“Senate Democrats narrowly won … on Wednesday … in a 52-47 vote to overturn a decision last December by the Federal Communications Commission to dismantle Obama-era rules that prevented broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or speeding up streams and downloads of web content in exchange for extra fees. The commission’s repeal of net neutrality is set to take effect in a few weeks.” (New York Times)
Every Senate Democrat voted in favor of overturning the decision. (Hotline reporting)
HASPEL. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “is not among those who will back” Gina Haspel’s CIA director nomination. “Last week, Brown told reporters he had concerns about her background.” (cleveland.com)
“The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend … Haspel … setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.” (Washington Post)
TREND-SPOTTING. “As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe hits the one-year mark Thursday, Republicans in midterm elections have started to see an opportunity to use the Trump controversy to their advantage – by appealing to voters tired of the never-ending investigation.” (Fox News)
So far, four Republican members in the House have lost statewide bids, including for Senate in Indiana and West Virginia. Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Lou Barletta (R-PA) both won, with the help of President Trump’s endorsement. Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are expected to win their respective primaries while Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) faces an inter party fight.
“For Republican primary voters, candidates who are trying to move on from the U.S. House have two major obstacles to overcome: Not only are they part of what President Trump derides as the ‘swamp,’ but they’re also not getting enough done to support his agenda. The best way to overcome these twin objections seems to be a nod from the president himself. ” (Washington Post)
It’s a different story for Democrats, including for governors races. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) won his Senate primary in Texas, while Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) face little opposition for their respective nominations. (Hotline reporting)
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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."