Former State Department official Andy Kim (D), who is challenging Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-03), and Navy veteran Josh Welle (D), who is waging a longshot bid against Rep. Chris Smith (R-04), said over the weekend they would not back Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader. Now, every Democratic nominee running in a GOP-held seat has disavowed Pelosi except for former Obama administration official Tom Malinowski (D). (New Jersey Globe/New Jersey Globe)
They join state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D) in NJ-02 and ex-Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill (D) in NJ-11.
THE GOP NJ-02 CONUNDRUM. Former Atlantic City Councilman Seth Grossman (R) “won his primary by trying to mirror President Trump’s no-holds-barred rhetoric at nearly every turn. After he was heard in a video saying that ‘diversity is a bunch of crap and un-American,’ he offered a complicated explanation before doubling down on his comments.”
“In a fund-raising email … he amplified his views on diversity by attacking a new initiative by” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) “to diversify state law enforcement agencies. ‘If you want to know where this evil and un-American idea of ‘diversity’ will take us, go to Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Syria,’ Mr. Grossman wrote. ‘Before Governor Murphy completely screws up the State Police with his diversity quotas, why not try it on the Rutgers basketball team, and see if it helps them win more games.’”
“Grossman also may have lost the chance of receiving financial support from the state and national party.” The NRCC “declined to comment on Mr. Grossman’s comments, but it has no plans to invest in the race as it does in other state races. The New Jersey Republican State Committee also has no plans for now to provide financial help to Mr. Grossman.” (New York Times)
And there’s more: A CNN review of Grossman’s Facebook found he has “said diversity leads to Muslims killing Christians and that Kwanzaa is a fake holiday made by black racists to divide America.” The NRCC “declined to comment on Grossman’s posts.” (CNN)
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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.