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Russia, China, Iran Aim to Sway Elections, Officials Warn
First came the dire election warning. Minutes later, more Russian meddling charges

Intelligence and homeland security officials are concerned about election meddling — and not just by Russian President Vladimir Putin. China and Iran are also threats. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman with election interference just as top U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies warned that Russia, China, and Iran are running influence campaigns seeking to sway American voters in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential campaigns.

“We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies,” said the statement issued jointly by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security. “These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.”

3 Ways Congress Can Punish Saudi Arabia
Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder prompts bipartisan calls for action

Saudi officials arrive at the White House on March 20 ahead of a visit by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats alike to impose stiff penalties on Saudi Arabia for its suspected murder of a prominent dissident journalist, as new gruesome details were leaked by Turkish intelligence on Wednesday.

The growing congressional outrage over the reported torture, beheading and dismemberment two weeks ago of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is diametrically opposed to the signals coming from President Donald Trump, who has criticized the rush to judge the kingdom. A columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was a resident of Virginia.

Trump Already Facing 2020 Foes on Campaign Trail
Democrats will be making their own Western campaign swings in the week ahead

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who visited Culinary Worker’s Union Local 226 in Las Vegas to launch early voting in 2016, will be back this Saturday in Vegas. Also pictured, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is getting ready for a swing through the Mountain West for campaign rallies, but he won’t be alone. Many of his potential 2020 rivals are hitting the trail themselves, serving as surrogates for Democratic candidates in 2018.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will find himself in Nevada on the same day as one of the president’s “Make America Great Again” spectacles Saturday, though they might as well be on different planets.

Saudi Lobbyists in D.C. Caught in Pompeo Pickle
Some bail, while others wait to see what comes of Mike Pompeo’s trip

President Donald Trump meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia at the White House in March 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Washington lobbyists still on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s payroll amid fallout from the presumed death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are awaiting the outcome of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to the region this week before making any further moves.

Pompeo met Tuesday in Riyadh with Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the brash young second-in-command of the royal government, and planned to head Wednesday to Turkey where Khashoggi was last seen.

Lindsey Graham Sees Big Election Night for Senate Republicans
Speaking at Heritage Foundation, Mitch McConnell was predictably more reserved

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is upbeat about the chances for big Senate Republican wins on Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham is very bullish on the chances of Republicans expanding their Senate majority on Election Day in three weeks.

“We’re off to the races. Everything is breaking our way,” the South Carolina senator said Tuesday night. 

Donald Trump Complains Saudis Are ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ on Khashoggi
President compares to Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process

President Donald Trump, seen here meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, in the Oval Office at the White House, has defended the Saudis as accusations of their role in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi mount. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Trump Signals He Doesn’t Believe Saudi Rulers Involved in Journalist’s Death
Tweet follows conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House in March 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled he doesn’t believe Saudi rulers were involved in the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi after a telephone conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate,” Trump tweeted. “He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly.”

Lindsey Graham Wants to ‘Sanction the Hell Out of Saudi Arabia’ Until Crown Prince Is Ousted
South Carolina senator has no doubts about murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Sen. Lindsey Graham will not return to Saudi Arabia until Crown Prince Mohamed bin  is removed from the Kingdom’s power structure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia” in the aftermath of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“You know, we deal with bad people all the time, but this is in our face. I feel personally offended. They have nothing but contempt for us,” the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday morning. “Why would you put a guy like me and the president in this box?”

Is Beto O’Rourke the Next Jon Ossoff?
Democrats can’t seem to help falling for white, Southern men in unlikely races

Democrat Beto O’Rourke historic fundraising numbers set off alarm bells in the GOP that the Texas Senate race was not one to be ignored, Murphy writes. Above, O’Rourke arrives for a rally in Lockhart, Texas, on Oct. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There have been so many glowing profiles of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic Senate hopeful in Texas, that there is a running joke  among journalists about the ingredients for a perfect O’Rourke piece. The short version goes something like this: He looks like a Kennedy! He’s got tons of cash! He’s a Democrat in a Red State! Let’s do this thing!

The one detail that’s almost always missing in those profiles is reality — namely, the fact that O’Rourke could run a perfect race against Sen. Ted Cruz and will still probably lose based solely on the fact that far more Republicans are likely to vote in Texas this November than Democrats. Although twice as many Texans (about 1 million) voted in the Democratic primary this year compared to 2014, 1.5 million votes were cast in the Republican primary. Even as the state’s demographics are changing, the math for Texas Democrats still doesn’t look good.

Why Pelosi Is Likely to Be Speaker Again if Democrats Win Back House
There’s no obvious field of candidates ready to challenge her

It’s hard to see Nancy Pelosi stepping down if the Democrats take back the House next month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — “You can’t beat somebody with nobody.”

That political axiom explains in just six words why Nancy Pelosi is likely to be elected speaker if Democrats retake the House in November. No one has announced plans to challenge the California Democrat, and it’s unclear if anyone will after the election.