US

Hillary Clinton was on late-night television on Tuesday having her pulse checked by chat show host Jimmy Kimmel, as well as forcing open a jar of pickles.

The gags on ABC television were a response to mutterings about Clinton’s health by allies of Donald Trump including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Earlier this month Trump himself asserted that Clinton “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on Isis”. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Two of the great political parties in the west — the Republicans in the US and Labour in the UK — are in a state of near collapse. That, in turn, threatens the health of democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Do you hear that leaky faucet? That’s the sound of the never-ending Hillary Clinton email saga, which 77 days out from Election Day continues to bring new revelations.

Today, Judicial Watch, the conservative legal group, revealed that Clinton and her lawyers had failed to release almost 15,000 work-related emails to the FBI. The State department now has one month to appraise those emails, after which it and Judicial Watch must set a timeline for them to be released. Read more

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

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

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

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

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

It must be hard being Ted Cruz. Just when you assume there could not be more people who dislike you, your own support base turns on you. The Texas senator’s decision not to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican candidate on Wednesday evening highlighted the divisions that have been simmering in Cleveland. Mr Cruz has the dubious honour of being the first person to be jeered at this convention — after Hillary Clinton, of course — and his wife, Heidi, had to be escorted from the arena.

Depending on your perspective, Cruz’s address was petulant or noble — given the personal attacks he has endured from Trump. He attempted to address those concerns head-on with the Texas GOP delegation on Wednesday morning, explaining he was not a “servile puppy dog” to Trump. But there were plenty of detractors present. (Read our report on Cruz’s clash with his own supporters here — and watch this video of Texans opining on what he has done.) Read more

When is plagiarism not plagiarism? The saga over Melania Trump’s convention speech took another turn today with a letter released by Donald Trump’s campaign. Someone called Meredith McIver, who described herself as “an in-house staff writer from the Trump Organization” and a “longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family”, said she had written portions of Mrs Trump’s Monday evening address.

Ms McIver attempted to explain the similarities with a Michelle Obama speech in 2008: “Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs Obama’s speeches.” Read more

Happy almost Fourth of July from all of us at White House Countdown. It’s been another mad week on the campaign trail. From potential VP talk of Elizabeth Warren and Chris Christie; to a scripted Trump in Pennsylvania.

We end the week with more news from the Trump campaign, which has made two new hires: pollster Kellyanne Conway and Karen Giorno who ran the campaign’s Florida operations during the state’s primary. Read more

As speculation continues to build about who Hillary Clinton will pick as her running mate, at last we have at least one name who could fill that role for Donald Trump. And that name is Chris Christie.

Five months after he exited the Republican primary and four months after he made his first – and most surreal – joint appearance with his party’s presumptive nominee, Christie is now reported to be among those being considered for the vice-presidential spot. Read more

Another day, another study of contrasts between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In the wake of yesterday’s devastating terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, the two presidential candidates offered very different takes on the attack and the best means to respond. Read more

Tensions rise in the South China Sea
China and the US clashed over the South China Sea at a defence forum last weekend, amid island-building by Beijing and increased naval and air patrols by the US. Gideon Rachman discusses the escalating tensions with Geoff Dyer, the FT’s Washington correspondent and former Beijing bureau chief, and James Crabtree, contributing editor.

Donald, show us your sums.

At the end of a week when Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, he’s getting a taste of the ever-increasing scrutiny – if it wasn’t high enough already – that he’s going to face in the run-up to the November election. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

The British debate about Brexit, at the moment, reminds me of the discussions I heard in the US, late last year, about Donald Trump. Back then the opinion polls said that Mr Trump was well ahead in the race. But the conventional wisdom in Washington was that he would never win the Republican presidential nomination. Everybody told me that, once voters focused on the race, Mr Trump’s lead would crumble.

By Gideon Rachman

The fate of Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy on refugees has assumed global significance. Nationalists from Russia to the US are pointing at the German chancellor’s policies as a symbol of the failure of an out-of-touch liberal elite. In the most recent US presidential debate, Donald Trump denounced Ms Merkel, adding: “Germany is a disaster right now.” Even within the EU, many leaders, particularly in the east, echo that sentiment.

By Gideon Rachman
For those who are worried that Donald Trump is a new Mussolini in the making, I have reassuring news. Based on his performance at a weekend rally in Plymouth, New Hampshire, Mr Trump is far too boring a speaker to make a convincing fascist dictator.

Iowa offers first test for US presidential hopefuls
After months of build-up, the Iowa caucus will offers US presidential candidates their first chance to get ahead. Gideon Rachman reviews the chances of the Republican and Democratic rivals with Courtney Weaver and Edward Luce.