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OFF TO THE RACES: 'Ever, ever, ever'

Per NBC’s Ali Vitali, Donald Trump repeated his grim view of African-American urban communities, saying at a campaign rally that "places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities.” MORE: "We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they've ever been in before. Ever, ever, ever.”

From the New York Times: "There is nothing in Donald J. Trump’s or Hillary Clinton’s antiterrorism plans that would have had much chance of stopping the bombings in New York and New Jersey that Ahmad Khan Rahami is accused of carrying out. The subject of how to prevent terrorism will almost certainly be a major topic on Monday night, when the two presidential candidates face off in their first debate. But the truth is that cases like Mr. Rahami’s fit neatly into no categories."

In an interview with NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, Mike Pence would not say whether or not the New York City bombing suspect should be treated as an enemy combatant.

Leigh Ann Caldwell sums up what you need to know from the August fundraising reports.

Yesterday’s big scoop, from the Washington Post: "Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents. Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses."

In the Wall Street Journal: "Bill Clinton’s Speaking Fee Overlaps With Foundation Business: Former president was paid by fragrance industry that later benefited from family charity’s Haitian project"

"Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump already has a contentious relationship with Kiev, irking the Ukrainian public and government officials with his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow-friendly views on the annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine. Now, invited to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week, Trump’s campaign didn’t even bother to send Kiev an RSVP,” writes Foreign Policy.

From NBC’s Jane Timm: Here’s what you need to know about the presidential debates.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Hillary Clinton is preparing for two different foes in Monday’s presidential debate: an on-message, disciplined Donald Trump and a freewheeling, more provocative Donald Trump.”

And from POLITICO: Democrats’ advice to Clinton is to let Trump be his own worst enemy. "Donald Trump’s more tightly scripted campaign of late could backfire on him when he squares off against Clinton on Monday in Hempstead, New York, Democrats believe. He won’t be able to rely on the teleprompter he’s been using of late, they say, and Trump’s only recent extended interview with The Washington Post showed that, left to his own devices, he’s apt to stumble back into controversy on issues like Barack Obama’s birthplace.”

From the AP: "Seven weeks before Election Day, the earliest numbers from advance voting for president show initial strength for Hillary Clinton in swing state North Carolina, good news for Donald Trump in battleground Iowa and a record number of requests for ballots in Ohio. The first early voting figures Tuesday are too preliminary to serve as clear indicators about how the election will go. Still, they are of interest because, unlike polls, they deal with actual voters either casting ballots or taking their first steps to do so. Campaigns are scrutinizing these figures to help guide their strategies."

"National polls continue to show that Americans either narrowly favor international trade generally, and the so-called T.P.P. specifically, or are split. Younger voters are especially favorable. But Republicans are not, reflecting the influence of the anti-trade nominee Donald J. Trump on his traditionally pro-trade party. And certainly trade remains more unpopular in battleground states like Ohio, where it is blamed for years of manufacturing job losses,” writes the New York Times. "Yet the level of support for trade agreements in general, and the pending Pacific pact in particular, stands in notable contrast to the toxicity of trade in an election season largely defined by anger among working-class voters. What matters to many politicians, however, is the fact that the opponents are the ones most motivated to vote based on the issue — just as they are on issues like immigration and gun restrictions that also have more support than divisive debates suggest."

The Washington Post explores Donald Trump Jr.’s history of flirtation with "with ideas, themes and people seen as racially or culturally charged."

Get ready for a big infusion of down ballot campaign cash.

Gary Johnson has seen an influx of fundraising.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Clinton lays out her plan to help the poor.

The Washington Post editorial board is no huge fan of Trump’s new economic proposals.

NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell notes that a George H.W. Bush vote for Hillary Clinton is pretty believable.