• ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Nearly two months after his first visit Capitol Hill to charm the GOP, Donald Trump is returning to Washington Thursday for meetings with rank-and-file members of Congress grappling with the potential down-ballot effects of his controversial presidential campaign.While Republican leaders spoke cautiously of party unity after huddling with Trump following his victory in the primaries, backlash to the real estate mogul's candidacy has complicated Republicans’ plans on Capitol Hill, and potentially endangered their House and Senate majorities.Since then, Trump has done little to reassure Republicans hoping for a more disciplined candidate. His attacks against a federal judge of Mexican heritage presiding over a Trump University lawsuit overshadowed House Republicans’ rollout of their election-year agenda, and insinuations that President Obama and the Orlando nightclub shooting left Republicans scratching their heads.At one point, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, stopped taking questions about Trump at his weekly news conferences, and recently said he “clearly needs to change” to win in November. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, who quietly endorsed Trump in an op-ed in his hometown newspaper, has repeatedly criticized the presumptive nominee in the month since.“I expect to cringe a lot between now and November,” Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, one of Trump’s early Hill supporters, said in an interview. “I didn’t endorse a perfect candidate.”Vulnerable Republicans, like Reps. Bob Dold, R-Illinois, and Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, are scrambling to distance themselves from the New York billionaire. The warier GOP members –- many of whom are skipping the GOP convention in two weeks -- aren’t sure they’ll meet with him Thursday.“I haven’t looked at my schedule yet. I’m very wrapped up at the moment,” said, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.Dold, the Illinois Republican from a purple Chicago-area district, won’t attend Thursday’s meeting.But even some skeptics, like Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, a conservative who endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for president, want to hear what Trump has to say.“I’ve got too many questions,” he said wearily in an interview Wednesday.“I’m interested in what he’s like in a smaller, personal setting,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, another former Cruz supporter. “All I’ve seen of him is on television, on his show or giving a speech.”Even Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, who vowed not to support Trump in December, plans on attending the meeting, a spokesperson confirmed.Trump’s boosters in Congress say he’s different behind closed doors.“I do think that it’s important for our members to take the opportunity to get to know Donald Trump. Every time they do, I think their appreciation for him goes up,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, a potential vice-presidential pick.For his part, Trump has repeatedly said he can win against Hillary Clinton without Republican help.“We need unity in the Republican Party,” Trump said at a rally in North Carolina Wednesday. “I think I win without the unity, but we need unity in the Republican Party.” Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department will not file any charges against Hillary Clinton or anyone "within the scope of the investigation" into her use of personal email while Secretary of State.On Tuesday, FBI director James Comey called Clinton "extremely careless" in her use of private email to conduct State Department business, but recommended to not file charges against Clinton.Prosecutors at the DOJ appeared to agree with Comey’s assessment about charges."Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement."I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation."While the email issue has dogged Clinton during the election and for more than a year, the move by the DOJ was largely expected following Comey's statement on the investigation. Lynch had already said last week that she would accept the recommendations made by the FBI and those career prosecutors that work on her team.The FBI completed its investigation right around the time Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, met last week with Lynch on her plane. Both parties said the meeting was not about the email issue, although it has received criticism as inappropriate because Lynch oversees the FBI.Still, the decision against charges will likely follow Clinton during the general-election as the Democratic parties presumptive nominee. Republicans point out that Clinton was reckless with sensitive material, and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump pointed out the "the system is rigged.""The normal punishment, in this case, would include losing authority to handle classified information, and that too disqualifies Hillary Clinton from being president," Trump added in a statement.The FBI spent months looking into whether Clinton intentionally mishandled any classified information and whether her private email server had been compromised.Comey said his team uncovered more than 100 emails that contained information that was classified. FBI investigators also found thousands of work-related emails that were not included in the 30,000 emails Clinton handed over to the State Department.But Comey said the FBI didn’t believe those emails were intentionally concealed from investigators.Despite the FBI's finding of carelessness by Clinton and her staff, Comey said "no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case."Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(CINCINNATI) --  Donald Trump stoked speculation about his potential vice presidential pick once again by giving Newt Gingrich a big shout out at a campaign event in Cincinnati Wednesday night."Newt has been my friend for a long time. And I'm not saying anything, and I'm not telling even Newt anything, but I can tell you, in one form or another, Newt Gingrich is going to be involved with our government," he said. "That I can tell you."Trump said Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House is "smart" and "tough.""He gets it. And he says I'm the biggest thing he's ever seen in the history of politics," Trump said. "Now, Newt is going to be involved, if I can get approval from his wife. That may be tough, but that's okay."The former Speaker of the House was on hand to introduce Trump at tonight's event, and the pair hosted a brief Facebook Live video shortly before the start of the event.  During his introduction, Gingrich said that Trump "is going to kick over the table" in Washington, should he be elected. The former Speaker, known for his contentious relationship with then-President Clinton, seemed to relish attacking his old foes."I cannot imagine a more vivid proof of corruption than the steps that go from the Bill Clinton accidental airport meeting to the Saturday of the 4th of July weekend interview ...to the attorney general this afternoon announcing with great surprise that she accepts the FBI director's total sellout of the American system," Gingrich said."Is there a single person here who believes that if you had done what Hillary Clinton had done then you would not be prosecuted?" Gingrich asked.Trump returned the favor by saying that "Newt gets it.""I'm not saying it's Newt, but if it is Newt, nobody's going to be beating him in those debates," Trump said.The rest of Trump's speech touched on a wide range of issues, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch's decision not to press charges against Hillary Clinton relating to her email controversy. Trump said that decision marked another sign of how it is a "rigged system."Trump also touched on the scandal surrounding a Tweet that his social media director shared that featured a six-pointed star that some interpreted as a Star of David, prompting accusations of anti-Semitism."When I looked at it I didn't think anything," Trump said."My boy comes home from school, Barron, he draws stars all over the place. I never said 'That's the Star of David, Barron, don't!'" he said. Trump said that he wishes he staff never deleted the controversial tweet.He was also staunch in his defense of another of his controversial remarks, defending his praise of dictator Saddam Hussein."I don't love Saddam Hussein. I hate Saddam Hussein, but he was damn good at killing terrorists," Trump said."I said last night it's the Harvard. It's the Harvard University. It's the Harvard of terrorism. That's where you want to learn to be a terrorist, you go into Iraq. Boom, you're a terrorist. Boom!”Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan vowed Wednesday that Republicans will make their own inquiries into the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use — possibly including a special prosecutor — after the agency did not recommend criminal charges against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.“I think it’s the least we can do, given how she was so reckless in handling classified material,” Ryan told reporters Wednesday. “We have seen nothing but stonewalling and dishonesty from Secretary Clinton on this issue.”On Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey declined to recommend criminal charges to the Justice Department regarding Clinton’s handling of classified information on a private server but said she and her staff were “extremely careless” with the information.Ryan and other Republicans say the investigation and Comey’s statement have raised more questions than answers.“If you have a friend or family who is in the military today, they are less safe today as a result of what Secretary Clinton did,” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., said about Comey’s comments that Clinton’s email could have been hacked by foreign governments.Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon blasted the move.“One week after their two-year investigation into the Benghazi attacks turned up nothing new, House Republicans are launching yet another taxpayer-funded sham of an inquiry to try to hurt Hillary Clinton politically,” Fallon said in a statement. “For weeks Republicans have said they trusted FBI Director Comey to lead an independent review into Secretary Clinton’s emails, but now they are second-guessing his judgment because his findings do not align with their conspiracy theories. The bottom line is the career officials who handled this case have determined that no further action is appropriate here, no matter how much Republicans may seek to continuing politicizing this.”House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who has discussed the probe with Comey, invited him to testify on Capitol Hill Thursday morning about the investigation.Others, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., have sent letters to Comey seeking more information.Ryan said Clinton should not receive classified information during the presidential campaign — as he did as a vice presidential candidate in 2012 — because of how “recklessly” she handled it as secretary of state.For decades, presidential candidates have received classified briefings on national security after they have been nominated by their party.Ryan also said Republicans are reviewing other options beyond hearings and committee investigations.Asked if the House should tap a special prosecutor to looking into Clinton’s email use, Ryan said Republicans wouldn’t “foreclose any options.”Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., and other Republicans have called for a special prosecutor to review the decision on charging Clinton.“Americans deserve accountability from their government officials, especially when they would be harshly prosecuted or imprisoned for performing the very same actions,” he said in a statement.House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called Republicans’ efforts “political” but said Congress should review Clinton’s actions.“There may well be policy questions about whether we require people to [use] … government servers, how we protect information,” he said. “I think all of that can be discussed.”“But there’s no doubt in my mind that the reason we’re having a hearing tomorrow is because of politics,” he added.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) --  The Sanders and Clinton campaigns are in talks about a possible event where Sanders would endorse the former Secretary of State, ABC News has confirmed according to sources close to the Sanders campaign.Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton could come sometime next week, possibly at an event in New Hampshire.The Vermont senator has withheld his endorsement of the presumptive Democratic nominee, however he has said he would vote for Clinton in November. Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton is still leading Donald Trump when it comes to fundraising, according to claims by each campaign, but Trump’s money operation is showing signs of life.The campaigns have not yet filed their latest mandatory campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission, but each announced fundraising totals for June, as is common once campaigns finish counting their checks at the end of each month. Official reports aren't due until the 20th of each month.The unofficial totals reveal a strong showing for Clinton, but they also reflect a marked improvement for Trump, whose first full month of active fundraising yielded significantly better results after the self-funder's paltry showing in May.Clinton’s campaign announced a haul of $68.5 million in June. That includes $40.5 million to her campaign and $28 million to a joint fundraising committee, which distributes money to the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties. Due to much smaller contribution limits, her campaign will only keep part of that latter chunk, but the DNC and state parties can use it to help her.Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, announced a haul of $55 million, after his string of joint Republican National Committee fundraisers that began in May. The total includes some money from Trump himself -- and some donations from the last week of May. It includes $19.9 million in donations to his campaign, $25 million to his main joint fundraising committee with the RNC, $6.6 million to another joint committee and $3.8 million from Trump himself. Without Trump’s contributions, the total is $51 million, the campaign said.After self-funding his primary campaign, Trump had no fundraising operation to speak of. He began to build up that operation in May, holding a string of joint fundraisers with the RNC and naming his national fundraising leaders -- something Clinton had done more than a year earlier.That lack of effort left Trump with a historically low fundraising total in May: just $3.1 million in actual donations, an almost unheard of monetary dearth for a presidential candidate that put him on track to raise less money than any major-party nominee since Al Gore's 2000 bid, when candidates typically accepted public funding and spent much less on their campaigns.Historically, Trump's June total compares respectably as a month of presidential fundraising. Trump's haul appears to be padded with some donations from the end of May, as noted in his campaign's announcement, but if it were all raised in a single month, it would stack up respectably next to recent candidates' June totals for their campaigns and joint committees: John McCain raised $40 million in 2008, and then-Sen. Barack Obama raised $59 million in the same month.Still, Trump has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to campaign money. He entered June with $1.3 million in his campaign's coffers, compared to Clinton's $42.5 million.Clinton’s total is a good one, historically. It tops Obama’s June 2012 numbers ($64.2 million), but fell short of a massive total ($92.6 million) reported by Mitt Romney in the same month, thanks to an influx to his joint account with the RNC.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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