News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
This is an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
It feels like this past weekend is when the GOP political world finally realized something: Beto O’Rourke isn’t going away.
Republican luminaries from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (Texas) to Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney were quoted over the past 96 hours expressing real concern about the reelection chances of Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.
“We’re not bluffing, this is real, and it is a serious threat,” Cornyn told Politico.
Texas being competitive is a big deal — and not necessarily for the reason you might think.CNN
A U.S. judge on Monday refused to let accused Russian agent Maria Butina out of jail pending her trial, saying Butina poses a “very real risk of flight,” and also granted a prosecution request for a gag order in the high-profile case.
“I cannot envision a scenario for Ms. Butina to be released from jail,” U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said during a status hearing in the case, adding that such a move would result in her being “placed into a car with diplomatic tags” and being whisked away to the airport for a Russia-bound flight.Reuters
The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday and threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it pursues investigations against the U.S., Israel, or other allies. The moves are likely to harden Palestinian resistance to the U.S. role as a peace broker.
The administration cited the refusal of Palestinian leaders to enter into peace talks with Israel as the reason for closing the Palestinian Liberation Organization office, although the U.S. has yet to present its plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians accused the administration of dismantling decades of U.S. engagement with them.AP
2020 just got a little closer.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will be the featured speaker at the Iowa Democrats’ fall gala, party chairman Troy Price announced Saturday. It will be the first Iowa event for one of the prospective presidential candidates with top name recognition since Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stopped through for a brief campaign swing earlier this year.
The announcement comes at the end of a week during which Booker took center stage — as a hero, according to his supporters, or as a grandstander, according to his critics — in the Democratic campaign against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.Politico
Top Democrats plan to give Jeff Sessions a pass over new questions about his sworn testimony before Congress, fearing that publicly attacking the attorney general could give President Donald Trump a new reason to fire him and install a loyalist to oversee the Russia investigation.
Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee last year that “I pushed back” in 2016 when former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos proposed setting up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Papadopoulos’ attorney, in a court filing this month, said that Sessions “stated that the campaign should look into” a Putin-Trump meeting — something that Papadopoulos himself reiterated in media interviews over the last few days.CNN
U.S. President Donald Trump received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about scheduling a second meeting between the two leaders, and the White House wants it to take place, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday.Reuters
A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for residents living along the entire South Carolina coast.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation to start at noon Tuesday as Hurricane Florence approaches. The order applies to all eight counties along the coast: Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, and Berkeley counties.
He says storm surge could reach as high as 10 feet (3 meters) and estimates 1 million residents will be leaving the coast. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and U.S. 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect.
McMaster has already declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and asked President Donald Trump for a federal declaration ahead of the storm, which intensified Monday to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (195 kph).AP
After Omarosa Manigault Newman revealed last month that she secretly taped White House chief of staff John Kelly as he fired her in the Situation Room, a change was made to the West Wing’s phone policy.
Going forward, staffers would not be allowed to leave their phones — even the government-issued ones — in lockers in the small entry area outside the Situation Room, as they had done for the previous 19 months of the administration. Instead, staffers were directed to go back and put their White House-issued devices in their offices or alongside their personal phones in lockers stationed near the West Wing entrances before being buzzed into the Situation Room.
This change was made quietly, but two senior administration officials told CNN they believed it was in direct response to the news that Manigualt Newman had taped Kelly.CNN
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a new group of immigration judges Monday that it is their job to “restore the rule of law” to the immigration system over the contrary efforts of the lawyers who represent immigrants.
The remarks at the training of the largest-ever class of new immigration judges implied that the judges were on the same team as the Trump administration, and that immigrants and their attorneys were trying to undermine their efforts.
“Good lawyers using all their talents and skills work every day … like water seeping through an earthen dam to get around the plain words of (immigration law) to advance their clients’ interests,” Sessions said, adding the same happens in criminal courts. “And we understand that. Their duty, however, is not uphold the integrity of the act. That’s our duty.”CNN