First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
The new Trump campaign tries to change the subject back to Clinton
It’s time for a special prosecutor to look in the Clinton Foundation! Hillary Clinton has a health problem! Clinton and the Democrats are bad for minority voters! “Welcome to the Bannon campaign,” the New York Times’ Alex Burns observed, referring to new Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon of Breitbart News. Indeed, the Trump camp has been under new management for an entire week, and you see how it’s doing everything it can to turn this race from a referendum on Donald Trump -- which it has been for months now -- into a referendum on Hillary Clinton. Of course, there’s a legitimate question as to whether this will all work. After all, there’s no way the Obama administration will appoint a special prosecutor with 77 days before the election. And the allegations about Clinton’s health are unfounded -- in fact, Clinton’s letter from her doctors is much more thorough than Trump’s four-paragraph letter (which begins “To Whom My Concern”). But you see what the Trump campaign is trying to do: Down in the polls, it’s trying to change the subject back to Clinton.
Trump: A special prosecutor should look into the Clinton Foundation
As for the Clinton Foundation, here’s what Trump said about it campaigning last night in Akron, OH: “Her foundation took in large payments from major corporations and wealthy individuals, foreign and domestic, and all the while she was Secretary of State. The Clinton Foundation accepted as much as $60 million from Middle Eastern countries that oppress women, gays and people of different faiths.” More Trump: “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.” There has been no proof whatsoever of a quid pro quo -- that is, a direct action that was taken because of a donation -- but we’ll repeat again how this was always a problematic arrangement. As former Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) said at Clinton’s confirmation hearing to be secretary of state, "The core of the problem is that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state.” Now the Clintons have revealed their plans for the foundation if Hillary becomes president -- it will stop receiving foreign and corporate donations, and Bill Clinton will step down from the board. Still, as we’ve seen in the past, these steps are the bare minimum. And you can see how the Clinton Foundation could be a governing problem for Hillary if she becomes president.
Trump’s pitch to minority voters: “You can go to war zones in countries that we're fighting, and it's safer than living in some of our inner cities”
Over the past week, Donald Trump has been making a pitch to minority voters. And it’s easy to see how it’s likely to fall on deaf ears, especially since he’s been making it in front of nearly all-white crowds. “Crime at levels that nobody has seen, you can go to war zones in countries that we're fighting, and it's safer than living in some of our inner cities. They're run by the Democrats,” Trump said in Akron, OH last night. “And I ask you this, I ask you this, crime, all of the problems, to the African Americans, who I employ so many, so many people, to the Hispanics, tremendous people -- what the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance. I'll straighten it out, I'll straighten it out. What do you have to lose?” That is some kind of pitch to minorities: Vote for me, because you’re living in places that are worse than war zones. The Clinton campaign released this statement in response: "It could not be clearer how much African Americans have to lose under Donald Trump. He is doubling down on insults, fear and stereotypes that set our community back and further divide our country. But again this is not surprising, this is a man who questions the citizenship of the first African American president, has a disturbing pattern of courting white supremacists, and has been sued for housing discrimination against communities of color.”
NBC|SurveyMonkey poll shows Trump struggling with African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans
Indeed, our latest NBC|SurveyMonkey online tracking poll -- which has Clinton ahead of Trump by eight points, 50%-42% -- shows Trump struggling among minority voters. “Results from the latest tracking poll show that only 8 percent of black voters support him, compared to 87 percent who support Clinton. Trump is also behind among Hispanic voters with 22 percent compared to 73 percent who support Clinton. Asian Americans also overwhelmingly support Clinton, 66 percent to 23 percent who support Trump.” And this AP story won't help things: “Donald Trump's paid campaign staffers have declared on their personal social media accounts that Muslims are unfit to be U.S. citizens, mocked how Mexicans talk, called for Secretary of State John Kerry to be hanged and stated their readiness for a possible civil war, according to a review by The Associated Press of their postings. The AP examined the social media feeds of more than 50 current and former campaign employees who helped propel Trump through the primary elections. The campaign has employed a mix of veteran political operatives and outsiders. Most come across as dedicated, enthusiastic partisans, but at least seven expressed views that were overtly racially charged, supportive of violent actions or broadly hostile to Muslims.”
Clinton to argue Thursday against Trump’s “Alt-Right” candidacy
Finally, the Clinton campaign just announced that Hillary Clinton will deliver a speech on Thursday in Reno, NV “to address Donald Trump and his advisors' embrace of the disturbing ‘alt-right’ political philosophy. This ‘alt-right’ brand is embracing extremism and presenting a divisive and dystopian view of America which should concern all Americans, regardless of party.” Translation: She will be speaking about Breitbart’s Steve Bannon and his new influence inside the Trump campaign.
On the trail
Donald Trump holds a rally in Austin, TX at 8:30 pm ET… Mike Pence is in Pennsylvania, hitting King of Prussia and Pipersville… And Tim Kaine stumps in Colorado.
Countdown to Election Day: 77 days