Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the debate at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, September 26, 2016

Rick Wilking/Reuters

NY REVIEW OF BOOKS, ELIZABETH DREW   [Condensed, with add’l photos]


Donald Trump’s performance in the first presidential debate Monday night left many commentators perplexed. He was sufficiently ill-prepared, dishonest, petulant, and finally out of gas to have sunk a normal candidate in a normal year. He showed us the lazy and arrogant Trump, Trump the bully, the Trump of the short attention span. Clinton, on the other hand, was polished and prepared—but not, as some of her followers had feared, over-prepared. She was unrattleable. Aware when Trump was speaking that the camera was trained on her as well, she kept her facial expressions under control and mainly looked bemused. When she was speaking, he made faces of scorn and irritation; and he often interrupted her and even talked over the moderator, Lester Holt, which isn’t done. Some commentators withheld judgment at first about how the debate went over with the public, even though they believed that Trump had done very badly, because so many of them had gotten it wrong in the primary debates. Most press observers thought he’d behaved horribly in the South Carolina debate but then he won South Carolina by a large margin.

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Lester Holt 

Trump did badly Monday night with focus groups of undecided voters in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and a poll released Wednesday by Politico/Morning Consult showed Clinton gaining three points and Trump losing one—just what she needs. Fourteen percent said they were undecided. In an NBC/SurveyMonkey poll, 52 percent of respondents said that Clinton had won the debate, compared to just 21 percent for Trump. As the week went on, new polls were consistently showing gains for Clinton, putting her ahead of Trump in national measurements by from two to seven points. This doesn’t tell us what the effect was on the swing states; though the trends in those states would tend to reflect what’s happening at the national level.

In the first half hour (when he was relatively coherent), Trump pitched his comments to his supporters in the rust belt, slamming Clinton’s (and her husband’s) record on free trade agreements and the moving of plants and therefore jobs overseas…. Perhaps Trump’s most effective line, repeated from time to time throughout the debate, was, Clinton had been in government for thirty years so how come she didn’t get the things done that she’s now advocating? The line made no literal sense but it served to underscore one of his main attractions to voters, that she’s the insider and he represents change.

While Trump was clearly winging it after the beginning, Clinton had an effective plan that she executed flawlessly. Her strategy was based on her belief that she could defeat Trump in the election on the basis of his character and personality. Her aides said that the goal was to try to jack up the enthusiasm of her supporters and also reach out to uncommitted suburban women and millennials who have yet to back her. First she unnerved Trump by questioning his business prowess (Trump, like many braggarts, has a notoriously thin skin), pointing out that his father had loaned him $14 million to start his own business. Trump repeated that he’d been given a “small loan.” Then she went at the way he’d “stiffed” small business people whom he’d contracted to work on his buildings, his “long record of engaging in racist behavior,” and his derogation of women. She told the stories of real people whom he’d mistreated.

To be frank, Trump didn’t seem very smart in the way he handled the debate. He walked into every trap that Clinton set for him. Perhaps he’s so unself-aware that he thought he was doing just fine. He let Clinton lead him into insulting women once again—out of nowhere he denigrated Rosie O’Donnell, whom he’d already insulted for no apparent reason in the first debate in the primaries. But the event that was to live on after debate was Clinton’s summoning up the story of twenty years ago when Trump—who, Clinton made a point of saying, liked to sponsor and hang around beauty pageants—had insulted Miss Universe, Alicia Machado (“Donald, she has a name”), for having gained weight after the pageant, calling her “Miss Piggy” and also “Miss Housekeeping”—an apparent reference to the fact that she’s Latina (from Venezuela).


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Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for People en Espanol

Alicia Machado


Trump’s reaction was puzzlement—“Where did you find that?” But, as is his wont, Trump made things worse for himself, just as he’d done with the Khans, the Muslim parents of a US army captain killed in Iraq, and with Judge Gonzalo Curiel, an American of Mexican heritage, by going further. The next morning on Fox and Friends, he attacked Machado again, saying she’d gained “a massive amount of weight” and had been “the worst contestant” ever, “a real problem.” He thereupon invited the wrath of women everywhere who’d ever had weight problems and probably their parents, as well. And then there are the Hispanics, who can’t have liked this. As the Khans did, Machado, who is now an American citizen, is making the rounds of the talk shows.


Trump not only walked into traps; he gave the Clinton campaign fresh material. His interpolations as Clinton made some charges would be particularly useful. The Clinton campaign plans to hammer Trump over his unintended admission that he hadn’t paid any taxes last year by butting in with the comment that that was “smart”; and that his cheering on the impending housing crisis in 2008 was “business.” As for Clinton’s mention that she’d invited to the debate the architect of a clubhouse on one of his golf courses who hadn’t been paid, Trump employed the standard excuse, “Maybe he didn’t do a good job.”


Clinton spoke to millennials and suburban women when she charged that Trump had called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese. (Trump lied in denying that he’d done that.) To African-Americans Clinton dwelt on the implications of Trump using the “racist” charge about Obama’s birth to get his start in national politics—and then pressing this “birther” myth for five years. Trump’s abrupt concession on September 16 that “President Obama was born in the United States” did him little good. Trump’s turnabout, which his aides had urged him to take care of before the debate, in a very brief press conference, during which he showed off his new hotel in Washington, only reminded people how extensively he’d pushed the baseless rumor to delegitimize the first black president, which is understood to have very much bothered the usually unflappable Obama. Trump’s lie about Clinton having started the birther rumor was the last straw for a press corps already frustrated by Trump’s constant lying. It was in articles about this press conference that the word “lie” began to appear, and in time major outlets—The New York TimesThe Washington PostPolitico, and The Los Angeles Times—started to publish running accounts of Trump’s lies. Trump bragged during and after the debate that he’d forced Obama to release his birth certificate; at the time Trump had questioned whether what Obama released was real. Perhaps Clinton’s single most effective line in the debate—clearly a rehearsed one—was, “Donald, I know you live in your own reality.”


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In the debate Trump showed once again that he doesn’t understand the purpose and benefits of our international alliances or nuclear policy or how the Federal Reserve works. But, typically, Trump was incapable of admitting that he hadn’t done such a good job—he claimed victory—and had to offload the blame on others.

In his appearance on Fox and Friends, Trump complained that his mic hadn’t worked well and was scratchy—perhaps a conspiracy against him—though no one said they heard such noises or had trouble hearing him in the hall. He accused Holt, the moderator, of asking him the harder questions. Trump was at his smarmiest in suggesting toward the end of the debate that he was going to say something “extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, I can’t do it.” Afterward, in comments in the “spin room” and wherever he could the next day, he was more explicit, saying that he’d held back from bringing up Bill Clinton’s past affairs because Chelsea, a friend of Ivanka’s, was in the hall. (Though presumably Chelsea would have heard it on television had she been elsewhere.) Like a chorus, Trump’s surrogates, RNC chairman Reince Priebus and Rudy Giuliani, praised him for being so restrained about bringing up a very sensitive matter, with Giuliani, seemingly Trump’s id, going further in talking about Bill’s affairs, mentioning Monica Lewinsky—if anyone needed reminding. After the debate and also on Morning Joe the next day campaign manager Kellyanne Conway praised Trump’s saintly restraint. On Wednesday, Trump’s son Eric said his father had shown “courage” in not bringing up Bill Clinton’s sex life. How all this would help Trump with undecided voters was unclear.

The debate took place against the backdrop of an essentially tied presidential race, with the press having declared that Trump had the “momentum.” By the third week of September, battleground states where Clinton had been seen as safely ahead—Colorado, Pennsylvania—were suddenly tied. (Ohio was tilting toward Trump.) The Clinton campaign had greatly outspent Trump on advertising, almost all of it on ads challenging Trump’s character and fitness to be president….Clinton’s performance on Monday brought considerable relief to her supporters.

Something about Hillary Clinton just doesn’t sell. While she’s widely accused of being an inveterate liar, I’ve said before that her lies in this campaign have been about the “damn spot” of her election campaign—the server. Her behavior over the server reminded people of her evasiveness in her years as First Lady. Clinton can be cold and off-putting, but she can also be very warm; of late she’s been much less packaged and more spontaneous. But first impressions tend to stick. One’s reaction to her depends on which Hillary one knows. (I’ve met both over the years.) There’s no doubt that the “tough woman” puts some people off, but what else do they want in a president?

Image result for Something about Hillary Clinton just doesn’t sell.

Clinton also has a couple of political problems that aren’t her fault: after Bernie Sanders spent months during the primaries attacking her as a tool of Wall Street and part of a corrupt system, he has yet to convince a great many of his followers to support her. (Now Trump is picking up Sanders’s sly demand that she release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs: Sanders knew full well that anyone who gives a speech to a group—no matter what it’s paying—is likely to flatter them at the outset; the demand encouraged the naïve thought that a politician would cut a deal with a group in a speech attended by numerous people.) Sanders’s recent appearances on her behalf—he did an event with her Wednesday in New Hampshire to talk about the plan she adapted from his of offering free public college education and lowering student debt—will test whether he can persuade many of them to back her. In the end, Sanders and Clinton come from different political places so it’s not at all clear that he can. Sanders had a vision, while, puzzlingly, Clinton has yet to offer one. Her campaign’s slogan, “Stronger Together,” isn’t exactly a vision.


A second problem is that Clinton is running as the nominee of the party that’s controlled the White House for eight years; voters in this country have a pattern of electing the other party after two terms—a pattern even more pronounced when the incumbent is a Democrat. And there’s an unknown factor that should be mentioned: no one can tell now how many blacks and Hispanics, as well as elderly people and students, will be blocked from casting a ballot by the voter ID laws that are still popular in Republican-governed states.


A further question is how much staying power the third-party candidates—Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein, of the Green Party—will have. While Stein is but a blip, scoring at most three points in important states, Johnson, with the more well-known Bill Weld as his running mate, is on the ballot in all fifty states and could make the difference in such states as Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Johnson is known as a bit of an odd duck. His stunning appearance onMorning Joe, when he was asked what, as president, he would do about Aleppo and he drew a blank, was just one sign of an unserious figure whose real role is to muck up the presidential race. When confronted on Meet the Press with the fact that he couldn’t win but could affect the outcome, he replied with insouciance, “Some parties need wrecking.”


Image result for Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party,


The reckless egotism that leads some people to put themselves in a position to distort the outcome of a presidential race—as Ralph Nader did in 2000—is quite remarkable if not very admirable. What’s most disturbing is that by offering the illusion that they can affect policy, which they’re not strong enough to do, they can draw younger people into a hopeless crusade and end in increasing their cynicism. According to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, over a third of voters aged eighteen to twenty-nine said that they’d vote for Johnson or Stein, and 10 percent said that if the choice was only Clinton or Trump they wouldn’t vote. This was twice as many as in any other age group. It’s widely thought that Johnson’s numbers will go down as people get closer to actually casting a vote and realize that they could be helping elect Trump. Nader cost Al Gore the 2000 election, one of the most fateful ones in our history—perhaps to be eclipsed by the current one. In a Times account, several millennial voters told reporters they were too young to remember Nader.

The week leading up to the debate showed how issues can whang into an election campaign, dominate the discussion and coverage for a few days—until the next one occurs. First we had, on September 17, the bombings and attempts at more of them in New York City and New Jersey. Terrorism! And on the eve of the UN General Assembly in Manhattan, in the communications capital of the world. And then a few days later, this was supplanted by the police shootings of black men under ambiguous circumstances in Tulsa and Charlotte. A third such shooting occurred on Wednesday, in San Diego.

But while Tulsa produced an unaccustomed softness in Trump, (Trump’s sudden turn, such as it was, was believed to have come especially at the urging of Kellyanne Conway, whose mission was to make him more acceptable to white women.) the demonstrations in reaction to the Charlotte shooting produced his more bombastic side, the one that appeals to white supremacists. In his comments about Charlotte, Trump was summoning up his Nixon “law and order” routine, first introduced last summer by his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a major theme at the Republican convention.Claiming without evidence that the Charlotte demonstrators were using drugs, he blamed the riots on Obama and Clinton. Obama had shown “weakness,” Trump said, while Clinton “shared directly in the responsibility for the unrest” by criticizing the police.

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Kellyanne Conway,

Now the first presidential debate dominates the discussion; it’s often the case that the aftermath is as important as the debate itself but this time the result wasn’t ambiguous….The word has gone out from the Trump camp that the next one will be different. There won’t be some dozen people briefing him, as was the case this time; Roger Ailes, who couldn’t get Trump to rehearse the situation by standing at a podium and responding to someone playing Clinton, will take a more commanding part, though the next “debate” is in the form of a town hall. But will Trump’s attention span suddenly grow? Could he somehow come across as well informed? His camp agreed that in the first debate he let some big subjects go by—he didn’t know enough to bring something up even if he hadn’t been asked about it. But the efficacy of the subjects they listed is questionable: Benghazi (which seven congressional committees had investigated and come up empty); the email server (the public seems tapped out on that subject); Obamacare (more promising). If Trump really thinks that he’ll be greatly aided by bringing up Bill Clinton’s affairs, as he says he intends to, well, what can one say?
One event lasting about an hour and a half—shouldn’t supplant months of campaigning by the candidates. Small and sometimes inconsequential things that happen in this kind of forum can lead to large conclusions: Richard Nixon’s perspiring; Michael Dukakis’s mechanical response to a hypothetical question positing that his wife had been raped and murdered; George H. W. Bush’s looking at his watch (perhaps he just wanted to know how much time was left to make certain points); Al Gore’s sighs; Reagan’s canned one-liners (“There you go again”). But what was different about the first debate of this election, with an audience of eighty-five million—the most-watched presidential debate ever—is that it was more revealing about character and characteristics of the two nominees than any debate in modern history.

Trump Comes Unglued in First Presidential Debate.

Blood on the floor of the first debate. Photo: Brendan Smialowksi/AFP/Getty Images


Donald Trump just got roughed up, and badly, by a girl. On Monday night, at the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton made her opponent look ignorant, unprepared, egotistical, childish, petulant, impatient and at times totally incoherent.

How bad did it get? At one point, as Trump was groping blindly across the minefields of foreign policy, losing a foot here and a leg there, he announced, apropos of nothing, that “I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament.” Clinton smiled sweetly and exclaimed, “Whew, okay!” The audience at Hofstra University, sternly instructed to remain silent throughout the debate, ignored the rules and burst into laughter.

They were laughing at you, Donald, not with you.

The 90-minute encounter, moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt, was less a debate than a beat-down. Clinton obviously had put in many hours of preparation. Trump apparently decided to wing it — and while this approach worked well during the Republican primaries, when nobody got much time to speak and pithy one-liners could win the day, it bombed in a one-on-one clash where there was no place to hide.

Trump’s biggest vulnerability is that he so rarely knows what he’s talking about. Minutes before his hilarious temperament declaration, he had been boasting that his criticism of NATO a few months ago caused the alliance to begin focusing on terrorism. “I think we have to get NATO to go into the Middle East with us, in addition to surrounding nations,” he said.

Clinton coolly reminded him — “informed him” would probably be more accurate — of some pertinent facts. “You know, NATO as a military alliance has something called Article 5, and basically it says this: An attack on one is an attack on all,” she said. “And you know the only time it’s ever been invoked? After 9/11, when the 28 nations of NATO said that they would go to Afghanistan with us to fight terrorism, something that they still are doing by our side.”

That’s pretty much the way the evening went, especially toward the end. Trump visibly ran out of gas, poor thing. His answers became increasingly scattered and elliptical. Pressed to defend his contention (long since disproved) that he was against the Iraq War, he complained repeatedly that “everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity.” Even Hannity, the Fox News host, must have been perplexed.

This was after he charged that Clinton “doesn’t have the stamina” to be president. But she looked fresh as a daisy throughout, while Trump wilted before our eyes.

One of Trump’s worst moments, at least to my eyes and ears, came when Clinton alleged that he paid no federal income taxes in at least some recent years. Trump offered no protest, instead interjecting, “That makes me smart.” Seriously? No one wants to pay more in taxes than required, but the idea of a self-proclaimed billionaire getting a free pass will be hard for many voters to swallow.

Throughout the debate, the split screen showed Trump mugging, fidgeting, shrugging, grimacing, offering an array of exaggerated smiles and frowns. He interrupted Clinton frequently, but she didn’t complain. She may have calculated that it benefited her cause for Trump to have the floor.

I am under no illusion that Trump’s abysmal performance will cause his most dedicated supporters to have second thoughts. They heard his central argument, which is that “politicians like Secretary Clinton” have failed — and it’s time to try something new.

But while the race has tightened to the point where Trump could actually win, Monday night vividly demonstrated why he should not — why he must not. Whether you like Clinton or not, it’s obvious that she can do the job. The debate had to make undecided voters question whether Trump even has a clue.

JONATHAN CHAIT, NEW YORK  [Condensed, Add’l photo.]

Before the first presidential debate, a conventional wisdom had formed that Donald Trump merely needed to appear “presidential,” which the campaign media had defined as “non-sociopathic.” He failed to clear that bar.

Trump managed to tell a number of lies without consequence. He insisted he had never called global warming a Chinese hoax, when that very claim is still up on his Twitter feed. He insisted crime has risen in New York, when it has fallen.

What worked for Clinton was sowing doubts about Trump’s character. She mentioned his $14 million loan from his father, and Trump aggravated the damage by calling the loan “small” without disputing the sum. He gave no coherent reason for why he could not release his tax returns. He admitted to failing to pay contractors, insisting they had all done poor work, an excuse hardly any person who had done work for hire could find plausible or acceptable. He defended his record of refusing housing accommodations to African-Americans by saying he had signed a consent decree with no admission of guilt, and then, years later, built a club in Palm Beach that did not exclude people by race. His defense of the charge of fomenting birtherism was a disaster. When he tried out his campaign line that he merely wanted to force Barack Obama to produce his birth certificate, Lester Holt noted that he continued to question its authenticity in each of the next four years, at one point sputtering, “Look, it’s all words.”

The final exchange of the debate was the most devastating. Clinton in a clearly planned attack lacerated Trump for his dehumanization of women — the kind of sexualization that offends social conservatives and social liberals alike. She brought up his abuse of one of his beauty-pageant contestants — noting, as an aside, his fondness for hanging around them — and that he called one contestant “Miss Piggy” and, because she is Latina, “Miss Housekeeper.” When Trump fell for the trap by demanding her name, Clinton supplied it: Alicia Machado, driving home the justifiable impression that Clinton sees her as a human being, unlike her opponent, who sees her as a piece of meat. His response consisted of whining that her campaign was spending money to attack him in advertisements.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

The following morning, an ebullient Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, told reporters she had a “great, great time.”She plainly relished her moment of apparent triumph, and poked fun at Mr. Trump’s morning lamentations. “Anybody who complains about the microphone,” she said, “is not having a good night.” Her campaign moved quickly to capitalize on her opponent’s treatment of a former Miss Universe, by putting her statements in an online ad.The 1996 pageant winner, Alicia Machado, has accused the Republican nominee of years ago calling her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” because she’s Latina. She was nicknamed “Miss Eating Machine” by Mr. Trump in 1996 and says she has never fully recovered.

Republicans learned again that their nominee will rise or fall politically as himself — brash, unpredictable, volatile and true to his own instincts.

A handful of voters in battleground North Carolina said after watching the debate that they leaned toward Hillary  Undecided women in Philadelphia’s suburbs, a crucial voting bloc, said Mr. Trump had not only failed to win them over but in many cases had repelled them.

Trump said his mike might have been tampered with and that he was right to comment on a beauty queen’s weight.

  • He also threatened to make Bill Clinton’s infidelity a campaign issue.


Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump are seen on the side of a CNN truck parked outside Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

ELIZABETH DREW, NY REVIEW OF BOOKS   [Condensed, with add’l photos.]

[Ms Drew eloquently summarizes where we are in the presidential race as of September 16, 2016. Thus it was written before Trump’s abrupt claim (under pressure). that Mr. Obama was actually born in the United States.–Esco]

Historians are going to have a hard time with this election, featuring as it does two candidates each of whom presents unprecedented and unique qualities: the first woman presidential nominee in a society that hasn’t yet quite come to terms with the idea of a female president or even candidate, and a businessman out of reality television who knows next to nothing about governing or government policies and plays on America’s dark side.

But while Donald Trump has garnered most of the attention—we keep wondering what outlandish thing he’ll say next—the story of Hillary Clinton may well in the long run be the more interesting. It’s certainly the more poignant. She’s worked so hard and so long to be the first woman elected president. She’s by far the more prepared, the smarter, the harder worker, yet she’s hit so many headwinds that, though she’s still favored to win, the election is more in doubt than it was on Labor Day.

The virtual tie in several national polls means little at this point, though of course each side would prefer to have a sizable lead. National elections have usually been very close. The most relevant fact is that Trump still has the harder path to the required 270 electoral votes. But now, as of mid-September, Trump has been gaining over Clinton in some crucial “battleground” states; and some states that only recently seemed to be safely in Clinton’s column may be slipping away. In time, we will learn the extent to which this tightening of the polls was affected by Clinton’s having fallen ill at the ceremony honoring the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, and the furor in the press over how her illness was handled. Several of the new polls were taken over the three days of September 10-12.

The release this week of two polls showing Trump leading Clinton by five points in the critical state of Ohio—Trump cannot win without it [Although Clinton can-Esco]—was the kind of startling information that can change the psychology of a race. Clinton had led in Ohio in August and up to Labor Day. Trump has also just pulled ahead in other important states: Florida, Nevada, and Iowa (by a lot). Within the space of less than two weeks the political talk switched from Clinton having a possibly unbreakable grip on the Electoral College vote to how much Trump has gained on her and how much Clinton has slipped.

                                   Donald Trump is winning the white voter over rival Hillary Clinton (pictured), but not by the same margins Mitt Romney won it over President Barack Obama - and Romney lost

How did this happen? What is it about Clinton that puts so many people off? [cf Perceptions 9/16/16]

Though many of Clinton’s problems are, as it’s said monotonously, self-inflicted, some have to do less with what she’s done than with what she is: Hillary Clinton is the unusually bright woman who turns off a lot of men—and some women, too. She’s the smartest girl in the class who does her homework more fastidiously than the others and turns in her papers before they’re due.

Anyone who didn’t see the sexism in the way that Matt Lauer treated Clinton in the NBC forum on September 7—an event featuring both candidates supposedly talking about national security though Lauer insisted on grilling Clinton about the server—has to have had blinders on. Lauer didn’t tell Trump to hurry up with his answers the way he frequently did Clinton; he was patronizing to her, an attitude that can befall women out in the world.

In describing Clinton as lacking the stamina to be president, Trump, who goes home almost every night, is conveying that the presidency is a man’s job. A man who marries two models and one starlet and who has a bullying nature can be quite thrown off by a brilliant, strong woman. Clinton’s strong voice, though lately she’s tried to reduce the yelling—the charges of a double standard on this are valid—can be off-putting to women as well as men. How many male candidates are urged to smile more?

There’s no question that Clinton has shown her less attractive traits in this campaign, and her displays of her lighter, playful side, which she definitely has, have gone largely ignored. Though Clinton has a cold aspect, her considerable warmth when she turns it on has been more on display of late, though  it’s essentially ignored in the descriptions of her. (There’s a reason that so many people, especially women, who have worked for Clinton remain devoted to her.) I think there’s been an overreaction to her more graspy and evasive side—a lack of proportion on the part of many Democratic and Independent voters. Anecdotally one hears it time and again from them: “I just can’t vote for Hillary.” If questioned, this leads to statements of disgust with the way she handled the private email server and some vague sense that there’s been corruption in the dealings of the Clinton Foundation. In fact, while there’ve been all sorts of insinuation on the part of Republicans and career opponents of the Clintons and some suggestive news reports, as of now, no actual corruption in the foundation’s dealings with Hillary Clinton’s State Department have been unearthed.

. Credit From left: Richard Perry/The New York Times. Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

The case of the Trump Foundation is the opposite. While until very recently it received less attention in the press, The Washington Post has disclosed that it has functioned as a sort of slush fund by which Trump solicits funds from others—Trump himself hasn’t made a personal contribution to it since 2008—and then he makes donations of other people’s money to various causes, taking bows for his generosity. Some of the foundation’s funds have been used for Trump’s own gratification, such as purchasing a football helmet signed by Tim Tebow and one of Tebow’s football jerseys (for $12,000); Trump also signed a check from the foundation’s books for $20,000 for a six-foot portrait of himself—the use of foundation funds for gifts to oneself is illegal. Trump has had to pay a fine for making a political contribution of $25,000 with foundation funds, which is illegal—apparently to head off a Florida attorney general’s investigation of Trump University. Now an investigation into the foundation has been opened by New York state’s attorney general. (Trump has complained that the New York AG is a partisan Democrat, but there’s nothing partisan about the question of whether a foundation violated the law.)

Those Democrats who say they simply cannot vote for Clinton—some are planning to waste their votes on third party candidates, who take more votes from Clinton than Trump—apparently haven’t thought through where this leads: helping Trump. This lack of concern for consequences is reminiscent of those Democrats, mainly on the left, who said that they were “disappointed” in Obama– and didn’t turn out to vote in midterm elections. This contributed to the steep Democratic losses in Congress in 2010 and 2014.

Whether the tightening of the polls constitutes a trend won’t be known for some more weeks. But meanwhile the numbers have made for useful propaganda for Trump who excels at blaring victorious notes, using the fact that he’s winning as an argument for falling in behind him. Trump is also expert in diverting press attention from less positive news about him. On Wednesday, September 14, Newsweek published an expose about how Trump’s business organization “has spread a secretive financial web across the world,” and has “deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals,” all of which would create serious conflicts of interest if Trump were to be elected president. On the day of the Newsweek report Trump suddenly let it be known that, in the taping of a television show to run the next day, hosted by the aptly named Dr. Oz, he’d disclosed the results of new medical tests he’d recently undergone; supposedly unlike Clinton (who in fact had already disclosed far more about her health history than Trump had about his), Trump could claim he was being “transparent” about his health records. His new medical tests, which still left out a great deal of information, were conducted by the same doctor who had written the one-page laughable report late last year that said that Trump would be the healthiest president in history.

The press’s fury at Clinton, after she left the lengthy fifteenth-anniversary commemoration of 9/11 early last Sunday, had in some part been stoked by her long period of being inaccessible to them. This had started to change—Clinton had recently begun chatting with her press corps daily—but resentment toward her secretive nature, including about the server, hadn’t died. The press was quite agitated that she’d kept the diagnosis that she had pneumonia secret for two days, and that for nearly two hours on Sunday afternoon her whereabouts were unknown to them. It was sheer chance that a bystander caught on his cell phone her near collapse as she entered her van. The entire episode played into the theme that Clinton is too evasive.

Actually, it’s hardly shocking that she attempted to keep the diagnosis of pneumonia under wraps and to push through it. Candidates and even presidents also shake the press from time to time—Trump did so on Thursday night. Clinton is far from the first sick presidential candidate and she wasn’t unique in trying to carry on. A presidential campaign is open-ended and insanely intense, and candidates generally go to great lengths to avoid canceling an event. Each one is an opportunity to win votes, and candidates push themselves until they run out of time. Trump, who hadn’t come close to scheduling as many events as Clinton did, may be an exception but he’s picking up his pace, and there are enough weeks left until November 8 for him to get exhausted.

 CreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times

Clinton’s time out—she missed four days while she rested up—was costly to her in one important way: she’d focused her campaign on attacking Trump and had yet to make a case to the voters why she should be elected president. She had proposed a welter of programs to improve the lives of most Americans and while as yet it lacked a coherent vision or theme there was a positive case to be made. In fact she was to begin to make it this past week when she fell ill. But she still has some time. Meanwhile, while she recuperated she had powerful surrogates in President Obama and her husband (who filled in for her on a fundraising trip to California and Nevada). Barack Obama campaigned for her in Philadelphia and was clearly joyful at returning to the kind of campaigning he does well: funny, incisive, and having a good time interacting with the crowd. In Philadelphia Obama did a long rap expressing his wonderment that working people would think that Donald Trump was their friend. The crowd loved it, and him. A recent poll places Obama’s approval rating at 58 percent, a good place for a president nearing the end of his second-term and a useful one for Clinton.

Of further possible help to Clinton was this week’s unexpected good economic news: a strong rise in most Americans’ wages in 2015 over the previous year, including among the poor and lower-wage workers. This helped the president argue that his administration not only had staved off the deepest recession since the Great Depression but also that standards of living have generally improved—when the opposing candidate was campaigning on the theme that times are terrible, that America isn’t “great.” It might help Clinton because it gives her more of a rationale for asking the voters to think twice in an election that’s supposedly about change. “Change” is a fuzzy term suggesting nothing in particular but simply a desire for something different. The theme lacks analysis of what’s wrong and who caused it—for example in the case of the stalemate on Capitol Hill, which is the direct result of an opposition party determined to deny the president any legislative successes.

But Clinton is having trouble assembling the coalition that twice elected Obama; she’s especially coming up short with young and Hispanic voters—even in the face of Trump’s running insults toward the latter group. That Clinton would have an enthusiasm problem has been foreseeable for a long time; she’s simply not a magnetic campaigner. A great deal will ride on whether the elaborate turnout operation the Clinton campaign has built is effective enough. Trump has nothing to match it and is dependent on the efforts of the Republican National Committee.

Clinton’s propensity for less than deft campaigning was displayed in her off-the-cuff comment at a fundraiser on Friday September 9 (though she’d said something like it before) that she could put half of Trump’s supporters “into what I call the basket of deplorables.” She listed what she sees as traits of Trump supporters: “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.” Her expression of regret the following day that she’d cited such a high proportion of “deplorables” didn’t get her out of trouble. Trump and other Republicans pounced on her comment with ill-disguised glee.

It’s not that what Clinton had said was so outrageous: the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates among others argued that she was correct in her estimation of the proportion of Trump’s followers who held the views she cited. But, it’s not a good idea to impugn a rival’s followers because it allows the rival candidate to express shock and horror at an insult to good, hard-working Americans. In other words, it’s an excellent resource for faux outrage and a useful organizing tool to get one’s supposedly maligned supporters to vote. Similarly, Barack Obama wasn’t wrong in 2008 when he observed that people down on their luck in hard-hit areas “cling to their guns and religion.” But that word “cling” gave the Republicans ammunition for picturing Obama as an elitist out of touch with real people.

Clinton’s inartful comment was followed two days later by the unfortunate cell phone clip of her nearly collapsing—which played on television probably a million times and came on top of Republican insinuations, stoked by Matt Drudge, that she was ill with some mysterious malady (this wasn’t the first picture of her falling). This made for a bad few days for Clinton. But when on Thursday she emerged from her rest at her home in Chappaqua, New York, Clinton looked fine and there was nary a cough. She said that the time off the trail had probably done her some good, gave her time to reflect on the campaign in a way that’s not possible while going full speed on the road. On her first day back, she spoke in North Carolina—her aides said she would now focus on the battleground states—and then addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s annual dinner in Washington.

Clinton’s speech to the Hispanic organization was the best I’ve seen her give—this includes her convention speech. Her voice under control, she modulated according to what she was saying, and she spoke effectively of the contributions Hispanic citizens had made to this country—and she knew a number of their leaders. This was a far cry from Trump’s clumsy if not insulting speeches aimed at, but almost never given to,minorities about the terrible lives they led. (“So, what the hell do you have to lose?”) Clinton cited things she wanted to do upon taking office: “create an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top by making the biggest investment in new jobs since World War II,” including on new infrastructure projects; institute paid family leave (a more generous program than the one Trump announced earlier in the week since his only included mothers and would last half as long and would be aimed at those who earned enough to take tax deductions to pay for it). In her first hundred days, she said, she would send to Congress a proposal for “comprehensive immigration reform,” including a path to citizenship—again, a sharp contrast with what Trump had proposed. She even suggested that she would end the raids and roundups of illegal immigrants that Obama had ordered. The audience loved it; Clinton was on target now, speaking from her strengths.

Donald Trump at the Economic Club of New York, September 15, 2016

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump has begun to show the kind of discipline as a candidate that his previous advisers had despaired of seeing. On Thursday morning, an essentially contained Trump delivered a serious speech—his second policy speech—to the prestigious New York Economic Club. His sweeping plan is economically shaky to say the least, assuming as it does that $4.4 trillion in tax cuts would only cost the government $2.6 trillion (via the widely discredited “dynamic scoring” that assumes economic growth will ensue from the tax cuts); he pledged 4 percent economic growth, a number he must have plucked from the sky; and he threw in some Jack Kempian vows—now adopted by Paul Ryan—to create jobs in depressed neighborhoods. Trump vowed to slash corporate taxes (to the delight of the people in the room), and lift regulations on energy production plants. He’d also reopen coal mines—in Trump’s view there’s no climate crisis.

The thing about this speech, though, was that Trump looked and sounded normal, like a regular conservative Republican. So much less is expected of Trump that when he delivers a speech on the teleprompter with some smoothness, as he now can, it’s considered a major achievement. When he sticks to the script and doesn’t wander off into comments that get him in trouble he’s a statesman. In the middle of this week, though, Trump burst out of his unusual restraint about Clinton’s illness—yielding to temptation to take a couple of digs at her being sick.

Actually, within the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the reckless Trump say (in the NBC forum) that when the Iranians “in their little boats”—he’s good at imagery—make rude gestures to the US navy “in their beautiful ships” he’d “blow them out of the water.”

We also saw the Trump who is uncomfortable with minority audiences and blundered his way through a trip to Flint, Michigan, where the pastor of a black church interrupted him as he got full flight about Hillary Clinton’s evils to tell him he hadn’t been invited into her church to make a political speech. Trump meekly complied but, typically, when he’s been embarrassed or attacked, the next morning he lied to Fox News that the woman had been a nervous wreck and that he knew that she had planned to embarrass him. (Hillary Clinton used this example of Trump’s mean-spiritedness—when he wasn’t in the pastor’s presence—in her speech in North Carolina.)


NYC: Wanna Bet Bill de Blasio Will Win Reelection? Why the Odds Are Strongly in his Favor.

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If you happen to find yourself in any bar in Manhattan south of 96th St. and the conversation turns to politics, try offering this declarative sentence: “There’s a good chance de Blasio gets reelected next year.” If the reactions are anything close to ones I’ve received, expect a mixture of shock, confusion and, in some cases, anger.

The doubters are wrong. Mayor de Blasio remains the odds-on favorite — for very good reasons.

It’s been a particularly rough six months for the mayor. Investigations into his administration have dominated the tabloids and stifled his ability to communicate a coherent message. Polls now show a majority of New Yorkers don’t think he deserves reelection.

Now de Blasio must contend with a potentially well-funded group called NYC Deserves Better, started by a former political aide to Michael Bloomberg, which is holding open casting calls in search of a Democratic primary challenger.

Given these headwinds, why bet long on de Blasio for reelection?

Start with Election Day itself. Don’t be fooled by the accident of 20 recent years of Republican and independent mayoralties. The real 2017 election for mayor will be held Sept. 12, the Democratic primary — not on general Election Day. That’s because there’s a 7-to-1 registered Democratic advantage among the electorate.

The questions are which respected Democrat will step up to challenge de Blasio — and, given the mayor’s record, whether that challenger can articulate an effective message.

Highly unlikely. Only twice in the past 40 years has an incumbent Democrat lost to a primary challenger (Ed Koch to David Dinkins in 1989 and Abe Beame to Koch in 1977). Those conditions — deteriorating race relations in 1989 and the collapse of the city’s finances in the 1970s — are a far cry from today’s environment, with unprecedented low crime rates, rising test scores, job creation and fiscal stability .

De Blasio’s acuity at winning Democratic primaries has been tried and tested. He seemingly came out of nowhere in the 2009 public advocate race to beat Mark Green, and his win of the Democratic mayoral nomination in 2013 still has the political establishment in this town shaking their heads.

That’s partially because of who makes up the Democratic primary electorate these days: public-sector union members, minorities, immigrants, NYCHA residents and the hard left within the party. In short, groups that have been waiting two decades for a progressive mayor to hang a “welcome” sign on the front doors to City Hall.

Match that with de Blasio policy initiatives: Settling labor contracts covering 300,000 public-sector union members. Issuing 850,000 municipal IDs, many of which give immigrants their first real form of identification. Paid sick leave. Free universal pre-K for more than 100,000 kids. Reducing the NYCHA repairs backlog by investing in long-needed infrastructure.

Placating the base alone won’t guarantee success in 2017, though — and de Blasio knows it. After a year of forgoing town hall meetings, he’s now made them routine. He’s traveling more to middle-class neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; Staten Island, and Throgs Neck in the Bronx, tackling quality-of-life issues important to centrist Democrats.

Image result for Preet Bharara
Preet Bharara

It’s not all smooth sailing ahead. Nobody disrupts political careers like Preet Bharara. But with little evidence suggesting de Blasio or his staff personally profited from any alleged wrongdoing, the mayor’s chances of being directly implicated are slim.

With no formidable opponents, crime continuing to decline as 1,000 new officers hit the streets, manageable projected deficits and underlying political realities, New Yorkers need to start getting used to seeing Bill de Blasio around for another four years.

Greenspun is a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs, a former commissioner of the Community Affairs Unit under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and an appointee by Mayor de Blasio to the Human Rights Commission.

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The Long Summer of Discontent Ends with Police Shooting Deaths of Two Black Men and a Riot.

Differing stories: The family of Keith Lamont Scott (pictured with his wife Rakeyia) will be shown the video of his final moments; they insist he was carrying a book, not a gun
The family of Keith Lamont Scott (pictured with his wife Rakeyia)

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The fall equinox is technically tomorrow morning. But a riot in North Carolina following the police fatal shooting of an Afro-American overnight is a fitting bookend to three months of heightened tensions between the police and the people. The previous day, an unarmed black man was shot to death by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From Louisiana to Minnesota to Texas, a host of incidents have again and again put racial tensions back on the front burner of the presidential campaign. They’ve also inspired the national anthem protests that have roiled the National Football League.


The killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police and the murders of cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge did not lead to a period of national healing or sustained soul searching.


The stories might have disappeared from the front pages, but the incidents have continued. Temporarily-bandaged wounds are re-opening around the country this week, as frustrations boil over.

Won't be released: Kerr Putney, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief (right, beside Mayor Jennifer Roberts), says footage will not be shown to the public
Kerr Putney, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief (right, beside Mayor Jennifer Roberts)

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— What happened in Charlotte?   Keith Scott, 43, was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer Brentley Vinson, who is also black, after being mistaken for a wanted man. Police say Scott, a father of seven, brandished a gun as he got out of a car; his family insist he was sitting in his car reading a book and had no gun. In a video posted to Facebook Live, Scott’s daughter Lyric can be heard yelling at investigators not to plant a weapon in Scott’s car. “Because that’s what the fuck y’all do.” 

She said Scott was parked and waiting for a school bus to drop off his son when police arrived. Officers Tasered him, then shot him four times, she said. She added that Scott was disabled.” “My daddy didn’t do nothing. They just pulled up undercover,” Detectives said they recovered the firearm they claim Scott was holding during the shooting.

Police said 44 people were arrested on Wednesday night for a variety of crimes such as assault, breaking and entering, and failure to disperse
Police said 44 people were arrested on Wednesday night for a variety of crimes such as assault, breaking and entering, and failure to disperse

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A large crowd of demonstrators gathered near the scene of the shooting last night. The gathering started peacefully but took a turn for the worst at some point after dark. Protesters shut down traffic on Interstate 85. Some opened up the backs of tractor trailers, took out boxes and set them on fire in the middle of the highway, WSOC-TV reported. A few dozen other people broke down the doors of a nearby Walmart. Police reportedly then used flash grenades to break up the crowd and cleared the highway in the wee hours of the morning.


Police said 12 officers were injured during the demonstrations, one of them hit in the face with a rock.At least 11 people were taken from the demonstrations and treated for non-life threatening injuries, per our Derek Hawkins As protests swelled, police used teargas in an attempt to disperse crowds heard yelling “Black lives matter,” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!” One person held up a sign saying “Stop killing us”; another sign said: “It was a book.”


— Scott became at least the 702nd person to be fatally shot by police so far this year, and at least the 163rd black man, according to a Washington Post database tracking fatal officer-involved shootings.

Crutcher, 40, pictured with his twin sister, Tiffany, was shot dead while his arms were in the air
Terence Crutcher, 40, pictured with his twin sister, Tiffany,

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– In Oklahoma: A day after police released video that shows a white Tulsa police officer fatally shooting an unarmed 40-year-old black man, attorneys representing the slain man’s family released photos that they said contradict a key claim in authorities’ version of events. From Peter Holley, Wesley Lowery and Derek Hawkins: “At a news conference, Benjamin Crump … said Terence Crutcher never reached his hands into the driver’s side window of his stalled sport-utility vehicle before he was shot by police. Crutcher couldn’t have reached into the vehicle, Crump said, because enhanced photos of the vehicle taken from police video show that the window was rolled up. If confirmed by police, the admission would eliminate one of the chief justifications for police using deadly force against Crutcher. 


— In Connecticut: Three state troopers were caught on camera conspiring to make up charges against a protestor at a DUI traffic checkpoint, a new lawsuit alleges. It’s another good reminder of why folks don’t trust law enforcement. (Amy Wang)

Image result


— Against this backdrop: The National Museum of African American History and Culture has its grand opening on Saturday, as good a place as any for a national conversation on race. But these conversations are hard, and few genuinely want to engage in them.

Ahmad Rahami, suspected New York bomber, cited al-Qaeda and ISIS, officials say

The father of Ahmed Rahami, Mohammad Rahami. (Tariq Zehawi/ via AP)


— Ahmad Rahami was formally charged with using weapons of mass destruction and bombing in a public place, along with seven other counts stemming from the attacks in Manhattan and New Jersey. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. (Ellen Nakashima, Mark Berman and William Wan) Rahami left 12 fingerprints on one of the bombs he planted and purchased materials for his bombs under his own name on eBay, according to federal charging documents. Mr. Rahami had been meticulously planning his attack since at least June, according to the complaint.
The FBI said Rahami was investigated as a possible terrorist two years ago after concerns were raised by his father, citing his son’s interest in terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and his fascination with jihadist music, poetry and videos. Rahami’sfather recanted his charge when he was first interviewed by the FBI, saying he made the statements in the heat of an argument and that he was referring to his son being a terrorist as  like he was a gangster. The revelation marks the second time this year, and the fourth time since 2013, that the bureau acknowledged it investigated someone who later carried out an act of terror.

Rahami may have been radicalized while in Afghanistan and Pakistan during a nine month stay between 2011 and 2014: Rahami and his brothers spent time with their grandfather in Afghanistan in 2012, their father said. “An item described as a handwritten journal was found on Rahami after the shootout. Included in this was a reference to Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who was a top leader for al-Qaeda … The journal included notes that the FBI was looking for him, discussed shooting police and said he was praying to Allah ‘to not take JIHAD away.’” (More from Ellen, Mark and William)

Mr. Rahami’s wife, Asia, who left the country days before the bombing, is now in the United Arab Emirates. She provided a statement to the F.B.I., according to officials, and the authorities are working to bring her back into the country as soon as possible.

The F.B.I. believes Mr. Rahami acted alone but is trying to speak with everyone who knew him.

It was unclear when Mr. Rahami married his wife, but after returning from a nearly yearlong visit to Pakistan in March 2014, he was increasingly desperate to get her into the country.

It was unknown when her visa issue was resolved. But in August 2014, Mr. Rahami got into a fight with his family, during which he stabbed his brother in the leg with a knife, court records show. He was jailed, but the case was dismissed.

Suspect Arrested in Manhattan and New Jersey Bombings After Gunfight.

Ahmad Khan Rahami splayed out next to a street in Linden, N.J., after he was shot by police officers in a gun battle on Monday morning. He was found sleeping in a doorway of a bar.CreditEd Murray/NJ Advance Media for


The man who the police said sowed terror across two states, setting off bombs in Manhattan and on the Jersey Shore and touching off a furious manhunt, was tracked down on Monday morning sleeping in the dank doorway of a neighborhood bar and taken into custody after being wounded in a gun battle with officers.

The frenzied end came on a rain-soaked street in Linden, N.J., four hours after the police issued an unprecedented cellphone alert to millions of people in the area telling them to be on the lookout for Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, who was described as “armed and dangerous.”

Even as the remarkably swift arrest eased fears across the region, investigators were still in the earliest stages of trying to determine what provoked the attacks, why a street in Chelsea was one of the targets and whether the bomber was aided by others.

Mr. Rahami and his family had traveled periodically to Pakistan, and on one trip, he stayed for nearly a year. A senior law enforcement official said that no evidence had yet been uncovered that he had received military training abroad.

The Rahami family’s restaurant in Elizabeth, N.J. Bryan Anselm for The New York Times


The weekend began with what seemed like an odd and troubling event, but one that hardly aroused widespread alarm.

At 9:30 a.m., three pipe bombs tied together blew apart a trash can just before the scheduled start of a Marine Corps run called Seaside Semper Five in Seaside Park, N.J.

Only one of the three bombs had detonated and no one was injured. The F.B.I. was brought in to investigate, but there was no indication about what would unfold 11 hours later.

Investigators believe that Mr. Rahami drove a car registered to his father into New York City shortly before the Chelsea blast erupted at 8:30 p.m.

In a review of surveillance video, the police later saw him near West 23rd Street and Avenue of the Americas wearing a backpack investigators believe contained one pressure cooker bomb. He was pulling a patterned duffle-type rolling bag that they believe contained another pressure cooker bomb and wearing a fanny pack on his left hip.

A tip to 911 led the police to a second device, the other pressure cooker bomb with a cellphone attached, four blocks to the north. Surveillance video collected by investigators would later show Mr. Rahami on West 27th Street, without his backpack but pulling the patterned bag and leaving it beside a mailbox.

But it would take hours to gather and analyze all of that video and zero in on Mr. Rahami as the man who left the bag behind. The unexploded bomb found on West 27th Street held critical clues. Once the police were able to remove it and examine it, they discovered a fingerprint that matched one in an arrest record for Mr. Rahami.

Ahmad Rahami is seen in a mugshot

Ahmad Rahami is seen in a mug shot

Roughly 20 minutes after Mr. Rahami left the bag on West 27th Street, two men happened upon the luggage, apparently unaware of its explosive contents. One of the men opened the bag, pulled out the bomb, which was inside a white plastic bag, and then left with the luggage. The authorities, who are eager to talk to the men, said that their handling of the device may have disabled it.

By Sunday, the authorities were monitoring addresses associated with Mr. Rahami. Increasingly confident that he was involved with the bombings, they made the decision to act when they saw a vehicle leaving one of those addresses.

The car was pulled over on the Belt Parkway near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn. Five people inside, some of them Mr. Rahami’s relatives, were questioned and later released.

Later on Sunday night, the police received a report of a suspicious package near a train station in Elizabeth, N.J.

The F.B.I., which responded, deployed a pair of robots to examine the bag and determined that it held five bombs, some of which were pipe bombs.

The location of the bag was not far from where the Rahami family ran a restaurant. Before dawn on Monday, federal agents and local police officers were swarming a neighborhood of low-rise apartment buildings and small businesses. They searched the restaurant, First American Fried Chicken, and addresses where Mr. Rahami was reported to have spent time.

Burn marks can be seen in the backyard of Rahami's family home which the FBI believe are evidence of the chicken shop bomber practicing his attack

Burn marks can be seen in the backyard of Rahami’s family home which the FBI believe are evidence of the chicken shop bomber practicing his attack

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As investigators realized that all of the attacks were linked and that the bombs reflected a certain level of sophistication, they worried that the bomber would grow desperate and do something even more drastic.

They decided to take the unprecedented measure of using New York City’s emergency notification system — typically for major weather events — to alert people in the region that a dangerous suspect was on the loose. Shortly after 7 a.m., millions of people in the region received the notification to be on the lookout for Mr. Rahami.

Even as the police scoured the area near the restaurant, Mr. Rahami was seeking shelter from the morning rain under a doorway of a bar, Merdie’s Tavern in Linden, which is next to Elizabeth, trying to catch some sleep.

Around 10:30 a.m. the owner of the bar spotted a man sleeping in the doorway, officials said.

Capt. James Sarnicki of the Linden Police Department told reporters that an officer approached the man, later identified as Mr. Rahami, and when he woke him, he saw that he had a beard resembling that of the man on the wanted poster.

The officer ordered him to show his hands, Captain Sarnicki said, but instead, he pulled out a handgun, shooting an officer in the abdomen; the bullet struck his vest.

“The officer returned fire,” he said. Mr. Rahami fled, “indiscriminately firing his weapon at passing vehicles.”

Other officers joined the chase, and Mr. Rahami was shot multiple times. At least one other officer was wounded during the confrontation.

 Rahami was arrested on Monday after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey