Thursday Morning Briefing: The suspense may kill him

October 20, 2016

Chris Wallace: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country — is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?

Donald Trump: What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?

And with that, the presidential candidate of a major American political party called into question one of the basic tenets of democracy.

But there was more.

“But we have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out.”

That was his conclusion to his response about what each candidate plans to do about immigration.

A little bit later in the evening, the debate turned into a schoolyard taunting match.

And it’s not like Clinton was having a perfect night. In her opening remarks about Supreme Court appointments, she said, “we should stand up to Citizens United,” ignoring that a SuperPAC raised $133.3 million for her campaign.

When moderator Chris Wallace brought up a Wikileaks revelation in which Clinton said, “My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders,” she started with a rambling answer. She said, in part, that she was referring to energy and electric grids, not the free movement of trade and people, before pivoting the discussion to Russian involvement with Wikileaks.

Reuters has plenty more debate coverage for you:

And of course, check in with Reuters election liveblog regularly.

Tunnels and traps in Mosul

REFILE - CORRECTING SPELLINGSmoke rises at Islamic State militants' positions in the town of Naweran near Mosul, Iraq October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra - RTX2PN29

Smoke rises at Islamic State militants’ positions in the town of Naweran near Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

 Around the world

  • Iran has stepped up weapons transfers to the Houthis, the militia fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen, a development that threatens to prolong and intensify the 19-month-old war. The shipments of missiles and small arms could exacerbate a security headache for the United States, which last week struck Houthi targets with cruise missiles in retaliation for failed missile attacks on a U.S. Navy destroyer.
  • The Syrian military said a unilateral ceasefire backed by Russia is underway to allow people to leave besieged eastern Aleppo. Syrian rebels say the ceasefire is part of a psychological campaign to get them to surrender.
  • North Korea test-fired a missile that failed immediately after launch, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said. The launch came hours after the two countries agreed to boost efforts to counter the North’s threats.

Around the country

  • Sergeant Jessica Hawkins was a male cop for 20 years. But it was not until her transition to a woman in 2014 that she understood the terror that transgender women feel across the United States.
  • President Barack Obama will head to the election battleground state of Florida to give his prescription for fixing Obamacare, but any remedies will be left up to his successor and the next Congress.
  • A federal court jury is set to begin deliberations in the trial of six men and a woman charged with conspiracy for their roles in the armed takeover of a U.S. Wildlife center in Oregon earlier this year. Each faces up to six years in prison if convicted of conspiracy alone. Ringleader Ammon Bundy cast the takeover as a legitimate and patriotic act of civil disobedience. The government countered his group was illegally trying to seize federal property by force.

Around Wall Street

  • The California Attorney General’s Office has launched a criminal investigation into Wells Fargo over allegations it opened millions of unauthorized customer accounts and credit cards. Attorney General Kamala Harris is demanding customer records and other documents, saying there is probable cause to believe the bank committed felonies.
  • Exxon Mobil’s boss Rex Tillerson told Saudi Arabia’s energy minister that the OPEC nation’s bet on a new global oil supply crunch was wrong as the U.S. oil industry was adapting to the low price shock and was set to resume growth. His remarks come as the Saudis have effectively abandoned their strategy to drive higher cost producers out of the market by ramping up cheap supplies from their own fields.

Digits of the day: $14 billion

Tomorrow is Alibaba’s Singles Day, a one-day sale that in the past has eclipsed the combined sales of the equivalent events in the United States: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Transactions last year broke past $14 billion.

Today’s reason to live

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