Donald Trump calls on election observers to help patrol polling sites


Bill Clinton defends the honor of Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump’s battle with the press continues as he threatens to revoke newspaper’s credentials

Donald Trump’s battle with the media continued Saturday as the Republican presidential nominee threatened to revoke the press credentials of the New York Times.

Trump assailed the newspaper for what he alleged was dishonest reporting in a newly published story that cited both named and unnamed sources in showing him shunning the advice of top aides.

“Maybe we will start thinking about taking their press credentials away from them,” Trump said. “Maybe we’ll do it. I think so. I think so.”

Trump has sought retaliation for other critical coverage by revoking credentials. Reporters from the Washington Post, Politico, BuzzFeed and elsewhere have been denied entry into his events.

The latest story portrayed Trump as poorly executing such campaign basics as fundraising and staying on message.

Even the location of his Saturday rally, Connecticut, had veteran political operatives questioning his strategy as he trails Hillary Clinton in several swing states.

Connecticut hasn’t voted for a Republican since 1988, when it selected George H.W. Bush for president.

“Trump foolishly campaigning in Connecticut less than 100 days before the election is what Democratic dreams are made of,” tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, a former aide to President Obama.

Yet Trump, even noting the uphill climb a Republican faces in the state, seemed undeterred.

“We’re making a big move for the state of Connecticut, just so you know,” he told supporters. “Normally that wouldn’t happen because a Republican, in theory, doesn’t win Connecticut.”


Hezbollah leader supports Trump’s claim that U.S. created Islamic State

Donald Trump has found at least one supporter for his allegation that the U.S. administration founded the Islamic State group.

The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group quoted Trump at a rally in the country’s south Saturday, saying the presidential candidate’s statements were based on facts.

Hassan Nasrallah says: “This is an American presidential candidate who is saying this. What he says is based on facts and documents.”

Trump this week described President Obama as the “founder” of Islamic State. Trump later said the claim was intended as sarcasm.

Nasrallah, who has sent thousands of his fighters to Syria to shore up President Bashar Assad’s forces, has long claimed that the U.S. helped create and fuel the rise of Islamic extremists to destabilize the Middle East.


Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Katrina Pierson says (incorrectly) that it was Obama who ‘went into Afghanistan’

Donald Trump’s spokeswoman leveled false accusations against President Obama on Saturday, saying he started the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

When asked on CNN about Trump saying Obama was the “founder” of Islamic State, spokeswoman Katrina Pierson delivered a lengthy response in which she proclaimed it was Obama who “went into Afghanistan,” where U.S. troops had begun fighting in 2001 under former President George W. Bush.

“Remember, we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time,” she said of Obama taking office in 2009. “Barack Obama went into Afghanistan creating another problem.”

The visibly surprised CNN anchor pressed Pierson to confirm that she was saying that Obama took the country into Afghanistan.

“What I’m saying is the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — that was Obama’s war, yes,” Pierson said.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Pierson cited audio problems.

Pierson, who ran unsuccessfully in a 2014 primary against Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), is a regular face on cable news, staunchly defending her boss.

But she’s also been the subject of controversy.

When Trump recently battled publicly with Khizr Khan, whose son was killed by a car bomb in 2004 while serving in Iraq, Pierson blamed Obama for the death of the fallen soldier. Humayun Khan was killed five years before Obama took office.

“It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagement that probably cost [Capt. Khan’s] life,” she said on CNN this month.

The nonpartisan PolitiFact ranked her claim “pants on fire” — its harshest critique in terms of false statements.


Donald Trump’s solution to his predictions of a ‘rigged’ election? Hand-picked observers

In television interviews and on the stump, Donald Trump has begun warning of a “rigged” November election that would benefit Hillary Clinton.

The Republican nominee’s newfound solution? Election observers.

Trump is seeking volunteers for polling places on election day, asking, “Help me stop ‘Crooked Hillary’ from rigging this election!” (Once supporters sign up to become observers, they are then directed to a page that solicits donations.)

The move by Trump, who in recent polls from several swing states trails Clinton, is the first step he’s taken to follow up on his allegations that the election’s outcome could be predetermined.

With about 13,000 jurisdictions governing polling places in the U.S., rigging an election would be extremely difficult. Instances of proven voter fraud are rare and usually occur on too small of a scale to change the results of an election.

Since 1982, the Republican National Committee has operated under a consent decree handed down by the Supreme Court that prevents the party from engaging in some voter-fraud prevention efforts without court consent.

But that does not apply to campaigns, said Edward Foley, an election law professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

“Simple observation is legal, but the observation can’t cross the line into intimidation,” Foley said.

While campaigns soliciting volunteers to become election observers is not unusual, Trump’s record of divisive rhetoric raises the specter of voter intimidation, with his calls for volunteers to appear at polling sites on election day. Trump’s supporters have clashed repeatedly with protesters at his rallies since he began campaigning last summer.

At an event in Pennsylvania on Friday, Trump used strong racial overtones to stress to his mostly white audience that “certain areas” of the state — such as Philadelphia, where almost half the residents are black — will participate in voter fraud that benefits Clinton.

“We’re hiring a lot of people. ... We’re going to watch Pennsylvania, go down to certain areas and watch and study, and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times,” he said.

Voter advocates took note.

“We are preparing a robust effort to be prepared to ensure all voters are able to cast a ballot,” said Witold Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

Credentialed observers inside polling places are permitted in several states, including Pennsylvania, said Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign.

“They will help ensure lawful voters can vote,” Miller said “What we’re advocating are open, fair and honest elections.”

Trump also said Friday that it was “shocking” that a law that mandated voters there show a state-approved photo ID at the polls was struck down in 2014. The law, opponents argued, disenfranchised minority voters in the state.

“I hope you people can sort of not just vote. … Go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100% fine,” Trump said.


Snapshot from the trail: Mike Pence in Indiana


Warning of election fraud, Trump sparks fear that his backers may intimidate minority voters

In remarks with strong racial overtones, Donald Trump told a mainly white rural crowd in Pennsylvania on Friday that voter fraud could cheat him out of victory and vowed to dispatch police who support him to monitor polls in “certain parts” of the state.

“We’re going to have unbelievable turnout, but we don’t want to see people voting five times, folks,” the Republican presidential nominee said at a rally in Altoona, Pa.

After months of racially charged violence between Trump supporters and protesters at his rallies, the comments raised the specter of confrontations on election day in precincts with many minority voters.

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