US politics

Another one bites the dust. Two months after firing his first campaign manager and two days after reshuffling his senior team, Donald Trump revealed on Friday morning that Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman who had been running the whole operation, ​had resigned. But was the departure a resignation? The evidence ​is unclear but ​​suggests otherwise.

Exhibit A: On Wednesday morning, Manafort told me he was “staying” when I asked if the revamp meant he was out. Read more

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One day after Donald Trump’s major campaign reshuffle, there is some more big news: for the first time since the general election began, Trump’s campaign is starting to air TV ads in crucial swing states, a sign that Trump is at least in some ways starting to play by the traditional campaign playbook.

On Thursday the Trump campaign started airing ads on TV networks in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and soon will begin airing ads in Virginia as well.

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Donald Trump has overhauled his campaign for the second time in two months as he falls further behind Hillary Clinton in the polls. In a move that surprised many people, he tapped Stephen Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker who runs the conservative anti-establishment Breitbart News to be chief executive of his campaign. He also promoted Kellyanne Conway, a veteran pollster, t​o campaign manager.

Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, told the Financial Times that he would remain in place, but some saw the changes as reducing the influence of the man who was tasked at building bridges between Trump and the Republican establishment.

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A fixture of the Donald Trump rally during the Republican primary was the candidate reading out the many polls that showed him ahead in state after state.

A pair of swing state polls out Tuesday, however, illustrated why Trump no longer spends too much time on the stump dwelling on the horse race. A Washington Post poll of Virginia found him trailing Hillary Clinton by 14 points among registered voters, while a Monmouth University poll of Florida showed Clinton with a nine-point lead. Read more

Donald Trump has made his affinity for both Russia and foreign dictators well known throughout the campaign, so perhaps it was inevitable that someone tied the two together.

Leave it to Joe Biden, who made his debut campaigning for Hillary Clinton on Monday, to make the connection. In a speech in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the vice president lambasted Trump’s national security ideas as “not only profoundly wrong, they’re very dangerous and they’re very un-American”. Read more

Donald Trump ended another turbulent week sarcastically. Yesterday we covered the Republican’s out-there statement that Barack Obama was the “founder of Isis”, an unambiguous claim that he repeated multiple times while turning down invitations to retract or revise it. But today he said we shouldn’t have taken it so seriously after all. “They don’t get sarcasm?” he tweeted of CNN (and the rest of us) who covered it.

Aside from Trump’s ability to dominate a day’s news cycle, the episode also highlighted a couple of other things. One is what Newt Gingrich, a steadfast Trump ally, described as the imprecision of his language. “He sometimes uses three words when he needs 10,” Gingrich said, exasperatedly. The other is that Mr Trump is ramping up the time he spends bashing the media. Reporters like myself have been getting emails from the campaign highlighting a daily “media bias offender”. Read more

It’s possible to become inured to Donald Trump’s outlandish statements. Trump perhaps knows that the bar for attention is gradually rising, but he has made a huge splash with his latest effort – a claim that Barack Obama is “the founder of Isis”.

Yes, that’s as barefaced as it came. Trump did not mean to say Obama was an “enabler” of Isis, or that he created the messy environment from which Isis emerged. He meant to say what he said: Obama founded Isis. Read more

Donald Trump spent Wednesday campaigning, traversing from the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Virginia’s Abingdon, to a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where polls show him locked in a tight race with Hillary Clinton.

Back at his Manhattan headquarters, however, someone was doing a little traversing of their own. For most of Wednesday afternoon, camera crews trained their lenses on a spandex-clad climber who has been scaling Trump Tower using suction cups. The second cupping controversy of the week ended with the man being hauled in through a window by police officers. It was a distraction from the other campaign news of the day, which centered on the fall-out over Trump’s Tuesday comment about Second Amendment supporters stopping Clinton from nominating liberal justices to the Supreme Court. Read more

On Monday, Donald Trump read an economic policy speech from a teleprompter in an effort to reset his troubled candidacy and show that he has the discipline to run for president.

Today, he said this, about how rival Hillary Clinton’s nomination of judges to the Supreme Court would threaten the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms: Read more

Donald Trump sought to reset his flailing candidacy with what his campaign billed as a major economic address on Monday in Detroit, with the property developer and former reality TV star promising to slash regulation, cut taxes in a “tax revolution” and revive manufacturing through an “America First” economic policy.

Trump’s aim was to attract Republicans who have been repelled by some of his xenophobic rhetoric and erratic impulses. But an open letter signed by 50 senior Republican national security officials illustrates just how difficult that may be. In it, Republican former heads of the CIA, NSA and homeland security, among others, write, “none of us will ever vote for Donald Trump” because he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and wellbeing”. Read more

244 days. That’s how long it had been since Hillary Clinton gave a press conference. Until today.

This afternoon, the Democratic nominee appeared at the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Joint Conference and deigned to take a few questions from journalists in the audience. Read more

It is a question often raised by Donald Trump’s seemingly glib or off-the-cuff opinions on minefield subjects that other politicians would avoid: “What does that mean?”

Today it was Barack Obama who was asking it, as he was quizzed at a press conference on Trump’s suggestion that this year’s election could be rigged. “That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense,” the president said, before mentioning kids who lose playground games and say they were cheated. Read more

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Are the wheels falling off the Trump train?

Over the past roughly 24 hours, Donald Trump has attacked the parents of a slain US soldier, refused to endorse the Republican speaker of the House, claimed John McCain – the US senator who spent five years as a POW in Vietnam – “has not done a good job for the vets”, suggested Americans pull their retirement funds from the stock market, claimed the election might be rigged and appeared to eject a baby from a campaign rally. On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough said an unnamed foreign policy expert told him that Trump asked him at least three times: “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” Read more

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On Tuesday, President Barack Obama made explicit the argument he has been building for weeks about Donald Trump: “The Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president.”

It was Obama’s sharpest denunciation yet of the former reality TV star, who has come under fire for his attacks on the Muslim-American parents of a slain US soldier. Obama also said Trump is “woefully unprepared to do this job” and “doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge” about the world.

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Last Thursday, Khizr Khan delivered one of the most affecting moments at a political convention in years with a passionate rebuke to Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, contrasting it with the story of his son, a Muslim immigrant who joined the US army and died in Iraq protecting his fellow soldiers from an IED.

“You have sacrificed nothing and no one!” Khan said, addressing Trump directly from the podium in Philadelphia as his wife Ghazala stood stoically next to him. Read more

The dream script for Democrats in Philadelphia tonight would have Hillary Clinton closing out their convention with a rousing crescendo. But can she manage it as she accepts the party nomination?

Democrats have already savoured speeches from their party’s most talented orators – Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden – who set a high bar. Clinton is not a natural speechmaker and John Podesta, her campaign chair, predicted to the New York Times: “Maybe she doesn’t hit those soaring notes.” Read more

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Donald Trump is renowned for knowing how to dominate a news cycle, but did he really intend to dominate today’s? As the delegates at the Democratic convention cool down from the blistering Philadelphia heat outside, ahead of speeches tonight from Barack Obama, Tim Kaine and others, Trump has garnered a big chunk of attention for himself with his latest Russian turn.

In a press conference, he urged Moscow to track down and hand over tens of thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server which have yet to be released. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

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Discord at the Democratic Convention

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia got off to a turbulent start this week, revealing deep divisions between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The FT’s World News editor Ben Hall discusses what this means for Clinton’s campaign for the White House with Washington bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo and Gideon Rachmann, the FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator.

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Boring? That’s what many predicted the Democratic convention would be after last week’s Republican drama in Cleveland. How wrong they were. Instead, the Democrats are off to a raucous, rollicking start that is giving party chiefs reason to bury their heads in their hands.

Just a couple of hours into the Philadelphia convention, the party unity that Democratic leaders want to cement by the end of this week appears thin on the ground. Read more

By Federica Cocco

Analysts are cranking up the odds of a Donald Trump presidency, with researchers at Citigroup saying the possibility “cannot be ruled out” and the statistics site FiveThirtyEight rating the odds of the Republican candidate at 40 per cent. Read more