1/ Trump denied telling the widow of a fallen soldier "he knew what he signed up for," contradicting a Florida congresswoman who was with the woman at the time. "Basically, he said, 'Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for," Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said, recounting the conversation she heard on speakerphone. "But I guess it still hurt.' That's what he said."
Trump tweeted that the "Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof)," raising questions about whether Trump tapes calls and conversations. Sarah Sanders said there is no recording of the call, adding that Wilson's conduct is "appalling and disgusting." The mother of the fallen soldier stood behind Wilson's account, saying that Trump "did disrespect" the family with his comments during the call. (Washington Post / ABC News / CNN)
Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
2/ The White House had drafted a statement of sympathy following the ambush in Niger where four Green Berets were killed. Trump never issued the statement, which was circulated to the National Security Council and Defense Department. On Monday, Trump was asked why he had not spoken publicly about the deaths. He defended himself by saying he'd written letters, and then lied that Obama and other past presidents had never or rarely called the families of troops who died. (Politico)
3/ Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 and said he would establish an online fundraiser for the family. Neither happened. The father said the White House sent a condolence letter from Trump instead. "I opened it up and read it, and I was hoping to see a check in there, to be honest," the father said. A White House spokesperson said "the check has been sent," adding that "It’s disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the President, and using it to advance the media’s biased agenda." (Washington Post)
4/ Trump backed off his support for the bipartisan healthcare deal, tweeting he could never support legislation "bailing out" insurance companies "who have made a fortune" from Obamacare. The comment comes a day after Trump embraced the deal as "a short-term solution so that we don’t have this very dangerous little period." The chairman of the Senate health committee said Trump "completely engineered the plan" to fund subsidies for health insurers, but "wants to reserve his options." (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios)
I am supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co's who have made a fortune w/ O'Care.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
5/ Paul Ryan does not support the Alexander-Murray healthcare bill. Ryan's press secretary said "The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare." (Axios)
6/ A second federal judge blocked Trump's latest travel ban attempt citing Trump's tweets as evidence the policy carries the same intent as his Muslim ban proposal. The Maryland judge granted a nationwide preliminary injunction against the latest iteration of the travel ban, following a similar order by a federal judge in Hawaii. District Court Judge Theodore Chuang said the administration had "not shown that national security cannot be maintained without an unprecedented eight-country travel ban." (Politico / Washington Post)
7/ Trump tweeted that James Comey had prematurely exonerated Hillary Clinton "long before [the] investigation was complete" into her private email use. The FBI released emails that indicate Comey had drafted a statement about ending the investigation two months before he announced he would not to seek charges. "Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete," Trump tweeted. "James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton." (Washington Post / Associated Press)
Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete. Many..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
...people not interviewed, including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn't do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
8/ Jeff Sessions appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and defended Trump's firing of James Comey. He linked the FBI director’s dismissal to his handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. Sessions refused to discuss private conversations he had with Trump that led up to Comey’s firing. The attorney general also said he hasn't been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, yet. (Associated Press)
9/ Democrats asked the chairman of the House oversight committee to subpoena the White House for documents related to Michael Flynn and his company the Flynn Intel Group. "[T]he White House has been openly defying this Committee’s bipartisan request for documents regarding General Flynn for months without any assertion of privilege of any kind," 18 Democrats wrote in a 10-page letter to Trey Gowdy. "We believe that this paper trail must be pursued to answer the gravest questions of all — did General Flynn seek to change the course of our country’s national security to benefit the private interests he previously promoted?" A Gowdy aide said he was reviewing whether the White House’s limited response to previously inquiries was sufficient. (Politico)
10/ An exiled Russian oligarch believes Putin tried to collaborate with the Trump campaign. "I am almost convinced that Putin's people have tried to influence the U.S. election in some way," Mikhail Khodorkovsky said. He added that the Russian banker Jared Kushner met with last December was not "acting on his own behalf." (NBC News)
11/ Several Republicans have called for the three congressional Russia investigations to end this year. The GOP members contend that the Democrats on a fishing expedition, which Trump has called a "witch hunt." Democrats say they don't want to rush testimony from witnesses. (CNN)
12/ A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to allow an undocumented teenager to get an abortion. The pregnant teenager, who was apprehended crossing the border from Mexico illegally last month, was being held in a federally funded shelter in South Texas where Trump administration officials had prevented the shelter from allowing her to travel to an abortion provider. The judge said she was “astounded” at the government’s position that the teen’s only options were to either carry the unwanted pregnancy to term or go back to her home country. (BuzzFeed News / Washington Post)
poll/ 46% of voters believe the news media fabricates stories about Trump and his administration. 76% of Republican voters think the news media invents stories about Trump compared to 65% of Democrats who think the news media does not. (Politico)
poll/ 52% of Americans oppose Trump's recent tax reform proposal while 34% say they support the plan. The tax plan would consolidate the number of tax rates from seven to three: 12%, 25% and 35%. The plan would also increase the standard deduction, increase the child tax credit, repeal the alternative minimum tax, and drop the corporate tax rate to 20%, which could increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. (CNN)
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