FOX NEWS FIRST: Migrant caravans arrive; Florida faces recount deadline; Avenatti vows exoneration after arrest

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Developing now, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018

  • Caravans of Central American migrants reportedly began arriving by the hundreds at the U.S-Mexico border on Wednesday
  • Florida counties face a 3 p.m. ET deadline on Thursday to complete recounts in the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races
  • A federal judge has ruled that Georgia's gubernatorial race cannot be certified until specific absentee ballots have been counted
  • Michael Avenatti, lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels and potential presidential candidate, was arrested Wednesday on domestic violence allegations. Avenatti has denied all the charges and vowed he will be exonerated
  • Keith Urban won Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards as co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood earned praise for keeping politics out of the annual awards show

THE LEAD STORY - MIGRANT CARAVANS ARE HERE: Splintered groups of Central American migrant caravans began arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, with more on the way ... Authorities had been dealing with a group of 357 migrants who arrived in Tijuana aboard nine buses on Tuesday. Migrants arrived in Tijuana by the hundreds Wednesday. Several hundred people from the caravan got off buses and made their way to a shelter on the Mexican side near the border to line up for food. Dozens were seen scaling the steel border fence to celebrate their arrival, chanting "Yes, we could!" Several Border Patrol agents in San Diego watched them through the barrier separating the U.S. and Mexico.

The bulk of the main caravan appeared to be about 1,100 miles from the border, but has recently been moving hundreds of miles a day by hitching rides on trucks and buses. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, meanwhile, visited U.S. troops posted at the border in Texas. Mattis defended the use of active duty troops on the U.S.-Mexican border, saying that in some ways it provides good training for war and that it's analogous to a 1916 deployment to counter the Mexican revolutionary Gen. Francisco "Pancho" Villa. Most of the troops are in Texas, more than 1,500 miles from where Wednesday's caravans were arriving. - The Associated Press contributed to this report

FLORIDA FACES RECOUNT DEADLINE: Florida's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races are likely to remain in flux after the deadline for the election recount passes. Tension is high as 67 counties race toward a 3 p.m. ET deadline Thursday to finish the recount ... Many counties have completed their machine recounts, but larger Democratic strongholds were still racing to meet the deadline.

No less than six federal lawsuits have been filed so far in Tallahassee. In a key court battle, a federal judge said he was unlikely to order election officials to automatically count thousands of mail-in ballots that were rejected because the signatures on the ballots did not match signatures on file. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, however, did say he was open to giving voters extra time to fix their ballots.

Palm Beach County looked like it could miss the Thursday deadline, even though incumbent democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats filed lawsuits seeking to suspend it. However, FOX News' Griff Jenkins reports, it appears Broward County will make the deadline. In addition, Florida election officials asked federal prosecutors to look into allegations state Democrats sent faulty forms to voters in four counties that could have resulted in mail-in ballots being disqualified, FOX News confirmed Wednesday. - Reported By Barnini Chakraborty (@Barnini on Twitter)

'INSURMOUNTABLE ' ... BUT NO CONCESSION IN GEORGIA: A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the results of Georgia's gubernatorial race cannot be certified until certain absentee ballots have been counted ...The ruling by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones came hours after Republican Brian Kemp claimed to have an "insurmountable lead" over Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is seeking to become the first black woman elected governor in the U.S. Jones ruled that each county's certified vote tally must include absentee ballots on which the voter's date of birth is missing or incorrect, an order that stems from a request in a lawsuit filed by the Abrams campaign over the weekend. - Reported by Samuel Chamberlain (@SChamberlainFOX on Twitter)

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CLOUD FOR STORMY LAWYER: Michael Avenatti, a frequent President Trump critic and the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, made bail Wednesday evening after his arrest earlier on domestic violence charges and said he will be “fully exonerated" ... He later appeared before a group of reporters, again denying the accusations and thanking the LAPD, who he said "had no option in light of the allegations." "I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman. I have been an advocate for women’s rights my entire career and I’m going to continue to be an advocate. I am not going to be intimidated from stopping what I am doing," he said.

Avenatti was formally charged with felony domestic violence and his bail was set at $50,000, LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera told FOX News. - Reported by Elizabeth Zwirz

POLITICS-FREE ZONE AT THE CMAs - While most award shows are full of politically charged opening monologues and acceptance speeches, the CMA Awards made a conscious effort to avoid political banter during country music's biggest night in which Keith Urban won top honor as Entertainer of the Year ... Unlike other star-studded events, CMA co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood vowed the show wouldn't be filled with political satire — and the country superstars kept their word. As the biggest names in the genre took the stage during Wednesday night's show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, politics was not a topic of discussion. Instead, the CMAs began on a somber note with Garth Brooks leading a moment of silence for the 12 people who were killed at a Southern California country bar last week. "Tonight let's celebrate their lives. Let the music unite us with love," Brooks said. - Reported by Sasha Savitsky (@SashaFB on Twitter)

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AS SEEN ON FOX NEWS

AVENATTI, KAVANAUGH AND 'DUE PROCESS' - "I will be consistent on the issues of due process and the presumption of innocence. But one can only wonder if now maybe Michael Avenatti would apply the same standard to himself that he had applied to Justice Kavanaugh. Or maybe tonight he would prefer the country give him due process and the presumption of innocence. Or will you lock yourself up and just throw away the key? I believe he deserves presumption of innocence, due process, let the legal system do their job."  – Sean Hannity, on "Hannity," on Michael Avenatti's arrest for alleged domestic violence.

2018 CMA AWARDS
Miranda Lambert sings about getting her 'name changed back,' Twitter thinks song is about Blake Shelton
Chris Stapleton wins big.
Carrie Underwood dons bubble wrap dress.
Garth Brooks debuts new love song to wife Trisha Yearwood.
List of winners.

TRENDING
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THE SWAMP
Acting Attorney General Whitaker said to angrily demand website remove posts about patent firm.
Flake vows to boycott GOP judicial nominees after McConnell torpedoes Mueller protection legislation
Mira Ricardel to leave White House, after Melania Trump's office called for her dismissal.
Trump backs sentencing reform bill he says will give ex-inmates 'a second chance at life.'

ACROSS THE NATION
California's Camp Fire death toll now at least 56, sheriff says.
Amazon’s NYC deal gets Cuomo, De Blasio on wrong side of Big Apple residents, fellow Democrats.
Christian student senator at UC Berkeley harassed for abstaining from pro-LGBTQ vote.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Zuckerberg tells staff to use Android after Apple feud.
Warren Buffett takes $4B stake in JPMorgan Chase.
Gas prices fall ahead of Thanksgiving -- is $2 per gallon next?
Drug prices may 'surge' in near future, insurer warns.
USPS gets record high stamp price hike as losses mount
Oracle loses $10B Pentagon contract, rivals fear Amazon is front-runner.
Kennedy: Deutsch's rants just power Trump's base.

FOX NEWS OPINION
Judge Andrew Napolitano: Will the real attorney general please stand up
Deroy Murdock: May Herb London, my friend, scholar and patriot, rest in peace.
Newt Gingrich: Republicans must pass important bills before Democrats take over House.

HOLLYWOOD SQUARED
'Game of Thrones' Season 8 release date, character comebacks and everything else you need to know.
Bette Midler says Donald Trump's 'hateful rhetoric' is what caused stock market drop.
'Little House on the Prairie' actress Katherine MacGregor dies at 93.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
Long-lost ancient city built by Trojan War prisoners discovered in Greece.
NASA prepares to ‘light up the sky' on the East Coast with space station rocket launch.
Monkeys in Florida carrying deadly herpes virus could double by 2022, experts say.


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FOX & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include: The latest on the Florida recount from former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Dr. Sebastian Gorka on Defense Secretary Mattis' visit to the Mexican border as parts of the migrant caravan reach Tijuana. Plus, Judge Andrew Napolitano, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. and more

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#OnThisDay
 
2013: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vows to take the City Council to court after it votes overwhelmingly to strip him of some of his powers over his admitted drug use, public drinking and increasingly erratic behavior.

1984: Stephanie Fae Beauclair, the infant publicly known as "Baby Fae" who had received a baboon's heart to replace her own congenitally deformed one, dies at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California three weeks after the transplant.

1966: The flight of Gemini 12, the final mission of the Gemini program, ends successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. splash down safely in the Atlantic after spending four days in orbit.

FOX News First is compiled by FOX News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We'll see you in your inbox first thing Friday morning.