Hillary Clinton has hit a rough patch at a critical time in the race for the White House.
A new batch of 14,900 emails found by the FBI is threatening to throw her off message, and the drip-drip release of emails will be something to contend with through Election Day.
Clinton’s campaign is also facing new questions about the Clinton Foundation after separate emails were released that showed a foundation official seeking time with Clinton for a donor.
Days later, the Associated Press ran a story, which the Clinton campaign has repeatedly attacked, detailing links between Clinton Foundation donors and meetings with former Secretary of State Clinton.
If that weren’t enough, a lingering GOP perjury threats looms over Brooklyn, as House Republicans have promised action this fall.
The string of negative headlines follows weeks of good news for Clinton.
A successful convention and repeated mistakes by Republican nominee Donald Trump have strengthened her standing as the favorite to be elected president.
A Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday found her with a 10-point lead over Trump, and battleground state maps suggest she could win the presidency even if she loses the critical battleground states of Florida and Ohio, where polls show she is running neck-and-neck or ahead of Trump.
To an extent, it makes the bad headlines easier to accept, though Clinton allies are nonetheless worried the campaign could lose momentum after a rough week.
“Typical,” said one Clinton surrogate. “We have a good few weeks with the wind at our backs and then something unexpected comes out and shoots us in the foot.”
Clinton sought to pivot on Thursday with a speech that ripped Trump’s association with white nationalists. The speech raised links between Trump and the “alt-right” movement, and specifically hit Trump for re-tweeting white supremacist Twitter accounts.
“Trump’s lack of knowledge or experience or solutions would be bad enough,” Clinton said. “But what he’s doing here is more sinister. Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.”
The new aggressive attack from Clinton comes after a solid week on the campaign trailf for Trump, who is winning applause for a campaign reboot.
Since hiring a new campaign team, Trump for the most part has stuck to the teleprompter and his talking points. Late last week, he even traveled to flood-ravaged Louisiana, putting Clinton and President Obama on the defensive.
It was a reverse from the Trump who made a series of gaffes in recent weeks from attacking a gold star military family to suggesting “Second Amendment people” may be able to prevent Clinton from making judicial nominees, a story that dominated the news cycle for several days.
“He’s been incredibly disciplined recently,” said one top Democratic strategist, who attributed Trump’s recent success to his new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. “No major eruptions. When that happens, I’d expect the polls to tighten up.”
Clinton has been forced to play defense this week over the Clinton Foundation.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday evening, she said he work as Secretary of State was “not influenced by outside forces.”
“I know there’s a lot of smoke and there’s no fire,” she said.
Aides and Democrats close to the Clinton campaign think their candidate can survive the recent pitfalls, particularly given her opponent.
“I still think the email and foundation issues, while they will continue to be something of a distraction, are not fatal, and pale in comparison to the problems Trump faces,” one longtime Clinton adviser said.
Still, the Clinton team cannot afford to be complacent or overconfident.
Last weekend, the Washington Post reported that Clinton has started “ramping up” for a possible presidency as polls indicated the Democratic nominee had widened her lead over Trump. The story indicated that Clinton has an agenda that includes passing immigration reform along with measures focusing on job creation and taking on increased infrastructure projects.
Democrats say Clinton must do what ever she can to keep the focus on Trump, and not on her own controversies.
“What she needs to do is keep beating up on Trump,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist. “The more this is about Donald Trump, the more likely it is that she’s going to win. She needs to put the onus of the campaign back on him.”
Clinton has a heavy advantage over Trump among minority voters, according to polls. She also is doing well with women in general, and college-educated white voters in particular.
Thursday’s speech linking Trump to racism is targeted toward all of those voters.
Trump is seeking to fight back, both with an appeal to minority voters and by calling Clinton a “bigot” during an event Wednesday night.
As she faces increasing scrutiny, allies acknowledge it highlights the larger problem that looms over her campaign: Trust.
“There’s often smoke and that has followed her around like a cloud,” David Axelrod, who served as Obama’s chief strategist said Wednesday on CNN.
Other Democrats said the foundation and email controversies are both problems for Clinton.
“People who are concerned about the foundation and email, have to be given reasons to vote for her instead of Trump,” one Democratic strategist said.