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.
American officials on Wednesday sharply escalated their public demands on the government of Saudi Arabia to reveal more of what it knows about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even as they stopped short of assigning blame to Riyadh for his murder.
“We’re demanding everything. We want to see what’s going on here. It’s a bad situation,” President Donald Trump said in the Oval Office, where he was receiving an update on a hurricane bearing down on Florida.
The President said he had contacted the “highest levels” of the Saudi government — presumably King Salman — to address the matter. And he revealed he planned to invite Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who appealed for Trump’s help in an open letter, to the White House.
“This is a bad situation. We cannot let this happen — to reporters, to anybody, we can’t let this happen. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” Trump said.CNN
“It’s part of a technique of division rather than uniting people in this great country,” Feinstein said on Wednesday when asked about the “lock her up” chants at Trump’s rally.
She added that she was “surprised” that Trump “singled me out for a personal letter I received. This wasn’t anything that was covert or classified.”
Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has come under fire from Republicans for her handling of the letter she received from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in the early 1980s.
Republicans have criticized Feinstein on two fronts: first, for waiting weeks to hand the letter over to the FBI. Feinstein says she was trying to honor Ford’s request for privacy.
And second, for the Ford letter being leaked, something both Feinstein has said neither she nor her staff were responsible for.
But Trump ratcheted up the criticism on Tuesday, appearing to encourage his supporters after they began chanting “lock her up” about Feinstein.
“‘Did you leak the documents?'” he added, portraying an exaggerated denial from Feinstein.
The crowd broke into chants of “lock her up,” prompting laughter from Trump.The Hill
Wall Street stock indexes tumbled on Wednesday, on track for the biggest daily decline since April, and the sell-off intensified as the day wore on as rising U.S. Treasury yields and trade policy related worries sent investors fleeing for safety.
The advance of U.S. Treasury yields to more than 7-year highs has hurt equity investor confidence. Hurricane Michael’s landfall in Florida on Wednesday added to worries about energy companies.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 2.0 on Wednesday afternoon and, at the day’s low, the S&P500 index had retreated 4.3 percent from its intraday record.
All three indexes hit records between Aug. 30 and Oct. 3, despite the escalating U.S.-China trade policy dispute, which has been creating uncertainty about corporate earnings prospects.
Mona Mahajan, U.S. Investment Strategist, Allianz Global Investors, New York said the market could potentially sell off as much as 10 percent before advancing again.Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday privately reassured Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is facing severe criticism from President Donald Trump and others for being the lone GOP vote against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Alaska Republican told reporters Wednesday.
Trump said over the weekend that Murkowski will “never recover” with Alaska voters, a suggestion she dismissed.
“I know Alaska’s political terrain better than he does,” Murkowski told reporters after meeting with McConnell in his leadership suite in the Capitol.CNN
Once in Florida, it had been considered taboo to run negative campaign attack ads as a hurricane batters the state.
But no more.
As Hurricane Michael bore down Wednesday on the Panhandle with Category 4 winds, the Republican Party of Florida broke with that tradition and continued to air two ads bashing Ron DeSantis’ Democratic rival in the race for governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, over his city’s response to a hurricane in 2016.
And in the U.S. Senate race, the Democratic super PAC backing Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla) began running a negative commercial in strike-zone markets calling his opponent Gov. Rick Scott a dishonest “shady millionaire who doesn’t look out for you.” Also in those markets, a Republican super PAC supporting Scott is attacking Nelson in ad for being “an empty suit.”
There is a major difference between the two negative ads: The Senate campaigns have no say over the super PAC ads, can’t coordinate with the group under federal law, and Nelson’s campaign said no one should be posting negative ads in the counties affected by Michael. DeSantis’ campaign, however, is governed by state law and worked side-by-side with the state GOP with its attack ad.Politico
The Trump administration is planning hours-long downtimes for maintenance on healthcare.gov during the coming ObamaCare sign-up period.
The administration drew criticism for a similar move last year from advocates who said the downtime would hinder efforts to sign people up for coverage, but the administration counters that maintenance downtime happens every year and is designed to occur during the slowest periods on the site.
The maintenance schedule is the same as last year, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Tuesday, meaning healthcare.gov is scheduled to be offline for maintenance from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. each Sunday during the sign-up period, except for the final Sunday, for a total of 60 hours of downtime.Officials said that is the maximum possible downtime, and said last year the actual downtime was significantly less than what was scheduled, at 21.5 hours out of a scheduled 60.
“Maintenance windows are regularly scheduled on healthcare.gov every year during Open Enrollment,” a CMS spokesperson said.The Hill