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June 27, 2017

Fox News is facing mounting accusations that it is acting as a kind of "state media" for President Trump, claims that are not going to be assuaged by the president's early morning retweets. On Tuesday, President Trump shared four different Fox & Friends tweets without comment:

Trump also promoted a book by Fox News host Eric Bolling…

…And — why not — took a shot at CNN, too.

On Sunday, CNN's Brian Stelter argued that Fox & Friends acts as an "infomercial" for the president. "The show is pro-Trump, anti-media, and remarkably repetitive," Stelter said. "Watching for an entire week, we saw lots of the president's friends, but almost no dissenting voices. It's all about showering Trump with positive attention and burying his perceived opponents with negative attention."

New York Times reporter Mike Forsythe was blunter. "Anyone who has reported in authoritarian countries recognizes this style of 'interview,'" he said of a recent Trump appearance on Fox & Friends. "This is state media. This is Xinhua America." Jeva Lange

4:13 a.m. ET

On Oct. 2, U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, and Turkey said it has conclusive proof that a Saudi death squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. This "incredibly grim" story is "absolutely horrific, and the Saudis denied it happened — although let us all agree on this: A bone saw in any context is an immediate red flag," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight.

Khashoggi was a "thoughtful and by no means radical critic of the Saudi royal family," Oliver said. "And this is all worrying, because the only reason to kill a journalist in your own consulate with 15 people and a bone saw you flew in that day is because you wanted to send a message, and you were sure you could get away with it." He had a pretty good idea why the Saudis would think they'd face no consequences.

America has a "long and morally compromised history" with Saudi Arabia, and while many "U.S. presidents have, to varying degrees, been willing to pander to Saudi Arabia," turning "a blind eye to a lot of things," Oliver said, President Trump has really embraced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, an overhyped reformer whose every positive achievement has "a much grimmer truth underneath" it. "Trump's intense bromance with MBS is bad news," Oliver said, but it makes sense because the Saudi royal family has "the two qualities he admires most in the world: Having a lot of money, and giving it to him. He basically said as much on the campaign trail."

Trump says Saudi Arabia faces "severe punishment" if it's proven they murdered Khashoggi, but "does anyone really believe that that something he is honestly committed to?" Oliver asked. In more honest remarks, Trump "openly demonstrated to the entire world, and to Saudi Arabia specifically, that arms deal, much more important than butchered journalist." There's NSFW language. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:20 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

"Republicans have begun to concede defeat in the evolving fight to preserve the House majority," The Associated Press reports. "And as they initiate a painful and strategic triage, the early Republican-on-Republican blame game has begun as well."

Republican incumbents being abandoned by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) compalin that national House Republicans are not living up to their promise to spend $62 million, as outlined in a September memo declaring that "the cavalry is coming." The NRCC, which is taking out what AP describes as a "sizable loan," says it has to "hone in on what are the races we can actually win," as House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fundraising chief Spencer Zwick phrased it. And Ryan's allied super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, grouses it has had to step in to boost weak fundraising by GOP incumbents. In more than 30 toss-up races, the CLF notes, it is the only GOP group spending any money in 14.

Overall, according to filings submitted Friday, Democratic candidates have outspent their GOP rivals $116 million to $66 million in almost 80 competitive House districts since July, AP reports. The CLF has spent another $93 million in the same period, thanks largely to the deep pockets of GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. "This is going to be a devastating election for Republicans across the ballot," says GOP strategist Terry Sullivan. "Republican donors are smart folks," he added. "They're not going to give money to a losing cause."

The good news for Republicans, says Nate Silver at FiveThityEight, is that "Democratic prospects in the Senate are increasingly dire, having fallen to about 1 in 5. Indeed, it’s been hard to find any good news for Democrats in Senate polling lately. In the House, by contrast ... Democrats' chance of taking the House has ticked back upward to about 4 in 5."

You can read more about the polling at FiveThirtyEight and see which House races the GOP has abandoned at The Associated Press. Peter Weber

1:16 a.m. ET

Team USA clinched a spot in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France on Sunday with a lopsided 6-0 win over Jamaica in Frisco, Texas. The U.S. women's national soccer team won the 2015 World Cup and is ranked No. 1 in the world. (The U.S. men's national team did not qualify for the 2016 World's Cup.) Canada, ranked No. 5 in the world, also secure a spot in the 2019 World's Cup on Sunday, notching a 7-0 win over Panama in the qualifying tournament in Frisco. The third slot in the regional delegation to France will be determined in a game on Wednesday, and the loser of that match will face Argentina for one last shot at playing in the World Cup.

Team USA took an early lead against Jamaica, ranked 64th in the world, with a goal by Tobin Heath in the second minute. Her second goal in the first half came off a pass from Lindsay Horan.

Alex Morgan also scored two goals, and Megan Rapinoe Julie Ertz kicked in one each. Along with its 2015 victory, Team USA won the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1991 and won again in 1999. Peter Weber

12:25 a.m. ET

A student at Georgia Tech tried to confront Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) about his support for the gubernatorial bid of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) on Saturday, and specifically Kemp's controversial voter-registration policies, but he did not past "Hey, so how can you endorse a candidate ..."

The video, posted by the Young Democratic Socialists of America at Georgia Tech, shows Perdue telling the unidentified student, "No, I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that," then grabbing the phone. After the student asked for his phone back several times, it was returned. "The senator clearly thought he was being asked to take a picture, and he went to take a selfie as he often does," Perdue spokeswoman Casey Black said. "When he realized they didn't actually want to take a picture, he gave the phone back."

The student and his group obviously saw things differently. "Perdue walked into Georgia Tech's backyard, and students aren't allowed to ask him a simple question?" YDSAGT asked in a statement. "Perdue would have been within his legal rights to simply walk away or decline the question. But instead, he forcibly, suddenly, and violently took their phone without justification or provocation." If the student had "snatched a sitting U.S. senator's phone," for a selfie or whatever, the group noted, he "would likely have been arrested on the spot." The video "cuts briefly for a few seconds when Perdue accidentally stopped and restarted the recording, during which time Perdue hid the phone behind his back while the student demanded their phone be returned," YDSAGT added.

Perdue is not up for re-election this year, but Kemp is in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams and Perude has been campaigning for him and other Republicans before the midterm elections. Peter Weber

October 14, 2018

This isn't a desert mirage — Benny the yellow lab from Las Vegas really does ice skate and fetch hockey sticks.

The 5-year-old dog was rescued from a Las Vegas shelter right before he was to be euthanized. His new family realized that he learned things quickly, and they had custom ice skates made for Benny's front paws so he could practice skating. He picked it up almost immediately, and now he goes around the rink with an American flag on his vest and a stick in his mouth.

Benny's dedication has paid off, and he's branched out from skating in front of his family during weekly practices — he's also entertained fans ahead of Las Vegas Knights and University of Nevada, Las Vegas hockey games. Catherine Garcia

October 14, 2018

If you live in Savannah, recently shopped at Michaels, and saw someone acting suspicious in the googly eye aisle, police in Georgia may want to hear from you.

Last week, a crafty culprit defaced a statue of Nathanael Greene in Johnson Square, adding googly eyes to the monument. "It may look funny, but harming our historic monuments and public property is no laughing matter, in fact, it's a crime," the city wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. "We are hoping to find the person responsible!"

Greene was a Revolutionary War general, and his remains were placed under the monument in 1902, the Georgia Historical Society told USA Today. Affixing googly eyes to a statue is considered criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor offense, unless the damage is more than $500, and then it becomes criminal damage to property. Catherine Garcia

October 14, 2018
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sears spent the weekend working with its lenders on a deal that will keep hundreds of stores open through Christmas, and the department store chain is expected to file for Chapter 11 protection by Monday morning, several people with knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal Sunday.

Founded as Sears, Roebuck, and Co. in 1892, Sears has experienced several years of losses. It faces a Monday deadline to repay $134 million in debt. Sears employs about 70,000 people and operate 700 Sears and Kmart stores, and as part of the deal, it will likely immediately close at least 150 stores while evaluating 250 more. It is unclear if Sears will come out of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a much smaller chain, or if this will lead to a liquidation.

One person told the Journal that Sears CEO Edward Lampert believes it would be possible to reorganize the company's 300 most profitable stores, although those could be sold eventually, too. Catherine Garcia

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