1/ U.S. intelligence intercepts indicate that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia ordered an operation to coax Jamal Khashoggi back to the kingdom in order to capture him. Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi government, disappeared last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A bipartisan group on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee invoked the Magnitsky Act to force the Trump administration to investigate the disappearance of Khashoggi, which requires the administration to respond within 120 days of potential sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations. Trump said he is reluctant to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia, believing it “would be hurting” the U.S. economy. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Bloomberg)
2/ Trump pledged to “weed out” individuals inside his administration who he doesn’t like or trust. When asked if that included Jeff Sessions, Trump replied that he is focused on the midterm elections. Melania Trump, meanwhile, said Trump has people working in his administration she doesn’t trust and it is hard for the president to govern when “you always need to watch your back.” Melania added that she is “the most bullied person on the world.” #BeBest (Politico / ABC News / CNN / Washington Post)
3/ Trump spoke with Jeff Sessions’ own chief of staff about replacing him as attorney general. It is not clear whether Trump wanted Matthew Whitaker to take over on an interim basis or to be nominated in a more permanent capacity. White House officials say they expect both Sessions and Rosenstein to remain in their positions at least until after the midterms. (Washington Post)
4/ Trump is considering as many as five candidates to replace Jeff Sessions if he leaves as attorney general. The candidates include Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Transportation Department general counsel Steven Bradbury, former Attorney General Bill Barr, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Janice Rogers Brown, a retired appeals court judge from the District of Columbia Circuit. Sessions isn’t currently planning to leave, but has privately said he expects to be asked to resign. (Wall Street Journal)
5/ Georgia’s Secretary of State is holding more than 53,000 voter registration applications – nearly 70% from black voters – due to the state’s “exact match” law, which requires that information on the application must match information on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. Brian Kemp’s office has cancelled over 1.4 million voter registrations since 2012 and nearly 670,000 registrations in 2017 alone. (Associated Press)
poll/ 35% of young Americans ages 18-29 say they are absolutely certain to vote in the midterms, while 81% of seniors 65+ say they’re certain to vote. 69% of Americans say their feelings about the state of the country are primarily negative. (The Atlantic / Public Religion Research Institute)
Trump’s legal team is preparing written answers to questions provided by Robert Mueller related to the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians. The two sides have still not agreed on whether Trump will be interviewed in person regarding obstruction of justice related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey. (CNN)
The judge in one of Paul Manafort’s criminal cases wants to move ahead with sentencing and whether Mueller’s prosecutors will retry him on deadlocked counts. Manafort’s plea deal, however, deferred sentencing until after his cooperation with Mueller’s team concluded. It also pushed off the decision to retry him on 10 of the 18 counts that Virginia jurors couldn’t agree on. Judge T.S. Ellis called the timeline in Manafort’s plea deal “highly unusual,” saying it didn’t adhere to the usual schedule in his court. A hearing is set for next week. (Associated Press / NBC News)
Trump accused Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia during the 2016 election campaign. “There was collusion between Hillary, the Democrats and Russia,” Trump claimed during a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. His supporters chanted “lock her up.” (NBC News)
Andrew McCabe says the FBI is stalling publication of his book, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.” The former deputy director of the FBI said he has been singled out for what he calls “irregular unfair treatment.” McCabe was fired in March for what the Justice Department called a lack of candor following an inspector general report accusing him of misleading investigators. He has denied any wrongdoing. (ABC News / NBC News)
Michael Cohen changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat. Trump’s former attorney pleaded guilty in August to eight criminal counts of tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations. He implicated Trump by suggesting that the violations were at his direction. (Axios)
Trump blamed the stock market correction on the “out of control” Federal Reserve, criticizing chairman Jerome Powell for “going loco.” Trump said he won’t fire Powell, but is “just disappointed.” Presidents for more than two decades had avoided publicly criticizing the Fed’s interest-rate policies as a way of demonstrating respect for the institution’s independence. The Dow traded 200 points lower, bringing its two-day losses to more than 1,000 points (Bloomberg / CNBC)
Instead of discussing prison reform, Kanye West plunged into a 10-minute rant in the Oval Office, referring to himself as “a crazy motherfucker” akin to “tasting a fine wine” with “complex notes” for supporting Trump, complimented the president for making him “a Superman cape” by way of the red “Make America Great Again” hat, pitched the president on replacing Air Force One with a hydrogen-powered “iPlane 1” that he’d like Apple to design, and repeatedly complimented Trump, saying the president “is on his hero’s journey right now.” After West finished his soliloquy, Trump said: “That was quite something.” (Reuters / NPR / Rolling Stone / BuzzFeed News)
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