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October 12, 2018

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) is crushing fundraising records in his campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). But will it matter?

On Friday, O'Rourke tweeted a video revealing his campaign had raked in $38.1 million over the last three-month fundraising quarter. That significantly beat out the previous quarterly record for a Senate candidate, set in 2000 when former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) raised $22 million in his losing Senate bid against Hillary Clinton. It's also about triple the $12 million Cruz's campaign says it's raised in the same amount of time, per the Texas Tribune.

None of the donors were corporations or PACs, O'Rourke's campaign touted. But the idea that O'Rourke supporters are from "everywhere" — not necessarily just Texas — has become a sticking point. In September, Cruz suggested O'Rourke's money was coming from "wealthy liberal[s] sitting in New York City or Massachusetts or San Francisco."

Despite the cash flow, O'Rourke was still 9 points behind Cruz in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. That caused at least one Democratic former Senate staffer to lament the potentially wasted millions going to O'Rourke's campaign. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:53 a.m. ET

President Trump has insisted on rebranding Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as "Pocahontas" — despite Warren's attempt to rebut his criticism, Trump is not letting it go.

Trump on Tuesday called Warren a "complete and total fraud" whose claims of Native American ancestry were "a scam and a lie." He derided Warren's Monday video revealing the results of a DNA test that indicated "strong evidence" of her Native American ancestry. The test, according to Trump, was "bogus."

Warren released the video in response to Trump's July promise that he would give $1 million to her "favorite charity" if a DNA test proved she had Cherokee ancestry. Trump on Monday declared he never made the promise, then later said he'd have to "test [Warren] personally" if she really wanted the money.

In his string of tweets, Trump thanked Cherokee Nation for "revealing" Warren's results as a "scam and a lie." The tribe called Warren's DNA test "useless to determine tribal citizenship" in a Monday statement.

Lastly, Trump claimed that Harvard University, where the senator previously taught, only hired Warren because they "called her 'a person of color.'" Warren's "claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty" when deciding to hire her, a Boston Globe investigation found. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:41 a.m. ET

President Trump would like you to forget that he boasted of his business deals in Saudi Arabia many times throughout his presidential campaign.

The president on Tuesday tweeted that he has "no financial interests in Saudi Arabia," and any suggestion otherwise is just "FAKE NEWS." Trump distanced himself from foreign interests after critics suggested his business with Saudi Arabia may influence his response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials believe was murdered when he went to visit the Saudi consulate.

But Trump has long touted his past dealings with Saudi Arabia. "I love the Saudis," he said at his very first campaign event at Trump Tower. "Many are in this building." Trump sold a full floor of Trump World Tower to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for $12 million in 2001, reports CBS News. More recently, CNN reports, a lobbying firm for Saudi Arabia paid the Trump International Hotel about $270,000 between 2016 and 2017. And per The Washington Post, Trump's hotels have seen a substantial uptick in Saudi visitors this year.

In 2015, Trump said that he "makes a lot of money with" the Saudis and that "they pay me millions and hundreds of millions." And at a rally, he suggested he likes Saudi Arabia specifically because of his business dealings there. "They buy apartments from me," he said. "They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much." Brendan Morrow

10:33 a.m. ET
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The police cannot simply kill your dog because you have failed to license it with the city, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, reversing a lower court decision.

The case in question involved a police raid on the Detroit home of Nikita Smith in response to a report that marijuana was sold there. While executing the search warrant, officers fatally shot Smith's three dogs, one of which was pregnant. An officer allegedly commented after shooting a dog, "Did you see that? I got that one good." The raid turned up 25.8 grams of marijuana, and Smith was given a misdemeanor charge that was later dismissed.

She sued over the death of her dogs, and a district court ruled the suit could not go forward because Smith did not have "legitimate possessory interest" in the dogs "because they were unlicensed." The appeals court disagreed, holding that just "as the police cannot destroy every unlicensed car or gun on the spot, they cannot kill every unlicensed dog on the spot." Smith's suit can now proceed.

"The opinion establishes that pet owners' Fourth Amendment rights do not depend on a license," said Smith's lawyer, Chris Olson. "More importantly, the opinion foreclosed a post hoc 'get out of jail free card' for police officers that unreasonably shoot dogs every day in this country." Bonnie Kristian

10:06 a.m. ET
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

China's detention of religious and ethic minorities, notably Uighur Muslims, is the "largest internment of civilians in the world today," outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Monday night. "It may be the largest since World War II," she added, labeling the arrangement "straight out of George Orwell."

"At least a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been imprisoned in so-called 're-education camps' in western China," Haley reported, accusing Beijing of using torture to force them "to renounce their religion and to pledge allegiance to the Communist Party."

China on Tuesday responded with its most significant defense of the camps to date, tacitly admitting detainees are held at length against their will. Shohrat Zakir, chair of the government in the Xinjiang autonomous region where many Uighurs live, told state-run media the facilities are "humane" vocational training centers with amenities including air conditioning, sports, and movie screenings. He described them as a useful tool for opposing "terrorism and extremism."

"Today's Xinjiang is not only beautiful but also safe and stable," he said. "No matter where they are or at what time of the day, people are no longer afraid of going out, shopping, dining, and traveling." Zakir is himself an ethnic Uighur. Bonnie Kristian

9:58 a.m. ET
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A rising star in the Republican Party is dangerously close to losing her seat in the House.

A University of Utah poll released Monday shows that Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) and her Democratic opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, are now tied. Each candidate has 46 percent support, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Another 8 percent of those polled remain undecided.

This is the first major poll released in the Utah congressional race that shows Love without any advantage over McAdams, reports Real Clear Politics; she previously held a lead of at least three points. In fact, the same poll in June found that Love held a six-point advantage over McAdams. Love hasn't lost her Republican support, notes the Tribune, rather, McAdams has been more successful at picking up undecided voters. Love told reporters on Monday that she didn't believe the poll and that she normally "runs five points ahead of what the Tribune" finds.

Love was elected in 2014 as Congress' first black Republican woman, and she easily won her re-election in 2016. Real Clear Politics lists Utah's 4th Congressional District as one of 30 toss-ups in the midterms. Democrats are vying to win 23 seats in order to take control of the House.

The University of Utah's poll was conducted by speaking to 403 registered voters from Oct. 3 to Oct. 11. The margin of error is 4.3 percentage points. Brendan Morrow

9:22 a.m. ET
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WWE is not altering its plans to hold an event in Saudi Arabia amid mounting criticism from fans and reportedly even its own employees.

Some wrestlers on WWE's roster are uncomfortable performing at Crown Jewel, a wrestling pay-per-view event scheduled for next month in Saudi Arabia, reports Sports Illustrated. This follows the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after arriving at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. The Saudi government is reportedly preparing to report he was killed during a botched interrogation after weeks of claiming no knowledge. Turkey says it has evidence Khashoggi's body was dismembered.

Khashoggi's disappearance has prompted various forms of corporate protest — JPMorgan Chase pulled out of an upcoming business conference in Saudi Arabia, and a Hollywood talent firm has threatened to return a $400 million Saudi investment. WWE fans are watching closely, but the wrestling company simply said in a vague statement to the New York Post that it continues to "maintain an open line of communication" with its wrestlers and will "monitor the situation."

WWE first held an event in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, and was criticized for painting an image of a progressive nation. The broadcast showed images of women driving, but no female WWE wrestlers were allowed to perform. "Given the nation's poor record with human rights," wrote Sports Illustrated, citing current performers' concerns, WWE should "indefinitely suspend all shows in Saudi Arabia." Brendan Morrow

8:33 a.m. ET
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Secretary of Defense James Mattis isn't going anywhere just yet.

Mattis told reporters on Monday that Trump has assured him he is "100 percent" behind him, per CBS News. This came after Trump told 60 Minutes on Sunday that it "could be" that his secretary of defense will leave the administration because "I think he's sort of a Democrat."

In response, the retired four-star Marine Corps general told reporters that he has actually never registered for a political party, and his "portfolio is bipartisan." He also said he and the president have "never talked" about the possibility of him leaving the administration.

60 Minutes' question for Trump came following reports that Trump and Mattis' relationship had grown strained; The New York Times reported in September that the president has "soured on his defense secretary" and is "increasingly concerned that he is a Democrat at heart." With such a high turnover rate in the Trump administration, this has naturally raised the question of whether Mattis is on his way out, but for now, he says he's "on [Trump's] team." Brendan Morrow

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