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Long IslandPolitics

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and questions of self-dealing

Hillary Clinton at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in

Hillary Clinton at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Mich., Thursday Aug. 11, 2016, said Donald Trump was pushing programs that would "work for him and his friends at the expense of everyone else." Credit: TNS / Ryan Garza

Strong foundation?

Hillary Clinton’s email saga unfolds even more.

Documents that emerged this week at the legal prodding of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch give a new glimpse of networking between Bill Clinton’s office and what used to be Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

The Clinton Foundation is at the root of the interlocking relationships. On Thursday, CNN reported that while she was Clinton’s chief of staff at State, Cheryl Mills traveled to New York to interview candidates for a top job at the foundation.

Click for a brief factual overview of the latest mess and questions of potential conflicts if Clinton is elected president.

Trump’s tax take

Part of Trump’s tax reform plan could deliver big tax breaks to Trump’s companies, including hundreds of so-called limited liability entities in which he holds an interest. Clinton on Thursday painted his proposal as tilted to the rich and began citing the “Trump loophole.”

Trump has declined so far to release his personal income tax forms, as has been routine in national elections since the 1970s. Clinton’s 2015 returns are due to be disclosed in the coming days.

On Friday, Clinton’s campaign released a web video featuring clips of prominent Republicans — including Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz — calling for Trump to release his tax returns.

Sounds like an alarm

In a tone that has struck some as less assured of victory in recent days, Trump is admitting, “We’re having a tremendous problem in Utah,” which has been a reliably Republican state. He also said Thursday that if he had planned years ago to run for president, he wouldn’t have “spoken ... so much” to radio host Howard Stern, where some of Trump’s more controversial statements about women were delivered.

‘All I do is tell the truth’

Coming off a day in which he repeated the claims “Obama founded ISIS,” and that Clinton would abolish the Second Amendment, Trump on CNBC Thursday told his hosts: “All I do is tell the truth.”

If he loses the election? Well, that’s OK, he says.

“I’m a truth teller,” he said. “All I do is tell the truth. And if, at the end of 90 days, I’ve fallen short because I’m somewhat politically incorrect even though I’m supposed to be the smart one and even though I’m supposed to have a lot of good ideas, it’s OK. I go back to a very good way of life.”

‘They don’t get sarcasm?’

Trump on Friday morning took to Twitter to walk back his assertions earlier this week that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were the founders of the Islamic State terrorist group.

“Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) ‘the founder’ of ISIS, & MVP,” Trump wrote in a Twitter post. “THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”

‘Don’t believe it’

Three days after Trump addressed the Detroit Economic Club, Clinton took her turn nearby at Futuramic Tool & Engineering, in Warren, Michigan, slamming her opponent as pushing programs that would “work for him and his friends at the expense of everyone else.”

“There is a myth out there that he’ll stick it to the rich and powerful because somehow, at heart, he’s really on the side of the little guy,” she warned. “Don’t believe it.”

She bashed “outlandish Trumpian ideas.” She also said she’d continue to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she once promoted.

Meanwhile, Trump trashed Clinton’s speech on Twitter, calling it “terrible” and “boring.”

‘Divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence’

Dozens of Republicans signed a letter urging the Republican National Committee to focus resources on congressional elections and not the presidency.

The missive warns that Trump’s “divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide.”

Trump’s senior campaign aide are expected to meet with top RNC officials in Orlando on Friday, to discuss a turnaround strategy as his campaign grapples with declining poll numbers.

Trump to evangelicals: ‘You’ve lost your voice’

The Republican candidate told an audience of church leaders in Orlando that in 2012 “religion didn’t get out and vote” and said, “You’ve lost your voice. ... We’re going to get it back.”

He also seemed to signal distress for his campaign.

“We’re having a problem,” he said, lamenting that others had given him “a false narrative.”

What else is happening

  • South Carolina hasn’t gone Democratic for president since 1976, but Clinton trails there by just 2 points, a new poll finds.
  • On Staten Island, a big red, white and blue letter ‘T’ for Trump has replaced a smaller one that was torched on a lawn.
  • Western New Yorkers are invited over the border to Erie, Pennsylvania, for a Trump rally Friday touted by his man Carl Paladino.
  • An ex-campaign staffer for Trump claims North Carolina’s state campaign director pointed a loaded pistol at him.
  • President Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis warned in light of Trump’s Second Amendment flap that “words matter.”
  • Trump’s claim that Obama “founded” ISIS is “trash talking” in tandem with “America’s adversaries,” a Clinton aide responds.
  • Evan McMullin, the former CIA agent running as a conservative alternative to Trump, has gotten his name on his first state election ballot, securing a spot in Colorado.
  • Several news outlets are requesting the New York Supreme Court unseal Trump’s 1990 divorce records from his split with first wife Ivana Trump.
  • Courting Connecticut — Trump will campaign in Fairfield on Saturday, while Clinton will headline a $33,400 a-head fundraising dinner in Greenwich on Monday.
  • Bernie Sanders slammed Trump’s economic agenda in a series of tweets Friday, calling him the “poster child for failed trade policies.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chances of Republicans keeping control of the Senate after the November election is “very dicey.”
  • Trump has quietly closed his campaign’s New Jersey headquarters which it opened with much fanfare in May, according to Politico.

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