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Power Sheet: Donald Trump Can’t Stop Making Outrageous Comments

Writer Tory Newmyer (@torynewmyer) is filling in for Geoff Colvin this week.

It turns out we were premature yesterday when we declared that Donald Trump had stepped on the message of his latest “reset” by following up his Monday economic address with a tweet suggesting Hillary Clinton’s emails got an Iranian scientist killed. Or, to be more precise, if that amounted to stepping on his message, on Tuesday, he buried it in concrete. During a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, the Republican nominee repeated the falsehood that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment, adding, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” His surrogates scrambled into their now familiar if not especially effective cleanup mode, insisting Trump was only referring to the voting power of gun-rights advocates. It’s clear from Trump’s statement, however, he was discussing a scenario in which Clinton had already been elected. So it seems the Republican nominee was suggesting — jokingly or otherwise — that Second Amendment supporters could take violent countermeasures against Clinton or her judicial nominees.

The problem for the Trump campaign is that the episode fits an established pattern: The candidate says something outrageous, setting off a media firestorm that swallows the news cycle; his surrogates try to douse it by claiming he didn’t say what he appears to have said; Trump himself refuses to clarify or apologize and instead blames the “biased media” for twisting his words; rinse, repeat. The process has played out so frequently that the candidate is long past the point he can expect the benefit of the doubt from those covering him. And in this case, the comment fits into a history of remarks that Trump has made throughout the campaign condoning violence as a legitimate means of political expression.

Most frustrating for Republicans desperate for Trump to reverse his campaign’s spiral, each new blowup ensures the GOP standard bearer isn’t training attention on his opponent’s still-glaring vulnerabilities. This week, for example, instead of flirting with incitements to violence, Trump could have been talking about the latest twist in Clinton’s email morass. Newly disclosed State Department emails show that in the early days of Clinton’s tenure, her aides were coordinating with Clinton Foundation operatives, raising questions about whether foundation donors were rewarded with inappropriate access to top diplomats. A competent candidate would hammer the Democratic nominee over the revelation, keeping the focus on her basement-dwelling trustworthiness marks. As we’ve seen and as we’ve said, Trump isn’t such a candidate.

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What We’re Reading Today

Clinton Foundation may have sought access to the State Dept…

…while Hillary Clinton served as the Secretary of State. In new emails found from Clinton’s server released by Judicial Watch, there were instances where Clinton aides were asked by top Clinton Foundation aides to help provides access for donors. Huma Abedin, a member of Clinton’s campaign and longtime confidant, seemingly approved or expedited some requests. Abedin worked at State and also held roles at the foundation. WSJ

Details of Ailes’ tenure leak out  
The existence of audio tapes that multiple women recorded while interacting with former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, is reportedly forcing parent company 21st Century Fox to seek a settlement with Gretchen Carlson, the former anchor suing Ailes. But also reports say that Fox News employees were in constant fear that they were having phone calls recorded or monitored by Ailes. He was reportedly very paranoid about security, hiring private investigators and political operatives that only reported to him. Fortune

Delta expects flight schedules to return to normal today  
Heading into day three of the Delta flight fiasco, Ed Bastian‘s company had to cancel at least 90 more flights on Wednesday morning. Nearly 1,700 flights have been canceled due to a system outage in its Atlanta base. However, flights are expected to return to normal by the afternoon. USA Today

Did Trump threaten Clinton?
In a speech in North Carolina, Donald Trump spoke about gun rights, saying there’s nothing that voters can do, if Hillary Clinton is voted into office. He then added, “although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” This was viewed by some, including the Clinton campaign, as a veiled threat. Trump said later that it wasn’t a threat, and he was referring to the power of voting.  CNN

Building a Better Leader

When working for someone that isn’t very smart…
…try to understand why those above him or her value their efforts. This will help you discover their strengths.  LeadToday

When your passion seems low…
…take on a tough career assignment. The complexity of the problem may make you feel alone for awhile, but it also forces you to stand up to the challenge. Fortune

Small margin of error allowed for woman CEO
Other female managers and leaders are watching to see if Marissa Mayer‘s tenure comes to a close at Yahoo, and what that could mean for her career. It’s because some believe women receive a harsher treatment from investors and the media while conducting difficult turnarounds and second chances are harder to come by. WSJ

Tech Expansions

Disney buys big into MLB streaming service
Bob Iger
‘s company will invest $1 billion into BAMTech, the technical arm of Major League Baseball which runs its streaming service. The deal provides Disney with a 33% stake, and allows it to acquire a majority ownership within 4-to-7 years. Disney also said BAMTech would distribute a souped up version of ESPN, which will offer games not seen on regular television. It’s a play by Iger to protect Disney in the case that the cord cutting trend continues. Fortune

China experiences first autopilot crash
A car crash occurred in China where the driver was using autopilot at the time of the incident. The driver said that the car dealer sold the vehicle as “self driving.” It adds to the increased pressure Elon Musk‘s Tesla faces as regulations look to quickly catch up to autonomous technology, while drivers still figure out the safest way to use the tools.  Reuters

Amazon’s delivery prowess takes to the sky
When Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon would use drones to deliver products in the not-to-distant future, many critics scoffed. But, in fact, what Amazon has done is try to build a delivery network that can boost its partnerships with FedEx and UPS. It plans to have 40 airliners and is reportedly taking steps on the drone front, including designing many different versions. Less dense areas, like suburbs, could see the first deliveries. NYT

Fortune Reads and Videos

Coach plans to pull products from 250 department stores
It’s a move to reduce discounted pricing, which has dinged the company’s perception of luxury. Fortune

Procter & Gamble says it plans to reduce…
…targeted Facebook ads. Facebook says the company continues to increase its ad spends, but P&G will now just adjust efforts to reach a mass audience. Fortune

The future of SolarCity could include…
…selling roofs integrated with solar panels, instead of installing panels on roofs. It could come as early as this year. Fortune

To help prevent Alzheimer’s…
…your day job can help. Mentally stimulating positions, like managers, engineers and teachers, help preserve brain function, according to a new study. Fortune

Quote of the Day

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick –if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if — if — Hillary gets to put her judges in.” — Donald Trump speaking about Hillary Clinton and gun rights.  PolitiFact

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau
@ryanderous
powersheet@newsletters.fortune.com