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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST

Obama, Trump offer dueling final pitches to midterm voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — No longer reluctant to speak out, former President Barack Obama delivered a closing argument for Democrats that seeks a firm check on President Donald Trump’s policies in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Obama and Trump offered competing visions for the country in a split screen of campaigning on Sunday, seeking to galvanize voter turnout in the fight to control Congress and governors’ mansions.

Obama rallied Democrats in Gary, Indiana, on behalf of Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who faces a stiff challenge from Republican businessman Mike Braun. Later in the day, the former president campaigned in his hometown of Chicago for businessman J.B. Pritzker, Democrats’ nominee for Illinois governor.

Obama has taken on a more public role this fall after refraining from offering a full-blown counterpoint to Trump’s policies, which have sought to dismantle Obama’s legacy. Without invoking his name, Obama has accused Trump of lying and “fear-mongering” and warned Democrats not to be distracted.

Trump has punched back, accusing Obama of leaving behind a trail of broken promises on trade, the economic recovery and a promise during his presidency that patients could keep their doctors under his health care law.

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Analysis: Dems whiffed in 2016, so what if they fail again?

WASHINGTON (AP) — For Democrats, the midterm elections have been a beacon in the dark, a chance to re-emerge from the political wilderness and repudiate a president they view as a dangerous force.

But on the cusp of Tuesday’s vote, many Democrats are as anxious as they are hopeful.

Their memories from 2016, when they watched in disbelief as Donald Trump defied polls, expectations and political norms, are still fresh. And as Trump travels the country armed with a divisive and racially charged closing campaign message, the test for Democrats now feels at once similar and more urgent than it did two years ago: They failed to stop Trump then, what if they fall short again?

“Part of what’s at stake here is our ability to send a message that this is not who we are,” said Karen Finney, a Democratic consultant who worked on Hillary Clinton’s losing 2016 campaign.

This year, history is on Democrats’ side. The sitting president’s party often losing ground in the first midterm after winning office, and for much of 2018, voter enthusiasm and polling has favored Democrats as well.

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Trump says he’s focused on Senate with 2 days until midterms

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — President Donald Trump appeared to distance himself from the fate of House Republican candidates Sunday as he devotes his final two days before Tuesday’s midterm elections to helping Senate and gubernatorial candidates.

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House en route to get-out-the-vote rallies in Georgia and Tennessee on Sunday, Trump said Republican enthusiasm is higher than he’s ever seen — but he seemed to dampen expectations for his party in the House.

“I think we’re going to do well in the House,” he said of Tuesday’s races. “But, as you know, my primary focus has been on the Senate, and I think we’re doing really well in the Senate.”

The comments mark the starkest indication that Trump has grown less optimistic about the GOP’s chances of retaining control of the House, where Republicans face greater headwinds than in the Senate. And they came as Trump’s travels in the closing stretch before midterms that could profoundly change his presidency are largely taking him to traditionally Republican states to campaign on behalf of statewide candidates.

The president’s closing argument to voters was on stark display Sunday as he seeks to motivate complacent Republican voters to the polls by stoking fears about the prospects of Democratic control.

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In Georgia, 11th-hour daggers over voting system

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s online voter database morphed into a last-minute curveball in one of the nation’s hottest governor’s races, with Republican nominee Brian Kemp making a hacking allegation against Democrats just as reporting emerged of a gaping vulnerability in a system that Kemp controls as secretary of state.

Kemp’s office did not detail any nefarious acts by Democrats, offering no evidence for Sunday’s unusual action that effectively means the state’s chief elections officer began a probe of his partisan opposition days before an election.

Polls suggest Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams are locked in a tight race that even before Sunday had evolved into a bitter back-and-forth over voting rights and ballot security.

The state Democratic Party called Kemp’s accusation “a reckless and unethical ploy” and said he was using the FBI to support “false accusations.”

According to interviews conducted by The Associated Press and records released by the Georgia Democratic Party, the saga built steam quickly in the days before Kemp’s statement.

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Migrants camped at border worry caravans will shut them out

MATAMOROS, Mexico (AP) — Waiting on the southern end of a bridge that leads to the United States, Humberto Alvarez Gonzalez warily follows the progress of the caravan winding through Mexico with the goal of reaching the border.

Alvarez and about two dozen other people are waiting in Matamoros, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, because U.S. customs officers say there’s no space to process them. They sleep on cots near the bridge and rely on donors who bring them food and clothing. Some have waited for two weeks.

Now, Alvarez, a 32-year-old from Cuba, is worried that large waves of migrants in a caravan still more than 800 miles away from the border might provoke the U.S. government to reject them altogether.

“Our idea is to enter before the caravan,” he said. “We are afraid that the group of migrants will reach us and that they will judge us together with them.”

Asylum seekers already camping at border crossings worry that how the Trump administration responds to the caravan of some 4,000 Central American migrants and three much smaller ones hundreds of miles behind it could leave them shut out. President Donald Trump last week threatened to detain asylum seekers in large tents and send as many as 15,000 active-duty soldiers to the border. He’s also spoken of closing the border.

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Utah mayor, guard member killed by trainee in Afghanistan

NORTH OGDEN, Utah (AP) — A Utah mayor who was also a Utah Army National Guard major training commandos in Afghanistan was fatally shot by one of his Afghan trainees, officials said Sunday.

Brent Taylor, 39, had taken a yearlong leave of absence as mayor of North Ogden north of Salt Lake City for his deployment to Afghanistan.

He was a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters and was expected to return to his mayoral job in January. Another U.S. military member whose name was not immediately made public was wounded in Saturday’s attack that killed Taylor, who died from wounds from small arms fire, military officials said.

Maj. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton, the adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, told reporters that Taylor’s mission was to help train and build the capacity of the Afghan national army.

“He was with folks he was helping and training. That’s what’s so painful about this. It’s bitter,” Burton said. “I do believe that Major Taylor felt he was among friends, with people he was working with.”

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Migrant caravan sets sight on getting to Mexico City

CORDOBA, Mexico (AP) — Thousands of bone-tired Central Americans set their sights on Mexico City on Sunday after making a grueling journey through a part of Mexico that has been particularly treacherous for migrants seeking to get to the United States.

An estimated 4,000 migrants are in the Gulf state of Veracruz, where hundreds of migrants have disappeared in recent years, falling prey to kidnappers looking for ransom payments. The day’s 124-mile (200-kilometer) trek was one of the longest yet, as the exhausted migrants tried to make progress walking and hitching rides toward the U.S. border still hundreds of miles away.

The migrants now aim to regroup in the Mexican capital, seeking medical care and rest while they await stragglers. The caravan has found strength in numbers as it meanders north, with townspeople pouring out to offer food, water, fresh clothes and replacement footwear.

In a thundering voice vote Sunday night, about 1,000 migrants at the gymnasium in Cordoba voted to try to make it to Mexico City on Monday, which would be their longest single-day journey yet since the caravan began — 178 miles (286 kilometers) by the shortest route.

Earlier Sunday, the bulk of the caravan streamed into the colonial city of Cordoba, in Veracruz’s sugar belt, where they were greeted with Caribbean music and dance. Meanwhile, bleary eyed migrants who had charged ahead to Mexico City expressed gratitude for the support of their fellow travelers, saying they would not have had the strength or courage to get so far on their own.

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Wisconsin town mourns 3 Girl Scouts, 1 adult killed in crash

LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (AP) — A western Wisconsin community on Sunday was grieving the deaths of three Girl Scouts and a parent who were collecting trash along a rural highway when police say a pickup truck veered off the road and hit them before speeding away.

Authorities have not released the names of the girls or the woman who were struck by the truck Saturday in Lake Hallie, or the name of a fourth girl who survived but was in critical condition at a Minnesota hospital. The girls were fourth-graders and members of Troop 3055 in nearby Chippewa Falls, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Minneapolis.

“Our hearts are broken for the girls and families of the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes,” CEO Sylvia Acevedo of Girl Scouts of the USA said in a statement Sunday. “The Girl Scout Movement everywhere stands with our sister Girl Scouts in Wisconsin to grieve and comfort one another in the wake of this terrible tragedy.”

Hundreds of community members gathered in 40-degree weather Sunday evening for a vigil outside Halmstad Elementary School, where some of the girls were students. Many in the crowd held candles and umbrellas in the light rain. Several Girl Scouts sang songs in memory of the victims.

Earlier Sunday, teddy bears, balloons and candles sat on two wooden benches in front of Halmstad Elementary while dozens of families met inside with faith leaders and counselors. Families did the same at Southview Elementary School, the other school the girls attended, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

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Man says he wrestled with gunman during yoga studio shooting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A man trying to stop a shooting attack on a Florida yoga studio said Sunday that he wrestled with the attacker after his gun jammed, a move credited with giving others time to flee the rampage that killed two people and wounded six others.

Yoga student Joshua Quick spoke to ABC’s Good Morning America on Sunday and said he grabbed Scott Paul Beierle’s gun after it jammed, and hit him.

Tallahassee Police have identified Beierle as the man who posed as a customer to get into the studio Hot Yoga Tallahassee during a Friday night class and started shooting. Police said Beierle, 40, then turned the gun on himself but authorities have offered no motive in the attack.

Quick said Beierle was able to grab the gun back and then pistol-whipped him.

“I jumped up as quickly as I could,” said Quick, who had visible facial injuries. “I ran back over and the next thing I know I’m grabbing a broom, the only thing I can, and I hit him again.”

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Reputation precedes ‘El Chapo’ as US trial approaches

NEW YORK (AP) — He is accused of having a hand in dozens of murders, of using his drug cartel to smuggle more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States, even pulling off running the massive operation from behind bars. That’s when he wasn’t busy escaping from jail — twice.

The almost-mythical criminal pedigree of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was extradited in 2017 to face U.S. drug conspiracy charges, has sparked security concerns at his upcoming New York City trial that at times have drawn as much attention as the case’s sensational allegations.

A look at those concerns for a trial that is starting Monday with jury selection. Opening statements are likely Nov. 13.

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WITNESSES IN THE CROSSHAIRS

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