With the first presidential debate just a few weeks away, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has more than two-dozen staffers digging deep into Donald Trump's background and looking for ways to get under his skin.
Their quest for damaging information on the billionaire businessman even includes talking to Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” co-author Tony Schwartz.
The New York Times first reported on the discussions Tuesday. Clinton strategists are hoping the 18 months Schwartz shadowed Trump at his office -- including weekends with him at his Manhattan pad and travel with Trump on out-of-state trips -- will yield some anecdotal ammo Clinton could use at the debate.
Whether Schwartz has any juicy details that could be used to throw Trump off his game at the candidates' first faceoff -- set for Sept. 26 in Hempstead, N.Y. -- is unknown.
To be sure, there is no love lost between Schwartz and Trump. In an interview with The New Yorker, Schwartz once said he felt like he had “put lipstick on a pig” with their "Art of the Deal" book and added that he has a “deep sense of remorse” that he “contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.”
If Schwartz’s info doesn’t help, a Democratic source told Fox News the Clinton campaign still has at least 25 researchers digging into four decades of Trump’s background and mining for information that can be used against him.
They're also seeking advice from psychology experts, searching for ways to bait him into making blunders on stage.
The Democratic source noted the Clinton campaign recognizes that during the Republican primaries, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's snarky reference to the size of Trump's hands at a Virginia rally seemed to throw Trump off balance.
Trump addressed the comment at the next debate in Detroit, in an awkward moment.
“Nobody has ever hit my hands, I’ve never heard of this before. Look at those hands, are they small hands?” Trump asked the audience. “And he referred to my hands, ‘if they’re small something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem, I guarantee it.”
Senior Clinton aides, meanwhile, are predicting that Trump will "go for broke at the debates" and cast him as a "formidable adversary."
But as Clinton’s crew continues to look for ways to stump Trump, the Republican nominee -- who used the debates to help clear away the crowded GOP field during the primaries -- says he isn’t going to spend too much time rehearsing for the big day.
“I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Trump told the Times. “It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony – like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway argued Sunday that Trump is indeed an “unconventional candidate” but will arrive at the debates prepared.
“He is the unpredictable X factor,” Conway told “Fox News Sunday.” “Donald Trump, who's been taking his case directly to the voters, is the one that you will see on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton. And I think they're nervous over in Clinton camp.”
Fox News' Mike Emanuel and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.