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October 19, 2018

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are progressing with their parallel investigations into the Oct. 2 disappearance of Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey says it has evidence a 15-man Saudi death squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi inside the consulate, and a Turkish official told The Associated Press on Friday that authorities are looking into the possibility that the Saudis buried Khashoggi's remains in the nearby Belgrade Forest or the city of Yalova, where consulate vehicles traveled separately on Oct. 2. CNN reports that Turkish intelligence agents searched one of the two Saudi chartered jets that carried the 15 Saudis to and from Istanbul, and it did not appear to contain anything suspicious.

There's speculation that only a Saudi ruler could order a 15-man hit squad to murder a U.S. resident inside a Saudi consulate, but the Saudis "are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi," The New York Times reported Thursday, citing three people with knowledge of the Saudi plans. "The plan to assign blame to Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince, would be an extraordinary recognition of the magnitude of international backlash to hit the kingdom," and it would make it "technically plausible" that the crown prince didn't ordered the killing.

"The Saudi rulers are expected to say that General Assiri received oral authorization from Prince Mohammed to capture Mr. Khashoggi for an interrogation in Saudi Arabia, but either misunderstood his instructions or overstepped that authorization and took the dissident's life," two people told the Times. "People close to the White House have already been briefed and given General Assiri's name." Peter Weber

2:38 a.m.

The Portland Trail Blazers won their Western Conference playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, but it's the way they won that has everyone talking. With the scored tied and the clock almost out, Damian Lillard sank a 37-foot 3-pointer to give the Blazers a 118-115 win, a lopsided 4-1 series victory, and a franchise playoff-record 50 points for Lillard himself.

After nailing the game-winning half-court stunner, Lillard waved a cool goodbye to the Thunder.

Portland, swept in the first round of last year's playoffs, will advance to play either the San Antonio Spurs or Denver Nuggets in this year's Western Conference semifinals. Peter Weber

2:02 a.m.

A 70-year-old woman died Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Canyon after falling over the edge of the South Rim.

Park authorities said they were notified at around 1 p.m. that an incident had occurred near the Pipe Creek Vista, The Arizona Republic reports. Using a helicopter, rescuers spotted the woman's body about 200 feet below the rim. Later in the afternoon, more than a dozen rescuers recovered the body. The woman's name has not been released.

Over the last two months, several people have fallen to their deaths at the Grand Canyon. In early April, a man tumbled over the edge of the canyon, and last month, a tourist from Hong Kong lost his balance while taking photos. Catherine Garcia

1:52 a.m.

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) traveled to New Hampshire to talk politics at St. Anselm College, but unlike many politicians who visit the Granite State, he wasn't declaring his candidacy for president. In fact, Hogan announced that he won't challenge President Trump in the 2020 GOP primary unless he sees "a path to victory."

"I'm not going to launch some sort of suicide mission," Hogan said. Unlike former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R), the only other Republican in the race, "I have a real day job that's important to me, the people of Maryland." It's true that "a lot of people have been approaching me" and asking "me to give this serious consideration," he said. "I'm listening, coming to New Hampshire and listening to people is a part of that process. I've been to 10 states in the past few months and have 16 more on my schedule . . . but I'm not at the point where we're ready."

Hogan is one of the country's most popular governors, but Trump has high approval ratings among Republicans nationally and the Republican National Committee has also put up structural barriers to any candidate who wants to primary Trump in 2020, voting to give its "undivided support" to Trump. Hogan said he "was pretty critical" of the RNC's machinations. "To change the rules and to insist 100 percent loyalty to the dear leader," he said, "it didn’t seem much like the Republican Party that I grew up in." Peter Weber

1:32 a.m.

Writing in cursive comes naturally to Sara Hinesley, and she has the award to prove it.

Hinesley, 10, was born without hands, and to write, she puts a pencil between the ends of her arms. She tried prosthetic hands, but quickly decided that they weren't necessary. "She can do just about anything — oftentimes better than me or my husband," her mom, Cathryn Hinesley, told CNN.

A third-grader at St. John's Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland, Hinesley says that when her teacher taught her how to write in cursive, she thought it was "easy, and I would practice at school." She entered the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, and thanks to her neat cursive, won the Nicholas Maxim Award, which is given to an entrant with a physical, developmental, or intellectual disability. Hinesley said she hopes that other kids "who have challenges learn from me," and see that "if you try your hardest you can do it." Catherine Garcia

1:11 a.m.

On Monday night, CNN hosted five hour-long, back-to-back town halls. "Most of you don't have the time to sit through five hours of town halls, but lucky for you, we don't have a life, so we watched the whole thing so we could give you the highlights," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. He recapped Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) "policy bombshell" about prisoner voting rights and Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-Calif.) gun-law ultimatum to Congress, but lingered on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Warren "has been releasing policies faster than Netflix releases documentaries about serial killers," Noah said, and she actually has a plan to pay for them. "You have to admit, it is brilliant how she just frames it as 2 cents of every dollar about $50 million," he said. It's like "when they ask you to sponsor an African kid, they say 'For just 80 cents a day, you can save this child.' Because if they say, 'You can help this child for $292 a year,' you'd be like, 'Wait a minute, that's an Xbox! You're on your own Mufasa.'"

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), meanwhile, was "like the anti-Oprah," telling Americans everything they won't find under their seats, Noah said, and "the surging Pete Buttigieg" rounded out the night, improvising like "that kid in school who always got good grades without reading any of the books."

"You have to admit, running for president as a man is so much more fun," Noah said. "Because as a woman, you have to bring extra homework. Elizabeth Warren calculated two cents on every dollar over $50 million, Kamala is breaking down the statistics on maternal mortality as it relates to race and class. But a dude can just come out be like, 'Yeah, I'm just gonna wing it.'"

The five Democrats — and party at large — also couldn't agree on whether to impeach President Trump. Noah brought out Michael Kosta for his barely-safe-for-work analysis. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:52 a.m.

Instead of giving Ka'Shawn Baldwin a ticket, Officer Roger Gemoules gave him a ride, and that made all the difference.

Baldwin, 22, of East St. Louis, Illinois, had to borrow a friend's car last Wednesday so he could get to a job interview with FedEx. Gemoules, an officer with the Cahokia Police Department, spotted the car and noticed it had expired tags. He pulled Baldwin over, and soon discovered that Baldwin didn't have a valid license. Baldwin explained that he was trying to get to a job interview, and driving his friend's car was the only way he could get there.

Baldwin said he was afraid Gemoules would tow the car and bring him down to the station, and he was stunned when Gemoules agreed to give him a ride to the interview. "He was polite when I pulled him over and he seemed like a good young man, so I wanted to give him a chance," Gemoules told KSDK. "I knew if I gave him a bunch of tickets and towed his car, it would be tough to recover from." His kindness paid off: Baldwin got the job as a package handler at FedEx, and started on Tuesday. This is Baldwin's second job — he also works at a McDonald's, taking the bus 90 minutes each way — and his plan is to save up to get his license back, buy a car, and one day, purchase a house. Catherine Garcia

April 23, 2019

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told a town hall audience in Cherokee, Iowa, on Tuesday that being censured by his colleagues in the House for making racist remarks gave him "better insight" into what Jesus Christ "went through for us."

King, who is Catholic, didn't just come right out and compare himself to Jesus — The Sioux City Journal reports he was responding to an audience member, Rev. Pinky Person, who told King she believes Christians are being persecuted in the United States.

King has a long history of making inflammatory statements, and earlier this year, he was removed from all congressional committee assignments after asking during a New York Times interview when the terms "white nationalist," "white supremacist," and "Western civilization" became "offensive." The House voted 421-1 to rebuke King, and he referred to his colleagues on Tuesday night as his "accusers." He doesn't want anyone to worry about him, though; King told the audience he's "at a certain peace, and it is because of a lot of prayers for me." Catherine Garcia

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