Trump reportedly used charity money to settle legal claims – as it happened

Last modified: 01: 47 AM GMT+0

Today in Campaign 2016

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP
  • Donald Trump used $258,000 from his charitable foundation for legal settlements involving his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and a New York golf course, the Washington Post reported today. In 2007, Trump used his foundation’s money when his Palm Beach, Florida, club was fined $120,000 by the town for having a flagpole that was almost twice the height allowed under local rules. As part of a settlement, Trump donated $125,000 to veterans’ charities from the Trump Foundation, the paper reported. The foundation’s money comes mainly from other donors, not Trump himself.
  • The Post reported that in 2010, a golfer sued when he was denied a $1m prize for a hole-in-one in a charity tournament at Trump’s course outside New York City. A $158,000 settlement also came from Trump’s foundation. Two weeks ago the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold cast in doubt Trump’s philanthropy and raised questions about purchases he had made, apparently for himself, using money earmarked for charity. Now Fahrenthold has uncovered what may be, if there is no unforeseen explanation here (the Trump camp has yet to comment), the biggest abuse yet by Trump of tax laws and the trust of donors to his foundation.
  • The charity scandal will likely come up at the upcoming presidential debate, just six days away. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet on Long Island for the first presidential debate with the topic of “securing America” firmly at the top of their agenda. Moderator and NBC anchor Lester Holt has suggested this and two other topics – “America’s direction” and “achieving prosperity” – could still be “subject to possible changes because of news developments”, but the reaction of both candidates to the violent events of recent days suggests next Monday’s night’s theme is already well chosen.
  • Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin has linked Brexit and the rise of Trump, telling the Guardian that such events are a “reflection of a nativist movement across Europe and in the United States” that is “destructive to [the] economy here and in the world and to peace and security”. The 40-year-old former CIA agent and Capitol Hill policy adviser accused Russia of fueling such sentiments – a phenomenon he said he understood because when working for the US intelligence service he “received the same training that Vladimir Putin did” while in the KGB. “They do it through supporting candidates like Donald Trump and Donald Trump poses a true threat to our national security by carrying Putin’s water in the United States,” he said.
  • Trump started another when he proclaimed at a North Carolina rally that “our African-American communities are in the worst shape they’ve ever been ... Ever. Ever. Ever.” The statement, which was immediately lambasted on social media for failing to consider the long history of slavery and racial discrimination against African Americans, marked the latest misstep by the Trump campaign as the Republican nominee has struggled to harness the terrorist attacks in New York and New Jersey for his political advantage.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, defended Trump’s use of funds from the Donald J Trump Foundation to pay off his legal debts, telling CNN’s Erin Burnett that the Trump family doesn’t take money as a salary from running the foundation and that the money was Trump’s to give away.

“You know, the Trump Foundation started with Mr. Trump’s money,” Conway said, neglecting to mention that Trump has not donated to his eponymous foundation since 2008. “The Trump Foundation has no permanent staff, no paid staff, no overhead, no one from the Trump family takes a penny in.”

Donald Trump’s campaign manager has only the utmost respect for former president George HW Bush, whose age she mentioned casually while discussing his alleged plan to vote for Hillary Clinton:

“I respect the 92-year-old-former president very much… that’s his right” @KellyannePolls on HW backing HRC

— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) September 21, 2016

Fending off several controversies on Tuesday, Donald Trump started another when he proclaimed at a North Carolina rally that “our African-American communities are in the worst shape they’ve ever been ... Ever. Ever. Ever.”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The plainly inaccurate statement, which was immediately lambasted on social media for failing to consider the long history of slavery and racial discrimination against African Americans, marked the latest misstep by the Trump campaign as the Republican nominee has struggled to harness the terrorist attacks in New York and New Jersey for his political advantage.

A day after the apprehension of suspected bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami, Trump made his remarks in Kenansville, North Carolina, and repeated familiar themes to crowds at multiple rallies across the swing state. “Immigration security is national security,” he said, and repeatedly read the lyrics of the The Snake, a 1960s soul song about a woman who finds a dying snake and nurses it back to health. The snake then fatally bites her. To Trump, this was a parable about the consequences of the United States taking in refugees.

The Republican nominee went on to describe Clinton as “the vessel for all the global special interests seeking to run our lives” and said that the “failed political establishment” had “vested” in her “all of their money, all of their hopes for another generation of corruption”. Trump also argued that the “dishonest media” had “bled this country dry”.

But, Trump ran into more controversy when the Washington Post reported that the billionaire converted $258,000 in donations to the Donald Trump Foundation to settle lawsuits against himself. The payments represent an apparent violation of tax laws that could potentially even force the IRS to shut down the Trump Foundation. Trump further stoked controversy by bragging on Tuesday about spending “OPM – other people’s money”.

Texas senator and former presidential contender Ted Cruz declined to say if he plans to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, again:

Cruz won't say if he'll endorse Trump but says: "My focus is on defeating Hillary Clinton and helping preserve a Senate Republican majority"

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 20, 2016

Donald Trump called for a more rigorous immigration policy following the arrest of an American man born in Afghanistan for bombing attacks in New York and New Jersey this weekend.

Trump: ‘We must defeat radical Islamic terrorism’

The Republican presidential nominee spoke to supporters at High Point University in North Carolina today and reiterated his vow to build a wall on the Mexico-US border.

Hillary Clinton brings in more than $140m in August, has $68m in the bank

Former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has filed its September Federal Election Commission report for the month of August, revealing that the nominee raised more than $62m in August for her campaign, as well as roughly $78m for allied action funds for state Democratic parties, from more than 1.1 million contributions, with an average contribution of $50.

The campaign begins the month of September with more than $68m in the bank.

Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton. Photograph: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

“The millions of Americans who have contributed to this campaign and to the Democratic Party have ensured that we head into the final 50 days of the election with the most robust organizing effort in history, and the resources we need to mobilize the millions of voters we need to elect progressive candidates up and down the ballot,” campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement.

“With voting already underway in some parts of the country, the race will continue to tighten and we will need to fight for every vote and do everything we can to make sure our message cuts through and that Democrats turn out to vote.”

More than 60% of the campaign’s August contributions were from women, and roughly $17m were raised from contributions lower than $200.

The Clinton campaign has raised more than $412m over the course of the campaign, and begins the month with more than $10m cash on hand than it began August.


Donald Trump’s latest comments maybe needs a fact-check:

Our African American communities are in the worse shape they’ve ever been. Ever. Ever. Ever.

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright has released a message sent to President barack Obama ahead of his remarks at a UN Refugee Summit regarding her own history as a refugee. Considering the recent political news involving debates over the acceptance of refugees from the Syrian civil war, it’s relevant reading:

I came to the United States as a refugee when I was 11 years old. My father was a diplomat and a strong supporter of democracy in Czechoslovakia, so when the Communists took over, we were forced into exile as refugees. In November 1948, we were welcomed to the United States of America.

Becoming a US citizen is the most important thing that ever happened to me. My father said that when we were in Europe during WWII people would say, ‘We are sorry for your troubles and hope that you have everything you need; by the way, when will you be leaving to go back home?’

But in America, people said: ‘We are sorry for your troubles and hope that you have everything you need; by the way, when will you become a citizen?’

America resettles more refugees than any other nation because it reflects one of our noblest traditions as a nation: providing support to those who are most vulnerable.

With the world facing the largest mass displacement on record since World War II, it has never been more important for world leaders to follow America’s example and work together to do more to support refugees....

When countries with insufficient resources take in refugees, it creates more instability, not just at the frontlines of this crisis, but around the world. If we were to slam the door in the faces of refugees with certain religious backgrounds, we would defy our history and our principles of pluralism and diversity. As we talk to other nations about what more needs to be done to tackle this crisis, it’s important that President Obama is setting this example.

When I came here as a child, I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and beholding the Statute of Liberty. I did not have to face refugee camps or the kind of danger that many refugees endure. But like all refugees, I shared a hope to live a safe life with dignity and a chance to give back to my new country.

Together, we can help refugees rebuild their lives and live with dignity once again.

Fox News talking head Sean Hannity’s outspoken and material support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has reached another milestone today, with the release of an eight-minute promotional video for the nominee in which Hannity makes an appearance.

Hannity, whose eponymous program has long been a favorite slot for Trump to answer softball questions and for the duo to soak up each others’ awesomeness, arrives about six minutes into #HEARTLAND4TRUMP, a promotional video studded with testimonials about the Republican nominee:

One of the reasons I’m supporting Donald Trump this year is, number one, he’s going to put originalists on the supreme court - people that believe in fidelity to the constitution, separation of powers, co-equal branches of government.

He’s a guy that will vet refugees to keep Americans safe.

And, of course, he’s gonna build that wall. He says he’s gonna have Mexico pay for it. That’s fine, as long as we secure the country and of course we don’t want people competing for jobs.

He said he will eliminate Obamacare, make us energy-independent.

And as somebody who’s been a marksman since I’m 11 years old, protecting our Second Amendment rights are paramount to me.

The endorsement lasts roughly 30 seconds.

Report: Former president George HW Bush told group he will vote for Clinton

On the heels of reports that former Republican president George HW Bush told Kathleen Kennedy Townsend – the former lieutenant governor of Maryland and daughter of Robert F Kennedy – that he plans to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, CNN is reporting that the former president told board members of the bipartisan Points of Light Foundation that he will, indeed, vote for his former opponent’s spouse:

Bush told a room of roughly 40 people Monday that he would vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to sources close to Bush - an extraordinary rebuke of his own party’s nominee.

Although the Bush family has neither confirmed nor denied the claims of either CNN or Townsend, a family spokesman was pretty coy about the former president’s plans on 8 November.

“The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days,” Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. “He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim.”

Trump campaign doubles down on Donald Trump Jr.'s Skittles tweet

The Donald Trump campaign has elected to lengthen the amount of time Americans spend talking about Skittle-related racial metaphors that were once used by Nazi war criminals, releasing a statement this afternoon calling Donald Trump Jr. a “tremendous asset to the campaign.”

Don Jr. ignited a firestorm of criticism last night when he tweeted a meme comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles, but as has become customary with the Trump campaign, the Republican nominee’s communications team has elected to double down on the statement.

“Don Jr. has been a tremendous asset to the campaign,” wrote communications advisor Jason Miller in a statement. “America has become less safe under Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Clinton’s planned 550% increase in Syrian refugees is a dangerous proposal that will put American lives at risk. Speaking the truth might upset those who would rather be politically correct than safe, but the American people want a change, and only Donald Trump will do what’s needed to protect us.”

The same sentiment expressed by Trump was once used in a bid to keep Jewish refugees from entering the United Kingdom. In 1903, Conservative MP Major Sir William Eden Evans-Gordon used a very similar metaphor in an address to Parliament:

Ten grains of arsenic in a thousand loaves would be unnoticeable and perfectly harmless but the same amount put into one loaf would kill the whole family that partook of it.

The Nevada Republican party seems eager to focus on down-ballot races this year...

I'm trying to think of the major Republican nominee left off of this slate card. It's a puzzlement.

— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) September 20, 2016

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign may have lifted the longstanding blacklisting of various media outlets ranging from the Washington Post to Buzzfeed News, but the press-loving/bashing candidate’s campaign is still breaking convention in how it treats the reporters assigned to cover the movements of the Republican nominee.

Donald Trump leaves his plane.
Donald Trump leaves his plane. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Case in point: a new ban on reporters traveling with Trump’s motorcade, a break in decades-old tradition that the campaign originally promised to maintain.

“We have communicated that this is an issue that the campaign should have spotted long ago and are vigorously protesting the decision,” Trump’s pool reporters told other members of the pool this morning in am email. “We have told the campaign that if they are truly committed to transparency, than [sic] they should place the pool on Trump’s plane so it is a truly protective pool. They have not been responsive to that request.”

The Trump campaign has resisted calls to include traveling press on his campaign plane, instead opting for a “chaser” plane that had led to delays for reporters traveling with the campaign from reaching his rallies, including an incident last week in which reporters missed a rally in New Hampshire entirely. (Trump mocked the candidates from the lectern for not being able to arrive in time.)

Senators: They’re just like us!

Senator Tim Scott just walked by in this outfit. I could have asked why, but thought it funnier not to know

— Ben Terris (@bterris) September 20, 2016

An update on Donald Trump Jr.’s use of a white nationalist meme to describe Syrian refugees: the photograph of a bowl of Skittles (ten percent of which are poisoned, according to the younger Trump) was taken by a refugee.

This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first. #trump2016

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 19, 2016

In an interview with the BBC, photographer David Kittos expressed dismay that a photograph he had taken of a bowl of candy had been hijacked to express anti-refugee sentiment, particularly since he himself was a Cypriot refugee as a child.

“This was not done with my permission, I don’t support his politics and I would never take his money to use it,” Kittos told the BBC. “In 1974, when I was six-years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees.”

Kittos, whose family fled the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, says that he never put the image up for sale and that the post, likening Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles, some of which are poisoned, was not crafted with his permission.

“I would like the Trump campaign to delete the image, but they are probably not interested in what I have to say,” Kittos said.

Whit Ayres, a veteran political consultant who was pollster for Marco Rubio’s doomed campaign, has compared the US presidential race with an election in “a third-world country”.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Ayres argued that the contest between Hillary Clinton and reality TV star Donald Trump has come down to a battle of personalities, not policies.

Hillary Clinton speaks about Iran at the Brookings Institution.
Hillary Clinton speaks about Iran at the Brookings Institution. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“This presidential election reminds me a lot more of a presidential election in a third-world country than an advanced industrialized democracy,” Ayres said. “What do I mean by that? I mean that it is a totally personality-driven election. We have this idea that voters sit there rationally and say, ‘Well, I have this set of issue positions on trade or abortion or gay rights or whatever, and I’m going to decide my issue positions, and then I’m going to look out and see which candidate reflects my issue positions best and go for that candidate.’”

“We neglect that fact that, frequently, the arrow goes the other way, that ‘I decide who I like based upon some other factors, particularly personality, and then I adopt what issue positions that particular person has.’ And in a third-world country, it’s ‘my big guy’ versus ‘your big guy’ and it’s all about the big guy or, in this case, the big guy and the big gal. It’s very personality driven, personality focused, and issues have very little to do with the choice between the two.”

Ayres, founder and president of North Star Opinion Research, added that a sense of anger, frustration and hopelessness had created the Trump phenomenon, and that Rubio sought to address this but in vain. “It’s a mistake to assume Donald Trump’s supporters believe all the crazy things he says. They don’t.”

But they do regard him a change agent who will “blow things up”.

Zoe Baird, president of the Markle Foundation, which focuses on uses of IT, predicted a close election as America undergoes a difficult transition from an industrial to digital economy.

“This is the heart of it,” Baird said. “Half the country, whether right or left, is looking back and has a sense of loss and is nostalgic, and half the country feels, ‘We can tackle this stuff. This is exciting. I love these tools, I love these toys’... It is amazing to see what people are actually doing.”

The trust level for government is just 20%, she added.

“The trust level for Hillary probably has something to do with the fact that people associate her with a government people don’t trust. It may not have much to do with Hillary at all. Is anyone asking that question? I don’t know.”

Trump ducks 'birther' questions

Reporters accompanying Trump asked him questions as he made his way to lunch but he did not answer them, according to a poll report.

Jill Colvin of The Associated Press asked him, “Mr. Trump, when did you change your mind about the birther issue? When did you decide that President Obama was actually born in the United States?”

He did not respond.

Monmouth in FL: 24% think Trump actually believes Obama is a natural born citizen, while 54% say Trump only said so for political reasons.

— Tom McCarthy (@TeeMcSee) September 20, 2016

Donald Trump, Jr., made headlines from an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last week when he said that his father should not release his tax returns “because he’s got a 12,000-page tax return that would create … financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would distract from [his father’s] main message.”

Now we learn, from video of the interview just released by the paper, that Trump Jr also used the Skittles analogy that is drawing wider attention today after Trump Jr tweeted it:

“If we had a bowl of Skittles on this table...”

Here’s video of Trump Jr on the tax returns:

“Our tax guys would say, ‘Hey, it’s crazy to do that, you’re just allowing everyone to be an independent auditor.’”

“It’s crazy to do that.”

First lady Michelle Obama will head back out on the trail for Clinton next week, the campaign has announced:

Michelle Obama will campaign for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania next week, per the Clinton campaign

— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) September 20, 2016
Michelle Obama greets fellow first spouses, students and guests at Broadway’s Jacobs Theater on 19 September, in advance of the UN general assembly meeting.
Michelle Obama greets fellow first spouses, students and guests at Broadway’s Jacobs Theater on 19 September, in advance of the UN general assembly meeting. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Trump ducks media – except Fox News

Donald Trump has been ducking most interview requests from media outlets apart from Fox News, CNN notes. What’s more, he has not held a press conference in almost two months:

Newt Gingrich knocked Clinton at a Trump rally on Monday afternoon by saying “she doesn’t do press conferences.” But Clinton has taken questions from reporters at half a dozen press conferences in the past two weeks, including as recently as Monday morning.

These sessions, while relatively short, have been plentiful, while Trump has not held a press conference since July.

Clinton’s “Briefing” rapid response team takes a tone on the report of Trump using the charitable donations of well-meaning others to pay his lawsuit settlements:

Pretttttttty sure you're not allowed to do this.

— The Briefing (@TheBriefing2016) September 20, 2016

Trump has stopped at Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro, N.C., for lunch, according to a press pool report. That’s a good idea. But don’t take our word for it – read Calvin Trillin writing about Stamey’s in the New Yorker (if you can get around the paywall).

Trump ordered a barbecue pork plate with cole slaw and hush puppies at Stamey's BBQ in Greensboro, NC.

— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 20, 2016

@Bencjacobs @JenniferJJacobs good advance!

— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) September 20, 2016

[As in, good advance work by Trump’s campaign team, as in that order is a safe one in terms of not accidentally exposing oneself as a miserable clueless outsider.]

@jmartNYT @Bencjacobs @JenniferJJacobs That's almost a solid Stamey's order, but if he didn't get a cup of Brunswick stew with it, no dice.

— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) September 20, 2016


Looks like some footage for the next installment of Dancing with the Stars has leaked.

Here’s former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry effecting the insouciance and joy of a lovestruck teenager, from Texas:

there are magical things in this world. this gif is one of them.

— Olivia Messer (@OliviaMesser) September 20, 2016


Pence finds Skittles outrage 'remarkable'

Donald Trump running mate Mike Pence tells NBC News that he doesn’t see why everyone is so worked up about Donald Trump Jr comparing refugees to Skittles:

It’s remarkable to me to see the level of outrage about a metaphor used by Don Jr when Hillary Clinton’s calling for a 550% increase in the Syrian refugee program.

Pence to @KellyO RE: Skittles:"It's remarkable to me to see the level of outrage about a metaphor used by Don Jr..."

— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 20, 2016

Politifact has rated the 550% claim “mostly true”:

Clinton has, in fact, said that in response to the refugee crisis she would raise Obama’s limit of 10,000 to 65,000. That’s 550 percent more, a bit higher than what Trump said.

Pence’s really earning his dinner, isn’t he?

Trump on Jolie: 'I don't get it'

The Wall Street Journal has transcribed radio segments Donald Trump used to do in the mid-2000s – “between 2004 and 2008, [Trump] recorded a daily 60-second commentary that was aired on several hundred radio stations across the U.S,” apparently.

We hadn’t read these before, but they’re bouncing anew around the Internet, with the news of a certain high-profile celebrity breakup.

Here’s some of Trump’s commentary:

Thursday, March 31, 2005 — Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie was just named the sexiest woman in the world. This was from the readers of FHM, a men’s magazine. Angelina took over the crown from Britney Spears who didn’t even make the sexy list this year. She has gone down, there’s no question about it. That’s what a marriage can do for you. (Archived page)

Friday, April 7, 2006 — Sexiest Woman Alive

Every once in awhile, some magazine will name the sexiest man or the sexiest woman alive.

Now readers of FHM – a men’s magazine — have crowned Scarlett Johansson the sexiest woman alive. The lovely 21-year-old actress – who I met recently on a Jay Leno show – posed semi-nude for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine not too long ago.

Some of the others on the list…Angelina Jolie is No. 2 (I don’t get it), Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, Keira Knightley (she’s unbelievable), Halle Berry, Jenny McCarthy, Maria Sharapova (truly unbelievable), Carmen Electra and and Teri Hatcher. Last year Scarlett was No. 9 on the list and Angelina was No. 1.

I know almost all of the people on the list. I know who’s really beautiful and who’s not. Some of them belong and some don’t, but I’m not going to get myself in trouble. (Archived page)

(h/t: @willrahn)

Trump’s done.

Trump wraps speech in High Point, NC after 26 minutes and his motorcade is gone in a flash.

— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 20, 2016


Trump, in his North Carolina speech, knocks Clinton for saying that his rhetoric is being used as a terrorist “recruiting tool.”

(It’s not just Clinton who says so, of course. In May, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden said, “The jihadist narrative is that there is undying enmity between Islam and the modern world so when Trump says they all hate us, he’s using their narrative … he’s feeding their recruitment video.” Matt Olsen, former head of the national counterterrorism center, wrote this month that Isis has “chosen a candidate” and “some of them are using those [social media] channels to advocate for Trump.”)

Trump thinks, inexplicably, that Clinton got the line from Madison Avenue, which he explains for his student audience:

You know somebody gave her that from Madison Avenue–you know what it, that’s advertising.

Clinton up 5 points in Florida – poll

Here’s another poll to add to the confusing mix in Florida. Monmouth University has Clinton ahead of Trump 46-41 in a four-way race, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson at 6%. But that lead for Clinton is down from 9 points last month in the poll.

This is an interesting poll finding, on Trump’s ‘birther’ bile:

Most Florida voters (75%) have heard about Trump’s recent admission that Barack Obama was born in the United States, but they doubt the GOP nominee’s sincerity. Only 24% think that Trump actually believes Obama is a natural born citizen, while the majority (54%) say Trump only made the statement for political reasons.

The poll also depicts a tight senate race:

New Monmouth Poll of Florida:

Hillary Clinton 46
Donald Trump 41#FLSen
Marco Rubio 47
Patrick Murphy 45

— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) September 20, 2016
HuffPost Pollster’s Florida averages.
HuffPost Pollster’s Florida averages. Photograph: Huffpost Pollster


Clinton: 'we can't lose our cool'

Here’s a transcript of Hillary Clinton’s remarks on top of her conversation today with national security advisers, via the campaign:

Thank you all for joining. Events of the past few days have underscored that to defeat the terrorists we need experienced, steady leadership. Calm, not panic. Resolve, not fear.

I’ve been with many of you in the Situation Room advising on operations to prevent terrorist attacks and bring terrorists to justice. Many have never been in the news.

We know what it takes. We can’t lose our cool and start ranting and waving our arms. We shouldn’t toss around extreme proposals that won’t be effective and lose sight of who we are. That’s what the terrorists are aiming for.

Clinton attends a bilateral meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at a hotel in New York Monday.
Clinton attends a bilateral meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at a hotel in New York Monday. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

We need to respond the way of brave law enforcement and citizen heroes responded They showed strength and steel and smarts. They saved lives and brought the terrorist attacker to justice.

And we need to respond with a real strategy. I’ve laid out a strategy to protect our communities and our country and to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups. An intelligence surge. New efforts to disrupt recruiting online. Smashing the terrorists’ strongholds in the Middle East. Dismantling their global networks, stemming the flow of foreign fighters and making sure they can’t bring terrorism back home with them.

Today I want to talk to you all about what we’ve learned from these most recent attacks and how we can make our approach even more effective.

Donald Trump has just taken the stage in High Point, North Carolina.

“Early voting starts here October 20th,” he notes. In other states he and his campaign have neglected to inform voters when and how they may start voting.

If the Democrats can’t hold minority leader Harry Reid’s senate seat in Nevada – which they might – they would need to flip five senate seats, plus have Clinton win the presidency, to wrest control of the senate from Republicans.

Larry Sabato, who handicaps races at the University of Virginia’s center for politics, sees the effort as having just gotten a bit more strenuous.

The most vulnerable Republican senate seats appear to be in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio. John McCain is defending his seat, as are Marco Rubio (Florida) and Roy Blunt (Missouri).

Sabato has moved four of those races in the Republican direction:

Sabato’s Crystal Ball moves four Senate race ratings—all in the direction of Republicans.

— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 20, 2016

Looks good for Portman in Ohio.

Hillary Clinton is working from home

With fewer than 50 days until the election, the Democratic nominee is taking a day off the campaign trail to talk strategy with advisers and to prep for the upcoming debate, her campaign said.

Hillary Clinton held a call with her national security and counterterrorism advisors to discuss the recent attacks in New York and across the country, according to the campaign.

She called into the Steve Harvey Show, where she discussed her mindset heading into the first debate and talked about the death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, shot and killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“We have got to tackle systemic racism,” Clinton said. “This horrible shooting again. How many times do we have to see this in our country?”

Trump hit Clinton on Twitter for not holding a rally:

Hillary Clinton is taking the day off again, she needs the rest. Sleep well Hillary - see you at the debate!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2016

Clinton is scheduled to campaign in Orlando, Florida, later this week, and her travel is expected to pick up post-debate.


Be apprised that if you click through to this Tampa Bay Times story, based on documents filed with the Palm Beach County clerk of court, you just get the titles of the paintings in Mar-a-Lago – you won’t actually get to see for example The Gentlemen’s Visit, which according to the list is a reproduction of a 19th century German painting:

87 paintings in Trump’s mansion: everything from ‘3 Ladies Riding 3 Zebras and 3 Tigers’ to ‘The Gentlemen’s Visit’

— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) September 20, 2016

McMullin: 'someone needed to step up'

The independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin has linked Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, saying such events are a “reflection of a nativist movement across Europe and in the United States” that is “destructive to [the] economy here and in the world and to peace and security”, writes Guardian politics reporter Ben Jacobs:

The 40-year-old former CIA agent and Capitol Hill policy adviser accused Russia of fueling such sentiments – a phenomenon he said he understood because when working for the US intelligence service he “received the same training that Vladimir Putin did” while in the KGB.

“They do it through supporting candidates like Donald Trump and Donald Trumpposes a true threat to our national security by carrying Putin’s water in the United States,” he said.

Former CIA agent Evan McMullin at his campaign launch in August.
Former CIA agent Evan McMullin at his campaign launch in August. Photograph: George Frey/Getty Images

McMullin is running as an independent conservative alternative to Trump, backed by some of the Republican nominee’s most determined rightwing opponents. Speaking to the Guardian, he discussed his longshot bid for the White House and his disdain for those on the right who have failed to stand up to Trump, who is now closing in on Hillary Clinton in presidential polling.

In McMullin’s view, the forces that drove the British vote to leave the European Union and have aided the rise of Trump are part of the “same movement, fueled largely by the Russians who seek to destabilize eastern and western Europe as well as North America through fomenting discord between different racial groups, different ethnic groups and different religious groups”.

McMullin, who spent a decade at the CIA, will make a foreign policy speech in Washington on Tuesday focusing on the global threats to US national security.

Read the full piece here:

Obama’s done.

Increasing concern over absence of Trump tax returns

Clinton spokesman Ian Sams argues that the revelation of egregious self-dealing by Trump, it appears, through his foundation heightens suspicions that his tax returns may be a lightning-streaked viper’s nest of hidden income, equity swaps, shell companies and who knows what else:

Tax experts say Trump foundation is clearly violating IRS laws. If this is his charity, imagine his personal taxes.

— Ian Sams (@IanSams) September 20, 2016

Trump used $258,000 from charity to settle legal problems – report

Here’s a new bombshell report from the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, whose bombshell report of 10 days ago, How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money, revealed how Trump has found a way to enjoy all the benefits of philanthropy – Donald, you’re a saint! – with none of the bite of having to actually, like, give away one’s money.

Now Fahrenthold has uncovered what may be, if there’s not some magical unforeseen explanation here (the Trump camp has yet to comment), the biggest abuse yet by Trump of tax laws and the trust of donors to his foundation.

Uses other people’s charitable donations to settle his own lawsuits, reportedly.
Uses other people’s charitable donations to settle his own lawsuits, reportedly. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents,” Fahrenthold reports:

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

What’s the legal hazard here for Trump? Fahrenthold:

If the Internal Revenue Service were to find that Trump violated self-dealing rules, the agency could require him to pay penalty taxes or to reimburse the foundation for all the money it spent on his behalf. Trump is also facing scrutiny from the office of the New York attorney general, which is examining whether the foundation broke state charity laws. ...

More broadly, these cases also provide new evidence that Trump ran his charity in a way that may have violated U.S. tax law and gone against the moral conventions of philanthropy.

“I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities at the Venable law firm in Washington. After The Post described the details of these Trump Foundation gifts, Tenenbaum described them as “really shocking.”

Read the full piece here.

I'm looking for 3 items @realdonaldtrump bought w/ charity $:
Tebow helmet ($12K)
6ft portrait ($20K)
4ft portrait ($10K)
DM me with tips!

— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) September 20, 2016


Obama: 'we must go forward'

Obama says “a quarter century after the end of the Cold War, the world is by many measures less violent and more prosperous than ever before, and yet our societies are filled with unease...

I believe at this moment we all face a choice... to press forward with a better model of cooperation... or retreat into a world sharply divided... I want to suggest to you today that we must go forward and not backward.

Obama says that open markets, human rights and global ties are “the firmest foundation of human progress in this century.”

Here’s Barack Obama, addressing the United Nations general assembly for his last time as president:

Where’s she supposed to park the airplane?

Do people notice Hillary is copying my airplane rallies - she puts the plane behind her like I have been doing from the beginning.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2016

Trump’s claim of leading the way on airport rallies is not entirely without validity. He has used rallies on tarmacs, which are easy-in, easy-out for the candidate, like no presidential candidate before him. Are they as effective as the candidate making his or her way into town, sitting at a roundtable, addressing a school auditorium? Jury seems out on that. Trump doesn’t have a traditional ground game.

Trump Jr tweets racist Breitbart rape-scare piece

What Donald Trump Jr is tweeting here would very comfortably appear in the feeds of the white nationalist accounts he approvingly retweets:

Europe’s Rape Epidemic: Western Women Will Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Mass Migration via @BreitbartNews

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 20, 2016

The Breitbart story, a tourist’s out-of-nowhere description of a made-up gang-rape epidemic in Europe, is not only openly, wildly racist, describing a continental crisis of white European women under assault from “Middle Eastern-looking men” – the racist Breitbart piece is also breathtakingly unhinged from reality:

In England, it’s been rape after rape – tens of thousands of young British girls are brutalised, tortured, beaten and raped by organised gangs comprised almost exclusively of Muslims

. @KellyannePolls better get her hands on Don Jr's phone.

— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) September 20, 2016

That is just wildly racist

— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) September 20, 2016

Here’s DJT Jr a week ago:

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, they say, it’s a duck.


Haley 'starts day' with Clinton anthem

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, has tweeted that in the interest of giving “everyone” “an additional boost,” she “wanted to share” that she started her day with a song that happens to have been the anthem that the Hillary Clinton campaign used to give everyone an additional boost through all of the spring, until people’s ears started to bleed.

It’s Rachel Platten’s Fight Song:

Started my day with "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten. Wanted to share so that everyone gets an additional boost!

— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) September 20, 2016

Haley, a popular governor for whom some Republicans see a bright national future, endorsed Marco Rubio in the Republican primaries and has said she will support the Republican nominee, but she has not expressed support for Trump specifically and she has criticized his rhetoric, a favor he returned with, of course, a Twitter insult:

The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2016

wait governor are you saying what I think you're saying

— Jesse Berney (@jesseberney) September 20, 2016

Hello and welcome to our live-wire coverage of the 2016 race for the White House. Donald Trump has two events in North Carolina today. Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine will appear in Reno, Nevada. Barack Obama is scheduled to address the UN general assembly this morning.

George HW Bush backs Clinton – report

Former president George HW Bush is reportedly voting for Hillary Clinton in November, according to a Facebook post from John F Kennedy’s niece.

The post by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend – the former lieutenant governor of Maryland and daughter of Robert F Kennedy – shows her posing with George HW Bush with the caption: “The President told me he is voting for Hillary!!”

Townsend – writing on Facebook under the name Kathleen Hartington – has been a longtime vocal supporter of Clinton’s campaign.

Donald Trump Jr compares refugees to Skittles

Trump père spent Monday explaining that terrorism in the United States was “made possible because of our extremely open immigration system”. The suspect in the Chelsea bombing attack is a naturalized citizen from Afghanistan whose family was granted asylum 21 years ago, when the suspect was a boy of seven. Trump’s eldest son added on Monday evening that refugees are like Skittles. The analogy has caught a lot of negative attention:

This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first. #trump2016

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 19, 2016

Hey @DonaldJTrumpJr, this is one of the millions of children you compared to a poisoned Skittle today:

— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) September 20, 2016

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people,” said a spokeswoman for Skittles maker Wrigley. “We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy.”

Trump sticking with Christie

The Republican nominee says he is sticking by New Jersey governor Chris Christie despite a prosecutor’s claim in federal court Monday that Christie knew about the closure of traffic lanes for political payback on the George Washington bridge in September 2013. Christie has pleaded ignorance of the traffic-snarl scheme which he claims was carried out by his lieutenants.

“I have known and liked Chris for 15 years,” Trump told the New York Times. “After his recent run for president, he called me to say that he would like to endorse me in that he sees a movement like he has never seen before. I was greatly honored, accepted his endorsement, and he has been a spectacular advocate ever since.”

That’s a change of tune from what Trump said in December 2015, when Christie was still in the race and trying to win New Hampshire:

Transcribing Donald Trump's past remarks on Bridgegate is a great workout.

— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) September 19, 2016

Thank you for reading and please join us in the comments.


Scott Bixby (now) and Tom McCarthy (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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