Donald Trump backtracks on ‘video of Iran payment’

US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has backtracked on a claim that he saw video footage of a US cash payment to Iran.

He made the claim at a rally. His team admitted it was incorrect, only for Mr Trump to repeat it at another rally.

The money was paid at the same time US hostages were freed, but the president said it was a payment linked to the landmark Iranian nuclear agreement.

Mr Trump said the video he saw was of the hostage transfer, not the payment.

The White House announced in January it was making payments to Iran – a total of $1.7bn (£1.3bn) to settle a decades-old dispute over a failed military equipment deal – as part of the nuclear accord.

A newspaper this week revealed that $400m of that was delivered in cash, flown to Iran at roughly the same time as four Americans were released in a prisoner exchange.

The timing of the transfer brought attacks from Republicans, including Mr Trump.

President Barack Obama denied any connection between the cash and the prisoner swap, saying: “We do not pay ransom for hostages.” He said the payment had to be in cash because strict financial sanctions precluded other methods.

Analysis: Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America Reporter

Donald Trump tweets: The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!Image copyrightTWITTER

Being Donald Trump means never having to say you’re sorry – or mistaken. The candidate has made a habit of steadfastly sticking by comments whose veracity, to put it mildly, has been called into question.

For instance, assertions that Muslim-Americans celebrated after 9/11, that neighbours didn’t tell authorities they saw the San Bernardino shooters making bombs and that Mexico has a policy of sending criminals into the US have been roundly debunked by fact-checkers, yet all have been fixtures in Trump speeches.

This track record makes it noteworthy that on Friday morning Mr Trump backed away from his recent claims that he saw a video of Iranians unloading crates currency from a US plane.

Perhaps cooler heads in the Trump camp prevailed. Perhaps Mr Trump realised that his remarkably detailed misstatements were burying what could have been an effective campaign issue – the perception that the Obama administration was exchanging money for hostages.

It’s become conventional wisdom that there isn’t a tactical political advantage – on foreign affairs, Clinton emails, etc – that Mr Trump can’t mishandle. Republicans can only hope Mr Trump’s backtracking here is a sign of new, more disciplined candidate emerging.

However, the BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher in Washington says it did not help that Iranian defence officials had described the money as a ransom payment.

Mr Trump insisted on Wednesday he had seen video showing the money being delivered.

His team on Thursday acknowledged this was not the case, saying Mr Trump was referring to cable news file footage of hostages being released.

But Mr Trump repeated his claim at another rally later on Thursday.

On Friday, his tweet was echoing the campaign team, saying: “The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!”

‘Blank cheque’

Donald Trump has had a difficult week. His rival, Hillary Clinton, has seen a significant opinion poll boost since the Democratic convention.

He has also run into trouble by rowing with the parents of a Muslim US army captain who was killed in Iraq and was criticised for calling Mrs Clinton “the devil”.

A number of high-profile figures, including Republicans, have come out against him.

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman was one to air an anti-Trump advertisement.

Former director of the CIA, Michael Morell, not affiliated to either party, said in the New York Times that he would “do everything I can to ensure [Mrs Clinton] is elected our 45th president”.

Citing Mr Trump’s positions on Russia, Mr Morell called the New York billionaire an “unwitting agent” of Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan told fundraisers the party had to protect its majority in Congress or “we could be handing President Hillary Clinton a blank cheque”.

It echoed the “Let’s not give Clinton a blank cheque” phrase used by Republicans in 1996 when it became clear Bob Dole would not defeat Bill Clinton.

However, Mr Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, stood firmly behind him on Friday, telling NBC: “Donald Trump and I are standing shoulder to shoulder to say to the American people, ‘we can be strong again’.”

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Donald Trump’s race for the White House: A conspiracy?

As David Moyes’ troubled time at Manchester United was coming to an end, a banner appeared at Anfield, home of arch rivals, Liverpool. It read “Agent Moyes: Mission Accomplished”.

The idea was that the only way to destroy the dynasty built by Alex Ferguson, United’s legendary manager, was to do it from the inside.

I was reminded of the banner thinking about Donald Trump.

There are more than a few Republicans who believe his entire campaign is not geared at winning the White House but simply clearing a path for Hillary Clinton. A so-called “false flag” operation.

Remember, the Democratic nominee for president would be the least trusted candidate to run for the presidency if she wasn’t topped by one other candidate. And that would be Donald Trump.

It’s just one of the incredible conspiracies that have circled around the businessman’s campaign.

It’s no surprise. Conspiracy theories tend to arise as people try to make sense of unusual events. In fact in the book American Conspiracy Theories two respected academics found that “inducing anxiety of loss of control triggers respondents to seen nonexistent patterns and evoke conspiratorial explanations”. And the rise of Trump has been unusual and unexpected.

The suggestion that Trump is somehow a Democrat insider was given real credence in a tweet last December by none other than Jeb Bush. He wrote “Maybe Donald negotiated a deal with his buddy @HillaryClinton. Continuing this path will put her in the White House”

So how could that possibly be true? Well first of all, Trump used to be a Democrat. He held and – in some cases – still holds views which are closer to Democratic orthodoxy than that of his own party. He was a friend of the Clintons. They attended his wedding in 2005. And he praised both Clintons, but especially Hillary, calling her “a terrific woman”.

In the view of the man who first floated the idea, the self-described “conservative-Paleo-libertarian” Justin Raimondo, Trump’s pronouncements, “the open racism, the demagogic appeals….sound like something out of a democratic political consultant’s imagination, a caricature of conservatism as performed by a master actor”.

Sceptics also point to the fact that any other political outsider would have been ignored by the media. Instead when Trump spoke it was covered wall to wall by the cable news networks and given extensive coverage in newspapers. Conservative talk radio lapped it up and promoted it.

He had toyed with a presidential run before and enjoyed the media and attention that came with it – this was the time he had to get in the race or be forever branded a political tease.

Donald Trump won the nomination because unlike any other Republican politician he tapped into the fear and anxiety of America’s working classes and gave it a voice. He understood what they worried about most; a lack of economic advancement; the fear of immigration and a concern that their world was changing too fast and they couldn’t pump the brakes.

Yet his most recent pronouncements – repeatedly calling Hillary Clinton “crooked”, claiming the election will be rigged and stolen from the Republicans, are not the words of someone who wants a smooth transition of power or someone who wants his former buddy sitting behind the Resolute desk in the White House.

Trump is doing what he’s doing because he wants to win the White House. Not for anyone else. For himself.

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Donald Trump just lost his best friend

Donald Trump and polls have had a long and unusually good relationship. Throughout the Republican primary, polls showed Trump at or near the top of the field. He dutifully cited them — and cited them — as evidence that he was #winning, and that everyone who second-guessed his unorthodox campaign style was, in a word, dumb.

It was Trump’s ultimate defense. Every time another candidate or a party leader raised questions about his fitness for office or his conservative credentials, he could always point to polling that showed the Republican primary electorate siding with him. It served as his uber-example of how out of touch the party establishment was with its base; every time they predicted something he said or did would doom his campaign, his poll numbers went up. (See Muslim ban, build wall and make Mexico pay for it, etc.)

Of late, though, the Trump-polls friendship has fallen on hard times. Very hard times.

He’s down 17 points to Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. Down 11 inPennsylvania. Down six in Michigan. And national polling is no better. AFox News survey out Wednesday night had Trump down 10 to Clinton. That’s consistent with the post-conventions landscape in lots of polls released over the past five days.

That polling reality doesn’t mean that Trump isn’t still trying to lean on polls to make the point that he is winning. At the start of a rally Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Fla., Trump cited a “new” poll that showed him ahead by eight points in Florida. But there hasn’t been any “new” polling done since early July — before the two conventions —in the state. And, of the 14 most recent polls in the state, Trump has led Clinton in just four.

For the past 15 months, we’ve all been wondering what would happen to Trump if his beloved poll numbers took a turn for the worst. So much of Trump’s pitch to voters was based on his standing in the polls — I’m winning and that means I am a winner and, therefore, someone you should vote for — that it was hard to imagine what he would even say if he wasn’t ahead.

That question never really got answered in the primary because Trump never experienced any sort of extended polling slump. But it is quite clearly happening right now.

Trump seems to be struggling to deal with it. In Jacksonville on Wednesday night, Trump went through his usual litany of the big crowds he is drawing — “We go to Oklahoma, we had 25,000 people. We had 21,000 people in Dallas” — before turning more introspective: “I hear we’re leading Florida by a bit,” he said. “I don’t know why we’re not leading by a lot. Maybe crowds don’t make the difference.”

The smartest thing Trump could do when asked about his poll problems is to note that Clinton is enjoying a very traditional convention bounce and that the race will eventually settle down to a close single digit contest.

But Trump rarely does the politically smart thing — particularly when he feels betrayed by the same polls that were so good to him for so long. And there are already indications that Trump — a friend spurned — is going to burn the bridges of his past close relationship with polls.

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Donald Trump’s support collapses in 3 of the most important major battlegrounds

Donald TrumpDonald Trump received a wave of discouraging polling news Thursday as an extraordinarily damaging week neared its conclusion.

Polls in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Hampshire suggested that a once tight race in the battlegrounds had shifted in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The polls showed Clinton with a 9-point lead in Michigan, an 11-point lead in Pennsylvania, and a 17-point lead in New Hampshire. In mid-July, polls conducted in each state found the race to be within 3 points in either direction.

In Michigan, where a Detroit News poll found Clinton to hold about a 9-point lead in a contest that included Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, the pollster described “shocking” leads for Clinton in Republican strongholds in the western part of the state.

“He’s sitting in the cellar right now, and they’re going to have to do something to dramatically turn this around,” said Richard Czuba, the president of the Glengariff Group Inc. polling firm. “If I were a Republican running on this ticket right now, I’d be beyond nervous.”

The past three polls conducted in Michigan before the Detroit News survey found Clinton with leads of 3 points, 5 points, and 3 points.

“I know that there’s a lot of numbers that matter in politics, but Twitter followers still don’t trump poll numbers,” Michigan Republican strategist Greg McNeilly told the News, referring to Trump’s massive social-media following. “He should stick to his stronger, more secure, and more prosperous America message.”

The 11-point advantage in Pennsylvania, found in the poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall College, was the largest lead enjoyed by Clinton since late April, before Trump had sealed the GOP nomination. The poll found Clinton with a 49%-to-38% edge among likely voters that expanded to a 48%-to-35% edge among registered voters.

Trump has made a strong push to put Pennsylvania in play this cycle, though the state hasn’t voted for a Republican in the presidential race since 1988.

Between May 8 and July 11, just two of seven polls in the state found the race in the Keystone State separated by more than 2 points, according to RealClearPolitics. Since then, Clinton has enjoyed leads of 4, 9, and now 11 points.

Another eye-opening statistic from the poll: Just two in five Pennsylvania voters who watched the Republican convention last month said it made them more likely to vote for Trump. On the other hand, 53% said it made them less likely to do so.

The numbers were virtually flipped for Clinton, as 62% of those who watched last week’s Democratic convention — held in Philadelphia — said they were more likely to vote for the former secretary of state. Only 39% said it made them less likely to vote for the Democratic nominee.

The other battleground poll released Thursday morning, conducted by WBUR in New Hampshire, found arguably the worst results for Trump.

The Manhattan billionaire now faces a massive 17-point hole in the Granite State — a state where he was found to be within 2 points in mid-July.

WBUR’s poll showed Clinton with a 51%-to-34% advantage over Trump. Just 63% of Republicans said they would vote for their party’s nominee, while 86% of Democrats were ready to cast ballots for Clinton.

Thursday brought the latest in a wave of bad polling news for Trump that has shown Clinton to be taking bigger national leads. A Fox News poll released Wednesday found Clinton holding a 10-point lead over the real-estate magnate among voters nationwide.

Trump’s poll numbers have taken a beating amid a feud with a military family that was critical of him at the Democratic convention. Trump has also said the fall election will be “rigged” against him, has expressed more positive feelings toward Russia, and has said he is not ready to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan or Sen. John McCain of Arizona — two of the most prominent Republicans in Washington — in their primary races later this month.

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Ben Carson: The Khans Should Apologize to Donald Trump

Almost no one believes that Donald Trump acted wisely in attacking Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who denounced the Republican nominee at the Democratic National Convention. The couple’s Muslim American son died fighting for the U.S. in Iraq. Almost any other American would’ve understood that it would be morally wrong and politically inept to lash out at them. Yet Trump, with his compulsion to “hit back” at critics, managed to keep their speech in the headlines for days, to trigger a dressing down by the VFW, to anger a lot of military families, and to alienate a lot of voters.

Fellow Republicans chided him. Rumors circulated about “an intervention” by his staffers. Even his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, publicly called his actions “not smart.”

So imagine my surprise when Ben Carson, the retired-neurosurgeon-turned-politician who endorsed Trump and appears on TV as one of his surrogates,asserted on CNN and again on Fox News that while Trump shouldn’t have behaved as he did toward the Khan family, the grieving husband and wife should apologize to Trump, too. “I don’t think that it would be harmful if they apologized to him and he apologized to them,” Carson told Wolf Blitzer, “but I don’t see that happening.”

“Why should they apologize to him?” the anchor asked.

“Well, for one thing,” Carson answered, “if you accuse someone of something that’s not true, it usually is a reasonable thing to acknowledge that.” He didn’t specify the alleged falsehood on CNN.

Megyn Kelly pointed out that in a new Fox News poll—Trump having managed to induce pollsters to call likely voters and describe how he insulted grieving parents to gauge their reaction—an impressive 69 percent of respondents called Trump’s comments “out of bounds,” while only 19 percent felt that they were “in bounds.”

Carson’s reply started out reasonably enough. There’s no question that the family is distraught, and that they made a supreme sacrifice for the United States, he declared, adding that “when they speak you should just give them a pass and move on, and I think that pretty much everybody would agree that should be the case.”

Except, as Megyn Kelly pointed out, Trump obviously didn’t agree.

“If you asked Donald now, he would tell you that too,” Carson said. (I have my doubts!)

“Because he suffered the political fallout,” Kelly said, “but most people would do it out of a sense of decency that drove their behavior in the first place, not out of political expediency.” (Did I mention how dumb Trump was to pick a fight with Megyn Kelly?) Then she asked why Carson told CNN that the Khans should apologize.

“Well, because they said things that are false,” Carson said.

“What,” Kelly asked, “did they say that was false?”

“That he had never read the Constitution,” Carson said. “Where did they get that from? That’s unreasonable.”

Let’s pause there. What Khizr Kahn said, after criticizing Trump’s unconstitutional proposals, was, “Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?” Carson is implying that Khan is a liar over a rhetorical question! Carson is the one being unreasonable here. Exasperated, Kelly pressed him.

“I know you as an empathetic man, a kind man,” she said. “Do you really believe that this Gold Star family should apologize to Donald Trump? This family that has sacrificed their son to protect this nation, that was viciously attacked by the presidential nominee, that they owe him an apology? I just want to make sure you really believe that.”

n other circumstances, almost anyone in America’s red tribe would say, “Of course the grieving parents of a fallen soldier don’t owe the politician an apology.”

Carson’s answer:

Try to listen to what I’m saying. We as a society have gotten ourselves into this tug-of-war where we get into our separate corners and we try to demonize each other. The way that they come out of that is they come together, they shake hands, they exchange pleasantries and apologies, and say, you know, we have better issues to deal with. They’re both on the same side. They’re fighting radical Islamic terrorists.

They lost a son doing that.

Donald wants to fight that as well. They need to recognize that this is not something we need to be pitting ourselves against each other, because it only weakens us and it’s only easier for our enemies to conquer us.

It’s hard to watch the interview without thinking less of Ben Carson than before. To spin for Donald Trump—one of the most prolific practitioners of demonization in the United States—Carson doesn’t just forswear the position he would hold in other circumstances, blatantly lie about what the Khans said in their speech, and suggest they owe Trump an apology. He goes on to argue that if they don’t recognize their supposed error, they’ll make it easier for the folks who killed their son to win.

Does Carson have no decency? I’d put it this way: It is often impossible both to behave decently and to go on television to defend Trump, because there is often no decent defense for what he says and does.

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Newt Gingrich breaks with Donald Trump and endorses John McCain

Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and a close adviser to Donald Trump, broke with the Republican nominee on Thursday and endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for reelection.

“I strongly endorse Senator John McCain,” Gingrich said in a video address released on Thursday. “A genuine American hero, a man who has endured a great deal for his country, and a man who I work with and watch him provide leadership as chairman of the Armed Services Committee. I know how hard John works for veterans, for the military, for our national security — and I know that John McCain is a national treasure. Somebody who’s making a real difference, a man of great courage, who is a patriot, serves his country without fear. I hope you do everything you can to make sure that Senator John McCain continues to work in Washington on your behalf, and on the behalf of all Americans.”

Trump has repeatedly accused McCain of not doing enough to help military veterans, even though McCain has played a key role in a series of reforms aimed at helping veterans. Last summer Trump said that McCain is only considered “a war hero because he was captured” while fighting in North Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war for more than five years. Even after McCain endorsed Trump, the businessman has continued to question McCain’s commitment to veterans.

Trump angered party leaders this week by refusing to endorse McCain or House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) in their Republican primaries. Both have endorsed Trump but have remained critical of many of his comments, including his attacks on the Muslim parents of a fallen solider who spoke at the Democratic National Convention. On Wednesday, Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, said that he “strongly” endorses Ryan. Gingrich’s endorsement of McCain on Thursday seemed to be a continuation of Trump’s closest allies showing their support.

McCain said in a statement on Thursday that he is “honored to receive the endorsement of Speaker Gingrich, a long-time friend and leader in the Republican Party” who is also “a strong voice for conservative principles.”

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Fueled by Small Donations, Donald Trump Makes Up Major Financial Ground

Donald J. Trump all but erased his enormous fund-raising disadvantage against Hillary Clinton in the span of just two months, according to figures released by his campaign on Wednesday, converting the passion of his core followers into a flood of small donations on a scale rarely seen in national politics.

Mr. Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $64 million through a joint digital and mail effort in July, according to his campaign, the bulk of it from small donations. All told, Mr. Trump and his party brought in $82 million last month, only slightly behind Mrs. Clinton’s $90 million, and ended with $74 million on hand, suggesting he might now have the resources to compete with Mrs. Clinton in the closing stretch of the campaign.

“She’s been doing this for 20 years,” said Steven Mnuchin, a New York investor who is Mr. Trump’s finance chairman. “We’ve been doing it for two months.” More than two-thirds of the $64 million had come online, Mr. Mnuchin said.

The new figures indicate a major shift in Mr. Trump’s campaign, which until recent months was largely funded by hat and T-shirt sales and by Mr. Trump’s wallet. And they suggest that Mr. Trump has the potential to be the first Republican nominee whose campaign could be financed chiefly by grass-roots supporters pitching in $10 or $25 apiece, echoing the success of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primary.

The numbers released by the Trump campaign Wednesday are preliminary; official figures — including money spent on direct mail, which is typically expensive, and a precise breakdown of total cash raised in small increments — will become available when Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton file formal reports with the Federal Election Commission this month.

Moreover, Mr. Trump’s surge is coming very late in the campaign, at a point where advertising rates climb and the chance to invest in a long-term digital and campaign infrastructure is long past.

And Mrs. Clinton’s own fund-raising operation is rapidly expanding as well. In a Twitter post on Wednesday, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton said that her campaign and a joint fund-raising operation with the Democratic National Committee had $102 million on hand, not including cash held directly by the party.

But Mr. Trump’s announcement suggests that after months of dithering and false starts, he has begun to exploit an opportunity: marrying his powerful credibility among grass-roots Republicans with targeted small-donor fund-raising, particularly online, where Mr. Trump’s website features buttons soliciting $50, $25 and even $10 contributions.

At the end of May, Mr. Trump reported barely more than $1.3 million in cash, alarming Republicans, who feared a financial rout by Mrs. Clinton.

Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee and a wealthy man in his own right, was never able to stoke intense enthusiasm among small donors and relied disproportionately on big ones. During July of that year, for example, Mr. Romney and the Republican National Committee reported raising a total of just $19 million from contributions of less than $200.

Mr. Trump was able to ramp up quickly in part through a digital operation set up by the R.N.C. since that campaign. Even before Mr. Trump was the nominee, the party built out its email list and tested ways of targeting small donors.

With that in place, party officials unleashed a pent-up desire by rank-and-file Republicans to donate to a candidate who has bluntly attacked lobbyists and big donors. While Mr. Trump accepted online donations during the primary season, he did not send out an email solicitation until late June — which brought in $3 million alone, an indication of the well of money available to him.

The campaign has also raised money by promising to match small donations out of Mr. Trump’s pocket, a tactic available only to wealthy candidates.

“There was always that potential, but you didn’t have candidates who were as uniquely positioned in the same way that Trump is,” said Patrick Ruffini, a Republican strategist who ran digital fund-raising at the Republican National Committee under President George W. Bush.

Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee and a wealthy man in his own right, was never able to stoke intense enthusiasm among small donors and relied disproportionately on big ones. During July of that year, for example, Mr. Romney and the Republican National Committee reported raising a total of just $19 million from contributions of less than $200.

Mr. Trump was able to ramp up quickly in part through a digital operation set up by the R.N.C. since that campaign. Even before Mr. Trump was the nominee, the party built out its email list and tested ways of targeting small donors.

With that in place, party officials unleashed a pent-up desire by rank-and-file Republicans to donate to a candidate who has bluntly attacked lobbyists and big donors. While Mr. Trump accepted online donations during the primary season, he did not send out an email solicitation until late June — which brought in $3 million alone, an indication of the well of money available to him.

The campaign has also raised money by promising to match small donations out of Mr. Trump’s pocket, a tactic available only to wealthy candidates.

“There was always that potential, but you didn’t have candidates who were as uniquely positioned in the same way that Trump is,” said Patrick Ruffini, a Republican strategist who ran digital fund-raising at the Republican National Committee under President George W. Bush.

To bolster his low-dollar fund-raising, Mr. Trump and his team are now working to assuage the broader pool of affluent Republican donors and fund-raisers. In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has laid off his criticisms of the party’s donor class and scheduled an array of formal fund-raising events for Republican donors in money centers like Florida and New York.

Moreover, even as his name and followers are helping fund Republican get-out-the-vote efforts around the country, Mr. Trump is feuding with the party’s senior leadership, pointedly refusing to endorse prominent Republicans facing Trump-inspired primary opponents, such as the one challenging Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House speaker.

And it is the Republican National Committee that is providing much of the technical expertise that has allowed Mr. Trump to quickly increase his low-dollar fund-raising, some Republican officials said.

Even as relations fray between Mr. Trump and some fellow Republicans, the party and Mr. Trump each needs the other. And Mr. Trump, as the nominee and the fund-raising tent pole for the party, may have the upper hand.

“Under normal circumstances, the party would have money as leverage,” Mr. Ruffini said. “They could cut off fund-raising to a candidate who misbehaves. And that leverage has been taken completely away.”

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Wall Street is giving up on Donald Trump

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a campaign speech about national security in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 13, 2016.The list of Republican names jumping off the Trump train and publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton is growing. And now, you can add one more to that: Wall Street.

Back in May, I surveyed more than 50 financial professionals across the board. And the overwhelming majority said they were secretly planning on voting for Trump come Election Day. But that was two months ago and now the tides have turned. With the last piece of convention confetti dropped and all of the red and blue balloons popped, I decided to check back in with the financial folks a few days ago. And now, Wall Street is leaning toward Hillary Clinton.

I would say roughly 60 percent of the people I spoke to in my (highly unscientific) poll said if the election were held today, they’d vote for Clinton.

It’s widely known that Clinton has taken a ton of money from the Street but she has recently joined Donald Trump in talking tough against the industry. She is making income inequality and financial regulation part of her campaign narrative. She has vowed to re-regulate the financial industry and go after the trillion-dollar derivatives industry to protect taxpayers.

But most Wall Streeters see that as an effort to placate the Democratic base and reel in Bernie Sanders votes.

“They both have to talk against the industry,” said Bill, a hedge-fund portfolio manager. “Otherwise, they’ll lose votes.”

For sure, Wall Streeters think both Trump and Clinton are dishonest in some ways. But it’s not about honesty for them. It’s about the risk factor. And Trump is a gigantic risk.

“I don’t like her,” Michael, a hedge-fund trader said. “But she’s a known quantity and being a New York senator, she’s industry friendly. And that’s why I’ve changed my mind on voting for Trump.”

“I was going to vote for Trump, but she’s the safe pick.” said John, a program trader. “With Trump, there’s too much uncertainty. It’s not good for the markets.”

On Wall Street, there’s something known as “headline risk.” It’s basically the possibility that a news story will unfavorably affect a stock’s price or the entire market in general. And most of the people I spoke with who are still considering a Trump vote voiced this as their biggest concern.

“Trump is a loose cannon,” said Nancy, a sell-side trader. “He’s not particularly talented or smart. And he’s full of sh–. I think his policies are anti-growth and if he wins there’s a much higher chance of black swan events.”

(Those are events that occur beyond normal expectations — a phrase popularized by risk expert Nassim Taleb in his book, “The Black Swan.”)

But there are still some on the Street who plan on voting for Donald Trump. One of the more influential industry professionals beating the Trump drum is Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital. He believes Trump will be good for the economy because he’ll cut back on business-limiting regulations and bring in tax reform.

Trump also has the backing of hedge-fund titan John Paulson and billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Despite their best efforts, the possibility of a Trump win isn’t priced into the market.

“Donald Trump can’t move the markets,” Bill said. “He can say anything and the market doesn’t believe him. But Clinton needs to be much more careful with her words. She can move markets.”

If investors believed that Trump was going to be victorious, then you’d see an asset allocation out of U.S. businesses that produce their goods overseas and into the companies that deal solely with domestic customers and suppliers. You would also expect a sharp selloff of the Mexican stock market. And as of yet, nobody is placing their Trump casino chips down on the election roulette table.

The consensus? Stocks don’t lie — politicians do.

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Khan to Trump: ‘Put that Purple Heart back’

584274482-khizr-khan-father-of-deceased-muslim-u-s-soldierKhizr Khan on Tuesday accused Donald Trump of dodging the Vietnam War draft, and said he shouldn’t have accepted a Purple Heart given to him at a rally earlier in the day, deeming it the latest sign of his inability to empathize with parents of fallen soldiers.
“You dodged the draft,” Khan, a Muslim whose son was slain in the Iraq War, said of Trump to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Put that Purple Heart back on that person’s chest.”
A military veteran supporting Trump had gifted the Republican presidential nominee his Purple Heart, prompting Trump to say he “always wanted to get the Purple Heart” and this was “much easier” than serving in combat.
Khan’s own son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was also a Purple Heart recipient. It is bestowed upon those wounded or killed in combat.
Khan criticized Trump at last week’s Democratic National Convention, spurring Trump to lash out at Khan and his wife over the weekend. Khan and Trump have traded verbal blows in the days since.
“You had the time. You did not serve,” Khan told Cooper. “You should have pinned that back to that veteran’s chest and should have hugged him and thanked him.”
Trump avoided the US military draft during the Vietnam War thanks to four student deferments and one medical deferment after he was diagnosed with bone spurs in his heels, The New York Times reported Monday.
“I’ve regretted not serving in many ways,” Trump said Tuesday in an interview with Gray Television after his rally in Ashburn, Virginia. “So many of the greatest people I know have served.”
The multi-day imbroglio with Khan has dragged Trump way off-message and invited some Republican leaders to pull the plug and no longer support Trump’s candidacy.
Khan continued to sharply criticize Trump, saying that he “does not comprehend what is coming out of his mouth.”
Khan said he did not need an apology from Trump, but rather a display of empathy. And he indicated that he was growing tired of pressing his case against the GOP nominee.
“I will continue to remind you what your behavior for a whole year had been,” he said. “I am not going to continue to appear on television. It is very disturbing. Because it is emotionally disturbing, it is family-wise disturbing. But I wanted to say this today.”
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George W. Bush Delivers Critique of Donald Trump’s Policies

Former President George W. Bush, shown in 2015, critiqued Donald Trump’s policies of “isolationism, nativism and protectionism” at a private fundraiser in Cincinnati on Tuesday. Without naming Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, former President George W. Bush delivered an incisive critique of his policies of “isolationism, nativism and protectionism” at a private fundraiser in Cincinnati on Tuesday for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, according to four people who attended.

Mr. Trump has broken with GOP orthodoxy and pushed an “America First” platform that calls for renegotiating trade deals, reconsidering longstanding military alliances, and curbing immigration by Muslims and people from countries beset with terrorism. He has repeatedly denounced Mr. Bush for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, though he never publicly opposed the war before it began.

Mr. Bush told the crowd of about 400 people that he had been reflecting on threats against American exceptionalism, though he didn’t put his remarks in the context of the 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Bush spoke for 20 minutes in the Diamond Club of the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium and spent another 40 minutes answering a half-dozen questions.

“It was an interesting exercise of statecraft,” said Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state. “No one could say he directly spoke in attack mode against Donald Trump. Neither could anybody miss the fact that he thought there were some cutting-edge issues that Trump is advancing that need to be scrutinized and debated.”

Freddy Ford, a spokesman for Mr. Bush, declined to comment on the former president’s remarks. A spokesman for Sen. Portman, Michawn Rich said, “We are honored to have President George W. Bush in Ohio to help us raise well over $1 million in a single day.”
The Cincinnati event was one of two fundraisers Mr. Bush appeared at Tuesday for the Ohio senator, who served as U.S. trade representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget in his administration. The former president also spoke to Portman donors in Cleveland.

The absence of Mr. Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, from the GOP convention earlier this month was one of the starkest signs of the divide between the 2016 nominee and the political establishment. The younger Bush’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, ran against Mr. Trump in the GOP primary and has withheld an endorsement.

People at the fundraiser recalled that the former president said that Islamic women should come to the U.S. to experience a free society so they can lead the charge for equality in the Middle East. “He said everyone wants to be free,” said U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Cincinnati. “He really touched everyone in the room.”

Asked about the future of the Republican Party, Mr. Bush said, “As long as everyone feels welcome, I think we’ll succeed,” according to Mr. Wenstrup.

Mr. Bush also stressed to Mr. Portman’s donors that the institution of the presidency was more important than the occupant of the White House. Criticizing President Obama, he said, would demean the institution. Even in troubled times, “we’re lucky because we’ll always have the presidency,” Mr. Bush said, according to one attendee.

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