Day 638: Discord.
1/ The Justice Department charged a Russian national with conspiracy for her role in an “information warfare” campaign designed to interfere with the midterm elections. Elena Khusyaynova managed the finances of an operation the Justice Department identified as “Project Lakhta,” which was designed “to sow discord in the U.S. political system” and interfere in the 2016 and 2018 elections. The operation was “a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering,” the Justice Department said, which pushed arguments and misinformation online about immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control, the NFL national anthem protests, among other things. Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef,” and 12 other Russians were indicted by Robert Mueller in February on charges of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / Wall Street Journal) / NBC News)
2/ Top U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies warned that they’re concerned about “ongoing campaigns” by Russia, China and Iran to interfere with the midterm elections and 2020 race. The joint statement by the Justice Department, FBI, Homeland Security Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said there is no “evidence of a compromise or disruption of infrastructure that would enable adversaries to prevent voting, change vote counts or disrupt our ability to tally votes in the midterm elections.” (Bloomberg / Washington Post)
Georgia is using amateur handwriting analysis to reject would-be voters if their signatures looks different from the signature on their voter-registration card. (Slate)
In July 2017, Georgia purged 107,000 people from the voter rolls for not voting in prior elections. In total, the Georgia removed more than half a million people — 8% of Georgia’s registered voters — from the voter rolls. (American Public Media)
A radio ad in support of an Arkansas Republican claims that white Democrats want to go back to “lynching black folk again.” Rep. French Hill disavowed of the ad, which was paid for by the Black Americans for the President’s Agenda political action committee. (NBC News)
3/ Saudi Arabia acknowledge that Jamal Khashogg is dead, claiming it was “a fistfight that led to his death” at the consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia detained 18 people in connection with Khashoggi’s death. King Salman removed Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and deputy intelligence chief Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri. (New York Times / BBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
4/ Republicans and conservative commentators are attempting to smear Khashoggi in order to protect Trump from criticism for his handling of the journalist’s murder by Saudi Arabia. House Republicans allied with Trump have been privately sharing articles from right-wing outlets disparaging Khashoggi. Conservative commentators, meanwhile, have been making insinuations about Khashoggi’s background, saying he was “tied to the Muslim Brotherhood,” was a “longtime friend” of terrorists, and “not a good guy.” Trump said sanctions “could be considered,” but claimed $450 billion in investments are at stake. (Washington Post) / Bloomberg)
- Steven Mnuchin will take part in an anti-terror finance meeting in Saudi Arabia next week. Yesterday, the treasury secretary announced that he would not attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh – a separate event. The event Mnuchin plans to attend will include participation by Saudi security services who are under investigation in Khashoggi’s death. (Washington Post)
5/ Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte for body-slamming a reporter. Gianforte pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor assault charges related to the incident. “Any guy that can do a body slam,” Trump said to during a rally in Missoula. “He’s my kind of guy.” (Associated Press / The Guardian / New York Times / Axios)
poll/ 49% of Trump voters believe men face either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination in America today – more than LGBTQ people (41%), African-Americans (38%), or women (30%). (NBC News)
poll/ 25% of Americans believe Brett Kavanaugh told the entire truth during his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony. 43% disapprove of Kavanaugh’s confirmation while 35% approve. (Associated Press)
- 🤔 A group of witches plan to place a hex on Kavanaugh this weekend. The event is sold out. (The Guardian)
Rod Rosenstein will sit for a transcribed interview with leaders of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees Oct. 24. The interview will be conducted under oath, but Rosenstein will not be legally compelled to answer any questions. (Politico / Roll Call / CNN)
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tried to skirt or change department policies in order to justify taxpayer-funded trips with his wife, according to a report by the Interior’s inspector general. The Interior spent $25,000 to send a security detail with Ryan and Lola Zinke when they traveled on vacation in Turkey last year. (Politico / Washington Post)
A top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development resigned after being reassigned as acting inspector general at the Interior Department. HUD Assistant Secretary Suzanne Tufts is a GOP operative with no experiencing investigating allegations of unethical behavior. (Politico)
Paul Manafort was rolled into court for a hearing about his sentencing date in a wheelchair. He was also missing his right shoe. (NBC News / ABC News)
The U.S. suspended another military exercise with South Korea in an effort to aid negotiations with North Korea regarding its nuclear program. (Bloomberg)
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to throw out a lawsuit filed accusing the government of ignoring climate change. The suit was filed in 2015 by a group of young people who said the government violated their right to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life.” (Reuters / NBC News)
Trump plans to tell Russia the U.S. will exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The U.S. argues that Russia is in violation of the treaty for deploying nuclear weapons to intimidate former Soviet states and that the treaty constrains the United States from deploying weapons to counter the intermediate-range weapons that China has deployed. (New York Times)
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