The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.

 

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | Trump praises lawmaker for body-slamming reporter | WHCA criticizes remarks | Why Trump is taking a harder line on Saudis | Takeaways from heated North Dakota Senate debate | Trump rally in Arizona tonight | Dems hope Latino turnout will turn state blue | '90's Disney throwback clothing line

 

TALK OF THE MORNING

I feel like we are 5, maybe 10 years away from presidential candidates just brawling in a ring instead of debating:

Last night at a campaign rally, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE joked that Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteHouse Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 House GOP fears retirement wave will lead to tsunami Trump declares Gorka 'wins big' after clash with reporters in Rose Garden MORE’s (R-Mont.) assaulting a reporter for The Guardian in 2017 helped the congressman win his election. http://bit.ly/2NRtSf7

The line that’s getting traction: “Never wrestle him. Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of ... he’s my guy,” Trump told the crowd in Montana.

Trump elaborated: “We endorsed Greg really early, but I heard that he had body-slammed a reporter. And he was way up ... and I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible, he’s going to lose the election.’ But then I said, ‘Well, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him,’ and it did ... He’s a great guy and a tough cookie.” 

How the crowd reacted: They cheered.

Why this is startling, especially now: From The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman: “Cheers are the least surprising thing. Doing this after a journalist was apparently murdered by an autocratic regime - while complaining that you yourself are covered unfairly - is quite something.” Haberman is referring to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, presumed dead. http://bit.ly/2P6X9qO

JUST NOW -- The White House Correspondents' Association issued a statement: "All Americans should recoil from the president's praise for a violent assault on a reporter doing his Constitutionally protected job," WHCA President Olivier Knox wrote in a press release. "This amounts to the celebration of a crime by someone sworn to uphold our laws and an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has solemnly pledged to defend it. We should never shrug at the president cheerleading for a violent act targeting a free and independent news media." http://bit.ly/2CSn9QL

New statement from The Guardian: http://bit.ly/2CUuY8M

Gianforte pleaded guilty to that assault, by the way: “Gianforte pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault and was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a $300 fine along with an $85 court fee.” http://bit.ly/2NRtSf7

Now that’s a warm welcome: Photo of Trump’s arrival in Montana: http://bit.ly/2Cv6ySm

This is ridiculous: Check out this bumper sticker spotted in Brooklyn: http://bit.ly/2J7qyM0

 

Happy Friday. It’s an extra-cup-of-coffee kind of day for anyone who has been staying up to watch the Red Sox-Astros series this week. GO RED SOX! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.

  

LATEST WITH THE MISSING JOURNALIST

Trump goes a step further in his Saudi comments:

President Trump told reporters that it "certainly looks" like Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead. Trump also vowed “severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia is responsible. http://bit.ly/2CsUyAA

GOOD READ ON WHY TRUMP HAS STEPPED UP HIS RESPONSE:
Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, here’s why President Trump edged toward a harder line with Saudi Arabia: http://bit.ly/2R1shFb

 

T-MINUS 18 DAYS

The president and his favorite arch enemies:

Less than three weeks before the midterms, President Trump is ramping up attacks on his favorite targets — immigrants, Mexico and Democrats. What sparked this: Reports that a “caravan” of Honduran immigrants is headed to the U.S. border. Keep in mind: That law-and-order message worked for Trump in 2016. How this could play out: http://bit.ly/2RZzdnA

 

Last night — ‘tis the debate season:

Midterm debates are in full swing right before the midterms. 

IN NORTH DAKOTA — FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE FIRST HEITKAMP-CRAMER DEBATE:

  1. Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa Al Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D-N.D.) defended her reputation as a moderate
  2. Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerEPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects GOP senator held up Trump aide's confirmation to get info on border wall contracts Overnight Defense: Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief | Confirmed in 90-8 vote | Takes helm as Trump juggles foreign policy challenges | Senators meet with woman accusing defense nominee of sexual assault MORE (R-N.D.) tied himself with Trump
  3. The candidates relitigated the Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' Sen. Susan Collins: Israel should allow Omar, Tlaib to visit The return of Ken Starr MORE fight
  4. The most heated topic was an attack ad from Heitkamp
  5. Tariffs and the trade war turned out to be a hot topic

Context and details for each: http://bit.ly/2PJ5WfF

DEBATES TO WATCH TONIGHT:

8 p.m. EDT: The Massachusetts Senate debate between Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Manufacturing shrinks, raising questions for Trump Volatile presidential polls spark new round of anxieties MORE (D-Mass.) and Republican challenger Geoff DiehlLivestream: https://cs.pn/2yNSjEC

9 p.m. EDT: The Wisconsin gubernatorial debate between Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and challenger Tony EversLivestream: https://cs.pn/2PMnPKB

9 p.m. EDT: The Nevada Senate debate between Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.) and challenger Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Senators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (D-Nev.) Livestream: https://cs.pn/2PJCV39

MEANWHILE IN ARIZONA — ALL ABOUT LATINO TURNOUT: Via The Hill’s Rafael Bernal, “Arizona Democrats are hoping favorable demographics and President Trump's harsh rhetoric on immigration will lead to higher turnout among Latino voters on Election Day, as the party seeks to replicate the model that made it competitive in Colorado and Nevada.” http://bit.ly/2yl7Xb2

JOINING THE ATTACK AD ROSTER: Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Pelosi hits Trump, Netanyahu for 'weakness' amid tensions over Omar and Tlaib In Hong Kong, the need for peaceful persistence MORE (D-Calif.) is still the star of many GOP attack ads this fall; now also getting targeted: Democratic Reps. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBanks give Congress, New York AG documents related to Russians who may have dealt with Trump: report Maxine Waters: Force us to ban assault weapons 'or kick our a--- out of Congress!' Maxine Waters: Escalating killings in US motivated by Trump's 'race baiting' MORE (Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Elijah Cummings (Md.) http://bit.ly/2yNV3Sq

  

IN OTHER NEWS

New poll — cross my heart, hope to die:

Just 1 in every 4 Americans think Brett Kavanaugh was being completely honest in his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony about sexual assault allegations, according to a new Associated Press poll. Overall: 39 percent of respondents think Kavanaugh was “mostly honest.” http://bit.ly/2J88ul1

 

Getting traction — oh, you took that ‘F--- you’ as an insult? My b, my b: 

CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta sent a direct message on Twitter to a former Melania TrumpMelania TrumpEx-Melania Trump adviser raised concerns of excessive inauguration spending weeks before events: CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Trump moves green cards, citizenship away from poor, low-skilled White House seeks volunteers, musicians for Christmas celebrations MORE aide saying, ‘F--- you.’ http://bit.ly/2PHPBrn

What sparked the message — this Twitter thread: 

How Acosta reacted when the former aide asked for an apology: “Hey buddy I thought you were an old friend from the campaign days. I’m so sorry. Hope I didn’t offend you. Have a good night and take care.” Awkward.

 

Also getting traction — use it or lose it:

107,000 people have been removed from Georgia voter rolls for not voting in prior elections. How that happened: Georgia’s “use it or lose it" law. People are removed “from voter rolls if they fail to vote, respond to a notice or make contact with election officials over a three-year period.” http://bit.ly/2EAcjRb

  

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Tbh, I’m not handling this cold weather well and would be wearing a puffier jacket if I were him: 

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out. President Trump is in Arizona and Vice President Pence is campaigning in Kansas and Iowa.

12:40 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence campaigns for congressional candidate Steve Watkins in Topeka, Kan.

1:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable with supporters in Scottsdale, Ariz.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at a fundraising luncheon in Scottsdale, Ariz., and signs a presidential memorandum.

3:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence campaigns for Rep. David YoungDavid Edmund YoungChurches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report Assault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress Iowa Democrat calls foul on White House over Trump ethanol tour invite MORE (R-Iowa) in Des Moines, Iowa.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates at a Republican Governors Association event in Des Moines. He then heads back to Washington, D.C.

6:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump tours Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and participates in a defense roundtable. 

 

WHAT TO WATCH

8:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Mesa, Ariz. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2R1igb4

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Seafood Bisque Day.

 

Attention, ‘90s babies:

The Disney Store just released a new line of throwback Disney apparel and accessories. Photos: https://bzfd.it/2Ai5AY3

 

And because you made it this far, here’s a little boy who dressed as Dwight Schrute for Halloween. Amazing. http://bit.ly/2R2cOoj