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Hillary Clinton Denounces Donald Trump's Business Career In Atlantic City


Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced this evening that the Department of Justice will follow the FBI's recommendation and not bring any charges against Hillary Clinton or her aides, and that ends the year-long investigation into her personal email system. This comes a day after the FBI director delivered a scathing assessment of Clinton's email practices.

On the campaign trail today, the candidate wasn't talking about her server. She was trying to put the focus on Donald Trump's business record with a backdrop that wasn't the least bit subtle. NPR's Tamara Keith was there.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hillary Clinton's podium was positioned so the faded outline of the words Trump Plaza would be visible in every shot. The casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk shut its doors two years ago.


HILLARY CLINTON: Donald Trump once predicted it will be the biggest hit yet. Now it's abandoned. You can just make out the word Trump where it used to be written in flashy lights.

KEITH: Trump had his name removed last year from the shuttered Trump Plaza, and he hasn't actually had a controlling stake in the Atlantic City casinos that bear his name for several years now. Clinton used her speech to criticize Trump for his four business bankruptcies.


CLINTON: He doesn't default and go bankrupt as a last resort. He does it over and over again on purpose, even though he knows he will leave others empty-handed, while he keeps the plane, the helicopter, the penthouse.

KEITH: Trump released a statement after Clinton's speech and defended his use of bankruptcy protection to restructure debt as something, quote, "many of our country's elite business people do." He went on to say it is an effective and commonly used practice in business to use bankruptcy proceedings to restructure a business and ultimately save jobs. Clinton in her speech wasn't buying that argument, which Trump has made before.


CLINTON: He got rich and got out, and he thinks that's something to be proud of. He didn't just take advantage of investors. He took advantage of working people as well.

KEITH: Clinton was introduced at the event by Marty Rosenberg, the former vice president of Atlantic Plate Glass. It's one of the companies Trump contracted with to help build the Trump Taj Mahal Casino. Rosenberg said Trump promised that if the company did a good job in a timely manner, they'd get paid the agreed upon fee.


MARTY ROSENBERG: This promise went unfulfilled. Trump's actions caused great financial burdens to most of us.

KEITH: Atlanta Plate Glass lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the end and ultimately survived. But Rosenberg said others didn't fare so well.


ROSENBERG: Some lost their businesses, some went through bankruptcy, all suffered emotionally. All while Mr. Trump went about his extravagant lifestyle never giving any of us a second thought.

KEITH: You can expect to hear many more stories like these as the campaign goes on. For Clinton, it gets to a theme she's trying to cement for voters that Donald Trump is out for himself, and the promises he makes on the campaign trail are no more real than those made to the contractors doing business with him.

Trump said he was going to avoid making news today, so the day could be devoted to, quote, crooked Hillary and the rigged system under which we live. Reporters tried to ask Clinton about her email server, but she ignored the questions. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Atlanta City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.