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.
Two Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday criticizing the administration’s response to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and asking for information about what they describe as the President’s “ongoing personal enrichment from Saudi government payments.”
The letter, signed by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, accuses the President of giving “undue credence to the Saudi government’s unbelievable stories and denials,” and states, “Your administration’s response calls into question whether you are acting based on the American public’s interests or your own private interests.”
In light of that, the lawmakers say they are writing “to request additional information about your ongoing personal enrichment from Saudi government payments.”
Hoping to win back the majority in the US House of Representatives after this fall’s midterms, Democrats have already signaled plans to open investigations into Trump’s tax returns, business interests, Cabinet secretaries and whether there was any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The letter signals a new vein Democrats intend to mine, opened up by the Saudi crisis.CNN
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was never given or shown a Transcript or Video of the Saudi Consulate event. FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted.
The president’s comments come one day after ABC News reported Pompeo listened to the recording and was given a transcript of it during meetings this week in Turkey scheduled in response to Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly denied the report, which was based on the account of one senior Turkish official, and the president’s tweet could amplify those denials.
“Secretary Pompeo has neither heard a tape nor has he seen a transcript related to Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance,” the State Department said in a statement Thursday evening.The Hill
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley insisted Thursday night that “in America, our political opponents are not evil,” a sharp rhetorical break from her boss, President Donald Trump, who has labeled Democrats as “evil,” crime-loving and unwilling to defend the nation.
Addressing the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York, Haley said that the “toxic political environment” has prompted both sides of the aisle to “describe their opponents as enemies or evil.”
“In America, our political opponents are not evil,” she said, highlighting atrocities committed against political opponents in Syria and Sudan as examples of true evil permeating the world of politics.
Haley’s statement was an apparent rebuke of language used by Trump on the campaign trail in recent weeks, especially in the wake of the contentious confirmation battle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.Politico
A former Navy sailor accused of sending toxin-filled letters to the Pentagon and White House was indicted on seven counts Thursday by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City.
William Clyde Allen III, 39, was charged with one count of knowingly threatening to use a biological agent as a weapon, one count of mailing a threat against the president, and five counts of mailing threatening communications to an officer or an employee of the United States, the Justice Department said.
Allen mailed letters filled with the castor beans — used to make the toxin ricin — to Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, according to the Justice Department.
He’s also accused of mailing President Trump a letter filled with “castor bean material” and containing the words “Jack and the Missile Bean Stock Powder.”The Hill
Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) said Thursday during a CNN town hall he has not changed his mind about impeaching President Trump but said Democrats should wait until the results of Robert Mueller‘s special counsel investigation are revealed.
Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash whether he had changed his mind about voting for articles of impeachment in the House after initially saying in July that he would do so, O’Rourke said that he had not.
“I haven’t. Let me put it this way. There may be an open question as to whether the president, then the candidate, sought to collude with the Russian government in 2016,” O’Rourke told the audience, before explaining that Trump’s defense of Russia during a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin earlier this year was “collusion in action.”
“[And when in] broad daylight, on Twitter, he asked his attorney general, Jeff sessions, to end the Russia investigation, I would say that’s obstruction in action,” O’Rourke added.
“The best course to get there so that every member has all the facts and that they are compelling enough to do the right thing is to allow the full Independence and integrity of the Bob Mueller investigation,” O’Rourke added.The Hill
In recent months, some reporters who cover the Trump White House have received phone calls from the last person they would expect: Hillary Clinton.
The 2016 Democratic nominee has been rethinking her relationship with the press, among the many things she has been turning over—and over—in her head, acknowledging that her grouchy relationship with journalists was a problem. Now, she’s curious about the reporters covering Trump and has been putting out the occasional feeler.
After President Donald Trump chastised ABC News’ Cecilia Vega at a news conference in the Rose Garden on Oct. 2—“I know you’re not thinking, you never do,” he snapped at her—Clinton dialed up Vega and left a voicemail.
The under-the-radar overtures have come as Clinton has been re-inserting herself into the Trump story in other, more public ways.
She has systematically outlined her theory of the case against what she calls Trump’s “assault on our democracy” via a new afterword to her campaign memoir, “What Happened.” The chapter has become something of a post-campaign stump speech, which Clinton has rolled out in appearances on the “Rachel Maddow Show” and at the Atlantic Ideas Festival in Washington, D.C.Politico
Jeremiah Harvey, a 9-year-old black child who captured national attention last week after a white woman falsely accused him of groping her, says he is struggling to move on from the ordeal.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” on Friday, Harvey, sitting next to his mother, said he was traumatized by the incident and hasn’t been able to think of anything else.
“It’s still hard because lately on my mind, like, I can’t think nothing but this,” Harvey said. “I felt humiliated because of the way she was acting. I started to tear up.”
The interview comes days after Harvey had the police called on him by a white woman, Teresa Klein, who accused him of touching her inappropriately.
In surveillance footage of the incident that has since gone viral, Harvey can be seen walking past Klein with his mother at a deli in Brooklyn.
Shortly after Harvey walks past Klein, she quickly turns around and can be seen shouting across the deli and later arguing with the boy’s mother. The conversation quickly escalated, with Klein calling the police outside of the store.
Harvey’s mother, Someko Bellille, said in the Friday interview that her son has been permanently scarred by the incident.
“It was devastating for him,” Bellille said, “because even after walking away he was pointing to, you know, patrol cars on Flatbush Avenue and saying, ‘Mommy, are they here to take you away from us?'”The Hill