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Donald Trump mocks Hillary Clinton’s release of tax returns

Hillary Clinton released her 2015 tax returns as Donald Trump continues to withhold his own.

  • Trump scoffs at Clinton’s release of tax returns
  • Paul Manafort can handle dictators, but can he handle Trump?
  • Khizr Khan has a message for John McCain: Withdraw your endorsement of Trump
  • Trump tells the GOP he would give up on them if they stop raising money for his presidential campaign

Bill Clinton defends Hillary Clinton’s honor

Former President Bill Clinton gave an impassioned defense of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness on Friday, pointing to her support from prominent GOP national security experts.

“It’s inconceivable all these prominent national security people who were active in other administrations, including Republicans, would have endorsed her” if they did not trust her, he said in response to a question about his wife’s email scandal. “I’m just telling you, there are people who spent their lifetime advancing national security who believe she’s the only person left you can trust with it.”

Clinton was referring to a letter that was released this week and signed by 50 top officials who worked in prior Republican White Houses. The signers questioned GOP nominee Donald Trump’s fitness for office and said he would make the nation less safe. Several also endorsed her, including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft and veteran diplomat John Negroponte.

The former president made the remarks in response to a question at a presidential forum hosted by the Asian American Journalists Assn. and Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.

Asian Americans are among the nation’s fastest-growing voting blocs and overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Political experts said at a panel earlier in the day that the community’s votes could make the difference for Clinton in November in crucial states such as Virginia.

As he urged Asian Americans to participate in the election, Clinton marveled at how unusual this contest has become.

“I never dreamed when this election started that by this point I would do anything more than argue who’s got the best trade plan, the best investment plan,” he said. Instead, “this is about what kind of country we’re going to be, about whether you and everyone else who lives here can feel at home in America.”

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein also addressed the groups, as did Utah Atty. Gen. Sean Reyes, who spoke on behalf of Trump.

Clintons made $10.6 million last year, tax return shows, as Donald Trump is pressed to release his own

(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Pursuing a return to public service came at a cost to Hillary and Bill Clinton, as their considerable joint income dropped by nearly two-thirds last year when the former secretary of State began her run for president.

The Clintons released their most recent tax filing Friday, as well as 10 years of tax documents from running mate Tim Kaine and his wife, part of a renewed call for Republican nominee Donald Trump to do the same.

For more than a year, both Republicans and Democrats have pushed the billionaire real estate magnate to back up his boasts about business acumen and charitable giving by publicly disclosing federal and state tax filings, a customary gesture of transparency for presidential aspirants and one his rivals were confident could offer political ammunition.

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Trump campaign scoffs at Clinton’s release of tax returns

A spokesman for Donald Trump, the first major party nominee for president since Richard Nixon to refuse to release his tax returns, ridiculed Hillary Clinton’s latest tax disclosure Friday.

“Hillary Clinton has turned over the only records nobody wants to see from her – the American public wants to see the 33,000 emails she deleted to obstruct an FBI investigation,” Jason Miller, the Trump campaign’s senior communications advisor, said in a written statement.

Miller went on to demand that the Democratic presidential nominee release documents on controversies involving the Clinton Foundation and the killing of Americans at a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, when she was secretary of State.

“Everything she doesn’t want us to see has been digitally shredded or put under lock and key,” he said. “This document release is nothing more than an attempt at distraction and misdirection by an individual who created and then purged an illegal private email server.”

Trump’s frequent contention that Clinton is a criminal has led crowds at his rallies to chant “lock her up,” as they did at his rally Friday in Erie, Pa.

Trump, who says his net worth is about $10 billion, paid no federal income tax in 1978, 1979 and 1984 in the era when he emerged as a major Manhattan developer and casino mogul, according to returns that were made public by government agencies.

Trump says he won’t release any of his recent returns until the Internal Revenue Service completes an audit. But the IRS says all taxpayers are free to make their own tax returns public, regardless of any audit.

Critics have speculated that Trump’s refusal stems from his fear of a political backlash should they show that he still pays little or no taxes, makes scant charitable contributions or owes substantial money to Russian banks or oligarchs.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign launches ‘With Her’ podcast

The Clinton campaign has ventured into the world of podcasting.

Small business owner and Hillary Clinton supporter Max Linsky is behind “With Her,” a podcast scored to the sounds of Andrew Dost of indie rock group Fun. Each episode will include interviews with Clinton, vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and the campaign staff.

In the debut show, Linsky established which name he’ll use to address the presidential candidate (“Hillary,” as it turns out) and interviewed Clinton from Miami. She spoke about the mundane moments of her day — morning wake-ups, exercise routines and sleep schedules — while plugging platform specifics like her push for affordable healthcare.

“I do a bunch of events every day. I don’t ever want the people I’m talking to or with feel like I’m going through the motions,” Clinton said.

You can listen to it here, or subscribe on iTunes.

Donald Trump tries to clarify his Islamic State remark. Or maybe not.

Obviously I’m being sarcastic. But not that sarcastic, to be honest with you.

Donald Trump, at a rally in Erie, Pa., referring to his allegation that President Obama and Hillary Clinton founded the Islamic State terrorist group

Donald Trump’s Facebook page is losing its edge over Hillary Clinton’s

(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will undoubtedly be remembered for myriad historical firsts, particularly when it comes to social media.

Trump has used social media not only to connect with supporters, but to take on his challengers and, for better or worse, dominate headlines. His digital reach has been lauded in conservative circles, with Sean Hannity assuring Trump supporters that recent downturns in polls do not spell doom for the Republican nominee, given his social media metrics.

However, a new report from SocialFlow, a social media optimization company, indicates that Trump is either tied with or losing ground on Hillary Clinton on certain social media metrics.

SocialFlow’s data show Trump only slightly ahead of Clinton in Facebook mentions, shares and likes. Trump still maintains a small lead on Clinton in terms of the reach of his posts.

Check out the graphs here:

(SocialFlow)

Gold Star father urges Sen. John McCain to withdraw support of Donald Trump

(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Both men have ties to the military and have been the subject of attacks from Donald Trump.

But one is facing a tough reelection, so supporting the Republican nominee is a pledge he stands behind.

Still, Khizr Khan, whose son was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004, wants Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to stand with him in opposition to Trump.

“I implore Sen. McCain ... I continue to implore all of the good Republicans who either support or are going to vote for their party’s candidate, this will be a historic moment in the Republican Party,” Khan told a local Arizona television station this week, urging McCain to drop his endorsement of Trump.

But McCain, who this fall faces what is perhaps his toughest reelection in more than two decades, has not backed away from his pledge to support his party’s nominee.

This comes even after Trump last summer criticized the war record of McCain -- a veteran of the Navy -- for being captured and held prisoner in Vietnam.

“He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured,” Trump said at the time.

During the Democratic National Convention, Khan, with his wife, Ghazala, at his side, delivered an emotional speech about their son’s service and also assailed Trump’s calls to ban Muslims. In the days after, Trump offered public criticisms of the Gold Star family, and in one exchange even suggested that Ghazala Khan’s silence during her husband’s speech was because of her Muslim religion.

Despite many Republicans defecting from Trump after his criticism of Khans, McCain did offer a statement in which he “deeply” disagreed with Trump, but did not withdraw his endorsement.

In Arizona, McCain is faced with a tough reelection as he’s being challenged by Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, whose district spans much of the northwest part of the state. The most recent polls -- which were conducted in late June -- showed McCain with a five percentage point edge over Kirkpatrick.

Traditionally in presidential elections, Arizona tilts Republican, but Democrats hope to nab the state this election cycle as Latinos -- who are more liberal -- have become an increasingly powerful demographic in the state. And Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and drug runners has only helped Democrats and, in turn, hurt Republicans like McCain.

In his interview with the local Arizona station, Khan stressed the importance of the moment.

“If you publicly rebuked him, you will look back and you will stand tall in front of the nation,” he said.

Hillary Clinton releases 2015 tax returns

Hillary Clinton released her 2015 tax returns Friday, along with 10 years of returns for running mate Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. An early glance shows Clinton and her husband each earned less on speaking engagements, an issue that has surfaced throughout the campaign, than in previous years.

Her campaign pointedly noted that the Clintons have, over time, made their tax returns public “for every year dating back to 1977,” keeping up its calls for Donald Trump to release his returns. Trump has repeatedly refused, saying he is under audit.

Last summer, Clinton released eight years of returns as her campaign got underway.

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Former Reagan, Bush official endorses Hillary Clinton

(Los Angeles Times)

A Republican who served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush endorsed Hillary Clinton on Friday, referring to Donald Trump as “unqualified and unfit to be president.”

“I have never voted for a Democrat, but I will vote for Secretary Clinton,” Robert H. Tuttle said in a statement.

Tuttle served as an assistant to Reagan and worked as his director of presidential personnel. He was appointed ambassador to Britain during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Tuttle joins the growing list of Republicans who have endorsed Clinton, which includes outgoing members of Congress, business executives and relatives of past GOP presidential nominees.

Tuttle’s endorsement comes as Trump’s poll numbers have dropped in the wake of continuing controversy. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll published Friday shows Clinton leading Trump in Florida by 5 points, in North Carolina by 9 points and in Virginia by 13 points.

Trump hits back at Republicans who want the GOP to stop funding his campaign

(John Gastaldo / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Donald Trump threatened Friday to stop raising money for Republicans after party leaders were urged to give up on his presidential campaign and focus on preserving their majorities in the House and Senate.

More than 70 Republicans asked Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in a letter Thursday to stop giving money to Trump’s candidacy.

Trump responded by saying that if the party gives up on him, he would stop raising money for the party.

“If it is true, that’s OK too,” Trump said Thursday on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” “... All I have to do is stop funding the Republican Party.”

In July, the Trump campaign reported an $80-million haul, with $64 million coming from joint efforts with the RNC. As of Aug. 3, the campaign reported $37 million on hand and another $37 million in the hands of the joint fundraising committees.

“I’m raising a lot of money for the Republican Party,” Trump said, adding that the people who signed the letter are not those he wants supporting him anyway.

The letter, first reported by Politico, included signatures from former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), former Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.) and former Rep. Tom Coleman (R-Mo.) as well as from several former RNC staffers.

Donald Trump calls his claim that Obama founded Islamic State ‘sarcasm’

Donald Trump shrugged off his repeated insistence that President Obama created Islamic State, saying Friday that he was making a sarcastic remark that was blown out of proportion.

Trump backed off his repeated, and false, assertions of the previous two days that Obama founded the terrorist group. Asked on Thursday to clarify whether he was trying to say Obama’s policies helped lead to the creation of Islamic State, Trump told an interviewer, “No, I mean he’s the founder of ISIS,” using an alternate name for the group.

“ISIS is honoring President Obama. He’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump also said at a rally Thursday in Sunrise, Fla.

A Trump campaign advisor reiterated the claim that the Republican nominee was being sarcastic.

“The point that he’s trying to make is the contrast that exists, and he’s trying to bring out a really important issue and make everybody talk about it,” advisor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on CNN.

Paul Manafort has guided dictators and strongmen, but can he manage Donald Trump?

Paul Manafort at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Paul Manafort at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Political consultant Paul Manafort was so renowned in Ukraine for helping elect President Viktor Yanukovich that when strategist Roger Stone arrived years later to counsel another aspiring Ukrainian politician, that candidate — as Stone tells it — gave him the once over and asked: “So, you are our Manafort?”

Long a legendary figure in Washington, Manafort has spent a career guiding powerful politicians to office. As a young Republican, he organized for Ronald Reagan. Later, Manafort advised some of the world’s most notorious figures, including Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and Angola guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi.

His experience in guiding strong-willed men with big egos and overpowering personalities should serve him well in his role managing Donald Trump’s campaign for president. But some are beginning to wonder whether this time Manafort may have met his match.

“He has an impossible task,” said Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman who now works as a political consultant.

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