Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Nassau County with no public events announced. He’s scheduled to headline the Nassau County Democratic Party’s annual fall dinner this evening.

President Donald Trump receives his daily intelligence briefing and then has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.

Later in the afternoon, Pence participates in a Great America Committee event in D.C.

Meanwhile, Trump travels to Houston, TX where he will host a roundtable with supporters followed by a Make America Great Again rally – both at the Houston Toyota Center – before returning to the White House shortly after midnight.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson will visit Interfaith Medical Center, and she will later attend the Bring Change to Mind Gala. Both of these events are closed to members of the media.

The de Blasio administration kicks off an “In Your Borough” effort in Queens, with the mayor and members of the administration participating in various events and appearances throughout the day.

At 8 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul campaigns with Democratic NY-27 candidate Nate McMurray at Peg’s Place, 4046 Lake Shore Rd., Hamburg.

At 8:45 a.m., Hochul and McMurray campaign at ZJ’s Family Restaurant, 140 Pine St., Hamburg.

At 10:30 a.m., GOP state comptroller candidate Jonathan Trichter, joined by Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, will be holding a press conference outside the Tesla/SolarCity plant, 1339 South Park Ave., Buffalo.

At 11 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Tourism Council host a press conference to promote the Tour de Bronx annual cycling event, Mercy College, Hutchinson Metro Center, 1200 Waters Pl., the Bronx.

At noon, Ruth Messinger, David Eisenbach, and the Friends of the SBJSA Coalition rally before the NYC Council public hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor, discusses congestion pricing, an increased millionaires tax and other revenue sources to pay for repairs and infrastructure upgrades to the NYC subway and mass transit system, Bedford Subway stop on the L, Bedford Ave and N. 7th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Also at 1 p.m., Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro holds a press conference, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., the New York Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Owners Association requests the NYC Health Department extends the application deadline for non-tobacco hookah establishment permit applications, until fair, equitable and new regulations could be created and enacted, City Halls steps, Manhattan.

At 2:15 p.m., Molinaro visits Harlem with Pastor Jack Royston, W. 155th St., Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill will host a press conference to make an announcement on neighborhood policing, Ridgewood YMCA, 69-02 64th St., Ridgewood.

At 4:30 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at the CUNY Board of Trustees annual Manhattan borough hearing, Baruch College Vertical Campus, room 14-220, 55 Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., NYC Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr., joined by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, holds a housing town hall, 1360 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

Also at 6 p.m., Diaz attends the Citizens Union Gotham Greats Awards dinner, Pierre Hotel, 2 E. 61st St., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., the national Nuns on the Bus Tour will hold a Town Hall for Justice, St. Joseph University Church, 3269 Main St., Buffalo.

Also at 6 p.m., Molinaro holds a tele-town hall.

At 6:30 p.m., former Trump advisor Steve Bannon attends a documentary screening of “Trump at War” and GOTV rally, Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Ave. at Lois Lane, Staten Island.

At 7 p.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz delivers remarks and presents an award at an Italian heritage event, St. John University, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Marillac hall terrace, Queens.

Also at 7 p.m., Molinaro attends Pubs ‘n Politics with Rita Crosby and Curtis Sliwa, The Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd St., Manhattan.

Also at 7 p.m., de Blasio returns for his weekly appearance on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” with Errol Louis.

At 7:30 p.m., Diaz speaks at the Center for an Urban Future 2018 Gala, Tribeca Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses St., Manhattan.

At 8:15 p.m., Katz delivers remarks and swears in officers at a meeting of the Jamaica Estates Association, St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church, 181-14 Midland Parkway, Queens.

Headlines…

In recent months, the Trump administration has repeatedly put off the release of its long-awaited Mideast peace plan. Now, the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents may put the plan into a deep freeze.

In the final weeks of the 2018 midterm campaign, Republican candidates across the country have released ads touting concerns about maintaining protections for people with pre-existing conditions, even as their party and the current administration have moved repeatedly to weaken the anti-pricing-discrimination laws.

As thousands of migrants marched north from the Mexico-Guatemala border, Trump issued a warning to those hoping to eventually cross into the United States, saying they must apply for asylum in Mexico first, or risk being turned away.

With the hard-fought midterm elections less than three weeks away, Democratic Party strategists hope – perhaps over-optimistically – that Latino voters who are angered by the Trump administration’s policies and divisive language will help deliver resounding victories in many of the races that will decide political control in Washington.

Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly called the son of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi yesterday to express their condolences regarding his father’s death.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney who represented Stormy Daniels in her legal tangles with Trump, is gearing up for a 2020 run, stumping across the country and raising cash with his new political action committee. But questions over his finances remain, and could become a sore spot on the campaign trail, as creditors pursue him and his former companies.

Calling it a “challenging decision,” the state Business Council decided to back Cuomo for a third term despite his leftward tilt over the past four years in successfully pushing less business-friendly measures such as raising the state hourly minimum wage to $15 and creating a statewide paid family leave program.

The Council’s political-action committee made its last0-minute decision after hearing from both Cuomo, a Democrat, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican nominee.

By late last night, Molinaro had not yet publicly responded to the CBS offer of a a debate that Cuomo already accepted, though the proposal was in line with something he had tweeted earlier in the evening.

The WSJ: “Why be a journalist if you can’t have fun? Our friends at the New York Post have been doing exactly that while publicizing the refusal of (Cuomo) and (U.S. Sen.) Kirsten Gillibrand to debate their opponents in what is allegedly an election year. There’s also a lesson here about what happens in states with one-party government.”

The Olean Times-Herald endorsed Molinaro, saying he would bring “much needed change” to New York.

Molinaro steered $5,000 in state funds to a group to buy robot babies as part an abstinence campaign to discourage teens from getting pregnant, records show.

Molinaro didn’t help himself with his fellow Republicans during a recent meeting with the Daily News Editorial Board, according to veteran GOP operative Rob Cole.

Less than 48 hours after Gillibrand dropped out of a planned Spectrum News/NY1 Sunday debate with her Republican opponent Chele Farley, a new but shortened (30 minutes rather than one hour) face-to-face has been scheduled for Thursday at the WABC studios in Manhattan.

Gillibrand hasn’t seen “The True,” an off-Broadway play about her grandmother starting Edie Falco, but half of the Albany political class has.

Democratic NY-27 congressional candidate Nathan McMurray got an endorsement from the most unusual of sources: one of the nation’s largest conservative newspapers, the NY Post.

Attacking what he called “the unhinged, radical Left,” former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, is using the recent vandalism to a Manhattan Republican club to help raise money for the New York County GOP committee.

Greg David is not happy with NY-19 Republican Rep. John Faso.

With just over two weeks until Election Day, the influential union representing New York hotel workers is hitting three upstate congressional Republicans – Faso, Rep. Claudia Tenney and Rep. John Katko – over their leadership’s talk of cutting Medicare and Social Security.

Bob McCarthy touts an anti-corruption proposal floated by Evan Davis, the eminent New York City attorney who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 1998.

The fate of the fight for control of the state Senate could also determine the fate of current GOP Majority Leader John Flanagan. If Democrats re-take control, he’s likely out as head of the Republican conference.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone recently transferred nearly $200,000 to the state Democratic Party help with its effort to win control of the House and state Senate.

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The Weekend That Was

President Trump said the US will “turn away” the thousands of Central American migrants heading to the US border in search of asylum and blamed Democrats for being weak on immigration.

In open defiance of the Mexican and American governments, thousands of Central American undocumented migrants, part of a caravan that has been heading toward the United States for more than a week, resumed their journey today in southern Mexico.

The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

Trump plans to exit a landmark arms control agreement the United States signed with the former Soviet Union, saying that Russia is violating the pact and it’s preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons.

Russia criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Cold War-era arms agreement, calling it a perilous move that would bring condemnation from the international community.

With the crucial midterm elections just over two weeks away, Trump is headlining up to four rallies a week – and staging many of them in toss-up districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The ruler of Saudi Arabia has admitted that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi died inside his country’s Istanbul embassy, claiming he was killed in a fight, according to a state-run news agency.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, turning up the pressure on Saudi Arabia, promised to reveal everything his country knows about Khashoggi’s killing inside a Saudi consulate.

Trump appeared to step back from an earlier expression of confidence in this new description of events that Khashoggi was strangled after a fistfight — skeptics focused on apparent gaps in the narrative and Turkey threatened to undermine the already shaky Saudi account with its own rival investigation.

Members of Congress from both parties made clear today that they wanted to see Saudi Arabia punished for the killing of Khashoggi, as Trump shifted his tone again on the issue and joined the lawmakers in expressing doubt about the Saudi government’s account of the death.

Since New Jersey started allowing sports betting in June, with Gov. Philip Murphy, a Democrat, placing the ceremonial first bet on Germany to win the World Cup (he lost $20), the sports betting industry in the state has enjoyed remarkable growth.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand withdrew from a Spectrum News debate today against Republican challenger Chele Farley because of a long-running labor dispute involving the cable TV station’s parent company, Charter Communications, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3.

In response, the NY Post gave Gillibrand the chicken suit treatment on its front cover – and also reprinted a similar image of her fellow Democrat, the governor.

The last time that Gillibrand was on the ballot for re-election, she poured $8 million into a summer television-advertising spree en route to a landslide victory. This year, she has invested zero dollars on television and has spent only a fraction of what she did in 2012.

Gillibrand, who is routinely mentioned as a potential 2020 White House contender, campaigned in New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary – ostensibly on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly.

Amid criticism, Gillibrand agreed to debate Farley in a head-to-head match-up that will air on WABC-TV and be held on Thursday, at 1:30 p.m.

New York’s junior U.S. senator was one of three prominent female Democrats who all but openly began running for president last week, taking their most active steps yet to challenge Trump and claim leadership of a movement of moderate and liberal women that has come to define their party during the 2018 elections.

NYC Public Advocate Tish James, the Democratic state AG candidate, is also backing out of her Oct. 30 debate with her GOP opponent, Keith Wofford, for the same reason as Gillibrand gave.

Every gubernatorial candidate in the state — except Cuomo — agreed Friday to attend a debate organized by the League of Women Voters.

Cuomo’s campaign said that he has agreed to a Tuesday morning debate with Republican opponent Marc Molinaro on WCBS 880 radio that will include “a TV camera.”

Chris Churchill says Cuomo sends a powerful message to voters by refusing to debate as he seeks a this term: “I do not respect you.”

In the first televised debate for one of the country’s most competitive congressional races, NY-19, freshman GOP Rep. John Faso and Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado repeatedly resorted to the bitter attacks that have defined their campaign.

One of Cuomo’s biggest donors, Scott Rechler, has landed a $1 billion-plus contract to develop the land surrounding Nassau Coliseum — infuriating other bidders whose proposals were solicited, then discarded, by government officials.

Disgraced politician Dean Skelos, the former state Senate majority leader, deserves to be punished twice when he’s sentenced to prison next week — once for corruption and once for lying on the witness stand, Manhattan federal prosecutors said.

The NYT endorsed the Democratic candidates running in the following House races: NY-1 (Perry Gershon vs. Rep. Lee Zeldin), NY-2 (Liuba Grechen Shirley vs. Rep. Pete King), NY-19 (Antonio Delgado vs. Rep. John Faso), and NY-22 (Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi vs. Rep. Claudia Tenney).

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Extras

Thousands of migrants who’ve trekked from Honduras in hopes of making it to the United States broke down a metal gate at the Mexico-Guatemala border this afternoon.

In recent months, some reporters who cover the Trump White House have received phone calls from the last person they would expect: Hillary Clinton, who, according to one longtime aide, has at least thought about another run for president.

Long Island Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky released a new TV ad featuring a Valley Stream constituent who thanks him for voting against tax increases.

The NY-22 Democratic candidate, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, said he supports expanding background checks on gun sales, and he blamed the influence of the gun lobby for holding up legislation in Congress.

Republican Rep. John Katko and his Democratic opponent, Dana Balter, have reached a final agreement to meet in four debates over the final two weeks of their campaigns for Congress in the 24th District.

Spectrum is raising prices for its individual television and internet services, beginning next month, though the hike does not impact customers who purchase their television, internet or telephone services as part of a package.

People living in about 100 trailer parks across the Capital Region and upstate will be getting refunds of illegal down payments and other fees under illegal “rent-to-own” plans, the state Attorney General’s office announced.

Colgate University has suspended its men’s swimming and diving team for the fall season due to “hazing and high-risk alcohol consumption,” officials announced.

A Russian woman has become the first foreign national charged with interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.

The woman, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, was involved in an effort “to spread distrust toward candidates for U.S. political office and the U.S. political system,” prosecutors said.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.

NYC Councilmen Ritchie Torres and Fernando Cabrera are demanding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new Democracy NYC office explain how it botched the mailing to 400,000 voters, sending a letter to chief democracy officer Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune.

Tonawanda Coke is preparing to abandon its River Road plant and leave the massive cleanup to the federal government, a prosecutor said – and allegation that comes just three days after the company filed for bankruptcy.

The long awaited first upstate Chick-fil-a opened just inside the Albany International Airport’s security checkpoint.

Gavin McInnes, the founder of the far-right group the Proud Boys, said that he was arranging the surrender of eight members whom the police are seeking in connection with a brawl outside a Republican club in Manhattan last weekend.

Starting today, New York City police officers must inform civilians of their right to refuse a search if an officer has no warrant or lacks reasonable suspicion of a crime. Officers will also be required to hand a business card to civilians who they stop to question, frisk, or search.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is actively considering a campaign for president as a Democrat in 2020, concluding that it would be his only path to the White House even as he voices stark disagreements with progressives on defining issues including bank regulation, stop-and-frisk police tactics and the #MeToo movement.

A referendum going before Ulster County voters in November looks to clarify where the authority to adopt a final legislative redistricting plan lies and could make Ulster the first county in the state to strike a fatal blow to gerrymandered districts.

The North Creek man who was arrested earlier this year after he claimed that he was stranded overnight on a ski lift at Gore Mountain Ski Center was convicted of making a false statement to State Police.

The Mega Millions jackpot soared to a record-breaking $1 billion in the hours ahead of the prize drawing slated for tonight.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

President Donald Trump, who spent the night in Arizona, heads to the the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Palomino Conference Center in Scottsdale this morning, where he will participate in a roundtable with supporters, deliver remarks at a joint fundraising committee luncheon and sign a presidential memorandum.

Trump will then move on to the Luke Air Force Base, where he will participate in a defense roundtable. Next up for Trump: Mesa, AZ, where he will deliver remarks at a “Make America Great Again” rally at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport before returning to Scottsdale for the evening.

Vice President Mike Pence, who spent the night in Wichita, KS, moves on to Topeka, KS, where he will deliver remarks at a Watkins Victory Committee event.

Pence then heads to Des Moines, IA, where he delivers remarks at a David Young Victory Fund event and then participates in a epublican Governor’s Association event with Governor Kim Reynolds.

Later, Pence will deliver remarks at a reception for Governor Reynolds before heading back to D.C.

At 8 a.m., NYC Transit President Andy Byford delivers keynote remarks at the New York Building Congress’ Construction Industry breakfast, New York Hilton Midtown, Trianon Ballroom, 1335 Sixth Ave., Manhattan.

At 9:40 a.m., Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro will be a guest on The Paul Guglielmo Radio Show.

At 9:40 a.m., Molinaro will be a guest on News Radio WHAM 1180 with Bob Lonsberry.

At 10 a.m., Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott welcomes NYC Councilman Barry Grodenchik to the Queens Village Library to thank him for securing $4.4 million for capital improvements to the branch, 94-11 217th St., Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, WNYC.

At 11 a.m., state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli gives remarks at the Urban League of Westchester’s Centennial luncheon, Tarrytown Marriott, White Plains Road, White Plains.

Also at 11 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYC Councilman Barry Grodenchik break ground on the combined P.S. 133Q and Bellerose Playground, 248-05 86th Ave., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Libertarian Party gubernatorial nominee Larry Sharpe, WCNY.

At 11:45 a.m., NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz addresses the Community Healthcare Network’s 8th Annual Conference on Transgender Health, The New School, 66 W. 12th St., Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the Urban Health Journalism Conference, TKP New York Conference Center, 109 W. 39th St., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Molinaro holds a press conference with Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and state Sen. Richard Funke, outside Embroidery Loft, 3 Railroad St., Fairport.

At 2 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the New York National Guard change of command ceremony, Division of Military & Naval Affairs, 330 Old Niskayuna Rd., Latham.

Also at 2 p.m., Molinaro tours Oliver’s Candies, 100 S. Main St., Elba.

At 3 p.m., McCray will deliver remarks at the Healthy Teen Relationship Conference, John Jay College, 524 W. 59th St., Manhattan.

At 3:15 p.m., Molinaro tours Post Dairy Farms, 4112 Batavia Elba Townline Rd., Oakfield.,

At 4 p.m., Molinaro tours Chaplin Manufacturing, 700 Ellicott St., Batavia, followed by a 5:15 tour of downtown Batavia.

Headlines…

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton got into a profanity-laced argument outside the Oval Office – a shouting match that startled West Wing staff.

The argument, which reportedly was marked by several expletives and took place early yesterday afternoon, was prompted by a recent report that said border crossings had increased in the past month.

President Donald Trump is elevating the issue of immigration, which drove his 2016 campaign, with the aim of animating Republican voters in a midterm election that threatens to derail his agenda if Democrats retake the House.

Trrump said it “certainly looks” like dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, and expressed confidence in intelligence reports from multiple sources that strongly suggest a high-level Saudi role in his assassination.

The president threatened “very severe” consequences if the Saudis are found to have murdered Khashoggi, though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said the kingdom should be given more time to investigate before the U.S. lays any blame or considers action.

Federal agents are involved in investigating allegations of clergy sex abuse in Buffalo, The Buffalo News has confirmed.

The U.S. attorney in Buffalo served the diocese there as part of larger probe into child sex abuse, which largely centers on Pennsylvania. The overall focus involves alleged trafficking of minors across state lines for the purpose of sex abuse.

Trump intervened in a big federal building project to demolish and rebuild the FBI’s headquarters to help protect business for his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, a group of House Democrats alleged.

Trump at a rally in Montana praised the state’s congressman for body slamming a reporter, and said the assault helped him win a seat in the US House.

“Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy,” Trump said to cheers and laughter from the crowd. “He’s a great guy, tough cookie.”

A senior NSA official was allowed to harass women and send sexually explicit messages through the agency’s top secret computer network — with one employee classifying him as a “pathological social deviant,” according to federal documents.

A panel of state court judges squirmed over the prospect of jailing Trump for contempt should they allow a defamation case by a former “Apprentice” contestant to proceed.

If the Democrats retake the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, New York would play a larger role in Washington than it has in a generation.

A sharp upstate/downstate divide has once again emerged in a statewide political contest, with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo leading heavily in New York City over Republican Marc Molinaro but trailing the Dutchess County executive among upstate voters, a new poll has found.

Cuomo campaign spokesperson Dani Lever accused Molinaro of being a “hypocrite” for criticizing the governor for failing to debate because Molinaro did not debate state Sen. John DeFrancisco, his one-time rival for the Republican nomination for governor, who dropped out of the race in April and wasn’t even on the ballot.

Unlike Cuomo, governors across the United States with commanding leads in the polls are still giving their opponents a chance to debate.

Republican Keith Wofford enters the final weeks of his underdog campaign for state attorney general with more money on hand and a TV ad blitz in the can to use against Democrat Letitia James in what polls show is the GOP’s best shot at winning a statewide seat.

Just hours after headlines announced next week’s Elma campaign rally featuring Steve Bannon, opposition began mounting to any local appearance by the nationalist standard-bearer and former Trump aide.

Federal safety investigators have been unable to conduct a full examination of the limousine involved in a crash that killed 20 people nearly two weeks ago in upstate New York because local prosecutors are probing it as part of their case against the limo company’s operator.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for stricter enforcement of limousine regulations, saying the operators of stretch limos are skirting federal regulations requiring them to obtain a commercial driver’s license, which mandates strict licensing and training.

New York City’s public housing stock will outsource heating management this winter, spending millions of dollars to ensure boilers across 41 housing complexes do not fail and leave residents in the cold.

More >

Extras

The rulers of Saudi Arabia are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, in what would be an extraordinary recognition of the magnitude of international backlash to hit the kingdom since the death of the prominent Saudi dissident.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has withdrawn from the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh next week after facing bipartisan backlash over his plans to attend despite Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he urged Trump to give the Saudis “a few more days” to complete their investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance from the Saudi consulate in Turkey more than two weeks ago.

The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe.

More than 200,000 voters live in Florida counties devastated by the storm. Officials are working to ensure they can vote in November, but damaged buildings and widespread power outages make that an uphill battle.

In a case with statewide political implications, state Supreme Court Justice Patrick J. McGrath heard arguments today in a lawsuit that seeks to force the state watchdog agency JCOPE to vote on whether to investigate Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Cuomo.

NY-14 Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Democratic socialist who was an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, isn’t endorsing her fellow socialist for president in 2020.

Last Store on Main Street, the same coalition that helped defeat a proposal to legalize wine sales in grocery stores a few years ago, announced its new campaign: It wants the state to allow liquor stores to deal in legal weed.

A sharp upstate/downstate divide has once again emerged in a statewide political contest, with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo leading heavily in New York City over Republican Marc Molinaro but trailing the Dutchess County executive among upstate voters, a new poll has found.

Jim Maxwell, the Republican NY-25 candidate, released a new ad – his third of this campaign cycle – on the opioid addiction crisis.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is feeling the absence of its Republican deputy commissioner, Adam Jackson, who died in the Schoharie limousine crash earlier this month during a particularly busy election season.

The already record-high Mega Millions jackpot ballooned to a whopping $970 million today, according to lottery officials.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney will start a new job with the State University of New York in two weeks at a salary that still remains a secret.

Republican NY-24 Rep. John Katko defended his decision to continue airing a controversial TV ad about a business tax debt that Democrat Dana Balter owed in Florida, even fact-check showed the ad omitted key details about a state tax lien and Balter’s stay in her brother’s condominium in Florida from spring 2010 to the summer of 2012.

In his latest bid to secure funding for Amtrak’s deteriorating train tunnels under the Hudson River, Cuomo trekked to North Bergen, New Jersey, late last night to tour the tracks, and taking media members along for the production of a video to show Trump just how badly the North River Tunnels are damaged.

While 13-term Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King is still the heavy favorite against his Democratic opponent, Liuba Grechen Shirley, election forecast website FiveThirtyEight lowered his odds of winning by about 10 points this week, chalking the shift up to good Democratic fundraising.

Five progressive members of the NYC Council showed up at a Brooklyn jail early this morning to bail out an inmate — only to be turned away over a paperwork snafu.

The state Board of Elections is demanding New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new DemocracyNYC office provide answers about a botched mailing to 400,000 city voters, or face a subpoena for the information.

A Western New York deacon has asked Pope Francis’ representative in the U.S. to intervene in the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Buffalo Diocese.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

President Donald Trump meets with the secretary of state and then receives his daily intelligence briefing. The president then departs D.C. en route for Missoula, MT, where he will headline a “Make America Great Again” rally at the Minuteman Aviation Hangar.

Trump then travels to Phoenix, AZ, where he will not be making any public appearances, but will be spending the night.

Vice President Mike Pence today travels to Denver, CO to attend the America First Action Lunch. He will then move on to Tulsa, OK, where he will a Stitt for Governor event and give remarks at an Oklahoma GOP rally.

Next stop on Pence’s busy itinerary: Wichita, KS, where the VP will attend a RGA Roundtable and give remarks at a Kobach for Governor event. It appears Pence is staying overnight in Kansas, as he is not scheduled to return to D.C.

At 7:34 a.m., Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro will be a guest on NewsRadio 570 WSYR; Now on 106.9 FM with Dave Allen.

At 8:30 a.m., the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Victor Calise speaks about key agency programs at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Brooklyn Newsmakers event, Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 8:45 a.m., Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo will be joined by students from Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES to tour the first property to be renovated under Make Monroe Home, 4611 Mt. Read Blvd., Rochester.

At 9 a.m., NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams will join members of the NYC Council’s Progressive Caucus at a press conference to support the ongoing Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Mass Bail Out Action, before the Caucus bails out an incarcerated New Yorker, Brooklyn House of Detention, 275 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., the Public Service Commission will hold its next regular session, 19th Floor Board Room, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany.

At 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will visit a heating plant at NYCHA’s Lower East Side Rehab Houses, Boys & Girls Republic Community Center, 888 E 6th St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone, WCNY.

At 11:20 a.m., Molinaro will be a guest on WNBF Binghamton Now News Radio 1290 with Bob Joseph.

At 11:30 a.m., Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen will be joined by environmentalist Adrienne Esposito from Citizens Campaign for the Environment and local community leaders to announce a proactive initiative to replace approximately 500 lead water pipes servicing over 1,200 Point Lookout residents, the corner of Ocean Blvd and Parkside Drive.

At noon, Communities United for Police Reform and New York City Council members hold a press conference on the implementation of the Right to Know Act, a package of two police reform laws that will go into effect on Friday, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at noon, the New York State Archives will announce the winners of the 2018 Annual Archives Awards at a ceremony emceed by Regent Roger Tilles, Cultural Education Center/New York State Museum, 4th Floor, 222 Madison Ave., Albany.

Also at noon, Williams will join advocates to discuss the implementation of the Right To Know Act as the policing reform laws which will go into effect on Friday, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Mark Levine addresses the Community Healthcare Network’s 8th Annual Conference on Transgender Health, The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., Molinaro holds a press conference outside the Syracuse VA Medical Hospital, 800 Irving Ave., Syracuse.

Also at 1 p.m., state Senator Elaine Phillips will hold a press conference at the Port Washington LIRR station to make a “major funding grant announcement,” Main Street.

At 2:30 p.m., joined by students and advocates, Westchester County Executive George Latimer signs a conversion therapy ban into law, Michaelean Office Building, 148 Martine Ave., 9th Floor, White Plains.

Also at 2:30 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul announces funding for domestic violence assistance programs with Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, 1 Mount Hope Ave., Rochester.

At 3:10 p.m., Hochul tours the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, 1048 University Ave., Rochester.

At 3:30 p.m., Rep. Nydia Velazquez joins the Environmental Protection Agency for a Small Business Resource Event, P.S. 384, Library, 242 Cooper St., Brooklyn.

At 6 p.m., NYC Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner, and state Sen. Jose Serrano will host the 3rd annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration for District 16, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 6:30 p.m., de Blasio attends the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, New York Hilton Hotel, 1335 Ave. of the Americas, Manhattan.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Velazquez joins the Chinese-American Planning Council Brooklyn Community Services’ 39th Annual Celebratory Dinner Gala, Affable Eatery Restaurant, 912 65th St., Brooklyn.

At 7 p.m., Velazquez speaks at Women of Whitman event, the Whitman Close Coop, 75 Henry St., Brooklyn.

At 7:15 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the Monroe County Democratic Committee Dinner, Convention Center, 123 E. Main St., Rochester.

At 8:25 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the Studio Museum Gala, Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

American intelligence officials are increasingly convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is culpable in the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an appraisal that poses challenges to a White House intent on maintaining a close relationship with the kingdom.

It took only seven minutes for Khashoggi’s killers to cut off his fingers and decapitate him after he entered the Saudi Consulate, according to an audio recording described by senior Turkish officials.

Here’s Khashoggi’s last column for the Washington Post, about the need for media freedom and small-d democracy in Saudi Arabia and the wider Arab world.

White House counsel Donald McGahn officially left the administration, according to a senior White House official and another person briefed on his departure – ending a tenure marked by a significant reshaping of the federal judiciary but also clashes with Trump over the ongoing special counsel probe.

Trump moved to withdraw from a 144-year-old international postal agreement that enables businesses in China to mail small packages to the United States at a hefty discount, an arrangement government officials said boosts foreign competitors and costs the U.S. Postal Service roughly $170 million per year.

The president said that while he doesn’t feel it’s “overly necessary” to pay a visit to a military base in a combat zone like Iraq or Afghanistan, and he hasn’t yet done so because he’s “too busy,” he plans to at some point in the future.

Trump said he has a “natural instinct for science” while defending his stance on climate change.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration announced legislation that would expedite the pardon process for individuals with previous convictions on marijuana possession after the drug was legalized in the country.

If Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a potential 2020 Democratic White House contender, thought that releasing her DNA test results showing Native American ancestry would neutralize a Republican line of attack, she was wrong.

Grammy winning singer Taylor Swift got political again to make sure voters gonna vote, taking to to Facebook and Instagram to encourage fans to cast their ballots early in the 2018 midterm elections.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly close to issuing key findings in his probe of Russian interference in the presidential election, and is expected to present them soon after the midterm elections.

Former Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t think Trump should be impeached “right now.”

Trump’s former private attorney, Michael Cohen, met with top New York prosecutors investigating the commander-in-chief’s family business and charitable organization.

Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos is accusing Trump of hiding information about his alleged sexual misconduct in her defamation case against the president.

Days before her resignation as US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley gave a private talk to the Council for National Policy, and reportedly revealed behind-the-scenes details of her time in the Trump administration.

It would appear then that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has little to fear as he seeks a third term as New York’s governor. But less than three weeks until the election, he has still not committed to debate his rivals.

Cuomo isn’t even trying to stack the deck as he did in 2010 and 2014, when he agreed to debate only if the stage were filled with third-party gadflies to make sure the attacks wouldn’t be ­entirely focused on him. This time, he’s just flat out declining to even talk about having a debate.

Here’s yet another newspaper editorial calling on Cuomo to debate his general election opponents – something he doesn’t seem inclined to do.

The NY Post’s take: “Maybe Cuomo is just chicken — or maybe he figures that an open debate might hurt him so badly that he could actually lose.”

Political observers said Cuomo’s newfound partisanship and push on behalf of Democratic state Senate candidates has the same motive as his refusal in 2014 to expend cash and political capital: a need to control the state’s political agenda.

Here’s where GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro stands on some of Cuomo’s signature progressive policy achievements, like the SAFE Act, the $15-an-hour minimum wage and gay marriage.

“The $100 Million Man: How Cuomo’s campaign war chest became one of the nation’s largest.”

More >

Extras

President Trump continued to defend Saudi Arabia amid an ongoing controversy surrounding the disappearance and alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today met with the president of Turkey to discuss what happened to Khashoggi.

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is blasting his Republican opponent for airing an ad that dredges up unsubstantiated rumors that he solicited underage prostitutes.

Former sheriff and Senate candidate Joe Arpaio is suing The New York Times over an opinion piece written after he lost his Republican primary.

Former President Obama has released a video urging young people to go out and vote next month.

Surveillance video released from Rikers Island shows a couple using a young child to pass contraband during a visitation.

The Newsday editorial board endorses Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s re-election: “Gillibrand has grown considerably in her decade in Washington, and her policy positions are ones that more closely reflect the views of most New Yorkers. She just needs to bring that passion to fighting for Long Island.”

The president is seeking a 5 percent cut in spending from all cabinet departments.

Hundreds of thousands of voters were left confused and in fear after receiving a letter from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office telling them they were inactive.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has launched a new campaign ad attacking Republican foe Marc Molinaro after a private Republican club invited the leader of an extreme right-wing group to the same location where Molinaro houses his campaign headquarters.

Political prognosticator Nate Silver has rolled out FiveThirtyEight’s new gubernatorial forecasting tool, and it’s predicting that Cuomo is a lock for a third term in office.

Upstate Medical University’s Psychiatry High Risk Program is expanding after just one year.

The state Thruway Authority is accepting bids to redevelop and overhaul its 27 rest areas along the 570-mile highway system.

The chief of staff for Sen. Simcha Felder who faces a sexual misconduct complaint has entered rehab.

Democratic NY-21 candidate Tedra Cobb released a new campaign ad, focused on how she doesn’t accept corporate campaign cash.

Cuomo announced $5 million in grant funding will soon be made available for outpatient and opioid treatment programs to recruit and hire staff to help with the opioid epidemic.

The NYPD detective who got kicked off the Harvey Weinstein sex-assault case was accused by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office of telling an accuser to delete information from her cell phones before turning them over to prosecutors.

Miner Targets Molinaro

Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has thus far trained most of her criticism in her long shot independent gubernatorial campaign on her fellow Democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, keeping up a tradition she started even before she left local office and launched her statewide run.

But today, Miner has trained her sights on another of her opponents: Republican Marc Molinaro.

Miner issued a statement this morning calling on Molinaro to “clarify his support” for President Donald Trump, noting that while he has said he didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, instead writing in the name of former Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, he has “evaded taking a stand on the president’s positions.”

The former mayor says she and her supporters want Molinaro to publicly explain where he stands on five key issues, including: The elimination of the SALT deductions, abortion rights (specifically the Reproductive Health Act), the president’s U.S. Supreme Court nominees, private funding for infrastructure projects, and Trump’s “refusal” to fund the Hudson River transit tunnel.

“As the party’s titular head, Molinaro has a moral responsibility to speak up for those vulnerable New Yorkers who are being victimized by the President’s rhetoric,”” Miner said. “We all have a responsibility to speak out against party leadership when they are wrong – just as I have spoken truth to power in regard to Andrew Cuomo’s behavior.”

Molinaro has been asked at one time or another about many, if not all, of these issues. But apparently Miner has not found his responses satisfactory.

This is an interesting approach for Miner, the former head of the state Democratic Party – a position to which she was appointed by Cuomo, and which she relinquished when their relationship soured due to her public criticism of his policies.

On the one hand, this seems to bolster Cuomo and his effort to link Molinaro to Trump, who is unpopular in this Democrat-dominated state.

But it also appears to be an effort to inoculate herself against criticism generated when she decided to run on the “Serve America Movement,” or SAM, line. SAM, which also happens to be Miner’s initials, was founded by a bipartisan group of political players that includes a number who worked for Republicans.

Miner has insisted she is trying to challenge the current two party system, and is in some ways beyond politics, instead focused on solutions and civility at a time when both are few and far between. She has tapped as her running mate the former Republican Mayor of Pelham, Michael Volpe.

Some critics have suggested that Miner’s candidacy will only bolster Molinaro’s long-shot effort to oust Cuomo, providing an outlet for disaffected voters – Democrats and independents – who don’t like the governor. But recent polling found that she, Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins are only attracting a combined 4 percent of the vote, with 8 percent undecided.

Conservative Party Links Molinaro To Trump

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro has struggled to distance himself throughout his uphill statewide campaign from President Donald Trump, who is not terribly popular in his Democrat-dominated home state.

Right from the get-go, Molinaro repeatedly noted that he didn’t even vote for the controversial presidential candidate back in 2016, instead writing in the name of former Rep. Chris Gibson, a self-professed political pragmatist who once considered – and then rejected – a run for governor himself.

But Molinaro’s efforts to cast himself as a fair-minded fiscal conservative with middle-of-the-road social views, unlike Trump, have been stymied by his Democratic opponent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is relishing running against the president and linking him to the Dutchess County executive at every available opportunity – even going so far as to cast Molinaro as a “Trump mini-me.”

There are, however, a group of New York voters for whom Trump is not the enemy, but rather a hero. And these voters, many of them members of the state Conservative Party, need to turn out for Molinaro in next month’s general election if he is to have any hope of not losing in a landslide to the governor, who is leading by a wide margin in public opinion polls.

The state Conservative Party, which has endorsed Molinaro, also has an interest in getting its base to the polls, since retaining its ballot status rests on its ability to attract at least 50,000 votes for the Republican candidate on its line. The more votes he gets there, vis-a-vis other minor party candidates, the better placement the Conservatives get on the ballot for the next four years.

So the Conservatives are doing what Molinaro won’t – even can’t – willingly following Cuomo’s lead in linking him to Trump, but casting that connection as a positive, rather than a negative.

The party has released a new radio ad, entitled “Hallelujah,” urging “those who stood with the Conservative Party and voted for President Donald J. Trump to continue to stand with the Conservative Party and vote for Marc Molinaro for Governor on the Conservative line.”

Here’s the script:

This is what a typical liberal hears when Donald Trump speaks…

“(Yelling and screaming over horror score)”

But this is what a conservative hears…

“Glory, glory hallelujah!”

If Trump infuriating his enemies is music to your ears – – and you don’t mind making the liberals scream yourself – – this November stand with President Trump.

Cast your vote on the Conservative Party line, Row C. Your vote means more on the Conservative Party line.

Almost 3 million voters across the state backed Trump for President. Maybe Andy Cuomo thinks they have nowhere to go this election.

He’s wrong.

See, the Conservative Party unapologetically backs Trump. And when you vote Marc Molinaro for Governor on the Conservative Party line, you make a statement.

This election, vote Molinaro for Governor on the Conservative Party line, Row C. Send a message that you stand with President Trump because there’s more to do to make America great again.

TRUMP: We gotta get it done!

Paid for the State Conservative Campaign Committee.

Interestingly, this ad only focuses on the governor’s race, on which the Conservative Party’s future depends.

It makes no mention of, say, the battle for control of the state Senate, in which the Republicans are fighting mightily to retain their slim control of the majority in a supposed blue-wave election year – an effort that the Conservatives arguably also have a stake in.

There’s also no mention of the battle for control of the House, which the president himself has been focused on, stumping for candidates in key red states across the nation. The president hasn’t in recent months, paid much attention to his home state, though soon-to-be-former House Speaker Paul Ryan was scheduled to be in key upstate districts this week, and Vice President Mike Pence has also made appearances.

Trump himself last appeared upstate in August, when he attended an event to benefit Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, a staunch supporter of the president, who is locked in a tight re-election battle with Democratic Assembly Anthony Brindisi.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

President Donald Trump meets with workers on “Cutting the Red Tape, Unleashing Economic Freedom,” and then holds a cabinet meeting.

In the late afternoon, Trump presents the Medal of Honor.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the city with no public events scheduled.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray attends the closed-press quarterly meeting of the Commission on Gender Equity.

At 8:30 a.m., Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro will be a speaker at the Building Owners and Managers Association, Club 101, 101 Park Ave., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., City & State and Ashurst present the Rebuilding New York Summit, featuring discussions that dissect the biggest infrastructure issues for repairing, improving and upgrading New York, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul makes an announcement, Schenectady Train Station, 332 Erie Blvd., Schenectady.

From 11 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., respectively, NY-24 congressional district candidates Dana Balter (Democrat) and Republican Rep. John Katko will address and take questions from AARP members across the district in separate AARP telephone town halls.

At noon, NYC Councilmen Stephen Levin and Rafael Espinal, nightlife advocates and local business owners hold a press conference to introduce oversight legislation on the NYPD’s interagency M.A.R.C.H. Task Force, City Hall Park, Manhattan.

Also at noon, NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and small business owners unite to discuss the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., Hochul makes remarks at the Upstate Latino Summit, Convention Center, 123 Main St., Rochester.

At 1:30 p.m., the NYC Council holds a stated meeting, Council chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m., Rep. Nita Lowey participates in a conversation with National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jon Parrish Peede regarding the importance of the humanities in cultivating local community, Historic Hudson Valley, 639 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills.

At 3 p.m., Hochul joins Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation for an announcement, LaSalle Concert Pavilion, Amvets Dr., Buffalo.

Also at 3 p.m., NYC Councilwoman Debi Rose and other members of the City Council rally to thank de Blasio for the inclusion of summer program funding in the fiscal year 2019 budget, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 4:45 p.m., Molinaro be visiting and touring Factory Crystal and Door Systems, 31-10 Whitestone Expy., Flushing, Queens.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney serves as a panelist at the Sanctuary for Families discussion, “Lives in the Balance: Eviscerating Asylum Protection for Victims of Gender Violence,” Proskauer Rose LLP, 11 Times Square, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Rep. Tom Suozzi holds a town hall meeting, Clearview Senior Center, 208-11 26th Ave., Queens.

At 7:30 p.m., McCray will deliver remarks at the NYC Health + Hospitals 133rd Gala, Jing Fong Restaurant, 20 Elizabeth St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump said he doubts he’ll face Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2020 because Democrats “will eat him up” in the primaries if he becomes a presidential candidate.

Saudi operatives were reportedly told they should listen to music as journalist Jamal Khashoggi was dismembered, an audio recording indicate.

The operatives beat, drugged, killed and dismembered Khashoggi in the presence of the kingdom’s top diplomat in Istanbul, Turkish officials said, as Washington urged Riyadh to provide answers.

Trump criticized those pointing fingers at Saudi Arabia in the Khashoggi case, comparing the situation to the sexual assault allegations leveled against US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of tKhashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston and the United Nations.

Trump traded barbs with Stormy Daniels, the porn star he’s accused of sleeping with, calling her “Horseface.” She responded with a crack about his diminutive private parts and suggested the president was into sex with animals.

Trump has a history of attacking women by mocking their bodily functions, demeaning their looks or comparing them to animals.

The president threatened to cut aid to Honduras if it doesn’t stop a caravan of some 2,000 migrants, even as they resumed their northward trek through Guatemala with hopes of reaching the U.S. border.

A suspicious letter sent to the Maine home of Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins had a note saying it contained the deadly poison ricin, the senator’s office said, adding any affected areas had been cleared.

The Republican Party’s Senate campaign arm mocked Hillary Clinton after the Democratic presidential nominee was involved in a minor vehicle collision outside of a New Jersey campaign event for Sen. Bob Menendez.

YouTube last night went down for more than an hour, impacting users across the globe.

A man who alleges he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest has filed a lawsuit against dioceses in both Florida and New York, claiming the one in New York is also responsible since it sent his alleged abuser to Florida after previous accusations.

The sale of legal recreational marijuana has begun in Canada, making it the second country with a nationwide legal pot market.

State Sen. Simcha Felder’s chief of staff, Rodney Powis, was placed on administrative leave as the Albany County Sheriff’s office investigates a complaint that he groped a lobbyist at a political fundraiser held last week at a private home in Guilderland.

The fundraiser for Republican Capital Region Sen. George Amedore took place at the residence of William F. Lia Jr., 49, a Capital Region businessman whose family owns the Lia Auto Group.

“These are serious allegations and were reported immediately. We are following standard Senate procedure and he has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. I cannot comment any further at this time,” Felder said in a statement.

NY-27 Republican Rep. Chris Collins, under indictment for insider trading, is in a tight race in his heavily Republican western New York district, according to a poll released by Siena and Spectrum News yesterday.

In New York and New Jersey alone, four Democrats, all first-time candidates, broke the $2 million benchmark, and one – Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi in NY-22 – nearly doubled it. In those states, all of the Democrats running to unseat Republican House members outraised their opponents in the last three months.

The starkest margin for the state’s nine Republican incumbents was in the hotly contested NY-19, where Democrat Antonio Delgado brought in $3.35 million in contributions over the last three months and U.S. Republican Rep. John Faso raised $977,617.

Republicans hold just nine of New York’s 27 congressional seats and at least seven are in play this Nov. 6. Democrats need 23 seats nationwide to control the House for the first time since 2011.

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