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Donald Trump hasn’t loosened bricks in his wall, but stay tuned

Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's new campaign manager says

Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's new campaign manager says she now understands why the GOP candidate won't release his tax returns. And, she says, "he doesn't hurl personal insults." Aug. 17, 2016 Credit: AP / Gerald Herbert

Will Trump soften ‘exit’ strategy?

Some members of a Hispanic “advisory council” ended a meeting with Donald Trump Saturday believing he may moderate his vow for mass deportations of millions of immigrants who are living in the country illegally.

But it remains murky whether Trump is actually changing his tune, genuinely rethinking or just wants to sound sympathetic. One attendee — Jose Fuentes, a former Puerto Rico attorney general — told CNN that Trump solicited ideas, but made no commitments.

“What Donald Trump said yesterday in that meeting ... varied little from what he has said publicly,” said campaign manager Kellyanne Conway as she made the Sunday talk-show rounds. “What he supports is to make sure we enforce the law ... and that we are fair and humane to those who live among us.”

So what does that mean for mass deportations? “To be determined,” she said.

Any softening of Trump’s stand carries the risk of alienating his core supporters.

Speaking of flip-flops

Back in April, when Conway was in the Ted Cruz camp, she said Trump should release his tax returns. And now?

“I’ve learned since being on the inside that this audit is a serious matter and that he has said that when the audit is complete, he will release his tax returns,” Conway said.

Another revised Conway view: “He doesn’t hurl personal insults.”

Trump’s Long Island shortfall

The latest fundraising reports show Clinton outraised Trump on Long Island in July by $353,800 to $209,452, reports Newsday’s Tom Brune.

In the reliably GOP stronghold of Locust Valley, Trump got $2,015.65 to Clinton’s $49,722. By comparison, Mitt Romney had collected $267,485 from that area at this point in 2012.

The take-away: Sorry about that

Trump’s expression of “regret” for things he has said was a strategic guilty plea of sorts, without causing himself the pain of saying exactly what he was sorry he said.

And when the Clinton foundation announced it will stop taking foreign and corporation contributions if she’s elected, there was no apology for having taken them. The explanations seemed like a variant on the Seinfeldian “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.

The show must go on?

Just a week before the first Clinton-Trump debate is scheduled, the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative will hold its final annual meeting, complete with the usual parade of corporate big shots, foreign VIPs and celebrities.

Some Democratic operatives are worried the event will provide fresh attack lines against Clinton, according to Politico, but it was too late to call it off.

“To wind down something that is that substantive and that impactful is not easily done,” said Jay Jacobs, a campaign and foundation donor who is also Nassau County Democratic chairman.

Meanwhile, Trump issued a statement Monday morning calling on Clinton to shut down the Clinton Foundation, calling it the most “most corrupt enterprise in political history.”

Sick burns

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is getting behind the unsubstantiated conspiracy theories promoted by other Trump allies about Clinton’s health. The media “fails to point out several signs of illness by her; all you gotta do is go online,” he said on Fox News Sunday.

Pushing back at Giuliani, the Clinton campaign may have overshot the frontiers of good taste. “Google Rudy and health and you can read about how he withdrew from ’00 Senate race against Clinton,” tweeted spokesman Brian Fallon.

Giuliani had prostate cancer, which was the reason he gave for quitting the race. (Also at the time, his ugly marital breakup had become a media spectacle.)

What else is happening

  • Clinton is 6 points ahead in Ohio and tied with Trump in Iowa, according to new CBS News Battleground Tracker polls.
  • White nationalists approve of Trump’s campaign changes last week, according to The Washington Post.
  • Trump is raising more money, but it’s costing him a lot to do it, according to Politico. Online fundraising expenses accounted for a huge chunk of last month’s spending.
  • Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he’ll vote for a third-party candidate because “I’m uncomfortable with the nominee of both of the major political parties.”
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said Trump’s visit to the flood-devastated area around Baton Rouge was “helpful” for getting the country’s attention.
  • Clinton said she’ll visit Louisiana when the presence “of a political campaign” won’t disrupt recovery efforts.
  • Clinton’s campaign has already reserved $80 million in television advertisement airtime for the fall season.
  • Pence predicts his running mate will garner 95 percent of the African-American vote in 2020 as Trump pledged in a campaign speech last week.
  • Colin Powell, the former U.S. secretary of state, tells People Magazine the Clinton camp is trying to “pin” the email scandal on him.
  • “I have massive assets,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, responding to a New York Times story reporting his $650 million business debt.
  • Trump often boasts that his golf courses are worth millions, but his attorneys often press local tax officials to value the property at a fraction of their value, according to a Washington Post review.
  • A majority of business economists say Clinton is the best presidential candidate to oversee the U.S. economy, according to a poll reported in the Wall Street Journal.
  • Trump’s poll numbers may be slipping in key swing states lately, but he may get a boost from Republicans increasing their voter registration numbers in several battleground states.

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