CNN’S JEREMY DIAMOND (@JDiamond1): “Trump in Oval tells reporters he plans to host missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée at the White House soon. Says he has talked to the Saudis but offers no new information on Khashoggi’s status.”
DAVID SIDERS on SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CALIF.): “Kamala Harris will travel to South Carolina next week, campaigning for the first time in the early primary state as she edges closer to a presidential run.
“Harris, the California senator first elected in 2016, will stump for South Carolina Democrats in Columbia and Greenville, according to an adviser, with a likely fundraiser and public events for the state party and candidates.” POLITICO
STORY OF THE DAY … PROPUBLICA’S JUSTIN ELLIOTT: “Trump’s Patron-in-Chief”: “Japan, after years of acrimonious public debate, has legalized casinos. For more than a decade, [Sheldon] Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands, have sought to build a multibillion-dollar casino resort there. … Trump raised Adelson’s casino bid to Abe, according to two people briefed on the meeting. … The president raising a top donor’s personal business interests directly with a foreign head of state would violate longstanding norms. …
“[Adelson’s] reputation as an Israel advocate has obscured a through-line in his career: He has used his political access to push his financial self-interest. Not only has Trump touted Sands’ interests in Japan, but his administration also installed an executive from the casino industry in a top position in the U.S. embassy in Tokyo.
“Adelson’s influence reverberates through this administration. Cabinet-level officials jump when he calls. One who displeased him was replaced. He has helped a friend’s company get a research deal with the Environmental Protection Agency. And Adelson has already received a windfall from Trump’s new tax law.” ProPublica
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … FORMER REP. TOM PERRIELLO (D-VA.) will be executive director of U.S. programs at George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Perriello served one term in the House, worked in President Barack Obama’s State Department and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia in 2017.
JOSH GERSTEIN: “FBI’s Wray confirms limits on Kavanaugh probe”: “FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate on Wednesday that the White House put limits on the re-opened investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but the law enforcement chief insisted that the process used was a typical one.
“‘Our supplemental update to the previous background investigation was limited in scope and that … is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back a long ways,’ Wray said under questioning by Sen. Kamala Harris … ‘I’ve spoken with our background investigation specialists and they have assured me this was handled in a way consistent with their experience and the standard process,’ the FBI director said.” POLITICO
BREAKING — DARREN SAMUELSOHN, “Mueller gets longest sentence yet for man who helped Russian trolls”: “A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a California man to six months in prison and six months of home confinement after he pleaded guilty to a felony identity fraud charge tied to Russian troll activity that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign. …
“Mueller prosecutor Rush Atkinson said Pinedo’s cooperation did implicate others in alleged crimes, but he explained that the special counsel referred those matters to other U.S. attorneys around the country because the charges fell outside the special counsel’s original mandate.” POLITICO
Good Wednesday afternoon. WHAT’S ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 9:01 a.m.: “Despite so many positive events and victories, Media Reseach [sic] Center reports that 92% of stories on Donald Trump are negative on ABC, CBS and ABC. It is FAKE NEWS! Don’t worry, the Failing New York Times didn’t even put the Brett Kavanaugh victory on the Front Page yesterday-A17!”
— KAVANAUGH’S confirmation was on A1 of the Sunday New York Times. The front page, with the headline: “SENATE VOTES 50-48 TO PUT KAVANAUGH ON SUPREME COURT”
COMING ATTRACTIONS … JOE BIDEN will give the Liberty Medal to GEORGE W. AND LAURA BUSH on Nov. 11 in Philadelphia. The award honors work with veterans.
THE LATEST ON HURRICANE MICHAEL — “Florida officials warn of ‘deadly serious’ hurricane,” by Matthew Choi and Rebecca Morin: POLITICO
FOLLOW-UP: We wrote this morning that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was spotted on a Tuesday flight from Orlando to D.C., even though a hurricane is whipping its way toward his district. On Twitter, Gaetz informed us he flew coach. @mattgaetz: “[Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein was supposed to come for an interview in Judiciary tomorrow about discussing wearing a wire to overthrow the President. It seemed like something that required my attention. I was advised this morning that now he won’t be coming. #LowEnergyOversight”
MIDTERM VIEW … “Amy McGrath Is Avoiding Attack Ads. Can a Congressional Candidate Win Without Them?” by NYT’s Michael Tackett: “[Amy] McGrath’s strategy puts her in the decided minority this election cycle, which that has featured record spending on negative ads by outside groups in both parties, along with the candidates’ own attacks. … While some in her party balked at Ms. McGrath’s decision to stay positive, she said she ‘would like to make a statement’ by not resorting to pure attacks. …
“Across the country, nearly 230,000 ads aired in House races this year, more than twice the number in 2014, according to an analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project. In Senate races, more than half of the ads in September were purely negative. Overall, the analysis shows that Democrats have been much less negative than Republicans.” NYT
— WSJ’S ALEJANDRO LAZO: “California Gas Tax Fuels Congressional Battles”: GOP “congressional candidates are making the repeal a focus of their campaigns, particularly in districts where races are tight and long drives are a way of life. … Congress doesn’t regulate state gas taxes, but conservative voters who turn out for Proposition 6 will likely vote for Republicans, campaign strategists believe. Other voters may consider the issue important in evaluating candidates.” WSJ
— “Democrats Are Ignoring One Key Voting Group: Veterans,” by Jasper Craven in NYT Magazine: “According to organizers on both sides of the contest, the Democratic National Committee seems to be pursuing a strategy that focuses on running veterans as candidates instead of organizing to reach veteran voters — the D.N.C. tried that approach more than a decade ago, and it didn’t work. … Republicans, by contrast, have already built a formidable ground game to organize veterans and win military voters. …
“Historically, veterans have been overwhelmingly male and older — a demographic slice that tends to be Republican regardless of past military service. What seems to be changing is the voting trends of younger veterans.” NYT Magazine
THE INVESTIGATIONS … “The Trump Campaign Says Exploiting Hacked Emails Is Free Speech,” by The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand: “In a motion to dismiss a new lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump’s campaign team of illegally conspiring with Russian agents to disseminate stolen emails during the election, Trump campaign lawyers have tried out a new defense: free speech. …
“The motion’s language seems to further an argument made by Trump and his allies as they await the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation … namely, that collusion, even if it involved the coordinated release and exploitation of a candidate’s emails during the presidential election, is not a crime.” The Atlantic
NYT’S KEN VOGEL: “Trump Nominee Draws Scrutiny for Ties to Ukrainian Energy Interests”: “As tanks, artillery and combat troops streamed from Russia into Ukraine in 2014, the United States government dispatched a multiagency team of technical experts to Kiev to help the fragile government there shore up its energy supply for the coming winter. The head of that team, William N. Bryan, was a career civil servant with an expertise in energy infrastructure and security.
“But … it was not long before American and Ukrainian government officials began raising concerns that he was being co-opted by a Ukrainian company seen as aligned with a prominent oligarch — concerns that grew when Mr. Bryan later joined a consulting firm that pursued business proposals with the company.
“Now, four years later, those relationships are attracting new scrutiny as Mr. Bryan awaits a Senate confirmation vote to become President Trump’s homeland security under secretary for science and technology.” NYT
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — “For Next U.S. Census, Cameras in Space Replace Boots on the Ground,” by WSJ’s Janet Adamy and Paul Overberg in Suitland, Md.: “Overhauling how the Census Bureau tracks every household address is part of a broader revamp that will make this the first largely electronic census. … The broader digital overhaul of the 2020 count includes a push to have most Americans respond over the internet instead of mailing back a paper form. Census workers will carry iPhones loaded with custom software when they fan out to visit 45 million homes that are expected to ignore census mailings. And for the first time, a full option to complete the census by telephone will be available. …
“However, building and linking all the new technology risks delays and cost overruns. Further opening the census to the internet also creates cybersecurity risks and could make Americans leery of responding online.” WSJ
ON THE WORLD STAGE — WSJ’S KATE O’KEEFFE: “Treasury Spells Out New Rules on Foreign Deals Involving U.S. Technology”
— “Jamal Khashoggi Wanted to Launch a Pro-Democracy Group. Then the Saudis Disappeared Him,” by The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff: “Sources familiar with his plans told The Daily Beast that he was working to launch a non-governmental organization whose stated purpose was to boost democracy and human rights in the Arab world.
“The group, called Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), was incorporated in the state of Delaware as a tax-exempt organization in January of this year … Its members also planned to advocate to corporate leaders, policymakers, journalists, and think tanks on behalf of democracy in the Middle East. The group intended to push for democratic change even when it ran counter to American foreign policy goals.” The Daily Beast
— CBS’ ALAN HE (@alanhe): “[Sen. Lindsey] Graham warns of ‘hell to pay’ if Saudi Arabia is behind disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. He has a phone call with the Saudi Ambassador this evening.”
MICHAEL JOSEPH GROSS in the November issue of THE ATLANTIC: “The Pentagon’s Push to Program Soldiers’ Brains”: “The Biological Technologies Office, created in 2014, is the newest of DARPA’s six main divisions. … One purpose of the office is to ‘restore and maintain warfighter abilities’ by various means, including many that emphasize neurotechnology—applying engineering principles to the biology of the nervous system. …
“The programs of this era, as described by Annie Jacobsen in her 2015 book, The Pentagon’s Brain, often shaded into mad-scientist territory. … Dick Cheney relished this kind of research. … His enthusiasm contributed to the latitude that President George W. Bush’s administration gave DARPA—at a time when the agency’s foundation was shifting.” The Atlantic
AFTERNOON READ — ROBERT DRAPER in NYT MAGAZINE, “The Democrats Have an Immigration Problem”: “Today the Democratic Party is generally pro-immigration. And yet many of its elected officeholders remain deeply wary of saying so and especially conflicted about how to address the flaws in the country’s immigration system — or whether to address them at all. Their reasoning may be as simple as this: Unlike Republican voters, who routinely punish their politicians for being insufficiently anti-immigrant, Democratic voters do not reward theirs for being forthrightly pro-immigrant. …
“Relative to other progressive special interests, the immigrant rights movement has traditionally been a pauper’s crusade … Immigrants, meanwhile, are a less than formidable electoral force. … But there is another explanation for why immigration has long been relegated to the Democratic Party’s back burner. Until recently, Americans have tended to view immigration less as a moral issue and more in crass economic terms. … The question, for immigration organizers, is what the Democrats intend to do with the power the midterm elections may bring them.” NYT Magazine
SPOTTED: Energy Secretary Rick Perry in first class on a flight from ATL to DCA on Tuesday night on his way back from Albuquerque, where he visited Sandia National Lab. An Ex-Im Bank official sent “her business card up to him from her seat, via a flight attendant,” according to our tipster.
MEDIAWATCH — Jessica Dean is now a Washington correspondent at CNN. She previously worked for CBS in Philadelphia. … Jordan Frasier will be a producer for NBC’s “Today” show. He was most recently a political video producer for WaPo.
TRANSITIONS — Brendan Parets will be chief counsel to Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). He was previously policy counsel for the Senate Republican Policy Committee. … Katie Rosborough will head Twitter’s U.S. policy comms in D.C. She was previously communications director for the Senate Finance Committee. (h/t Morning Tech) … Sean Bartlett will be a senior comms manager at Cisco in D.C. He is currently senior press and policy adviser to Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — David Mansouri, president of Tennessee’s State Collaborative on Reforming Education and an alum of Fred Thompson and the Tennessee Republican Party, married Sarah Greenberg, director of policy and strategy for TennCare, in a ceremony at the de Seversky Mansion on Long Island on Saturday. The couple will honeymoon in Spain and Morocco. Pic
— Anup Rao, an analyst at Sentinel Strategy and Policy Consulting and a Dianne Feinstein alum, married Sneha Antani, a telecommunications engineer at Verizon. The couple met nine years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party in Los Angeles. Pic … Wedding highlights video
BONUS BIRTHDAY (was yesterday): Trent Lott, senior counsel at Squire Patton Boggs, turned 77.