President Trump “said he will ask all cabinet departments to cut their budgets by 5 percent next year, after the federal budget deficit swelled to its highest level since 2012 during the first full fiscal year of his presidency,” Bloomberg reports.
“The judge in Paul Manafort’s Virginia trial denied the former Trump campaign chairman’s request to wear a suit for his next hearing on Oct. 19, and ‘all subsequent hearings,’ arguing that Manafort should be treated no differently than other defendants who are in custody,” TPM reports.
Wrote Judge T.S. Ellis: “Defendants who are in custody post-conviction are, as a matter of course, not entitled to appear for sentencing or any other hearing in street clothing. This defendant should be treated no differently from other defendants who are in custody post-conviction.”
Washington Post: “Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, is charged with providing to a reporter suspicious financial activity reports on several people and entities, including the Russian Embassy and President Trump’s former campaign advisers Paul Manafort and Richard Gates.”
“The charges reflect the latest move in the Trump administration’s effort to root out leakers within the government.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) leading challenger Bob Hugin (R) in the U.S. Senate race by seven points, 51% to 44% among likely voters.
New York Times: “His killers were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. They severed his fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him, according to details from audio recordings published in the Turkish news media on Wednesday.”
“It was all over within a few minutes, the recordings suggested.”
Key takeaway: “Such information would not have been disclosed in Turkey without the consent of the government. Turkish media outlets and newspapers are closely controlled: They are either government-controlled or owned by pro-government business executives.”
New York Times: “To shield himself from future conflict charges, Mr. Scott, who is now running to unseat the incumbent senator Bill Nelson, created a $73.8 million investment account that he called a blind trust.”
“But an examination of Mr. Scott’s finances shows that his trust has been blind in name only. There have been numerous ways for him to have knowledge about his holdings: Among other things, he transferred many assets to his wife and neither “blinded” nor disclosed them. And their investments have included corporations, partnerships and funds that stood to benefit from his administration’s actions.”
“Only in late July, when compelled by ethics rules for Senate candidates, did Mr. Scott disclose his wife’s holdings. That report revealed that his wife, Ann Scott, an interior decorator by trade, controlled accounts that might exceed the value of her husband’s. Their equity investments largely mirrored each other, meaning that Mr. Scott could, if he wanted, track his own holdings by following his wife’s.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) defended the timing of her decision to release the results of a DNA test just ahead of the midterm elections, telling the Boston Globe that she went public as soon as possible to begin deflecting the constant taunting from the president and her Senate challengers.
Said Warren: “I have an election. Donald Trump goes in front of crowds multiple times a week to attack me. Both of my opponents have made the same attack. I got this analysis back, and I made it public.”
The Wall Street Journal reports on a new type of political ad.
“It’s low budget, never airs on TV, and is helping unknown, novice candidates make headlines.”
A new Gallup poll finds that 61% of Americans favor stricter laws on the sale of firearms, down modestly from March, when 67% said this shortly after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on February 14.
Elect Project is tracking early voting in the 2018 midterm elections.
Michael McDonald: “The levels of engagement are just bonkers in some some states. If this keeps up, we’ll have turnout higher than the 2016 presidential election. That can’t happen, can it? You’d think this has to level off at some point, but there are no signs yet.”
“Usually early voting increases as Election Day nears. Maybe there is a rush to vote right now among the most politically interested, and early voting levels will stagnate. Whatever is happening it is most unusual compared to recent midterm elections.”
Michigan U.S. Senate candidate John James (R) apologized after it was pointed out that a swastika makes a brief appearance in one of his campaign ads, The Hill reports.
The Nazi symbol was pinned to a bulletin board in a school hallway featured in the ad.
Said James: “I need to fess up and admit this was a terrible error on our part.”
In his debate with Rep., Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blamed the “rage” of the “far left” for the lack of “civility” in politics and then promptly barked at the debate moderator who tried to ask a question.
President Trump said that his “natural instinct for science” informs his understanding of climate change and allows him to see through the political bias that he accused some scientists of holding, Politico reports.
Said Trump: “You have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years, Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”
“I like the Saudis; they are very nice. I make a lot of money with them. They buy all sorts of my stuff — all kinds of toys from Trump. They pay me millions and hundreds of millions.”
— Donald Trump, quoted by CNN at a July 2015 campaign rally.
“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more fake news (of which there is plenty)!”
— Trump, on Twitter yesterday.
“Since Donald Trump’s fortunes came surging back with the success of The Apprentice 14 years ago, his deals have often been scrutinized for the large number of his partners who have ventured to the very edges of the law, and sometimes beyond. Those associates have included accused money launderers, alleged funders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and a felon who slashed someone in the face with a broken margarita glass,” ProPublica reports.
“Trump and his company have typically countered by saying they were merely licensing his name on these real estate projects in exchange for a fee. They weren’t the developers or in any way responsible.”
“But an eight-month investigation by ProPublica and WNYC reveals that the post-millennium Trump business model is different from what has been previously reported. The Trumps were typically way more than mere licensors or bystanders in their often-troubled deals. They were deeply involved in these projects. They helped mislead investors and buyers — and they profited handsomely from it.”
“Patterns of deceptive practices occurred in a dozen deals across the globe, as the business expanded into international projects, and the Trumps often participated. One common pattern, visible in more than half of those transactions, was a tendency to misstate key sales numbers.”
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is starting to float a trial-balloon explanation for its apparent slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Daily Beast has learned, in hopes of escaping the consequences of an episode that has shaken whatever geopolitical confidence existed in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
“According to two sources familiar with the version of events circulating throughout diplomatic circles in Washington, the Saudis will place blame for Khashoggi’s murder on a Saudi two-star general new to intelligence work.”