2016 Elections

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Donald Trump will give a speech Wednesday outlining his immigration stance. Given the last week of news coverage, he could have some serious explaining to do.

An immigration policy centered around extreme positions — mass deportation of 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, plus building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — initially helped Trump stand out in the massive Republican primary field.

So it was a surprise when, last week, the Trump campaign seemed to change direction, indicating that he was open to "softening" his immigration position, and even at one point that he might be open to a path to legalization for some of those immigrants. Here's a quick rundown of some of the things the campaign has said about immigration in the past week.

Aug. 20 — Members of Donald Trump's Hispanic advisory council said Trump was open to relaxing his immigration stance, Buzzfeed reports. Trump said his solution for how to deal with 11 million people in the country illegally "must be something that respects border security but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner," according to immigration attorney Jacob Monty, who attended the meeting. The Trump campaign later released a statement dismissing the Buzzfeed report, saying that Trump's position had not changed.

J. Tyler Franklin

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell says the state legislature needs to approve a handful of conservative priorities to make Kentucky’s economy competitive with surrounding states.

The list includes repealing the prevailing wage, passing so-called “right-to-work” legislation, allowing charter schools to open in Kentucky and requiring medical malpractice claims to be reviewed by a panel before they can be sent on to court.

The priorities have long been in the sights of Republicans in the state but haven’t passed the legislature, where the Democratic-led House of Representatives has declined to take up the measures.

When asked how his congressional colleagues view Kentucky, McConnell said, “it’s a great place for the Kentucky Derby, but you’re not terribly competitive from a business view.” The Senate Majority Leader made the remarks at a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce forum in Louisville on Monday.

House Republicans to Skip Tuesday Meeting on Pensions

Aug 29, 2016
Kentucky LRC

House Republicans say they will not attend a special meeting called by Democratic Speaker Greg Stumbo.

The Kentucky House of Representatives adjourned for the year in May. They are not scheduled to reconvene again until January. But last week, Stumbo announced a special meeting of all House members on Tuesday to discuss the state's public pension crisis.

Monday, House Republican leader Jeff Hoover sent Stumbo a letter blaming him for the pension problem. Hoover accused Stumbo of scheduling the meeting on the same day as a nearby Democratic fundraiser, ensuring members would have their expenses covered.

Legislators get $188.22 for each day they work. Stumbo said lawmakers who attend the meeting will be paid.

Stumbo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kentucky LRC

A second Democratic state lawmaker now says Kentucky’s Republican governor asked him to switch parties.

Representative Russ Meyer says when he refused, he was threatened with political retaliation by Governor Bevin’s chief of staff.

Meyer, a Democratic House member from Nicholasville, says Bevin and his chief of staff, Blake Brickman, asked him to become a Republican shortly after Bevin was sworn into office. The alleged request came at a time when the GOP was hoping to win control of the Kentucky House.

Meyer told the CNHI news service that he informed Bevin he wouldn’t switch parties, and that the Governor responded politely. But Meyer says Brickman threatened to pull state-funding from projects in Meyer’s district, and called the Democrat an “Obama-loving baby killer.”

Clay Masters/Iowa Public Radio

Donald Trump returned to Iowa Saturday where the race between him and Hillary Clinton remains very close. Trump was there for Iowa freshman Sen. Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride fundraiser, which features a motorcycle ride and barbeque.

Sen. Joni Ernst led the group of more than 400 riders on a 42-mile trip that started at a Harley Davidson dealer in Des Moines and ended on the Iowa State fairgrounds. Trump did not participate in the ride.

Beth Smith did. She's a small business owner in the central Iowa town of Melbourne. She and her husband Dan caucused for Trump in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses. While many Republican leaders in other states are distancing themselves from Trump, Smith says she's glad Iowa leaders like Sen. Ernst are supporting him.

Gerald Herbert/AP

Reports out Thursday night reveal yet another principal of the Trump campaign in trouble.

Newly appointed CEO Stephen K. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, was charged in 1996 with domestic violence against his second wife, several news outlets reported. The charges were eventually dropped, and Bannon pleaded "not guilty."

The New York Times noted that, according to the police report of the incident, there were "allegations that he threatened his then wife, the accuser, with retribution if she testified in the criminal case. ... "

The New York Post first reported the news. NPR has not independently confirmed the charges, but Politico posted the full police report here.

Here's part of Politico's write-up:

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has not held a single press conference since the start of 2016, triggering charges that she's trying to duck questions from reporters on the campaign trail.

Clinton and her senior campaign aides say that's absurd. They have pointed repeatedly to what they call the swiftly growing number of interviews she has granted. In late May, for example, Clinton told CNN's Jake Tapper she had already done nearly 300 interviews. Last Sunday, campaign manager Robbie Mook told CBS's John Dickerson, "She's been in more than 300 interviews with reporters this year alone."

A review by NPR of those numbers suggests those claims by the campaign were at once true and somewhat misleading — some were conducted by unlikely questioners and overall she favored local radio and national TV hits over granting interviews with national reporters covering her on the campaign trail and with print publications.

In preparing an earlier story on Clinton's lack of press conferences, NPR set out to secure a tally of all those interviews from the campaign, as other database searches proved incomplete. In early August, the Clinton campaign agreed to share a tally of all of its interviews from the start of the year through the end of July. NPR sifted through the list, made minor corrections after conferring with the campaign, and analyzed the results.

Gerald Herbert/AP

After signaling that his position on immigration is "to be determined" and that it could "soften," Donald Trump did an amazing thing — what amounts to almost a full about-face on the principal issue that has driven his campaign.

Trump indicated in a town hall with Fox News' Sean Hannity, which aired Wednesday night, that he would be in favor of a path to legalization for immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

"No citizenship," he said. But he added, "Let me go a step further — they'll pay back-taxes; they have to pay taxes; there's no amnesty, as such, there's no amnesty, but we work with them."

He continued: "Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out. But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject, and I've had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me, and they've said, 'Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump,' I have it all the time! It's a very, very hard thing."

Ryland Barton

Lexington Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says the Kentucky Farm Bureau should change its policies that oppose same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues.

“I think the Farm Bureau needs to adjust and adapt to the times, and that means adjusting their policies,” Gray said after wading through a crowd of pro-LGBTQ protesters outside the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Ham Breakfast event in Louisville on Thursday morning.

A Democrat, Gray is openly gay and running against Republcian Sen. Rand Paul in his bid for reelection.

The Kentucky Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, has demonstrated outside of the annual event for years, opposing the Farm Bureau’s stances against same-sex marriage, domestic benefits for same-sex couples and abortion.

AP

As Donald Trump has focused the messaging of his presidential campaign in recent weeks, he's centered on one key attack on Democrat Hillary Clinton: The suggestion that the Clinton Foundation was a pay-to-play front that enabled Hillary and Bill Clinton to trade government access and favors for money.

"It's impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins," Trump said Tuesday night in Texas. "It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by and to them for money."

Bill and Hillary Clinton have defended the foundation's work under the intensifying attacks. "We're trying to do good things," Bill Clinton said Wednesday. "If there's something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don't know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except that I'm really proud."

Jake Ryan

Judy Johnston stood in a small office in a Fern Creek shopping center on Saturday with two Donald Trump campaign yard signs tucked beneath her arm. Her pink fingernail polish popped against the dark blue letters on the sign.

She glanced at her hand and then shook it away. Her nails needed a touch-up.

“I have a lady who does my nails that’s from Vietnam,” she said.

Johnston is a staunch Trump supporter. On Saturday, a group of volunteers opened an office in Fern Creek that’ll serve as an unofficial campaign hub for efforts to bolster support for Trump in Louisville.

The Republican presidential nominee has been sliding of late, with controversial remarks about everything from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to the family of a fallen U.S. soldier catching up to him in the polls.

Gerald Herbert/AP

Is Donald Trump considering wavering on a key campaign promise?

That's what several news reports published over the weekend suggest. And while the Trump campaign issued a statement denying any shift on immigration policy, top surrogates and campaign operatives hinted that a change just might be on its way.

The issue: what to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants already living in the United States illegally.

Since he entered the presidential race last year, Trump insisted they would have to be expelled from the country, despite the logistical and humanitarian questions a mass deportation would present.

"You're going to have a deportation force, and you're going to do it humanely," he told MSNBC in November 2015.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both had a second month of strong fundraising in July, the month that they claimed their parties' nominations.

In monthly reports filed Saturday night with the Federal Election Commission, Trump reported raising $36.7 million, his best month of the campaign. The total includes $2 million he contributed in a matching contributions drive.

Hillary For America reported receipts of $52.3 million, more than in any previous month, including her first White House run in 2008. Her campaign has $58.5 million in cash-on-hand, almost exactly $20 million more than Trump.

The campaign claimed $103 million on hand for itself and two joint fundraising committees, the Hillary Victory Fund and Hillary Action Fund. The joint committees can use higher contribution limits; contributions are distributed among the campaign and national and state Democratic committees. But the $103 million figure isn't official; the joint committees don't file reports again until Oct. 15.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Just over two months after Paul Manafort was brought on to bring some structure to Donald Trump’s presidential bid, the Washington insider has resigned from the campaign.

In a statement Friday morning, Trump said that Manafort offered his resignation. The candidate said he is “very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process.”

“Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success,” Trump continued.

Manafort had been leading the campaign as chair, but his resignation comes just days after a shakeup at the top of the operation — Trump hired two new top campaign officials, widely seen as a demotion for Manafort.

Gerald Herbert/AP

In an effort to save his flagging presidential candidacy, and two days after shaking up his campaign, Donald Trump expressed "regret" for sometimes saying the wrong thing and causing "pain."

"Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing," Trump said reading from a TelePrompTer at a campaign event Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C. "I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues."

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