October, 2016

Trump Has Spent $10 Million on His Own Businesses

“Donald Trump’s list of highest-paid campaign vendors is brimming with his own name,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“An airline he owns has drawn the fifth-largest paycheck of any company the campaign paid through Oct. 19. Mr. Trump has also paid at least eight of his golf clubs, seven of his hotels and five of his restaurants.”

“In all, the New York businessman has spent close to $10 million over the course of the election cycle reimbursing his children for travel expenses and family-owned companies for campaign services, the most recent Federal Election Commission reports show.”

A Clinton-Trump Rematch In 2020?

“Newt Gingrich, one of Donald Trump’s closest confidants and most visible boosters, on Friday raised the novel possibility of a Trump-Clinton rematch in 2020,” Politico reports.

Said Gingrich: “The challenge for everybody’s going to be, ‘What if he gets 48 or 49 percent?’ And what if he says: ‘You know, I like this campaign and stuff. I ain’t leaving’? There will then be a Trump Party.”

GOP Senate Hopes Brighten on Clinton Email News

“For at least a day — thanks to the latest Hillary Clinton email bombshell — Senate Republicans scrambling to defend their majority got to play some offense,” Politico reports.

“GOP candidates from Senate battlegrounds such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri and elsewhere pounced on the news Friday that the FBI was reviewing new evidence potentially related to its probe of Clinton’s email practices. The shocking revelation — which came as a surprise to both presidential campaigns and Capitol Hill — injected new life into the e-mail controversy that has long dogged Clinton and her favorability ratings and gave Republicans fodder to tie Democrats to their own unpopular candidate at the top of the ticket.”

Comey Broke with Justice Department Tradition

FBI Director James Comey’s decision “is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections,” the New Yorker reports.

Said one former Justice Department official: “You don’t do this. It’s aberrational. It violates decades of practice.”

New York Times: “The reaction was swift and damning, with Mrs. Clinton’s supporters and even some Republicans blasting Mr. Comey. Indeed, Mr. Comey, who was attacked this summer by Democrats and Republicans for both his decision not to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton and for the way he handled it, found himself in an even stronger crossfire on Friday.”

Greg Sargent: James Comey needs to clean up his mess

Tracking Poll Tightens as Electorate’s Makeup Shifts

The ABC News-Washington Post tracking poll finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by just two points, 47% to 45%.

Key findings: “Changes in the poll’s latest four nights compared with the previous four are not mainly about people shifting in their candidate preference, but about changes in who’s intending to vote. As Trump’s controversies last week and the week before move further into the rearview mirror, Republicans are expressing greater likelihood to participate: 81% of registered Republicans now are likely voters, up from 75% a week ago.”

Also important: “Loosely affiliated or reluctant Clinton supporters look less likely to vote, perhaps given their sense she can win without them — a supposition that looks less reliable today.”

Clinton No Longer Coasting to the Finish Line

Politico: “Dashed are the hopes that the campaign could come to a conclusion on a high note, instilling in Americans a feeling that casting a history-making vote for Clinton is something more than merely a repudiation of Donald Trump.”

“Instead, Clinton is finding herself once again burdened by the twin scandals that have hung over her campaign since before she had a campaign — and devastating her image as an honest and trustworthy leader, even as she tried to make the case that she is the most experienced modern-day candidate for president, and the only option in the race who is responsible enough to handle the nuclear codes.”

New Email Story Is Too Little, Too Late

Ed Kilgore: “Assuming there is nothing literally incriminating in the emails (or nothing that will come out before election day, anyway), the scariest thing for the Clinton campaign involves the conventional wisdom that the candidate who can best avoid media attention down the stretch is likeliest to win. In a contest where both candidates are unpopular, the reasoning goes, you don’t want voters to head to the polls freshly reminded of what they most dislike about you.”

“The final week or so of the campaign looked like it would be dominated by ever-more-shrill statements by Donald Trump about rigged elections and the women peddling ‘fake’ accusations of sexual misconduct against him. The spotlight had largely focused away from Clinton, aside from thoughts about the prospect of her breaking the glass ceiling, which even a fair number of the people intending to vote against her might appreciate. That’s now changed, for the moment at least.”

“But the underlying ‘story’ of the emails isn’t some sort of bombshell, and the odds are that the negative attention and any lingering substantive concerns among voters will be too little, too late to make much of a difference.”

New Clinton Emails Were Found In Weiner Investigation

“Federal law enforcement officials said Friday that the new emails uncovered in the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server were discovered after the F.B.I. seized electronic devices belonging to Huma Abedin, a top aide to Mrs. Clinton, and her husband, Anthony Weiner,” the New York Times reports.

“The F.B.I. is investigating illicit text messages that Mr. Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. The bureau told Congress on Friday that it had uncovered new emails related to the Clinton case — one federal official said they numbered in the thousands — potentially reigniting an issue that has weighed on the presidential campaign and offering a lifeline to Donald J. Trump less than two weeks before the election.”

FBI to Investigate New Clinton Emails

“The FBI will re-open its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, bureau director James Comey said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday,” NBC News reports.

In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.

I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.

“The FBI language in the letter to Congress makes clear that new evidence has been discovered and thus will be reviewed — meaning FBI agents will read these emails. It is unusual for the FBI to tell Congress it is looking over newly discovered evidence in a criminal inquiry that was otherwise closed.”

Washington Post: “The announcement appears to restart the FBI’s probe of Clinton’s server, less than two weeks before the presidential election, an explosive development that could shape the campaign’s final days.”

Trump Adds $10 Million of His Own Money for Advertising

“Donald Trump, seeking to boost momentum in the last days of the presidential election, wired $10 million of his own money into his presidential campaign Friday morning,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The cash infusion will be used to buy $25 million in new TV advertising in key battleground states.”

“Mr. Trump’s latest donation to his cause still falls $34 million short of the $100 million he has repeatedly said he will give to his campaign—a pledge he reiterated as recently as Wednesday.”