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.
President Donald Trump let bygones be bygones Monday with his former rival presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, praising the Texas Republican before heading to Houston to rally for him.
When the two men were duking it out for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Trump famously hurled insults at Cruz, christening him with one of Trump’s signature monikers: “Lyin’ Ted.”
Trump also went after Cruz’s family, suggesting Cruz’s father was involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination and targeting Cruz’s wife Heidi for her appearance.
But the president made a reversal of his past insults as he prepared for his highly anticipated rally in support of Cruz’s Senate reelection campaign.
“He’s not Lyin’ Ted anymore. He’s Beautiful Ted,” Trump said. “I call him Texas Ted.”
Still, when asked if he regretted his comments about Cruz’s father, Trump demurred and played the comments off as part of a “very, very nasty and tough campaign.”Politico
Wealthy donors, led by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, are helping fuel a cash advantage for Republicans in the homestretch to next month’s midterm elections.
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated a staggering $112 million through the end of September to super PACs focused on federal races, cementing the family’s position as the Republican Party’s largest benefactors.
The couple’s last-minute contributions in September alone sent a combined $45 million into the two leading political action committees working to keep Congress in Republican hands.
The Adelsons’ $25 million contribution to one of the groups — the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — accounted for two-thirds of the money Senate Leadership raised last month. The McConnell-linked PAC started October with $46.8 million available to spend in the final stretch to election day, nearly $8 million more than its rival Democratic group.CNN
Trans advocacy groups protested outside the White House on Monday afternoon in response to the Trump administration’s reported plan to exclude transgender and nonbinary people from its legal definition of gender.
Demonstrators organized by the National Center for Transgender Equality and Human Rights Campaign gathered in front of the president’s house with signs reading “Trans equality now” and “Trans people won’t be erased.” Many held up the transgender pride flag.
LGBTQ-rights advocates took turns giving speeches denouncing the Trump administration and asserting the validity of trans identity.The Hill
Thousands of Central American migrants hoping to reach the U.S. were deciding Monday whether to rest in this southern Mexico town or resume their arduous walk through Mexico as President Donald Trump rained more threats on their governments.
After blaming the Democrats for “weak laws” on immigration a few days earlier, Trump said via Twitter Monday: “Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws!” He apparently sees the caravan as a winning issue for Republicans a little over two weeks ahead of midterm elections.
In another tweet, he blamed Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador for not stopping people from leaving their countries. “We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them,” he wrote.
A team of AP journalists traveling with the caravan for more than a week has spoken with Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans, but has not met any Middle Easterners of the sort Trump suggested were “mixed in” with the Central American migrants.AP
A California judge on Monday ordered Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti to pay $4.85 million to an attorney at his former law firm, the first time the potential presidential candidate is being held personally liable in the case.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin issued the ruling after turning down a request from Avenatti to have the matter moved to federal court, which the opposing side called a delay tactic.
Avenatti did not appear at the court hearing and never filed opposing arguments in the case.
The judge said Avenatti must pay the money because he personally guaranteed a settlement with Jason Frank, who had worked at his former firm.Politico
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday that she is “pretty comfortable” she will be speaker again if Democrats win the House in November.
“It is up to them to make that decision, but I feel pretty comfortable where I am,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Dana Bash at CITIZEN by CNN.
A number of Democrats running in 2018, looking to curb Republican attacks tying them to Pelosi, have pledged not to vote for her for speaker if they win their House seats, leading some in Washington to believe Pelosi could help deliver the House to Democrats and lose her leadership position.
Pelosi went on to list why she deserves to be speaker again after saying she is not usually comfortable with self-promotion.CNN
“I am a great legislator,” she said. “And one reason I am is because I recognize the contributions of others, our committee chairs and all the rest.”
President Donald Trump on Monday said he is “not satisfied” with findings from investigations into Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s death at a Saudi Consulate in Turkey.
“I am not satisfied with what I’ve heard,” the president said outside the White House on his way to Joint Base Andrews.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who was a critic of the royal family, had been living in exile in the U.S.
Saudi Arabia said Khashoggi was killed following an argument and a “fist fight” at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where he was last seen on Oct. 2. Fifteen individuals have been arrested, the Saudi kingdom said. The kingdom’s new statement is at odds with its first findings, in which officials said the Saudi journalist had left the consulate alive.Politico
As the midterm elections approach, racist extremism is coming up for a vote.
More than a dozen Republican candidates this year have flirted with or endorsed white supremacy. They range from trolls, like neo-Nazis using long-shot campaigns as a loudspeaker for hate, to career politicians who’ve moved toward more open racism after Donald Trump’s election.
While the most fringe candidates certain to lose, they may succeed in giving a bigger platform to white nationalist thinking and influence over the Republican Party. And while the GOP condemns those fringes, the career politicians who voiced similar views have largely avoided party backlash.
“There are more far-right candidates this year than we’ve ever seen, frankly,” Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, told The Daily Beast. “As to why that is, Trump’s obviously the big issue here, right? He ran a campaign that traded in racism and anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, misogynistic rhetoric, and he won. I think in prior election campaigns, people who engaged in those tactics failed.”
Douglas Heye, a former Republican strategist and communications director, also connected some of the extremist trend to Trump.The Daily Beast
The News Blender will be covering President Trump’s campaign rally for Ted Cruz in Houston with a livestream tonight. The post will be up at 7:15 EST, so get your popcorn ready!