Money for nothing?

Hillary Clinton has gotten hammered by Donald Trump’s allegations of a corrupt “pay to play” relationship between the Clinton foundation and her years as secretary of state. Now it’s pay-to-playback time, with the Clinton campaign hurling the same kind of accusation at Trump.

New questions are arising from Trump illegally using his foundation to channel $25,000 in 2013 to a political group backing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Soon afterward, her office declined to join a lawsuit against Trump University.

Both Trump and Bondi said there was no connection between donation, which got him fined by the IRS, and lawsuit. Whatever the case, the Trump-Bondi connection thrived. The Huffington Post reports Trump hosted a fundraiser for her in 2014 at his Palm Beach mansion.

Trump has a decades-long history of skirting laws on contributions and lobbying, The New York Times reported. Trump in January said of his motives for writing checks to pols: “I’ve got to give to them, because when I want something, I get it.”

Mistakes, she’s made a few

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Clinton found herself on the defensive for much of her half-hour at an NBC/MSNBC forum on military and veterans issues, admitting to mistakes on her use of a private email server at the State Department and her initial support of the Iraq War. She cast her overall record as positive and touted her “rock steadiness” as a leader.

“We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again," she said, "and we’re not putting them into Syria.”

Trump, appearing separately, said that despite never holding public office, his business experience prepared him to be commander-in-chief. But he provided grist for controversy — saying the nation’s generals have been “reduced to rubble” and should be replaced. He also voiced admiration for Russia’s Vladimir Putin as “far more” of a leader than President Barack Obama. And he made strange, disjointed claims about his muddled Mexican visit and alluded vaguely without evidence to things he heard in intelligence briefings.

Read Laura Figueroa’s story for Newsday.

A man with a plan

Before and during the Republican primaries, Trump said he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS. “All I can tell you it is a foolproof way of winning,” he said. “There is a method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total victory.”

On Tuesday, Trump said he would tell the Pentagon’s generals “they’ll have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.” So is that his plan? No, he said on the NBC forum, he has his own plan, too.

'Please, Allah...'

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The Islamic State is "rooting for Donald Trump's victory" and terrorists are praying "Please, Allah, make Trump president of America," Clinton argued on Israeli television Thursday. 

By singling out Muslims during his campaign, she said, the Republican nominee is "“giving aid and comfort to their evil ambitions.”

Meanwhile she referred to his comments on Putin as "not just unpatriotic and insulting" to Obama but "scary" that he could give the Russian president a guarantee of support no matter what. He also "trash-talked" generals, she said, and bared no ISIS plan. 

Obama: Trump's clueless

Laughing off Trump's Putin-promoting broadsides against him, Obama said: "This is serious business... You actually have to know what you're talking about."

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"I think the most important thing for the public, and the press, is to just listen to what he says and follow up, and ask questions about what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright wacky ideas."

Trump seeks expanded military

In a sharp shift from past positions, Trump in a Philadelphia speech on Wednesday called for a major boost in military spending — a bigger Army and Navy as well as more ships, submarines and fighter aircraft.

“We want to deter, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military strength,” Trump declared. He charged Clinton was “trigger-happy and very unstable.”

The take-away: Not so uniform

Trump’s lead in surveys among current and former military personnel isn’t as strong as past Republican candidates such as Mitt Romney. Clinton doesn’t get an enthusiastic salute either. Newsday’s Dan Janison examines why.

Trump: I’ll take New York

Accepting the nomination of the state’s Conservative Party, Trump said he still believes he can win New York even as polls suggest that hope is dubious.

State Conservative Party chairman Michael Long said Trump’s chances are substantially improved with the party’s ballot line. He told reporters there is more to the state than Democrat-heavy New York City, Newsday’s Emily Ngo reported on the event.

Trump at the event also delivered what sounded like an oblique, rambling critique of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Start-Up New York program 

What else is happening

  • GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said something that Trump won’t: “I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, I accept his birthplace.”
  • Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was asked on "Morning Joe" about the fighting in and fleeing from Aleppo, Syria. "What is Aleppo?" he asked.
  • Trump ended his almost yearlong blacklist of news organizations whose coverage displeased him, including The Washington Post, Politico, The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. “I figure they can’t treat me any worse!” Trump told CNN.
  • If Clinton wins, the relationship she formed working alongside Chuck Schumer for eight years in the Senate will be vital for her agenda. The Associated Press reports Clinton speaks several times a month with Schumer, who is expected to become the Senate’s Democratic leader.
  • Trump’s campaign raised $90 million in August, well short of Clinton’s $143 million.
  • Three polls Wednesday all showed a 2-point Clinton lead — a George Washington University/Battleground, an Economist/YouGov poll and a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
  • North Dakota authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who is accused of spray-painting a bulldozer during a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline.
  • Actuaries will tell you Trump has a slightly higher chance of dying in office than Clinton, reports the Washington Post.