"In a move described as a direct shot at Nancy Pelosi, some Democrats are trying to make it more difficult for one of their own to become speaker of the House.
"At least 10 Democrats in the lower chamber have signed onto a letter to Caucus Chair Joe Crowley seeking a change to caucus rules that would raise the number of votes required to nominate a candidate for speaker. Current rules mandate that a nominee receive support from only a simple majority of caucus members before advancing to the floor for a vote. The letter requests that threshold be changed to 218, a majority of the House." (The Atlantic)
"[S]everal senior Democrats dismissed the proposed rules changes as 'poorly timed,' and they predicted Pelosi would easily defeat it if it comes up for a vote. 'This is not a smart thing to do 50 days out from the election,' said one Democratic aide. 'This is not the time to have this discussion.'” (Politico)
AVENATTI. Attorney Michael Avenatti (D) said he has spoken to between 10 and 15 top Democratic strategists about his 2020 plans and that several superdelegates have encouraged him to run. (National Journal)
BIDEN. “A cadre of progressive groups and activists that has elevated leftist candidates and helped shift Democratic policy further left in primary elections across the country this year is now questioning the politics of a potential presidential candidate—Joe Biden.
“The activists, some frustrated with how the former vice president has weighed in on several primaries this year and others concerned about some of his past policy positions, are in some cases already speaking publicly to warn Biden and other moderate Democrats mulling presidential bids that they’re going to make a potential centrist’s path to the presidency uncomfortable.
“Justice Democrats, which has helped boost progressive congressional candidates this year, has taken several shots at Biden on social media, labeling him as part of an ‘establishment’ whose work in the midterms is emblematic of what’s ‘wrong’ with the Democratic Party.” (BuzzFeed)
BOOKER. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on 2020: “‘Of course the presidency will be something I consider. It would be irresponsible not to.’ And there’s a lot about Booker to suggest he would be a strong contender in the 2020 primaries and a formidable contrast to Trump. He is a popular national figure with an Obama-like trajectory: a community organizer who served for years in local politics before becoming a senator in his mid-40s. He is also, like Obama, a black politician who talks with optimism and empathy about the country’s racial divide.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “who is likely to run for president herself, told Booker over dinner recently to be careful about second-guessing himself. ‘She said to me, ‘If you want to talk about love and kindness and decency, talk about those things, because it’s where you are.’ I feel like if I start poll-testing or shaping myself, where we start operating out of fear, I think that’s going to dim my light and my impact.’”(New York)
BLOOMBERG. “What is not fully addressed in the” recent New York Times article on former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential ambitions “is a series of stories about him, accumulated over decades, that suggests in the aggregate a distinct pattern when it comes to his treatment of women: reports of disparaging comments made about women’s bodies and appearances. Allegations of a deeply sexist work environment at the company that Bloomberg founded and, for many years, ran. Stories that linger like exhaust in the air every time Mike Bloomberg is mentioned as—potentially—the next president of the United States.” (The Atlantic)
GILLIBRAND. Gillibrand on Ford testifying: "I don’t think she should be bullied into this scenario where the he said/she said, where many members of the committee have already made up their mind," the Senator said. "It’s a sham hearing. And I--I don’t think she should participate in it." (CNN)
STEYER. Mega-donor Tom Steyer’s (D) NextGen America “is about to launch a digital ad campaign in New Hampshire. Sources say NextGen will spend $38,000 to target 45,000 Granite Staters as the first phase of a set of post-primary digital ads.” (WMUR)
WARREN. In an open letter to White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote: "Your appearance at this private event with Republican donors and campaign officials raises questions about your compliance with the Hatch Act and other federal laws, your judgment, and your management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” (release)
Meanwhile, Massachusetts voters on Warren: “In interviews, voters who participated in the Suffolk/Globe survey gave a different reason for wanting Warren to stay out of the race: They’re worried she couldn’t win.” (Boston Globe)
GUNS. “Democrats competing in conservative states historically have avoided making gun control a core plank in their campaigns for fear of alienating gun-rights advocates. But this year, many Democrats are emboldened by the groundswell of outrage over gun violence, opposition to the NRA and polls suggesting that Americans want stronger gun control.
“The party-wide shift on gun control in the primaries stems from mobilization following recent high-profile mass shootings in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Parkland, Florida. Democratic candidates this year were also fueled by grassroots pro-gun control organizations, which have seen an unprecedented spike in individual donations since 2016, according to public filings, and an uptick in volunteers since the Parkland shooting.” (CNBC)
INDIANA. “Sisters Deborah Simon and Cynthia Simon-Skjodt—who have for years opposed Mike Pence in Indiana over abortion and religious freedom laws—have poured $12 million into backing Democrats, making their combined contributions the seventh largest chunk of cash donated to either party this cycle.” (Politico)
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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.