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November 7, 2017
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Transcripts released Monday night by the House Intelligence Committee show that Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to President Trump during his campaign, sent an email to other members of the campaign describing his July 2016 trip to Moscow, revealing he had a "private conversation" with a top Russian official who had good things to say about Trump.

Previously, Page had said that after he gave a speech at Moscow's New Economic School, he only exchanged pleasantries with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. In the email, Page wrote that Dvorkovich "expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work toward devising better solutions in response to a vast range of current international problems." Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) read the email during Page's closed-door meeting with the committee last week, and Page responded by saying he didn't actually talk to any officials, but gleaned their views by watching and reading Russian media and chatting with scholars.

Page, who once worked as an energy consultant in Moscow, also testified that he told Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then a senator and major Trump supporter, he was going to go to Russia, and said he "probably" told national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis about the trip beforehand and definitely told him about it when he came back. The House Intelligence Committee is investigating Russian meddling in the election, and Page requested that the transcript of his testimony be made public but also told The Washington Post in a text message Monday he is "working on my lawsuit tonight that will get to the bottom of the real interference in the 2016 election, by the [United States government]. I've played this nonsensical game long enough and am not interested in this latest round tonight." Catherine Garcia

4:00 a.m. ET
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If campaign money is speech, as Republicans have argued, Democrats simply have more to say leading up to the 2018 midterms.

At least 60 House Democratic candidates raised more than $1 million in the third quarter, from July to Sept. 30, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Monday night, ahead of a midnight Federal Election Commission filing deadline. Eight of those Democrats raised more than $3 million apiece, a huge number for a midterm election. "Democrats outraised their Republican opponents in 32 of the closest 45 House races by a total margin of $154 million to $108 million since November 2016," The New York Times reports. Overall, House Democratic candidates have raised $252 million this election versus $172 million by House Republican candidates.

Democratic Senate candidates in the nine most competitive races have raised $212 million, versus $164 million by their Republican rivals, The Washington Post reports, and the Democrat has outraised the Republican in each of those nine races — including vulnerable Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.). In Texas, Rep. Beto O'Rourke raised a record $38.1 million in the third quarter, trouncing incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's $11.6 million.

The Democrats' fundraising is being driven by donations of $200 or less — ActBlue, which steers online donations to Democratic candidates, says it raised $385 million in the third quarter, with an average contribution of $49. Republican super PACs are making up some of the GOP shortfall — casino magnate Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave at least $32 million to Republican committees and PACs in September alone, raising their total this cycle to $87 million, with more coming — and President Trump has been a fundraising powerhouse for GOP candidates.

"You don't buy your way into office, but this kind of money makes victory possible in scenarios where it otherwise might not have been," campaign finance expert Bob Biersack tells The New York Times. And this quarter "is probably going to be the largest quarter in the history of midterms," thanks to small-dollar donations to Democrats. Peter Weber

2:23 a.m. ET
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In their one and probably only debate, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) and Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger clashed Monday night over health care, immigration, and taxes, but one person not onstage sure got a lot of mentions. And it wasn't President Trump, whose tenure has helped turn Virginia's reliably Republican 7th Congressional District into a tossup race.

"While Trump looms large over the race, the president was mentioned just once during the 90-minute forum," The Washington Post recounts. "The name on Brat's lips was that of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). ... Brat referred so often to 'the Nancy Pelosi liberal agenda' that the phrase started drawing laughs. At one point he acknowledged that he'd said it 'a million times.' (More conservative estimates put the mentions at around 25.)" HuffPost congressional reporter Matt Fuller placed the number at 21, and he said it sounded like this:

With each mention of Pelosi, the audience seemed to groan and laugh harder as Brat tried again ― and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again ― to tie Spanberger to Pelosi. On one instance, the groans from the audience were so loud that Brat asked for additional time to speak, and on another interjection, he had to restart his point, beginning once again with Pelosi's name. [HuffPost]

Spanberger, a former CIA officer, didn't mention Trump at all, but she did remind Brat he is running against her, not Pelosi. And after Brat blamed her for a misleading ad run by another Democrat and misrepresented several of her positions Spanberger said she wasn't sure Brat knew "which Democrat he's running against." Spanberger, who has said repeatedly she wouldn't support Pelosi for House speaker, raised nearly $3.6 million last quarter, three times Brat's haul and a 7th District record. Peter Weber

1:58 a.m. ET
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Michigan's Republican Senate candidate, businessman John James, said on Monday "there's no excuse" for his campaign running a television ad that inadvertently showed a swastika.

The swastika appeared on a bulletin board in a school hallway, which was shown while James spoke off-screen about failing schools, The Associated Press reports. James said the ad used stock footage, and he had to "admit this was a terrible error on our part. We should have caught this error and we didn't, and there's no excuse." James, who is running against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), said he is "responsible for everything that our team does and fails to do, and I will do everything in my power to make sure this never, ever happens again."

James is black, and said he does "not approve of hatred or bigotry in any form," and anyone saying otherwise is proof of "how low people are willing to go." Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, brought attention to the imagery on Monday, and executive director Lonnie Scott told AP not having a swastika in an ad should "be a pretty basic thing to figure out," adding that this shows "James' lack of preparedness for the United States Senate." Catherine Garcia

1:04 a.m. ET
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An Idaho Fish and Game commissioner sent in his resignation letter on Monday, following intense criticism over photos he shared showing him smiling over dead animals.

Blake Fischer took the photos while in Namibia with his wife, and sent them to several former commissioners in a Sept. 17 email. In his letter to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R), Fischer wrote that it was "poor judgments" that led him to "sharing photos of a hunt in which I did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested." Fischer, whose appointment to the commission was set to expire in 2022, also said he did not want the photos to "harm the integrity and ethic" of the Idaho Fish and Game Department.

In the email, Fischer bragged that his wife "wanted to watch me and 'get a feel' of Africa. So I shot a whole family of baboons. I think she got the idea quick." He included photos from the trip showing him grinning while standing above the bodies of different animals. Several former commissioners called Fischer out on the images, including Keith Stonebraker, who told NBC News the email was "nauseating" and the photos "flew in the face" of ethical hunting standards. "It would be the same as going out and killing fawns," he said. "I thought, 'Why in the world would anybody want to kill a family of baboons?' It just made no sense at all." Catherine Garcia

12:48 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert started Monday's Late Show by half-joking that he missed having an audience to share the crazy news with when he was off last week, in part because he wasn't sure if Kanye West really proposed repealing the 13th Amendment in the Oval Office with President Trump, or whether that was just an absinthe dream. "But one of the strangest and most horrifying stories last week was the disappearance and presumed murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi," who Turkish investigators say was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he said.

One of the more gruesome details involves the alleged 15-man Saudi hit squad that arrived in Istanbul with a bone saw shortly after Khashoggi vanished, one of the 15 apparently a Saudi intelligence autopsy expert. "He's also star of the CBS procedural, CS-I Am the Murderer," Colbert joked, darkly. "Very short episodes — they find the body, he did it, roll credits." The Saudis long denied killing Khashoggi, "but the evidence is overwhelming that Saudi Arabia committed a horrific, violent act," he said, "which can mean only one thing: We're invading Iraq!"

"No reasonable person would take Saudi Arabia's denial seriously," Colbert said, cutting to footage of President Trump suggesting "rogue killers" murdered Khashoggi because the Saudi king denied any involvement. "Here's how weak Trump's excuse is: Even Saudi Arabia is not buying it," he said, pointing to reports saying the Saudis will assert Khashoggi died during an interrogation gone wrong. "Let me ask an obvious question: Any interrogation that involves 15 men and a bone saw, how does that go right?" Colbert ended with one possible explanation for Trump's repeated bending over backwards to excuse the Saudis, and you can watch below. Peter Weber

12:20 a.m. ET

After watching a movie about the Iron Cowboy — a man who completed 50 triathlons in 50 days — Niall McDermott thought, "I could do that."

The 10-year-old from San Francisco tweaked it a little, telling his parents he'd like to run 50 5K races in 50 days. After getting the okay from his pediatrician, McDermott ran his first 5K, with his parents letting him know he could stop whenever he wished. He kept at it, and on Sunday, he ran his 50th 5K alongside a friend. He told KPIX that while he was running, "I was thinking, 'I'm gonna finish this and I can do it, and when I finish it, I won't have to do it anymore.'"

McDermott's grandfather has lung cancer, and McDermott turned his running into a fundraiser, getting $4,000 in pledges that will be donated to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. His mother, Maggie McDermott, is proud of her son for not giving up. "He never complained a single day, said he didn't want to do it, or he's too tired or something hurt," she said. "He was just ready to go every day. I'm amazed." Catherine Garcia

October 15, 2018

"Today was one of those crazy, interesting days," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show, and he was mostly referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) DNA test and "Trump having to eat his words." The news that Warren appears to have a small amount of Native American ancestry, as her family lore holds, has prompted "an interesting ball of emotions for everyone involved," including Native Americans, some of whom seem to be arguing that Warren is claiming tribal membership, and Trump, who promised a $1 million donation if Warren took a DNA test.

As he sees it, Noah said, Warren's "not saying, 'Hey, I'm Native American!' She's just saying, 'Hey, as you can see, it's not like some random lie that my family made up, like I'm not even trying to claim the heritage, I'm just saying that this is where the story came from.' And then Donald today, not only did he say, basically, that he's not going to pay," but he later stipulated that he'll only pay now if he can test Warren himself. Trevor looked confused. "Like, he's the only person that says, 'I will only accept it if it's not an expert,'" he said. "That's such a strange thing to do."

But one thing is clear, Noah said: If he were Warren and entering a presidential debate against Trump, he would make sure they were playing a certain Rihanna song when she walked onstage.

You can watch Noah's full segment on Warren versus Trump below — including the "DNA plot twist," footage of Trump denying he said what he said, Kool-Aid, and this final twist of the knife: "So basically, this white man made a promise to Sen. Warren and then went back on what he said...." Peter Weber

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