In it, but not of it. TPM DC

At the Republican convention in Cleveland in July, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) spent one afternoon kayaking in the Cuyahoga River with wounded veterans instead of spinning out interviews in the media row at Quicken Loans Center.

There was good reason to keep his distance. At the time, Trump was down in the polls in Ohio, and Portman was just a few points ahead. That week, Trump gave an interview to the New York Times where he openly questioned the U.S. commitment to NATO. There was an unsuccessful floor fight to wrestle the nomination from Trump, and Trump's wife Melania had just plagiarized Michelle Obama's primetime speech convention speech as her own.

The chances were real for Portman – as they were for Republican senators up for re-election across the country– that their fate would be inextricably tied to a wild man billionaire who seemed to be spouting off against decades-old foreign policy agreements without much regard for the damage he could do to those outside of his own race. Even Republican pundits warned, there was no way senators were going to be able to survive if Trump was losing at the top of the ticket by more than five or six points.

Democrats appeared to be certain to take back the Senate. They began to look to expand their map into places like Arizona and Iowa, where Republican Sens. John McCain and Chuck Grassley had deep ties to their constituents that had made them nearly untouchable.

With just a little more than a month to go until the general election, however, Republican incumbents appear to be a better place than many predicted.

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Legislation that would allow 9/11 families to sue the Saudi government became the first veto override President Obama has faced in his presidency.

The House voted Wednesday afternoon 348 to 77 to override the president's veto. The Senate voted 97 to 1 to override earlier in the day.

The legislation was unanimous in Congress when it initially passed, but strong objections from the White House and Pentagon eventually revealed deep schisms within the Democratic Party and GOP as many members grappled with the choice between potentially changing the future of national sovereignty and defending victims of a horrific terrorist attack.

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It’s not just where the money went from the Donald Trump Foundation that’s drawing scrutiny to GOP nominee. It’s also how the money came in.

A new Washington Post report this week presented cases where Trump directed third parties to pay monies owed to him or his businesses directly to the Donald J. Trump Foundation--monies that arguably should have been taxed as income to Trump.

The Trump campaign has said that the payments were all aboveboard and proper, and slammed the Post's reporter for trafficking in speculation about possible but not proven legal problems. All of this comes against the backdrop of Trump refusing to release his tax returns, a stance unprecedented among modern major party presidential nominees. Without those tax returns, the exact handling of the payments and any associated taxes remains murky.

But tax experts interviewed by TPM said the new revelations by the Post include a number of red flags. At best, the practice could be described as sloppy and driven by an extreme ignorance of the law, the experts said. At worst, it fits into a pattern of using the charity as a personal piggy bank. On their own, such allegations could be dealt with a minor slap on the wrist, but coupled with the Post’s previously surfaced examples of Trump using foundation money for his own benefit they fuel major concerns about how Trump’s charity has operated.

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As his party's former nominee, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) arguably knows more about presidential debates than any other member of the U.S. Senate.

But when asked what he thought of Monday's debate he couldn't muster much excitement.

"I thought it was very interesting," he said.

"You still backing Trump?" McCain was asked.

Then just in the nick of time, the Senate elevator doors closed.

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Donald Trump, as a man and a presidential candidate, takes pride in having the best of everything: the best businesses, the best people working on his campaign, the best opinions. So the GOP nominee figured out long ago that having opposed the Iraq war before it even began, long before the wildly unpopular conflict would leave a half-million civilians dead and the Islamic State in its wake, is clairvoyant political gold.

There’s just one problem. Despite Trump’s repeated insistence, there simply isn’t evidence to back up the New York real estate mogul's claims that he was strongly opposed to the war before the United States invaded Iraq.

The issue resurfaced in Monday night’s first general election presidential debate, when Trump interrupted moderator Lester Holt to again claim he'd been against the invasion from the beginning, eventually launching into a rant about private conversations he purportedly had with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

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