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2:10 PM ET, October 21, 2018


 Top Items: 
Washington Post:
White House privately doubts Saudi account of journalist's killing  —  President Trump and his aides have begun to privately express doubts about Saudi Arabia's explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi even as the administration stands publicly in support of the oil-rich monarchy, according to U.S. officials.
Marwa Rashad / Reuters:
Amid skepticism, Saudi official provides another version of Khashoggi death  —  RIYADH (Reuters) - As Saudi Arabia faced intensifying international scepticism over its story about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior government official laid out a new version of the death inside …
Maureen Dowd / New York Times:
Step Away From the Orb  —  WASHINGTON — I was having dinner here once with a Saudi muck-a-muck.  Midway through the interview, he passed an oblong velvet box across the table.  Inside I found an expensive piece of jewelry.  —  I began laughing and explained that I was a reporter and could not take such baubles.
Josh Dawsey / Washington Post:
In Post interview, Trump calls Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed a ‘strong person’ who ‘truly loves his country’  —  President Trump retreated late Saturday from his stance that Saudi Arabia's story about the killing of journalist Jamaal Khashoggi inside their Turkish consulate was credible …
Erdoan says will reveal details of Khashoggi case Tuesday  —  President Recep Tayyip Erdoan said Sunday that he will make important statements on Tuesday at the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting regarding the investigation on journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fate …
Martin Chulov / The Guardian:   Jamal Khashoggi: murder in the consulate
The Guardian:
Khashoggi murder exposes Trump administration's dependency on Saudis
Kevin Sullivan / Washington Post:
Amid Khashoggi uproar, many Saudis see a foreign plot and rally around their prince
Discussion: CNN
Alan Rappeport / New York Times:   Mnuchin Will Attend Saudi Meetings on Terror Financing, Despite Khashoggi Uproar
Joe Scarborough / Washington Post:   Trump's sure bet turned out to be his biggest foreign policy crisis
Sarah El Deeb / Associated Press:   Saudi writer saw Turkey as base for a new Middle East
New York Times:
Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence  —  WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition …
Brett Samuels / The Hill:
Trump administration considering narrowing legal definition of gender: report
Janet Hook / Wall Street Journal:
Interest in Midterms Surges, Boosting Trump Approval Rating  —  Democrats' still favored by voters in latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll as the party to lead Congress  —  Voter interest in the midterm elections has surged to record highs within both parties, helping to drive …
Mark Murray / NBC News:
NBC/WSJ Poll: Democrats hold nine-point advantage for midterm elections  —  Two weeks out, Democrats retain an edge but “unprecedented enthusiasm” is fueling both parties.  —  WASHINGTON — Fueled by increased enthusiasm from women, Latinos and young voters for the upcoming midterm election …
Discussion: Political Wire
John Harwood / CNBC:   Democrats appear more likely to vote in midterms than GOP: NBC-WSJ poll
Arizona Republic:
Don't believe the attack ads.  Here's who Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally really are  —  Opinion: If you're tired of the vitriol on Congress (and all those attack ads on TV), there's something you can do about it.  —  CONNECT  —  Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have been in campaign mask.
Ben Jacobs / The Guardian:
2020 vision: Democratic hopefuls warm up for White House race  —  Biden spars with Trump in Nevada, Booker and Harris are in South Carolina.  The field is already crowded  —  It's a crisp fall weekend and more than a half-dozen prominent Democrats are in states that hold early primaries.
Discussion: New York Times
Michael Goodwin / New York Post:   Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020
Williams is by far the better candidate for US House  —  Not to be too dramatic about it, but Kathleen Williams is the congressional candidate Montana has been waiting for.  —  Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Thoughtful.  Measured.  Most remarkably, Williams exudes that unique combination …
Jim VandeHei / Axios:
4 ways to fix “fake news”  —  Axios CEO Jim VandeHei — speaking at his alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh — was asked by several students how to restore faith and trust in media.  —  The big picture: VandeHei offered four fairly provocative ideas — one each for politicians, social media, reporters and individuals.
Burgess Everett / Politico:
‘Campaign gold’: McConnell delivers election gift to Manchin and red-state Dems  —  The majority leader's comments on entitlements allow Democrats to change the conversation from Brett Kavanaugh.  —  MARTINSBURG, W.Va — Joe Manchin looked like a solid bet for reelection after he voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.
Discussion: USA Today and Daily Kos
Felicia Sonmez / Washington Post:
'He's the president': Ted Cruz declines to say whether Trump is friend or foe  —  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) declined to say Sunday whether he views President Trump as a friend or a foe, describing him as simply “the president.”  —  “He's the president.  I work with the president in delivering …
Discussion: ABC News and Political Wire
Holly Bailey / Yahoo:   Trump will lead rally for Cruz, keeping hatchet buried
Adam Smith / Tampa Bay Times:
Ron DeSantis is ‘uniquely dislikable candidate,’ says Andrew Gillum  —  The Democrat uses tough language to criticize his Republican opponent's negative campaign tactics  —  When Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis join one another for an 8 p.m. CNN debate tonight at 8 p.m., it will be their first time meeting.
The Guardian:
Trump says US will withdraw from nuclear arms treaty with Russia  —  Experts warn of ‘most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s’ as Trump confirms US will leave INF agreement  —  Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating …
Christal Hayes / USA Today:
Trump says U.S. will pull out of nuke treaty with Russia that limited number of missiles
Discussion: Daily Wire and The Daily Caller
Emily Stewart / Vox:
Trump says there's another tax cut on the way.  We have no idea what he's talking about.  —  The GOP had a chance to cut taxes for the middle class last year.  Instead, they went with rich people and corporations.  —  Running on the tax cuts isn't working particularly well for Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections.
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 More Items: 
Lisa Mascaro / Associated Press:
Who follows Speaker Ryan? Battle for power looms in GOP
Caitlin O'Kane / CBS News:
Teen drives seven hours round trip to deliver pizza to a dying man
David Edwards / Raw Story:
‘I was wrong’: Matt Gaetz admits his ‘caravan’ conspiracy video is based on a lie — but defends it anyway
New York Times:
Candidates Who Can Help Take Back the House
Frank Bruni / New York Times:
Donald Trump's Perverse Advantage
Alexi McCammond / Axios:
The Trump immigration message is about turnout
Associated Press:
Migrant caravan swells to 5,000 resumes advance toward US
Danny Hakim / New York Times:
Josh Hawley, Missouri Senate Candidate, Oversees an Office in Turmoil
 Earlier Items: 
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
What Is Harvard Trying to Hide?
Benjy Sarlin / NBC News:
Carrying a ‘black enough’ message, Democrats target young African-Americans to power a Florida revival
Kris Maher / Wall Street Journal:
Democrats Have Shot at Reclaiming Several Midwest Governorships
Discussion: Raw Story
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
Fake news: Two case studies
Rick Klein / ABC News:
5 major issues dominating the midterm elections: ANALYSIS
Amber Athey / The Daily Caller:
WaPo Ran Kavanaugh Story With Knowingly False Information
Discussion: Daily Wire and Louder With Crowder
Jakob Hanke / Politico:
Raab floats extended transition as ‘alternative’ to Ireland backstop
Sean Sullivan / Washington Post:
House Democrats' hope for wave election diminishes as Republicans rebound
Discussion: Political Wire