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At Las Vegas debate, it’s go-for-broke time for Trump

Will Donald Trump, here at a campaign rally

Will Donald Trump, here at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, spring any surprises at Wednesday's debate in Las Vegas? Credit: AP / Evan Vucci

Trump’s Vegas crapshoot

As the hours count down to his final debate with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump may well be looking at himself in the mirror and asking: “What have you got to lose?”

Trump cast off his “shackles” last week after some Republicans bolted over his “Access Hollywood” video, castigating them and weaving new conspiracy theories about the forces he says are arrayed against him.

No one expects him to hold back now. But what will the attacks be? There is an expanded list of possibilities, largely because of disclosures from the WikiLeaks hack of Clinton campaign emails.

Clinton starts the night with a strong advantage. Recent national polls show Clinton leading by an average of 6.9 points, according to the poll-tracking website RealClearPolitics, and with only 19 days to go, there are fewer voters who have not made up their minds.

See Laura Figueroa’s debate preview for Newsday.

Watching tips

Newsday’s Yancey Roy has five things to watch for. Among them: Does Trump bring a surprise that he hasn’t already thrown against Clinton? Will Clinton play it safe and talk about her agenda instead of parrying Trump’s attacks?

The take-away: Clinton hurdles

Clinton could be in for a tougher time than in the first two debates because of questions that have emerged since — from the WikiLeaks email hacks and just-disclosed FBI documents on the wrangling over the classification of one of her State Department emails, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Cork that whine

Trump’s continuing complaints that the election will be “rigged” have led to a rare consensus: President Barack Obama and Trump-friendly Fox News host Bill O’Reilly both said he should stop “whining.”

Loyal Trump supporter Chris Christie told NBC: “I’m convinced that the election will be a fair one. And that the process will be one that will be accepted by the American people.”

Reluctant Trump supporter Marco Rubio said, “There is no evidence behind any of this,” and “He should stop saying that.”

Some Republicans worry the “rigged” talk could discourage turnout, hurting not only Trump, but also other GOP candidates on the ballot.

Fact check: Voter fraud

The 1600 on Thursday will provide fact checks on what Trump and Clinton say during the debate.

In the meantime, check out why PolitiFact delivered verdicts of “false” on past voter fraud stories widely circulated online about swing states Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.

WikiLeaks founder offline

Ecuador, whose London embassy has given political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, said it has temporarily cut off his internet access to stop his interference in the U.S. election campaign.

Assange fled to the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations. Ecuador’s leftist government accepted his story that he was a victim of political persecution. WikiLeaks is still putting out troves of emails hacked from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.

What else is happening

  • A Democratic-aligned group has fired an operative shown on a conservative filmmaker’s undercover video bragging about seeding protesters outside Trump rallies to provoke violent reactions by his supporters. Another has resigned, CNN said.
  • Trump called Tuesday for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress — 12 years for senators and six years for House members.
  • Some Bernie Sanders supporters think the WikiLeaks emails, had they emerged sooner, could have swung the Democratic nomination his way by bolstering his argument of Clinton’s coziness with Wall Street, The New York Times reports.
  • People Magazine says six colleagues and close friends corroborate its former writer Natasha Stoynoff’s account of Trump getting sexually aggressive with her in 2005.
  • The now-retired FBI official cited in the “quid pro quo” account about classification of a Clinton email said he made a request of a State Department official before knowing what he was calling about, and the two issues were never linked.
  • Among the supporters Trump is bringing to the debate are Obama’s Kenyan-born half-brother Malik and Patricia Smith, mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith.


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