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The Week In Politics: Trump's Campaign Shake-up; Clinton Foundation's New Donor Rules

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last night at a rally in Fredericksburg, Va., Donald Trump spoke to a crowd described as overwhelmingly white, and he made an appeal for inclusivity.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: The GOP is the party of Abraham Lincoln.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Cheering).

TRUMP: And I want our party to be the home of the African-American voter once again.

MARTIN: It's part of an overall shift in tone in recent days after a staffing shake-up at the top of his campaign. NPR's national political correspondent, Mara Liasson, joins us now for more on the presidential race. Good morning, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: Leaders in the Republican establishment have been talking about broadening the tents in the GOP since 2012. We're just a couple months out from the election now, and Donald Trump is turning to this issue, attracting minority voters. Is it too late?

LIASSON: It's unclear what he plans to do about that. He did mention that the Republican Party needs more outreach to African-Americans. The problem is that Donald Trump is polling at near zero or 1 percent in some polls with African-Americans.

MARTIN: I want to turn now to an investigation that was published in The New York Times this weekend. They looked into Donald Trump's business dealings. What did they find in there?

LIASSON: They found that his business dealings are extremely complicated and opaque. But they determined that he had debts of about $650 million, including to two sources that he regularly reviles on the campaign trails, and that's China and Goldman Sachs. It's unclear whether this new investigation will have any effect on the campaign.

MARTIN: Let's talk about this leadership shuffle. Paul Manafort is out, GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway is in. Are we seeing her influence already?

LIASSON: Yes, we are seeing her influence already. Donald Trump did something very unusual. He said he has regrets about some of the things he said that could've caused people personal pain. That shows you the influence of Kellyanne Conway right there. She is an expert at helping conservative Republicans speak to people, particularly women, in ways that won't push them away. She's trying to help Trump be Trump, but more disciplined.

MARTIN: And what about Steve Bannon? He's also in the campaign leadership team now. He's the head of Breitbart News, a conservative news website. What is Donald Trump looking for from him?

LIASSON: Breitbart, the website, has been the biggest media megaphone for what you might call Trumpism (ph), this isolationist, nationalist, anti-globalization, white identity politics. And if, for some reason, Trump does not end up in the White House, then making a partnership with Steve Bannon and Breitbart is a pretty good strategy. Maybe Donald Trump wants to start a media company or a cable channel to continue being the voice of that movement. Steve Bannon is Trump's Trump.

MARTIN: Let's turn now to Hillary Clinton. The emails released by WikiLeaks have raised questions about the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton was in that top job. President Bill Clinton met with staff at the Clinton Global Initiative on Thursday. Do we know what he said?

LIASSON: Yes, we do. We know that the Clinton Global Initiative will not continue after this year. Also, the foundation will no longer take donations from corporations or foreign entities. And there won't be a presence for Bill Clinton or Chelsea Clinton running the foundation if Hillary Clinton is elected president. Now, what this acknowledges is that the Clinton Foundation has been a problem for Hillary Clinton. Many Democrats say she should've made these changes earlier. It also raises questions about what about conflicts with past donors if she's the president?

And meanwhile, the email problems aren't going away either. The FBI has turned over to Congress its notes of their interviews with Hillary Clinton, and a judge in a private lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch, which is a conservative advocacy organization, has ordered Clinton to provide written answers to their questions.

MARTIN: NPR's national political correspondent, Mara Liasson. Thanks, Mara.

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