Politics August 25, 2016: New polls show conflicted view of 2016 race still Clinton leads Trump

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New polls show conflicted view of 2016 race still Clinton leads Trump

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Despite all the scandals surrounding Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State she still is leading Republican nominee Donald Trump in national polls. Two new national polls show a conflicted view of the 2016 presidential race, suggesting the race might be closer than some poll indicate. According to a new national Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, Clinton leads Trump by 10 points. However, an Economist/YouGov online poll published on Wednesday, Aug. 24 Clinton leads by only 3 points within the margin of error.

The new Quinnipiac University poll, Clinton leads Trump 51 to 41 percent in a two-way race. Factoring third party candidates, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton’s lead shrinks to 7 points over Trump, 45 to 35 percent.

The numbers contrast with the latest Economist/YouGov online poll, where Clinton has the narrowest lead of all recent national polls, only three points. In the survey, Clinton has 47 percent to Trump’s 44 percent. The best national performance for Trump post-conventions. In a four-way race, Clinton’s lead expands to a point to a four percent margin, giving Clinton 42 percent to Trump’s 38 percent voter support.

Meanwhile, Clinton had her one of her largest poll margin leads of the campaign in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Tuesday, Aug. 23, with 12 points over Trump. In the survey, Clinton has 45 percent support to Trump’s 33 percent. In a four-way race, Clinton’s lead shrinks to 8 percent over Trump with 41 percent to 33 percent for the GOP nominee.

Although Reuters/Ipsos poll nearly makes the record, Clinton had her largest margin of 15 percent over Trump in the McClatchy-Marist survey released on Aug. 4, a post-Democratic convention poll, where Clinton led 48 percent to 33 percent.

In most recent polls, Clinton leads Trump by 8 to 10 percent, however, earlier this week, two other polls had Clinton leading Trump by 8 percent. In the NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Online Tracking Poll released on Tuesday, Aug. 23, Clinton had the support of 50 percent of voters to Trump’s 42 percent. In a four-way race, Clinton only led Trump by 5 percent, 43 to 38 percent. In last week’s Reuters/Ipsos poll, Clinton had 42 percent to Trump’s 34 percent. In a four-way race, Clinton lead shrunk by one, 41 to 34 percent.

Besides the recent Economist/YouGov online poll, the only other poll where the margin the two candidates was close was the Pew Research Center poll published on Aug. 18. In that Pew poll, Clinton led Trump by only four points, 41 percent to 39 percent. This survey looked solely at a four-way race. Clinton, however, is leading in many battleground states as well.

Politics August 24, 2016: Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

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Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton scandals at the State Department keep growing, but will voters take the warning? A new report by the Associated Press published on Monday, Aug. 23, 2016, shows that outside of government people over half the people former Secretary of State Clinton met with during her tenure were donors or associated with donors to her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

According to the AP, Clinton tittered on the boundary, ethically violating her role at the State Department but not the legal agreement she made before commencing her post. Donations to the foundation were the ticket to a meeting with Clinton or possible favors from the State Departments. Donors received unprecedented access to the Secretary of State.

The AP discovered that based on the State Department released calendars that of the 154 private people Clinton met with during her tenure, 85 donated to the foundation or pledged donations for “international programs.” The 85 donors contributed a total of $156 million, of those donors 40 donated $100,000 each while 20 each gave over a million dollars each. The donors who met with Clinton each had a request for help from the State Department.

The AP notes, “The frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.”

The AP’s report was hardly complete; it only covered Clinton’s first two years as Secretary of State did not cover government officials and foreign governments. They based their findings on calendars and contacts that the State Department was forced to hand over to the AP. Although the AP added that 16 foreign governments met with Clinton that also donated a total of $170 million to the foundation. Completeness was not the aim; the point was to indicate the unprecedented access private citizens had to Secretary Clinton, as long they paid admission for the golden ticket a donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton’s campaign used the report incompleteness as a means to discredit its very damaging findings calling it “utterly flawed data.”Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement, “It is outrageous to misrepresent Secretary Clinton’s basis for meeting with these individuals.” Fallon also said the report “cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary’s Clinton’s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.” Fallon also said it “omits more than 1700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other US government officials while serving as secretary of state.”

The State Department is also backing their former secretary; spokesman Mark Toner downplayed the report. Toner pointed out, “Individuals, including those who have donated to political campaigns, non-profits, or foundations — including the Clinton Foundation — may contact or have meetings with officials in the administration.”

Republican nominee Donald Trump is seizing on the reports to turn the attacks and attention towards Clinton’s ongoing scandals. First Trump issued a statement, which read, “It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history. We’ve now learned that a majority of the non-government people she met with as secretary of state gave money to the corrupt Clinton Foundation. … It was wrong then, and it is wrong now — and the foundation must be shut down immediately.”

At a Tuesday evening, rally in Austin, Texas Trump again assailed the foundation, saying, “Hillary Clinton is totally unfit to hold public office. It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office.” Continuing Trump accused, “The specific crimes committed to carry out that enterprise are too numerous to cover in this speech.”

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, backed the GOP nominee up, repeating his call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s actions at the State Department. Pence in a statement wrote, “The fact Hillary Clinton’s official schedule was full of meetings with Clinton Foundation donors is further evidence of the pay-to-play politics at her State Department. No one is above the law.”

The Republican National Committee and its Chairman Reince Priebus took the opportunity to go after Clinton. In a statement Priebus said, “This is among the strongest and most unmistakable pieces of evidence of what we’ve long suspected: at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, access to the most sensitive policy makers in U.S. diplomacy was for sale to the highest bidder.” Republicans are not the only ones attacking the Clinton Foundation, news publication USA Today’s editorial board is calling for the organization’s closure.

The Clinton campaign is trying to curb the criticism and potential damage to her chances of winning the election. Bill Clinton issued a statement outlining changes to the Clinton Foundation should Hillary be elected president. The former president would step down from the board of directors, stop fundraising, cease taking foreign donations, or even from American corporations and would end “annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative.” Daughter Chelsea Clinton, however, would remain on the board.

Former President Clinton again defended his foundation, saying, “We’re trying to do good things. If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except I’m really proud.”

Despite the changes, Clinton still owes favors to 6,000 donors that had combined, donated $2 billion dollars to the foundation since its inception in 2000, when Clinton left the presidency. No matter how many scandals Clinton has had during her tenure at the State Department, never mind her husband’s during his presidency in the 1990s, she still leads in the polls. Whatever, her actions can be called they are a clear warning sign, one voters are ignoring. Instead, the media continually attacks Trump for mere statements and comments rather than actions.

Republicans choosing to defect to Clinton do not realize any Republican president will be more sympathetic to their agenda, than Clinton, who continually views the GOP as an enemy creating conspiracy theories about her. If Clinton wins the election, she truly would be made of Teflon devoid of any consequences for her actions, when any leader is given such a free pass it never ends well. Although different, not so much according to journalist Bob Woodward voters should read a history book on Watergate. Brewing political scandals during an election do tumble over into the presidency.

Politics August 23, 2016: Obama finally tours flood-ravaged Louisiana over a week too late

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Court orders State Dept to release 15,000 FBI newly discovered Clinton emails

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The FBI handed over nearly 15,000 additional emails from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. On Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, the State Department confirmed it received 14,900 newly discovered emails from the FBI after a court hearing ordered the State Department to release the emails by Sept. 23.

The FBI uncovered the emails which are either two and from Clinton during their investigation as to whether the former Secretary of State risked national security by sending or receiving classified emails on her private email server. The emails are in addition to the about 30,000 Clinton handed over back in December 2014 and have since been released publicly.

In July, FBI Director James Comey explained that the emails were uncovered during their investigation into Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State. Comey indicated, “We found those additional emails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years, and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton … Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of email fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.”

State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement about the newly discovered emails and eventual release. Toner pointed out, “As we have previously explained, the State Department voluntarily agreed to produce to Judicial Watch any emails sent or received by Secretary Clinton in her official capacity during her tenure as secretary of state which are contained within the material turned over by the FBI and which were not already processed for FOIA by the State Department. We can confirm that the FBI material includes tens of thousands of nonrecord (meaning personal) and record materials that will have to be carefully appraised at State.”

Last week, the State Department announced they would release the emails the FBI discovered but did not indicate how many emails were found. There was a status hearing on the emails release on Monday, there U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is presiding over the case. The State Department has to release the emails as part of Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department.

Judge Boasberg vetoed the release schedule for the emails that the State Department presented. The Department wanted to protect Clinton and her lead in the presidential race and release them the second week in October. Instead, Judge Boasberg ordered one batch to be released on Sept. 23 and to return to court for another status hearing the same day.

Politics August 22, 2016: Trump calls for independent special prosecutor to investigate Clinton emails

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Trump calls for independent special prosecutor to investigate Clinton emails

By Bonnie K. Goodman
With new discoveries in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s never-ending email scandal, Republican nominee Donald Trump is going on “the offense.” On Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, Trump called for the appointment of an independent special prosecutor to investigate Clinton at a rally at the University of Akron, Akron, Ohio.

Trump made his call after a federal court ordered the State Department to release an additional 15,000 emails from Clinton’s tenure that the FBI uncovered during their investigation. Republicans are still angry that the FBI decided against recommending that the Justice Department file criminal charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information by using a private email server during her tenure. Instead, the FBI just criticized Clinton recommending a possible administrative punishment at most.

Speaking to an excited crowd of supporters, Trump accused Clinton of “criminal” behavior without receiving punishment. The GOP commented, “No issue better illustrates how corrupt my opponent is than her pay for play scandals as secretary of state. I’ve become increasingly shocked by the vast scope of Hillary Clinton’s criminality. It’s criminality. Everybody knows it.”

Trump indicated the FBI and DOJ could not be trusted when it comes to Clinton. Trump expressed, “The amounts involved, the favors done and the significant numbers of times it was done require an expedited investigation by a special prosecutor immediately, immediately, immediately.”

Continuing, Trump said, “After the FBI and Department of Justice whitewashed Hillary Clinton’s email crimes, they certainly cannot be trusted to quickly or impartially investigate Hillary Clinton’s new crimes, which happen all the time.”

The GOP nominee challenged that an independent prosecutor be appointed to investigate Clinton’s actions. Trump said, “The Justice Department is required to appoint an independent Special Prosecutor because it has proven itself to be really, sadly a political arm of the White House.”

Trump has often attacked Clinton over her honesty, her use of a private server and her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation’s preferential treatment of its donors during her time at the State Department. Trump brought up the last time the Clintons faced an independent prosecutor in 1990s during the first Clinton administration. Then the Whitewater scandal was an investigation over a real estate investment while Bill Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas.

The crowd agreed with Trump chanting “Lock Her Up” interrupting the GOP nominee’s speech. Trump pointed out that former Secretary of State Clinton’s “actions corrupted and disgraced one of the most important Departments of government.” Continuing Trump compared the two scandals, saying, “The Clintons made the State Department into the same kind of Pay-to-Play operation as the Arkansas Government was.”

Trump accused Clinton of corruption and even racketeering for giving preferential treatment to Clinton Foundation donors especially foreign donors. Trump called on voters to reject Clinton, who he believes represents the epitome of the Washington establishment insider catering to special interests. Trump promised, “We are going to take government away from the special interests that give her tens of millions of dollars so that she can broadcast absolutely phony ads about me and we’re going to give it back to the voters.”

The GOP nominee also vowed to win the election, saying, “Come November 8th, we are once again going to have a government that serves you and your family and your country, not the special interests, the donors and the lobbyists.” Still, Trump again warned his supporters that Clinton might rig the election, telling supporters, “When I say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about.”

Politics August 22, 2016: Court orders State Dept to release 15,000 FBI newly discovered Clinton emails

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Court orders State Dept to release 15,000 FBI newly discovered Clinton emails

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The FBI handed over nearly 15,000 additional emails from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. On Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, the State Department confirmed it received 14,900 newly discovered emails from the FBI after a court hearing ordered the State Department to release the emails by Sept. 23.

The FBI uncovered the emails which are either two and from Clinton during their investigation as to whether the former Secretary of State risked national security by sending or receiving classified emails on her private email server. The emails are in addition to the about 30,000 Clinton handed over back in December 2014 and have since been released publicly.

In July, FBI Director James Comey explained that the emails were uncovered during their investigation into Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State. Comey indicated, “We found those additional emails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years, and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton … Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of email fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.”

State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement about the newly discovered emails and eventual release. Toner pointed out, “As we have previously explained, the State Department voluntarily agreed to produce to Judicial Watch any emails sent or received by Secretary Clinton in her official capacity during her tenure as secretary of state which are contained within the material turned over by the FBI and which were not already processed for FOIA by the State Department. We can confirm that the FBI material includes tens of thousands of nonrecord (meaning personal) and record materials that will have to be carefully appraised at State.”

Last week, the State Department announced they would release the emails the FBI discovered but did not indicate how many emails were found. There was a status hearing on the emails release on Monday, there U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is presiding over the case. The State Department has to release the emails as part of Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department.

Judge Boasberg vetoed the release schedule for the emails that the State Department presented. The Department wanted to protect Clinton and her lead in the presidential race and release them the second week in October. Instead, Judge Boasberg ordered one batch to be released on Sept. 23 and to return to court for another status hearing the same day.

Politics August 20, 2016: Trump and Pence tour flooded Louisiana; Obama finally will visit on Tuesday

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Trump and Pence tour flooded Louisiana; Obama finally will visit on Tuesday

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican nominee Donald Trump became the first major leader to visit flood-ravaged Louisiana, beating out President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump visited Baton Rouge along with his vice presidential running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence toured the damage on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Trump specifically visited Greenwell Springs in East Baton Rouge, St. Amant in Ascension Parish, and some areas of Lafayette.

A Louisiana Republican leadership delegation met Trump at the airport. The delegation included “Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Congressman Garret Graves, Congressman Steve Scalise, and Eric Skrmetta, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission and co-chair of Trump’s campaign in Louisiana.” Pence arrived before Trump with his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte and received an early briefing.

Trump and Pence’s visit took them to the areas where the floodwaters are now receding, and the real damage is visible. Trump visited Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, where he met with
“Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.”

There Trump and Perkins criticized vacationing President Obama for not coming to the state. Trump said, “The president says he doesn’t want to go; he is trying to get out of a golf game.” Meanwhile, Perkins commented, “I heard he wants to stay under par while we are under water.” Then Trump joked, “He will never be under par.”

The GOP ticket commenced their tour by meeting with “local officials, volunteers and the National Guard and touring the flood damage.” The Republican ticket met also with “Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization.” They visited one of the organizations’ mobile kitchens, and where they were “cheered by the crowds.”

Trump also donated an 18-wheeler full of supplies, and he and Pence helped unload them. Trump said at that time to reporters, “I’ve had a great history with Louisiana. They need a lot of help. What’s happened here is incredible. Nobody understands how bad it is. It’s really incredible. So, I’m just here to help.” Liberals later criticized because the supplies included many toys.

Pence also commented to the media, saying, “These volunteers are incredibly inspiring but the American people need to know that Louisiana needs help. Volunteers, support for the Red Cross, support to the charities like Samaritan’s Purse that are coming along side these vulnerable families and we’re just here to help tell that story and very inspired by it.”

Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ issued a statement about Trump’s visit that was semi-critical. Edwards office said, “Gov. Edwards wasn’t informed of the Trump campaign’s visit to the state or the schedule. We welcome them to Louisiana, but not for a photo-op. Instead, we hope they’ll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation to the LA Flood Relief Fund to help the victims of this storm.”

Obama has been vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and been spending most of his time golfing, except a fundraiser for Clinton. The president is facing criticism for avoiding visit Louisiana in the past week. The flooding has caused 13 deaths, while thousands have been dislocated forced to leave their homes because of the flooding, with many of these homes damaged, it has been the worst devastation Louisiana has seen in years.

The White House later announced on Friday, that Obama would be touring the damage in Louisiana on Tuesday, Aug. 23. The White House’s statement announcing the visit said the President is “eager to get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods and hear from more officials about the response, including how the federal government can assist and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild their community and come back stronger than ever.”

Neither has Clinton visited the region. Instead, she received a briefing from Gov. Bell. Clinton posted a message after on Facebook, writing, “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions. The very best way this team can help is to make sure Louisianans have the resources they need,” she wrote in the post. “These are our friends, our family members, our community –, and they’re counting on us to reach out with open arms right now.”

Politics April 20, 2016: Trump wins big in New York primary shuts out Cruz

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Trump wins big in New York primary shuts out Cruz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

April 20, 2016 4:10 AM MST

 Republican front-runner Donald Trump won the New York primary by a wide margin over his rivals cementing his front-runner status and shutting out his chief competition Ted Cruz, April 19, 2016
Republican front-runner Donald Trump won the New York primary by a wide margin over his rivals cementing his front-runner status and shutting out his chief competition Ted Cruz, April 19, 2016
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Politics August 19, 2016: Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

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Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Two days after a shake-up of Trump’s campaign leadership, campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned from his post. Manafort resigned on Friday morning, Aug. 19, 2016, and Trump issued a statement confirming the resignation. Manafort is increasingly coming under fire for his past lobbying work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political operative and possible corruption probe. Trump and his former chairman have been odds since the Republican National Convention. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, Trump essentially demoted Manafort giving him more of a background role in his campaign.

Trump issued a statement on Friday confirming Manafort was leaving, saying, “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”

Opponent Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was quick to attack Trump, tying him to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook in a statement, expressed, “You can get rid of Manafort, but that doesn’t end the odd bromance Trump has with Putin.”

Conway later admitted that Manafort was forced out of the campaign. In an interview with WABC’s Rita Cosby, Conway revealed, “He was asked, and he indeed tendered his resignation today.” Continuing Trump’s new campaign manager recounted, “Mr. Trump accepted his resignation and wished him well and thanked him for his service. I think it’s as simple as that. The last couple weeks have been very rough with the campaign.” Conway also called it a “mutual and a very mutually respectful decision.”

On Wednesday, Trump names Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon as campaign CEO and Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager in an attempted to reboot his controversy dogged campaign. With just three months to go in the campaign Trump has been lagging the polls behind opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump and his family, particularly son-in-law Jared Kushner blamed Manafort with what is wrong with the campaign and wanted him out.

Initially, Manafort was hired in March towards the end of the primary to help mold Trump into a traditional presidential candidate; he then took the helm after Trump let go his original campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Campaign staffers were shocked and were not informed in advance of Manafort’s departure. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, however, will remain a part of the campaign serving as the campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee.

Politics August 19, 2016: Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

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Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Two days after a shake-up of Trump’s campaign leadership, campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned from his post. Manafort resigned on Friday morning, Aug. 19, 2016, and Trump issued a statement confirming the resignation. Manafort is increasingly coming under fire for his past lobbying work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political operative and possible corruption probe. Trump and his former chairman have been odds since the Republican National Convention. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, Trump essentially demoted Manafort giving him more of a background role in his campaign.

Trump issued a statement on Friday confirming Manafort was leaving, saying, “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”

Opponent Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was quick to attack Trump, tying him to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook in a statement, expressed, “You can get rid of Manafort, but that doesn’t end the odd bromance Trump has with Putin.”

Conway later admitted that Manafort was forced out of the campaign. In an interview with WABC’s Rita Cosby, Conway revealed, “He was asked, and he indeed tendered his resignation today.” Continuing Trump’s new campaign manager recounted, “Mr. Trump accepted his resignation and wished him well and thanked him for his service. I think it’s as simple as that. The last couple weeks have been very rough with the campaign.” Conway also called it a “mutual and a very mutually respectful decision.”

On Wednesday, Trump names Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon as campaign CEO and Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager in an attempted to reboot his controversy dogged campaign. With just three months to go in the campaign Trump has been lagging the polls behind opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump and his family, particularly son-in-law Jared Kushner blamed Manafort with what is wrong with the campaign and wanted him out.

Initially, Manafort was hired in March towards the end of the primary to help mold Trump into a traditional presidential candidate; he then took the helm after Trump let go his original campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Campaign staffers were shocked and were not informed in advance of Manafort’s departure. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, however, will remain a part of the campaign serving as the campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee.

Politics August 18, 2016: Trump apologizes and regrets word choice throughout campaign

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Trump apologizes and regrets word choice throughout campaign

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican nominee Donald Trump delivered a different kind of campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C. doing something he repeatedly said he does not do, express regret. On Wednesday evening, Aug. 18, 2016, Trump spoke from scripted text at the Charlotte Convention Center, coming as close to an apology as he ever has on the campaign trail, saying he regrets if what he said during the campaign caused pain. Trump’s remorse comes as he shook up his campaign leadership in an attempt to jump-start his flagging campaign.

Speaking to supporters in North Carolina, Trump admitted, “As you know, I am not a politician. I have worked in business, creating jobs and rebuilding neighborhoods my entire adult life. I’ve never wanted to learn the language of the insiders, and I’ve never been politically correct – it takes far too much time, and can often make it more difficult to achieve total victory.”

Continuing, the GOP nominee expressed remorse, “Sometimes, in the heat of the debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words, or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.”

Throughout the campaign, Trump has made controversial remarks that could be deemed insulting and often sexist and racist. Since the convention, the GOP nominee has seen a backlash partly for his war of words with the Kahns, the Muslim parents of a Gold Star soldier killed in Iraq in 2004, and claiming President Barack Obama and  Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton founded terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS. Those and other missteps have cost Trump at the polls both nationally and in battleground states, where Clinton now leads.

This is the first time Trump has ever come close to apologizing, something he said in the past he never does. Last year told radio host Don Imus “I like not to regret anything.”Then this year he expressed, “You do things and you say things. And what I said, frankly, is what I said. And you know some people like what I said, if you want to know the truth. Many people like what I said. You know after I said that, my poll numbers went up seven points.”

Even after the post-Democratic convention controversy with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Trump stated, “I don’t regret anything.” Speaking to Washington, D.C. television station WJLA, the GOP nominee said, “I said nice things about the son and I feel that very strongly, but of course I was hit very hard from the stage and you know it’s just one of those things. But no, I don’t regret anything.”

The GOP nominee, however, is trying to reboot his campaign, changing its leadership, promoting his pollster and former adviser Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon as campaign CEO. Trump is also beginning his general election ads and visits flood-ravaged Louisiana with his running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence. The campaign’s new direction aims at emphasizing his “authenticity.”

Trump also used the speech to attack rival Clinton’s honestly. Trump vowed to be truthful to the voters, saying, “I’ve traveled all across this country laying out my bold and modern agenda for change. In this journey, I will never lie to you. I will never tell you something I do not believe. I will never put anyone’s interests ahead of yours.” Continuing, Trump said of Clinton’s ability to be honest, “So while sometimes I can be too honest, Hillary Clinton is the exact opposite: she never tells the truth. One lie after another, and getting worse each passing day.” Trump asked the audience, “Aren’t you tired of the same old lies and the same old broken promises?” The GOP nominee also pointed out, Clinton “has proven to be one of the greatest liars of all time.”

Trump blamed the media because they focus and overanalyze his every word on the campaign trails rather than critical issues relevant to voters. The GOP nominee accused, “The establishment media doesn’t cover what really matters in this country, or what’s really going on in peoples’ lives. They will take words of mine out of context and spend a week obsessing over every single syllable and then pretend to discover some hidden meaning in what I said.”

Trump said the media should focus on the issues rather than him, indicating, “Just imagine if the media spent this much time investigating the poverty and joblessness in our inner cities. Just think about how much different things would be if the media in this country sent their cameras to our border, or to our closing factories, or to our failing schools.” Trump is also proud of upsetting the party’s establishment. Telling supporters, “I am glad I make the powerful a little uncomfortable now and again – including some powerful people in my own party. Because it means I am fighting for real change. I am fighting for you.”

Trump’s speech at the Charlotte Convention Center, was primarily a pitch to African-American voters, who represent a large “voting bloc” in North Carolina. Championing minorities Trump said, “Those who believe in oppressing women, gays, Hispanics, African-Americans and people of different faiths are not welcome to join our country,” and he promised to “reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton.” Telling them, “If African-Americans give Donald Trump a chance by giving me their vote, the result for them will be amazing.” Trump started his rally reaching out to the victims of the floods in Louisiana, saying, “We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt. Our prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, and we send them our deepest condolences.”

The Clinton campaign had a field day with Trump expressing regret, mocking him and his regret as a campaign invention. Clinton spokeswoman Christina Reynolds issued a statement, which read, “Donald Trump literally started his campaign by insulting people. He has continued to do so through each of the 428 days from then until now, without shame or regret. We learned tonight that his speechwriter and teleprompter knows he has much for which he should apologize. But that apology tonight is simply a well-written phrase until he tells us which of his many offensive, bullying and divisive comments he regrets — and changes his tune altogether.”

Judaism August 18, 2016: How a tragedy in Montreal should bring attention to domestic abuse in the Jewish community

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How a tragedy in Montreal should bring attention to domestic abuse in the Jewish community

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, a chapter in a tragedy in the Montreal Jewish community came to an end, but a discussion and new awareness have to begin. Wednesday, Montreal police arrested 80- year-old Salomon Abeassis for arson and first-degree murder of his longtime wife, Teresa Cohen’s, 75, death. This couple lived in the same rented house for over 30 years on a quiet street in the predominantly Jewish suburb of Cote St Luc. The neighbors’ thought they were such a nice quiet couple but underneath the perfect veneer, this woman presumably lived with the silent problem in the Jewish community, domestic abuse.

On a quiet, sunny Sunday, July 10, a fire broke out in the upstairs duplex on Guelph in Cote St Luc. The downstairs neighbor and longtime landlord heard the screams coming from upstairs tried to go upstairs to help first through the front stairs after the husband supposedly buzzed her in and then through the back stairs. It was front the back window, she saw the horrid sight, the wife was on the floor of the kitchen ablaze; there was no way the neighbor could do anything to help. The neighbor called 911, but they took 20 minutes, and in that, the time, the wife suffered alone. Cohen was taken to the hospital, in critical condition with terrible burns all over her body, her life hung in a balance a day later, on Monday, July 11; Teresa Cohen died from her injuries and with her what happened and her true story of suffering.

What set this story apart was how heinous the crime was, police say a liquid accelerant was poured on Cohen supposedly by the accused, her husband, the only other person in the house at the time and then set on fire. The crime first appeared to look like a suicide, because the wife had recently had hip replacement surgery and lost some mobility. The neighbor said they were always so quiet and that Abeassis helped his wife after she broke her hip in March, taking her to doctors’ appointments. For over a month doctors protected the husband preventing the police from questioning him, as he remained an important witness. Abeassis was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, something people are released from the hospital in a day maximum, but for five weeks, he was kept sheltered, doctors say he was in a coma. In no other case would that happened except he was an eighty-year-old supposedly nice Jewish man with no prior criminal record.

Finally, on Aug. 5, doctors gave police the green light to question Abeassis. Upon his release from the hospital, he was arrested and “escorted” by police to the courthouse where he was formally charged. Abeassis was brought in a wheelchair and had problems hearing the proceedings against him; he seemed confused as he was represented by his legal aid lawyer and charges were formally brought against him. He will be kept in custody until his next court date in October and has conditions; he cannot contact two of his daughters or their families.

As a journalist, I write about the news often, and the news is hardly pretty, but this story hit me hard, partly because it was in my community, practically in my backyard, I know the street well. More importantly, it touched me because it was a tragic story and end to domestic abuse. I was in a relationship where I was mentally abused and controlled for years, everyone around me told to get away from him, that one day he would do real harm to me. Then he tried to, although not the same, I akin what he did to me as a man with the same rage that tries to kill a girlfriend or wife. I occasionally allude to what happened to me in some of my articles. Guess what he was a nice Jewish man, with a good reputation. No one could have ever imagined how he terrorized me and wanted to destroy me, I was even in denial, I could not see what he was doing to me. I came from a good family; I was sheltered, and I was too trusting.

This woman probably suffered for years from her husband’s abuse living with it in silence afraid of the shame it might cause her family, what others might have thought. We will never know if her daughters, knew anything, wanted or did not want her to leave him, what we know is nobody helped her, and she died a horrid death. This man she lived with, was married to maybe 50 years, raised four children is not just accused of killing her, but obliterating her in every way possible.

Living in the community and with many of peers living there as well, possibly even knowing the family, with one of the daughters a teacher at a local Jewish day school, I was shocked that nobody commented on the incident. The local Jewish press also covered the story to a minimum; the mainstream press covered the story because it was a possible murder in a quiet suburb that rarely if ever sees murders, and because of the sensationalism and shock of the crime, the victim, and the suspect.

I had to repost on my social media the local media’s take on the story after the arrest. I was practically stoned for posting. My peers who would comment on everything, every little event, thought it was inappropriate to comment on this incident. They said it was “disrespectful” “not right to comment” “because we don’t exactly know the situation and we can’t speculate,” because it could be “taken out of proportion,” and a “tragic story that does not need people dissecting it.” Irrelevant, was although “They seemed to be very nice people from a nice family,” they were not religious.

This was a heinous, heinous crime. It happened in our backyard literally, in our community. We live in an age where we comment on every tragedy in the news, but they are far away, with the news media defining who is the enemy it is OK to remark and to take sides. We routinely comment on the domestic abuse cases of celebrities taking sides, giving our opinions. If the Jewish community experiences anti-Semitism, there is no stop of responses from the community and the Jewish media. Why do we have to ignore this story, is it because we feel uncomfortable and if we do not talk about it did not happen. Our problem is in when we know the people and they are in our community we do not want take sides, the black and white becomes gray.

Teresa Cohen most probably experienced domestic abuse, she kept silent, and she paid for it in the most horrendous way possible, her life, supposedly by the hands of someone she lived and built a life with for the majority of her life. To keep silent is what is disrespectful, showing neutrality is practically condoning what happened. There is a denial that domestic abuse is not a problem in the Jewish community it is. For Teresa Cohen not to have died totally in vain, we need to do more to make aware and help those suffering domestic violence in the Jewish community, in our community. We need to make sure these women do not end up with the same or similar fate.

Domestic abuse has long been a silent problem in the Jewish community the prevalent attitude is “Oh it doesn’t happen – there’s no abuse in the Jewish community.”  Just last year the Canadian Jewish News did a cover story entitled “Domestic Abuse is a Jewish Issue, Too.” Generally “one in four women experience domestic abuse during their lifetime” and according to the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse’s statistics the rate of abuse in the Jewish community is the same between 15 and 25 percent of women experiencing abuse. At Montreal’s Jewish women’s shelter Auberge Shalom Pour Femmes, 20 percent of those at the shelter are Jewish while 35 percent participate in their “external services” to helped abused women.

Religious reasons are often behind the denial about abuse occurring in the community. Penny Krowitz, the executive director Act To End Violence Against Women (ATEVAW) told CJN, “For most people in our community, they don’t believe it happens to us. They believe the Jewish community is immune to such things, because of our tremendous value on family and shalom bayit.”

The other part of denial comes from the women experiencing it themselves, because Krowitz points out, “women often think that if their husbands aren’t hitting them, they’re not being abused.” Domestic abuse is all encompassing and is “defined as an imbalance of power when one uses threats or physical force to create fear, control or intimidate another.” Krowitz says the majority of domestic abuse in the community is “verbal, emotional, psychological, financial, spiritual, sexual – it’s not visible abuse.” Like me when Krowitz first spoke to a sisterhood about domestic abuse she thought, “The community is going to kill me.”

We have to stop emphasizing the perfect Jewish appearance of being the being the perfect mother, wife, and family living idyllically. The concept and ideal of shalom bayit are often the reason Jewish women do not do anything to get out of their abusive relationships, because as Krowitz indicates, “she is ashamed that her home is not a place of peace, and she feels like it is her fault.” The second obstacle is shandeh – “the shame of admitting, disclosing, that your home is not a happy place. That your husband doesn’t treat you well, that you are frightened, that you walk on eggshells.”

The abuse happens in every socio-economic sphere of the community and among different levels of religious observance, it does not just happen in families where they are not that religious as one of my peers implied. In fact, Orthodox tradition dictates that Jewish women take a submissive role in the patriarchal relationship making the imbalance of power ripe for abuse. Not helping the issue is religious courts most often side with the husband. Jewish women need their husband’s permission to acquire a get a Jewish divorce, if not and a Jewish woman leaves she is considered an “agunah, a chained or anchored woman.”

We still have this belief both religiously and socially that divorce, being single is a stigma, that if we do not have that perfect life, there is no place for Jewish women in the community. Maybe if there was more awareness, less focus on image and less shame associated with leaving than Jewish women would leave their abusive husbands and not end up like Teresa Cohen. She had four grown daughters, and grandchildren, but died alone, and the minute she was set on fire, she was alone with no one to help her. The same way we talk about the larger atrocities that have befallen the Jewish community, we have to speak of the smaller ones to never to forget and never let it happen again.

Politics August 17, 2016: Trump adds to staff leadership in attempt to reboot his campaign

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Trump adds to staff leadership in attempt to reboot his campaign

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican nominee Donald Trump is shaking up his campaign staff leadership in hopes that can still beat opponent Hillary Clinton in the general election in November. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, Trump made two major changes to his staff adding a new CEO Stephen Bannon executive chairman of Breitbart News and promoting his senior advisor and pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. Since the Republican National Convention, Trump’s campaign has been floundering with controversy after controversy dogging him as he falls in the polls.

Trump in a campaign statement announced the additions, calling them “extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win.” Continuing the GOP nominee praised Bannon and Conway, saying, “I believe we’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to Make America Great Again. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to win this election, and ultimately become President because our country cannot afford four more years of the failed Obama-Clinton policies which have endangered out financial and physical security.”

According to the statement, Bannon will have “a new position designed to bolster the business-like approach of Mr. Trump’s campaign” consisting of “oversight of the campaign staff and operations.” Conway will focus on Trump’s campaign message. Just hours before, the Trump campaign announced that former embattle FOX News head Roger Ailes will be prepping Trump for the three presidential debates, however, the campaign is now denying Ailes involvement.

Trump is retaining Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort although he might have been involved in a “corruption scandal” involving Ukraine. Manafort will stay at the campaign’s Washington, DC office, and according to CNN he will be “largely sidelined.”  Bannon will be at the helms,  taking over as Trump’s “top advisor” where the message will return the focus of Trump as the “outsider candidate.”

The campaign staff changes are weeks in the making, as tensions rose between the GOP nominee and Manafort. Trump’s campaign has been free fall since the convention, with controversy after controversy, and lagging poll numbers that have Trump trailing Clinton in both the national polls and battleground states. Manafort wanted to mold Trump into a tradition presidential candidate, while Trump veered towards the freewheeling style that brought him success in the primaries, a clash that has brought negative results recently.

Prominent GOP donor Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert influenced Trump’s decision, as well as his children and advisors Donald, Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner was the one that met with Trump’s top campaign official both new and old at Trump Tower to notify them of the changes.

Clinton attacked Trump on his campaign shakeup at a rally held in Cleveland, Ohio. Clinton emphasized that nothing is different about Trump even with his new and improved campaign staff. The Democratic nominee pointed out, “I think it’s fair to say that Donald Trump has shown us who he is. He can hire and fire anybody he wants from his campaign. They can make him read new words from a teleprompter, but he’s still the same man who insults gold star families, demeans women, mocks people with disabilities and thinks he knows more about ISIS than our generals. There is no new Donald Trump. This is it.”

Trump seems to agree but not for the same reasons Clinton implied. Speaking to a Wisconsin radio station, WKDT Trump said he did not want to change his campaign style. The GOP nominee expressed, “I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh are you going to pivot?’ I don’t want to pivot. You have to be you. If you start pivoting you are not being honest with people.”

Politics August 17, 2016: FBI hands Congress over Clinton interview notes investigation report

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FBI hands Congress over Clinton interview notes investigation report

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The FBI handed over its report on their decision not to recommend criminal charges for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her private email server to Congress. The FBI sent the classified report originally for the Department of Justice and interview memos, called 302s to the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, following through on their request. The House is also is also request the DOJ file charges because Clinton perjured herself in her sworn testimony to the House’s Benghazi committee.

FBI Acting Assistant Director Jason V. Herring included a letter to “House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz” and “ranking Democratic member, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings” re-explaining the bureau’s decision not to charge Clinton. Herring wrote, “The FBI conducted this investigation, as it does all investigations, in a competent, honest and independent way. As the director stated, the FBI did find evidence that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues were extremely careless in their handling of certain, very sensitive, highly classified information.”

Continuing Herring clarified, “The term ‘extremely careless’ was intended to be a common sense way of describing the actions of Secretary Clinton and her colleagues. The director did not equate ‘extreme carelessness’ with the legal standard of ‘gross negligence’ that is required by the statute. In this case, the FBI assessed that the facts did not support a recommendation to prosecute her or others within the scope of the investigation for gross negligence.” Herring also suggested that usually what Clinton would be subject to is “severe administrative consequences.”

Among the documents, the FBI handed over was the summary of Clinton’s three and a half hour interview with the bureau that took place last month. FBI Director James Comey promised the reports and memos when he testified on July 7 before the House Oversight panel, saying he would do “everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible.”

The documents are considered classified and will never be made public. Republicans are trying to keep Clinton’s email scandal in the limelight the election, hoping it can damage her bid for the presidency despite leading Republican Donald Trump in the polls. The FBI issued a statement warning that the information should not be made public, writing, “The material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed without FBI concurrence.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a statement, however, arguing the documents should be made available to the public. Grassley wrote, “On initial review, it seems that much of the material given to the Senate today, other than copies of the large number of emails on Secretary Clinton’s server containing classified information, is marked ‘unclassified/for official use.’ The FBI should make as much of the material available as possible. The public’s business ought to be public, with few exceptions. The people’s interest would be served in seeing the documents that are unclassified. The FBI has made public statements in describing its handling of the case, so sharing documents in support of those statements wherever appropriate would make sense.”
Clinton campaign responded with a statement, “This is an extraordinarily rare step that was sought solely by Republicans for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI. We believe that if these materials are going to be shared outside the Justice Department, they should be released widely so that the public can see them for themselves, rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks.”

The spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee confirmed receipt in a statement, “The FBI has turned over a ‘number of documents’ related to their investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Committee staff is currently reviewing the information that is classified SECRET. There are no further details at this time.”

Congressional Republican are looking to make sure Clinton pays as CNN pointed out a “political price” for her actions during her tenure at the State Department since the FBI did not recommend criminal charges. Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking the DOJ to charge Clinton with perjury claiming she perjured herself during her testimony to the House’s Benghazi committee.

Republicans are accusing Clinton of lying four times in her testimony to the committee saying what she said countered what she told the FBI. In the letter, Chaffetz and Goodlatte wrote, “The evidence collected by the (FBI) during its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as secretary of state appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony.”

On Monday, Aug. 15, 35 Republicans led by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) called on Comey to release Clinton’s interview notes because they believe she perjured herself. Tuesday morning before the documents were handed over Marino appeared on Fox News where he said about Clinton, “That she lied under oath to Congress when she came into testify. And if she lied, she perjured herself. She lied to Congress, therefore she can be prosecuted and spend as long as 10 years in prison for doing that. The director of the FBI, the Justice Department, in my opinion, they’re taking direction from the White House saying, ‘Do nothing about this.'”

Politics August 16, 2016: Clinton remains on top of polls leads Trump by 9 percent

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Clinton remains on top of polls leads Trump by 9 percent

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is continuing her reign atop of the 2016 presidential election polls. According to the latest NBC News/Survey Monkey Weekly, Election Tracking Poll published on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, Clinton leads Republican nominee Donald Trump by 9 points.

According to the NBC News poll, Clinton has 50 percent support to Trump’s 41 percent. Clinton’s lead shrinks, however, if the poll takes into account the two third party candidates, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein. Then Clinton only Trump by 6 percent, 43 percent to Trump’s 37 percent. Meanwhile, Johnson would have 11 percent support and Stein with 4 percent.

Despite Clinton’s lead, the public is only supporting her because they view her as the lesser of two evils. According to the poll, the public views both candidates unfavorably, with 59 percent viewing Clinton negatively and 64 percent viewing Trump negatively. When the voters were asked about the candidate’s attributes, where they considered them, “honesty, values and temperament,” most voters said none of the above.

Clinton’s main edge over is that 42 percent of voters say the Democratic nominee has the “personality and temperament to serve” as percent only 17 percent say that about Trump. While Trump has the edge on the honesty front, 16 percent of voters think he is honest versus only 11 percent that view Clinton as honest.

Clinton has been leading Trump in every post-Democratic National Convention poll since August with margins between 8 to 10 percent depending on the poll.  According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Clinton has a 6.8-point advantage of Trump, 47.8 to 41 percent. Clinton is also leading in most battleground states.

Politics August 15, 2016: New Electoral College projection Clinton 288, Trump 174, 76 tossup

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New Electoral College projection Clinton 288, Trump 174, 76 tossup

By Bonnie K. Goodman

If the polls were not enough a new Electoral College projection shows that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has the votes needs to win the election over her opponent Republican nominee Donald Trump. According to a new NBC News battleground map projection released on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, Clinton has 288 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 174 with 76 still up in the air, 270 votes are needed to win the presidency.

The NBC News projection tallies include the states that are solidly and leaning towards the candidate. Among the states considered a tossup are Florida, Iowa, and Ohio, although according to most polls Clinton is leading in those states. Georgia and Nevada are also in the tossup column. Some states that were formerly tossup including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and Michigan are now solidly Democrat.

Trump has been drowning in the polls since after the Democratic National Convention. Since then Trump’s numbers have been plummeting that he now sits between 8 and 10 points behind Clinton, who is dominating not only the national polls but also those in battleground states. According to FiveThirtyEight’s latest forecasts Clinton has an 89 percent chance of winning the election, while Trump has only an 11 percent chance.

Politics August 14, 2016: Trump blames biased news media coverage for bad poll numbers

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Trump blames biased news media coverage for bad poll numbers

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is blaming the news media for his weak poll numbers. Trump began his attack on the media on a Saturday evening, Aug. 13, 2016, rally in Fairfield, Connecticut, and continued to rant against the media in a series of tweets on Sunday, Aug. 14.

Trump began expressing this sentiment at a Fairfield, Connecticut rally Saturday evening, telling supporters, “I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton. I’m running against the crooked media.”

Then in a series of tweets on Sunday morning, Aug. 14 Trump blasted the media for bias, attacking him and shielding Clinton. Trump wrote in the morning, “If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%.”

Continuing, Trump tweeted in the afternoon, “It is not “freedom of the press” when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!” and “Crooked Hillary Clinton is being protected by the media. She is not a talented person or politician. The dishonest media refuses to expose!”

Trump believes the media skews what he says but ignores his larger message. In a tweet from Sunday evening, he wrote, “My rallies are not covered properly by the media. They never discuss the real message and never show crowd size or enthusiasm.”

The news media has been biased against Trump, over-analyzing every word he said, but letting Clinton’s scandals and potential abuse of power during her State Department tenure go with minimal coverage. The scrutiny is impossible to live up to, with the media emphasizing out of context sound bites rather Trump’s larger message or even as he pointed out his rallies and a large number of supporters present. No matter what Clinton does, the media does not find fault, but according to them, everything Trump does is wrong.

Education March 12, 2016: British universities dominate Oxford tops THE’s best universities in Europe 2016

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British universities dominate Oxford tops THE’s best universities in Europe 2016

By Bonnie K. Goodman

March 12, 2016 6:41 PM MST

 The University of Oxford tops this year's ranking from Times Higher Education (THE) of the Best Universities in Europe; 46 British universities are making the cut, the most of any other country, March 10, 2016
The University of Oxford tops this year’s ranking from Times Higher Education (THE) of the Best Universities in Europe; 46 British universities are making the cut, the most of any other country, March 10, 2016
University of Oxford (www.ox.ac.uk)

Politics August 12, 2016: Trump claims sarcasm after calling Obama the founder of terrorist group ISIS

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Trump claims sarcasm after calling Obama the founder of terrorist group ISIS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For nearly a week Republican nominee Donald Trump has been calling President Barack Obama and his opponent Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the founders of terrorist organization Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now he says he was just being sarcastic. On Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, Trump blamed the media for literally believing what he said, instead of identifying his sarcasm. This is hardly the first time this campaign Trump has blamed the media for not understanding his sarcasm and misinterpreting his remarks.

On Friday morning, Trump tweeted, “Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) “the founder” of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”  The walk about comes two days after Trump starting blaming Obama for the founding of the terrorist group. Trump made the remarks numerous times over two days before going back on his comments.

Trump again went back on his remarks saying he was being “not that sarcastic.” Trump told supporters at an Erie, Pa. rally on Friday, “Obviously I’m being sarcastic … but not that sarcastic to be honest with you.” Trump continued to criticize “dishonest media,” saying, “These people are the lowest form of life. They are the lowest form of humanity. Not all of them, they have about 25 percent that are pretty good, actually.”

Trump supporter and campaign surrogate Newt Gingrich appeared Friday on “Fox and Friends” trying to explain the GOP nominee words. Gingrich blames Trump’s language, “One of the things that’s frustrating about his candidacy is the imprecise language. He sometimes uses three words when he needs 10.”

The former speaker and the 2012 GOP candidate believes Trump simplified what he meant to say. Gingrich clarified, “When you instead compress them into ‘Obama created ISIS,’ I know what Trump has in his mind, but that’s not what people hear. He has got to learn to use language that has been thought through, and that is clear to everybody, and to stick to that language.”

Gingrich, like Trump, blames the media, but also Trump’s campaign style, a holdover from the primary. The former speaker said, “It was a style that none of his Republican opponents could cope with. But I don’t think he yet appreciates, when you’re one of the few candidates for president, particularly when you’re the conservative … you’ve got to understand that the news media is going to attack you every chance they get, and it’s your job to not give them a chance.”

Trump began making waves with this accusation on Wednesday evening, Aug. 10 at a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the speech, Trump called the president by his full name, “Barack Hussein Obama.” The GOP nominee called the war in Iraq a mistake, and “criticized” the president’s  “clean up.” Trump said, “Normally you want to clean up; he made a bigger mess out of it. He made such a mess. And then you had Hillary with Libya, so sad.”

Then Trump accused Obama, saying, “In fact, in many respects, you know they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, OK? He’s the founder. He founded ISIS. I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton.”

Trump reiterated the sentiment on Thursday, Aug 11, during an interview with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt tried to spin Trump asking if he meant, “that he (Obama) created the vacuum, he lost the peace.” Trump responded with certainty, “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”

Hewitt still questioned what Trump meant, trying to force him to clarify, arguing that Obama’s “not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.” Trump bluntly responded, “I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?”  No matter what, Trump remained steadfast on his position, saying his comments were “no mistake.”

The GOP nominee made the statements repeatedly. Trump also told the National Association of Home Builders in Miami on Thursday morning, “I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS. They are the founders.” At a rally Thursday evening, Trump said again, President Obama “is the founder in a true sense.” Trump said that the terrorist organization wants Clinton for president, saying on Thursday, “Oh boy, is ISIS hoping for her.”

In a CNBC interview on Thursday, Trump clarified, Obama “was the founder of ISIS, absolutely. The way he removed our troops — you shouldn’t have gone in. I was against the war in Iraq. Totally against it.” Continuing he said, “That mistake was made. It was a horrible mistake — one of the worst mistakes in the history of our country. We destabilized the Middle East and we’ve been paying the price for it for years. He was the founder — absolutely, the founder. In fact, in sports they have awards, he gets the most valuable player award. Him and Hillary. I mean she gets it, too. I gave them co-founder if you really looked at the speech.” Supposedly, Trump originally supported the war despite the denials.

Clinton responded and attacked Trump on his favorite medium, Twitter. Clinton tried to tie the GOP’s nominee words to his fitness to be president. Clinton wrote, “It can be difficult to muster outrage as frequently as Donald Trump should cause it, but his smear against President Obama requires it.” Clinton also tweeted, “No, Barack Obama is not the founder of ISIS. … Anyone willing to sink so low, so often should never be allowed to serve as our Commander-in-Chief.”

Politics August 12, 2016: Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

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Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican are taking the news that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton might have abused her power as Secretary of State seriously. Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, questioning why the State Department and Department of Justice refused to investigate a potential conflict of interest between Clinton’s high-ranking aides working at the department and her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

In the past couple of days, two troubling incidents have shown a possible conflict of interest or at worst abuse of power during Clinton’s tenure. First, was when Conservative Watchdog group Judicial Watch published previously unreleased emails from Clinton’s aide with emails to and from Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, two trusted aides to Clinton.

The emails consisted of a request from to find a position for someone close to the foundation by a close aide to Bill Clinton, and to help a donor meet the Lebanese ambassador. Next came the CNN investigation report which uncovered that Mills interviewed candidates to head the Clinton Foundation, while she was Chief of Staff at the State Department.

Although Clinton’s campaign and the State Department defended Mill’s actions, Republicans are not accepting those responses. Cornyn in his letter said the State Dept and DOJ “favors Secretary Clinton.” The Majority Whip wrote, “This contrast does little to instill faith in the Department, part of why I called for an appointment of the Special Counsel in the email matter. But greater clarity for the public on the basis for your decision may.”

The Texas Senator called the recent discoveries “unacceptable” behavior. Sen. Cronyn continued, “It violates the commitment Secretary Clinton made to Congress and the Executive Branch following her nomination to be Secretary of State. That and her proven record of extreme carelessness with national security warrant a careful examination of Secretary Clinton’s other conduct and that of her staff.”

Additionally, Cronyn asked about CNN’s report, and why the FBI asked the DOJ to “open a case and pursue criminal charges,” however, the DOJ decided against an investigation. The DOJ claims they did not investigate because of lack of “evidence.” Cronyn wanted to know if DOJ employee, who decided against pursuing the case were questioned. The Majority Whip was concerned that at Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton at a tarmac in Phoenix earlier this summer they discussed the conflict of interest.

Politics August 11, 2016: Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

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Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

It is possible the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton blurred the lines with her husband’s Bill Clinton’s foundation while she was serving as Secretary of State. According to a CNN investigation report released on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, Clinton’s Chief of Staff and longtime aide Cheryl Mills interviewed two candidates in 2012 for a high position at the Clinton Foundation.

In 2009, as Clinton was set to become Secretary of State to she created guidelines about the Clinton Foundation to ensure that it does not “create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts for Senator Clinton as Secretary of State.”

Recent emails, however, released by Conservative Watchdog Group Judicial Watch and CNN investigation prove otherwise. The emails indicate that Clinton’s top aides at the State Department Mills and Huma Abedin, another longtime aide who served as Deputy Chief of Staff may have blurred the lines between their positions at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation showing possible “corruption.”

According to the report, on June 19, 2012, Mills, still serving as Clinton’s Secretary of State Chief of Staff at the State Department took an Amtrak train from Washington to New York. There at executive search firm Mills interviewed two business executives “one from Pfizer and another from Wal-Mart” for the position leading the Clinton Foundation. Both companies are donors to the foundation and “partner” with the Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed any connection, saying in a statement on Thursday, “Cheryl volunteered her personal time to a charitable organization, as she has to other charities. Cheryl paid for her travel to New York City personally, and it was crystal clear to all involved that this had nothing to do with her official duties. The idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd.” Mill’s lawyer also claims that she did the work voluntarily, was not paid and did not use government funds for the trip.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa also wants real answers about Mills trip and her involvement in the job search. In January, Grassley sent current Secretary of State John Kerry a letter requesting further explanations about Mill’s actions but never received a response.

Scott Amey, “an attorney for the Project on Government Oversight,” believes the State Departments needs to provide answers and be accountable to Congress on this potential corruption and abuse of power. Amey stated, “Congress has a rightful right to ask for any information that it wants to from the executive branch of government to keep track of them. And the government should be turning that information over, when you have a breakdown in that system, we have a breakdown in our democracy.”

CNN asked the State Department if Mills had permission or needed it to do what she did with the Clinton Foundation job search. The department responded, “Federal employees are permitted to engage in outside personal activities, within the scope of the federal ethics rules. All federal employees are subject to federal ethics laws and regulations, including rules pertaining to conflicts of interest.”

Mills’ actions are not so innocent. Mills has a long history with both Clintons, and her loyalties have been with them. According to CNN during the first Clinton Administration, Mills served as Deputy White House counsel and defended Bill during his Congressional impeachment hearings. During Hillary’s first run for president in 2008 Mills was her senior legal campaign adviser. Mills also served on the board of the Clinton Foundation before leaving her post at the State Department, after the brief interlude, she is again serving on the board.

Politics August 10, 2016: New Clinton emails released show possible abuse of power

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New Clinton emails released show connection between Foundation and State Dept

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is not over yet. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch released on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, more emails from Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. The 296 pages of emails include 44 emails Clinton did not give the State Department when she handed over the 55,000 pages of work-related emails in December 2014. The emails show a connection between the State Department and former President Bill Clinton’s foundation during his wife’s tenure.

In 2015, Judicial Watch sued the State Department to release Deputy Chief of Staff and longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails from Clinton’s tenure. The emails were not directly to or from Clinton but are related more important they shed light on possible impropriety and abuse of power during Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. When Clinton took on the post, she promised that there would be no connection between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department but the emails prove otherwise.

There is three particularly eye-raising emails. The first email dated April 22, 2009, was by Doug Band, a longtime Bill Clinton aide who is an official at the foundation to Abedin. In that email, Band asked Abedin to find a State Department job for an associate, who name was withheld. The email was from Band to Abedin, Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and aide Nora Toiv. Band wrote, “It’s important to take care of [redacted],” to which Abedin answered, “Personnel has been sending him options.”

In another email from Band made a request to Abedin and Mills about a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire, who was a Clinton Foundation Donor. In that 2009 email Band wanted them to connect the donor to the State Department and according to ABC News, “introduce the donor to former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman.” Band wrote, “We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re Lebanon. As you know, he’s a key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp.” Abedin responded, “It’s Jeff Feltman. I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to Jeff.”

A third email proved how much Clinton and her aides were trying to cover-up that fact that she was using a private email server. In the email, Mills falsely responded to a freedom of information request that asked for all of Clinton State Department email accounts in that response Mills said there were no accounts obviously ignoring the private email account Clinton regularly used.

Judicial Watch President Tom Filton issued a press release along with the emails being made public. Filton wrote, “No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts, and Congress. They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”

State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau responded defending Clinton, “We feel confident that all the rules were followed.” Trudeau also said, “State Department officials are regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations including non-profits, NGOs, think tanks, and others.”

Clinton’s campaign also implied there was no wrongdoing. Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin issued a statement, writing, “Neither of these emails involve the secretary or relate to the foundation’s work. They are communications between her aides and the president’s personal aide, and indeed the recommendation was for one of the secretary’s former staffers who was not employed by the foundation.”

Continuing Clinton’s favorite right wing conspiracy against her and her husband, her campaign blamed Judicial Watch. Schwerin wrote, “The right-wing organization behind this lawsuit has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s, and no matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

Clinton’s opponent Republican nominee Donald Trump and his campaign had a field day with the new emails. Trump’s national policy director Stephen Miller commented, “This is yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton lacks the judgment, character, stability and temperament to be within 1,000 miles of public power.”

Continuing Miller said, “She views public office as nothing more than a means to personal enrichment — and every dollar she takes comes at the expense of the public welfare. This latest finding is an unseemly, disturbing window into a corrupt office, and yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton has been lying from the beginning — and by any reasonable definition attempted to obstruct the investigation of the FBI.”

Personally, Trump tweeted, “When is the media going to talk about Hillary’s policies that have gotten people killed, like Libya, open borders, and maybe her emails?” At a Tuesday rally in Abingdon, Virginia, Trump also attacked “Crooked Hillary Clinton” about the emails. Trump pointed out, “A couple of very bad ones came out, and it’s called pay for play. And some of these were really, really bad and illegal. If it’s true, it’s illegal. You’re paying and you’re getting things.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also issued a statement, saying, “Anything less than a full release of these public records before voting begins will only further prove that we have a rigged system that has one set of rules political elites and another for everyone else.”

The FBI supposedly contacted the State Department about a connection between the department and the foundation earlier in the year, but the FBI and its director James Comey denied there was or is any investigation. The State Department OIG is also looking into to seeing if there was any conflict that has to be dealt with an “administrative remedy.”

Although their implication in the emails there is still no concrete proof, that Clinton explicitly abused her power at the State Department. CNN indicated, “For there to be criminal conflict of interest there would have to be evidence showing a government employee received something of value in exchange, such as a job post-employment or money.”

Even if Clinton’s activities were not illegal, she at the very least had a conflict of interest and crossed an official line. Clinton’s whole time at the State Department pushed boundaries and verged on abuse of power. The problem is throughout the campaign; the media is more interested in Trump’s missteps than Clinton’s wrongdoings.

Politics April 10, 2016: Cruz captures all Colorado delegates was it a conspiracy to block Trump

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Cruz captures all Colorado delegates was it a conspiracy to block Trump 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

April 10, 2016 6:18 AM MST

Texas Senator Ted Cruz swept all of Colorado's delegates at after their local district and state conventions but was Cruz part of the Colorado Republican Party's plan to block Donald Trump while aligning with the Never Trump movement, April 9, 2016

Texas Senator Ted Cruz swept all of Colorado’s delegates at after their local district and state conventions but was Cruz part of the Colorado Republican Party’s plan to block Donald Trump while aligning with the Never Trump movement, April 9, 2016
Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

Politics August 9, 2016: Trump implies second amendment supporters assassinate opponent Clinton

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Trump implies second amendment supporters assassinate opponent Clinton

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Another day and another controversy surrounding Republican nominee Donald Trump, this time, the nominee implied assassinating his opponent Hillary Clinton would solve problems. At a Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 9, 2016, rally at the Trask Coliseum at North Carolina University in Wilmington, Trump said the Second Amendment people could stop Clinton from picking Supreme Court Justices and other federal judges.

At the rally, Trump shocked supporters, saying, “Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” Continuing the GOP nominee said, “But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if Hillary gets to put her judges in, right now we’re tied.”

Although Trump meant to imply the second amendment voters, the double entendre seems to suggest Trump thought they could assassinate Clinton as a solution. The implication immediately caused a firestorm.

Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook immediately responded on Twitter, writing, “This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”

Clinton did not respond immediately, but her vice presidential running mate did, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine that Trump has “just no understanding for the role of leader. I just think it’s a window into the soul of a person who is temperamentally not suited for the task.”

Trump’s senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, issued a statement afterward, clarifying, “It’s called the power of unification — 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

Meanwhile, Trump also tried to clarify his remarks telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity in the evening, “This is a political movement. This is a strong political movement, the Second Amendment. And there can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me. I mean, give me a break.”

Trump vice presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, backed up him. Pence gave an interview with local Philadelphia TV station NBC10. The VP nominee told them, “Donald Trump is clearly saying is that people who cherish that right, who believe that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens makes our communities more safe, not less safe, should be involved in the political process and let their voice be heard.”

The National Rifle Association also supported Trump’s remarks with getting out the vote tweets. The NRA wrote, “@RealDonaldTrump is right. If @HillaryClinton gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary,” and “But there IS something we will do on #ElectionDay: Show up and vote for the #2A! #DefendtheSecond #NeverHillary.”

One member of the House, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. asked the Secret Service to investigate Trump’s remarks, and wrote on Twitter, that Trump “suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton.” A leading proponent of gun control legislation, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, also tweeted. Murphy who filibustered the legislation in June, wrote, “This isn’t play. Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you,” Murphy also tweeted, “Don’t treat this as a political misstep. It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”@realDonaldTrump.”

 

 

 

Politics August 7, 2016: Trump criticizes Clinton’s mental state says she short circuited

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Trump criticizes Clinton’s mental state says she short circuited

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After a disastrous and controversial week, Republican nominee Donald Trump decided to play it safe and criticize his opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally he held in Windham, New Hampshire Saturday evening, Aug. 6, 2016, and on Twitter. Trump questioned Clinton’s mental state and claims she is unfit for the presidency, saying she “short-circuited” on her email server and she is “brainwashed.”

Trump first criticized Clinton for being “short circuited” in a series of posts on Twitter on Saturday morning. Trump went after Clinton’s responses in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace about the private email server shed used during her tenure as Secretary of State. The Democratic nominee tried to spin why she stated in a recent that FBI Director James Comey said she was “truthful” and “consistent” about her server when he did not and criticized her for the server. Trump responded on Twitter in his first comment of the day, “Hillary Clinton is being badly criticized for her poor performance in answering questions. Let us all see what happens!”

Trump used Clinton’s own words against her, writing, “Crooked Hillary said loudly, and for the world to see, that she “SHORT CIRCUITED” when answering a question about her e-mails. Very dangerous!” Then Trump continued writing, “Anybody whose mind “SHORT CIRCUITS” is not fit to be our president! Look up the word “BRAINWASHED.”

Later at a rally in a New Hampshire high school gym Trump continued his attacks about Clinton being unfit for the presidency. Earlier in the week, President Barack Obama said the same Clinton also had made the same accusation about Trump. Trump told supporters, “She short-circuited, she used the term ‘short-circuited.’ She took a little short circuit in the brain.”

Continuing Trump said, “She’s got problems, I mean, if we had real people, this would be a real problem for her, but I think that the people of this country don’t want somebody that’s going to short circuit up here.” Trump also questioned Clinton’s mental state, “Honestly I don’t think she’s all there,” and using a page from Jeb Bush playbook; Trump called Clinton “totally unhinged.”

After a week of missteps, Trump has turned his focus and his comments at attacking his opponent particularly her mental state. On Friday, August 5, Trump called Clinton a “monster” and “unstable” at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Trump said, “Unstable Hillary Clinton, lacks the judgment, temperament and moral character to lead this country – and I believe that so strongly.” Continuing his attacks on her state of mind to run the country, the GOP nominee accused, “She’s really pretty close to unhinged, and you’ve seen, you’ve seen it a couple times. The people in the background know it, the people who know her know it and she’s like an unbalanced person.”

Trump is not only depicting Clinton as mentally unstable but also weak, pointing to her disastrous legacy as Secretary of State. At the Des Moines rally, Trump indicated, “The legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, chaos, and weakness. She’s weak. She’s a weak person. I know her. She’s a weak person.” Later on Friday, Trump further expressed that Clinton is unfit for the presidency at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Trump told his supporters, “In one way, she’s a monster. In another way, she’s a weak person. She’s actually not strong enough to be president.”

Politics July 7, 2016: Comey testifies at House hearing defending decision not prosecute Clinton

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By Bonnie K. Goodman 
FBI Director James Comey appeared in front of a Congressional hearing and defended the agency’s decision not to prosecute former Secretary Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information. Comey testified on Capitol Hill on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in a hearing conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee where he was the only witness and lasted four hours.

The hearing focused on whether Clinton lied to the FBI about her handling of classified information during her tenure while using a private email server for official State Department business. Jason Chaffetz, the GOP chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was looking to establish that Clinton perjured herself in her previous testimony on her email server for the House Benghazi Committee last year.

Chaffetz pointed out in his opening statement that Clinton was treated differently because she is the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee. Chaffetz indicated, “We are mystified and confused by the fact pattern that you laid out and the conclusions that you reached.” Continuing Chaffetz said, “It seems to a lot of us that the Average Joe, the average American, that if they had done what you laid out in your statement, that they would be in handcuffs, and they might be on their way to jail. I think there is a legitimate concern that there is a double standard. If your name isn’t Clinton and you are not part of the powerful elite, that Lady Justice will act differently.”

Comey was insistent the FBI’s decision would have been the same for anyone in a similar position. The FBI director adamantly said, “The decision was made, and the recommendation was made the way you would want it to be by people who didn’t give a hoot about politics but who cared about what are the facts, what is the law and how have similar people, all people, been treated in the past.”

The FBI director also clarified the decision not to prosecute was not politically motivated or any coordination with the Obama administration. Comey expressed, “I believe this investigation was conducted consistent with the highest traditions of the FBI. Our folks did it in an apolitical and professional way including our recommendation as to the appropriate resolution of this case.” Comey also told Rep. John Mica (R-Calif.), “I say that under oath, I stand by that. There was no coordination. There was an insinuation in what you were saying that.”

The FBI director, however, admitted Clinton did send three emails with classified information from her private server contradicting her previous testimony to the Benghazi committee and her public statements. Comey, when pressed in the hearing, said, “That is not true. There were a small number of portion markings on, I think, three of the documents.” When he was asked by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), if Clinton previous statement were accurate, that she did not send “any classified material to anyone on my email” and “there is no classified material,” Comey admitted, “There was classified material.”

Democrats and the Clinton campaign dismissed the GOP latest attack on their nominee. Ranking committee member Rep. Elijah Cummings said, “Amazingly, some Republicans who were praising you just days ago for your independence and integrity and honesty instantly turned against you because your recommendation conflicted with the predetermined outcome they wanted.” While Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted, “House GOP clearly treating FBI Director Comey as a hostile witness #Overreach.”

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