The media are the message

“I am not running against crooked Hillary Clinton,” Donald Trump declared in a speech over the weekend in Fairfield, Connecticut. “I’m running against the crooked media.”

On Twitter Sunday, the Republican candidate escalated his complaints.

One such missive: “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!”

Candidates’ complaints about media coverage are routine. But Trump’s broad condemnations contrast sharply with his past citations of a dubious National Enquirer article linking Ted Cruz’s father to the JFK assassination and critical news accounts of the Clintons.

Bill’s ‘load of bull’ claim

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Bill Clinton over the weekend responded sharply to a question at the Asian-American Journalists’ convention: Why should people trust his wife when she lied about emails?

“Wait a minute,” he said. “It’s not true.”

The former president defended her, saying the FBI director before Congress amended his earlier statement, and that she never received classified emails on her private server.

“They saw two little notes with a ‘C’ on it,” Clinton said. “This is the biggest load of bull I’ve ever heard.”

Questions persist. On Sunday, CNN reported that members of the GOP-led Congress will receive notes requested from her FBI interview as soon as Monday.

‘Disaster’ preparedness

Carlos Gutierrez, former Commerce secretary under President George W. Bush, is one of the most recent prominent Republican figures to dump Trump and back Clinton. He called Trump’s economic positions a “disaster.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) called Clinton someone he can work with.

And conservative activists at the weekend’s RedState Gathering in Denver were reported to be in an unusually gloomy mood over the nation’s choices in November.

Overall, the question is whether the GOP as a whole has had enough.

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Trump tanks a tad more at home and abroad

Clinton leads Trump by 30 points in New York, according to a Siena Research Institute poll released Monday morning.

In her adopted home-state, Clinton edges out Trump, the New York City native, 57-27 percent in a one-on-one matchup according to the poll.

CBS tracking numbers on Sunday showed Clinton up 5 points in Florida over Trump, 45 to 40 percent. The spread was 3 points in June.

Her current 9-point lead in New Hampshire “has her threatening to take that battleground state off the board entirely,” the news network reported.

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The Russian connection

Handwritten ledgers now under scrutiny by Ukrainian officials indicate $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Trump aide Paul Manafort, The New York Times reports. The noted payments are purported to be from the political party of Manafort’s former client, the pro-Russian ex-president Viktor Yanukovych. But Manafort’s lawyer says he never received any such cash payments.

More than at any time since the Soviet Union collapsed, the region seems to keep coming up in this campaign on the GOP side. Trump has made many positive statements about the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Also, Russian hackers are said to be responsible for stealing Democratic Party computer files. How all this fits together — if at all — remains a mystery.

On Monday, Manafort responded to the story, accusing The New York Times of “choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report.”

Trump Test

Trump is slated to deliver a foreign policy address in Ohio Monday morning, where he is expected to call for an “ideological test” for all those seeking entry into the United States, according to The Associated Press.

“Mr. Trump’s speech will explain that while we can’t choose our friends, we must always recognize our enemies,” Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday.

The ideological, one of a handful of proposals Trump is expected to outline, would ask applicants about their positions on religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights.

What else is happening

  • Trump aide Paul Manafort denied reports of chaos in the campaign and that the candidate has been sullen and erratic.
  • Even Richard Nixon released tax filings during an audit, Democratic VP candidate Tim Kaine said in bashing Trump’s refusal to do so.
  • GOP VP candidate Mike Pence said regardless of Trump’s refusal, he will release his tax forms, which will be a “quick read.”
  • Younger voters are widely disenchanted with their binary choice, The Washington Post reports.
  • Rep. Peter King told Newsday’s Emily NGO “It’s a tough position defending what Trump said” — but Rudy Giuliani does it well.
  • A slew of fundraisers will be held for Clinton this month on the East End.
  • Libertarian Gary Johnson insists his candidacy is not helping Trump by taking votes from Clinton.
  • Anthony Weiner, the spouse of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, is drawing new attention to himself amid signs of some recent sexting.
  • Newt Gingrich in a Monday morning interview about Clinton says: “she lies about lying and now she lies about having lied about lying.”