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Obama said Donald Trump's claim that the general election could be rigged doesn't add up.

  • President Obama: Donald Trump's claim that the election could be rigged "doesn't make any sense"
  • Trump repeats false claim that he has seen video footage of a plane delivering $400 million in cash from the U.S. to Iran
  • Animal rights protesters try to storm the stage at Hillary Clinton's rally in Las Vegas
  • Mike Pence follows Trump's lead, declines to endorse Sen. John McCain

'Ready for Hillary' hangman tweet leads to local GOP official's resignation

The Riverside County Republican Party official who tweeted a picture of a hooded hangman with the phrase “I’m Ready for Hillary” on Thursday resigned from his job with the state Board of Equalization.

Nathan Miller, a local party official and aide to Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey, accepted responsibility for the tweet, said Russell Lowery, a spokesman for Harkey’s office.

“He had a lapse of judgment and offered his resignation. We accepted,” Lowery said.

Donald Trump repeats false claim of tape showing cash delivered to Iran

 (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Donald Trump on Thursday repeated a claim that he's seen a video showing a plane delivering $400 million in cash from the United States to Iran, even after his own campaign acknowledged such an assertion is incorrect.

"A tape was made, you saw that? With the airplane coming in … and the money coming off, I guess,” he said while addressing supporters in Portland, Maine.

At a campaign rally in Florida a day earlier, Trump for the first time said he had seen a video shot by Iran, “taking that money off that airplane.”

But campaign officials later told CBS News that the video in question was actually footage of the released American hostages landing at Geneva, which had been aired on Fox News.

Even so, Trump repeated the claim in Maine, insisting that the video was made public by the Iranians to embarrass the United States.  

"They want to embarrass our country. And they want to embarrass our president," he said. 

Trump's campaign in recent days has been fueling allegations that the Obama administration paid $400 million in cash ransom to win the release of four Americans as part of the agreement implemented in January to restrict Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

The administration has denied any ransom was paid, noting that it publicly disclosed the $400-million payment in January and that it was widely reported at the time.

The administration says the money was being returned to Iran after being frozen following the 1979 Iranian revolution. The payment was to partly settle Iran's legal claims arising from a weapons purchase from the U.S. that never took place.

Republicans and the Trump campaign have said the timing of the payment and use of cash give the appearance that the U.S. was paying ransom.

At his rally on Thursday, Trump speculated that the money would be used by Iran to fund terrorism.

"I wonder where that money really goes, by the way.... Well, it went either in their pockets, which I actually think more so, or toward terrorism -- probably a combination of both,” he said.

Rigged election? That's 'ridiculous,' Obama says

 (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

President Obama dismissed as "ridiculous" Donald Trump's assertion that the election might be rigged, calling it a conspiracy theory that "doesn't make any sense."

Obama, in fact, seemed almost at a loss for words when a reporter asked him about Trump's recent claims. "What does that even mean?" he asked.

He noted that presidential elections are not run on a federal basis, but instead state-by-state. Places like Texas, where state offices are almost completely controlled by Republicans, would not seem likely to carry out a plot on behalf of Democrats, Obama said.

"If Mr. Trump is leading by 10 to 15 points on election day and loses, then maybe he can raise some questions," Obama said. "That doesn't seem to be the case today."

Just days after he declared Trump to be "unfit" for the presidency, citing his lack of understanding of basic foreign and domestic policy issues, the president said that the Republican nominee would nonetheless gain access to classified intelligence briefings as both law and custom requires.

"They need to get security briefings so that if they were to win, they were not starting from scratch," Obama said. 

Though he has spoken strongly against Trump's candidacy in recent weeks, Obama said he still only had "one vote."

"Ultimately it’s the American people’s decision to make collectively," he said. And if Trump were to win, Obama said he would participate in a peaceful transfer of power and do everything he could to help him succeed.

Animal rights protesters try to take the stage at Clinton's Las Vegas rally

Animal rights protesters tried to jump onstage during Hillary Clinton's Las Vegas rally Thursday, prompting Secret Service agents to join Clinton at her lectern.

Clinton acknowledged the protesters by telling them they should be protesting Donald Trump, who has, "killed a lot of animals."

Watch live: Donald Trump rallies supporters in Maine

Protesters show Donald Trump the Constitution

Mike Pence declines to endorse Sen. John McCain

Donald Trump is not endorsing Sen. John McCain of Arizona and neither is his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Here's what Pence told NBC News. 

Clint Eastwood talks Donald Trump: 'I can understand where he's coming from'

Legendary director and actor Clint Eastwood has some political opinions to share, and this time his audience is larger than an empty chair on the stage of the Republican National Convention.

In an interview with Esquire published Wednesday, Eastwood stops short of endorsing Donald Trump but supports the spirit of Trump’s message, if not the actual message itself.

“What Trump is onto is he's just saying what's on his mind. And sometimes it's not so good. I can understand where he's coming from, but I don't always agree with it,” Eastwood said.

Trump narrows fundraising gap with Clinton after asking voters to send him money

If there was any doubt that ordinary Americans would open their wallets to donate to a billionaire’s bid for the White House, Donald Trump’s fundraising totals for July put those worries to rest.

Trump hauled in $80 million in July, his biggest total to date, as the campaign struggles to catch up to Democrat Hillary Clinton's well-oiled fundraising machine, according to figures released by the Trump campaign.

The bulk of Trump’s July fundraising came from online and direct-mail solicitations, asking donors to give amounts as small as $35.

“To see what’s happening to the greatest country on God’s green earth sickens me,” Trump wrote in an email to donors after winning the GOP nomination at the Cleveland convention. “Will you make a generous contribution to join me in the fight?”

Numerous emails have also been sent from Trump's adult children.

Trump’s fundraising operation still lags behind the Clinton powerhouse, which started the month with $44 million cash on hand, more than twice the amount his team had available. She raised another $90 million in July, the campaign reported.

Moreover, the outside super PAC backing Clinton, Priorities USA, with more than $100 million raised, continues to vastly overshadow the fledgling efforts supporting Trump. 

The main super PAC backing Trump, Rebuilding America Now, has shown new signs of activity, however. It filed notices for TV ad buys totaling nearly $1 million in recent days with the Federal Election Commission.

Trump is narrowing the gap thanks to an impressive number of small donors.

Trump’s direct fundraising, $64 million, represents a 69% growth in small-dollar donations, “which shows the broad- based support,” said Steven Mnuchin, finance chairman of Donald J. Trump for President. The campaign counts more than 1 million donors.

Another $16 million came from the more than 20 tony fundraisers Trump’s campaign has held jointly with the Republican National Committee, where wealthy donors can give up to $449,500, or almost $1 million per couple.

Trump also donated another $2 million to his campaign as part of his promise to provide matching funds if certain goals were met. That brings his personal contributions to the race to more than $56 million.

Trump's reliance on small donors is partly out of necessity since many large GOP donors, including the Koch brothers, have been unwilling to fund his campaign so far.

Clinton, meanwhile, raised $63 million for her campaign in July, plus $26 million for the Democratic National Committee through the joint operations.

The July numbers for both campaigns are preliminary. Official tallies will be reported later this month to the FEC.

Both campaigns are positioning themselves for the long haul of the general election battle, with Clinton’s campaign counting $58 million cash on hand and $37 million for Trump.

A gun company CEO warns shareholders that Hillary Clinton would hurt their bottom line

Gun enthusiasts look over Ruger pistols at the NRA annual meetings in May in Louisville, Ky. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)
Gun enthusiasts look over Ruger pistols at the NRA annual meetings in May in Louisville, Ky. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Michael Fifer, the CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Co., had excellent news to impart to his shareholders this week. Sales at the Southport, Conn., gun manufacturer were up a handsome 19% in the quarter ended July 2, compared with a year earlier, and profit per share was up 34%.

But a cloud is darkening the company’s destiny, Fifer cautioned during a conference call about the earnings report: politics. Put simply, the 2nd Amendment guaranteeing gun rights is under attack by a certain “nominee of a major political party” who is “actively campaigning against the lawful commerce in arms.”  He didn’t have to mention Hillary Clinton by name; his audience understood the reference and it was made even clearer during the Q&A portion of the call.

We hope this call to action inspires our customers and all freedom-loving Americans to take action in support of the 2nd Amendment.

Michael Fifer, CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Co.

Clinton takes lead in battleground-state polls

 (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Donald Trump's recent sharp decline in national polls is also showing up in new surveys of competitive states, with a new poll of the biggest swing state, Florida, showing him trailing by six points.

Clinton leads 48%-42% in Florida in the new survey released by Suffolk University. In a four-way matchup that included the Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton led 43%-39%, with Johnson at 4% and Stein at 3%, the poll found.

Clinton's margin over Trump comes mostly from a 12-point edge among women, according to David Paleologos, director of the university's survey research center. Another factor is Trump's continued problem with unifying Republicans. The poll found him getting the support of 74% of Republicans, while Clinton received backing of 81% of Democrats.

Two-thirds of Clinton's backers said their vote was mostly in support of her, while fewer than one-third said it was mostly against Trump. On the other side, the divide was closer, with 52% of Trump backers saying they were mostly voting for him, while 39% said they were mostly voting against Clinton. A similar difference between supporters of the two candidates has shown up in some recent national surveys.

The new Florida poll was one of several in recent days to show Clinton leading in key states.

A survey released Thursday by WBUR in Boston showed Clinton leading by 15 points in New Hampshire, 47%-32% in a four-way matchup. Without Johnson and Stein in the mix, the poll found Clinton leading by 17 points. 

And a survey by the Detroit News found Clinton ahead in Michigan 41%-32%.

The Suffolk University Florida poll interviewed 500 likely voters Monday to Wednesday. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points in either direction. The WBUR poll interviewed 609 likely voters, Friday to Monday. The Detroit News poll interviewed 600 likley voters Saturday to Monday. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points in either direction. 

He won the delegates. He won the thing fair and square. It's just that simple.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), reaffirming his support of Donald Trump for president while speaking on local Wisconsin radio after Trump announced this week that he was not ready to endorse Ryan for his reelection to the House

This Colorado congressman is challenging Donald Trump with paid advertising

Donald Trump's recent spat with the family of a fallen soldier has led several Republicans to publicly condemn him, and now a Colorado congressman has even released a television ad distancing himself from the GOP nominee.

Rep. Mike Coffman, who represents a competitive suburban Denver district, released an ad on Thursday in which he vows to stand up to Trump. 

"People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?’” he says. “Honestly, I don’t care for him much.”

Coffman, who served in Iraq, is the first House Republican to challenge Trump with paid advertising. The campaign is spending $50,000 on the ad, which is set to air throughout the Denver metro area. 

In the 30-second spot, Coffman also notes his displeasure with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, saying he does not trust her. 

But for Coffman, whose district is divided evenly among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, his focus is the billionaire businessman.

"If Donald Trump is the president, I'll stand up to him," Coffman says. 

The nonpartisan Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report, which handicaps House and Senate contests, has the race listed as a toss-up, but tilting in Coffman's favor. This election cycle, he's being challenged by state Sen. Morgan Carroll. 

Since redistricting in 2012, Coffman's seat has become among the most competitive House seats nationwide.

Once a hard-liner on illegal immigration, Coffman, among other things, now supports a path toward citizenship for young people brought to the country illegally – a move that makes him more in line with his centrist district.

In 2012 and 2014, Coffman faced formidable challenges and managed to win despite a deluge of outside money by Democrats pouring into his race. 

Freudian slip? Trump campaign manager endorses Paul Ryan for the presidency

Donald Trump may not endorse Paul D. Ryan for his congressional reelection, but Trump’s campaign manager accidentally endorsed the House speaker for another role on Thursday — the presidency.

“I support him [Ryan] as a speaker, and I know after next week I’m going to be supporting him as a candidate for president, too — uh, I mean for,” Paul Manafort said before correcting himself on CBS’ “This Morning.”

After laughing at his obvious slip-up, Manafort explained that the GOP presidential candidate does not want to take positions in many primary races right now. Donald Trump infuriated Republicans earlier this week by saying he was "not quite there yet" in endorsing Ryan, who has reluctantly endorsed Trump for president but continues to criticize his controversial comments.

Manafort accused the media of clouding the issue.

“He does support Paul Ryan, he said he’s going to work with Paul Ryan,” he said. “There’s no issue about that.”

Manafort added that the Trump campaign also doesn’t worry about polls or GOP fears about the campaign's viability. He said most presidential campaigns don’t really get moving until September.

On Wednesday, Manafort dismissed reports that the Trump campaign is in turmoil, asserting that the candidate has control.

Libertarian Gary Johnson makes a plea for disappointed Bernie Sanders supporters

Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson says Bernie Sanders supporters can find their alternative candidate in him, not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

The former governor of New Mexico said Thursday that he and the Libertarian Party can deliver what former presidential candidate Sanders offered before Sanders lost the Democratic ticket to Clinton.

“We think that about 75% of what we’ve got to say really ties with Bernie Sanders supporters,”  Johnson told CNN’s “New Day.”

But although Sanders and Johnson share some ideas, they may not align as well as the 75% he suggested.

Sanders supports a $15 minimum wage; Johnson suggests eliminating federal wage standards altogether, according to the two campaign websites.

Sanders supports expanding funds for Planned Parenthood and a woman’s access to a safe, legal abortion; Johnson believes in a woman’s right to choose, but speaks out against late-term abortion.

On education, Sanders pushed tuition-free school; Johnson suggests eliminating student loans, which he says drive tuition rates, and also eliminating the Department of Education.

And on climate change, Sanders argues for bold action on policies that reduce fossil fuel dependency and push clean energy research; Johnson thinks climate change is “probably” happening, but more government regulation is not the answer.

Sanders, Johnson and Bill Weld, Johnson’s vice presidential running mate, do agree on at least one problem, though — the Democratic and Republican Party establishments continue to fail Americans.

“The two-party monopoly in Washington has gotten to the point where it’s kind of run out of gas and it’s even bad for the country,” Weld said on CNN.

Johnson and Weld need to move up in  polls to at least 15% in order to win a spot in the general election debates. Their ticket currently sits at about 10% as of Thursday. 

Melania Trump affirms her immigration story after it's questioned

Melania Trump took to Twitter to dispel any questions about her immigration status Thursday.

A Politico piece published Thursday points to gaps in Trump's immigration story and questions whether the short-term immigration visa she said she initially obtained to come to the United States would have allowed her to work as a model.

Trump said she traveled to Slovenia to renew her visa as required and stated that she has always followed U.S. immigration law.

"I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country," Trump said in a statement. "Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue."

Questions about her immigration to the United States come after journalists have pushed the campaign about other inconsistencies, such as a claim that she graduated from college in Slovenia.

How deferments protected Donald Trump from serving in Vietnam

Donald Trump’s public feud with the Muslim family of a fallen solider has drawn attention to the businessman’s own record of military service.   

Khizr Khan delivered an emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention in which he told the story of his son, Humayun, who was killed in 2004 by a car bomb while serving in Iraq. In his remarks, Khan, with his wife at his side, said the Republican presidential nominee had “sacrificed nothing” for his country. 

And in a response condemned by both Democrats and Republicans, Trump criticized the Gold Star parents and insisted his own “sacrifices” included creating jobs and helping establish a Vietnam War memorial in New York.

But for all of Trump’s boasting about his support from veterans, he has never served in the military, thanks to a string of deferments that enabled him to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. 

Here’s a look at what happened: 

Here's why Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania is joining Republicans who say they won't vote for Trump

Rep. Charlie Dent, who represents Allentown, Pa., in Congress, spoke to the Morning Call on Wednesday about his decision not to vote for his party's presidential nominee in November.

Dent, a centrist who has been vocal in criticism of Donald Trump, called Trump's recent comments "too much." He joins fellow Republican Richard Hanna of New York who became the first member of the U.S. House to say he won't vote for Trump.

Unlike Hanna, who is backing Hillary Clinton, Dent said he will not cross party lines at the polls. He called Clinton "seriously flawed," due in part to her decision to use a private email server while she was secretary of State.

Trump's latest flare-up stirs an already sizzling Northern California congressional race

 (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sacramento County sheriff and law-and-order congressional candidate Scott Jones already has taken heat for saying he’ll vote for Donald Trump this November, and his rival is doing his best to turn the burner to high.

In a race tinged by accusations of sexual harassment and financial misdeeds, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove called on Jones to denounce the GOP presidential nominee for feuding with the Muslim parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain killed in the Iraq war.

Jones isn’t the only Republican in California being forced to delicately — or not so delicately — maneuver around the latest Trump tempest.

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