Political Insider

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Donald Trump tries to rattle Hillary Clinton with more pre-debate surprises

Las Vegas - Donald Trump's campaign invited Barack Obama's Kenyan-born half-brother to the final presidential debate. He's hosting the mother of a Benghazi victim who accused Democrat Hillary Clinton of "murdering" her son. And his campaign promises there's more surprises to come.

For Trump, it fits in a theme of trying to rattle Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of each showdown.

In the runup to the first debate in Long Island, Trump threatened to bring up Bill Clinton's past infidelities - and then made vague references to them near the end of the 90-minute spectacle. Ahead of the second debate in St. Louis, he invited three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting or harassing them to be his guests - and then sat them in the front row.

Wednesday's debate will will bring Malik Obama, who shares the same father with the president, to Trump's side. Malik Obama told the New York Post that Clinton worsened the situation in Libya while she was secretary of state.

Also set to be in attendance in Trump's corner is Patricia Smith, whose son Sean Smith was a diplomatic aide who was killed during the Benghazi attacks in Libya. At July's Republican nominating convention, Smith said Clinton "should be in stripes" after the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound.

Trump aides say they've got another trick or two up their sleeve.

This time, though, Clinton is also sending a clear message with her invitees. She's bringing Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman, a Republican who endorsed her campaign, and Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban, in particular, has shown a knack for getting under Trump's skin by questioning his net worth and criticizing his behavior.

For more of the AJC’s latest on the election:

Marco Rubio warns Republicans on hacked emails: ‘Tomorrow it could be us’

Jimmy Carter calls Donald Trump’s talk of rigged election ‘baseless’

Brian Kemp fumes at election critics — but not at Donald Trump

Wednesday’s debate could bring the demise of the spousal handshake

One last time: A presidential rumble in Las Vegas

Debate gives Trump, Clinton last big opportunity to appeal to public

Georgia’s College Republicans revolt over Donald Trump

Florida, once again, could play lead role in deciding election


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.