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Newsletter: Essential Politics: Hillary Clinton takes her Trump trolling to Atlantic City

(LAT)

I’m Christina Bellantoni, and this is Essential Politics.

Hillary Clinton stepped up her trolling game Wednesday, going after Donald Trump’s business record in Atlantic City with a Trump Plaza sign on his shuttered casino visible behind her.

“I want you to understand what [Trump] did here in Atlantic City is exactly what he would do if he wins in November,” she said. “Everything falls apart, people get hurt, and Donald gets paid.”

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(Don’t miss our December investigation into Trump’s Atlantic City history.)

Clinton also mocked Chris Christie, suggesting to cheering supporters the Republican New Jersey governor should “start doing his job rather than following Donald Trump around holding his coat.”

After her speech, Clinton visited the picket line outside Trump’s Taj Mahal to show her support for union members protesting the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

At the end of the day, her team took it a notch further, tweeting this with a link to a livestream of Trump’s own campaign event in Ohio: “Newly discovered footage that could destroy Donald Trump’s campaign if everyone saw it: https://hrc.io/29o1O1I

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For his part, Trump defended his business record via a long statement and with rapid response, and later compared Clinton to a mosquito.

He also auditioned one possible running mate in Newt Gingrich, heaping praise on the former GOP House speaker. He teased that if he did choose Gingrich, “no one is going to be beating him in debates.”

Meanwhile, another two possible running mates pulled out of consideration Wednesday.

TRUMP’S BIG HAUL

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Trump announced having raised more than $26 million in June, a rebound from an anemic haul the previous month.

He raised an additional $25 million jointly with the Republican National Committee and contributed $3.8 million himself. Clinton raised $68.5 million for her campaign and the Democratic National Committee in June.

Melanie Mason reports that Trump’s improved financial showing in June should placate some Republicans who were alarmed by his dismal fundraising effort in May; Trump brought in just $3 million in contributions and ended the month with a paltry $1.3 million on hand.

For the latest, keep an eye on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics.

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SANDERS AND STUDENT LOANS

Clinton Wednesday significantly expanded her plan for increasing the affordability of higher education, an effort to shore up support from Bernie Sanders and his young fans.

Her primary rival praised the new proposal to grant tuition-free enrollment at in-state public colleges and universities for students from families making up to $85,000 annually. The income benchmark would increase over four years to $125,000, applying to an estimated 80% of families, Chris Megerian reports.

At the same time, House Democrats booed when Sanders told them during a private meeting on Capitol Hill, “the goal is not to win elections” but to “transform America.” Lisa Mascaro reports on details from the discussion, where Democrats pressed the senator to offer a “timeline” for when he would be endorsing Clinton.

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CLINTON, TRUMP HAUNTED BY THEIR OWN FLAWS

The last few days have provided fresh evidence of characteristics Clinton and Trump have that are not beneficial to a presidency, to say the least, Cathleen Decker writes.

Evaluating the dustup over Trump’s tweets, the fallout over Clinton’s emails as secretary of State and an ugly tenor in the campaign overall, Decker finds that the winner in November’s election will enter a White House that has historically seemed only to enhance, not mitigate, the shortcomings of its occupant. She writes that each of them could be haunted in the future by their own failings and that a campaign that is less inspirational than dispiriting could flow into a troubled administration.

The Justice Department officially closed the email investigation Wednesday.

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DEMOCRATS SUGGEST CONGRESSMAN IS A ‘SIDEKICK’ TO TRUMP THE BULLY

One California Republican will be targeted by a new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad campaign starting Monday. National Democrats are working to tie vulnerable Republicans to Trump with two ads that are aimed at younger women, Jazmine Ulloa reports.

See the two spots that will run in freshman Rep. Steve Knight’s district.

SANCHEZ IN THE SPOTLIGHT

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Orange County congresswoman Loretta Sanchez says her vote against the Iraq War and Patriot Act at a time when the nation was reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks showed she had the courage and expertise to represent California in the U.S. Senate.

But in November, Sanchez will face off against front-runner Kamala Harris, California’s twice-elected attorney general, and the odds appear stacked against her. Sanchez hopes to overcome by campaigning heavily on her knowledge of military affairs and threats to national security, acquired over her two decades in Congress. But she’s also been prone to embarrassing political gaffes. Phil Willon lays out some of the major accomplishments, surprises and missteps in Sanchez’s political career.

Here’s our earlier rundown of the major milestones in Harris’ career, including a few that might earn her a gold star or a demerit, depending on a voter’s perspective.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

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— Sanchez is backing a November ballot measure to repeal the death penalty. She said executions were an “ineffective deterrent” and that attempts to reform the death penalty process have been “fruitless.”

— Harris blamed inflammatory political rhetoric for an increase in hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities in the state. She never mentioned Trump’s name, but it was pretty clear who she was talking about.

— Lawmakers and political insiders remembered Marian Bergeson on Wednesday, who died earlier in the day in Orange County. Bergeson was the first woman to serve in both the state Assembly and Senate. She was 90.

— The draft convention platform of the Democratic Party urges states that want to legalize marijuana to go for it.

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— The 15-year-old war in Afghanistan will get handed off to a third president, President Obama announced Wednesday.

— Trump has broken a record. And not the good kind.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.

LOGISTICS

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