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Newsletter: Essential Politics: Clinton Foundation draws scorn on the campaign trail

Donald Trump is keeping up his drumbeat against Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, and he’s got pretty good timing to focus on the issue. “It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins,” he charged.

Appearing in Austin on Tuesday night, Trump held up a report about contact between Clinton Foundation donors and people the secretary of State met with as an example of the sort of “rigged” system and government corruption he would end if elected president.

“It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office,” the Republican nominee said, reading from a teleprompter and riffing only slightly from prepared remarks. “They sold access and specific actions by and, really for, I guess, the making of large amounts of money.”

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

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It’s no surprise Trump would seize on the Associated Press story, especially when the week has put such a focus on whether he is softening his immigration stance. He kept his remarks Tuesday to be fairly boilerplate, promising to build the wall and criticizing his rival for her stance on allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.

With the issue front and center, Brian Bennett detailed how Trump’s initial proposal to deport 11 million people would actually work.

He examined a May report by the right-leaning think tank American Action Forum that estimated finding, detaining, legally processing and deporting everyone who is in the country illegally would cost up to $300 billion. To meet Trump’s two-year goal, the report said, Congress would need to appropriate money to hire, train and field about 90,000 immigration apprehension agents — up from 5,000 Enforcement and Removal Operations officers today.

The government also would need to build about 1,250 immigration courts — there now are 57 such courts — and hire thousands more immigration judges and federal attorneys to process the caseload, the report found.

Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics. Check our daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page.

A TEST OF STRAIGHT TALK

Just shy of his 80th birthday, seeking his sixth Senate term, John McCain is waging the most difficult and unhappy reelection fight of his long and storied career. And it’s Trump’s fault, Mark Z. Barabak reports from Phoenix.

McCain faces primary voters Tuesday, and even a pleasant outcome won’t protect him from what is shaping up to be a bruising battle on Nov. 8.

CLINTON’S CASH

As Clinton continues her swing through California, Seema Mehta reports about the Democratic nominee collecting millions of dollars in campaign contributions at star-studded fundraisers as she sprints the state.

Protesters greeted her at at least one stop, while a photobooth and A-list celebrities showed up at another.

CLIMATE DEBATE COMING TO CRESCENDO

Earlier this month, it appeared likely that measures on climate change lacked enough political support in the Legislature. But on Tuesday, one of the bills cleared a major hurdle by passing out of the Assembly. More than a dozen Assembly members supported Senate Bill 32, which would extend the state’s target for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, after abstaining or voting no last year.

But the climate battle isn’t finished in the Assembly. Still pending is a measure that would increase oversight of the Air Resources Board and require the agency to focus more attention on curbing emissions from local sources such as refineries. Both SB 32 and AB 197 are contingent upon each other — or “double joined,” in legislative parlance — meaning both measures must be signed into law to take effect.

Hedge fund billionaire and potential gubernatorial hopeful Tom Steyer was in the Capitol to watch Tuesday’s climate vote. Steyer, who has championed new climate laws, said he did not personally prod lawmakers in advance of the debate, but heralded SB 32’s passage as “a huge step forward.”

The governor and a representative from the Obama White House were phoning lawmakers ahead of the vote.

FLURRY OF ACTION IN SACRAMENTO

Amid all that, California lawmakers advanced or passed legislation handling several major issues Tuesday. Among the highlights:

— A bill to let terminally ill patients get speedier access to experimental drugs is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor vetoed a similar measure by Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) last year.

— For the second straight year, California lawmakers failed to pass any major legislation regulating police body cameras. A bill to allow families of fallen police officers to block the release of footage of officer deaths was pulled Tuesday after its author became convinced it wouldn’t become law. It was the last measure still pending.

— Drivers for Uber and Lyft will have more assurance they can rent cars to work for ride-hailing companies under a bill now heading to Brown’s desk.

— Legislators sent Brown a measure to ban government travel to states believed to discriminate against LGBT people.

— This bill would ban playing “Pokémon GO” while driving.

— An effort to end daylight savings time fizzled.

— Tampons would be exempt from sales taxes, a proposal that’s gained national attention along the way.

— The state would better count young Latinos in the juvenile justice system under this measure.

— Five bills that aim to help human trafficking victims caught in the legal system cleared the Senate and are headed to the Assembly.

— Finally, the Legislature voted Tuesday to rename a stretch of Interstate 210 that cuts through Pasadena in honor of the late baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

There’s one week left for the California Legislature to handle all of its business. We’re tracking where the biggest issues stand, and keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed for the very latest from Sacramento.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

Ralph Nader was the so-called “spoiler candidate” of 2000. Colleen Shalby takes a look at Jill Stein and Gary Johnson to examine if this year’s third-party candidates could have the same effect.

Melania Trump is threatening to sue several news outlets for “making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s.”

President Obama tried to set aside politics Tuesday in favor of pointing to the plight of victims of the devastating floods in Louisiana as he underscored the importance of an effective and quick federal disaster response, report Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Christi Parsons.

— Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez doesn’t look she’ll be coming to Sacramento for a Senate debate with Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris in September.

— The Department of Veterans Affairs is changing its policy on displaying the Confederate flag at the urging of Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and other House Democrats. The flag will only be allowed on certain days and on certain graves, or at private burial ceremonies.

— Sophia Bollag catches you up with the annual Republicans vs. Democrats legislative softball game.

— What do you think of Clinton? We want to hear from you.

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

LOGISTICS

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