The Latest: Ayotte dodges questions on Trump's preparedness

September 19, 2016 8:00PM (UTC)

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

11:45 a.m.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte won't give a clear answer on whether she thinks Donald Trump would be a steady commander in chief.

The New Hampshire senator was asked Monday about Trump's readiness to be president following bombings over the weekend in Manhattan and New Jersey. Officials are increasingly saying they appear to be acts of terrorism.


Ayotte is up for re-election against Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. She says she will vote for Trump, but is not endorsing him.

Asked specifically about Trump, Ayotte told reporters she's been "disappointed" with President Barack Obama's foreign policy. She also said it's "important to address these threats."

Asked again about Trump, Ayotte said: "Well I think that whoever's elected president, we're going to trust them with all the responsibilities of commander in chief, absolutely."


11:05 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says the United States clearly still has challenges when it comes to fighting terrorism.

The Democratic presidential nominee spoke to reporters Monday after a weekend in which bombs exploded in Manhattan and New Jersey, and nine people were stabbed a mall in Minnesota.


Clinton said she rejects the assertion from Republican nominee Donald Trump that America has experienced more attacks at home than victories abroad under President Barack Obama.

The former secretary of state said she is "prepared to, ready to, actually take on those challenges" and "not engage in a lot of irresponsible, reckless rhetoric."


Clinton said Trump doesn't have any real plans to fight terrorism. She said: "He keeps saying he has a secret plan. Well, the secret is, he has no plan."


10:55 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says Donald Trump's comments about terrorism have "been seized on by terrorists" as they depict the U.S. as involved in a war against Islam.


Speaking to reporters Monday before leaving for a campaign event, the Democratic presidential nominee said the Islamic State group and others are using Trump's message to "recruit more fighters."

Clinton said that's why she's been "very clear, we're going after the bad guys and we're going to get them, but we're not going to go after an entire religion and give ISIS exactly what it's wanting."

She said it's crucial the fight against terrorism involve America's technology industry.


The former secretary of state said Islamic State recruits potential fighters online, and the radicalization that takes place over the internet must be vigorously confronted.


10:30 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says she understands how to fight terrorism and is the only candidate running for president who "has been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield."


The Democratic presidential nominee took questions from reporters Monday morning about the weekend bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey, which officials say increasingly look like acts of terrorism with a foreign connection.

Clinton called the attacks "a serious challenge" that the country can meet in "concert with our values."

That was a dig at the proposals of Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has said he would bar immigration from nations with ties to terrorism.

A person of interest in the weekend bombings in a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan.



9:50 a.m.

Donald Trump is again taking credit for predicting current events after he had announced that the cause of Saturday's explosion in New York was a bomb before authorities had publicly said so.

The Republican presidential nominee told "Fox and Friends" that "I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news." He spoke in a phone interview Monday.


Trump also said he believes there's a foreign connection to the attack.

It is unclear whether Trump obtained his information from some sort of briefing. His campaign has declined to say.

Trump is also saying that people who publish bomb-making instructions in magazines and on websites should be arrested "immediately."

He said: "They're making violence possible."



8:55 a.m.

Donald Trump says he won't be treated fairly at next week's presidential debate.

Trump, in a phone interview Monday with "Fox and Friends," said he has found debate moderator Lester Holt of NBC to be fair, but if he isn't "I have a set of things that I'll be doing." He didn't elaborate.

Trump noted that NBC's Matt Lauer had been criticized for going easy on Trump at a televised forum on national security, so there will be pressure on Holt.

Trump said the debates are "a very unfair system, so we'll see what happens." Still, he said he feels confident going into the debate.

The debate will be Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.


8:35 a.m.

Dozens of former high-ranking national security officials are calling on Donald Trump to disclose the nature of his overseas business relationships, including his foreign investments and international business partners.

In a letter released Monday, the officials are also asking the Republican presidential nominee to pledge that he will divest himself of his overseas business interests should he win the November election.

The letter was signed by numerous supporters of Hillary Clinton, including retired Marine Gen. John Allen and Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA.

The former officials say Trump's overseas ties could affect the foreign policy Trump might pursue as president and seem to have "already influenced the policy positions he has taken as a candidate." They singled out Trump's repeated praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.


8:25 a.m.

Donald Trump says police "are afraid to do anything" to stop attacks like the bombing in New York because they don't want to be accused of racial profiling.

In a phone interview Monday on "Fox and Friends," the Republican presidential nominee said he would "knock the hell out of" terrorist groups.

A weekend explosion in Manhattan injured 29 people.

Trump said local police often know who "a lot of these people are" but "they are afraid to do anything about it because they don't want to be accused of profiling."

Trump also repeated his call to crack down on immigration, a central theme of his campaign.

He said: "This isn't just something that I developed overnight" because of the attacks. "I knew this was going to happen," he added.


5:50 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is wooing younger voters in Philadelphia as her campaign acknowledges they need to do more to get millennials on board.

Campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri says Clinton will use the Monday morning event at Temple University to "speak directly to millennial voters about how they have the most at stake in this election." She added that the campaign recognizes younger voters are a key demographic and "it's clear that the campaign must do more to earn their vote."

Palmieri noted the campaign has increased efforts to reach out to young voters. They are sending out popular surrogates like President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. She says the campaign is also working in the states to organize and mobilize younger voters.

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