State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced he is reentering the campaign after suspending his bid “to focus on his health. … Dunleavy made the announcement on Facebook during a live video broadcast.” (Must Read Alaska)
“[R]eports are that” businessman John Binkley (R) “is reluctant to enter the race, at least so far. Four of his children purchased the state’s largest daily newspaper this past fall, and have since returned the Alaska Dispatch News to its original name of the Anchorage Daily News.”
“Some poll results, which are confidential, show” Gov. Bill Walker’s (I) “popularity down and faring poorly in a three-way race, with a Republican candidate, mainly Dunleavy, showing stronger against an independent (Walker) and a Democrat. In a two-way race, with no Democrat and Walker as independent running only against a Republican, the Republican still looks to win, according to the poll conclusions, which were described to the Journal of Commerce.” (Alaska Journal of Commerce)
State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D) “said he was ‘considering’ running against Walker to challenge his proposed fiscal reforms but would defer to” Sen. Mark Begich (D), “whom he said ‘would be a great governor.’”
“Begich criticized Walker’s cuts to the state’s permanent dividend in an interview at a conference of moderate Democrats [in November] in Washington and said Walker has ‘struggled to get things done’ on the North Slope oil pipeline, despite a new memorandum of understanding with Chinese stakeholders.”
“Alaska Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley said the party still plans to back whoever wins its Aug. 21 primary despite having supported Walker three years ago. But he said the fact that there have been discussions ‘with at least two or three Democrats’ is ‘not to be construed as we’re actively searching for a candidate against’ Walker. Complicating matters further, the Alaska Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on a lower court’s decision to allow independents to seek the Democratic nomination. In an interview [last month], Walker didn’t rule out doing just that but noted he has filed as an independent candidate. Parmley said Democrats sought the initial ruling outside of the governor’s own deliberations.” (National Journal)
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"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.
"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."