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3:06 a.m. ET
President Trump called into Shannon Bream's Fox News @Night show Wednesday night, after his latest campaign-style rally, this one in Erie, Pennsylvania, but Fox News did not broadcast the rally itself. Fox News also stuck with its usual nighttime lineup on Tuesday night, even as Trump gave shout-outs to the hosts during his unaired speech in Council Bluffs, Iowa — even C-SPAN cut away for other news. (MSNBC and CNN mostly stopped broadcasting Trump's rallies months ago.) Republicans are getting worried that with the midterms less than a month away, Trump "is losing a prime-time megaphone to his base," Politico reports.
A senior White House official told Politico that officials planned "to look into" Fox News deciding to cut away from presidential rallies, suggesting that Bill Shine, the White House communications director and former Fox News president, would get in touch with his former colleagues. But Politico already did that, and the answer seems to be a combination or low ratings, the repetitive and scripted nature of Trump's speeches, the loss of revenue from commercials, and some discomfort with handing over the network's prime time to the president, even a simpatico president like Trump.
Fox News still streams Trump's rallies online and shows highlights after the fact, but with so many of them and subpar ratings, "they don't want to give up so much prime-time real estate," a person familiar with Fox News' decisions tells Politico. "They're going with the route they think will give the best ratings performance." Trump, as a "massive consumer of the media," might "be disappointed" if Fox News drops his beloved rallies completely, a source close to Trump added. But this is really a "huge loss on the state and local level for Republicans, because they're certainly not going to get any of that on other cable networks." Peter Weber
2:15 a.m. ET
President Trump is under increasing pressure to find out if Saudi Arabia really murdered or abducted dissident Washington-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an Oct. 2 visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, as Turkey says. A bipartisan group of 22 senators sent Trump a letter on Wednesday triggering a law that forces the administration to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance, leading to sanctions if Saudi Arabia is found responsible.
The White House insists Trump is taking the situation seriously. The Trump administration is "very engaged on this issue," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said Wednesday. "Senior officials, diplomats are speaking to both the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as the government of Turkey, and we're using diplomatic channels." At the same time, Palladino tiptoed around the fact that the U.S. has no ambassador to either country, as Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pointed out:
Q: Who again — what's the name of the ambassador in Turkey right now?
PALLADINO: I don't have that in front of me right now and I – Matt —
Q: What's the name of the ambassador in Saudi Arabia right now?
PALLADINO: I see what you're getting at. Okay. We are confident in our diplomatic —
Q: The answer is that you don't have an ambassador in either place, right?
PALLADINO: We —
Q: And in fact, the charge in Riyadh has now been nominated to be the ambassador to Yemen. So just is it correct that you do not have ambassadors in place in either Ankara or Riyadh?
PALLADINO: But we have diplomatic staff, senior diplomatic officials —
Q: I'm sure you do. [State Department transcript]
Palladino went on to "reiterate our request for our colleagues in the Senate" help the State Department "get its full team on the field," and Lee asked who Trump wanted the Senate to confirm to the vacant Saudi and Turkey ambassadorships. Palladino said he didn't "have that in front of me right now." "You're sure someone's been nominated for both positions?" Lee asked. Palladino said he'd have to check. According to the American Foreign Service Association, Trump has nominated nobody for either ambassadorship. Peter Weber
1:51 a.m. ET
On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that James Murdoch, the outgoing chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is the top candidate to replace Elon Musk as chairman of Tesla. Musk quickly tweeted a denial.
"This is incorrect," he said. In September, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reached a settlement with Musk and Tesla over a tweet Musk sent in August, claiming falsely he was going to take Tesla private. Regulators decided Musk can stay on as CEO but must give up his chairmanship, and Tesla must also appoint two new independent directors to its board.
Murdoch is on the boards of 21st Century Fox and News Corp., and he joined the Tesla board last year as an independent director. While he has experience in the media world, he has none in manufacturing. The Financial Times said Murdoch has let it be known he wants to become chairman, but Tesla is looking at other candidates. In June, Reuters reported that the CtW Investment Group recommended against re-electing Murdoch as a Tesla director because he has a "troubled history as an executive and director" and already sits on too many boards. Catherine Garcia
12:02 a.m. ET
Adam Keys was given a second chance at life, and he's making the most of it.
In July 2010, Keys was serving in Afghanistan as an Army paratrooper when he was severely injured by a roadside bomb. It was "touch and go," he told CBS News, and doctors gave him less than a 1 percent chance of survival. Keys beat the odds, making it through more than 100 surgeries, then learning how to walk and talk again. Through it all, he said, he thought about his fellow soldiers who didn't survive the bombing, and decided to live life to the fullest in their honor.
Keys, who has three prosthetic limbs, started competing in marathons on a hand cycle. Then, he set a major goal for himself: To climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Keys was accompanied on his journey by a friend who is a medic, as well as several Tanzanian guides who pushed him and kept his spirits up. After five grueling days and freezing nights, Keys reached the top. He left behind his Purple Heart, "for everybody that's ever been in the service," he said. "We owe you big time and we always, always appreciate it." Catherine Garcia
October 10, 2018
"Election 2018 is only 29 days away," Trevor Noah noted on Wednesday's Daily Show, and "one of the more interesting midterm contests is the governors race in Georgia. It's between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp," he explained, showing their photos, "and I'm not even going to waste time telling you which party they belong to, because come on." (Abrams is a black woman and Kemp a while male — though, to be fair, white male Democrat Ben McAdams is challenging Rep. Mia Love (R), a black woman, in Utah.) Noah brought out Roy Wood Jr. to offer his analysis of the Georgia race.
"I know many people think of Georgia as a red state, but nowadays it's a lot like old white people's feet: getting weirdly bluer and bluer," Wood said. "And that's mostly because Georgia's population is getting blacker and browner. ... And if those minority voters go her way, Stacey Abrams could become the first black woman elected governor of any state — any state! — which is ridiculous." He ran through Abrams' résumé, which includes a Yale Law degree, leadership of the Georgia legislature, and a series of "sexy-time" romantic suspense novels that Wood suggested could help her with a key demographic.
Standing between Abrams and history is Kemp, the Georgia secretary of state, Wood said, "and even Republicans look at him and go, 'goddamn, that's a Republican!'" He played an ad to prove his point. The race is on a knife's edge, and when Noah asked Wood which way he thinks it will tip, he circled back to his odd fascination with white geriatric feet. Watch below. Peter Weber
October 10, 2018
Hurricane Michael is now a Category 1 storm, after making landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, midday Wednesday as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 with winds of 155 mph.
At least one death has been reported: The Gadsden County Sheriff's Office says a man was killed when a tree fell on his house. Michael is the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly five decades, and the strongest on record to hit the Florida Panhandle. The hurricane was boosted by unseasonably warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Michael caused extensive damage in Mexico Beach and Panama City, destroying homes, uprooting trees, and downing power lines. It entered Georgia as a Category 3 storm, and it's expected to be downgraded soon to a tropical storm as it makes its way through the southeast.
In Panama City, the streets are littered with street signs, metal, plywood, and other debris. Local resident Vance Beu told The Associated Press a pine tree fell on the roof of his mother's apartment, and the storm was so loud it sounded like a jet engine. "It was terrifying, honestly," he said. "There as a lot of noise. We though the windows were going to break at any time. We had the inside windows kind of barricaded in with mattresses." Catherine Garcia
October 10, 2018
U.S. intelligence intercepted Saudi Arabian officials discussing a plan ordered by the crown prince to lure journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the United States back to Saudi Arabia, where he would be detained, U.S. officials told The Washington Post on Wednesday.
Khashoggi went missing last week after he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up a document he needed to get married. Turkish officials are adamant that Khashoggi, a columnist for the Post, was killed inside the consulate by a Saudi hit squad. Saudi Arabia has denied any wrongdoing and says he left the consulate on his own.
Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia as a U.S. resident applying for citizenship, was critical of his homeland, but friends say he did not oppose all of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's policies. Friends told the Post that several senior Saudi officials close to the crown prince contacted Khashoggi and told him they wanted him to take a job in the government. He was skeptical, and did not believe they'd offer him the protection they were promising.
Also on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators urged President Trump to impose sanctions on anyone found to be connected with Khashoggi's disappearance. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is close to the crown prince. Catherine Garcia
October 10, 2018
A Chinese intelligence officer has been arrested and charged with conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and theft of trade secrets from a U.S. aerospace company, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Yanjun Xu was arrested April 1 in Belgium, and extradited to the U.S. on Tuesday. Court documents say he is an official with China's Ministry of State Security. Investigators say Xu met an employee of Ohio-based GE Aviation last year at a university in China, and persuaded the man to send him company computer files. Xu then arranged to meet with the man in Belgium, and asked him to bring more files. He was arrested that day.
Xu was trying to determine how the company builds and tests jet engine fan blades made from composite materials, NBC News reports. "This case is not an isolated incident," John Demers, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's national security division, said. "It is part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense." U.S. officials say this is the first time an alleged Chinese spy has been brought to the United States to face prosecution. A spokesman for GE Aviation said Xu did not target or obtain any sensitive information connected to military programs. Catherine Garcia
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