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November 8, 2018

President Trump is apparently best described as a past-its-prime '80s rock band, and his midterm strategy is like the hit single that just won't go away.

As the midterm elections approached, Trump kept firing off tweets on the same subjects — immigration, fake news, jobs — that continued to pump up his already excited base. Those tweets, a GOP operative tells CNN, make Trump "like Journey who won't stop playing 'Don't Stop Believing.'"

The source went on to explain that Trump "only plays the same song to his base, every tweet is basically the same," and said "he only trusts what got him the presidency in unique circumstances in 2016." That could explain why, along with playing one Journey hit, the president has humored ongoing "lock her up" chants at rallies two years after he beat Hillary Clinton.

But this source may want to be careful comparing Republican messaging to a band that Trump nearly tore apart. When three Journey bandmates visited Trump in the White House last year, the only remaining original member didn't go, Billboard writes. Guitarist Neal Schon faithfully stuck by the band's creed to "never be used and exploited by anyone, especially band members for politics or any one religion," he later wrote in Facebook post.

Perhaps it's best if Trump sticks with some tried and true favorites for his rallies and metaphors. May we suggest that one single hit by Kid Rock? Kathryn Krawczyk

10:17p.m.

On Thursday, search teams in Northern California discovered seven more bodies in the Camp Fire burn area, bringing the blaze's death toll to 63.

Authorities say there are now 631 people missing, up from 130 on Wednesday evening. The fire, the deadliest in state history, has burned 141,000 acres, destroyed 11,862 structures, and is about 40 percent contained. Most of the deaths occurred in the town of Paradise, which was almost entirely wiped out by the fire. Officials said it could take several weeks to finish searching for victims. Catherine Garcia

9:27p.m.

Another red seat turned blue in Southern California on Thursday, with Democrat Katie Porter defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in the 45th congressional district.

With the latest vote count, Porter, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, has a 6,203-vote lead over Walters. Walters is a Trump supporter, while Porter said she was running "to hold Donald Trump and the powerful special interests in Washington accountable."

Orange County has been a Republican stronghold for decades, and in 2016, while Hillary Clinton carried the district by five points, Walters was re-elected by 17 points. If Democrat Gil Cisneros defeats Republican Young Kim in the 39th congressional district — the county's last undecided race — Orange County won't have any Republican representatives in Congress. Catherine Garcia

8:56p.m.

After a year of discussions, Department of Justice officials are optimistic they will be able to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into a U.S. courtroom, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

In 2012, Assange received political asylum from Ecuador, and has been living in the country's London embassy. Prosecutors do not yet know what charges they might file, but it could involve the Espionage Act, the Journal reports. Prosecutors are also reportedly considering publicly indicting Assange so the Ecuadorian government could see evidence against him and would have a reason to remove him from the embassy.

Last month, Assange sued Ecuador over his conditions in the embassy, and after a judge rejected his claims, he said he believes he'll soon be kicked out. In 2010, Chelsea Manning gave WikiLeaks documents related to the Iraq War, and ahead of the 2016 presidential election, WikiLeaks released thousands of emails hacked from Democrats, which Special Counsel Robert Mueller says were provided by Russian intelligence officers. Catherine Garcia

7:36p.m.

FBI agents are investigating the death of a 52-year-old woman while aboard a Princess Cruises ship on its way to Aruba.

Early Tuesday, the woman, whose name has not been released, fell from an upper deck onto a lifeboat, authorities in Aruba said. A local news outlet said witnesses saw the woman fighting with another passenger before she plunged to her death.

The Caribbean cruise left Port Everglades, Florida, on Nov. 9, and was traveling from Curacao to Aruba when the woman died. Her husband was on the ship with her, HuffPost reports, and has not been named as a suspect. A spokeswoman for the Aruba Public Prosecutor's Office told USA Today it is "obvious that she fell, but why did she fall? Was she pushed? Did she jump? That is what we are investigating, to find out exactly what happened." Catherine Garcia

6:42p.m.

Following the conclusion of a machine recount on Thursday afternoon, the state of Florida ordered a manual recount in the Senate race.

The incumbent, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, is about 12,600 votes behind his challenger, Republican Rick Scott, the state's current governor. At least three counties did not submit their machine recount results by the 3 p.m. deadline, and are going with the counts submitted last Saturday. About an hour before the deadline, Palm Beach County announced it was not going to finish in time, and Broward County was late by two minutes, because the person uploading the results didn't know how to use the website, The Miami Herald's Alex Harris said on MSNBC.

A hand recount was not ordered for the governor's race, where Republican Ron DeSantis has a .41 percent lead over Democrat Andrew Gillum, outside the .25 percent threshold for a manual recount. Catherine Garcia

5:08p.m.

It was always too good to be true.

The story of a homeless man using his last $20 to buy gas for a stranded New Jersey woman warmed hearts and brought in more than $400,000 in a GoFundMe campaign about a year ago. But now, the man, the woman, and her husband have been arrested on charges that the whole thing was a scam, BuzzFeed News reports.

Late last year, Kate McClure said she'd run out of gas while driving to Philadelphia. A homeless man named Johnny Bobbitt came to her rescue, she said, so she and her boyfriend Mike D'Amico launched a fundraising campaign to pay him back. Things started looking sketchy when Bobbitt said he didn't get much of the money, eventually winning $75,000 in an August lawsuit against McClure and D'Amico, Forbes notes. And now, prosecutors say the whole story was fake.

In text messages sent just an hour after she launched the fundraiser, McClure told a friend she'd made the "buying gas" part of the story up, a New Jersey prosecutor said Thursday. Bobbitt was homeless, McClure said, but they'd allegedly staged a photo together to craft a scheme to split the money. All the money raised by the campaign has since been spent, with more than $100,000 withdrawn at or near casinos, BuzzFeed News says. And D'Amico, McClure, and Bobbitt have all been arrested on second-degree theft charges. GoFundMe has pledged to refund the 14,000 people who donated to Bobbitt. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:25p.m.

Get ready to one day see Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Academy Awards.

Apple, having previously set aside $1 billion to start producing original TV shows and films, has signed a multi-year deal for original movies with hit indie studio A24, Variety reported Thursday.

Some of A24's films include Moonlight, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2017, as well as Room, Lady Bird, The Florida Project, The Disaster Artist, and The Witch. Founded in 2012, the studio has had at least one film nominated at the Oscars for the past three years, and in 2019, its movies Eighth Grade, Hereditary, and Mid90s are among those in contention for top awards. Apple did not buy A24 completely, though, as had been rumored.

The deal with Apple is not exclusive, so A24 will make an unspecified number of movies for Apple and other movies elsewhere. It's not yet clear whether these films will be released in theaters or premiere exclusively on an Apple streaming platform, Variety writes.

This news shows that Apple is committed to attracting some serious talent for its slate of originals: the company reeled in Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Chris Evans, and Charlie Day for its new Apple TV shows. Before this deal, Apple acquired the rights to two movies from the Toronto International Film Festival, Deadline points out.

Amazon and Netflix have both previously received Oscar nominations for their original films, and Netflix's Roma is thought to have a chance at Best Picture in 2019. No streaming platform has yet taken home that top prize — it remains to be seen who might get there first, but with Apple now in the mix, the race is on. Brendan Morrow

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