The Latest: Comey: Clinton case 'not a cliff-hanger'


September 8, 2016 2:00AM (UTC)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. presidential race (all times EDT):

5:53 p.m.

FBI Director James Comey has told his colleagues that the decision to not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton was not a close call.

In an internal memo Wednesday, Comey says "the case itself was not a cliff-hanger" and that there was not a prosecutable case "despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government."

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He also struck back against criticism that the FBI had timed for political reasons its release last Friday of documents related to the investigation.

He says the documents were released once they had been cleared for release. He says more documents will be released, "no matter the day of the week."

The memo was first reported by CNN.

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5:32 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Donald Trump can be trusted to oversee the nation's nuclear weapons if he wins the presidency.

McConnell was asked at his weekly press conference if he feels confident that Republican nominee Trump can be trusted "with his finger on the nuclear button."

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Trump gave a speech Wednesday calling for major increases in defense spending.

"I didn't hear the speech today, but the answer is yes," McConnell said in response to the question about nuclear weapons.

McConnell said he agrees with Trump that the nation's defense is underfunded.

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4:18 p.m.

The nation's largest investment bank is barring its top employees from contributing to certain political campaigns — including Donald Trump's White House bid. But the policy does not bar those employees from contributing to Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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That's because the new rules, which went into effect last week, prohibit partners at Goldman Sachs from donating to state officials who are seeking federal office. That applies to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's running mate, so Goldman Sachs partners can't contribute to the Republican ticket.

But Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, meet neither of those criteria, meaning top employees can contribute to the Democratic ticket.

The policy is meant to remove any implication of a "pay for play" scandal, according to a memo obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

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4:13 p.m.

The nation's largest investment bank is barring its top employees from contributing to certain political campaigns — including Donald Trump's White House bid. But the policy does not bar those employees from contributing to Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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That's because the new rules, which went into effect last week, prohibit partners at Goldman Sachs from donating to state officials who are seeking federal office. That applies to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's running mate, so Goldman Sachs partners can't contribute to the Republican ticket.

But Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, meet neither of those criteria, meaning top employees can contribute to the Democratic ticket.

The policy is meant to remove any implication of a "pay for play" scandal, according to a memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

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4:01 p.m.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is wanted on a warrant in North Dakota after she allegedly spray-painted construction equipment during a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline.

Stein was charged Wednesday in Morton County with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

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3:53 p.m.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is receiving a warm welcome in a return visit to the Capitol.

Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid says "there was a tear or two shed," as senators welcomed Kaine back for the first time since HIllary Clinton chose him as her running mate.

Kaine says it "feels great" to be back.

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Kaine told reporters the House of Representatives shouldn't be holding up Zika funding over Planned Parenthood. He called it public health emergency of more gravity than any he'd seen, noting he's campaigned in Florida.

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3:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's presidential bid is getting a boost from William Cohen, a former Republican senator who served as Bill Clinton's defense secretary.

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Cohen said on MSNBC that he would be uncomfortable with Donald Trump making decisions on "existential" issues. He said Trump lacks the necessary knowledge of the military, world history and global issues.

He said Clinton, a former secretary of state, has experience in the White House situation room and that he would feel more comfortable with Clinton having access to nuclear codes.

Asked if he would vote for her, Cohen said: "In all likelihood, I would say yes."

He said he would have supported former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Ohio Gov. John Kasich if one of them had been on the ballot.

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2:40 p.m.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is stopping by the Capitol while in Washington for fundraisers.

Kaine, a Virginia senator, attended a Democratic caucus meeting. The campaign has not released his full schedule for the day.

Kaine is taking a two-day break from public campaign events to raise money in Washington and New York. His public campaign schedule resumes Friday.

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1:30 p.m.

Add Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul to the list of Republicans seeking support for the GOP as a bulwark against a possible Hillary Clinton presidency.

In a fundraising appeal Wednesday, Paul said that if Clinton is elected, a Republican Senate will be "the last line of defense" against the Democrat and her agenda.

His appeal comes as polls show Clinton with a slight lead over Republican Donald Trump.

Last week, Republican Sen. John McCain, locked in a tight race in Arizona, promised in a video to act as a check, not a rubber stamp if Clinton wins.

Similar appeals were made in fundraising appeals in recent weeks by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican operative Karl Rove and a Colorado lawmaker battling for his seat.

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12:30 p.m.

Donald Trump says that his plans to increase military spending won't blow a hole in the federal budget because he'll save and make money elsewhere.

The Republican presidential nominee said during a speech Wednesday in Philadelphia that he plans to fully offset the costs of his plans to expand military spending.

He said he'll make government "leaner" by enacting unspecified "common sense reforms."

Among his proposals are ending certain government payments and using attrition to shrink the workforce.

He said that, "sometimes we have to reduce bureaucracy. It just gets in our way."

Trump also said he'll make money by asking countries like Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia to pay more for the security the U.S. provides them. And he expects to raise additional revenue by increasing domestic energy production.

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12:20 p.m.

Donald Trump is railing against rival Hillary Clinton's foreign policy record, arguing that policies she supported while secretary of state have left the Middle East in disarray.

The Republican presidential nominee is describing Clinton as "trigger-happy and very unstable." His comments came in a foreign policy speech in Philadelphia.

He called her "reckless" for using a private email server while serving as America's top diplomat.

Trump said that in Libya, Iraq and "anywhere she got involved, things got worse." Trump initially supported invading Iraq and deposing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

He said Clinton's foreign policy legacy comes down to two words: "Failure and death."

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12:05 p.m.

Donald Trump says that his foreign policy would aim to achieve "peace through strength" and focus on "diplomacy, not destruction."

The Republican presidential nominee is delivering a speech in Philadelphia outlining his plans to expand the military.

He says he is proposing "a new foreign policy" focused on advancing U.S. interests, building regional stability and easing global tensions.

He says that he wants "a stable, peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground."

Trump also says that, if he wins, he'll instruct his generals to come up with a plan within 30 days "to defeat and destroy" the Islamic State group.

He says any efforts will require military intervention as well as cyber, financial and ideological warfare.

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11:35 a.m.

Donald Trump is proposing increasing military spending and personnel.

The Republican presidential nominee will lay out his plans in a speech in Philadelphia. His campaign says they include asking Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester that has reduced the military budget.

He'll say he wants an active Army of around 540,000, a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions, a Navy approaching 350 ships and submarines, and an Air Force of at least 1,200 fighter planes.

Trump will also discuss plans to develop a new missile defense system.

And he wants all federal departments to conduct a review of America's vulnerabilities when it comes to cyber defenses, the power grid, communications systems and other infrastructure.

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11:05 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is rolling out a list of endorsements from retired generals and admirals that trumps Donald Trump's list.

The announcement came as the two candidates prepared for a national security forum on Wednesday night. Clinton's campaign announced that she now has 95 retired generals and admirals backing her candidacy. That's more than the list of 88 retired military leaders that Trump's campaign announced on Tuesday.

Among Clinton's new supporters is retired General Lloyd Newton who served in the Air Force. He said in a statement that Clinton is the "only candidate that has the experience, temperament, critical thinking and level-headed leadership to keep America safe."

Clinton and Trump will both appear at a "commander in chief" forum on NBC on Wednesday night.

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10:20 a.m.

The FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server has produced one previously unreleased message related to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The message, forwarded to Clinton by her chief of staff, was sent in January 2013 by the then-U.S. ambassador to Brazil. The ambassador congratulated the then-secretary of state on her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations committee about the attack, during which four Americans died.

The email was filed in court by the State Department early Wednesday as part of a lawsuit filed by a conservative legal advocacy group. Judicial Watch has filed numerous lawsuits seeking government documents related to the Democratic presidential nominee's tenure as the nation's top diplomat.

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10:10 a.m.

Donald Trump's campaign is ending its practice of barring selected news outlets from covering the Republican presidential nominee's events.

Trump's spokeswoman Hope Hicks says the practice will end on Thursday.

Trump had barred reporters from The Washington Post, Politico, Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Univision and others from covering his rallies or press conferences.

The celebrity businessman frequently uses the media as a foil and often complains about the press coverage he receives. But his decision to bar reporters from events was an unprecedented step for a presidential nominee.

Trump running mate Mike Pence said last month he would advocate reconsidering the ban. News of the ban's end was first reported by CNN.

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3 a.m.

Republican Donald Trump is unveiling a plan for a major increase in defense spending as he works to convince skeptics in both parties that he's ready to lead the world's most powerful military.

The New York businessman has struggled at times to demonstrate a command of foreign policy.

The Trump campaign says he will outline plans to "add substantially" to the nation's arsenal of submarines, ships and combat troops in a Wednesday morning speech in Philadelphia.

Trump's address comes hours before his national security acumen is tested at a "commander in chief" forum on NBC that will also include Democrat Hillary Clinton.

They will not be on the stage at the same time, but it could serve as a warm-up for their first debate, scheduled for Sept. 26.


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