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Campaign 2016 updates: Trump’s doctor wrote letter giving candidate clean bill of health as limo waited

Hillary Clinton has defended future plans for the Clinton Foundation that experts say don’t do enough.

Trump doctor stands by ‘astonishingly excellent’ bill of health for GOP nominee

The physician who said Donald Trump would be the healthiest person ever elected president in a widely mocked medical assessment said that he had only minutes to write the report and that he’d chosen his words poorly but stood by his words about the GOP nominee’s health.

“I get rushed and I get anxious when I get rushed. So I try to get four or five lines down as fast as possible so that they would be happy,” Dr. Harold Bornstein, Trump’s physician for more than three decades, told NBC News. “In the rush, I think some of those words didn’t come out exactly the way they were meant.”

The interview occurred as Trump and his supporters are increasingly raising conspiracy theories about the health of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to question her fitness for office.

But Bornstein’s report, released in December, raised eyebrows then because it veered so dramatically from the detail and tenor of medical reports traditionally made public about presidential candidates and presidents.

Such documents are typically dry recitations of medical history, statistics such as height and weight, cholesterol and blood pressure findings and record of prescription drug use.

Bornstein’s short letter about Trump included bits of this information but its language was mocked. He labeled the nominee’s lab results, in Trump-ian language, as “astonishingly excellent” without actually saying what they were. The letter also declared that if he won the White House, Trump would be the healthiest person ever elected to the post.

Bornstein told NBC he rushed to write the letter as a limo driver from the Trump campaign waited. But he stood by his assessment of Trump’s health.

“His health is excellent, particularly his mental health. He thinks he’s the best, which works out just fine,” said Bornstein, who is board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine and is affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital. “I think he would be fit because, I think his brain is turned on 24 hours a day.”

Trump prides himself on hiring the best people. So what’s with his rotating cast of campaign leaders?

Stephen Bannon, Trump's new campaign CEO, faced domestic violence accusations two decades ago.
(Associated Press)

Donald Trump’s frequent assertion that he hires only the best people is once again being challenged, this time by revelations of a domestic violence accusation against his freshly minted campaign CEO.

News broke late Thursday that Stephen Bannon, Trump’s new campaign chief and the former head of Breitbart News, was accused two decades ago of hitting his then-wife. He was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness. The charges were dropped when Bannon’s wife did not appear in court.

Corey Lewandowski.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The revelations are only the latest controversy involving Trump’s rotating cast of campaign leaders.

Part of this is due to the unconventional nature of Trump’s campaign — he has frequently relied on people he connects with on a gut level but who have little political experience.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, is a prime example. Fiercely loyal, Lewandowski was comfortable with allowing Trump to be Trump rather than acting like a traditional candidate.

He was ultimately sent packing after repeated clashes with Trump’s children, who serve as informal counselors for their father’s campaign.

Lewandowski was also accused of manhandling a female reporter; prosecutors declined to pursue charges.

But even after firing him, Trump continued to seek counsel from Lewandowski, whom he credits with helping him ascend to the top of the field in the Republican primaries.

Lewandowski was replaced by veteran operative Paul Manafort at a time when Trump was facing the prospect of a contested Republican convention and being urged to bring on experienced advisors.

Paul Manafort.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Manafort served as a bridge to the GOP establishment, but his attempts to make Trump into a more focused, traditional candidate did not sit well as the campaign floundered after the convention.

And then came growing scrutiny of Manafort’s work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. He resigned last week, to be replaced by pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager and Bannon as chief executive.

Bannon, a conservative media honcho with no campaign experience, appears to fall into the Lewandowski model of allowing Trump to follow his instincts.

Conway is charged with bridging the two approaches — allowing Trump’s personality to shine through while smoothing his rougher edges.

So Tim Kaine - is Donald Trump racist?

Obama and Biden will return to the campaign trail for Clinton next month

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Hillary Clinton will send two heavyweight allies to campaign for her in the coming weeks in Ohio and Pennsylvania — President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden will hit the trail for the Democratic nominee in Ohio, and Obama will campaign for Clinton in Pennsylvania on Sept. 13, shortly after his return from a long trip to Asia.

White House aides say the president and vice president plan to highlight the same message: the “high stakes” of November’s election for the working and middle classes.

The stakes are also high for them, as the outcome of the election will greatly influence how much of their policy will stand. Republican Donald Trump has promised to set to work dismantling the Obama-Biden legacy.

George W. Bush’s Iraq war architect says he will likely vote for Clinton

Paul Wolfowitz
Paul Wolfowitz
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Paul Wolfowitz, a top official in the George W. Bush administration referred to as the architect of the Iraq war, said he will likely vote for Hillary Clinton in November.

Wolfowitz is part of a growing list of GOP national security and foreign policy officials who have announced their intention to support the Democratic presidential nominee. But though Clinton has proudly announced the backing of other Republicans, it’s less likely she will roll out a news release touting the support from Wolfowitz.

As deputy secretary of Defense under Bush, Wolfowitz was among the earliest and biggest cheerleaders for invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein. Clinton, as a senator representing New York, voted in 2002 to go to war in Iraq.

Clinton’s support of the invasion has dogged her since, creating problems with members of the Democratic base who view her as a hawk. GOP nominee Donald Trump has also criticized her vote to go to war, and Clinton has labeled her vote a “mistake.”

Wolfowitz, who also told The Times in July that he would probably vote for Clinton, made his comments in an interview published Friday in the German magazine Der Spiegel. Though he noted that he had “serious reservations” about Clinton, he said Trump was “unacceptable” because of what Wolfowitz viewed as dangerous positions on Russia and China.

Hillary Clinton defends the controversial wind-down plan for her family’s foundation

Even as Hillary and Bill Clinton vow that they will stop accepting foreign donations for their foundation and step away from involvement in it altogether if she wins the presidency, the organization remains a political albatross. Ethics experts are unimpressed by their plan — which includes keeping Chelsea Clinton on the board — and their timetable for carrying it out.

Some Republicans continue to demand that the Clintons immediately shut down the foundation altogether, and emails keep trickling out showing how big donors to the foundation may have had back-door access to the State Department while Clinton was secretary of State.

On Friday morning, Clinton answered the charges of critics who say the current roadmap for the foundation going forward is full of potential conflicts.

“You don’t just turn an off and on switch,” Clinton said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when asked why she and her husband do not simply transfer the organization’s work to another similar nonprofit, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Winding down these programs takes time, and we’re going to make sure that we don’t undermine the excellence and the results.”

Clinton said foundation executives are looking for organizations with which to partner.

Clinton also dismissed threats about an “October surprise” from critics, such as Wikileaks. The organization is hinting that it has embarrassing documents to disclose as the election nears, perhaps involving favors Clinton’s State Department did for foundation donors.

“My work as secretary of State was not influenced by outside forces,” Clinton said. “I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right to keep Americans safe and protect our interests abroad. I believe my aides also acted appropriately.

“And we have gone above and beyond most of the charities ... beyond legal requirements, beyond standards, to voluntarily disclose donors, and also to reduce sources of funding that raised any questions — not that we thought they were necessarily legitimate — but to avoid those questions,” she said.

Sarah Palin warns that Trump will lose core support if he wavers on immigration

(Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, one of Donald Trump’s most prominent early endorsers, warned that his “wishy-washy” comments on immigration could disappoint his backers.

Trump has wavered in recent days from hard-line views on immigration, the hallmark of his campaign, including a reconsideration of his plan to deport 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. At the same time, though, he has repeated at rallies his pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

“Parts of that message we heard in the last week are clearly not consistent with the stringent position and message that supporters have received all along,” Palin told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Palin also said on Fox News that Trump will lose supporters who were drawn to him during the GOP primary if he softens his immigration plan. She added that his plan to build a border wall shows he understands how to follow the “will of the people.”

“Thank God he’s still preaching that because if he were not, then there would be a huge erosion of support,” she said.

Details emerge from old domestic violence charges against Trump campaign chief Stephen Bannon

(Associated Press)

Stephen Bannon, the newly minted chief of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was charged with domestic abuse in Santa Monica two decades ago, according to reports by the New York Post and Politico.

The reports are based on the police record of a fight between Bannon and his then-wife on New Year’s Day 1996 after an argument over finances. According to the police report posted by Politico, Santa Monica officers responding to a hang-up 911 call found “red marks” on the wrist and neck of Bannon’s wife, whose name was redacted from the documents.

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. The couple, parents of twin infants, divorced the following year.

The New York Post cited divorce documents quoting Bannon’s ex-wife as saying, “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” and cursing at her.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment but a Bannon spokeswoman told Politico that he “has a great relationship” with his children and ex-wife.

Bannon was brought on to lead Trump’s White House effort last week after turmoil in the campaign. The former Navy officer currently lives in Laguna Beach.

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.

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

Sanders creates group to continue ‘Our Revolution’

(Associated Press)

His campaign is over, yet Bernie Sanders says that the movement he helped create — one that ignited a youthful, liberal following during the Democratic primary season — will press onward.

This week, the Vermont senator sought to help it press ahead with the launch of Our Revolution, a political organization that will raise money and dole it out to candidates in lockstep with Sanders’ ideals.

“We changed the conversation regarding the possibilities of our country,” Sanders said of his campaign against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We redefined what the vision and the future of our country should be.”

Yet the group’s launch has been a bit bumpy.

Several key staffers initially involved in the group have resigned in recent days after Sanders announced that Jeff Weaver, a longtime aide to Sanders who served as his campaign manager, would oversee it.

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