The Latest: Obama plays down report on Clinton email

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

12:25 p.m.

President Barack Obama is playing down reports that a senior State Department official had asked the FBI last year to reduce the classification of an email from Hillary Clinton’s private server.

Obama said in a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday that some of the “more sensational implications or appearances” related to the report “are not based on actual events.” He said those types of interactions “happen a lot.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said the FBI records show a “criminal act.” But Obama says that notion is “just not true.”

The records indicated there were discussions about a deal that would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents in foreign countries in exchange for the classification change. State and FBI officials say there was never a deal.


12:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama says Donald Trump’s flattery of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is “unprecedented” in American politics. He says it’s “out of step” with values that the rest of the U.S. political establishment has long held.

The president is expressing dismay not only at Trump’s approach toward Putin, but at the way that many other Republican officeholders are falling in line with the Republican presidential nominee’s stance.

The president said that while Trump rarely surprises him anymore, he’s “much more surprised and troubled” that Republican officials now seem to echo Trump’s attitudes toward Russia.

The president added, “It’s quite a reversal. You’ll have to ask them to explain it.”

Obama spoke during a joint news conference with Italian Primary Minister Matteo Renzi in the Rose Garden.


12:05 p.m.

Donald Trump is claiming that if he doesn’t win the presidential election, “history will remember 2017 as the year America lost its independence.”

Trump unleashed a series of tweets Tuesday suggesting that he will “#DrainTheSwamp” of corrupt Washington.

It comes the day after he discussed his government ethics reform plan, which includes tighter restrictions on former members of Congress and ex-White House officials taking jobs as lobbyists.

Trump has repeatedly called for Americans to reclaim their independence and has linked his candidacy to the “Brexit” vote in which the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union.

His remarks also come as he doubles down on his unsubstantiated claims that the election will be “rigged.”


11:45 a.m.

First there was a naked Donald Trump statue. Now there’s a statue of a topless, hoofed Hillary Clinton.

The life-size statue of the Democratic presidential nominee appeared outside a subway station Tuesday in lower Manhattan.

It wasn’t immediately clear who created the statue, but it caused quite a stir. Video by the New York Daily News ( showed it knocked down, with a woman stomping and at one point sitting on top of it to prevent others from putting it upright.

In August, an artist similarly displayed a naked statue of Donald Trump outside another Manhattan subway stop. It was removed because it wasn’t permitted.

Police and city officials haven’t said why and how the Clinton statue was removed.

Clinton’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


11:35 a.m.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is using campaign stops in battleground North Carolina to aid recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew battered the state’s southeast quadrant.

Aides said the Indiana governor is bringing bulk canned food and other items to his Tuesday afternoon rally in Wilmington. The city was in the storm’s direct path. Supporters attending an evening rally in Fayetteville are being asked to bring non-perishable food items, as well.

Pence’s visit to the state comes two days after a local Republican Party office in Orange County, North Carolina, was damaged by a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window. No one was in the office at the time. Local Republicans resumed operations Monday outside their damaged office.


10:50 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign circulated an initial list of nearly 40 elected officials, military leaders and corporate CEOs to be considered for vice president last spring. The list was included among hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman disclosed by WikiLeaks.

The list emailed from John Podesta to Hillary Clinton last March included several Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Tim Kaine of Virginia. Kaine was eventually picked by Clinton.

Obama administration Cabinet members Julian Castro, Tom Perez and Tom Vilsack were on the list.

Others included Tim Cook of Apple, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, Howard Schultz of Starbucks and retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen.


10:10 a.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign has invited the mother of an American killed in Benghazi, Libya, to attend Wednesday’s final presidential debate.

Trump’s campaign confirms that Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, will be one of its guests.

Smith told Yahoo News that she thinks she’ll be seated in the front row.

Smith gave an emotional speech the Republican National Convention blaming Trump rival Hillary Clinton for her son’s death. She accused the former secretary of state of lying to families about what sparked the 2012 attack that killed four Americans. Republicans have tried to make Benghazi a central issue in the campaign.

Trump also made headlines with his guests at the second debate. They included a trio of women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and assault.


3:30 a.m.

With Donald Trump’s path to electoral victory appearing increasingly narrow, Hillary Clinton is confidently advancing into states the Democrats haven’t won in decades, as Trump attempts to focus attention on new allegations about the investigation into her email.

Clinton’s campaign has launched new efforts aimed at expanding her lead and helping her party win back control of Congress.

There’s a new $2 million push in Arizona, aides said Monday, including a campaign stop in Phoenix by first lady Michelle Obama, one of Clinton’s most effective surrogates.

At the same time Clinton is showing new signs of confidence, she faced fresh revelations about her use of a private email server as secretary of state and hacked emails from a top campaign official’s personal account.

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