Trump targets Bill Clinton and his foundation in new attack

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a meeting with first responders at St. Johns County Sheriffs Department, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, in St. Augustine, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a meeting with first responders at St. Johns County Sheriffs Department, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, in St. Augustine, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to lash Hillary Clinton to her husband’s sprawling post-presidential empire, Donald Trump accused the couple of turning to corruption to enrich themselves while in public service.

On Thursday, the GOP nominee cited newly released emails from her campaign chairman’s personal account showing Doug Band, a former Bill Clinton aide, describing overlapping relationships between the Clinton Foundation and the family’s private gains.

“Mr. Band called the arrangement ‘unorthodox.’ The rest of us call it outright corrupt,” said Trump at the first of three campaign rallies in Ohio. “If the Clintons were willing to play this fast and loose with their enterprise when they weren’t in the White House, just imagine what they’ll do in the Oval Office.”

Band wrote the 2011 memo to defend his firm, Teneo, describing how he encouraged his clients to contribute to the foundation and get consulting and speaking gigs for Bill Clinton. Some of his work included obtaining “in-kind services for the president and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.”

The message was released by WikiLeaks after a hack by others of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private email account.

“I think we’ve had enough of the Clintons, in all fairness,” Trump said. “Don’t you think?”

Band called the business, “Bill Clinton Inc.” — a term Trump referenced to paint the family as using their public profiles for personal gain, a line of attack Republicans have long tried.

The hacked emails, as well as recent news of an “Obamacare” premium hike, have appeared to hand Trump a pair of potent gifts in the campaign’s final fortnight. But to the frustration of many in his party, Trump has struggled to stay on message, often turning to personal attacks against private citizens who he feels have wronged him, like the Gold Star family of a deceased Muslim-American solider.

Any newfound focus is coming late: Opinion polls indicate Clinton has a significant advantage in the race.

Her campaign is so comfortable with her position that she’s begun expanding the scope of her campaign to help down-ballot Democrats — her party sees an opportunity to win control of the Senate and reduce its deficit in the House — and retool her campaign message to emphasize unifying the country after a divisive race.

A new Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday found Clinton on the cusp of a potentially commanding victory, fueled by solid Democratic turnout in early voting, massive operational advantages and increasing enthusiasm among her supporters.

The survey shows her leading Trump nationally by a staggering 14 percentage points among likely voters, 51-37. That margin is the largest national lead for Clinton among recent surveys. But other polls generally have shown her ahead of Trump for the past several weeks.

Clinton was unveiling a new policy plan aimed at reducing bullying at a campaign stop with Michelle Obama Thursday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, marking the first joint appearance for the two first ladies on the campaign trail. Mrs. Obama’s appearances have become a key part of Clinton’s effort to fire up women, particularly black women for whom she’s a model and a source of pride.

Clinton’s plan would provide $500 million in new funding to states that develop comprehensive anti-bullying efforts. The campaign said states must address spoken and cyber bullying, establish a process for addressing incidents and ban bullying on the “basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion.”

It would be paid for through Clinton’s proposed tax increases on the wealthy.

The presidential candidates and dozens of outside groups involved in the race are also due to file their final major fundraising reports before Election Day. These documents will show fundraising and spending between Oct. 1 and Oct. 19_giving a sense of what resources each side had available as the campaign entered its frantic final stretch.

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