Campaign 2016 updates: Ben Carson - Trump’s past immigration rhetoric ‘irrelevant’ in general election

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Hillary Clinton castigates Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘one large insult to those who have worn the uniform’

  • Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona continues to battle Trump
  • Michelle Obama to make fall campaign debut Sept. 16 for Clinton
  • Green Party candidate Jill Stein tweets, then deletes, missive about Clinton’s health

Trump compares Clinton’s email practices to Watergate

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Worse than Watergate.

That’s how Donald Trump described Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of State.

“Her conduct is disqualifying,” Trump told thousands of cheering supporters in Greenville, N.C.

“This is like Watergate, only it’s worse because here our foreign enemies were in a position to hack our most sensitive national security secrets. No one takes all the risks Hillary Clinton took unless they are trying to cover up massive crimes.”

His comments followed last week’s release of documents by the FBI about its investigation of Clinton and her email use.

Earlier this summer, FBI Director James B. Comey criticized Clinton for being careless but said her conduct did not rise to a criminal act and advised the Justice Department not to file charges in the matter. The investigation also found that multiple attempts were made to gain access to Clinton’s server, but there was no evidence that it was breached.

The new documents, released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, added more of the specific findings. Among the details: Clinton used 13 devices capable of transmitting emails; she did not realize that a “c” mark on documents meant “confidential”; an aide to her husband destroyed two of her phones, one of them with a hammer.

“They used hammers to destroy phones so they couldn’t be turned over later -- and by the way, who uses 13 different iPhones in 4 years? Who?” Trump said. (Clinton actually used BlackBerry phones.)

“The only people who use that many phones are usually involved in very, very, and I mean very shady activity,” Trump said. “And now she’s running for president.”

In response, the Clinton campaign issued a statement that called attention to another recent piece of news: reports that a Trump foundation made a donation to a campaign group tied to Florida Attorney General Pam Biondi shortly before she decided not to pursue a case against Trump University. The IRS determined that the donation was improper and fined the foundation $2,500.

“There is only one candidate in the race whose foundation has been caught in an illegal pay-to-play scheme,” the Clinton campaign statement said. “Instead of dredging up old debunked conspiracy theories, Donald Trump should release his tax returns and come clean on his apparently successful attempt to buy off the Attorney General of Florida.”

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Ben Carson: Trump’s past immigration rhetoric ‘irrelevant’ in general election

Ben Carson has a response to all the criticism Donald Trump has faced over his vow to deport an estimated 11 million people in the United States illegally: Forget he ever said it.

Trump was battling fellow Republicans in the race for the party’s presidential nomination when he called for the mass deportations. Now that the general election campaign is underway, Carson told CNN on Tuesday, those comments barely matter.

“It’s relatively irrelevant at this point because it is what it is,” said the retired neurosurgeon and Trump supporter who competed against him for the nomination. “He is the nominee, and has to come up with rational and workable plans, has to work with various advisors and experts in terms of the best way to do this.”

In recent weeks, Trump has wavered on his immigration proposals. Throughout the primary, he insisted that anyone in the country illegally would be deported under his administration and at one point said that being born in the U.S. should not automatically confer citizenship.

Now with about two months until election day, he has said that any mass deportation effort is unlikely and has instead focused on a plan to deport those in the country illegally with criminal records.

Pressed during his CNN interview, Carson also backpedaled on his comment about Trump’s immigration promises.

Pressed during his CNN interview, Carson also backpedaled on his comment about Trump’s immigration promises.

“Well, I didn’t say that they were irrelevant, but bear in mind, what you talk about during a campaign, and what actually happens, as you know, in all administrations are different,” he said. “You get different information. You learn things along the way and you make adjustments along the way. Perhaps there were others who had already learned those things. It doesn’t matter.”

Carson, who toured his old Detroit neighborhood with Trump last weekend and is helping facilitate meetings between the candidate and African American leaders, was also asked about Trump’s racially charged contention dating back to 2011 that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Carson said it would be a “good idea” for the Republican nominee to apologize.

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Jill Stein tweets, then deletes missive about Clinton’s health

Jill Stein.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Echoing conservative conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein tweeted, then deleted a message about the Democratic nominee’s coughing on the campaign trail.

“#HackingHillary, here’s my prescription: Take a #JillChillPill and stop campaigning altogether to ensure global peace. #PagingDrStein,” wrote Stein, a physician, before the tweet was deleted.

Conservative media and Donald Trump have seized upon Clinton’s health, with the GOP presidential nominee frequently questioning her stamina and strength and going after her for a coughing spell during a rally Monday. Her campaign attributed it to allergies.

Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, labeled the claims “idiotic” during an interview Tuesday.

Trump has faced questions about his own health, notably a short assessment written in a style that is rarely seen in medical records. The businessman’s physician stood by the “astonishingly excellent” bill of health he gave the GOP nominee.

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Read Jill Stein’s interview with the L.A. Times editorial board

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times editorial board, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein addressed her stances on such issues as healthcare, climate change and America’s two-party system, her past comments on Wi-Fi and running mate Ajamu Baraka’s remarks that President Obama was an “Uncle Tom.”

Here’s an excerpt:

L.A. Times editorial board: “You’ve said in the past that the Democrats and Republicans are two corporate parties that have basically converged into one. ... How can you really argue that the two candidates are the same, if you think they are, and how can you call on people to vote for you if that could conceivably lead to a [Donald] Trump election?”

Stein: “So, first of all, just for the record, we do not say, and I do say, that the parties are the same. But rather that the differences are not great enough to save your job, to save your life or to save the planet. ... You have two parties that are funded by deep corporate interests, largely overlapping, that you begin to see a convergence. You have the Republican intelligentsia and the Republican spokespeople, and 50 GOP security figures who have all come into Hillary’s camp. Not to mention Mitt Romney, who has defected from Trump, although it’s not clear where his vote is going to be. But everyone from John Negroponte to Meg Whitman have all declared allegiance to Hillary. And Hillary has likewise, very formally opened the door to encouraging Republicans to come in.

”... That tells you that we’re seeing the convergence of a big, corporate party right now. A sort of bipartisan merger under the figure of Hillary Clinton.”

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Sen. Jeff Flake pledges to keep hounding Trump unless he changes his tone

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has been a top Republican critic of Donald Trump, pledged Tuesday to continue denouncing the GOP presidential nominee if he did not stop insulting women, the disabled, minorities and other groups.

“I’m not OK with that, and I’m going to keep speaking out until he changes the tone of his campaign,” Flake said in a statement to the Arizona Republic newspaper. “If he refuses to do so, Republicans will lose a lot more than the election in November.”

Flake’s words come after a testy back-and-forth between the two men over Labor Day weekend.

The senator said Sunday that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric had put his traditionally GOP state in play in the election, mocked the immigration speech Trump delivered Wednesday in Phoenix as muddled and unserious, reiterated that Republicans ought to distance themselves from their nominee and said that if the election were held today, he would not vote for Trump.

“I would like to vote for Donald Trump. It’s not comfortable to not support your nominee. But, given the positions that he has taken and the tone and tenor of his campaign, I simply can’t,” Flake said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump responded later in the day on Twitter by bashing Flake as “very weak and ineffective.”

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We’ve updated our Electoral College map: What’s new?

(Kyle Kim / Los Angeles Times)

We’ve updated our electoral map.

You can see the old map above. The new one is here.

As you can see, not much has changed since we updated the map in early August -- just one state, in fact.

We previously had New Hampshire listed as a tossup. We’ve moved the state into the Favors Democrats category after five polls in the past month, using different methodologies, showed Hillary Clinton leading by between six and 15 percentage points.

Overall, our map currently gives Clinton 279 electoral votes to Donald Trump’s 191. Winning the White House requires 270.

Four states with 68 electoral votes still seem truly to merit the tossup label: Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. To win the White House, Trump would have to carry all four and pull one or more of Clinton’s states into his column.

Right now, polling averages show Clinton leading in three of the four, though by small margins. The two candidates are virtually tied in Iowa.

The map is interactive, so you can check out as many electoral scenarios as you like.

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Hillary Clinton castigates Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘one large insult to those who have worn the uniform’

(Cristobal Herrra/AP )

Hillary Clinton asked supporters to pause a moment on Tuesday to remember some of Donald Trump’s comments about veterans.

Trump “disrespects our military leaders by saying, and I quote, ‘I know more about ISIS than the generals do,’” she said, reprising the Republican nominee’s remarks from last year about how he would combat Islamic State terrorists. Democrats and the Clinton campaign have used those comments in television advertisements airing in several battleground states.

Clinton, while revving supporters in Tampa, Fla., lambasted Trump, who received several deferments that kept him from serving in Vietnam, on national security and veterans issues, a day before the two are set to appear at a forum hosted by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

On Tuesday, Trump received the support of 88 retired U.S. generals and admirals, who endorsed his candidacy. He also fielded questions from retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at an event in Virginia.

Still, Clinton sought to remind voters of Trump’s past rhetoric about the military and his recent public criticism of a Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq.

“When asked why he would insult a Gold Star family, he suggested that his sacrifices are somehow comparable to theirs,” said Clinton, noting Trump’s comment that his “sacrifices” to the U.S. included creating jobs through his businesses.

“You can’t make this up,” Clinton said. “His whole campaign has been one large insult to those who have worn the uniform.”

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Donald Trump holds ‘town hall’ with no audience questions

Donald Trump sat down with retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a supporter, in Virginia Beach, home to a large population of veterans at whom the talk was targeted. The event was billed as a town hall, but Flynn asked all of the questions.

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Pence headed to California to speak -- and raise money

GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is headed to California this week.
(Andrew Jansen / Associated Press)

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is headed to California this week where he plans to deliver a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.

While he is in the state, Pence plans to hit the fundraising circuit as well.

Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, will raise money in Southern California and the Central Valley. Among the fundraisers is a roundtable with Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Orange County. Tickets cost $5,000 per person, and among the hosts is California Republican National Committee Chairman Shawn Steel.

The sole public event on the schedule so far is the 10 a.m. speech Thursday at the Reagan library, a popular stop for Republican politicians and the site of a GOP primary debate last year. The library and its grounds include the graves of the former president and his wife Nancy, a portion of the Berlin Wall, a replica of the Oval Office and the plane that served as Air Force One during his presidency.

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Clinton’s many electronic devices create many lines for attack

(Kevin Lamarque / Associated Press)

The FBI may have determined that Hillary Clinton’s handling of her email while secretary of State did not warrant an indictment, but notes from the agency’s investigation released last week make for plenty of rich material for Donald Trump’s campaign.

One of the most colorful lines came Tuesday from Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn, who seized on the large number of devices Clinton used to communicate from the time she began serving in the Senate in 2001 through her tenure with the Obama administration that ended in early 2013.

“She had 13 Blackberrys and five iPads,” said Epshteyn on CNN. “That is like a mobster having burner phones.”

“They destroyed Blackberrys with hammers in the White House,” he said.

Clinton allies were quick to point out that the Trump campaign was on shaky ground talking about the mafia.

But the FBI report itself also didn’t exactly support the Epshteyn’s point. The large number of devices, the report suggested, seemed more a matter of technological incompetence than tactical cover-up.

The FBI report details how one Clinton aide would purchase Blackberrys at an AT&T store in Washington, while another would just help her get the old model back when it became clear figuring out the new one was too troublesome.

“It was not uncommon for Clinton to use a new Blackberry for a few days and then immediately switch it out for an older version with which she was more familiar,” the report says, citing top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. She and another aide told the FBI “whereabouts of Clinton’s devices would frequently become unknown once she transitioned to a new device.” Another official was able to recall two times when an old device was destroyed by smashing it.

Like so many other controversies surrounding Clinton, the facts add up differently depending who is doing the adding. Do the 13 devices reveal a calculated effort to hide information or a tech-unsavvy grandmother struggling to keep up? Even now that the FBI has released its report, the question has hardly been put to rest for many voters.

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Clinton campaign aims to exploit Trump’s national security inexperience

Hillary Clinton’s campaign will work to regain its footing by putting the spotlight on national security after a rough week of headlines about the FBI investigation into her email and big-dollar fundraisers in the playgrounds of the country’s elite.

Polls consistently show voters anxious about how Donald Trump’s temperament would fit with the role of commander in chief. Trump’s loose talk about nuclear weapons and his disparagement of military leaders have prompted dozens of top Republican national security experts to warn voters off of him.

On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign will seek to exploit that weakness with a major national security address by running mate Tim Kaine in Wilmington, N.C. The address will highlight Kaine’s credentials as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee. According to the campaign, Kaine “will underline that Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who has the experience, temperament, and judgment to serve as commander in chief.”

Clinton will also focus on national security during her rally in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. And on Wednesday she will appear at a commander in chief forum sponsored by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The appearances will be flanked by aggressive advertising, including an ad released today by the Clinton campaign in which veterans watch their televisions with dismay as Trump disparages Arizona Sen. John McCain for getting captured and becoming a prisoner of war in Vietnam, as well as declare, “I know more about [Islamic State] than the generals do.”

Among the veterans featured in the ad is former Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, a triple-amputee from wounds suffered in Vietnam.

The pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA released its own ad, which includes a mushroom cloud and Trump talking about nuclear weapons.

The Trump campaign has responded with a fresh roster of military leaders backing the GOP nominee. On Tuesday it released an open letter from 88 retired generals and admirals who endorse Trump. They called for a “long overdue course correction” in national security policy.

“We believe that such a change can only be made by someone who has not been deeply involved with and substantially responsible for the hollowing out of our military and the burgeoning threats facing our country around the world,” the letter said. “For this reason, we support Donald Trump’s candidacy.”

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Hillary Clinton’s new book aims less to turn pages than to make a political point

And the title of the book is ... you guessed it: “Stronger Together.”

A 256-page tome penned by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine was released Tuesday, named for their campaign slogan, and it won’t be revealing anything new about the private email server in Clinton’s home or what she said during the speeches to Goldman Sachs that netted her $675,000.

But it does have plenty of policy, down to the minutiae of the Clinton-Kaine agenda for how internships should work in the U.S.

And the minutiae is the point. The political aim of the book is less to be a gripping page turner than to make the case that Donald Trump doesn’t even have the material to publish such a book if he were so inclined. Policy is not his campaign’s strong point. It offers a comparatively thin agenda. As the Associated Press points out, the policy page on Trump’s website has just 9,000 words. The Clinton policy page is 112,735 words.

“We have an old-fashioned idea about politics: People who are running to lead the United States of America should tell you what they’re going to do, why they’re going to do it, and how they’re going to get it done,” Clinton and Kaine wrote in the preface.

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As Clinton critics diagnose her cough, Tim Kaine fumes

As conservative media seizes on a campaign-stop coughing fit as their latest evidence that Hillary Clinton lacks the stamina to be president, the Clinton campaign is hitting back.

Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine called the suggestion that Clinton is in poor health -- fueled by various suspect medical assessments from Clinton critics -- absurd. Kaine was particularly annoyed by a recent remark from Donald Trump suggesting Clinton can’t keep up with him because of physical limitations.

“That’s an idiotic comment from Donald Trump,” Kaine said during a joint interview with Clinton on ABC News. “It’s hard to keep up with her.”

“The day he tweeted out ‘Hillary didn’t come to Mexico, does she have the energy?’ She was here in Ohio talking to the American Legion,” Kaine said.

Still, Clinton provided Trump fodder for his “low energy” charge with the light schedule she kept through most of August, when she spent more time answering questions from deep-pocketed donors at her fundraising cocktail parties than the news media, and she held rallies only occasionally.

Clinton is stepping things up considerably this week, with a busy schedule and an invitation for reporters to join her on the campaign plane, where she answered questions for nearly a half hour Monday.

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Trump tweets condolences on the death of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly

(Alan Hagman / Los Angeles Times)

Donald Trump tweeted his condolences Tuesday over the death of conservative activist and lawyer Phyllis Schlafly.

Schlafly, 92, endorsed the Republican nominee back in March, which gave Trump the support of a conservative icon — she is credited with heading the grass-roots movement that blocked the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Some referred to her as the “first lady of anti-feminism.”

“I was honored to spend time with her during this campaign as she waged one more great battle for national sovereignty,” Trump said in a statement Monday.

Schlafly argued that the ERA threatened to take away women’s fundamental right to care for children in the home. When she spoke in support of Trump, she called him the leader of the latest grass-roots uprising.

“We’ve been following the losers for so long — now we’ve got a guy who’s going to lead us to victory,” she said in March at an Eagle Forum event in Illinois.

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Trump says he didn’t ‘choke’ in Mexico

Donald Turmp bristled when asked if he had “choked” during his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Trump had reported after the meeting that the issue of who would pay for his signature promise of a huge southern border wall did not come up. Peña Nieto recalled differently, saying he stated at the top of the discussion that Mexico would not be paying for any such wall.

“I don’t choke,” Trump told ABC News. “[Clinton] chokes. ... I’ve been given A-pluses for the job I did in Mexico.”

“The fact is Mexico will pay for the wall,” he said. “It was discussed that it wouldn’t be discussed, but they know my stance and I know their stance. And until I’m president, I’m not going to press anything very much, but they fully know my stance. My stance is we’re going to build a wall and Mexico’s going to pay for the wall. It’s very simple.”

Trump denied that the Mexican president had played him by telling reporters after the meeting that the wall was, in fact, discussed, and that Trump did not effectively argue his case.

“We had ground rules, and that’s OK,” Trump said. “See who wins in the end.”

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Biden advises Clinton to show ‘some passion’

Vice President Joe Biden would like to see Hillary Clinton “show some passion.”

Biden said that might be the only way Clinton can overcome the uneasiness voters have consistently expressed about her trustworthiness.

The vice president made the comments to CNN as the network released a new poll Tuesday showing Clinton has lost the ground she gained following her party’s convention and now finds herself locked in an extremely tight race with Donald Trump. Clinton’s troubles stem largely from questions about her handling of her email while secretary of State, and the millions of dollars that flowed to the Clinton Foundation from donors with business before the U.S. government.

Asked about the trust issues voters have with Clinton, Biden told CNN “she’s trying to figure out how to remedy it.”

    “My advice to her: The best way to remedy it is, talk about what you care about and talk about it with some passion. And people will see through it,” he said.

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    Michelle Obama to hit the campaign trail for Clinton

    (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times) Michael A. Memoli)

    The ubers are coming.

    In the final two months of the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton is moving to play one of her biggest advantages: an all-star cast of supporters whom the campaign refers to as the “uber principals.”

    The Clinton camp announced Tuesday that First Lady Michelle Obama will make her fall campaign debut on Sept. 16, the first event she’s held for the Democratic nominee since her well-received address on first night of the Democratic convention.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will return to the campaign trail Friday in Philadelphia, the campaign also announced, setting up the city for a run of high-profile surrogate campaigning that will continue next week when President Obama campaigns there for Clinton.

    Former President Bill Clinton, who has been largely off the trail in part to help raise funds for his wife, is campaigning in four states this week. Chelsea Clinton will also be on the road this week for the first time since the birth of her second child.

    Vice President Joe Biden pitched in on Labor Day, joining Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, in Pittsburgh.

    “Now that we are past Labor Day, Democratic leaders are kicking it into high gear to make the case that Hillary Clinton has the ability to do the job of commander in chief and president on day one,” campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson said.

    Ferguson noted that while Clinton benefits from the support of her party’s biggest names, no living Republican president or presidential nominee will be on the trail for Donald Trump. The same is true for many other prominent Republicans, a sign, Ferguson said, that “they share the growing doubts about his candidacy.”

    Michelle Obama will head to northern Virginia, a key region of a battleground state where Clinton has targeted not only Democrats but Republican women who are wavering on supporting Trump.

    The president’s Philadelphia stop next week will be his first for Clinton since they campaigned together in Charlotte, N.C., in July and appeared together at the convention. Obama’s day job is keeping him occupied for most of September. He is in the midst of a 10-day trip to Asia for international summits and will head to New York later this month for the United Nations General Assembly. But aides say he will campaign heavily in October, not only for Clinton but also for Democrats across the country.

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    Hillary Clinton says she won’t go to Mexico before the election

    Hillary Clinton says she will not be meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto before election day.

    In an interview with ABC, Clinton said she would not accept Peña’s invitation to visit Mexico, as Donald Trump did last week. Instead, Clinton said she is going to “focus on what we’re doing to create jobs here at home.”

    Trump’s visit was a shock to many on both sides of the border, given his frequent criticisms of Mexico and Mexican immigrants.

    Clinton criticized Trump’s actions on the trip, saying her rival created a “diplomatic incident” when he claimed to reporters that he and Peña did not discuss who would pay for construction of a border wall. The Mexican president said later that he told Trump forcefully that Mexico would not pay for a wall.

    The meeting was widely considered a public relations disaster for Peña, who was denounced by former President Vicente Fox as “a traitor.”

    Peña said he invited both Trump and Clinton to visit because it is important that Mexico have dialogue with whomever is elected in November.

    Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, said Monday on Twitter that the government understands Clinton’s preference not to visit before the election, saying “we respect her decision to propose the time to hold a meeting.”

    “We maintain a productive communication with the Hillary Clinton campaign,” she wrote.

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