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Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, smiles before speaking during a campaign event in Warren, Mich., Aug. 11, 2016. (Photo by Sean Proctor/Bloomberg/Getty)

Latest polls reinforce Republicans' sense of dread

08/18/16 08:58AM

Michael Cohen, a leading figure in Donald Trump's operation, was reminded on CNN yesterday that his boss' campaign, at least for now, is trailing in the presidential race. "Says who?" Cohen responded.
Host Brianna Keilar, apparently surprised by the comment, replied, "Polls. Most of them. All of them?" Again, Cohen said, "Says who?"
"Polls," Keilar answered. "I just told you." Cohen, incredulous, asked, "OK, which polls?"
"All of them," the CNN host responded.
It's been that kind of summer for the Trump campaign. Consider the latest Quinnipiac polling, as reported by Politico yesterday afternoon:
Hillary Clinton holds double-digit leads among likely voters in Colorado and Virginia and a narrow edge over Donald Trump in Iowa, according to a trio of battleground-state Quinnipiac University polls released Wednesday.
In the head-to-head matchups, Clinton leads Trump 49 percent to 39 percent in Colorado. The race is closest in Iowa, where Clinton holds a 3-point lead over the Republican nominee -- 47 percent to 44 percent. But in Virginia, where Trump will campaign Saturday in Fredericksburg, Clinton leads by 12 points -- 50 percent to 38 percent.
The full Quinnipiac report, including crosstabs, is online here.
Note, among all of the major pollsters, Quinnipiac has generally published results favorable to Republicans this year, making yesterday's data that much more discouraging for the right.
The Quinnipiac poll coincided with a new Fox 2 Detroit/Mitchell Poll out of Michigan, where Clinton leads Trump by double digits, 49% to 39%, even with third-party candidates included in the mix.
The news for the Republican nominee wasn't all bad. A Monmouth University poll, for example, showed Trump leading comfortably in Indiana -- the Midwest's reddest state -- while Public Policy Polling found him leading Clinton in Missouri by three points, 45% to 42%.
Of course, given that Mitt Romney won Missouri by nine points in 2012, the fact that the Show-Me State is competitive at all is discouraging news for the GOP ticket.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally, Aug. 16, 2016, at the Ziegler Building at the Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center in West Bend, Wis. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Ahead of briefing, Trump wary of intelligence agencies

08/18/16 08:00AM

Donald Trump received his first briefing yesterday from U.S. intelligence officials, though there's a limit as to how much information he received. As NBC News' report explained, the briefing, which lasted about two hours, described "how U.S. intelligence agencies see a variety of global issues," but did not describe "espionage methods, covert operations or nuclear secrets." Rachel's segment from Tuesday explored this in more detail.
What we don't know is how engaged the Republican presidential hopeful was during the meeting. As TPM reported yesterday, Trump said ahead of the briefing that he's wary of the U.S. intelligence community and doesn't necessarily consider the agencies reliable.
During an interview with Fox News, Trump was asked about his upcoming intelligence briefing and whether he does "trust intelligence."
"Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. Look what's happened over the last ten years. Look what's happened over the years. It's been catastrophic," he said in response. "And in fact, I won't use some of the people that are sort of your standards, you know, just use them, use them, use them. Very easy to use them, but I won't use them because they've made such bad decisions."
At a certain level, some criticisms of the CIA, for example, are understandable. Credible critics of the intelligence community can point to real and important missteps, and no one should suggest the agencies are beyond reproach.
But let's not miss the forest for the trees here. Donald J. Trump, if elected president, is inclined to ignore "the people that have been doing it for our country." The "it" in that sentence refers to the collection of sensitive security information provided to American policymakers.
The next question is obvious: if the GOP candidate doesn't want to rely on U.S. intelligence agencies, who exactly would Trump listen to when making critical security decisions?
Clinton takes lesson from GOP's Kerry smears

Clinton takes lesson from GOP's Kerry smears

08/17/16 09:10PM

Rachel Maddow reports on the Hillary Clinton campaign rebutting a bizarre and baseless conspiracy theory dragged from the fringe right by Donald Trump and Fox News, perhaps because of how normalized conspiracy theories from the right were seen to damage John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. watch

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 8.17.16

08/17/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* Louisiana: "The forecast for Louisiana on Wednesday was for more rain -- and more pain. With the state still swamped by historic flooding that has left at least 11 dead and displaced tens of thousands more, the National Weather Service warned the deadly deluge was far from done."
* A striking related detail: "The country has not seen a natural disaster this bad since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast, according to the American Red Cross."
* California: "More than 82,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders Wednesday as a fast-moving fire near San Bernardino, Calif., roared across 15,000 acres in several directions."
* Quite a shift: "A prominent Iranian lawmaker has confirmed that Russia is using Iran's Shahid Nojeh Air Base for airstrikes in Syria.... The announcement from Russia marks the first significant stationing of its troops in Iran since World War II."
* NSA: "Some of the most powerful espionage tools created by the National Security Agency's elite group of hackers have been revealed in recent days, a development that could pose severe consequences for the spy agency's operations and the security of government and corporate computers."
* Defection: "A high-ranking diplomat from North Korea who was based in Britain has defected to South Korea, officials in Seoul said Wednesday, making him one of the most prominent North Koreans in recent years to abandon their reclusive government."

* Good call: "The Obama administration on Tuesday issued aggressive new emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks. The rules are expected to achieve better fuel efficiency and a bigger cut in pollution than the version that was first proposed last year."
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump visits McLanahan Corporation headquarters, Aug. 12, 2016, in Hollidaysburg, Pa. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters)

What to expect from the new Team Trump

08/17/16 12:51PM

For the third time in five months, Donald Trump has overhauled his presidential campaign's leadership team. As of this morning, Kellyanne Conway is now the Republican candidate's campaign manager -- a post that was apparently vacant since June -- and Stephen Bannon, of Breitbart News notoriety, is Trump's campaign CEO.
But the closer one looks at why this shake-up happened, the harder it is to believe. Consider this tidbit, for example, from the Washington Post's reporting:
While Trump respects [campaign chairman Paul] Manafort, the aides said, he has grown to feel "boxed in" and "controlled" by people who barely know him. Moving forward, he plans to focus intensely on rousing his voters at rallies and through media appearances.
Trump's turn away from Manafort is in part a reversion to how he ran his campaign in the primary with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski's mantra was "let Trump be Trump" and Trump wants to get back to that type of campaign culture, the aides said.
That's right, as far as the Republican nominee is concerned, Americans have seen a constrained version of Donald J. Trump in recent months. This has been the GOP candidate at his most guarded.
In other words, with his new team in place, Trump intends to stop pulling his punches and start being even more outlandish in the presidential campaign's final 12 weeks.
It's not quite an acceptance of defeat, but it's something similar: a decision to stop caring what might appeal to a broad national audience and start doing what makes the candidate feel good.

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 8.17.16

08/17/16 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In Florida, the nation's largest battleground state, the latest Monmouth University poll found Hillary Clinton with a nine-point lead over Donald Trump, 48% to 39%. That margin includes third-party candidates in the mix.
* The same poll found Sen. Marco Rubio (R) leading Rep. Patrick Murphy (D), 48% to 43%.
* For all the talk about an inevitable Trump "pivot" to expand his appeal for the general election, the Republican nominee told WKBT-TV in Wisconsin that's not likely to happen. "I don't want to change," he said. "Everyone talks about 'oh are you gonna pivot?' I don't want to pivot."
* Four years ago, Mitt Romney won Texas by about 16 points. According to a PPP poll in the Lone Star State released yesterday, Trump only leads Clinton in Texas by six, 44% to 38%.
* During the GOP presidential primaries, Sen. Cory Gardner (R) described Trump as a "buffoon." This week, the conservative senator nevertheless announced his support for the Republican ticket.
* For some reason, Trump continues to use his social-media accounts to promote polls that show him losing.
* With two weeks remaining before Arizona's Senate primary, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, taking on Sen. John McCain in a Republican contest, has now picked up endorsements from two GOP House members.


About The Rachel Maddow Show

Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.



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