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August 8, 2018

President Trump's legal team said Wednesday that it wants to narrow the focus of a future interview between the president and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, rejecting Mueller's latest offer, The New York Times reports.

Mueller's team, investigating the Trump campaign's potential involvement with Russian interference in the 2016 election, is negotiating with Trump's lawyers to establish a framework for the sit-down. Trump's lawyers reportedly don't want him to answer questions about obstruction of justice out of concern that he could perjure himself.

The president has disregarded recommendations that he decline to interview at all, instead tasking his legal team with eight months of negotiations over the terms. Attorney Rudy Giuliani expressed his frustration with the process, saying in a statement that it's "time for the Office of Special Counsel to conclude its inquiry without further delay," putting the onus on Mueller to make an interview offer that Trump's legal team can happily accept. However, the Times notes, continually pushing back on negotiations could make Team Trump look like they are purposefully prolonging the process, rather than acting in good faith to plan the meeting.

Mueller has reportedly threatened to subpoena Trump if he does not agree to an interview. Giuliani has insisted that Trump could not be subpoenaed while in office. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

10:18a.m.

Two weeks ahead of a likely tight election, Democrats' lead over Republicans in battleground districts has narrowed slightly, but there's at least one area where they've retained a decisive advantage.

A new Washington Post-Schar School poll of likely voters in 69 battleground districts found that of the 10 percent who have an unfavorable view of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, about 6 in 10 prefer the Democratic candidates in their area. This 15-point advantage for the Democrats is a shift from 2014, when the Republicans had a 17-point advantage among battleground district voters who dislike both parties. Republicans that year ended up with their largest House majority since 1928.

These voters could be key, as all signs are pointing to a close election. Democrats overall have a slim three-point advantage over Republicans in this poll of battleground districts, which falls within the margin of error. That lead is down slightly from a Washington Post poll conducted earlier this month, in which Democrats had a four-point advantage.

The Democratic Party is looking to gain 23 seats in order to take the majority in the House. At the moment, they are favored to do so, while Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Senate.

This poll was conducted by speaking to 1,545 registered voters, including 1,269 likely voters, in battleground districts online or over the phone from Oct. 15 through Oct. 21. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. See more results at The Washington Post. Brendan Morrow

10:18a.m.

Conspiracy-monger Alex Jones was on hand for the campaign rally with President Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in Houston Monday night, and he had a full conversation with a pile of horse poop.

Addressing the pile as "Beto" — as in, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), Cruz's Democratic challenger — Jones screamed attacks at his silent foe, making sure to glance up at the Infowars camera every few seconds. The performance was caught by Reason editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who was covering the rally:

Jones' rant is difficult to decipher as he is at least 20 feet from Brown, but he seems to take issue with O'Rourke's nickname, which Cruz and his allies have suggested is an attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters. Beto is a childhood moniker based on O'Rourke's full name, Robert.

Unfortunately for Jones, his interviewee wasn't giving him the answers he wanted. "Talk to me!" he yelled at the poop. "Treat me like a human!" Bonnie Kristian

10:01a.m.

A Florida man named Bruce Michael Alexander has been charged with abusive sexual contact after he allegedly groped a woman on a flight from Houston to Albuquerque Sunday. His defense, per court documents: President Trump approves.

Alexander was seated behind the woman, identified only as C.W., while she napped. She reports she awoke to find him lifting her sweater and touching her near her bra line. C.W. wrote the first touch off as an accident, but about half an hour later, she says she was groped again. This time, she confronted Alexander and asked flight attendants to move him to another seat.

"After being placed in handcuffs" following landing, the criminal complaint against Alexander says, he asked officers about the sentence associated with his charge. He then invoked the Trump defense, telling them "the president of the United States says it's okay to grab women by their private parts."

It won't fly in court, but he's not wrong. Bonnie Kristian

9:30a.m.

Game 1 of the 2018 World Series is just hours away.

The best-of-seven series between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers — two of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball — is sure to be compelling. Clayton Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher of his generation, will start for the Dodgers tonight, facing off against Red Sox ace Chris Sale. The game starts at 8:09 p.m. ET.

Here are a few compelling numbers to help get you excited for this historic series.

102 — Years since the Red Sox and the Dodgers last faced off in the World Series. At the time — 1916! — the Dodgers were known as the Brooklyn Robins.

30 — Years since the Dodgers last won the World Series.

3 — Times the Red Sox have won the World Series since 2004, last doing so in 2013. Prior to 2004, the Red Sox hadn't won since 1918.

8 - Years since the Dodgers last played at Fenway Park.

50 — Temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, expected at Fenway Park during Game 1, although temperatures could drop into the 40s.

108 — Wins the Red Sox racked up during the regular season, 16 more than the Dodgers. This was a franchise record for the Red Sox.

$29 million — How much more expensive the Red Sox's payroll is than the Dodgers'; the Red Sox lead the MLB with $228.4 million, while the Dodgers come in third with $199.6 million.

$74 — Money you'd win if you successfully bet $100 on the Red Sox to win the World Series.

$115 — Money you'd win if you successfully bet $100 on the Dodgers to win the World Series.

1 - Supposed belly-button ring infection that kept Chris Sale from his last start in the American League Championship Series.

1 - Throat-slashing gesture made by fiery Dodgers star Yasiel Puig after belting a three-run homer in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. He also engaged in multiple "crotch chops."

Should be a fun series. Let's play ball! Brendan Morrow

8:50a.m.

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has reached a record $1.6 billion ahead of Tuesday night's drawing. The semi-weekly prize has been ballooning since July 24, and had reached $1 billion ahead of Friday night's drawing, when, again, nobody picked all six winning numbers. It is likely someone will win on Tuesday, as 75 percent of the 302 million possible combinations will be chosen by then, based on sales projections. Roughly 57 percent of the combinations had been chosen before Friday's drawing. "Mega Millions has already entered historic territory, but it's truly astounding to think that now the jackpot has reached an all-time world record," said Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Group and director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming. Harold Maass

8:38a.m.

WWE's Raw became all too real Monday night.

At the beginning of the weekly live wrestling show, star Roman Reigns came out to the ring and dropped his fictional persona to make a stunning announcement: He is battling leukemia and will be relinquishing his Universal Championship. The Universal Championship is the WWE's top title, and Reigns had for the past few years been pushed as the face of the wrestling enterprise. He was set to defend his title at the upcoming Crown Jewel pay-per-view event.

Reigns also revealed on the show that he was originally diagnosed with leukemia when he was 22. "I've been living with leukemia for 11 years and unfortunately it's back," he told the crowd. Reigns had never previously discussed a battle with leukemia publicly. Now, he said, he'll be leaving to focus on his health, although he promised fans that he's not retiring and will be returning after he beats cancer a second time. Reigns is typically a controversial figure in the wrestling world, but this segment ended with the live crowd erupting in applause and chanting "Thank you, Roman." After he got out of the ring, his co-workers embraced him in tears.

Watch Reigns' emotional announcement below. Brendan Morrow

7:35a.m.

There are wealthy Democrats throwing money at the 2018 midterms, on track to be the most expensive election in U.S. history, but nobody in either party comes close to Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. With a recent $25 million donation to the GOP super PAC the Senate Leadership Fund, the Adelsons have now given Republicans $113 million through September to help them hold both houses of Congress, surpassing the $82.6 million the couple spent during the entire 2016 election cycle.

The late cash infusion by Adelson, a casino magnate worth an estimated $33.4 billion, is the "new benchmark for the most any individual household has spent on one election — including campaign committees, parties, and PACs — since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010," Roll Call reports, citing OpenSecrets data. "The rankings by OpenSecrets do not include donations through 501(c)(4) 'dark money' groups."

Thanks largely to this unprecedented political largesse, Republicans have passed Democrats in cash for the final stretch of the 2018 campaign, CNN reports. The Adelsons contributed two-thirds of the Senate Leadership Fund's haul last month, and a good share of the House GOP super PAC's windfall, too. The Adelson-flush GOP super PACs have at least evened out the advantage individual Democrats had from outraising their GOP rivals in competitive races.

"There's an intensity to these midterm elections that has been boiling since Election Day 2016," says Sheila Krumholz at the Center for Responsive Politics. But the small-donor furor fueling the Democrats "may not matter as much" on Election Day if one or two large Republican donors can make up the difference. That money may not overcome Democratic enthusiasm to vote in House races, but ProPublica has a long look at Adelson's healthy return on investment. Peter Weber

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