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May 8, 2014

Is there any way to contain the imminent octo-pocalypse? Some desperate souls have proposed trapping the octopus shock troops in screw-top jars, since the creatures don't have opposable thumbs. This was always more psychological defense mechanism than realistic strategy, but it turns out it doesn't even work:

We had a good run, folks, but maybe it's best to sit back and wait for the sweet embrace of death. There is probably an octopus sitting in your jar of peanut butter at home right now. Waiting. Ryan Cooper

8:54 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton has emerged from the first presidential debate with a small bounce in the polls, Politico/Morning Consult has found. In a four-way race for president, Clinton is up three points among likely voters at 41 percent to Trump's 38 percent; in a poll just prior to the debate, Trump was ahead by one point.

There weren't terribly many minds changed after watching the debate, though. Politico/Morning Consult found that only nine percent of likely voters switched who they are going to vote for after what they saw Monday night. Still, the record-breaking audiences were apparently glued to the screen, with 55 percent of viewers polled watching the entire 95 minutes, half saying they would watch it again, and 62 percent agreeing the whole affair was "entertaining." (Comparatively, over a third of people thought it was "depressing.")

Contrary to the Trump's campaign's boasts, most viewers in the Politico/Morning Consult poll think Hillary Clinton was the winner of the debate — 49 percent said so, compared to 26 percent who said Trump was the winner. Eighteen percent of Republicans even thought Clinton won.

The polls were conducted online Monday and Tuesday, reaching 1,253 likely voters. The margin of error was 3 points. Jeva Lange

8:39 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump's advisers may have publicly praised his performance in the first presidential debate, but in private they're reportedly fretting about how to fix the candidate's missteps before the second debate on Oct. 9. The New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump's team is rolling out a revamped strategy for Trump's debate prep — and this time, he will be practicing:

Some of the advisers want to practice getting under his skin, as Mrs. Clinton did, to gauge his response, but they offered no details about doing so. Others wanted practice sessions built around the next debate's format, a town-hall-style meeting, where Mr. Trump is likely to engage with undecided voters asking him questions and, at times, move from his chair to walk the stage. Mr. Trump has little experience with the format, which can be challenging for people who do not practice managing their body language and movements.

Several advisers also want to impress upon him the need to stick to a strategy and a plan of battle against a female candidate — the kind of opponent he has less experience facing — rather than spend time polishing a string of disparate zingers that Mrs. Clinton, a skilled debater, was able to easily parry Monday night. [The New York Times]

Unlike Trump's preparation the first time around, which consisted mainly of informal conversations with advisers, his advisers will reportedly encourage him to practice with a podium and do mock debates. And his advisers are going to push him to carry his successes in the first 30 minutes of the debate through to the very end — instead of, as The New York Times put it, growing "erratic, impatient, and subdued."

Head to The New York Times for more on Team Trump's frustrations with the first debate and strategies for the second. Becca Stanek

8:33 a.m. ET
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A black man was fatally shot by police in El Cajon, California, on Tuesday afternoon, after officers responded to a call saying that he was "not acting like himself" and endangering himself by walking in traffic.

Officers say Alfred Orlango, 30, "failed to comply" when they arrived on the scene, and allegedly kept his hands in his pockets as he paced around. He then "rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together, and extended them rapidly toward the officer," police say. One of the officers responded by discharging a Taser, while the other officer shot the man multiple times.

Orlango was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police have since determined that Orlango was not armed, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Friends say Orlango was "mentally ill and had a mental breakdown that caused him to act out in the minutes leading up to the shooting," The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The woman who called police claimed she mentioned in the call that Orlango was mentally ill.

A crowd of about 200 people gathered at the scene of the shooting Tuesday night in protest. Becca Stanek

8:30 a.m. ET
Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images)

On Friday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif), the ranking Democrats on the congressional intelligence committees, released a statement accusing Russian intelligence of "making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election," adding that "such actions could come only from very senior levels of the Russian government." The White House first asked Schiff and Feinstein to remove a part due to classification concerns, then had sought to delay that statement, first for one day, then three, says Ali Watkins at BuzzFeed News, citing "sources familiar with the matter," apparently both from Congress.

The White House has not publicly accused Russia of hacking Democratic organizations, though intelligence sources have blamed Russia for months, and one of the congressional sources told Watkins, "You can't have the White House telling a legislative body how to operate.... And [we] thought it was important." Watkins did not speculate directly on what might be motivating Obama, nor did her sources, but she did note that "one intelligence official told BuzzFeed News that, by confirming Russia’s role in the hacks, it could effectively validate the public’s concern over the security of the upcoming election. 'Do you really want that shitstorm?' the official said." Read more at BuzzFeed News. Peter Weber

8:04 a.m. ET
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

A two-year Dutch-led investigation has reportedly confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine in 2014 was hit by a Russian missile. Russia has denied the allegations, including that pro-Russian rebels were responsible for the missile that resulted in the deaths of 298 people.

Relatives of the victims were briefed on the investigation's findings ahead of a news conference, The Associated Press reports. "Investigators said they had proof, including communications intercepts and radar data, that a mobile Buk missile launcher had been moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia, then was returned after the Boeing 777 was destroyed," AP wrote based on information from Hans de Borst, whose 17-year-old daughter was a victim.

Investigators aren't expected to name who they think was responsible for the missile being launched, but that the findings are ultimately intended to serve as evidence in a criminal trial at an unspecified future date and time.

Russia said Monday they have radio-location data proving the missile was not launched from rebel-controlled territory, and that they will turn it over to investigators. Jeva Lange

7:29 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump's campaign boasts Trump earned $18 million in online donations within 24 hours of the debate, a marked shift from his strategy in the primaries, when he emphasized his independence from donors, Politico reports. Still, Trump has broken Republican records for small-donor fundraising throughout the general election.

Many mega-donors are still hesitant to have their name associated with Trump, leading to greater appeal for nonprofit groups that allow unlimited donations and are not required to release donors' names. One such group is 45Committee, controlled by former Never Trump founder Todd Ricketts, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs.

"There is a substantial appetite for a non-disclosing vehicle, because it's embarrassing to support Trump. There are more donors who are willing to support Donald anonymously than with their names on it," a fundraiser familiar with Ricketts' efforts told Politico. Jeva Lange

7:24 a.m. ET
Ozier Muhammad-Pool/Getty Images

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) was told about the punitive lane closings up to the George Washington Bridge at a 2013 memorial service for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, two days before the lanes were unblocked, David Wildstein, a confessed architect of the scheme, testified in federal court on Tuesday. When the governor was told of the closures — and that they were in retaliation for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee declining to endorse Christie's re-election bid — "he laughed," Wildstein said.

Wildstein, a former Christie loyalist at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — which oversees the George Washington Bridge, the nation's busiest — is testifying against Bill Baroni, Christie's top appointee at the Port Authority, and former Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly; Christie himself is not charged in this "Bridgegate" case, and on Tuesday, he again insisted that he "had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments." New York magazine recounts Wildstein's testimony, accompanying photographs of Christie, himself, and Baroni in a "relaxed" huddle at Ground Zero:

"Mr. Baroni said, 'Governor I have to tell you about something,'" Wildstein testified, saying that Baroni and Christie often adopted a "very sarcastic tone" when they were talking politics. "Mr. Baroni said to Governor Christie, 'Governor, I can tell you there's a tremendous amount of traffic in Fort Lee this morning, major traffic jams, and Mayor [Mark] Sokolich is very frustrated." He alleged that Baroni then added, "You'll be pleased to know that Mayor Sokolich is having trouble getting his telephone calls returned."

According to Wildstein, Christie replied with similar sarcasm, "I imagine he wouldn't be getting his phone calls returned." ... The governor still called Wildstein by the pseudonym he used on the [influential political blog] website, "Wally Edge." So Christie surely understood the import of what Baroni allegedly told him next: "Mr. Baroni said to Governor Christie that I was monitoring the traffic, I was watching over everything," Wildstein testified. "Governor Christie said in the sarcastic tone of the conversation, 'Well. I'm sure Mr. Edge would not be involved in anything political." Then, Wildstein said, "he laughed."

"This was our one constituent. I was pleasing my one constituent," Wildstein said. "I was proud of it. I was happy that he's happy." [New York]

You can read more about the dramatic day of "Bridgegate" testimony at The New York Times or New York. Peter Weber

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