Day 650: Maximum harm.
1/ The suspect in the shooting that left 11 people dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue was charged in a 44-count indictment with murder, hate crimes and other offenses that could bring the death penalty. Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue armed armed with Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle, and told police he was there to “kill Jews.” (Washington Post / Associated Press)
2/ Pipe bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc “conducted a domestic terror attack,” according to federal prosecutors. Sayoc researched the addresses of his targets online and had photos of them on his cellphone. Sayoc allegedly intended to “maximize harm” to his 15 targets. Justice Department prosecutors said Sayoc began planning the “domestic terror attack” in July while living in his van, which was covered with photos praising Trump. (NBC News / ABC News)
3/ The Trump administration doesn’t plan to renew the anti-domestic terror program, which funds the development of new approaches to prevent terrorism before it begins. The Department of Homeland Security said it has no plans to continue the program past the end of its funding in July 2019 and has told grant recipients that the funding was a “one-time” opportunity. (NBC News)
4/ Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered as soon as he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of a premeditated plan to kill the Saudi journalist and dispose of his body, according Turkey’s public prosecutor. The statement from Irfan Fidan is the first official description by a Turkish official about Khashoggi’s death and follows two days of meetings with Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb. A senior Turkish official said Mojeb did not give Fidan the location of Khashoggi’s body or the identity of the “local collaborator” who helped dispose of the Khashoggi’s remains. The Saudis have shifted their story about Khashoggi’s fate, initially denying any knowledge, then suggesting that “rogue” killers were responsible for Khashoggi’s death, before acknowledging that Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder. (CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Associated Press)
- A group of Republican senators want to stop to talks on selling U.S. nuclear power equipment to Saudi Arabia in response to the Khashoggi killing. (Bloomberg)
5/ Trump may deploy 10,000 to 15,000 military personnel to the border with Mexico in response to the caravan of Central American migrants. The deployment would double the number of active-duty troops operating there, and be roughly equivalent to the size of the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan, and three times the size of the presence in Iraq. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that the military was deploying 5,239 troops to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, in addition to the 2,092 members of the National Guard already there. (Washington Post / Politico)
6/ Trump blamed former White House Counsel Don McGahn for Robert Mueller’s appointment. Trump surprised McGahn in August by tweeting McGahn’s planned departure on Twitter, since McGahn had not discussed his plans with Trump directly. McGahn has also cooperated with Mueller’s probe, participating in several interviews spanning 30 hours. (CNN)
- The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating Steve Bannon’s activities during the 2016 presidential campaign, looking into what Bannon might know about any contacts between Russia and George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. (Reuters)
poll/ 31% of voters ages 18 to 34 say they will definitely vote this month, 26% say they’ll probably vote, and 19% say they will probably or definitely not vote this year. (NBC News/GenForward)
Facebook approved fake political ads by reporters posing as all 100 U.S. Senators. Facebook added a “Paid for by” transparency disclosure to the political ads to indicate to users who paid for the ads that show up in their news feeds. The “Paid for by” feature is easily manipulated, however, allowing anyone to lie about who is paying for a political ad, or to pose as someone paying for the ad. (Vice News)
Trump attacked Paul Ryan for saying Trump “obviously” can’t end birthright citizenship with an executive order. “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!” (New York Times / Washington Post)
A 20-year-old pro-Trump media personality and disgraced hedge fund prodigy named Jacob Wohl and a Republican lobbyist named Jack Burkman were involved in the plot to smear Robert Mueller with false sexual assault allegations. Wohl allegedly created a fake company called Surefire Intelligence and attempted to pay women to make false allegations against the special counsel. The case has been referred to the FBI for further investigation. (Vox / The Atlantic / GQ)
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