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ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton’s lead in the presidential race is no longer in the double digits in the latest ABC News tracking poll, and there are signs of vote splitting that could help down-ballot Republicans.

Clinton leads Donald Trump by 49-40 percent among likely voters. That’s not significantly different from the previous 50-38 percent Clinton lead, but it holds out the possibility of better days for Trump moving beyond his difficult last two weeks.

See a PDF with the full results of the poll here.

Moreover, likely voters divide essentially evenly, 47-46 percent, between the Democratic and Republican candidates in their congressional district. While the measure’s imperfect (it’s not limited to competitive districts, and doesn’t cover Senate races), it indicates challenges for Clinton forces as they seek to turn her support into a broader, Democratic wave.

Two key reasons emerge for the closer congressional contest in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. One is independent voters; the other, Republicans returning home for their local races:

  • Independent likely voters divide evenly between Clinton and Trump, 41-41 percent in the latest tracking data. By contrast, independents favor the Republican over the Democrat in their congressional district by 51-39 percent.
  • Trump wins 82 percent of Republicans in the presidential race, ceding 8 percent to Clinton and 6 percent to third-party candidates. In the congressional trial heat, however, 94 percent of Republicans stick with the GOP.

These results mark the difficulties the Democrats face in turning a highly polarized electorate to their advantage, suggesting that Clinton’s lead in the presidential race relies primarily on the idiosyncrasies of that contest, not any broader realignment in political preferences.

That’s underscored by the fairly low level of strong enthusiasm for both candidates, given their unusual levels of personal unpopularity. Half of Trump’s supporters are very enthusiastic about their choice, as are 48 percent of Clinton’s. For comparison, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both had 60 percent strong enthusiasm at this point in 2012, as did George W. Bush in 2004. It was even higher, 71 percent, for Obama at this stage in 2008.

Strong enthusiasm has been as low as it is now, or lower, for some past candidates -- 50 percent for John Kerry at this point in 2004, 39 percent for John McCain in 2008. Both, of course, lost to candidates whose support was more enthusiastic. It’s an advantage Trump held, but then lost.

His strong enthusiasm fell eight points, and overall enthusiasm among his supporters fell 12 points, from late September to mid-October. Clinton’s strong enthusiasm subsequently rose, putting them at parity today.

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John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich unleashed a tirade on Fox News host Megyn Kelly after she mentioned Donald Trump's sexual accusers, saying she was "fascinated with sex."

Trump also tangled with Kelly during the primaries, drawing fire for saying that there was "blood coming out of her wherever" (which he later clarified to be her nose). Kelly had questioned him about calling women "fat pigs" and "slobs" during the first primary debate.

"I mean do you want to go back through the tapes on your show recently?" Gingrich asked. "You are fascinated with sex and you don't care about public policy."

Kelly questioned if Trump were a "sexual predator" after mentioning an Access Hollywood tape from 2005 in which Trump was heard bragging about his ability to grope women because he was "a star."

"You cannot defend that statement," Gingrich said. "I'm sick and tired of people like you using language that's inflammatory that's not true."

Kelly then mentioned Trump's accusers -- whose accusations he has vehemently denied -- and said "we have to cover that story sir."

"You know what Mr. Speaker, I'm not fascinated by sex but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we're getting in the Oval Office," she said.

Gingrich then turned the conversation to Bill Clinton's past with women and pushed Kelly to call him a "sexual predator."

"I dare you," he said.

Kelly shot back: "You can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker. Thanks for being here."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Republican Party is accusing the State Department of “stonewalling” a request to obtain the missing emails belonging to an information technology staffer who helped maintain Hillary Clinton’s private server, suggesting the delay is part of a “cover-up to protect” the Democratic presidential nominee.

New documents, first seen by ABC News, show that the State Department has not responded to a months-old request from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to explain why it has so few email records belonging to the senior staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who worked at the department as a political appointee from May 2009 to February 2013.

During the course of Clinton’s email imbroglio, Pagliano developed a reputation as quiet insider with knowledge of Clinton’s controversial email configuration. He signed an immunity agreement with the Justice Department in exchange for cooperating with FBI investigators examining Clinton’s use of that private email server and has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights hundreds of times in response congressional and legal inquiries. In May, the State Department announced it couldn’t find any evidence that Pagliano had turned over his emails prior to leaving the department, which he would have been required by law to do.

According to the new documents obtained by the Republican National Committee (RNC) through freedom of information requests and shared with ABC News, NARA asked the State Department on July 18 to provide a report within 30 days explaining why it’s been unable to produce Pagliano’s emails. Three months later, however, the State Department has yet to respond.

In its letter to the State Department’s records office, NARA also said “if it’s determined Federal records have been alienated or destroyed, please describe all measures your agency has taken, or expects to take, to retrieve the alienated records or retrieve them, to the extent necessary and appropriate.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus says the subsequent delay amounts to stonewalling.

“The State Department is clearly stonewalling another federal agency’s efforts to recover the emails of the IT staffer who set up Clinton’s illegal server and was granted immunity by the FBI," Priebus told ABC News. "If this isn’t an Obama Administration cover-up to protect Hillary Clinton, I don’t know what is.”

In a statement to ABC News, the State Department did not offer a reason for missing the deadline or an explanation of what efforts it has taken to retrieve the emails but said it's still in the process of responding.

"As we have publicly explained months ago, the Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure," State Department spokesman John Kirby said, referencing a file type that would have held Pagliano's emails.

"As we have also previously explained, employees’ emails have not always been automatically retained, so the absence of this email file does not necessarily indicate that Mr. Pagliano intentionally deleted his emails," Kirby said.

Kirby defended the State Department's efforts, saying that although Pagliano didn't turn any emails over before leaving, some of his email was captured and retrieved via separate government accounts. State Department officials added that "hundreds of pages" of those recovered emails have been shared with Congress and the conservative group Judicial Watch, which acquired them through a freedom of information lawsuit.

In his statement, Kirby also says that Pagliano did provide a file of his emails when he worked more recently as a contractor for the State Department but by that time, Clinton had left office.

The RNC told ABC News that NARA could request that the U.S. attorney general initiate action to recover those emails and that any such investigation into what happened to those emails could be problematic for Pagliano -- assuming he deleted the records, as the RNC believes. Penalty for unlawful or accidental removal or destruction of records can include a fine, imprisonment or both.

Although the details of Pagliano's immunity agreement with the Justice Department aren't publicly known, the RNC believes it's unlikely the agreement would protect him from potential prosecution for the alleged destruction of federal records.

The RNC also believes Pagliano should have known about his duty to retain federal records, including his own. The FBI's final investigative report on Clinton's email cites interviews it conducted with Pagliano. In them, Pagliano recounts how he was told in late 2009 or early 2010 by an official (whose name is withheld) that Clinton's server "may be a federal records retention issue." Pagliano also told the FBI that he relayed those concerns to two other top officials in Clinton's inner circle.

In the meantime, the State Department says it is working to improve its records management systems and that it is now automatically archiving current Secretary of State John Kerry's emails as well as the emails of numerous senior staffers.

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Barbara Kinney for Hillary For America(MIAMI) -- After months of traveling the country to raise money for her campaign, Hillary Clinton's high-dollar fundraising effort is finally coming to a close.

The Democratic nominee attended her last fundraiser of the 2016 campaign in Miami Tuesday night, according to a campaign aide.

The fundraising circuit has been good to Clinton this cycle. From mansions in Bel Air to lunch at Justin Timberlake's home and a fundraiser at the estate of the late Steve Jobs in Northern California, these often lavish events have helped the former secretary of state raise over $500 million for her campaign.

The record haul has allowed Clinton's campaign to invest in down-ballot races across the country.

"Thanks to the more than 2.6 million Americans who have donated to this campaign, we are now working to expand the map into states like Arizona to have even more paths to 270 electoral votes and increase our investments to help win competitive down-ballot races across the country," said Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook.

The foundation for such an active and lucrative fundraising haul for Clinton during the 2016 campaign can be attributed to a group of mega-donors Hillary and Bill Clinton have relied on for years. Those donors have had a hand in hosting and helping coordinate the more than 350 fundraisers in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico since Hillary Clinton launched her campaign in April 2015.

But no place has served Clinton as well as California. Clinton has taken 15 trips to California to fundraise with celebrities including Magic Johnson, Jennifer Aniston and Tobey McGuire.

Since the start of her campaign, Clinton has spent nearly 200 days fundraising, holding campaign events on some of those days as well. She's even used her birthday as an opportunity to raise money. In 2015 and 2016, Clinton celebrated her birthday with celebrity-filled fundraisers. (Her most recent was held on Manhattan's West Side Monday night.)

"We met our goals. We have had the money that we needed to compete and it’s, you know, we’re really grateful that people have given us as much support as they have and we feel that we spent the resources pretty well, too, and have what we need for the last two weeks," Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters Tuesday.

When asked about Clinton holding a campaign event with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and then fundraising in the evening with just two weeks to go in the campaign, Palmieri explained: "We need resources to run out the campaign."

Clinton has also enlisted her surrogates to fundraise on her behalf, too. Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine, Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama have all headlined fundraisers that have raised money for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

Just last month, Hillary Clinton and Kaine brought in over $153 million for their campaign. And over the course of the entire campaign, they have raised more than $275 million for the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

Clinton's super PAC Priorities USA has also had a massive fundraising effort. The group announced Tuesday that it has raised $175 million this cycle.

Although a bulk of the money the Clinton campaign has raised comes from high-dollar fundraising events, the campaign says that most of its donations come from small-dollar donors.

According to a campaign release, the average donation to the Clinton campaign in September was $56, with 98 percent of the donations coming in increments of $250 or less.

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Adam Schultz for Hillary for America(KINSTON, N.C.) -- There has been much speculation about what title former President Bill Clinton would take if his wife, Hillary Clinton, wins the White House.

First gentleman may be the odds on favorite. But on Tuesday at a campaign stop in North Carolina, Clinton said he might like to be called "First Volunteer."

"I don’t care what they call me as long as she wins," he said with a smile as he greeted supporters on a Kinston, North Carolina sidewalk. "I’ll be the First Volunteer. I hope to be the best free labor she’s got."

During his 10 months rallying for his wife, he has also toyed with the idea of being called "First Dude" and even "First Laddie" paying homage to his Irish roots. But Hillary Clinton has said she likes the moniker "First Gentleman."

If the former president is back in the White House as the spouse, he may help redefine the traditions of the role. For instance, Hillary Clinton has said he will not be picking out the White House china pattern.

Former President Clinton is on his fourth bus tour of the election cycle, this time riding up and down the eastern side of North Carolina, urging early voting. He told supporters gathered on the sidewalk Tuesday, "She will be president if she wins North Carolina."

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- As Donald Trump campaigned in central Florida on Tuesday, he made his usual appeal to African-Americans, painting a grim and partially inaccurate portrait of black communities.

"African-Americans are living in hell in the inner cities," he said. "They are living -- they are living in hell. You walk to the store for a loaf of bread you get shot.”

But his comment today struck a particularly tone-deaf chord. Trump was in Sanford, Fla., where teenager Trayvon Martin had been killed four years earlier by a neighborhood watchman while walking home after getting a pack of Skittles.

Trump has garnered criticism for how he’s reached out to African-Americans, with whom his support remains low according to all major polls. He often makes his appeals in front of almost all-white crowds, harping on conditions in inner cities, neglecting to appeal to other African-Americans who don’t live in inner cities.

Across the country, the data show that more African-Americans live in suburbs than anywhere else.

During the second presidential debate, James Carter, a black man asked Trump if he believed he could be a devoted president to all the people in the United States.

Trump responded: “I will be a president for all of our people. And I’ll be a president that will turn our inner cities around.”

Some have bristled at the imagery Trump has used to appeal to African-Americans, saying it is only representative of a slice of the African-American community and disregards the wealth, education, and status that Black Americans have achieved.

Census data from 2015 show that 52.9 percent of African-Americans 25 or older have a college degree of some sort. And a report from Pew in December showed that, compared with other racial or ethnic groups, African-American adults saw the largest improvement in income status from 1971 to 2015 and were the only racial or ethnic group that saw a decline in the percentage of low-income earners.

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Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- It's on!

Donald Trump taunted Joe Biden during a rally in Florida Tuesday night, saying that he would "love" if the "tough guy" vice president "wants to take me to the back of the barn."

"Did you see where Biden wants to take me to the back of the barn," Trump told the crowd in Tallahassee. "I'd love that. I'd love that. Mr. Tough Guy. You know he's Mr. Tough Guy. You know when he's Mr. Tough Guy -- when he's standing behind a microphone by himself. That's when. He wants to bring me to the back of the barn ohhh."

Trump made the comments in response to an impassioned Biden saying that if he were in high school, he'd like to take the GOP candidate "behind the gym" for his comments about women and being caught on video tape bragging about how he can grope women because he's "a star."

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ABC News(SANFORD, Fla.) -- Donald Trump defended his characterization of the presidential election as “rigged” today, noting that his warnings of voter fraud in major cities echoed those of a prior presidential candidate: Barack Obama.

Trump, speaking at a campaign rally on an airport tarmac in central Florida, described a television clip of Obama he said he viewed Monday evening, showing the then-Illinois senator campaigning during his first presidential run.

“Do you remember what I said, that some of the voting is rigged? OK. Everybody knows. Check out Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis,” said Trump. “And [Obama] said, ‘This is a threat to our system. This is terrible. This is a threat.’”

Trump then attempted to imitate the president, lowering his voice and speaking at a slower pace, saying, “I know because I come from Chicago.”

“This guy is such a phony guy,” added Trump. “What a phony. What a phony group.”

In the clip of Obama aired by Fox News’ “Hannity” Monday, the future president fields a question at a campaign event in Ohio in September 2008.

Asked what he can say to “reassure” the crowd that “the election will not be rigged or stolen,” Obama first makes a joke that in Ohio, “the Democrats are in charge of the machines.” It was unclear which election he was referring to.

“I come from Chicago. So I want to be honest. It's not as if it's just Republicans who have monkeyed around with elections in the past. Sometimes Democrats have too,” continued Obama. “You know, whenever people are in power, you know, they have this tendency to try to, you know, tilt things in their direction.”

The real estate mogul’s criticism of both the President and first lady Michelle Obama has increased in recent days as the two have ramped up public appearances in support of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“We have a president, all he wants to do is campaign, his wife, all she wants to do is campaign,” said Trump last Friday in North Carolina.

Obama previously advised Trump to “stop whining” in regard to claims of a rigged election while speaking to the press at the White House on October 18.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton has been bringing out the proverbial big guns when it comes to her surrogate supporters -- including President Obama, first Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

At the same time, GOP candidate Donald Trump appears to be leaning less on the heavy hitters he touted earlier in the campaign, including former rivals Dr. Ben Carson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as well as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

The differences in the surrogate game between their campaigns appear to be stark just two weeks before the election.

On Trump's side, Carson is still making appearances on TV and the trail, though significantly less frequently. Gingrich was a public part of the surrogate crew, but has virtually disappeared from the roster, though he is still posting on social media about Trump and writes op-eds for Fox News which praise Trump.

Christie, who also used to make regular public appearances -- whether it be on cable news or introducing Trump at rallies -- is still a part of the campaign and a constant presence behind the scenes, though he has effectively stopped making public appearances.

While Christie is still a frequent guest at Trump Tower, his former full-throated defense of Trump appears to have tempered, as seen when he was recently asked if he was proud of the campaign that Trump was running.

Christie and Gingrich, who were both openly considered as possible Trump's vice presidential contenders, were arguably two of his best known surrogates and while they still make some appearances, the frequency and vigor of those appearances has decreased.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has been a strong and consistent supporter of Trump, even of late. Giuliani was the one to make several morning show appearances on the day of the second presidential debate, shortly after the release of the 2005 audio recording where Trump is heard bragging about his ability to grope women.

John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that there has been a shift in Trump's surrogate operation since the Republican National Convention in July.

"That shift is remarkable and I think it’s happening for one of two reasons: one is that these surrogates are looking at the writing on the wall and trying to quietly distance themselves from a campaign that is clearly losing," Hudak told ABC News.

"The other is that Trump doesn't think that they're being effective and he is pulling them from the trail because he doesn't think that they're doing a good job," he said.

There are two different reasons why Clinton could be pulling out all of her heavy-hitting stars in recent weeks, which also include former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders and most recently Sen.Elizabeth Warren who spoke ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire on Monday.

"She's doing two things by bringing out all of the high-powered surrogates: one is really crafting an effective 'Get Out The Vote' campaign. These are not just popular Democrats, but they are people who really know how to bring out the troops," Hudak said.

"The other is she probably assumes she will be president and now needs that turnout effort to get herself a Democratic Senate. And for some, that's an easier sell because even Democrats who are skeptical of her -- including possibly Warren, Sanders, and even Biden -- can be more easily coaxed to come help when the Senate is on the line."

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Paul Morigi/Getty Images(WESTBURY, N.Y.) -- Colin Powell is with her.

The former secretary of state revealed today at the Long Island Association Fall Luncheon that he intends to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to Powell's spokesperson.

The retired four-star general joins a small number of prominent Republican figures who have either crossed party lines to support Clinton or refuse to support Donald Trump. This is the third time in recent history that Powell has supported a Democratic candidate over his own party's nominee. In 2008 and 2012, Powell, who served under George W. Bush's administration, endorsed Barack Obama for president.

Powell pointed to Clinton’s experience and stamina as reasons why he’s voting for her, according to a local reporter who was at the luncheon. Powell said Trump wasn’t qualified to be president and said Trump “insults us every day.”

Boom. Colin Powell says he will vote for Hillary Clinton. Says will serve w/ distinction and cites experience and stamina

— Robert Brodsky (@BrodskyRobert) October 25, 2016

Colin Powell on Donald Trump: "he insults us every day." Says he insults his supporters w/ his actions https://t.co/pklQaJs7T9

— Robert Brodsky (@BrodskyRobert) October 25, 2016

In emails from his private account that were hacked and then released in September, Powell blasted Trump as a “national disgrace” who engaged in a “racist” movement against President Obama.

A representative for Powell told ABC News the emails, which were first seen and reported on by Buzzfeed, were "accurate."

After Powell’s emails were made public, Trump said in an interview with Howard Kurtz he was not “a fan" of Powell and blamed him for leading America "down a very horrible path" in the lead up to the Iraq War.

In those same private emails, however, Powell also criticizes Clinton.

In an email from July 2014, Powell wrote, "I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect."

He also described Clinton as “a 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational.” In another email he wrote, “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris."

Powell has also had more public tension with the Clinton campaign. Clinton's campaign likes to point to Powell in defending Clinton's use of a private email account, arguing Powell kept a personal account as well.

Powell knocked Clinton's campaign, telling People magazine in August, Clinton's people "have been trying to pin it on me.”

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Estelle Liebow Schultz(ROCKVILLE, Md.) -- Estelle Liebow Schultz was born in 1918, two years before women gained the right to vote. When she cast her early vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election this month, Schultz said it was an historic moment.

"I felt like a million bucks," Schultz, 98, told ABC News from her home in Rockville, Maryland, where she plans to watch election returns on Nov. 8.

Schultz, whose first presidential vote was cast for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said she "never did" think she would vote for a woman for president.

Schultz's granddaughter, Sarah Bunin Benor, of Los Angeles, said she believes the potential of seeing Clinton as president is keeping Schultz alive.

"She was in the hospital about one-and-a-half years ago and was diagnosed with a heart condition and was told she only had six months to live," Benor said. "She kept saying, 'I want to live long enough to vote,' and now she wants to see [Clinton] get inaugurated so it's almost like she's living for this election."

Shultz also said she looks forward to the possibility of seeing Clinton's inauguration. "I hope I live that long," she said. "I would like to."

Schultz asked her granddaughter to share a photo of her voting for Clinton by absentee ballot on Facebook earlier this month. The post received 2,000 likes and sparked an idea in the minds of Benor and her mother, Roberta Benor, who is Schultz's daughter.

The pair recruited two friends, Tom Fields-Meyer and Shawn Fields-Meyer, to create the website "I Waited 96 Years." The website features the photos and stories of women like Schultz who were born before the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified in 1920.

The website has a submission page for women, or their family or caregivers, to submit a photo and a quote on what it was like to vote for Clinton for president.

"We wanted to have it in the first person, in their own words, partly because often people think of really old people as not having much agency, of being disabled," Benor said. "We wanted to highlight that many of them are still thinking strongly about these things."

The website so far has nearly 20 submissions from women across the country ranging in age from 96 to 105-years-old.

A photo of Stellajoe Staebler, 100, of Centralia, Washington, was submitted by one of her three daughters. Staebler was born in 1916 and remarked, "I am grateful that at the age of 100 I'm still able to vote and that there is a highly qualified woman to vote for."

"She thought about that and how she was proud to be able to vote for a woman," Staebler's daughter, Jo Ann Staebler, told ABC News. "She was also proud to have voted for the first person of color."

Staebler voted for both President Obama and Clinton, but she has also voted for Republican presidential candidates in her lifetime. Her vote for Clinton on Sunday marked her 20th presidential election.

Jo Ann Staebler said her mom, who never went to college but was a longtime community advocate for environmental, immigration and peace issues, keeps up with the election and believes Clinton is the better candidate.

Garvin Colburn, 96, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, said she submitted her ballot for Clinton because she also believes Clinton is the best candidate.

"She votes for the best person, whichever candidate that is," Colburn's daughter, Cecilia Coburn, told ABC News. "She's 96 and wanted to be sure that she went to vote."

Colburn was born the year women gained the right to vote and has not missed an election in which she was eligible to vote.

"She had a wonderful time," Colburn said of her mom's voting experience this year.

Clinton, who has served as First Lady, U.S. senator and U.S. Secretary of State, has been met at stops throughout the campaign trail by women excited to cast their first vote for a woman president. A 102-year-old retired educator from Arizona, Jerry Emmett, helped announce the state's delegates for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia in July.

"I can't believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet," Clinton said to supporters when she secured the Democratic nomination in July.

Estelle Liebow Schultz, whose decision to tell her voting story on Facebook sparked dozens of others to speak out too, said she thinks it is "terrific."

"I think many more women should be heard from," Schultz said.

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Kevin Moloney/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The California National Guard notified Congress and other federal leaders in 2014 that it wanted legislation that would have provided relief to Guardsmen required to pay their re-enlistment bonuses and student loan repayments back to the Pentagon.

News of the bonus repayments has sparked outrage from members of Congress who have called on the Pentagon to stop collecting back from California National Guardsmen.

"The California National Guard cannot waive debts unilaterally, as that authority rests at the federal level," read a statement issued Tuesday by the California Military Department. "In 2014, however, California National Guard leadership did reach out to congressional and other federal leaders to encourage alleviation of these debts. Since recent media reports, many legislative leaders (both state and federal) have expressed an interest in supporting this action to waive the debts."

"We are working with Congressional leaders to support a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that provides relief to Soldiers," the statement continued. "That vote is expected to take place at the end of the calendar year."

According to a congressional official, the California National Guard brought up the issue of bonus repayments in a 2014 letter listing their overall priorities, but that there was no specific follow-up done with relevant congressional offices.

"Anybody who volunteers serve in the armed forces of the United States deserves our gratitude and respect," Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters at a press conference in Paris Tuesday. Carter said he was aware of the bonus issue and "we are going to look into it and resolve it." He said he had asked to Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work to look at the situation which he labeled "a significant issue."

At the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the National Guard offered bonuses beginning at $10,000 to Guardsmen in highly skilled positions who were willing to re-enlist.

The California National Guard said in the statement that it had audited 30,000 individual records associated with an initial report of fraud committed from 2000 to 2010.

"However, many of the soldiers who received the bonuses acted on good faith resulting from bad information; some, however, knowingly committed fraud" read the California Military Department statement.

Six California Guardsman, including the person who ran the bonus program, served jail time for their involvement in fraudulently issuing payments to Guardsmen who did not qualify for the payments. Another 40 were punished administratively for collusion in receiving payments they were not entitled to receive.

In 2011 the California National Guard created a Soldier Incentive and Assistance Center (SIAC) to look at the cases of affected Guardsmen "who acted in good faith."

"Had the California National Guard not established the SIAC, each soldier that received a bonus would have suffered immediate wage garnishment from the federal government," read the statement. "The SIAC, instead, offered a path of appeal and has helped about 4,000 soldiers retain about $37 million in bonus money."

"Because the California National Guard is unable to unilaterally relieve these debts, the SIAC will continue to advocate for soldiers in the hope they might receive some relief from federal authorities," read the statement from the California Military Department. "We do not see this as a benefit to the soldier, we see this as our duty."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- While Donald Trump’s non-traditional presidential campaign has attracted its share of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans alike, recent controversies, like the discovery of a video in which Trump is captured making disparaging remarks about women and subsequent claims of sexual assault made against the candidate, have pushed many in the GOP to a breaking point.

An ABC news count of notable Republicans running for election to Congress this year finds 34 candidates who have explicitly stated they will not vote for Trump. Of the 34, 20 are running in competitive elections, defined by ABC’s race ratings as “Tossups” or leaning towards either party. Safe districts and states are termed “Solid.”

Six of the 34 anti-Trump candidates are running for seats in the senate. They include Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio who are locked in tight races to retain their seats, but have taken a slight edge in the polls.

In July 2015, Trump created one of the first controversies of his campaign when he said that McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and an army veteran who spent over five years as a prisoner of war, was “not a war hero” and that he likes people “who weren’t captured.”

Of the other Republican senate candidates opposed to Trump, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Joe Heck, running to replace Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada, find themselves in races rated as tossups. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, an outspoken critic of Trump, is facing a stiff challenge from Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Their state is rated as “Leans Democratic.”

Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the only Republican in a safe race who voiced his intention not to vote for the New York real estate mogul, recently reversed his position. He joins Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, who is not up for reelection, as members of congress who have flip-flopped after stating they wouldn't vote for Trump.

In house of representatives races, a candidate’s stance on Trump appears to be directly tied to the competitiveness of their district. Of the 10 Republican incumbents running for reelection in congressional districts rated as “Tossups” by ABC News, seven have pledged not to vote for Trump.

Each of the seven races looked to be competitive before the candidates disavowed support for their party’s presidential nominee, indicating that a rebuke of Trump was not the cause of the representative’s electoral trouble, but perhaps a potential solution to attract votes from independents and across party lines.

The majority of the seven races feature one-term members of congress who benefited from Republicans’ strong showing in the 2014 midterm elections, but also Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, a seven-term congressman whose state appears increasingly likely to back Democrat Hillary Clinton at the top of the ballot by a wide margin.

As for other representatives who have turned away from Trump, the most well-known names are both members from Utah, whose large Mormon population has expressed widespread disapproval of the candidate. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform whose 3rd congressional district is safe, and Rep. Mia Love of Utah’s 4th congressional district -- rated “Leans Republican” by ABC News -- both Mormons themselves, have said they will not vote for Trump.

They join one of their state’s U.S. senators, Mike Lee, as well as Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, in pledging not to vote for Trump. Utah is rated by ABC News as a “Tossup” in the presidential race ratings.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks posted on Tuesday an email exchange that it claims shows top Hillary Clinton campaign staff discussing a "swift boat project" aimed at Donald Trump.

“I know you can’t look past Bernie and March primaries -- but who is in charge of the Trump swift boat project? Needs to be ready, funded and unleashed when we decide -- not a half assed scramble,” one of the campaign’s consultants, Joel Johnson, purportedly wrote to Clinton’s communications director, Jen Palmieri, in February of this year.

“Gee. Thanks, Joel. We thought we could half-ass it,” Palmieri purportedly replied, sarcastically.

The term “swift boat” refers to the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," a coordinated campaign to discredit then-Sen. John Kerry during his presidential run in 2004. The phrase has become Washington-speak for an attack that is personal, ugly and often untrue.

ABC News reached out to Johnson for comment but did not immediately hear back.

The emails posted Tuesday are among more than 30,000 emails allegedly hacked from accounts of Clinton’s senior staff and dumped over the last few weeks in the WikiLeaks database, though the entire group of emails seems to include several hundred, if not thousands, of duplicates and redundancies.

In response, the Clinton campaign released a statement Tuesday, saying, "In a brazen display of collusion, Russian state owned television continues to promote WikiLeaks' releases even before Assange can do it even after it's been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the Russians are the source of the purported Podesta material. Given a third opportunity on the debate stage to admit and condemn the Kremlin's actions, Donald Trump refused to do it and instead continues to act as Putin's puppet despite being briefed by U.S. intelligence."

"It is bizarre and disqualifying that he continues to cheer on this attack on our democracy. It is time for Donald Trump to tell the American people what he knows and when he knew it," the statement continued.

The campaign's chief strategist, Joel Benenson, told ABC News' This Week Sunday that he has seen things in the emails that "we know aren't authentic." He declined to elaborate.

Benenson, like most of Clinton’s campaign staff, was quick to pivot to the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian actors are responsible for the recent hacks, the targets of which have included U.S. political organizations, such as the Democratic National Committee.

“They are meddling in an American election for the first time in history,” Benenson said during the interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

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Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — President Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night, and read a series of Mean Tweets, including one from Republican nominee Donald Trump.

"Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States - @RealDonaldtrump," Obama read, quoting the GOP presidential hopeful. “Well, @RealDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president,” Obama quipped.

Obama and Kimmel also had an exchange about the president getting woken up in the middle of the night, which Obama intimated is an infrequent occurrence.

"Every morning, somebody calls and says, it’s your 7 a.m. wake up call. And it works just like a phone," he said. "There have been maybe three to four instances where you do get a call in the middle of the night — like a typhoon."

"But what I don’t do is, I don’t tweet about people who’ve insulted me. I try to sleep so that in the morning I’m actually ready for crises," Obama said, referencing the prolific tweets from Trump.

Obama also touted the capabilities of Hillary Clinton.

"Having worked with her, she is smart as a whip, she works really hard, she cares deeply about working families in this country. And she’s not somebody who thinks the job is about flash and sizzle and making speeches - it’s about getting policy right and making sure that folks are doing a little bit better," he said, contrasting Clinton with Trump.

"And I think in a time when everybody wants to get 100 percent of what they want right now, and if someone doesn’t agree, they’re completely wrong – the brand of politics that Hillary represents – pragmatic, you don’t get everything all at once, you make progress in little pieces – that may not attract as much attention, it’s not something that goes into 140 characters. But I think she will be an outstanding president."

Obama also begged off of questions about a third term in the White House.

"Personally for me, if I were able to run for a third term, Michelle would divorce me," he joked. "So it’s useful that I don’t have that choice to make."

So does Obama wish he had the chance to face Trump on the ballot?

"Hillary’s doing just fine, I am enjoying campaigning on her behalf, and also for Senate and House candidates," he said. "We joke about Trump, but I do think part of reason you’ve seen Michelle passionate in this election, part of the reason we get involved is not just because Hillary’s going to be a great president, but it’s also because there’s something different about the way Trump has operated in the political sphere. I ran against McCain, against Romney. I thought I could do a better job, but they’re both honorable men. And if they won, I wouldn’t worry about generally the course of the country."

"But what we haven’t seen before is somebody questioning integrity of elections and the will of the people, a politics based on putting down in very explicit terms, Muslim Americans who are patriots, or describing women on a 1 to 10 score," he continued. "Regardless of what your political preferences are, there is a certain responsibility and expectation in terms of how you behave."

Obama also dished about actor Bill Murray's visit to the White House last week.

"He came into the Oval Office in a Cubs shirt, and I don’t usually allow that. First of all, most people come in a shirt and tie. I get no tie, but don’t rub it in with a Cubs jersey," Obama insisted.

Obama also said Murray agreed to do a social media skit about signing up for healthcare.

"So we thought of a little skit, decided we were going to putt on the carpet, and somebody grabbed a glass, and he won repeatedly," Obama said. "The glass was rigged. Then he’s giving me tips about putting. Seriously – he’s all, 'I think your right hand’s a little too firm.' He took money from me – I paid him $5. Basically the whole visit was a disaster."

Kimmel asked Obama if it was his money.

"No, I asked somebody," Obama said.

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