that his campaign is united
Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Florida that his presidential campaign has “never been so united.” The Republican presidential nominee’s declaration comes after reports surfaced that campaign chairman Paul Manafort has lost control of Trump and that the campaign is in turmoil.
Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City will shut down after Labor Day
The Trump Taj Mahal casino will shut down after Labor Day, the victim of the longest strike in Atlantic City’s 38-year casino era.
The closure of the casino opened by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but now owned by his friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn will cost about 3,000 workers their jobs, and reduce the number of casinos in Atlantic City to seven.
Those job losses will be in addition to 8,000 workers who lost their jobs when four Atlantic City casinos closed in 2014.
Donald Trump once owned three Atlantic City casinos, but cut most ties with the city by 2009. Having lost ownership of the company to bondholders in a previous bankruptcy, Trump resigned as chairman of Trump Entertainment Resorts, retaining a 10% stake in return for the use of his name. That interest was wiped out in bankruptcy court when Icahn took over in March.
Mike Pence endorses Paul D. Ryan and says Donald Trump encouraged it
Donald Trump is not prepared to endorse House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in his primary race next week, but Trump’s running mate offered his unyielding support Wednesday.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told Fox News that Ryan was a longtime friend and Trump encouraged him to back Ryan.
“He strongly encouraged me to endorse,” Pence said a day after Trump indicated he was not ready to toss his own support behind Ryan. “This is all part of a process of bringing a party together.”
Trump has also tweeted praise for Paul Nehlen, a businessman who is challenging Ryan in his Wisconsin district’s primary next week.
“I like [Ryan], but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump, who also declined to endorse Sen. John McCain’s reelection, said Tuesday. “We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”
A spokesman for Ryan’s campaign said no endorsement from Trump was ever sought and expressed confidence in winning the primary.
In recent days, Trump has drawn scorn from Democrats and Republicans alike for his criticism of an American Muslim family whose son died in combat in Iraq, and several prominent Republican operatives have backed off from supporting his candidacy.
Pence insisted to Fox News that the campaign is not in disarray.
“This campaign is totally focused on strengthening America at home and abroad,” Pence said.
But Pence has separated himself from Trump several times in recent days, including releasing his own statement lauding the heroism of the soldier killed in 2004, Humayun Khan.
Pence’s insistence that the campaign was in good shape was echoed by Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager.
“The candidate is in control of his campaign,” Manafort said on Fox News. “We are organized; we are moving forward.”
How is Donald Trump’s mental health? A California congresswoman is just asking
A California congresswoman has launched a petition drive calling for a mental health examination of Donald Trump.
Yes, that is a real thing that is happening.
Rep. Karen Bass, whose district includes areas in and around Los Angeles, also put a hashtag behind her effort: #DiagnoseTrump.
“It is our patriotic duty to raise the question of his mental stability to be the commander in chief and leader of the free world,” she wrote in the petition on change.org.
Trump “appears to exhibit all the symptoms of the mental disorder narcissistic personality disorder,” wrote Bass, who worked as a physician assistant before launching a political career. Those who suffer from the disorder can function in many careers, “but not the presidency,” she added.
The notion that Trump might suffer from a mental defect marks an effort by a Democrat to push an idea that has been offered by prominent writers and others in recent days. Trump’s “grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best,” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote this week.
It reflects the degree to which both parties have sought to ascribe some rationale to Trump’s unpredictable behavior.
For now, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is sticking to a simple approach of broadly questioning Trump’s temperament. President Obama, in comments at a White House news conference Tuesday, was more concerned with Trump’s lack of policy knowledge.
Paul Manafort dismisses reports that Trump campaign is in turmoil
Donald Trump’s campaign is in fine shape, its chairman told Fox News on Wednesday, dismissing reports of discord and labeling them Hillary Clinton-created narratives.
“The candidate is in control of his campaign,” Paul Manafort said. “We are organized, we are moving forward, and the Clinton machine may not like it, but we’re prepared for the fight.”
Manafort’s assurances came as Trump navigates a rough patch in which he has been condemned for his criticism of the parents of a fallen soldier, pushed to explain his comments on Vladimir Putin and his involvement in Ukraine and sought to distance himself from fellow Republicans.
Another top Trump staffer, Jason Miller, also denied the reports of staff dismay.
Trump campaign touts $80-million fundraising haul in July
Donald Trump’s campaign on Wednesday celebrated an $80-million fundraising haul in July and touted its strength among small donors.
The campaign estimated it raised $64 million in digital and direct-mail operations with the Republican National Committee.
Growth in smaller-dollar donations “shows the broad-based support of over 1 million donors across America,” said Steven Mnuchin, the Trump campaign’s finance director.
Trump told supporters at a rally in Ohio on Monday that his campaign had raised $35.8 million in July, and that the joint fundraising efforts were still being tallied.
Trump once dismissed the need to raise funds, saying he would finance his campaign with or without the Republican Party’s help.
The Republican nominee’s fundraising totals have consistently lagged behind Hillary Clinton’s. Her campaign’s joint fundraising operation with the Democratic National Committee raised $90 million last month
Trump’s ‘erratic’ behavior could test nuclear protocols, former head of CIA and NSA says
Giving nuclear launch codes to Donald Trump, considering his history of “erratic” behavior, could create a crisis, retired Air Force Gen. and former Bush and Obama administration official Michael Hayden warned Wednesday.
“He’s inconsistent, and when you’re the head of a global superpower, inconsistency, unpredictability — those are dangerous things,” Hayden, the former head of both the CIA and the National Security Agency, told MSNBC. “They frighten your friends and tempt your enemies.”
Putting the choice of whether to use nuclear weapons in the hands of someone who often changes his mind is a grave risk, he said. Once the military has been ordered to launch a weapon, service members act immediately, Hayden explained.
“The system is designed for speed and decisiveness; it’s not designed to debate the decision,” said Hayden, who has not endorsed a presidential candidate.
Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager tries to revive the discredited debate over Obama’s birthplace
President Obama must release his Harvard Law School transcripts to prove his citizenship, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager said, reviving the disproved assertion that Obama was born outside the U.S.
“Did he ever release his transcripts or his admission to Harvard?” Corey Lewandowski asked in a heated panel debate on CNN late Tuesday, asserting that the transcripts would show Obama’s place of birth. "... Did he get in as a U.S. citizen or was he brought into Harvard University as a citizen who wasn’t from this country?”
Lewandowski asked the question after former Congressional Black Caucus Executive Director Angela Rye cited Trump’s prominence in the so-called birther movement as an example of why he is unqualified for the presidency.
Lewandowski’s reignition of the years-old debate fired up Rye.
“You’re so out of line right now,” she told him.
Lewandowski’s suggestion was “blatantly disrespectful,” added Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina state representative and CNN commentator on the panel.
French president has sharp words for Trump
Some excesses make your stomach turn, even in the United States, especially when — as did Donald Trump — he speaks ill of a soldier, of the memory of a soldier.
— French President Francois Hollande
Hollande’s remarks were made Tuesday during a meeting he had with members of the French press.
A government spokesman said Hollande’s comments were a response to Trump’s recent verbal attacks on France.
“In this [U.S. presidential] campaign, there are some extremely unusual types of comments,” Stephane Le Foll told reporters following a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.
Trump assures GOP is united despite non-endorsement of Paul Ryan and John McCain
Judge blocks release of Trump videos in Trump University fraud case
A federal judge in San Diego has decided that he will not allow the release of videotaped depositions of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump in connection with a class-action lawsuit against the defunct Trump University real estate program.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel — a target of Trump’s repeated scorn — also rejected a bid by Trump’s lawyers to get the lawsuit dismissed, a ruling that clears the way for a trial that could be costly for the candidate.
Several media organizations had sought release of Trump’s two videotaped depositions, taken in December and January. Transcripts of the testimony have been released, but Trump’s lawyers fought the effort to make the videos themselves public.
Curiel said there is legitimate public interest in having the videos released, but he sided with Trump’s lawyers, who had said releasing the videos would generate so much publicity it would bias potential jurors.
The judge wrote there was “every reason to believe the release of the deposition videos would contribute to an ‘on-going’ media frenzy that would increase the difficulty of seating an impartial jury.”
Meg Whitman joins chorus of Republicans supporting Hillary Clinton
Meg Whitman, the Hewlett-Packard chief executive who ran unsuccessfully for governor of California in 2010, will back Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, joining other prominent Republicans troubled by Donald Trump’s candidacy.
“As a proud Republican, casting my vote for president has usually been a simple matter. This year is different,” Whitman wrote on Facebook. “Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character.”
Whitman has already donated more than $100,000 to anti-Trump efforts, but her decision to actively solicit donations for Clinton is a major blow to Trump’s fundraising, which has deeply lagged behind Clinton’s. Last month, Clinton raised $90 million for her campaign and that of other Democrats, while Trump said he raised a bit more than one-third of that.
“Trump’s unsteady hand would endanger our prosperity and national security. His authoritarian character could threaten much more,” wrote Whitman, urging fellow Republicans to reject his nomination.
In recent days, Trump has drawn scorn from Democrats and Republicans alike for his criticism of an American Muslim family whose son died in combat in Iraq, and several leading Republican operatives have backed off from supporting Trump.
Sally Bradshaw, an influential GOP strategist in Florida who advised former Gov. Jeb Bush during his primary campaign, announced Monday that she would leave the party.
A day later, Maria Comella, a top former advisor to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also called Trump a demagogue and signaled her support for Clinton.
Trump, she said, “has been a demagogue this whole time, preying on people’s anxieties with loose information and salacious rhetoric, drumming up fear and hatred of the ‘other.’ ”
The move by several Republican women to back Clinton underscores the issues the GOP nominee has had with female voters.
Trump’s comments about women, including suggesting that a Fox News reporter was menstruating when she questioned him in a Republican debate, have been the subject of advertising by Clinton and super PACs supporting her campaign.
While speaking to reporters Tuesday, President Obama declared Trump “unfit” to become president and said Republican denunciations of Trump’s actions were hollow if they continued to endorse him.
“There has to come a point at which you say, ‘Enough,’ ” he said. “The alternative is that the entire party effectively endorses and validates the positions that are being articulated.”
Whitman echoed some of the president’s themes in her Facebook post: “Trump’s reckless and uninformed positions on critical issues – from immigration to our economy to foreign policy – have made it abundantly clear that he lacks both the policy depth and sound judgment required as president.”
She added that in a “tumultuous world, America needs the kind of stable and aspirational leadership Secretary Clinton can provide.”
Updated at 9:16 p.m.: The post was updated with additional comments from Whitman.