* Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer have the latest news in the Kavanaugh nomination:
On Thursday, Senate Democrats disclosed that they had referred a complaint regarding President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the F.B.I. for investigation. The complaint came from a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were both in high school, more than thirty years ago.
The woman, who has asked not to be identified, first approached Democratic lawmakers in July, shortly after Trump nominated Kavanaugh. The allegation dates back to the early nineteen-eighties, when Kavanaugh was a high-school student at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the woman attended a nearby high school. In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her. She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself. Although the alleged incident took place decades ago and the three individuals involved were minors, the woman said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result.
In a statement, Kavanaugh said, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
It’s hard to know exactly what to make of this, but what we know so far is that this charge hasn’t raised any doubt among any Republicans about Kavanaugh.
A glut of GOP retirements has House Republicans defending a record number of open seats this fall — further fueling the odds of a Democratic takeover.
Of the 44 districts left open by incumbents who are retiring, resigning or seeking higher office, Democrats are targeting almost half of them. They need to gain 23 seats to win the House majority.
The open seats may be an overlooked factor in an election season dominated by GOP angst over a potential voter backlash against President Donald Trump. Recent history explains why Republicans are so concerned: In the past six midterm elections, the president’s party has not retained a single open seat he failed to carry two years prior, according to an analysis by the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman.
And if Democrats do take the House, watch for a whole lot more Republicans to retire in 2020. Being in the minority is no fun.
* The Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy is out with her latest governor race ratings, and both Wisconsin and Georgia are rated as toss-ups.
* Franklin Foer explains what Paul Manafort may have to tell prosecutors.
* Jamelle Bouie says the American people aren’t the problem with American democracy.
* Timothy Bella reports that some Willie Nelson fans who apparently know nothing about Willie Nelson are shocked and angry that he endorsed Beto O’Rourke. Wait until they hear what Bruce Springsteen thinks about politics!