Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 4, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
People vote at outdoor booths during early voting for the mid-term elections in Pasadena, California on November 3, 2018.
Mark Ralston/Getty Images
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Campaigns reach the finish line in tense midterms

Republican and Democratic campaigns across the country made a final push over the weekend to appeal to voters in advance of the midterm elections Tuesday. President Trump stayed busy on the campaign trail with rallies in Montana and Florida Saturday, where he repeated his frequent claim that a Democratic victory means a flood of criminal immigration. Despite Trump's efforts, Democrats are forecast to win control of the House, though the GOP will likely retain the Senate. However, after election predictions overwhelmingly promised a Hillary Clinton win in 2016, few on either side are willing to say that outcome is certain. [The Associated Press, The Hill]


First soldiers arrive at southern border far ahead of shrinking migrant caravan

While the mostly Honduran migrant caravan remains about 700 miles away from the United States in Mexico, the first of up to 15,000 troops the Trump administration plans to send to the border have arrived at their new posts. Around 160 active-duty soldiers were stationed near McAllen, Texas, this weekend, where they will practice drills and build border barriers topped with razor wire. The caravan, meanwhile, has shrunk from its peak of 7,000 people to about 4,000 and splintered into several smaller groups. Younger migrants and those without children are forging ahead at a slightly faster pace than the rest. [The Associated Press, NBC News]


Yoga studio shooting suspect had a record of racism, misogyny online

The suspect in the yoga studio shooting that left three people dead, including the shooter, in Tallahassee, Florida Friday night had a record of making racist and misogynistic comments online, The New York Times reported Saturday. Scott Paul Beierle, 40, reportedly identified as an "involuntary celibate," or "incel," and used violent language to express anger at women who did not date him. He has also been accused of offline harassment and groping. Tallahassee police say Beierle posed as a customer of the yoga studio to get into a hot yoga class before he opened fire. [The New York Times, CBS News]


Little-known false Kavanaugh accuser referred to DOJ for investigation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Friday asked the Justice Department to investigate a Kentucky woman named Judy Munro-Leighton for making a false accusation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Munro-Leighton reportedly admitted she lied about being the author of an anonymous accusation letter against Kavanaugh. The letter, sent when Kavanaugh was a nominee, was actually penned by Christine Blasey Ford, who later gave congressional testimony about her allegations. Unlike accusations from Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick, Munro-Leighton's claims were not publicized during the nomination process. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations. [The Hill, The Week]


Agriculture secretary says Florida gubernatorial race is 'so cotton-pickin' important'

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Saturday came under fire for using a phrase referring to the historic enslavement of African Americans in describing the import of the Florida gubernatorial race between Ron DeSantis (R) and Andrew Gillum (D), who is black. "Public policy matters. Leadership matters," Purdue said at a campaign rally. "And that is why this election is so cotton-pickin' important to the state of Florida." DeSantis himself previously said Gillum is "articulate" but voters shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing him. [CNN, Politico]


Racist robocalls impersonate Oprah in Georgia gubernatorial race

A white supremacist group called The Road to Power sent out a robocall in Georgia this weekend in which a speaker impersonated Oprah Winfrey and made racist and anti-Semitic comments. Winfrey has campaigned for candidate Stacey Abrams (D), who will be the country's first black woman governor if she bests rival Brian Kemp (R). Both campaigns roundly denounced the robocalls, with Kemp calling them an "absolutely disgusting" example of "unbridled hate and unapologetic bigotry." However, a statement from Abrams' campaign suggested Kemp has previously not been quick enough to denounce racism from his allies. [NBC News, CNN]


U.S. soldier killed in insider attack in Afghanistan

One American soldier was killed and another injured when an Afghan commando shot them in Kabul on Saturday. "Initial reports indicate [Saturday's] attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces," said NATO representative Debra Richardson from Kabul. "The attacker was immediately killed by other Afghan forces." The soldier who was killed has been identified as Brent Taylor, a Utah father of seven who was formerly mayor of the town of North Ogden, near Salt Lake City. "Brent was a hero, a patriot, a wonderful father, and a dear friend," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). [Fox News, The Week]


Thousands remember Pittsburgh synagogue victims at #ShowUpForShabbat events

Thousands of people, both Jewish and gentile, gathered at synagogues and other community spaces around the country Saturday to commemorate the victims of the previous week's deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. The memorial events, dubbed #ShowUpForShabbat, were open to mourners of any religious persuasion. "Synagogues all over the world will be more filled, rather than less filled," wrote Rabbi Noam Marans of the American Jewish Committee. "We will not run away. We will not cower. We will not allow the hate of a few to drive out the love of the many." [The Jerusalem Post, NBC News]


Amazon warehouse collapse kills 2

Two people were killed in Baltimore, Maryland, late Friday when the wall of an Amazon warehouse building suddenly collapsed. The names of those killed have not been released. The Baltimore area was subject to severe weather, including strong winds, at the time of the collapse. About 50 feet of wall went down, spilling debris into nearby roads and taking out a truck as well as a light pole. "It's still an active scene right now," said Baltimore fire chief Roman Clark on Saturday. "We're going through the rest of the debris to be sure no one else is there." [The Baltimore Sun, The Week]


SNL roasts Fox News' coverage of the migrant caravan

Saturday Night Live took aim in the cold open this week at Fox News' coverage of the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico. Kate McKinnon anchored the segment as Laura Ingraham, reporting on this "vicious caravan of dozens, maybe millions of illegal immigrants" heading "straight for you and your grandchildren." Ingraham heard from fellow Fox talking heads Jeannine Pirro (Cecily Strong) and former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke (Kenan Thompson), but the most questionable detail of all may be the caravan footage Ingraham and her guests provide, which feels ... just a little off, somehow. [NBC News, The Week]