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Trump Attacks Clinton's Record, Calls Her 'World Class Liar'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Donald Trump launched a broad rebuke of his presidential rival Hillary Clinton Wednesday, accusing her of being "a world class liar'' who personally profited from her tenure at the State Department.

"She gets rich making you poor,'' Trump said.

Seeking to steady his campaign after a difficult stretch, the presumptive Republican nominee cast himself as the White House candidate best positioned to address Americans' economic interests.

"Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States," Trump said.

In a speech Wednesday at his hotel in SoHo, Trump said the country's problems "can only be fixed by me,'' and not Clinton, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

"She's virtually done nothing right," Trump said. "She virtually has done nothing good."


Trump said further, "This election will decide whether we're ruled by the people or the politicians." HE added that change is needed in Washington, because "we will never be able to fix a rigged system by counting on the people who rigged it in the first place."

Trump called for the supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom Clinton defeated in the Democratic primary, to join his campaign saying, "together, we can fix the system for all Americans.''

He made his arguments in a pointed yet measured tone, less loud and strident than has been typical in most previous campaign speeches. Yet his remarks included erroneous statements and distortions about Clinton's record, and he frequently referenced sources of information that have been widely questioned, including the book "Clinton Cash'' by Peter Schweizer.

The central goal of Trump's speech appeared to be uniting the Republican Party and appealing to people who may be skeptical of him but vigorously oppose Clinton. He unleashed a grab bag of Republicans' favorite criticisms of Clinton, including her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, her response to the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and accusations that she and former President Bill Clinton profited from their family foundation.

Some of Trump's charges come from Schweizer's book, which has been criticized for failing to provide evidence of direct connections between business dealings by foreign interests, sometimes involving the Clinton Foundation, and decisions by Clinton when she was secretary of state.

"No secretary of state has been more wrong, more often, and in more places than Hillary Clinton," Trump said, adding that the decisions made by Clinton at the State Department "spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched.''

Trump also tried to turn Clinton's strengths into negatives. He spent much of his speech trying to undercut her foreign policy record, highlighting her early support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which she now says was a mistake, and linking the policies she promoted at the State Department to the rise of the Islamic State terror group.

"The Hillary Clinton foreign policy has cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars and trillions of dollars and unleashed ISIS across the world,'' Trump said.

The celebrity businessman said that he is running for president "to give back'' to the country that has been "so very good'' to him. He laid out a number of goals for the first 100 days of his potential presidential administration, including "appoint judges who uphold the Constitution,'' reform the nation's immigration policies and repeal the Affordable Care Act. He also said he would toughen the nation's trade policies, lift restrictions on energy productions and overhaul the nation's tax code.

The speech marked his official opening salvo against Clinton in the general election and comes as Trump faces growing questions about his readiness not just for the presidency, but for the campaign he will need to run to get there. The Trump campaign is hoping the speech can quiet those concerns and rally Republicans around their shared opposition to the prospective Democratic presidential nominee.

Clinton has been harshly critical of Trump, particularly since she wrapped up her lengthy Democratic primary battle. On Tuesday, she warned that the businessman would send the U.S. economy back into recession and said his "reckless'' approach would hurt workers still trying to recover from the 2008 economic turbulence.

Clinton fired back against Trump on Wednesday during a stop in Raleigh, North Carolina, just one day after she tore into Trump's business record – portraying him as a slick talker who games the system.

While Clinton focused most of her 50-minute speech on plans for the economy, she also took jabs at Trump for criticizing her faith and her philanthropic foundation.

"It's no surprise he doesn't understand these things," Clinton said. "The Clinton Foundation helps poor people around the world get access to life-saving AIDS medicine. Donald Trump uses poor people around the world to produce his line of suits and ties."

Clinton also invoked her religion a day after Trump questioned it.

The presumptive presidential nominee told supporters that, "As we Methodists like to say: do all the good you can for all the people you can in all the ways you can.'' That's a quote credited to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

Trump had planned to deliver his address on Clinton last week, but he postponed the event because of the nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida.

The Republican's response to the Orlando attack was panned by many in his own party, who bristled as he took credit for "being right'' about terrorism and suggested that President Barack Obama was sympathetic to militant groups. The Orlando gunman identified himself as an Islamic soldier in calls with authorities during his rampage.

Trump's speech came on the heels of his firing Monday of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a controversial figure who was seen as an impediment to efforts to build out a more robust campaign organization. A new fundraising report released hours after Lewandowski's firing underscored how much ground Trump has to make up: he started June with just $1.3 million in the bank.

Trump allies cast Lewandowski's firing this week as the start of a new phase for the campaign. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman and Lewandowski's internal rival, signaled on a conference call with aides that a rapid staffing expansion would be coming soon.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who has been seen as a potential vice presidential pick, said he was "pretty excited'' to learn of the changes.

"I think that what appears to be occurring over the last 24 hours is a movement in a direction that I think could be very, very positive,'' Corker said.

While Manafort, a longtime Republican operative, is believed to be in charge now, the campaign has not fully clarified who is running the operation.

Meanwhile, Clinton met with House Democrats on Capitol Hill, looking to shore up her already strong support among Democratic lawmakers now that she's the party's presumptive nominee.

"This was a tour de force she presented to us in terms of vision, and values and listening to ideas and accommodating them," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said. "When Hillary Clinton enters the Oval Office, she will do so as one of the best prepared in history."

Also Wednesday, Democratic candidate Sanders publicly admitted for the first time that he does not believe he will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016. Sanders made the admission during an interview on C-SPAN.

It is unclear whether Sanders intends to drop out of the race before the Democratic National Convention in July.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson also appeared for a live town hall event on CNN Tuesday night, along with running mate Bill Weld.

Johnson took aim at the two-party system as he spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo.

"The two-party system is a two-party dinosaur, and they're about to come in contact with the comet here," Johnson said on the town hall.

Johnson and Weld spoke cordially of Clinton and Obama, but did not speak well of Trump and his policy suggestions, CNN reported. When it comes to immigration, free trade, and other issues, Johnson said, "it's what's coming out of (Trump's) mouth that I really have issues with."

Johnson said on CNN that he was open to a "discussion" about solutions to gun violence even though he has been a strong Second Amendment supporter. Johnson and Weld also came out in favor of abortion rights, while Johnson called Trump's call for deporting all undocumented immigrants "incendiary," CNN reported.

Johnson also advocated for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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