Art of the self-deal
The practices of the Donald J. Trump Foundation look curiouser and curiouser. To recap some recent revelations, Trump’s philanthropy arm illegally gave $25,000 to a political group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and paid $20,000 for a 6-foot portrait of himself.
Now The Washington Post reports that $258,000 from the foundation was tapped to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses.
The foundation spent $100,000 to settle a dispute with Palm Beach, Florida, over the height of a flagpole at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. It paid $158,000 in a suit by a golfer who alleged Trump’s Westchester club cheated him out of a $1 million prize for a hole-in-one.
Nearly all the foundation’s money came from donors other than Trump, and the Post said Trump may have run afoul of laws against “self-dealing,” which say nonprofit leaders can’t use charity funds to benefit themselves or their businesses.
Trump’s campaign did not respond to Post questions.
Not just the facts
For fact-checkers, a presidential debate is the Super Bowl for ferreting out falsehoods. The 1600 will recap the most egregious whoppers from the Hofstra University stage after Monday night’s faceoff.
Sometimes, it gets complicated, like in this example from Pulitzer Prize winner PolitiFact:
When Clinton first claimed in December that Trump’s rhetoric was used as a recruiting tool by Islamic State terrorists, there was no supporting evidence, and the claim was rated false.
Since then, however, Trump clips have shown up in videos from al-Shabaab, the East African affiliate of al-Qaida, and ISIS. Clinton’s charge, which she repeated this week, is now rated true.
The takeaway: Debate prediction
There is suspense galore about how Clinton and Trump will perform in the Hofstra debate, but Newsday’s Dan Janison writes that you can expect these broad themes:
Trump will assert that America is all but doomed if voters don’t choose him.
Clinton will put her best polish on the overall goals of the Obama administration and argue the best way forward is threatened by Trump.
Just like old times
Some hot-button issues that were front and center during the primary campaigns, but have cooled off since, are expected to get renewed attention during the debates and the final stretch of the campaign, political scientists tell Newsday’s Michael Gormley.
Among them: climate change, abortion, campaign finance reform, gun rights and whether to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. Trump and Clinton will be spotlighting those issues to drive their most fervent supporters to the polls and to sway undecided and independent voters.
Poppy for Clinton
In 1993, George H. W. Bush moved out of the White House as Bill and Hillary Clinton moved in, having defeated the Republican’s bid for a second term.
Given that history, it’s stunning that the 92-year-old former president told a group of people at a charity group meeting Monday that he plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. His comments, reported by CNN and others, apparently weren’t intended to become public.
The fire this time
Ugly videos of an unarmed African-American civilian shot by Tulsa, Oklahoma, police -- at some point after his hands were raised -- followed by an emotional appearance from his surviving twin sister, helped fuel protests.
Such demonstrations turned violent Tuesday night in Charlotte, N.C. -- after another episode there.
Keith Scott, 43, was shot and killed by a black police officer aftrer being mistaken for a wanted man sought on a warrant. Cops reportedly saw him get out of his car with a gun and get back in, then re-emerge with it in hand.
Twelve officers were reported injured in the disturbances, which snarled traffic for hours, with motorists hurt and vehicles damaged when rioters threw rocks from overpasses.
All this will bring immediacy again to criminal justice and race issues in Clinton-Trump contest."This is just unbearable," Clinton said Tuesday of the Tulsa case. "And it needs to be intolerable... We have got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias."
She said in part she was appealing "directly to white people" in the message. Trump, who previously said police "are the most mistreated people in the country," has yet to comment on the latest violence.
Trump tries to woo the young
Trump, like Clinton, is trying to win over younger voters who aren’t thrilled with either of them. The Republican candidate, speaking at High Point University, said their future was at stake, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.
“Maybe you are just starting off on this incredible journey, and it is about quality of life, and it’s about safety,” Trump said. He attacked Clinton on immigration policy, saying the nation would be safer with “extreme vetting” of those who are let in.
And in one of his more sensational blurts, Trump declared "We're in midieval times," and the bombing suspect "will probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is."
What else is happening
- Hofstra’s Facebook page has become the forum for an online feud over Libertarian Gary Johnson’s exclusion from next Monday night’s debate, writes Newsday’s Laura Figueroa.
- Clinton said the police killing of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man whose car broke down in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was “unbearable” and “needs to be intolerable.”
- Has Clinton’s polling swoon leveled off? An NBC News/Survey Monkey survey puts her national lead at 5 points, and a Monmouth University poll in Florida shows her ahead there by the same margin.
- A Siena Research Institute poll finds Clinton leading Trump by 21 points in New York State, reports Newsday’s Gormley.
- Trump’s Ohio prospects have brightened because local Republican leaders and activists are falling in behind him, even though Gov. John Kasich won’t, Politico reports.
- Trump assumed that NBC anchor Lester Holt, the Hofstra debate moderator, was a Democrat and complained about it. Turns out Holt’s a registered Republican.
- Sean Hannity’s cheerleading for Trump went a step too far for his bosses at Fox News. Fox said it didn’t know in advance about Hannity starring in a Trump promotional video and “he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season.”
- Trump’s tic of claiming credit where none is due re-emerged on Twitter Tuesday: “Do people notice Hillary is copying my airplane rallies — she puts the plane behind her like I have been doing from the beginning.” So have candidates at least as far back as Dwight Eisenhower. See this Fortune photo gallery.