The Latest: Trump lauds Saddam Hussein vs. terrorists


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Campaign 2016 weeks before the Republican and Democratic national conventions (all times EDT):

10 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump is again praising former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s ruthlessness, saying he killed terrorists “so good.”

Trump was speaking at a rally Tuesday in North Carolina when he turned to the former Iraqi leader.

“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? … But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” Trump said. “They didn’t read ’em the rights, they didn’t talk. They were a terrorist, it was over.”

Trump has previously said the world would be “100 percent better” if dictators like Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi were still in power. Prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraq was listed by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Democrat Hillary Clinton’s senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan responded in a statement, “Donald Trump’s praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds.”

Sullivan said such comments “demonstrate how dangerous he would be as Commander-in-Chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”

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8:30 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump is accusing Hillary Clinton of bribing Attorney General Loretta Lynch following a report that said Clinton would consider keeping Lynch if she’s elected president.

“It’s a bribe!” Trump declared at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, Tuesday, hours after the FBI said it wouldn’t recommend charges against Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Trump was referring to a story in The New York Times that quoted “Democrats close to” Clinton saying she may decide to rehire Lynch.

Trump says Lynch may have believed that, if she let Clinton off the hook, she’d have four more years on the job.

Trump says, “It’s a disgrace, it’s a disgrace!”

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8 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump says the FBI’s decision not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton is the greatest example yet that the system is “rigged.”

Trump says Clinton put the “entire country in danger” and insists she was likely hacked.

“Her judgment is horrible,” Trump says, adding, “She will be such a lousy president, folks.”

Trump also had harsh words for President Barack Obama, arguing he should be at the White House working to defeat Islamic State militants and dealing with other issues instead of joining Clinton on the campaign trail.

He says Obama seems to be having too much fun, adding, “it’s like a carnival act.”

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7:50 p.m.

Sen. Bob Corker joined Donald Trump onstage at a rally in North Carolina Tuesday amid speculation about the Republican candidate’s vice presidential deliberations.

Trump introduced the Tennessee senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as “somebody respected by everybody.”

Corker said he’d had a “pretty remarkable day” with Trump, spending time with his grown children and watching how he treats the people who work for him.

He told the enthusiastic crowd packed into Raleigh’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts that “the reason that you love him so much is because he loves you.”

The pair hugged before Corker left the stage.

Trump’s event comes several hours after Democratic rival Hillary Clinton held her first joint rally with President Barack Obama in North Carolina.

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6 p.m.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is calling the timing of FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation in Hillary Clinton’s email case “uniquely troubling.”

In a letter to Comey on Tuesday, Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia says the FBI recommendation not to bring criminal charges against Clinton defies logic, and he is posing eight questions that he says he wants answered by Monday. Among them was whether she was treated differently from others who were penalized for mishandling classified information.

Goodlatte is also questioning “the timing and manner” of the announcement just a week after former President Bill Clinton’s impromptu meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on a tarmac in Phoenix. Lynch has maintained that the two spoke about family and not the investigation.

In a separate statement, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz questioned Comey’s integrity.

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5:45 p.m.

Presidential daughter Sasha Malia is the talk of social media after her father disclosed that she uses Twitter.

President Barack Obama was poking fun at Donald Trump during a rally for Hillary Clinton when he said that tweeting doesn’t make someone prepared to be president. He quipped, “Sasha tweets, but she doesn’t think that she thereby should be sitting behind the desk.”

Sasha and her older sister, Malia, aren’t known to have public social media profiles and their parents have tried to protect their privacy. The White House declined to answer any questions about the matter.

A Twitter account under the name @SashaObama had been suspended as of Tuesday evening.

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5:40 p.m.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, floated by Donald Trump as a possible speaker at this month’s Republican National Convention, will not attend.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has said he might hold a “winners night” at the convention and suggested Brady might speak.

But Brady will not appear in Cleveland later this month, according to a person briefed on convention plans but not authorized to speak publicly about them before they are officially revealed. The person said Tuesday that Brady was never formally asked to attend.

Brady has not officially endorsed Trump but has called the celebrity businessman “a friend” and once showcased one of Trump’s campaign hats in his locker.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka are other sports celebrities whom Trump said might speak but have declined invitations. Boxing promoter Don King has said he will attend.

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4:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama has wrapped up his first campaign appearance for Hillary Clinton without mentioning the FBI investigation into her private email.

Obama held a joint rally with Clinton in North Carolina hours after FBI Director James Comey called her actions “extremely careless” but said he wasn’t recommending criminal charges.

Neither Obama nor Clinton brought up the probe in their speeches. Obama has tried to avoid commenting by saying he doesn’t want to jeopardize the independence of the investigation.

But Obama used his speech to tell voters that he believes in Clinton and that they should, too. He’s working to alleviate concerns among some voters who say they don’t trust her.

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4:25 p.m.

President Barack Obama says Hillary Clinton has plenty of critics. But he says that’s what happens when a person puts themselves in the “arena” to fight for their beliefs.

Obama is speaking at his first rally for Clinton. He says she’s never stopped trying and people shouldn’t take her for granted.

The president says Clinton is steady and she’s true. He says she doesn’t get the credit she deserves.

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4:11 p.m.

President Barack Obama says people who are voting Republican this year shouldn’t claim to do so because of the economy.

Obama is ripping into Donald Trump’s economic positions and says even Republicans don’t know what he’s talking about. He says he doesn’t understand how people can vote for someone opposed to unions, paid sick leave and other policies he says help working families.

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4:09 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump is blaming a “rigged system” for the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against his likely rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

Trump alleges in a statement that Clinton “compromised the safety of the American people” by storing “highly classified information” on a private email server.

He cited the FBI’s conclusion that Clinton’s email could have been hacked, declaring: “Our adversaries almost certainly have a blackmail file on Hillary Clinton, and this fact alone disqualifies her from service.”

FBI Director James Comey said Clinton and her staff “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

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4:03 p.m.

President Barack Obama says there’s never been any man or woman more qualified to be president than Clinton.

Obama says nobody understands the job of president until you’ve sat behind the president’s desk. He says “everybody can tweet but nobody actually knows” what it takes.

The president is poking fun at Donald Trump for his prolific tweeting. He says his daughter Sasha tweets, but that doesn’t mean she knows what it’s like to be president.

Obama says Hillary Clinton won’t quit no matter how hard the challenges.

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4:00 p.m.

President Barack Obama says he knew Hillary Clinton would do a great job as his secretary of state.

Obama is touting her work in his administration during a joint campaign rally. Obama says he’s had a front-row seat to her judgment and commitment.

Obama says the “filter changes a little bit” when someone becomes a candidate. He’s referring to political attempts to denigrate her record at the State Department.

The president says he saw how Clinton treated everyone with respect, regardless of how important they were.

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3:55 p.m.

President Barack Obama is recalling the 2008 Democratic primary, when he and Hillary Clinton competed aggressively for the nomination.

Obama says he had admired her when they worked together in the Senate but after the primary he admired her even more.

He says he “always had to be on my game” during debates because Clinton knew all her facts. Obama is praising her for advocating for people who face discrimination or a lack of opportunity.

Obama says Clinton had to do everything he did, but had to do it backward. He says she was like “Ginger Rodgers in heels.”

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3:52 p.m.

Donald Trump’s vice presidential search is going on tour.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is among those being vetted for the gig, will be joining Trump at a rally in Cincinnati Ohio on Wednesday, a campaign spokesman confirms.

It will be the second day in a row that Trump will be joined by a traveling companion on the trail.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who chairs the senate Foreign Relations Committee, is set to travel with Trump to North Carolina Wednesday, hours after a joint visit to the state by Democrat Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Trump also met with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over the holiday weekend as he works to narrow down his potential picks.

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3:51 p.m.

President Barack Obama is opening his speech for Hillary Clinton leading the crowd chanting, “Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!”

The president, who sat onstage while Clinton introduced him, announced, “I’m fired up,” and “I love you too.”

He said he likes North Carolina because, “even the people who won’t vote for me are nice.”

Obama won North Carolina in 2008 but narrowly lost it to Mitt Romney four years later.

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3:47 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is contrasting Donald Trump with President Barack Obama.

Clinton is speaking in Charlotte, North Carolina, at her first campaign rally with the president. She says he’s a president who knows how to keep the U.S. safe and strong. She’s asking voters to compare that to Trump and imagine him sitting in the Oval Office the next time there’s a major decision.

Clinton says the world hangs on a president’s every word. She says Trump is simply unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief.

Clinton is ending her speech by invoking Obama’s campaign slogan of “Fired up, ready to go.”

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3:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton introduced President Barack Obama from behind a lectern bearing the presidential seal.

It’s powerful imagery that offers voters a glimpse of what a President Hillary Clinton might look like.

She and Obama flew to North Carolina together on Air Force One, stepping off the plane together and waving to cameras.

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3:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is speaking from behind a lectern bearing the presidential seal as she campaigns with President Barack Obama in North Carolina.

Clinton is introducing Obama, who will speak about his support for her candidacy. She and Obama flew to North Carolina together on Air Force One, stepping off the plane together and waving to cameras.

It’s powerful imagery that offers voters a glimpse of what a President Hillary Clinton might look like.

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3:35 p.m.

Donald Trump’s vice presidential search is going on tour.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is among those being vetted for the gig, will be joining Trump at a rally in Cincinnati Ohio on Thursday, a campaign spokesman confirms.

It will be the second day in a row that Trump will be joined by a traveling companion on the trail.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who chairs the senate Foreign Relations Committee, is set to travel with Trump to North Carolina Tuesday, hours after a joint visit to the state by Democrat Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Trump also met with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over the holiday weekend as he works to narrow down his potential picks.

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3:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is praising President Barack Obama and his family effusively as she takes the stage at her first rally with the president.

Clinton says Obama knows something about winning elections. She’s alluding to his victory over her in the 2008 Democratic primary.

Clinton says the president doesn’t get enough credit for saving the economy. She says he embodies what leadership looks like.

The Democratic candidate says the next president needs to build on what Obama has done.

As she spoke to a roaring crowd in in Charlotte, N.C., Obama sat just behind her onstage.

Clinton is also jabbing Donald Trump for questioning Obama’s birthplace in the past. She says Obama has never forgotten where he comes from. Clinton says, “Donald, if you’re tweeting, it’s Hawaii.”

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3:15 p.m.

The State Department is rejecting that it has a lax environment when it comes to classified information.

Spokesman John Kirby says the agency takes the protection of such material “very seriously” and doesn’t accept the criticism from FBI Director James Comey.

Kirby wouldn’t speak Tuesday about the details of the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email arrangement.

He said the State Department will decide on any internal action after the Justice Department weighs Comey’s findings and recommendations.

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3:09 p.m.

Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the FBI should release evidence uncovered during its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, not just the summary of its inquiry.

The Iowa Republican says FBI should “include the actual evidence so the public can make an educated decision on its own about the judgment and decision-making of all the senior officials involved,” including FBI Director James Comey.

Grassley’s committee has been investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. He said numerous Freedom of Information Act requests and other congressional requests have been placed on hold because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, “so now the FBI should respond fully and completely to all of them.”

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2:49 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump is traveling to North Carolina with one of his potential vice presidential choices.

Sen. Bob Corker is expected to introduce Trump at a rally Tuesday evening in Raleigh, North Carolina, just a few hours after Democratic rival Hillary Clinton appears for the first time with President Barack Obama.

“Looking forward to meeting with @SenBobCorker in a little while,” Trump said on Twitter, where he’s been publicizing a series of closed-door meetings with elected officials, including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Corker is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and would add foreign policy experience to the GOP ticket.

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2:09 p.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama is enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton’s campaign but doesn’t plan to address the FBI investigation into her emails when he campaigns with her Tuesday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest is dodging questions about the investigation’s findings and how they reflect on Clinton. He says the White House is trying to avoid the appearance of interfering while the Justice Department considers whether to charge Clinton.

The FBI recommended no charges and the attorney general has said she’ll accept the recommendations of career Justice Department prosecutors.

Earnest tells reporters traveling with Obama and Clinton to North Carolina that FBI Director James Comey didn’t tell the White House the results of the investigation in advance of his public comments.

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This story has been corrected to correct Corker with Trump Tuesday, Gingrich Wednesday.

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