November 4, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has revealed his new motto, and it's one that chills liberals to the bone.

Appearing alongside President Trump at his "Keep America Great" rally Monday night in Lexington, Kentucky, McConnell was downright giddy talking about all the judges who have been confirmed since January 2017. "Working together, we're changing the federal courts forever," McConnell said. "Nobody's done more to change the court system in the history of our country than Donald Trump. And Mr. President, we're gonna keep on doing it. My motto is, 'Leave no vacancy behind.'"

That's a change from his apparent 2016 motto: "Leave no vacancy behind, unless it's on the Supreme Court, and there's a Democrat in the White House." Catherine Garcia

5:02 p.m.

Guess who's back?

Apple TV+ on Tuesday announced it has signed a deal with comedian Jon Stewart for multiple seasons of a new current affairs show. This will be Stewart's return to television over five years after his departure from The Daily Show, the streamer noted in a statement. Apple TV+ also said Stewart has signed a first-look deal with the company for "projects to be produced and developed for the service."

Stewart's new show was described as a "one-hour, single-issue series" that will "explore topics that are currently part of the national conversation and his advocacy work," and each season will be accompanied by a companion podcast. Since he left The Daily Show, Stewart has been particularly vocal in advocating for 9/11 first responders. Trevor Noah took over as host of The Daily Show in 2015.

Though this new show will mark Stewart's television return, the comedian earlier this year directed the political comedy Irresistible starring Steve Carell, which received mixed reviews from critics. Speaking in an interview with The New York Times in June about whether he wishes he still had his own show, Stewart said, "Sometimes I do. But not the one that I had. The one that I had is in wonderful hands and continues to elevate in a way that I couldn’t have. My efficacy for that kind of conversation has passed." Brendan Morrow

4:52 p.m.

President Trump's obsession with 60 Minutes has lasted far longer.

Last week, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) all sat with 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl for interviews ahead of the upcoming election. But Trump didn't exactly stay for long, walking out in the middle of the interview and then complaining about it for days on end.

Trump has since spent the past few days repeatedly attacking Stahl, including at his Tuesday rally in Michigan. Echoing his offensive remark to Megyn Kelly five years ago, Trump declared Stahl had "fire coming out of her eyes" when she asked Trump if he was "ready for some tough questions."

Trump's comments came after TMZ reported CBS had hired a security detail for Stahl after she received a death threat. Someone reportedly called one of Stahl's family members and threatened Stahl and her family shortly before Trump shared the 60 Minutes interview. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:10 p.m.

One week out from Election Day, President Trump's campaign is reportedly pulling advertising out of Florida.

The president's re-election campaign has "all but pulled its advertising" out of the crucial state that he carried in 2016, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The campaign reportedly canceled $5.5 million in ad spending in Florida during the final two weeks of the 2020 campaign and is now focusing on four states: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh in a call with reporters on Tuesday predicted that Florida, where Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have been roughly tied in polls, is "going to go the president's way," citing his "ground game" in the state.

Trump's campaign reportedly does still have about $350,000 in advertising spending budgeted for Florida through Election Day, but Bloomberg notes that the president "has cut $24 million from his national ad budget" since Labor Day, whereas Biden "has added $197 million." Read more at Bloomberg. Brendan Morrow

3:11 p.m.

President Trump's receipts from his own properties keep piling up — but he's not the one paying the bill.

The U.S. government and Trump's supporters have paid at least a combined $8.1 million to Trump's properties throughout his presidency, documents and public records obtained by The Washington Post have so far revealed. Those payments covered everything from rooms for Secret Service agents, to a variety of candles, to even the $3 water Trump and Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe sipped at a summit in 2018.

Trump has visited his properties around the world more than 280 times since his inauguration, bringing Secret Service protection and often his family and foreign leaders along with him. During the summit with Abe at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's aides stayed in a $2,600-night house owned by the Trump Organization, records show. When Trump met with Xi Jinping of China, the club charged the government $7,700 for Trump and Xi's dinner. And when Abe returned a year later, taxpayers covered $6,000 worth of floral arrangements for the occasion. Trump's Christmas visit to the club — no foreign visits included — resulted in a $32,400 charge for the Secret Service's guest rooms, the Post reports.

And by holding government-funded events at his properties, Trump has turned them into "magnets for GOP events, including glitzy fundraisers for his own reelection campaign," the Post writes. Trump's campaign and fundraising committee have so far spent $5.6 million at Trump properties, "turning campaign donations into private revenue" even as his campaign war chest ran dry, the Post continues. It all flies in the face of Trump's insistence that he's losing money by serving as president.

"Any suggestion that the president has used his own official travel or the federal government as a way to profit off of taxpayers is an absolute disgrace and lie," White House spokesperson Judd Deere said. Read more at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:53 p.m.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's critics are perplexed by his concurring opinion following the court's 5-3 ruling that Wisconsin can only count absentee ballots that arrive by Election Day, describing his reasoning as "sloppy."

One of the accusations hurled at Kavanaugh is that he confused receipt and submission deadlines while making his point. The Wisconsin case involved extending the former in light of U.S. Postal Service slowdowns, but Kavanaugh's analogies appeared more congruent with the latter.

Kavanaugh was also criticized for his stance that the deadline should remain intact so that the "apparent winner" on the morning after election night doesn't have their victory overturned by late-arriving ballots, which could spark allegations of a "rigged election." In response, observers argued that declaring an election winner on Nov. 3 isn't necessary and that it's reasonable for close races in states to remain uncalled.

Finally, analysts called Kavanaugh out for apparently misreading a source that influenced his decision. Tim O'Donnell

2:16 p.m.

Netflix is drafting Jaden Michael to star as Colin Kaepernick in a new series.

The streaming service on Tuesday revealed that Michael has been cast as Kaepernick in Colin in Black & White, the upcoming limited drama series about the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback from Ava DuVernay, Variety reports. The young actor has starred in shows like The Get Down and movies like Vampires vs. The Bronx and Wonderstruck.

Netflix previously announced that DuVernay was working on this six-episode drama series, which according to The Hollywood Reporter will "examine Kaepernick's adolescent life, focusing on his high school years and the acts and experiences that led him to become the activist he is today."

Kaepernick, who will narrate the show and also produce it, has said the series will "explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community." He wrote on Tuesday that he "never thought I would be casting a young me in a show about my life" but that he "can't wait for the world to see" Michael "be an all-star." Brendan Morrow

2:10 p.m.

Former President Barack Obama brought some big dad energy to his latest rally for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Obama held a drive-in rally Tuesday in Florida, a state Obama won twice and is critical to Biden's election. He spent his speech mocking Republicans, asking attendees to imagine a world without Trump, and even bringing back some old favorite catchphrases to encourage Floridians to vote.

Obama kicked off the rally by calling out voters for being "complacent" in 2016. "And look at what happened," Obama said. America has ended up with a president and Republican Senate that's constantly promising a better health care plan and never following through, like a Popeye character who "always needed to borrow some money for a hamburger," Obama said. He acknowledged the audience may have been too young for the reference, but it still got some approving boos. That's when Obama brought out a popular line: "Don't boo, vote."

Obama then turned his attention to President Trump, his pandemic response, and his overall "bizarre behavior." Trump has bragged about having the support of "some of our greatest adversaries" and advised Americans to "inject bleach to cure COVID," to name a few confusing choices, Obama noted. "Even Florida man wouldn't be doing some of this stuff," Obama joked.

And at the end of it all, Obama made a very wholesome request: "Honk if you're fired up. Honk if you're ready to go." Kathryn Krawczyk

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