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Briefing National

  • Welp! North Korea officials are warning the situation on the Korean peninsula "has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war could break out any moment" [Associated Press].

  • A new nationwide poll shows President Donald Trump's approval rating holding steady at just 37% [CNN].

  • Sen. John McCain blasted "half-baked, spurious nationalism" during a speech directed at the supporters of Donald Trump on Monday night [Politico].

  • President Donald Trump called an impromptu press conference on Monday where he blasted the news media ("fake"), his low poll numbers ("fake") and blamed Democrats, the NFL and other groups for the ills facing America [Politico].

  • During his impromptu talk with the media, Trump made the demonstrably false claim that other presidents, including President Obama, did not contact the families of American troops killed in the line of duty. The false statement drew an immediate backlash [New York Times].

  • President Trump reportedly is seeking a bipartisan deal with Congress to shore up Obamacare [Politico].

  • Worth watching. New Jersey is reportedly offering up to $7 billion in incentives to lure Amazon to build their second headquarters there [Wall Street Journal].

  • Members of President Donald Trump's administration are growing increasingly worried that their tax reform proposal will fall in the Senate just like the effort to repeal Obamacare [Politico].

  • President Trump will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic. He also said he would re-examine his nomination of Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) to be the nation's drug czar following a report he sponsored legislation to help drug companies avoid government interference when distributing large amounts of painkillers [Washington Post].

  • Even though President Donald Trump likes to attack big media organizations as "fake news," his actions while in the White House have strengthened the big media conglomerates while hurting smaller groups [Axios].

  • This is weird. The Las Vegas security guard who was shot by the Las Vegas gunman before he opened fire on an outdoor concert has disappeared [Los Angeles Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1781 - British General Charles, Earl Cornwallis surrenders at the Siege of Yorktown.

  • 1888 - Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie).

  • 1931 - Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion.

  • 1933 - Albert Einstein flees Nazi Germany and moves to the United States.

  • 1973 - OPEC declared an oil embargo on countries supporting Israel in its war with Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The ensuing energy crisis created a gasoline shortage in the United States, prompting long lines at the pump.

  • 1979 - The Department of Education Organization Act is signed into law creating the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • A partisan fight over the future of the Affordable Care Act could lead to a government shutdown in December. Democrats are vowing to pin the blame on Republicans if premiums skyrocket next year after President Donald Trump took executive action to end some payments meant to subsidize health insurance exchanges [Washington Post].

  • President Donald Trump's legal bills topped $1 million during the last three months in response to the probe into Russia's role in the 2016 election. Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee have paid out more than $2 million in legal bills this year because of the Russia probe [Politico].

  • Russian trolls who helped to boost President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign on social media platforms were required to watch the Netflix series "House of Cards" to help them craft their messages designed to whip up discord [Yahoo].

  • The U.S. military will begin drills to practice evacuating American service members and their families out of South Korea in the event conflict with North Korea breaks out [New York Times].

  • The effectiveness of North Korea's cyber espionage program has grown exponentially, leaving American authorities unsure of how to counter the growing threat. Scary quote: "At a recent meeting of American strategists, ... some participants expressed concerns that the escalating cyberwar could actually tempt the North to use its weapons — both nuclear and cyber — very quickly in any conflict, for fear that the United States has secret ways to shut the country down" [New York Times].

  • President Donald Trump reportedly enjoys mocking Vice President Mike Pence's religious beliefs. During a conversation on gay rights, Trump singled out Pence and joked, "Don't ask that guy - he wants to hang them all!" [New Yorker].

  • Republicans are learning to ignore budget deficits in their desperation to pass a tax reform measure [Politico].

  • White House chief of staff John Kelly is pushing to fill vacant political appointments in the Trump administration, giving Cabinet secretaries more autonomy to make key appointments [Politico].

  • Facebook is seeking to hire people who hold national security clearances. They say those employees would be key to help prevent foreign powers from using the social network to manipulate future elections [Bloomberg].

  • A judge may throw out a key part in the bribery trial of Sen. Robert Menendez, which could torpedo the prosecution's case against the New Jersey Democrat [Politico].

  • A woman who claims she was groped by President Donald Trump has subpoenaed his campaign seeking documents relating to any woman claiming Trump sexually assaulted her [BuzzFeed].

On this day in history:

  • 1793 - Marie Antoinette is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution.

  • 1859 - Abolitionist John Brown leads a raid on Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

  • 1875 - Brigham Young University is founded.

  • 1916 - Margaret Sanger opens the nation's first family planning clinic in Brooklyn.

  • 1962 - President John F. Kennedy was informed that reconnaissance photographs revealed the presence of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, kicking off the Cuba Missile Crisis.

  • 1968 - U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos are kicked off the US team for participating in the Olympics Black Power salute.
  • Breaking: President Donald Trump threatens to abandon the recovery effort in Puerto Rico. On Thursday morning the President tweeted "We cannot keep FEMA in PR forever" [Washington Post].

  • President Trump's latest media target is NBC News. Trump lashed out at NBC's report that he called for a massive increase in America's nuclear arsenal, saying news organizations should not be allowed "to print whatever they want" [Washington Post].

  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon says he thinks there's only a 30% chance that President Donald Trump completes his first term in office. Aides and confidantes say Trump is "unstable," "losing a step," and "unraveling" [Vanity Fair].

  • House lawmakers plan to release the Facebook ads purchased by Russian agents during the 2016 election to help elect Donald Trump [Recode].

  • President Trump pitches his tax reform plan in Pennsylvania [Politico].

  • President Donald Trump plans to issue an executive order to weaken Obamacare through the creation of cheaper health care plans that would pull healthier consumers away from the Obamacare exchanges [Politico].

  • Aides to President Donald Trump say the chief executive was "livid" and "threw a fit" in July when advisers suggested he stay with the Iran deal brokered by President Obama [Washington Post].

  • President Trump may sit down for a meeting with special counsel Robert Mueller in order to help Mueller wrap up his probe of Russia's interference in the 2016 election [Politico].

  • President Donald Trump nominates Kirstjen Nielsen to be Homeland Security Secretary. Nielsen is currently the chief deputy to White House chief of staff John Kelly [Axios].

  • The death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria has risen to 45. Most of the island remains without basic services [CNN].

  • The wildfires in Northern California have killed 23 people so far. Firefighters worry the blazes could gain momentum on Thursday [Associated Press].

  • The Boy Scouts announces they will allow girls to join the Cub Scouts. The organization will also create a program for girls to attain the rank of Eagle Scout [BSA].

On this day in history:

  • 1492 - Christopher Columbus's expedition makes landfall in the Caribbean.

  • 1692 - The Salem witch trials are ended by a letter for Massachusetts Governor Sir William Phips.

  • 1810 - First Oktoberfest: The Bavarian royalty invites the citizens of Munich to join the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

  • 1892 - The Pledge of Allegiance is first recited by students in many public schools as part of the celebration marking the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyage.

  • 1901 - President Theodore Roosevelt officially renames the "Executive Mansion" to the White House.

  • 1960 - Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a desk at the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

  • 1973 - President Richard Nixon nominated House Minority Leader Gerald Ford for the vice presidency to replace Spiro Agnew, who had resigned two days earlier.
  • President Donald Trump reportedly will extend the March 5 deadline for the DACA program if Congress does not act [Washington Post].

  • President Trump plans to scrap government subsidies that help insurance companies pay costs for low-income people in yet another effort to destabilize the Affordable Care Act [New York Times].

  • President Donald Trump will announce a new, more aggressive policy toward Iran that could include more sanctions related to that country's support for terrorist networks and its ballistic missile program [CNN].

  • The head of a government agency tasked with conducting background checks says he has "never seen that level of mistakes" when asked about the omissions in White House adviser Jared Kushner's security clearance application [CNN].

  • The IRS has temporarily suspended a $7 million no-bid contract they gave to Equifax following reports the credit agency's website may have been breached a second time [Politico].

  • Twitter may have deleted data related to Russian agents who allegedly used the platform to help Donald Trump's presidential bid. The loss of that data may hamper the investigation into Russia's meddling into the 2016 election [Politico].

  • Russian operatives used the popular mobile game "Pokemon Go," as well as YouTube and Tumblr to influence voters during the 2016 election [CNN].

  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has revived an arcane military ritual at the agency's headquarters which involves raising or lowering a special flag to indicate whether he is in the building or has left [Washington Post].

  • The toll from the wildfires sweeping across northern California continues to rise. 31 people are dead, which is the most from a single wildfire in state history [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 54 - Emperor Claudius dies from poisoning under mysterious circumstances; his 17-year-old stepson Nero succeeds him.

  • 1269 - The present church building at Westminster Abbey is consecrated.

  • 1792 - The cornerstone of the White House is laid. It would be November 1800 before the first presidential family - that of John Adams - moved in.
  • Woah! President Donald Trump reportedly wanted to increase America's nuclear arsenal by nearly tenfold. During the same meeting, Trump also expressed a desire to increase U.S. troop numbers and military equipment [NBC News].

  • North Korean hackers reportedly targeted U.S. power companies recently with spearphishing emails, designed to download malware into their networks [NBC News].

  • The U.S. military flew bombers over the Korean peninsula on Tuesday [Reuters].

  • Republicans in Washington are worried Steve Bannon's effort to recruit hardline challengers to primary sitting Republican Senators could put the GOP's majority in Congress at risk [The Hill].

  • Senate Democrats are worried Russia is poised to meddle in the upcoming 2018 election, which could put their chances of breaking the GOP majority in jeopardy [Politico].

  • Trump confidant Carter Page says he will not cooperate with any requests to testify before Congress as part of the Russia probe. A friend of Page says he plans to plead the Fifth Amendment if he's called before an investigative panel [Politico].

  • President Donald Trump is poised to unveil proposals for modifying the NAFTA agreement that could put efforts to update the treaty in jeopardy [Axios].

  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is coming under increasing scrutiny for mixing official trips with political activities. Zinke attended two fundraisers while traveling on official government business shortly after he took over the Interior Department [Politico].

  • President Donald Trump has been in office for 263 days during which time he made more than 1,300 false or misleading statements. That averages out to nearly five per day [Washington Post].

  • A new nationwide poll finds 58% of Americans support stricter gun laws following the massacre in Las Vegas [Politico].

  • Israel hackers who got inside the servers of Russian cyber security company Kaspersky discovered evidence that the company may have breached the NSA, then warned the U.S. about the possible intrusion. The U.S. has since warned government agencies to stop using Kaspersky products [Washington Post].

  • The toll from the Northern California wildfires continues to rise. 17 people have died, and 2,000 structures have been destroyed [Los Angeles Times].

  • Many sick people in Puerto Rico are in "mortal peril" because of the lack of electricity and supplies for medical care [New York Times].

  • The NFL is considering a rule change that would require players to stand at attention during the national anthem, but there is no penalty for those who do not stand [Bleacher Report].

On this day in history:

  • 1906 - San Francisco public school board sparks a diplomatic crisis between the United States and Japan by ordering Japanese students to be taught in racially segregated schools.

  • 1910 - Former President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. President to fly in an airplane.

  • 1968 - NASA launches Apollo 7, the first successful manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham on board.

  • 1975 - Saturday Night Live debuts with George Carlin as host and musicians Janis Ian and Billy Preston.

  • 1986 - President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, in an effort to continue discussions about scaling back their intermediate missile arsenals in Europe.

  • 2002 - Congress gave President George W. Bush authorization for using military force against Iraq.