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Trump To Make Anti-Hillary Speech; Clinton Says Trump Isn't Presidential


Donald Trump has spent the last few weeks dealing with one blistering headline after another. But today he is hoping to put his presidential opponent on the defensive. Trump is giving a speech later this morning that is intended to reinforce questions about Hillary Clinton's honesty. Meanwhile, Clinton has continued hammering Trump's fitness for office. Let's talk about all this with NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, good morning.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So what do we expect Trump to say this morning?

LIASSON: Remember, this is the speech he said he was giving in New Hampshire last Monday, but because of the massacre in Orlando the day before, he scrapped it. He has previewed a lot of attacks on Hillary Clinton. He says this speech is going to be about the failed policies and judgment of crooked Hillary Clinton. He says she's used the State Department as her personal hedge fund.

He said that she laundered money through a for-profit university when she was secretary of state. Yesterday he emailed an allegations from a book written by a former Secret Service agent assigned to the Clinton White House, which includes a damning account of Hillary Clinton's character. We also know in the past he's suggested that Clinton was somehow involved in the murder of Vince Foster even though five investigations showed it was a suicide. And he has said in the past she enabled her husband's infidelities. So there's a long list.

GREENE: A very long list that he has previewed there. Well, you know, we talked about this with Cokie Roberts, a commentator, on Monday about if Trump shows sort of messaged discipline and gets back to kind of a schedule and gives speeches like this and focuses on negatives in Hillary Clinton, you know, that could help him in the polls. I mean, could this be damaging to Hillary Clinton, if he starts focusing on this?

LIASSON: Yes, it could. You know, the charges about ethics and judgment all go to the root of Hillary Clinton's biggest problem, which is that she's not seen as honest and trustworthy by large numbers of voters. And even though some Clinton advisers think that if Trump brings up stuff from the '90s, voters will just say, oh, that's old news. But, in fact, other Democrats think some of this stuff looks bad. Why did the foundation take money from Saudi Arabia?

You know, Hillary Clinton has had a very charmed period where she hasn't had a lot of incoming fire from Donald Trump. She was able to give that very tough foreign policy speech against him in San Diego, and he really had no serious response. Maybe now things will change.

GREENE: Well, what happens now if you're the Clinton campaign and this barrage of attacks begin to come from Donald Trump? I mean, how does her campaign respond?

LIASSON: Her campaign will have to decide whether it responds directly or allows affiliated groups like Correct The Record, which is a superPAC supporting her, to respond. And she just continues her own separate line of attack on Trump as she did yesterday on economics where she said he would be as dangerous on the economy as he would be on foreign policy. She's rolled out a new website called ArtOfTheSteal.com.

And yesterday in her speech, she focused on Trump's opposition to raising the minimum wage, his suggestions that he would default on the U.S. debt, that he has refused to pay contractors, the allegations of fraud against Trump University, a new economic analysis that shows his proposals would create a new recession. And today Hillary Clinton, in another speech on the economy, is going to lay out her own proposals for creating high-paying jobs and more broadly shared prosperity.

GREENE: We have about 15 seconds left, Mara. Any thoughts on Hillary Clinton's running mate? A lot of talk about that right now.

LIASSON: Names that you hear, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren. And at the top of every list, Tim Kaine, the senator from Virginia, a state Hillary Clinton needs to win. I think that whoever she picks as vice president will have to fulfill the first, second and third criteria for a vice president, which is to be ready to be president.

GREENE: There you go. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

Thanks, Mara.

LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson
Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.