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In front of the White House press pool, yesterday, President Donald Trump relayed highlights from a phone call he had with King Salman of Saudi Arabia regarding the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi after he had entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and never emerged.

According to President Trump, the king was vehement in his denial of any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, and apparent murder. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has also confirmed that he has "no knowledge" of Khashoggi's fate.

NBC News has released new reporting on the heels of these developments, alleging that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now planning to admit that Khashoggi was killed in the Istanbul consulate by "rogue operatives" during a botched interrogation session.

According to sources familiar with the plan, an effort is also underway to attempt to absolve Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of any wrongdoing by "giving him plausible deniability," alleging that he did not order the killing, nor did he possess any prior knowledge of it.

President Trump, yesterday in Georgia, responded to NBC News' reporting, saying, in part, "I heard that report, but nobody knows if it's an official report; so far it's just ... the rumor report coming out."

And, with just three weeks left until the November midterm elections, we have Steve Kornacki with us, this morning, to give his crucial commentary on new numbers being released from congressional contests in New York, Utah, Florida and West Virginia.

He'll also touch on the extremely contentious Texas senate race between Current Republican Senator Ted Cruz -- who, according to a new attack ad, prefers White Castle hamburgers over the southern U.S. staple, Whataburger -- and Democrat Beto O'Rourke.

President Trump announced, back in August, a campaign rally in support of Cruz that was, allegedly, to take place in the "biggest stadium in Texas we can find." The producers at Morning Joe have found the "biggest stadium in Texas" to be Kyle Field, home to the Texas A&M Aggies, which holds just over 100,000 people.

That being said, the newly-announced Cruz rally venue will hold around 92,000 fewer Cruz fans, topping-out at just 8,000 seats.

Beto O'Rourke, however, drew national attention, two weeks ago, with a Willie Nelson-featured rally that drew over 50,000 people in Austin, Texas.

It's Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. Welcome to Morning Joe.


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