Campaign 2016 updates: Will Donald Trump’s pivot on immigration hurt him with the GOP base?


Hillary Clinton skewers Donald Trump for directly appealing to white nationalists.

Trump’s new campaign chief arrested for domestic violence in 1996, according to reports

Stephen Bannon, the newly minted chief of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was arrested on domestic violence charges two decades ago, according to a report in the New York Post.

A fight between Bannon and his then-wife occurred on New Year’s Day 1996 after an argument over finances, according to the Post and other published reports. Police in Santa Monica responded to the couple’s house and found Bannon’s wife with bruising on her neck and wrist, the reports said.

Bannon, who has taken a leave as the head of Breitbart News to become the Trump campaign’s chief executive officer, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness, according to the reports. The charges were dropped when Bannon’s wife did not appear in court, they said, and the couple, parents of twin infants, divorced the following year.

“The bottom line is he has a great relationship with the twins, he has a great relationship with the ex-wife, he still supports them,” Alexandra Preate, Bannon’s spokeswoman, told Politico.

Bannon was brought on to lead Trump’s White House effort last week after turmoil in the campaign.

The investment-banker-turned-Hollywood-producer has no experience leading a political campaign, but he is known for his pugilistic style and his conservative news organization has long been pro-Trump.


Stephen Bannon, Trump campaign CEO, faced domestic violence charge in 1996

Stephen Bannon, who last week was appointed CEO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, faced domestic violence charges in California two decades ago.

The charges, reported by Politico on Thursday night, came after a January 1996 incident in Santa Monica. The case was ultimately dismissed.

According to the police report posted by Politico, Santa Monica officers responded to a hang-up 911 call. Once officers arrived, they found “red marks” on the wrist and neck of Bannon’s then-wife, whose name was redacted from the documents. The report notes that the altercation stemmed from a dispute over their finances.

A request for comment from the Trump campaign was not immediately returned on Thursday night.

Bannon, who is chairman of Breitbart News, a conservative website that is widely known for its favorable coverage of Trump, was appointed to his new role in the Trump campaign in its latest staff shake-up. Bannon, a former Navy officer, currently lives in Laguna Beach.

In recent years, he made a name for himself in conservative circles for producing laudatory films about Sarah Palin and other public figures.

A separate report by the New York Post on Thursday evening cited divorce documents between Bannon and his then-wife.

The Post quoted her as saying in the documents: “I took the phone to call the police and he grabbed the phone away from me throwing it across the room, and breaking it as he [was] screaming” at her, including expletive-laden insults.


Trump resumes tough talk on deportations, muddling his immigration agenda

Where does Donald Trump really stand on whether to deport all 11 million immigrants in the country illegally?

It’s anyone’s guess.

For months, rounding them up and booting them out was a cornerstone of his campaign. This week he said he was open to letting some of them stay. Now he appears to be back to his original promise.

“You know, it’s a process,” Trump told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper on Thursday. “You can’t take 11 [million] at one time and just say, ‘Boom, you’re gone.’ But there’s no legalization. There’s no amnesty. And if somebody wants to go [the] legalization route, what they’ll do is they’ll go leave the country, hopefully come back in, and then we can talk.”

Asked about his changing statements, the Republican presidential nominee said some view his position as a “hardening.”

His comments came two days after saying he was open to a softening of immigration laws to “accommodate those people that contribute to society” and pay back taxes.

During the Republican primaries, Trump promised to deploy a “deportation force” to round up the immigrants and expel them, drawing sharp rebukes from GOP rivals, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In a television ad now airing in battleground states, Trump takes a tough posture on illegal immigration. It shows what appear to be scores of Latinos riding a freight train as an announcer says Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton favors an open border with Mexico and opposes the deportation of criminals. (Neither statement is true.)

At rallies this week, Trump has continued to trumpet his plan to build a border wall and force Mexico to pay for it, and he campaigned in Texas on Tuesday with the mothers of people killed by immigrants in the country illegally.

But Trump’s backtracking on the deportation pledge has alarmed some conservative supporters. Trump said he plans to lay out his full immigration policy within the next two weeks.


Trump’s immigration pivot: Will he be the latest Republican to alienate the base?

(Angelo Merendino / Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s surprising pivot on illegal immigration — a policy shift that remains in flux — could bring one of the greatest risks he’s faced in an already turbulent campaign.

Trump’s recent rethinking about whether to deport all 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, a signature issue that has propelled his campaign, is a stunning reversal for a candidate who once ridiculed such ideas as too soft or a form of “amnesty.”

Trump appeared to be test-driving a new, more moderate approach during a Fox News town hall this week. The idea, which sounded strikingly similar to those of two of his Republican primary rivals, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, would allow some immigrants to remain in the country as long as they had no criminal records and agreed to pay back taxes.

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White House talks ‘peaceful transfer of power’ with Trump and Clinton teams

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

President Obama is fighting to elect Hillary Clinton to succeed him in the White House, but his staff met with teams representing both nominees Thursday to talk about how they would hand over the reins in January.

The peaceful transfer of power from the Obama administration to the new president was the only agenda item, Deputy White House Press Secretary Jen Friedman said after the meeting.

“The peaceful transfer of power from one presidential administration to the next is a hallmark of American democracy,” she said.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough convened the session that included several high-ranking Obama aides, including national security advisor Susan Rice, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and Homeland Security advisor Lisa Monaco.

Friedman said the discussion centered on keeping the government running without disruption when one president checked out and the other moved in.

Representing Republican nominee Donald Trump at the meeting was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who serves as his transition team chairman. Democrat Clinton’s designated transition chairman, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, was also at the meeting.


Clinton slams Trump. But she’s also asking mainstream Republicans to break with him

Hillary Clinton addresses supporters in Reno.
(Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images)

It’s rare to hear the Democratic nominee for president praising GOP leaders past and present.

But Hillary Clinton did just that Thursday as she made an overt appeal to Republican voters to separate themselves from their party’s unconventional standard-bearer, Donald Trump.

The move – arguing that Trump does not represent the values of the Republican Party -- is the opposite of what Democratic strategists are trying to do in down-ballot races across the nation: tie Trump to every Republican running for office.

Vulnerable GOP senators like Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio and John McCain of Arizona are constantly asked whether they will vote for Trump and to comment on his latest incendiary comment or tweet.

Their awkward, at times, angry responses are blasted out daily by Democratic groups working to regain control of the House and Senate.

But Clinton used the words and actions of McCain and others as she painted Trump as a racist.

“This is a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump,” Clinton told more than 1,000 supporters at a community college in Reno.

“Twenty years ago, when Bob Dole accepted the Republican nomination, he pointed to the exits in the convention hall and told any racists in the party to get out. The week after 9/11, George W. Bush went to a mosque and declared for everyone to hear that Muslims ‘love America just as much as I do.’ In 2008, John McCain told his own supporters they were wrong about the man he was trying to defeat. Sen. McCain made sure they knew – Barack Obama is an American citizen and ‘a decent person,’ ” Clinton said. “We need that kind of leadership again.”

Neither of the last two Republican presidents, George W. Bush nor George H.W. Bush, is publicly supporting Trump. The party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, has repeatedly criticized him.

Clinton has been gaining support from establishment Republicans who worked in prior GOP administrations and donors who are horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency.

On Thursday, she appeared to try to push that argument to the next level – voters.

Earlier in the day, Trump had offered a prebuttal in which he said that Clinton’s plans to call him a racist were not only a slur on him but on the millions of people who have voted for him.

She “paints decent Americans -- you -- as racists,” Trump told supporters in Manchester, N.H.


Jeb Bush offers disdain as Donald Trump begins ‘morphing’ on immigration

(Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

As Donald Trump softens his harsh rhetoric on immigration, Jeb Bush has issued his own critique: The GOP nominee is “morphing” and Bush doesn’t like it.

“All the things that Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into — it’s kind of disturbing,” Bush, who was trounced by Trump in the Republican primaries this year, said Thursday on WABC Radio.

Trump repeatedly castigated the former governor of Florida last spring for his call for a path to legal status for the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally.

In rallies and debates, Trump relentlessly called Bush “weak” and slammed his immigration plan as amnesty. He vowed instead to round up and deport everyone in the country illegally.

But that was then. Now, trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls with a little more than two months until election day, Trump has shifted his position.

In a Fox News interview Wednesday, Trump said he would show flexibility on who he would deport, suggesting exemptions for those who have no criminal records.

“They’ll pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes. There’s no amnesty, as such. There’s no amnesty, but we work with them,” he said.

That sounded suspiciously like Clinton’s plan. It also mirrors President Obama’s current deportation priorities, which focus chiefly on those who have committed crimes.

And then there is Bush.

In a tweet on Thursday, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was pleased that Trump had embraced Bush’s immigration plans.

Yet Bush, who has not endorsed Trump and did not attend last month’s Republican National Convention, does not find the Republican nominee’s pivot humorous.

He said Trump’s views “change based on the feedback he gets from a crowd or ... what he thinks he has to do.”

“Life is too complex. For me I couldn’t do that. I have to believe what I believe, and if it’s popular, great, if it’s not, I try to get better at presenting my views,” Bush said. “But shifting my views because, because it’s political to do it? That’s what politicians do in this country, that’s what Trump is trying to do right now. I find it abhorrent.”


Clinton accuses Trump of white nationalist ties: ‘He has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories’

Hillary Clinton launched into a new line of attack against Donald Trump on Thursday, accusing him during an address in Reno of helping foment racial hatred and refashioning the Republican Party as a welcome home for white nationalists.

In unrestrained language, Clinton took aim at Trump’s affiliations with the so-called alt-right movement, a loosely organized network of anti-establishment activists on the right that helped fuel the GOP presidential nominee’s rise. The largely online movement includes legions of openly racist and anti-Semitic activists who operate in what Clinton described as the “far dark reaches of the Internet.”

The alt-right has long cheered Trump, but his ties to the movement intensified with his latest campaign shake-up. Stephen K. Bannon, who led the right-wing website Breitbart News, is now running Trump’s campaign.

“There’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it arising from racial resentment,” Clinton said. “But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it and giving it a national megaphone until now. “

Clinton called out Trump for retweeting white supremacists, for posting online an attack of her widely perceived as anti-Semitic — it included a Star of David imposed over piles of dollar bills — and for initially selecting a white-nationalist leader as a convention delegate from California.

“When Trump was asked about anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters, he refused to condemn them,” Clinton said. “Through it all, he has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones.”

During his own speech in Manchester, N.H., just before Clinton spoke, Trump offered a prebuttal to his Democratic rival’s widely anticipated attacks. He accused Clinton of making a desperation play, as she seeks to deflect attention from the controversies involving her private email server and questions about whether big donors to the Clinton Foundation got special access to her when she was Secretary of State.

“It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook,” Trump said. “When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist. ... Hillary Clinton isn’t just attacking me. She is attacking all of the decent people of all backgrounds who support this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime movement.”

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Donald Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of calling him and his supporters racist to distract from her failures and scandals

Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton isn’t just attacking him over his racially tinged campaign, but his supporters as well.

“What does she do when she can’t defend her record?” Trump said during a rally in New Hampshire on Thursday “She lies, and she smears, and she paints decent Americans -- you -- as racists.”

Trump’s comments came just before Clinton was set to deliver a speech on Trump’s popularity with white nationalists. Trump’s campaign, starting with his initial press conference in which he accused many immigrants crossing the border of being rapists and criminals, has shattered many rhetorical taboos and drawn multiple accusations of racism.

Trump cast Clinton’s attacks as a piece of the “Democratic playbook” used on all Republicans as a shield against the party’s own failures to lift minorities out of poverty.

“When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: ‘You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist,” he said. “It’s a tired disgusting argument.”

Unlike other politicians, he said, he would not back down from defending such priorities as border security, law and order, and defense against terrorism.

“People who speak out against radical Islam, and who warn about refugees, are not Islamophobes,” he said. “They are decent American citizens who want to uphold our values as a tolerant society, and who want to keep the terrorists the hell out of our country.”

Trump, who has polled particularly poorly among minority voters, has increased his discussion of minorities in recent days. Some view the strategy as an attempt persuade white moderates that he is not racist.

Trump said Clinton, in attacking him, is actually trying to distract from her email scandal. He was interrupted several times with chants of “Lock her up” from the crowd.

Trump accused Clinton of running a “pay for play” scheme while serving as secretary of State.

“What is being uncovered now is one of the most shocking scandals in American political history,” he said. “It’s Watergate all over again. It’s Watergate. And she’s being totally protected by our government.”


Did a Clinton tweet move markets?

Hillary Clinton had some harsh words this week for the drug maker that exponentially raised the price of the EpiPen, a vital lifesaving medical device for people with severe allergies.

Clinton’s aim was obviously political, an effort to draw attention to her healthcare agenda and lure voters outraged that what was a $100 drug now costs $600. But the impact of Clinton accusing the company Mylan of profiteering may have also been financial.

CNBC reported that the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology exchange-traded fund, or IBB, after gaining about 1% in early trading Wednesday, fell after Clinton’s tweet and finished the day down 3%, its worst showing in a month.


Clinton wants you to know who has endorsed Trump

In anticipation of Hillary Clinton’s speech Thursday about the “alt-right” and its embrace of Donald Trump, her campaign released this jolting video of various white supremacists offering praise for the GOP nominee. It is punctuated with footage of Trump hedging when asked if he disavows such support, and a warning in bold text: “If Trump wins, they could be running the country.”

The Trump campaign responded swiftly, calling the ad “disgraceful.”

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign went to a disgusting new low today as they released a video tying the Trump Campaign with horrific racial images,” said a statement the campaign sent out from Trump supporter Mark Burns, an African American televangelist. “This type of rhetoric and repulsive advertising is revolting and completely beyond the pale. I call on Hillary Clinton to disavow this video and her campaign for this sickening act that has no place in our world.”


Campaign manager insists that Trump will stick to his immigration pledge of no amnesty

Donald Trump’s campaign tried again Thursday to clarify his stance on immigration but skirted around the changes he suggested in a town hall that aired a night earlier.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, insisted that Trump would stick to his pledge of no amnesty, but she did not address whether Trump is moving away from his plan to deport 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

“No open borders — secure the border, build the wall, have Mexico pay for it,” Conway said on CNN’s “New Day.”

In a taped interview that aired Wednesday, Trump suggested that immigrants without documentation could pay back taxes, indicating he could be considering a pathway to legal status, which would be a major deviation from the hard line he touts.

“They’ll pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes,” he said on Fox News. “There’s no amnesty, as such. There’s no amnesty, but we work with them.”


Watch this woman’s jaw drop when Trump calls Clinton a ‘bigot’

Donald Trump added a new play in his attempt to woo minority voters on Wednesday — trying to paint Hillary Clinton as a “bigot.”

“Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said at a rally in Jackson, Miss.

But the blunt denouncement of his Democratic rival dropped the jaw of of at least one woman in the audience at his rally.


Hillary Clinton takes aim at Donald Trump’s ties to ‘alt-right’ world of radical conservatives

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday.
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday.
(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

No major presidential nominee in recent history has been as openly adored by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists as Donald Trump, and on Thursday, Hillary Clinton will make the case that he should be held accountable for their embrace.

In a speech in Reno, Clinton will seek to define the insurgent breed of ideology that has fueled Trump’s rise as a dangerous cancer on the nation’s political discourse. She is taking aim at the so-called alt-right movement, a loosely defined and relatively new network of anti-establishment activists on the right that extends from mere outside-the-box protectionist thinkers to flagrantly racist and anti-Semitic hatemongers.

Trump’s alliance with the alt-right crowd is as nebulous as the movement itself. Its most extreme factions have no affiliation with the campaign, even as they praise Trump’s agenda and compare him favorably with Adolf Hitler. The more mainstream elements — including those demanding the deportation of immigrants in the U.S. illegally, an end to free-trade agreements and the repudiation of Wall Street — are the lifeblood of the Trump campaign, amplifying its message on social media and driving turnout at his rallies.

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