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11:00 AM 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 …
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.
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 …
Discussion: Washington Post and Political Wire
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.
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 …
Jonathan Schanzer / The Atlantic:
The Experts Were Wrong About the Middle East  —  “I know what I'm going to do: I'm going to sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”  —  That's what Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said last week, to the delight of Saudi Arabia's detractors on social media.
NBC News:
Exclusive: Twitter pulls down bot network that pushed pro-Saudi talking points about disappeared journalist  —  Twitter became aware of some of the bots on Thursday when NBC News presented the company with evidence of coordinated activity.  —  Twitter suspended a network of suspected Twitter bots …
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
Fareed Zakaria / Washington Post:
Khashoggi's alleged murder says as much about America as Saudi Arabia
Discussion: Breitbart, LifeZette and The Nation
Betsy Woodruff / The Daily Beast:   Obama's First National Security Adviser Now Works for the Saudis
New York Times:
Saudi Arabia Weighs Blaming Intelligence Official for Khashoggi Killing
NBC News:
U.S. intel officials: Inconceivable Saudi prince had no link to Khashoggi death
Discussion: Politico and TIME
New York Times:
In Shift on Khashoggi Killing, Trump Edges Closer to Acknowledging a Saudi Role
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
Rachel Ventresca / CNN:   Nikki Haley: 'Our opponents are not evil, they're just our opponents'
New York Times:
John Kelly and John Bolton Have Shouting Match Over Immigration
Discussion: Politico and Washington Post
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.
Ruth Marcus / Washington Post:
Why Hillary Clinton's comments were even more painful than Trump's
Discussion: ThinkProgress and New York Times
New York Times:   In 2020, Democrats Expect a Female Front-Runner. Or Three.
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
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 …
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
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.
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
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.
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 …
Andrew J. Tobias / Plain Dealer:
Jim Renacci issues statement from lawyer alleging Sherrod Brown made ‘unwanted, sudden’ advance against unnamed woman in late 1980s  —  CLEVELAND, Ohio — Rep. Jim Renacci's Senate campaign issued a news release late Thursday that he said depicted an unnamed woman's story of an …
Robert Samuels / Washington Post:
A week after Hurricane Michael, rural residents feel stranded  —  ALFORD, Fla. — Lillian Chance couldn't leave her street for days until a neighbor chopped away the fallen trees that blocked her pothole-filled path.  She was unable to get inside her trailer until an old friend sliced off branches of the cedar that had collapsed on it.
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.
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 …
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
Laura Nahmias / Politico:
‘Fiasco’: The short life and ignominious death of de Blasio's national progressive agenda  —  Mayor Bill de Blasio's first major attempt to be a national player was a monthslong comedy of errors involving City Hall staffers and some of the biggest political operatives in New York …
Group condemns RWJBarnabas for response to executive's anti-police post  —  Police activists protest the inflammatory statements by Executive Vice President Michellene Davis at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health in West Orange Marko Georgiev/
Discussion: Raw Story and The Root
Dan Merica / CNN:
South Dakota hasn't had a Democratic governor in decades.  Republicans fear that could change.  —  GOP female candidate running to make history  —  Vermillion, South Dakota (CNN)South Dakota voters haven't elected a Democrat as governor in more than 40 years.
Discussion: Raw Story
Jennifer Haberkorn / Los Angeles Times:
Republicans who tried to kill Obamacare now claim they want to save the popular parts of it … Republican lawmakers and candidates across the country are suddenly telling voters they'll protect preexisting conditions rules, brushing aside the fact that many voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act dozens …
Krista Mahr / Associated Press:
South African city set to seize land in national ‘test case’  —  EKURHULENI, South Africa (AP) — As South Africa's passionate debate over land redistribution grows, one city outside Johannesburg is preparing what the mayor calls a “test case” for the nation — the seizure of hundreds of acres …
Discussion: The Daily Caller
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 More Items: 
Susanne Fowler / New York Times:
Ara Guler, Poetic Photographer of Istanbul, Dies at 90
Jarrett Stepman / The Daily Signal:
Fabricating Hate Crimes Is a Byproduct of Victimhood Ideology on College Campuses
Andrew Lawrence / Campus Reform:
NYU hosts Marx birthday bash...during the wrong month
Daniel Chaitin / Washington Examiner:
White House official called Trudeau ‘that little punk kid running Canada’
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli / Politico:
Italian government splits over budget
Lachlan Markay / The Daily Beast:
Defense Lobbyists Hope to Scare Voters Into Voting for Indicted Congressman
Discussion: Washington Post
John Harwood / CNBC:
Republicans are short on policy wins so they are trying to fire up Trump's base with extreme attack ads
 Earlier Items: 
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
Rachael Bade / Politico:
How Republicans could (barely) hang on to the House
Discussion: PennLive and The Week
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
A Defector From Conservatism With a Clear Vision of Trump's Rise
Asawin Suebsaeng / The Daily Beast:
Ex-Trump Adviser Jason Miller Sues Will Menaker of ‘Chapo Trap House’ Over Tweet