Donald Trump supports Marco Rubio’s senate run

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

Updated 4:35 p.m.: Donald Trump is declaring his support for Marco Rubio’s Florida senate run.

Trump declared his support for Rubio at a rally in Daytona Beach, Florida, Wednesday.

“I endorsed Marco Rubio. He endorsed me. He’s doing well,” said Trump.

Trump and Rubio traded several bitter verbal barbs during the Republican primary. But Rubio eventually backed Trump and appeared at last month’s Republican National Convention via video.

But Trump this week has refused to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan or Sen. John McCain, both of whom are locked in fierce primary battles.

Tim Kaine sees opportunity in voting law ruling

Updated 4:25 p.m.: Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine says North Carolina offers even more attractive voting opportunities after the lower courts threw out a restrictive voter ID law.

Lower courts found that the law was designed to suppress participation from poor, minority and young voters — many of whom tend to vote Democratic.

Kaine said Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina, the court ruling last week means that an additional 100,000 voters could cast ballots this fall.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the wide ranging law was in violation of the Constitution and U.S. Voting Rights Act.

Trump touts party unity

Updated 4:20 p.m.: Donald Trump is reassuring his supporters that, despite a tumultuous week, his campaign “has never been more united.”

At a rally in Daytona Beach, Florida, Trump said “the campaign is doing really well.”

“I would say right now it’s the best we’ve been in terms of being united,” he said.

Trump has rattled many Republicans with his moves in recent days. He has escalated his feud with the family of a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq. He refused to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain. And he suggested that the general election could be “rigged.”

Trump slam’s Clinton for foreign policy decisions

Updated 4:15 p.m.: Donald Trump is denouncing U.S. foreign policy while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state — and suggested that that she should be recognized “as the founder of ISIS.”

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, said Wednesday that he believed President Barack Obama regretted picking Clinton for his Cabinet. He blamed her Middle East policies for causing the creation of the Islamic State group.

“It was Hillary Clinton,” Trump said in Daytona Beach, Florida. “She should get an award from ISIS as the founder of ISIS.”

Clinton hits Trump for Chinese ties

Updated 3:55 p.m.: Clinton is using ties to slam Trump. Literally.

Hillary Clinton was at a Denver tie company Wednesday where she was attacking her Republican rival.

Clinton visited Knotty Ties in Denver on Wednesday. A staff of largely refugee workers makes ties there. Clinton contrasted that with Trump, whose name brand ties are made in China.

“I wish Donald Trump could meet with all of you and see what you are making here,” Clinton told the workers. “I really would like him to explain why he paid Chinese workers to make Trump ties… instead of deciding to make those ties right here in Colorado.”

U.S. considers extra protections for elections systems

Updated 3:40 p.m.: The White House says President Barack Obama’s national security team is considering designating the nation’s elections systems as critical infrastructure.

The designation would trigger additional protections and make available federal dollars to help protect elections systems that are run by local governments in each part of the country. The Homeland Security Department has been examining the issue.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says there are cybersecurity risks to elections systems but that the public should be confident the government can address those threats.

The discussions come amid heightened concern about the fidelity of voting in the U.S. Officials say hackers breached Democratic National Committee computers.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has suggested — without proof — that the election may be rigged against him.

Clinton starts White House transition team

Updated 2:25 p.m.: Hillary Clinton is officially planning for her White House.

In paperwork filed Wednesday, the campaign formed a new non-profit, called the Clinton-Kaine Transition Fund, taking one of the first formal steps to plan for the possibility of becoming president. The filing comes after weeks of meetings between the White House and representatives of Donald Trump and Clinton’s campaigns.

Campaign chairman John Podesta and long-time aide Minyon Moore have been tapped to prepare Clinton’s transition-planning effort.

On Friday, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough informed the campaigns that that Trump and Clinton are now eligible to receive intelligence briefings and a government-provided workspace for transition planning. Traditionally, the outgoing administration helps potential successors with their planning to ensure a smooth transition.

Kaine slams Trump on small business

Updated 2:20 p.m.: Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine says there’s a stark difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when it comes to dealing with small businesses.

He said Trump has hurt suppliers to his casino companies by declaring bankruptcy. Meanwhile, he said, he and Clinton are familiar with the operating pressures on small businesses because his father owned a welding and iron-working company. Clinton’s father ran a drapery business.

Kaine spoke Wednesday while visiting Amerifab International, a High Point, North Carolina, company that cuts and sews customized window treatments for motel chains.

Kaine demonstrated his fluency in Spanish, engaging with a sewing-machine operator who was unable to respond in English when he asked how long she had worked at the company.

Mike Pence endorses Paul Ryan even though Donald Trump won’t

Updated 1:55 p.m.: Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence is breaking with the Republican nominee by endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan in his primary fight.

Pence said in a phone interview with Fox News Channel that he’s pleased to endorse Ryan.

The move comes a day after Trump said in an interview that he’s “just not quite there yet” when it comes to backing Ryan, who has at times been critical of Trump’s most controversial comments.

Pence says that he spoke with Trump Wednesday morning about his “support for Paul Ryan and our longtime friendship.”

He says Trump, “strongly encouraged me to endorse Paul Ryan in next Tuesday’s primary. And I’m pleased to do it.”

Gov. Scott Walker won’t be with Trump at Green Bay event

Updated 1:40 p.m.: Scott Walker’s campaign says the Republican governor won’t join Donald Trump at a Green Bay campaign stop on Friday.

Walker says he’ll be visiting northern Wisconsin then, meeting with residents and local officials recovering from flash flooding last month. The campaign says Walker will join Trump at future events if they don’t interfere with his work in Wisconsin.

Walker is a close friend of House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Trump has declined to endorse Ryan in his primary race.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, also says he won’t attend the Trump event, citing a scheduling conflict.

Johnson, who is running for re-election, has criticized Trump’s actions in a dispute with the family of slain Army captain, but continues to support him for president.

GOP leaders consider confronting Trump

Updated 1:25 p.m.: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is among a handful of high-profile Republicans considering whether to confront Donald Trump about his approach to his presidential campaign.

That’s according to a Republican official with direct knowledge of Priebus’ plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal party strategy.

Republicans inside and outside of Trump’s campaign are brainstorming how to influence the brash billionaire after a series of startling statements, including his Tuesday refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan’s re-election.

Priebus and Ryan are both from Wisconsin and close friends.

The official says Priebus may join a small group of well-respected Republicans to confront Trump in the coming days. The plan is not final, but the official says the group may include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both are Trump allies.

Priebus has already been speaking with campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the billionaire’s children, who are said to agree that Trump needs to stop picking fights within his own party and back off his criticism of the family of a slain soldier.

—By Steve Peoples

Opponent accuses Paul Ryan of ‘sabotage against our party’

Updated 1:15 p.m.: House Speaker Paul Ryan’s underdog primary challenger says the Republican lawmaker has betrayed Donald Trump in “an act of sabotage against our party.”

Paul Nehlen is trying to capitalize on a burst of attention he’s received after Trump complimented him. The Republican presidential candidate also said he wasn’t ready to endorse Ryan in the primary.

Nehlen held a news conference Wednesday in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. He says Ryan is trying to sabotage both Trump and the will of Republicans who selected him as their nominee. Ryan has endorsed Trump, but has also been critical of some of his policy proposals and comments.

Ryan has outraised Nehlen 17-to-1 in the district, secured a host of endorsements and enjoys high favorability ratings among Republicans. Nehlen is running his first campaign.

Overseas GOP group expresses concern

Updated 1:10 p.m.: A leader of an overseas Republican group says she is growing concerned about Donald Trump.

Jan Halper-Hayes, vice-president of Republicans Overseas, says “there is an element of him that truly is psychologically unbalanced.”

Halper-Hayes has previously defended Trump and has said his temperament is suited to high office.

Halper-Hayes, author of “Quiet Desperation: The Truth About Successful Men,” told the BBC on Wednesday that “Donald is out of control right now and he’s not listening to anyone.”

But she said that “I think that there is some real concern about his behavior right now. … It’s something we need to watch very carefully.”

White House confident election won’t be rigged

Updated 12:45 p.m.: White House spokesman Josh Earnest says that President Barack Obama has confidence in the America’s electoral process and everybody else should too.

His comments at Wednesday’s press briefing came in response to questions about Republican Donald Trump’s suggestion that the November election “is going to be rigged” against him. Trump did not go into details.

Earnest says that the 2012 presidential election contained complaints from some supporters of Mitt Romney that the polling was skewed against the Republican nominee, so Trump’s suggestion is not entirely new. But he said it is the kind of claim often made by people who don’t end up winning elections.

Paul Manafort downplays campaign criticism

Updated 12:35 p.m.: Donald Trump’s campaign chair says the candidate is in control and that reports of brewing anger over his inability to stay on message are overblown.

Paul Manafort says in an interview with Fox News Channel that “the candidate is in control of his campaign.”

He adds that “the campaign is in very good shape” and blames rival Hillary Clinton for suggesting otherwise.

Trump’s week has been dominated by his criticism of Muslim parents whose son was killed in the Iraq War and his refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain.

Manafort says of Trump’s spat with the family: “We’ve put it behind us.”

He says that when Trump appears at an event Wednesday afternoon, he’ll be focused on Clinton.

Trump campaign reports $80 million in donations

Updated 11:40 a.m.: Donald Trump’s campaign says it raised $80 million in July to support his bid as well as the Republican Party.

The numbers mark a significant upswing since May, when Trump was badly outraised by Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. He now has $37 million cash-on-hand.

Clinton raised $63 million in July for her campaign, as well as $26 million for the Democratic National Committee and state parties, bringing her total monthly fundraising to about $90 million.

Trump’s $80 million includes approximately $64 million raised through digital and direct mail operations, the campaign says.

Trump is leaning on small donors to finance the bulk of his presidential run.

He’s also continuing to invest his own money into his campaign, contributing another $2 million last month.

Campaign finance chair Steven Mnuchin says the campaign has received contributions from more than 1 million donors to date.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson wants Trump to apologize for Khan remarks

Updated 10:45 a.m.: Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson says Donald Trump should apologize for disparaging the bereaved parents of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim who was awarded a Bronze Star after he was killed in 2004 in Iraq.

Johnson had earlier praised the Khan family in a statement that did not mention Trump. He went further in an interview Wednesday on WTMJ Radio, calling for Trump to apologize.

But Johnson refused to withdraw his support of Trump. Johnson was asked what it would take for him to no longer back Trump. He said the election is a binary choice and Trump is preferable to Democrat Hillary Clinton. Johnson said her handling of the Benghazi attack and use of a private email server while secretary of state has “completely disqualified” her from being president.

Hillary Rodham Clinton ad uses GOP voices against Donald Trump

Updated 9:45 a.m.: A new ad supporting Hillary Clinton uses the words of Republican leaders to make the case that GOP nominee Donald Trump is unfit to lead the United States.

The 30-second spot shows clips of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and other Republicans questioning Trump’s temperament and foreign policy experience.

Trump’s comments “create a clear and present danger,” says Hayden.

The spot was released by Priorities USA, a Super PAC supporting Clinton. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money, but aren’t allowed to coordinate with campaigns.

The ad is running in nine battleground states.

Trump aide ties Obama, Clinton to Capt. Khan’s death

Updated 8:10 a.m.: A spokeswoman for Donald Trump has blamed Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2004 killing of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan in Iraq — even though the death occurred more than four years before Obama became president.

Trump has been in a public fight with Khan’s parents after Khan’s father criticized the Republican nominee at last week’s Democratic convention.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday evening, Katrina Pierson said, “It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagements that probably cost his life.”

Obama was a state senator in Illinois in 2004. Clinton was a senator representing New York. She voted in favor of the Iraq War in 2002.

Trump has been widely criticized, including by many Republicans, for denouncing the Khans, who are Muslim-Americans.

Pierson’s comments have become a trending topic under #KatrinaPiersonHistory. She touched on the controversy herself on Twitter by writing that she’ll make history by getting Trump elected president.

Trump touts ‘great unity’ in Republican Party

Updated 7:15 a.m.: Donald Trump says there’s “great unity” in his campaign —despite growing dissent and turmoil among his fellow Republicans.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that the campaign unity is “perhaps greater than ever before.”

That comes as he continues to face criticism from Republican lawmakers for attacking the Muslim-American parents of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq. The soldier’s father had criticized Trump at last week’s Democratic convention.

On Tuesday, Meg Whitman, a prominent Republican fundraiser and former Hewlett-Packard executive said she would back Democrat Hillary Clinton. Also, Rep. Richard Hanna of New York became the first Republican member of Congress to say he will vote for Clinton.

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