Three states denied requests from Russian officials to study the U.S presidential election on Nov. 8. Election officials in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana said only election workers and voters could be present at polling stations. Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge said he was concerned about the requests given recent revelations that Russia was behind the hack of other institutions like the Democratic National Committee. This comes as Donald Trump and his surrogates continue to cite, without evidence, rampant voter fraud as a reason why the election will be “rigged,” and as U.S. officials continue to suspect that Russia is interested in influencing the outcome of the election.
Donald Trump’s attorneys have asked a judge to prevent sexual assault accusations against the GOP nominee from being used as evidence in a civil fraud case over the defunct Trump University. The lawyers also want to bar Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail, his tweets, and other controversies from being used in the trial. “Before trial begins in this case, prospective members of the jury will have the opportunity to case their vote for president,” the lawyers wrote in a filing. “It is in the ballot box where they are free to judge Mr. Trump based on all this and more.” The trial is set to being on Nov. 28, almost three weeks after the election. Earlier this year, Trump accused the judge in the case, Gonzalo Curiel, of implicit bias against him due to the judge’s Mexican heritage. Curiel is an American citizen.
Oprah Winfrey officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president back in June by saying it's “about time” Americans elect a female president. But since then, she has been nearly silent about the presidential race. Now, in excerpts from an interview set to air next week, Winfrey explains that silence. “The reason why I haven’t been vocal, other than saying I’m with her, is because I didn’t know what to say that could actually pierce through all the noise and the chaos and the disgusting vitriol that’s going on and actually be heard,” she says. “But there really is no choice, people.” In response to those who say, “I just don’t know if I like her,” Winfrey adds, “She’s not coming over to your house! You don’t have to like her. You don’t have to like her. Do you like this country? Do you like this country? You better get out there and vote. Do you like the country? Do you like freedom and liberty? Do you like this country? Okay. Do you like democracy or do you want a demagogue?”
Internet users on the East Coast felt the burn Friday morning after a large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Dyn, an internet performance service company. The attack made it difficult for users to access popular sites like Spotify, Netflix, Twitter, Amazon, and Reddit, starting around 7:10 a.m. ET. Dyn said it “began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure” around that time; and later said its service appeared to be back to normal around 9:30 a.m. ET. DDoS disturbances occur when an attacker, or group of attackers, flood a server with large amounts of fake traffic in order to shut down its system. Officials have not yet identified the source of Friday’s attack. Shortly after noon, Dyn announced that a second round of DDoS attacks had once again disrupted service to popular sites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Donald Trump “crossed the line” during his speech at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner on Thursday evening, according to the great-great-grandson of the Catholic charity event’s namesake. Appearing Friday morning on CNN’s New Day, Al Smith V told host John Berman that after Trump said during his speech that Hillary Clinton “is tonight in public pretending not to hate Catholics,” the room became palpably “uncomfortable,” because the joke “didn’t go over very well.” The Smith descendant added that the barb’s poor attempt to capitalize on WikiLeaks emails showing Clinton staffers bashing Catholic conservatives came off more as a replay of Trump’s debate antics. “I think what we saw in the last debate a couple nights ago, we saw last night,” Smith said. “You know, Donald had some very solid minutes early on and eventually he crossed the line and took it a little too far. Hillary, you know, on the other hand, was able to laugh at herself and at the same time not underplay any of the serious things that Donald Trump has said or done.”
James Woods gloated Thursday evening over the death of the anonymous Twitter user whom he sued for defamation and attempted to unmask following a string of mockery, including calling the conservative actor a “cocaine addict.” The anonymous user, known as “Abe List,” sought the help of attorneys Ken White and Lisa Bloom to have Woods’s lawsuit tossed on the grounds that it was a so-called SLAPP case—one filed expressly with the purpose of intimidating and silencing the defendant into retreat. A judge initially sided with List, but shortly thereafter changed his mind, leading to an appeal filed in California’s 2nd District Court. However, that appeal has been dismissed because, as it turns out, List has passed away. Woods took to Twitter on Thursday to gloat over his foe’s passing. “The slime who libeled me just dropped his appeal contesting my victorious SLAPP motion. Perennial loser @LisaBloom isn't yapping so much now,” he wrote. When Bloom responded, “As you surely know, my client has passed. Have a nice day and stay classy!” the actor-turned-Twitter-troll replied: “Having spent time listening to you, he's no doubt in a better place. Keep losing, dear.” In reply to other users pointing out List’s death, Woods wrote: “[He died] screaming my name, I hope. Learn this. Libel me, I’ll sue you. If you die, I’ll follow you to the bowels of Hell. Get it?”
Obama’s Twitter Troll-in-Chief >
Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson is set to testify before Congress about forced arbitration laws—an issue near and dear to her following her firing from the network after her accusations of sexual harassment by deposed CEO Roger Ailes. In a Time magazine profile published Friday, Carlson revealed that she will testify in alliance with a coalition of Senate Democrats against forced arbitration—the clause in some employee contracts that prohibits them from suing, effectively forcing them to settle employment disputes in private arbitration. “A lot of people that I’ve heard from [about being unfairly dismissed] find themselves in the middle of either legal action or, more likely, forced arbitration,” Carlson told the magazine. “It is a huge problem. Because it’s secret. And it plays into why we think that we’ve come so far in society and we probably really haven’t—because we don’t hear about it.” Carlson was terminated by Fox News this summer, which led to her filing a lawsuit accusing Ailes of serial sexual harassment—a case that the network tried to force into private arbitration. She settled with the company for $20 million.
AT&T is reportedly in “advanced talks” to acquire Time Warner, according to a report, and a deal could be sealed sometime this coming weekend. Time Warner’s stock soared by 10 percent due to the chatter, while AT&T’s stock was down 4 percent. AT&T recently acquired DirecTV, and would become one of the world’s largest media companies if its bid for Time Warner is successful. The latter owns CNN, HBO, TNT and more. News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch made an unsuccessful bid for Time Warner in 2014.
Bruce Springsteen confirmed this week the longstanding rumor that he’d written and recorded a song for the Harry Potter films. Speaking with BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo, the New Jersey rock legend said the song, “I’ll Stand by You Always,” exists and, “It’s pretty good!” As for why it was never used in one of the films, Springsteen said, “You’d have to ask them [why they didn’t use it].” He described the tune as a “big ballad” written for his eldest son, Evan (b. 1990), and that it is “very uncharacteristic of something I’d sing myself.” For those hoping to hear it someday, there is hope, Springsteen said: “At some point I’d like to get it into a children’s movie of some sort.”
When President Rodrigo Duterte called for Filipino economic “separation” from the United States, he didn’t really mean it, according to Philippines officials alarmed by the response to their new leader’s recent remarks. “I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines, and Russia,” Duterte told a venue full of Chinese leaders and businessmen Thursday. “I announce my separation from the United States. Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also,” he declared. Attempting to backtrack on his boss’s declaration, the country’s trade minister Ramon Lopez told CNN Philippines, “Let me clarify. The president did not talk about separation,” adding, “We are not stopping trade, investment with America. The president specifically mentioned his desire to strengthen further the ties with China and the ASEAN region, which we have been trading with for centuries.” Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said the firebrand leader’s remarks were simply a “restatement of his position on charting an independent foreign policy.”