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CANCEL YOUR CHRISTMAS PLANS … OVER THE LAST few days, we’ve seen a massive ramp-up of the “build-the-wall” rhetoric from key Hill Republicans -- signaling that the Dec. 7 funding deadline will be a major funding clash over the physical border with Mexico.
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY.) said at an AP event yesterday that “we are committed to helping the president get wall funding,” and signaled he would fight to get
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP the amount he’s seeking, which is far more than what the Senate offered.
HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN (R-WIS.) said earlier this week there would be a “big fight” for wall funding. And
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CALIF.) -- the top Republican in waiting -- went as far as introducing a bill that would allocate $23 billion to build Trump’s border wall.
-- MOST OF THE GOVERNMENT IS FUNDED through next year, but a slice of the government runs out of money on Dec. 7, and the insiders we talk to expect a clash could last weeks. The only backstop is Christmas and New Year’s. Democrats won’t be any help -- especially if they win the House majority. Remember: It’s usually Hill leaders that have been skeptical of a fight over wall funding. Now they’re lining up, ready to go to war.
HEADS UP, MR. PRESIDENT … S.F. CHRONICLE’S JOHN WILDERMUTH: “Expect Democrats to immediately try to force President Trump to release his tax returns if they take back the House in November, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.
“Demanding the president’s tax returns ‘is one of the first things we’d do — that’s the easiest thing in the world. That’s nothing,’ Pelosi told The Chronicle’s editorial board in an hour-long interview.” S.F. Chronicle
-- CERTAIN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES can obtain the records from the IRS.
Good Thursday morning. JAKE and
ANNA will be sitting down with
REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D-PA.) and
REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R-PA.) for a special Playbook Elections event Oct. 29 at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia. The event, which is part of the POLITICO-AARP Deciders series, will focus on the midterm elections, what’s happening on the ground in Pennsylvania and more. Doors open 8 a.m.
MARKETS CONTINUE TO SPIRAL DOWNWARD … FT: “Global market sell-off spreads to Europe,” by Michael Hunter in London and Emma Dunkley in Hong Kong: “A sharp Wall Street sell-off has sent tremors through global equity markets, pulling down Asian and European stocks on Thursday as worries over the end of years of cheap money and an escalating U.S.-China trade war darken investor sentiment.
“Technology shares, which led the selling during Wednesday’s New York trading day, were also hit hard internationally, with the Stoxx technology index down 1.7 per cent after falling nearly 3 per cent earlier in the day.
“Taiwan’s bourse, which is heavy in electronics and semiconductors, closed down 6.3 per cent, one of its biggest one-day losses, while Chinese online powerhouse Tencent lost almost 7 per cent in Hong Kong. Chipmakers also led the losses in Europe, with Austria’s AMS falling almost 4 per cent and ASML of the Netherlands down more than 2 per cent. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 fell to its lowest level since February 2017, down almost 2 per cent in early trading.” FT>
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MBS: THE REFORMER, UPDATE … “Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show,” by WaPo’s Shane Harris: “The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.
“The intelligence, described by U.S. officials familiar with it, is another piece of evidence implicating the Saudi regime in Khashoggi’s disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. ...
“Several of Khashoggi’s friends said that over the past four months, senior Saudi officials close to the crown prince had called Khashoggi to offer him protection, and even a high-level job working for the government, if he returned to his home country. Khashoggi, however, was skeptical of the offers. He told one friend that the Saudi government would never make good on its promises not to harm him. ...
“The intelligence about Saudi Arabia’s earlier plans to detain Khashoggi have raised questions about whether the Trump administration should have warned the journalist that he might be in danger. Intelligence agencies have a ‘duty to warn’ people who might be kidnapped, seriously injured or killed, according to a directive signed in 2015. The obligation applies regardless of whether the person is a U.S. citizen. Khashoggi was a U.S. resident.” WaPo
-- “Khashoggi’s Disappearance Puts Kushner’s Bet on Saudi Crown Prince at Risk,” by NYT’s Mark Landler, Edward Wong and Eric Schmitt
-- “Naming Names, Turks Turn Up Heat on Saudis in Consulate Case,” by NYT’s David D. Kirkpatrick in Ankara and Malachy Browne in New York
-- EXCHANGE OF THE DAY, from the State Department press briefing with deputy spokesman Robert Palladino:
AP DIPLOMATIC WRITER MATT LEE: “Who again -- what’s the name of the ambassador in Turkey right now?”
PALLADINO: “I don’t have that in front of me right now and I -- Matt --”
LEE: “What’s the name of the ambassador in Saudi Arabia right now?”
PALLADINO: “I see what you’re getting at. OK. We are confident in our diplomatic --”
LEE: “The answer is that you don’t have an ambassador in either place, right?”
PALLADINO: “We --”
LEE: “And in fact, the charge in Riyadh has now been nominated to be the ambassador to Yemen. So just is it correct that you do not have ambassadors in place in either Ankara or Riyadh?”
PALLADINO: “But we have diplomatic staff, senior diplomatic officials --”
LEE: “I’m sure you do.”
PALLADINO: “-- very much -- very much in charge. And yesterday Heather spoke at the top as well about the need for the State Department to get its full team on the field, and we definitely would reiterate our request for our colleagues in the Senate and their assistance in fielding our full camp.”
LEE: “Understood. Who has been nominated to be the new ambassador to Turkey, and who has been nominated to be the new ambassador to Saudi Arabia? Who are the nominees who are awaiting Senate movement?”
PALLADINO: “Matt, I don’t have that in front of me right now. And -- but let me just say these are senior Foreign Service officers that have had full careers, and we’re confident in our team’s ability.”
LEE: “You’re sure someone’s been nominated for both positions?”
PALLADINO: “I would have to take the question, Matt.”
LEE: “Robert. Robert, really quickly, just --”
PALLADINO: “Alright, one more. Let’s go to Fox.”
-- BUZZFEED’S RYAN MAC: “Following Journalist’s Alleged Murder, Top Tech Execs Distance Selves From Saudi’s City Of The Future”: “Neom, the Saudi government–backed mega-city project, said Tuesday that 19 tech and business luminaries — including Apple design chief Jony Ive, venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Sam Altman, and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick — had joined its advisory board. ... A few hours after that announcement, individuals supposedly associated with the group began to deny their involvement. Apple told BuzzFeed News that Ive was never part of the project.
“Meanwhile, a source familiar with the project said that the Apple design chief’s inclusion had been blamed on a translation error. ... Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff denied ever being part of the project through a spokesperson. And former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz told Axios that he would not participate until more information was made available about Khashoggi’s disappearance.” BuzzFeed
WHERE THE PRESIDENT IS … “Trump reluctant to cut off arms sales to Saudis in response to Khashoggi’s disappearance,” by Brent D. Griffiths: “President Donald Trump said late Wednesday that he is reluctant to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia if the kingdom is found to be responsible for the assumed death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, believing such a move could be detrimental to the U.S. economy.
“‘We have a country that’s doing probably better economically than it's ever done before,’ Trump said. ‘A part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them and, frankly, I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country.’ Trump added that he wants to know what happened, but would not like to commit to a U.S. response until all the facts are known.” POLITICO
-- NYT’S PETER BAKER (@peterbakernyt): “Kushner and Bolton spoke with Saudi’s MBS yesterday about Khashoggi and Pompeo followed up with his own call. ‘In both calls they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process,’ says @PressSec.”
-- CNN’s MANU RAJU (@mkraju): “Roughly two dozen members of Senate from both parties trigger probe into what happened with missing Saudi journalist and whether sanctions under Magnitsky act are warranted. All members of Senate Foreign Relations signed letter except Rand Paul.”