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.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington canceled a reception to celebrate the 88th Saudi National Day, amid mounting scrutiny over the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials say was killed and dismembered in a Saudi consulate.
“The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia thanks you for your interest in the celebration of the 88th Saudi National Day. Please be advised that the reception for the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Thursday, October 18, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm has been cancelled,” the embassy said in an email sent to potential attendees on Monday.
The reception was due to commemorate the unification of the country as a kingdom.Politico
Former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member James Wolfe pleaded guilty Monday to one count of lying to the FBI about his contacts with a reporter.
Federal prosecutors accused Wolfe, a former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee, of lying to FBI agents in December 2017 about his contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications.CNN
After last year’s deadly clash between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, the federal government quietly spent millions of dollars to hire private security guards to stand watch over at least eight Confederate cemeteries, documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs show.
The security effort, which runs around the clock at all but one of those VA-operated cemeteries, was aimed at preventing the kind of damage that befell Confederate memorials across the U.S. in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence.AP
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz rode an anti-Washington wave into the Senate in 2012, became a disruptive outsider in the chamber the next year, and ran against the establishment when he sought the presidency in 2016.
But when his reelection campaign wobbled earlier this year under pressure from upstart Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Cruz leaned hard on a new strategy: the inside track.
Cruz’s TV ads have touted his record bringing home billions in federal relief spending after Hurricane Harvey, highlighting “bipartisan” tax relief for those affected by the storm. Cruz’s Texas colleague, Sen. John Cornyn — whom Cruz declined to endorse in 2014 when Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, faced a primary challenge — headlined a six-figure fundraiser for Cruz in Washington. And Cruz has leaned on help from the highest echelons of the Republican Party, campaigning with Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr. in Texas recently and getting a commitment from President Donald Trump for a future event.Politico
The American Bar Association will no longer review its “well qualified” rating of Justice Brett Kavanaugh now that the Senate confirmed him, an ABA official told CNN Monday.
The official, who declined to speak on the record, cited an ABA policy of ending its rating process once a nominee is confirmed.
“Per the published policy and historical practice of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, once a justice or judge is confirmed, the Standing Committee’s rating process is closed,” the ABA’s website states.CNN
President Donald Trump’s first full fiscal year in office has produced the nation’s largest budget shortfall in six years, according to Treasury Department data released today.
The U.S. deficit widened in fiscal 2018 to $779 billion, which is $113 billion more than the previous year, according to the Treasury’s widely anticipated yearly report.
That figure is in line with the CBO’s estimated shortfall of $793 billion.
In a statement, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney acknowledged the rising tide of red ink — the result of Congress’ appetite for more spending and tax cuts this year.
But Mulvaney argued the shortfall would ultimately be erased by the more robust economy, coupled with future spending cuts.Politico