Welcome to THE TRAIL 2016, your daily rundown from The Hill on all the latest news in the White House, Senate and House races. 

For the second consecutive day, controversy around Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE has commandeered the news cycle.

Today, Trump ignited a firestorm of controversy for saying that if abortion is outlawed under a Republican administration, that women who seek out illegal abortions should be subject to "some form of punishment.

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The backlash has been swift. 

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Vermont Governor: Sanders 'will play dirty' NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info New Hampshire state lawmaker switches support from Warren to Klobuchar MORE called Trump's remarks "horrific and telling." Bernie SandersBernie SandersEx-Obama official on Sanders-Warren feud: 'I don't think it played out well for either of them' Former Vermont Governor: Sanders 'will play dirty' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball rips Warren over feud with Sanders MORE called the comments "shameful." 

Trump's Republican rivals also seized on the remarks, framing the controversy as evidence the GOP front-runner doesn't understand the conservative worldview on abortion. 

He's now walking back the comments. 

Meanwhile, harkening back to yesterday's controversy, the White House ripped Trump for standing by his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who has been charged with one count of simple battery for grabbing a reporter by the arm. A group of female pundits is also calling for Lewandowski to be fired. 

Check back at The Hill tomorrow for a story on how the GOP presidential race is approaching a breaking point with the potential to leave a deeply wounded, rather than unified party, once a nominee emerges. 

Also tomorrow, The Hill will break down Trump's path to 1,237 delegates, and will look at how Trump and Clinton are stepping up their attacks in preparation for a potential general election match-up.

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RACE TO 1600 PENN 

DON'T EVER GIVE UP: The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports: Grassroots conservatives are seething at their beltway counterparts as talk about Trump's potentially disastrous general election candidacy has some looking to close ranks around House and Senate members up for reelection. 

GLOBAL ANGST: The Hill's Julian Hattem and Megan R. Wilson report: Lobbyists in Washington say they're being flooded with concern from foreign governments over the rise of Trump. 

ON EDGE: The Hill's Amie Parnes reports: There are five things keeping the Clinton campaign awake at night. 

ON THE OFFENSIVE: The Hill's Mark Hensch reports: A group founded by a long-time Clinton confidante has filed an ethics complaint against the Sanders campaign. 

SETTLED: The Hill's Jesse Byrnes reports: A spokesman for Hillary Clinton says she's willing to debate Bernie Sanders inNew York, the state she represented in the Senate and the state where he was raised. 

BREAKING THE PLEDGE: The Hill's Mark Hensch reports: Donald Trump is backtracking on a promise to support the eventual GOP nominee if it's not him. The liberal super-PAC American Bridge is already up with ads needling the candidates over the controversy.

 

ODDS AND ENDS 

WOMEN'S COALITION: The Hill's Lisa Hagen reports: Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSeven things to know about the Trump trial All the frontrunners could survive initial Iowa test Republicans face internal brawl over impeachment witnesses MORE is trying to paint himself as the candidate for women amid a feud with Donald Trump, whose campaign has been marked by notable skirmishes with women. 

TIME TO GET PAID: The Hill's Jessie Hellmann reports: Jeb Bush is returning to the speaking circuit. 

EYE ON THE GENERAL ELECTION: The Hill's Jesse Byrnes reports: Hillary Clinton is going after Donald Trump in a new campaign ad that is running in their shared home-state of New York. 

COMING AROUND: The Hill's Rebecca Savransky reports: Ted Cruz is racking up endorsements from his former presidential rivals. 

NOT INVITED: The Hill's Rebecca Savransky reports: Animal liberation protesters disrupted a Bernie Sanders rally.

 

THE DAILY TRUMP 

IQ TEST: The Hill's Jessie Hellmann reports: Donald Trump says he's smarter than Hillary Clinton. 

LITMUS TEST: The Hill's Rebecca Savransky reports: Donald Trump says he'd appoint an attorney general or Supreme Court justice who would review the controversy over Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server as secretary of State. 

WON'T BACK DOWN: The Hill's Jonathan Easley and Scott Wong report: Donald Trump is fiercely defending his campaign manager who has been charged with one count of simple battery against a reporter. The GOP front-runner says the reporter would have pressed charges irrespective of whether the campaign apologized to her. 

BLAME SHIFTING: The Hill's Jesse Byrnes reports: Donald Trump is saying the reporter who accused his campaign manager of assault accosted him. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is also defending Trump's campaign manager. 

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OUCH: The Hill's Caitlin Yilek reports: Anderson Cooper accused Trump of acting like a 5-year-old at a Republican town hall on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner says Trump's flaws will ultimately doom his candidacy. 

I, ALONE: The Hill's Rebecca Savransky reports: Trump says if he's not the GOP nominee, the party will lose the White House in 2016.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

"What a stupid promise." 

-- Ohio Gov. John Kasich remarking on GOP promises to repeal ObamaCare during the 2014 midterm elections.

 

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POLL POSITION 

BADGER STATE: The Hill's Rebecca Savransky reports: Ted Cruz has turned a 10-point deficit in Wisconsin into a 10-point lead. On the Democratic side - Bernie Sanders has a small lead over Clinton in a must-win contest for him.

 

CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGNS 

FLORIDA SENATE: The Hill's Lisa Hagen reports: Patrick Murphy picked up a key union endorsement in his primary fight against Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE

ILLINOIS SENATE: The Hill's Jordain Carney reports: Vulnerable GOP Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkWhy Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Bottom Line MORE, who is fighting for his political life in Illinois, is the first Republican to say publicly that he'd consider supporting President Obama's Supreme Court nominee. 

ALLEGATIONS: The Hill's Jordain Carney reports: A Democratic candidate running for a House seat in Nevada says Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial Left presses 2020 Democrats to retake the courts from Trump MORE told him not to run because he's a Muslim.

 

WHAT WE ARE WATCHING FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW

(All times Eastern) 

MSNBC tonight interviews or hosts town halls with four of the presidential candidates. At 7 p.m. Chuck Todd moderates a town hall with John Kasich in Queens, N.Y. At 8 p.m., Chris Matthews moderates a town hall with Donald Trump in Green Bay, Wis. Rachel Maddow sits down Hillary Clinton (9 p.m.) and Bernie Sanders (10 p.m.) for back-to-back extended interviews on "The Rachel Maddow Show." 

Ted Cruz will be a guest on Wednesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, which airs at 11:35 on ABC. 

Bernie Sanders holds an evening rally in Onalaska, Wis., on Wednesday. On Thursday, he'll hold a morning press conference on "the disastrous impact of trade deals" followed by rallies in Pittsburgh, Pa., at 10:30 a.m. and in South Bronx, N.Y., at 7 p.m.., where guest speakers will be Rosario Dawson and Residente, ex vocalist of Calle 13. 

Hillary Clinton holds a campaign event in Purchase, N.Y., at 1 p.m. on Thursday. 

John Kasich will be a guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday.

 

TWEET OF THE DAY 

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: Jonathan Easley, Ben KamisarJonathan Swan, Lisa Hagen. 

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