I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Friday, November 2, 2018. 4 days until Election Day 2018. 732 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First in WUTP: America First Policies, a pro-Trump nonprofit closely tied to the president's inner circle, is launching a digital ad campaign featuring Donald Trump Jr., Wake Up To Politics has exclusively learned. The ads will start today and run through Election Day, in seven states (Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Tennessee) and nine congressional districts (ME-02, MI-08, MN-01, MN-08, NC-13, NY-22, PA-10, TX-32, and WV-03). The ads, which will primarily run on Facebook and Google, are part of a broader $1.2 million "get-out-the-vote" effort by America First Policies.
--- Here's an exclusive link to the Missouri version of the 30-second-ad, "Our Time," in which Trump Jr. urges "every patriot in Missouri to get to the polls and vote Republican" next Tuesday. "We always knew the radical left, the mainstream media, and the swamp would fight back, but their time is over," he says. "This is our time, our nation, and our future on the line."
Trump's closing message: President Trump continued to focus on immigration on Thursday, speaking from the White House about plans to "sign an order next week that could lead to the large-scale detention of migrants crossing the southern border and bar anyone caught crossing illegally from claiming asylum," according to the Associated Press. But as Trump escalates his immigration rhetoric in the final days of the midterm campaign, some Republicans are reportedly unsure if it will work:
- "Trump's immigration obsession could backfire, some Republicans fear" (Politico)
- "Trump’s Nationalism Is Breaking Point for Some Suburban Voters, Risking G.O.P. Coalition" (New York Times)
Trump also made immigration his focus at a campaign rally in Columbia, Missouri on Thursday night. "We're going to keep these people out of our country," he said. "Vote Republican." The president attacked Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), calling her a "far-left Democrat," while praising her opponent, state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R-MO) as "a star."
--- Trump's White House speech on Thursday included many inaccurate claims. In fact, according to the Washington Post this morning, the president has made 6,420 false or misleading claims in his 649 days as president. In the seven weeks leading up to the midterms, through October 30, he made 1,419 false or misleading claims, an average of 30 a day.
--- Quote of the day: "We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible, because for seven days nobody talked about the elections," Trump said at the Missouri rally. He seemed to be referring to the pipe bombs mailed to 13 of his most prominent critics and the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that took 11 lives.
Russia investigation: Special counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate Trump associate Roger Stone, probing whether he knew in advance about WikiLeaks' 2016 plans to release thousands of emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, which had been hacked by Russia. The New York Times has published an email exchange between Stone and Trump campaign officials in which he presents himself "as a conduit of inside information from WikiLeaks." The question: was the well-known "dirty trickster" breaking the law, or just exaggerating his knowledge?
Trump Administration: The White House is "growing increasingly concerned" about allegations against Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke regarding his involvement in a Whitefish, Montana land deal, the Washington Post reports. The Interior Department's inspector general referred the inquiry into the land deal to the Justice Department earlier this week. "Trump told his aides that he is afraid Zinke has broken rules while serving as the interior secretary and is concerned about the Justice Department referral," according to the Post, but he has not indicated any plans to fire Zinke.
--- President Trump is expected to nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nauert, a former correspondent on Fox News, would succeed Nikki Haley, who announced plans to step down as ambassador last month.
White House schedule
POTUS: President Trump has the next stops in his pre-midterm campaigning blitz, holding rallies in Huntington, West Virginia (4pm) and Indianapolis, Indiana (7:15pm). There are vulnerable Senate Democrats facing re-election in both states, Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).
VP: Vice President Mike Pence travels to Kansas City, Missouri today, where he will speak at a CPAC event at 2:10pm. Later today, he will attend the president's rally in Indiana, his home state.
Both houses of Congress are on recess.
*All times Eastern