President Trump at a rally in Johnson City, Tenn., on Oct. 1. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Opinion writer

We’ve heard no credible defense from the Saudis. “Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday that ‘everything’ indicates Saudi involvement in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he reviewed U.S. intelligence on the issue Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Asked if that intelligence proves Turkey’s claims, Corker said, Everything right now points to Saudi Arabia. . . . They’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

Republicans playing defense — not successfully — with an unpopular president. “Conor Lamb maintains his double-digit advantage over Keith Rothfus in the race for Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 17th Congressional District, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll.  The nation’s only House contest that pits two incumbents against each other is being dominated by the Democrat. Lamb has only served in Congress since winning a special election in March, but he is better known and better liked than his three-term Republican opponent.  Voter disapproval of President Donald Trump and concerns about health care costs are key factors driving this race.”

Melania Trump should stop playing defense lawyer, claiming “hard evidence” is required to convict of a sex crime. “A victim’s testimony is legally sufficient evidence by itself to convict someone of sexual assault. . . . No other evidence is required.” Republicans routinely claim that a victim’s account isn’t evidence.

A good offense is a good defense against China’s espionage. “A Chinese intelligence official was arrested in Belgium and brought to the United States to face espionage charges, Justice Department officials said on Wednesday, in a dramatic escalation of the Trump administration’s effort to crack down on Chinese spying.”

Republicans still on defense when it comes to their tax cuts. “With the midterm elections less than a month away and Republicans fighting to retain control of both houses of Congress, more Americans continue to disapprove than approve of last year’s sweeping tax overhaul bill signed into law by President Donald Trump, 46% to 39%.”

We’ve been saying that Republicans, and not Democrats, will be on defense when it comes to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Here’s some polling to back that up: “Kavanaugh’s confirmation is not popular: In [a Politico/Morning Consult] poll, which was conducted after last week’s Senate vote, 46 percent of voters said the Senate ‘made the wrong decision’ in approving the controversial judge, while 40 percent said it was right to elevate him to the high court.  And following the GOP-led effort to push through his nomination, enthusiasm among Democratic voters has surged. More than 3 in 4 Democrats (77 percent) say they are ‘very motivated’ to turn out and vote in the midterms — more than the 68 percent of Republicans who say they’re ‘very motivated.’ ” It’s almost as though the GOP has no clue how much they’ve offended women.

Investors play defense — a sell-off — over interest-rate fears. “The Dow dropped more than 800 points in one of the worst sell-offs since February as investors worried that sharply rising rates would constrain the nation’s historic economic expansion. Higher interest rates tend to moderate economic growth and makes borrowing more expensive for the U.S. government as well as businesses and consumers. The 10-year U.S. Treasury, a key benchmark for rates, has been spiking and is now at 3.2 percent, one of its highest levels since just after the Great Recession. . . . The S&P 500 was down 3.3 percent, and the Nasdaq saw losses of 4.1 percent. The Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index hit its longest losing streak in two years.”