Trump’s Bondi ties draw new scrutiny – Politico

09/07/16 04:46 PM EDT

BONDI BREACH: DONALD TRUMP and his aides spent the day fighting allegations that he engaged in “pay-to-play” politics with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, as the scandal around campaign donations and Bondi’s decision to an investigation into Trump University intensified.

News emerged last week that Trump paid a $2,500 fine because his foundation gave an improper, $25,000 donation to Bondi’s political election committee in 2013. After the donation, Bondi’s office declined to a join a multistate investigation of Trump University, Trump’s real estate seminar program. Trump also hosted a lavish fundraiser for Bondi at his Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2014 and, in March this year, Bondi endorsed Trump for president.

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Trump’s dealings have come under renewed scrutiny in part because he has made HILLARY CLINTON’s connections with the Clinton Foundation during tenure at the State Department a central part of his argument in recent weeks. Read more at:

Happy Wednesday. It’s time for your 2016 Blast. Where you never have to pay us to play, we’re 100 percent waterproof and we’ll never, ever take away your headphone jack. Promise. Henry C. Jackson (@henrycjjackson) is here to guide you through today’s campaign news, so please send your tips, complaints and product iterations to:

2) MONEY HAUL: DONALD TRUMP took in $90 million dollars between his own campaign and several GOP committees in August, a total that trails HILLARY CLINTON’s haul for the month but is a still-impressive intake for a campaign that had largely ignored fundraising for months, POLITICO’s Louis Nelson reports. “Trump’s fundraising total represents a $10 million increase from his July total but still trailed far behind Hillary Clinton, who raised $143 million in August with the Democratic National Committee and state parties. … The Manhattan billionaire’s ability to raise money was a source of much skepticism early on in the campaign, but he has quickly ramped up his fundraising, assuaging some of those concerns. A Trump campaign official told CNN that much of the $90 million in donations is expected to come from small donations.”

3) MONEY BALL: Meet Elan Kriegel, a statistician and the invisible hand behind HILLARY CLINTON’s campaign strategy who is helping shape her strategic goals. POLITICO’s Shane Goldmacher reports: “What cities Clinton campaigns in and what states she competes in, when she emails supporters and how those emails are crafted, what doors volunteers knock on and what phone numbers they dial, who gets Facebook ads and who gets printed mailers — all those and more have Kriegel’s coding fingerprints on them. To understand Kriegel’s role is to understand how Clinton has run her campaign — precise and efficient, meticulous and effective, and, yes, at times more mathematical than inspirational. Top Clinton advisers say almost no major decision is made in Brooklyn without first consulting Kriegel.”

4) ON AN (HAWAIIAN) ISLAND: MIKE PENCE is breaking from DONALD TRUMP — he says he has no doubt that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. But Pence also declined to say whether the GOP nominee should apologize for suggesting Obama was born outside the U.S. POLITICO’s Matthew Nussbaum reports: “I honestly think that DONALD trump, in his candor and in his vision, is expanding the Republican Party even as we speak,” Pence added, when asked if the comments would limit Trump’s ability to expand the Republican base. “I think it’s very clear that Republicans, Independents and Democrats are responding to this call to make America great again.”

5) MERC-Y BUSINESS: A top DONALD TRUMP supporter, who also happens to be a hedge fund heiress, is helping reshape the Republican party, POLITICO’s Kenneth P. Vogel and Ben Schreckinger report. And that’s troubling for plenty of GOP mainstays who don’t always agree with her approach. “Leaning on the fortune amassed by her father, Rebekah Mercer has steered her family’s rapid rise over the course of just a few years from the conservative fringe to the white-hot center of the most dramatic election season in years. And no matter the results on Nov. 8, the Mercers are positioned to reshape the American right for years to come in their anti-establishment image. But the family’s rise, facilitated by an increasingly aggressive network of Mercer-backed institutions and operatives, has prompted worry within the GOP about an attempted takeover, and questions from across the political spectrum about what the Mercers intend to do with the influence they’ve purchased.”

TRAIL MIX: In today’s campaign news, DONALD TRUMP ends his blacklist and wants to kill the sequester for military spending. HILLARY CLINTON’s attack gets turned around, but she gets a prominent ‘recommendation’ and grande boost. Mexico’s finance minister departs, and it’s all locked up in Arizona.

SOME DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Morning News, which hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for president since 1940, “recommendedHILLARY CLINTON in an editorial and said she was much more qualified than DONALD TRUMP.

BUILD UP: DONALD TRUMP proposed lifting spending caps to boost military spending during a speech in Philadelphia. (Wall Street Journal)

WAR ON WORDS: DONALD TRUMP also walked back, somewhat, his “I love war” quote.

NO BATTLE: NPR reports HILLARY CLINTON is swamping DONALD TRUMP in battleground state advertising.

THANKS A LATTE: Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ founder and CEO, endorsed HILLARY CLINTON. (Fortune)

HE’LL CHAFE: The New York Times profiles Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, her “latest congressional adversary.”

RUBBER MEETS GLUE: The Trump campaign seems to parrot HILLARY CLINTON’s argument, calling her “unstable” and “trigger-happy.”

ADIOS, NIETO: Mexico’s finance minister resigned after President Enrique Pena Nieto met with DONALD TRUMP last week.

A (DRY) DEAD HEAT: The candidates are running neck-and-neck in a new Arizona poll released today.

THEY SAID IT: “I think that you know you asked me to come on to talk about public policy. I will say in general look the foreign policy establishment in Washington does need a shakeup. I mean if we look back over the last 16 years there have been a lot of mistakes made in both directions. And it’s created a lot of instability around the world.” — Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, once floated as a DONALD TRUMP running mate, answering a question about why Trump is more qualified to be president than HILLARY CLINTON.

MAGIC NUMBER: 8. That’s how many states have “Nathan Johnson” on the ballot as conservative independent Evan McMullin’s vice presidential nominee and say they can’t remove it. Nathan Johnson, though, was only ever intended to be a placeholder:

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There you go — now you’re caught up on the 2016 race. TBNR. We’ll see you Thursday.


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