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12:00 PM ET, October 19, 2018


 Top Items: 
Washington Post:
Conservatives mount a whisper campaign smearing Khashoggi in defense of Trump  —  Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a dark whisper campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident …
Washington Post:
Mnuchin still plans to attend Saudi anti-terror financing meeting after Khashoggi disappearance  —  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has decided to take part in an anti-terror finance meeting with Saudi security officials and their Middle Eastern counterparts in Riyadh later this month …
As Khashoggi crisis grows, Saudi king asserts authority, checks son's power: sources  —  DUBAI (Reuters) - So grave is the fallout from the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that King Salman has felt compelled to intervene, five sources with links to the Saudi royal family said.
Maggie Haberman / New York Times:
A President Who Believes He Is Entitled to His Own Facts  —  WASHINGTON — He accepts less-than-credible denials from autocratic heads of state about nefarious acts.  He disputes the existence of man-made climate change and insists that photographic evidence of the crowd at his inauguration is fake, part of a media plot to harm him.
Ian Pannell / ABC News:
Pompeo listened to an alleged recording of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Turkish Source  —  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has heard an alleged audio recording of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi's murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a senior Turkish official.
NBC News:
Trump's closing argument is full of conspiracy theories and brute force.  And it just might work.  —  First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.  —  WASHINGTON — In the final days …
Ed Pilkington / The Guardian:
Trump praises Gianforte for assault on Guardian reporter: 'He's my guy'  —  President's comments at Montana rally in praise of violence against US journalist come amid international outcry over Khashoggi  —  Play Video  —  Donald Trump has praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana …
Spencer Ackerman / The Daily Beast:
Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro Accuses Kushner of Orchestrating Khashoggi Killing  —  Without evidence, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), a member of the House intelligence committee, said Jared Kushner might have passed a “hit list” to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman resulting …
Karen Tumulty / Washington Post:
As we mourn a colleague, Trump celebrates violence against a journalist
Fareed Zakaria / Washington Post:
Khashoggi's alleged murder says as much about America as Saudi Arabia
Caroline Orr / Shareblue Media:
Republicans smear murdered journalist to cover for Trump
Jonathan Schanzer / The Atlantic:
The Experts Were Wrong About the Middle East
New York Post:
Why the Saudis despised Jamal Khashoggi
Discussion: Hürriyet Daily News
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Trump Praises Republican Criminal for Attacking Journalist
Discussion: Vox, Mother Jones and CNN
Betsy Woodruff / The Daily Beast:   Obama's First National Security Adviser Now Works for the Saudis
Haley Britzky / Axios:
Top Democrats want fundamental changes in U.S.-Saudi relationship
Rebecca Morin / Politico:
Haley breaks with Trump: ‘In America, our political opponents are not evil’  —  Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley insisted Thursday night that “in America, our political opponents are not evil,” a shark rhetorical break from her boss, President Donald Trump …
Andrew Restuccia / Politico:
Trump considering Richard Grenell for U.N. ambassador
New York Times:
John Kelly and John Bolton Have Shouting Match Over Immigration
Discussion: Politico, Bloomberg and Washington Post
Rachel Ventresca / CNN:   Nikki Haley: 'Our opponents are not evil, they're just our opponents'
John Wagner / Washington Post:
At charity dinner, Nikki Haley takes jabs at Trump and other political elites
Discussion: ABC News
Annie Karni / Politico:
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hillary?  —  She's not going away—and Democrats aren't sure what to do about it.  —  In recent months, some reporters who cover the Trump White House have received phone calls from the last person they would expect: Hillary Clinton.
New York Times:   In 2020, Democrats Expect a Female Front-Runner. Or Three.
Ruth Marcus / Washington Post:
Why Hillary Clinton's comments were even more painful than Trump's
Discussion: ThinkProgress and New York Times
GOP Rep. Jason Lewis once mocked women who felt traumatized by unwanted touching  —  GOP rep. defends prior comments on ‘slut’ women  —  (CNN)Republican Rep. Jason Lewis once mocked women who were traumatized by unwanted sexual advances, including those inappropriately kissed …
Discussion: Political Wire
Katie Benner / New York Times:
Justice Dept. Rank-and-File Tell of Discontent Over Sessions's Approach  —  WASHINGTON — During his 20 months in office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has swept in perhaps the most dramatic political shift in memory at the Justice Department, from the civil rights-centered agenda of the Obama era …
Discussion: Law & Crime and Raw Story
The Guardian:
I pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a lake  —  People are saying I am the queen of Sweden because of the legend of King Arthur  —  Every summer, my parents, my six-year-old brother and I go to stay in a cabin by a lake called Vidöstern in Tånnö in southern Sweden, not far from where we live.
Discussion: Maggie's Farm
Darren Samuelsohn / Politico:
Mueller report PSA: Prepare for disappointment  —  And be forewarned that the special counsel's findings may never be made public.  —  President Donald Trump's critics have spent the past 17 months anticipating what some expect will be among the most thrilling events of their lives …
Discussion: USA Today
Bryan Lowry / Kansas City Star:
Fake intern who recorded McCaskill campaign had access to voter info, campaign says  —  A conservative activist with Project Veritas posed as an intern with U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill's campaign and had access to voter information, according to a stack of documents McCaskill's lawyer delivered …
Del Quentin Wilber / Los Angeles Times:
Fentanyl smuggled from China is killing thousands of Americans  —  The Zheng drug trafficking organization was hardly clandestine.  The Shanghai-based network sold synthetic narcotics, including deadly fentanyl, on websites posted in 35 languages, from Arabic and English to Icelandic and Uzbek.
Mark Joseph Stern / Slate:
Georgia Is Using Amateur Handwriting Analysis to Disenfranchise Minority Voters  —  The scourge of “signature mismatch” laws strikes again.  —  Say you live in Georgia.  You're eager to vote in this year's election—a tight race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Trump acolyte Brian Kemp …
Nate Cohn / New York Times:
For a Change, Democrats Seem Set to Equal or Exceed Republicans in Turnout  —  Polls show enthusiasm surging in many mostly white suburban districts, but less so among young and nonwhite voters.  —  A wide range of evidence indicates that Democratic voters are poised to vote in numbers unseen …
Alan Fram / Associated Press:
AP-NORC Poll: Just 1 in 4 thinks Kavanaugh told entire truth  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — Just 1 in 4 people thinks Brett Kavanaugh was completely honest when as a Supreme Court nominee he gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, with Republicans and Democrats holding …
Discussion: Law & Crime
Antonio Olivo / Washington Post:
Getting a jump: Absentee voting in Virginia soars three weeks ahead of election  —  The number of voters in Virginia who have cast early ballots ahead of the November elections is dramatically up compared with last year, suggesting an electorate that is energized by several hotly contested races …
Ylan Mui / CNBC:
Kamala Harris and other prominent Democrats want to repeal Trump's tax cuts and replace them with cash payouts for the poor and working class  — With midterm elections 2½ weeks away and the 2020 presidential race around the corner, prominent Democrats are embracing an ambitious idea …
Michael Gerson / Washington Post:
What does Trump's ascendance mean about America?  —  It is a sign of the times — the kind involving the seven-horned beast, and the rain of fire, and the end of days — that recent news has been dominated by Kanye, Stormy and the misogynist boor who is president of the United States.
Discussion: Raw Story
New York Times:
APM Reports:
Georgia purged an estimated 107,000 people largely for not voting, an APM Reports investigation shows  —  A handful of states, most of them led by Republicans, are using someone's decision not to vote as the trigger for removing them from the rolls.  No state has been more aggressive …
Discussion: POLITICUSUSA and Joe.My.God.
Indianapolis Star:
HBO's ‘Veep’ gag and new Joe Donnelly political ad are basically the same  —  Dwight Adams,  —  Many Hoosiers who saw the latest Joe Donnelly ad entitled “Axe” may have viewed it and thought, “well, there's a fella who likes to chop his own wood!”
Discussion: IndieWire, The Federalist and Mediaite
Becket Adams / Washington Examiner:
PolitiFact is forced to retract a story claiming Claire McCaskill didn't say what she definitely said  —  At some point, we may have to consider the possibility that certain media fact-checkers are not so dispassionate and free from partisan biases as they'd like us to believe.
Burlington Free Press:
Burlington police chief reacts to Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir obituary: ‘I have a problem’  —  Burlington police Chief Brandon del Pozo posted this to his Facebook account on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.  —  I have a problem with this obituary.  —  Born here in Burlington, Madelyn was the 30-year old mother of a toddler.
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 More Items: 
Aryssa Damron / The College Fix:
White privilege symposium will feature ‘racial justice’ board game
Jan Cienski / Politico:
European court orders Poland to freeze judicial changes
Group condemns RWJBarnabas for response to executive's anti-police post
Discussion: Raw Story and The Root
Krista Mahr / Associated Press:
South African city set to seize land in national ‘test case’
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Daniel Chaitin / Washington Examiner:
White House official called Trudeau ‘that little punk kid running Canada’
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Laura Nahmias / Politico:
‘Fiasco’: The short life and ignominious death of de Blasio's national progressive agenda
 Earlier Items: 
Robert Samuels / Washington Post:
A week after Hurricane Michael, rural residents feel stranded
Dan Merica / CNN:
South Dakota hasn't had a Democratic governor in decades. Republicans fear that could change.
Discussion: Raw Story
John Harwood / CNBC:
Republicans are short on policy wins so they are trying to fire up Trump's base with extreme attack ads
New York Post:
Twitter has a huge Louis Farrakhan problem
Joshua Rhett Miller / New York Post:
Ex-teacher pleads guilty to sex with 14-year-old student
Discussion: Breitbart
Tom Scocca / Hmm Daily:
Your Real Biological Clock Is You're Going to Die