Presidential election news highlights

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on the U.S. presidential race as reported on Monday, Oct. 17:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is responding to the revelation that a State Department official had asked the FBI for help last year in reducing the classification level of an email from her private server. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said there was strong disagreement among government agencies about the decisions to retroactively classify material that had been sent to the then-secretary of state. He said Clinton’s campaign played no part in that debate. According to FBI records released Monday, Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy sought the reclassification as part of a proposal that would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents to Iraq. It was not immediately clear whether Kennedy or the FBI first suggested the proposed bargain. The FBI and the State Department say no such deal occurred.

Mike Pence says respectful vigilance is the best way to prevent a “rigged election” — a prospect his running mate Donald Trump has raised without proof. The Republican vice presidential candidate said at a Monday rally in Cincinnati, Ohio that “voter fraud cannot be tolerated.” He says too high a price was paid for the right to vote. But Pence urged those who monitor polling sites to do so “respectfully” to ensure an “outcome we can all be proud of.” Trump has said – without evidence – that the election will be “rigged” in Democrat Hillary Clinton’s favor. Pence says the media is “rigging the election” by writing critical stories of Trump. But he has stopped short of suggesting voter fraud will have an impact on the result.

Congressman John Lewis says the Nov. 8 presidential election will be a fair one that “we are all going to be very proud of all across the country.” The Georgia Democrat made the comment in response to Republican Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that the election will be “rigged.” Lewis is no stranger to ballot access issues. He was beaten as he peacefully demonstrated for ballot access during the civil rights movement. Lewis said Trump is “fanning the flames of division,” adding that “It’s unfortunate he is saying that before we have even voted.” He commented Monday before he cast his ballot on the first day of early voting in Georgia.

The White House is responding to a fire set at a local Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina, saying there is no justification for the use of violence to advance a political agenda. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in Monday’s briefing that no one benefits from vandalism and violence. Investigators say someone someone torched the Orange County Republican Party headquarters last weekend by throwing a flammable device through a window. Earnest said President Barack Obama has consistently praised political activists who have sought to overcome significant differences through the use of non-violent tactics. He noted that some Democrats are trying to raise money to rebuild the office.

Bill Clinton says once the election is over, his wife’s supporters should reach out to Donald Trump’s voters. The former president said Democrats should not treat Donald Trump supporters the way they and their nominee have treated Hillary Clinton backers. He was speaking Monday at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Clinton said many Trump supporters have reason to feel alienated, but their anger will not take them where they want to go. Clinton did not address Trump’s attempts to make an issue of the ex-president’s sexual history in the campaign.

Democrat Hillary Clinton is buying television advertising time in Republican-dominated Texas, hoping to tighten the presidential race in America’s largest conservative state. Clinton’s campaign said Monday that a 30-second commercial will air for one week in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, while also appearing online. Its cost wasn’t released. The ad touts the Dallas Morning News’ endorsement of Clinton — the first time the newspaper backed a Democrat for president since 1940. Texas hasn’t voted Democratic in a presidential race since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The Republicans, meanwhile, haven’t lost a statewide office in Texas since 1994, the nation’s longest political winning streak. Some polls suggest the Texas race between Clinton and Donald Trump is getting closer. Texas’ top Republicans leaders continue to vocally back Trump.

Donald Trump’s campaign is seizing on newly released FBI records as evidence of collusion within the Obama administration to protect Hillary Clinton. The records released Monday show that a senior State Department official asked for the FBI’s help last year to change the classification level of an email from Clinton’s private server. In a proposed bargain, State would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents in foreign countries. The FBI ultimately rejected the request. Trump adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said in a statement that the documents “provide undeniable proof” that Clinton colluded with the FBI, Justice Department and State Department “to cover up criminal activity at the highest levels.” He said Clinton “has recklessly put our national security at extreme risk.”

Associated Press