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Trump Campaign Transitioning to Post-Lewandowski Era in High Gear

Donald Trump dismisses debt claims, questions Hillary Clinton's faith 3:07

Donald Trump will launch a "full-frontal assault" on Hillary Clinton in a speech Wednesday, campaign sources say, as he looks to move on from the ouster of top staffer Corey Lewandowski.

The business mogul is expected to hammer home the theme that "in an election defined by change, Hillary Clinton not only represents the status quo, she represents the worst features of politics," an aide previewed, predicting Trump will try to strike a tone that's more optimistic than angry.

The speech, crafted by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and Trump's newspaper publisher son-in-law Jared Kushner, is expected to broadly cover five overall areas of attack: the Clinton Foundation, trade, terrorism, human rights, and immigration.

Trump himself appears eager to mount what advisers characterize as a "full-frontal assault" on Clinton's charitable foundation, an attack that will likely highlight findings from the Peter Schweizer book "Clinton Cash." It's become a touchstone for some in the Trump campaign: one of his top policy aides, Stephen Miller, frequently cites it during speeches introducing Trump on the campaign trail.

But none of these are particularly new lines of attack for Trump: he's tried out most at various points on the campaign trail. But the prepared remarks, set to be delivered in a more intimate setting at Trump's lower Manhattan SoHo hotel, are the first real test of his ability to prove he can stay on message after this week's staff shake-up.

Aides frame the speech — the first real test of "Trump 2.0." — as part of an aggressive bid to appeal not just to the conservative base, but to Democrats and independents who play a key role in Trump's strategy of winning over Rust Belt and blue-leaning battleground states.

The speech comes as Trump's team finally feels able to put its foot on the gas on a communications strategy, releasing a wave of spin in the face of an all-out assault from Clinton — who trashed the presumptive GOP nominee on the economy during a speech in Ohio Tuesday.

Clinton Calls Out Trump's Bankruptcy History in Latest Takedown Speech 1:49

Ten emails, with titles like "Clinton's Policies Helped Create The Mortgage Crisis" and "Hillary Clinton Makes Good Deals for Iran and Her Foreign Patrons, Not The United States," hit journalists' inboxes in rapid succession on Tuesday following Clinton's speech.

Trump supplemented the message with an Instagram video about handling debt and 11 tweets with messages conspicuously lacking exclamation points and focused on substance, for the most part.

The Republican presumptive nominee's campaign seemed also to be suddenly deploying a rapid response team — the kind of basic political messaging apparatus Clinton's team has been honing for years.

Then there were long overdue staff hiring announcements, a fundraising email, and the scheduling of his anti-Clinton speech in New York City on Wednesday.

"This is the most optimistic day since Wisconsin," recently resigned Trump aide Michael Caputo told NBC News Tuesday night.

"It's only going to get better from here. I may not be with the campaign anymore, but I can feel the sunshine just like anyone else."

Related: Filings Show Huge Fundraising Gap

With Lewandowksi gone, sources both in the campaign and out described a collective sigh of relief from staffers who were trying to step up their game and become a team worthy of a general election.

"There's a lot of energy and excitement," one campaign source said. 'We were vigorous on rapid response and it was very effective."

The source also spoke glowingly of Tuesday's fundraiser at the swanky Manhattan restaurant Le Cirque, but would not reveal the amount raised.

Fundraising is still a huge part of the Trump campaign's problem. May's Federal Election Commission report — showing Clinton with 30 times as much cash on hand as Trump — was devastating. It didn't help restore confidence among wary donors and Republican lawmakers.

To make things worse, Trump is due to abandon the campaign trail for a visit to his golf courses in Scotland later this week. And although the trip was shortened to three days, the optics are not good.

Related: Trump Would 'Bankrupt America' Like One of His Casinos, Clinton Says

"If he wanted to show people he was serious about changing course he'd cancel his trip," advised Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist who served as deputy national press secretary on Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign.

"It has nothing to do with his campaign for the presidency," Williams added. "He's not raising money. He's not campaigning in battleground states. It's solely for his business and brand."

So the biggest hurdle now is the same as it was on day one: the candidate himself. Donors are weary, lawmakers are weary, and the party establishment is weary.

Analyst: Trump campaign needs to improve to calm jittery GOP 3:52

Multiple sources tell NBC News that Trump's stubborn refusal to get in line with party leaders has not been forgotten.

"There's still a lot of poison in the air. It takes a while to fan it out," another campaign source said.

And while Trump's champions believe there is time for him to turn it around, other Republicans are less than hopeful, grumbling that at this point almost anyone would be better than their soon-to-be nominee.

"Firing Corey [Lewandowksi] isn't the magic bullet. Replacing Trump with a reasonable, intelligent, honest, and honorable man or woman would be magic bullet," one GOP operative said.