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Happy Wednesday morning. There are 27 days until Election Day.
News: The Congressional Leadership Fund, the House Republican-aligned super PAC, raised $73 million in the third quarter, once again far surpassing its Democratic counterpart.
Even in today’s era of massive super PAC fundraising, CLF’s numbers are eye-popping. The super PAC – a critical part of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s political machine – has $114 million on hand. CLF has taken in $220 million overall this cycle.
CLF and the American Action Network – its related non-profit – have raised $295 million combined, $80 million more than they raised during the entire 2020 cycle.
The NRCC – the official campaign arm of House Republicans – has taken in another $240 million through Aug. 31. That’s $535 million for just those three organizations. Add to that candidates’ campaign funds, the RNC, state parties, and other super PACs, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.
CLF’s massive fundraising has been nagging at House Democrats. House Majority PAC, the Democrats’ super PAC, raised $55 million in the third quarter. That’s a lot but still only three-quarters of CLF’s total. HMP has raised $134 million for the entire cycle, which is $86 million less than CLF.
House Democrats gripe that GOP mega-donors – wealthy individuals and corporations – are more willing to cut big checks than Democratic supporters. That’s clearly true. But there’s an acknowledgement in Democratic circles that HMP and the party more broadly need to figure out how to keep pace with Republicans. The fundraising gap has hampered Democratic prospects around the country and imperiled their House majority, party leaders say.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
One week away: Join us in-person, or on the livestream, for our conversation with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) about mobile technology security and app store legislation. We’ll be talking to her on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 9 a.m. ET at Hawk ‘N’ Dove. RSVP here.
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INSIDE THE SELECT COMMITTEE
What to expect in Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing
News: The Jan. 6 select committee plans to present a new video featuring GOP operative Roger Stone in what could be their last public hearing on Thursday, according to several sources with knowledge of the matter.
Danish filmmakers followed Stone — a longtime confidant of former President Donald Trump – for two years as part of a documentary. This includes the period up to and during Jan. 6. CNN reported that Stone called for contesting the 2020 election results even before the vote was held, supporting the use of violence to ensure Trump won.
In addition, the panel plans to unveil evidence developed from an enormous tranche of records provided to investigators by the Secret Service. NBC reported that the agency handed over more than 1 million electronic communications related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
As always, the select committee is being tight-lipped about what to expect when they gavel in at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
Here are a few details we’ve been able to gather:
The hearing will be divided into several parts, with one lawmaker leading each segment.
The current plan as of late Tuesday night was that there will be no witnesses testifying.
The select committee plans to preview and summarize what they intend to include in their report, which is slated to come out later this year.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
Biden: Saudis will face ‘consequences’ over oil move with Russia
President Joe Biden said Tuesday night that there will be “consequences” for Saudi Arabia after it joined with Russia and other OPEC+ countries last week to cut oil production in the midst of a growing energy crisis.
The decision by Saudi Arabia was a boost for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has faced crippling Western sanctions following the late February invasion of Ukraine.
Biden’s comments come amidst growing anger on Capitol Hill – among Democrats especially – over the longstanding U.S relationship with Saudi Arabia. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendenz (D-N.J.) has called for “a freeze in all aspects of our cooperation with SaudI Arabia,” including arms sales. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin asserted Saudi Arabia “is not a trustworthy ally.” Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) have drafted a resolution to block all arms sales to Saudi Arabia for one year. The two Democrats hope to get a vote on their measure next month.
During an interview Tuesday with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Biden signaled his own displeasure with the Saudi government but he didn’t specify what steps may be taken.
“We should, we should – and I am – in the process, when the House and Senate get back, there’s going to be some consequences for what they [the Saudis] have done with Russia.”
Biden added that he was “not going to get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind. But there will be consequences.”
As we noted, Democrats in particular have called for a reassessment of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. A lot of Democratic unhappiness is driven by the disastrous Saudi military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, an effort supported initially by the Obama administration but which later turned into one the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
The Obama administration also approved tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, in part to mollify Saudi concerns over the Iran nuclear accord – a deal backed overwhelmingly by Democrats.
Candidate Biden vowed in 2019 to make the Saudis a “pariah” over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi the previous year. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, recently named the Saudi prime minister, reportedly ordered that murder, the CIA determined.
Yet by last year, the Biden administration green-lighted a $650 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia. The Senate rejected a resolution by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to block the sale.
And then there was the “fist bump heard ‘round the world” in mid-July between Biden and MBS during the president’s visit to Jeddah. Biden insisted repeatedly to Tapper that his trip to Saudi Arabia “wasn’t about oil” but rather broader geopolitical issues.
U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia have been incredibly complex for the last 30 years, ever since the first Gulf War. Sept. 11 made it even more difficult. The United States is Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner, and the Saudis are America’s most important ally in the Middle East after Israel. The Saudis also spend millions of dollars annually lobbying the administration and Congress, so we expect those efforts to kick into high gear during the next few weeks as this issue dominates headlines.
Republicans have taken a lower-profile role here so far. Former President Donald Trump was much closer with the Saudis than Biden, of course. Hill Republicans have criticized Biden over mishandling both the bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia following the OPEC+ announcement and U.S. energy policy. So we’ll have to see how they respond to Biden’s latest pronouncement.
WSJ: “Saudi Arabia Defied U.S. Warnings Ahead of OPEC+ Production Cut,” by Summer Said, Benoit Faucon, Dion Nissenbaum and Stephen Kalin, with a Riyadh dateline
NYT: “Biden Vows ‘Consequences’ for Saudi Arabia After Oil Production Cut,” by Peter Baker
Bloomberg: “Biden Vows to Punish Saudis But Struggles to Calibrate Response” by Justin Sink and Steven T. Dennis
– John Bresnahan
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The spot highlights that the Frontline Democrat “profited from stock trades in medical and tech companies that were involved in the Covid-19 response.”
Malinowski is one of the most vulnerable House incumbents. He’s facing Republican Tom Kean Jr. in New Jersey’s 7th District.
Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock holds a small lead over Republican Herschel Walker in a new University of Georgia poll first reported by our friend Greg Bluestein at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Warnock is at 46%, with Walker at 43%. Libertarian Chase Oliver is at 4%, with 6% undecided.
In the governor’s race, Republican Brian Kemp is handily beating Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp is at 51% compared to 41% for Abrams. Libertarian Shane Hazel is pulling in 2%, with 6% undecided. If any candidate gets more than 50%, there’s no runoff.
Speaking of UGA, Warnock is running an ad featuring University of Georgia alumni saying they like Walker as a football player but want Warnock as a senator. The ad is running in Albany, Atlanta and Macon.
— Max Cohen, Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
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All times eastern
8:30 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily briefing.
9:15 a.m.: Biden will leave for Andrews, where he’ll fly to Vail, Colo.
9:30 a.m.: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) will speak in the Capitol about their bill to ban arm sales to Saudi Arabia.
1:15 p.m.: Biden will arrive in Vail and head to Camp Hale. Biden will be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Colorado’s Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Colorado’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. Here’s the fact sheet from the White House about the trip.
3:30 p.m.: Biden will speak about “protecting and conserving America’s iconic outdoor spaces.”
5:35 p.m.: Biden will leave Vail for Los Angeles. He will arrive at 7:30 p.m.
7:50 p.m.: Biden will arrive in Santa Monica, Calif.
Vice President Kamala Harris will appear on radio shows in Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to talk about the administration’s accomplishments.
“For Zeldin, a Shooting Hits Close to Home and to His Campaign Theme,” by Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Grace Ashford
“Some Ukrainians Brace for Possibility of Russian Nuclear Strike,” by Megan Specia in Kyiv
“Woman says she had to press Herschel Walker to pay for abortion he wanted,” by Annie Linskey and Alice Crites
“Russian military ‘exhausted,’ Putin’s judgment ‘flawed,’ U.K. spy chief says,” by Adela Suliman in London
“Nasdaq Falls Into Bear Market After Volatile Day,” by Corrie Driebusch and Will Horner
“U.K. Crisis Spills Into U.S. Junk Debt,” by Matt Wirz and Caitlin Ostroff
“Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant loses external power,” by Adam Schreck in Kyiv
“Treasury Department probing DeSantis’ migrant flights,” by Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Fla., and Lisa Kashinsky
“Protests, anger, tears roil L.A. City Council meeting over leaked racist recordings,” by Benjamin Oreskes, David Zahniser, Julia Wick, Dakota Smith and Libor Jany
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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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