With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve
THE BIG IDEA: The president last night publicly mocked the professor who says she was sexually assaulted by the judge he’s nominated for the Supreme Court.
The #MeToo moment can be viewed as a reaction to Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, which came despite the emergence of the “Access Hollywood” video and more than a dozen women accusing him of sexual misconduct. With control of the Supreme Court at stake, a reaction to the backlash has materialized more tangibly in the past two weeks than at any time in the past year.
The stories about Trump’s campaign rally in Mississippi lead with his direct criticism of Christine Blasey Ford and her account of what happened during a house party in 1982 when she and Brett Kavanaugh were teenagers. The president offered an impersonation of the Palo Alto University professor’s testimony before the Senate last week, highlighting details that he said she didn’t remember and noting that she had been drinking when the alleged incident took place.
But the president also offered a full-throated critique of the broader movement that has prompted untold women to publicly share their stories since movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s downfall a year ago. Trump argued that things have gone too far because innocent men are being falsely accused of sexual harassment and suffering for it. “Think of your husbands,” Trump told the women in the crowd, who cheered him. “Think of your sons.” At one point, Trump mimicked a son asking his mom for advice on how to respond to a false accusation. “It’s a damn sad situation,” he said.
-- “Trump had no words of comfort for women like Ford who say they were attacked, raped or sexually assaulted,” Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez report from Southaven, Miss. “Trump’s aides have repeatedly urged him not to take on Ford, saying there is no benefit.”
-- Ford attorney Michael Bromwich called it “a vicious, vile and soulless attack” that demonstrated why his client was afraid to come forward in the first place:
A vicious, vile and soulless attack on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well? She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice. https://t.co/UJ0bGxV1EZ— Michael R. Bromwich (@mrbromwich) October 3, 2018
Ford, in fact, testified under oath that she’s “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh attacked her, and she expressed confidence that it happened in an upstairs bedroom. There were other details she acknowledged not remembering 36 years later. Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, categorically denies any wrongdoing from all three women who have accused him of improper conduct.
-- Irony is dead: Moments after Trump discussed the importance of due process vis-a-vis Kavanaugh, emphasizing that people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the crowd in Mississippi chanted “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton.
-- Trump’s impersonation of Ford was more than an off-handed riff: The president sounded earlier in the day as if he welcomes a national debate over #MeToo. “It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for his trip to the Deep South. “That’s one of the very bad things that’s taking place now.” Asked by a reporter if he had a message for the young women of America, the president replied: “Women are doing great.”
-- It’s hard to see how such comments make it easier for the moderate Republican senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to explain coming out in support of Kavanaugh, but Trump is undeniably channeling widespread anger that many men feel on the right. Donald Trump Jr. said in a Daily Mail interview published Monday he fears more for his sons than his daughters. “I've got boys, and I've got girls. And when I see what's going on right now, it's scary,” he said while campaigning in Montana.
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt invoked the specter of “McCarthyism” to accuse Democrats of trying to malign Kavanaugh by association: “The Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss didn’t make Hollywood screenwriters traitors, and Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby and all the other such alleged predators don’t make the Georgetown Prep Class of 1983 into their accomplices by assertion. Democrats seem to think that the refusal to saddle up with the new Roy Cohns of the left dooms the right.”
Many GOP lawmakers have espoused similar sentiments while defending Kavanaugh: “I know I’m a single white male from South Carolina and I’m told I should shut up, but I will not shut up,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said last Friday as he voted to advance the nominee out of committee.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) added this the same day:
“Old white men” are relentlessly being racially and generationally profiled by the “tolerant” Left. Leftist media outlets & politicians almost universally profiled and stigmatized Republican Senators. Looks like racial profiling is back in style...if you are a Leftist.— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) September 29, 2018
A lot of rank-and-file Trump supporters feel similarly. Josh Paul, 33, was the first supporter in line to get into Trump’s rally on Monday night in Johnson City, Tenn. He camped out in a sleeping bag to secure the prime position. “These are dangerous proceedings. These accusations without proof — it’s almost like the Salem witch trials,” Paul told Rachel Chason.
-- University of Chicago law and philosophy professor Martha Nussbaum argued that three emotions — anger, envy and disgust — are driving what she calls this “wave of fear-driven male rage.”
-- “This eruption of male resentment,” driven by unbridled anger and anxiety, has been building for some time inside the conservative movement, Phil Rucker and Bob Costa explained in yesterday’s paper: “Fox News commentator Ben Shapiro, who hosts a popular podcast and TV program, has been one of the higher profile voices, sharply criticizing a culture where he sees ‘men out in the cold’ and ‘searching for meaning.’ ‘The age of emasculation cannot last,’ Shapiro has written. ‘It will eventually boil over into violence, sink away into irrelevance,’ or return to traditional mores.
- “University of Toronto clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has drawn thousands of young conservative men to his lectures across the United States, railing against the effects of feminism and urging men to speak up for themselves.
- “On Reddit, a hugely popular online discussion website, hordes of men, many of them libertarian or Republican, weigh in on forums focused on topics such as ‘men’s rights’ and ‘men’s liberation.’
- “Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose program for years has largely defined the GOP’s white male id, has unleashed a torrent of criticism on the air — such as his riff last week on ‘militant feminism.’ ‘These women are angry,’ Limbaugh said. ‘Something has happened to them in their lives, and their rage and anger, they take it out now on the country or on all men or men in ‘the powerful majority,’ which is white Christian men and so forth.”
-- In his book “Fear,” Bob Woodward quotes Trump saying the following to a male friend who had been accused of sexual assault (and admitted that he indeed had behaved inappropriately): “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead,” Trump told the man, according to Woodward. “You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”
-- This is not the first time that Trump has complained publicly about the #MeToo movement. At a July rally in Montana, the president imagined pushing Elizabeth Warren to take a DNA test to support her claims of Native American ancestry. “We have to do it gently because we’re in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very careful,” Trump said to scattered laughter.
-- An important point against the backdrop of this debate: “Data on how many false assault accusations are made is hard to determine, but false claims make up only a small observed percentage of reported assaults. Most assaults, of course, aren’t reported at all,” Philip Bump notes.
THE LATEST ON THE FBI PROBE:
-- “FBI leaders are warily trying to navigate their way through the politically charged background-check investigation into … Kavanaugh, as the bureau seeks to protect itself now — and after the midterm elections — from what could be fierce congressional criticism,” per Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger. “The White House has given the FBI until Friday to provide the results of a week-long inquiry … Officials said the FBI could finish before Friday.
On Tuesday, the FBI interviewed Tim Gaudette, a Georgetown Preparatory School classmate of Kavanaugh: “Gaudette’s attorney, Kenneth Eichner, said an FBI interview took place but declined to comment further. Gaudette’s home was the site of a July 1, 1982, party that Kavanaugh references on his calendar and has become the focus of lawmakers’ concerns. Another friend from Kavanaugh’s high school days, Chris Garrett, has also completed an FBI interview, according to Garrett’s lawyer, William M. Sullivan Jr., who declined to comment further.
“Discussions between the FBI and the White House are complicated by a number of factors — the president’s long-running distrust of the agency over its Russia probe, the intense criticism by members of Congress of the FBI’s handling of politically sensitive investigations, and the added difficulty of conducting an inquiry that could tip the scales in deciding who becomes the next member of the Supreme Court. One political consideration looms larger than those issues, according to people familiar with FBI and administration deliberations: If the Democrats win control of the House, lawmakers could launch investigations into exactly what White House and bureau officials said internally about the Kavanaugh matter. The White House and FBI ‘are being very careful with each other,’ said one person familiar with the matter … ‘Everyone realizes that they are under a huge amount of scrutiny, and will be when it’s over, too.’
“In many background checks, interviews will be conducted by a single agent, but the Kavanaugh matter is anything but a standard inquiry. When the FBI met one of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Deborah Ramirez, in Boulder, Colo., this past weekend, they sent two agents, and a supervisory agent waited in an adjoining room … John Clune, an attorney for Ramirez, said Tuesday on Twitter that his client spoke with the FBI for more than two hours Sunday in a ‘detailed and productive interview.’ … But he asserted that Ramirez had provided the names and contact information of more than 20 witnesses who might be able to corroborate her allegation that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when they were at Yale, and that, as far as Clune knew, the FBI had not contacted any of them as of Tuesday.
“Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who said she was assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were teens and who testified to the Senate last week, wrote FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Tuesday to say they were concerned the FBI had not sought an interview with her. … Because the White House and even the president are dictating what the bureau should do, Wray is also involved in the matter, according to people familiar with the work.”
-- Fox News reports that “the FBI may wrap up its investigation … as soon as late Wednesday.”
THE MOOD ON THE HILL:
-- “Many senators want at least parts of FBI report on Kavanaugh released,” Seung Min Kim reports: “Normally, the FBI report would go into Kavanaugh’s background file at the Senate Judiciary Committee — a vault of information accessible only to senators and a select circle of aides. But a growing number of senators from both parties say some version of the report, or at least a summary of the FBI’s findings, needs to be made public considering its newsworthiness. … ‘I was talking to another senator today who mentioned that there had been some discussion about releasing them publicly since they’re going to be selectively leaked anyway,’ Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. ‘So we can all deal with the same sheet of paper.’
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled caution, noting Tuesday that all senators will have access to the FBI report and reiterating that the Senate will vote this week. … Still, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants all senators to be briefed by the FBI on its investigation at least 24 hours before senators take a procedural vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
-- “Kavanaugh’s temperament and truthfulness came under increased scrutiny from lawmakers Tuesday,” Erica Werner and Karoun Demirjian report: “Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) — the Judiciary Committee member who had pushed to delay the vote so the FBI could investigate the allegations — criticized the tenor of the nominee at the hearing last week where Kavanaugh aggressively defended his innocence and sparred with Democratic senators. Flake said at the Atlantic Festival he was ‘very troubled by the tone’ of Kavanaugh’s testimony. ‘The interaction with the members was sharp and partisan, and that concerns me. And I tell myself, you give a little leeway because of what he’s been through, but on the other hand we can’t have this on the court. We simply can’t.’
“Meanwhile, three former Kavanaugh clerks who had signed letters of support for him — Will Dreher, Bridget Fahey and Rakim Brooks — wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that they were deeply troubled by the allegations and expressed support for an ‘independent and thorough’ investigation. Two Yale Law School classmates who had endorsed Kavanaugh, Michael J. Proctor and Mark Osler, also pulled their backing, saying the judge’s testimony last week was ‘partisan, and not judicious.’
Tensions ran high Tuesday in the Capitol: “A small but vocal group of protesters gathered in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building, running alongside every senator who walked through — most of them, Democrat or Republican, escorted by a Capitol Police officer. Those who have declared they would vote against Kavanaugh, like Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), got cheers and thank-yous. Those who have supported the nominee, despite the allegations against him, were challenged to remember sexual assault survivors — but the clamor of voices in the cavernous chamber made it difficult to hear the message through the din.
“‘This is dangerous,’ said [Lindsey Graham], walking through the area with a Capitol Police officer and the deputy sergeant at arms, who yelled at protesters as Graham tried to talk to reporters. Graham said he wasn’t concerned that any senator other than Flake might waver on supporting Kavanaugh after they see the results of the FBI investigation.”
THE THIRD ACCUSER:
-- “In an unprecedented move, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday released an explicit statement that purports to describe the sexual preferences of a woman who has accused [Kavanaugh] of misconduct,” Elise Viebeck reports. “The statement … was from Dennis Ketterer, a former Democratic congressional candidate and television meteorologist who said he was involved in a brief relationship with Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick in 1993. Swetnick said last week in an affidavit that Kavanaugh was present at a house party in 1982 where she alleges she was the victim of a gang rape, a claim he vehemently denies. In his statement, Ketterer said Swetnick once told him that she sometimes enjoyed group sex with multiple men and had first engaged in it during high school. Ketterer said the remark ‘derailed’ their relationship, which he described as involving ‘physical contact’ but no intercourse. … He described their relationship as lasting for a ‘couple of weeks.’
“Reached by phone Tuesday night, Ketterer said he provided the statement to the committee Monday night after … discussing his memories of her with local leaders in his church. Ketterer described himself as a longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and lives in the Salt Lake City area. … Eventually, he said, one church leader reached out to a former LDS bishop who had a connection to the office of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) … Ketterer said he spoke with Hatch’s staff last Friday and was then handed off to staff for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who he said pressed him in a long phone interview about his knowledge of Swetnick’s background and her family relationships. ‘They interviewed me like I was being deposed,’ he said. …
“Swetnick attorney Michael Avenatti called the statement ‘bogus and outrageous’ and called for the FBI to interview Swetnick and Ketterer to assess their truthfulness. … Ketterer, who was terminated from his position with Channel 7 in Washington in the mid-1990s, sued the station for $12 million in 1995 over what he said was discrimination against him because a psychiatrist had diagnosed him with bipolar II disorder. Ketterer said the lawsuit was dismissed in summary judgment and that he learned weeks later that he had been misdiagnosed. He has diabetes, not a mental illness, he said. ‘I was having mood swings,’ he said. ‘When my blood sugar gets low, you don’t want to get anywhere near me.’ He added: ‘I am not mentally ill.’”
MORE ABOUT KAVANAUGH:
-- In his book “Wasted,” Mark Judge referred to his friend “Bart O’Kavanaugh” vomiting and passing out drunk in a car. Last week, Kavanaugh testified that he didn’t know who that was referring to. “You’d have to ask him,” he said. Today’s New York Times reports that Kavanaugh’s nickname in high school was “Bart” because a teacher once garbled “Brett.”
The Times’s Kate Kelly and David Enrich obtained a handwritten June 1983 letter that Kavanaugh sent to his friends ahead of “BEACH WEEK” in Ocean City. He had rented a condo on the 14th floor of a high-rise: “Judge Kavanaugh told his friends that he would be on a family trip to Ireland when the lease started, so they would have to pick up the keys and settle the outstanding $398 bill. He reminded them to bring their own towels and bedding. … ‘One of you has to grab the bull by the horns and take charge,’ he instructed. … Whoever arrived first at the condo should ‘warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us. Advise them to go about 30 miles...’
“‘I think we are unanimous that any girls we can beg to stay there are welcomed with open . . .,’ he wrote, his ellipsis at the end leaving certain things unsaid. He noted that the boys should kick out anyone who didn’t belong: ‘The danger of eviction is great and that would suck because of the money and because this week has big potential. (Interpret as wish.)’ Judge Kavanaugh signed the letter: ‘FFFFF, Bart.’
“A different classmate, who was friendly with Judge Kavanaugh and requested anonymity to protect his business interests, said he had reached out to the F.B.I. because he believes the judge misrepresented the extent of his drinking during his Senate testimony last week,” Kate and David report. “One night during his senior year, according to classmates who witnessed it, Judge Kavanaugh triumphantly hoisted an empty beer keg above his head, in recognition that he and his friends were well on their way to reaching their goal of polishing off 100 kegs during the academic year. … Four Georgetown Prep classmates said they saw Judge Kavanaugh and his friends partake in binge-drinking rituals many weekends in which other partygoers saw them inebriated, even having difficulty standing. … Through his lawyers, Judge Kavanaugh declined to comment for this article.”
-- Additional Kavanaugh coverage:
- CNN: “Kavanaugh friend Chris Dudley was arrested in 1985 bar incident, police report shows.”
- Fox News: “Christine Blasey Ford ex-boyfriend says she helped friend prep for potential polygraph; Grassley sounds alarm.”
- Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Kavanaugh likes beer — but Trump is a teetotaler: ‘He doesn’t like drinkers.’”
- Avi Selk: “How the FBI’s flawed investigation of Clarence Thomas became a model for Kavanaugh’s.”
- Associated Press: “Kavanaugh’s ‘revenge’ theory spotlights past with Clintons.”
- Courtland Milloy: “New D.C. program aims to make it easier for victims to report sexual assault.”
- Avi Selk: “‘Castrate their corpses,’ professor says of GOP senators. White ‘genocide!’ Tucker Carlson cries.”
- Antonio Olivo: “Kaine, Stewart clash in final Virginia Senate debate over sexual misconduct.”
- Politico: “GOP senators use Kavanaugh to beat back primary challengers in 2020.”
- Meagan Flynn: “‘Red Red Wine’: How an ’80s reggae-pop band got dragged into the Kavanaugh drama.”
- The Intercept: “Democrats Hope the FBI Investigation Will Sink Brett Kavanaugh — but Such Probes are Inherently Limited.”
- Vox: “Did Brett Kavanaugh perjure himself? The debate, explained.”
- AP: “Some blacks see a racial double standard in Kavanaugh case.”
- Monica Hesse: “Dear dads: Your daughters told me about their assaults. This is why they never told you.”
- Brookings senior fellow Ben Wittes: “I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm Him. This is an article I never imagined myself writing, that I never wanted to write, that I wish I could not write.”
- Dana Milbank: “I, too, majored in beer at Yale.”
- Ruth Marcus: “Does it matter what Kavanaugh did in high school? Well, yes.”
- Erin C. Cassese, Tiffany D. Barnes and Mirya Holman on Monkey Cage: “How ‘hostile sexism’ came to shape our politics.”
- Kathleen Parker: “The attempted ruin of Kavanaugh is about more than Ford’s allegations.”
- Gary Abernathy: “The Kavanaugh accusations were just what the doctor ordered for Trump Country.”
- Helaine Olen: “Kavanaugh’s lies are part of the Republican ecosystem.”
- Paul Waldman: “All of [Kavanaugh’s] lies, distortions and absurdities.”
- Jennifer Rubin: “Not everyone belongs on the Supreme Court.”
- George Thomas: “Don’t forget about Kavanaugh’s troubling legal philosophy.”
- Marc A. Thiessen: “Rachel Mitchell expertly eviscerates the case against Kavanaugh.”
- Elie Honig for CNN: “Rachel Mitchell did sex-crime victims a disservice.”
- Former associate counsel in the Obama White House Rudy Mehrbani: “The White House still has no idea how to vet [Kavanaugh].”
- John F. Harris for Politico Magazine: “[Kavanaugh] Is Lying. So Are You.”
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in the Wall Street Journal: “Kavanaugh’s Righteous Anger: His foes seem to think a good judge would respond like a robot to scurrilous personal attacks.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Three scientists, including Americans Frances H. Arnold and George P. Smith, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work applying evolutionary principles to create new proteins. Ben Guarino reports: “‘This year’s prize is about harnessing the power of evolution,’ said Göran K. Hansson, secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, to reporters in Sweden. The scientists used evolutionary techniques in the laboratory to create powerful biological enzymes, molecules that speed up chemical reactions, and other important molecules.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Authorities are investigating a series of suspicious envelopes believed to contain ricin that have been sent to senior officials, including Trump and Jim Mattis. Initial tests conducted on envelopes sent to the defense secretary and Adm. John M. Richardson, the chief of naval operations, indicated the presence of ricin. (Missy Ryan)
- An NCIS special agent was arrested and faces obstruction of justice charges, after she allegedly became romantically involved with a Syrian national attempting to obtain a U.S. visa and warned him that he was the target of a DHS probe and FBI counterterrorism investigation. (Rachel Weiner)
- The former showrunner of “NCIS: New Orleans,” meanwhile, was fired by CBS following three human resources investigations into his behavior. Brad Kern was accused of harassing and unfairly penalizing women, repeatedly bullying a nursing mother and making racially insensitive statements. (Hollywood Reporter)
The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Vernon Madison, who faces the death penalty in Alabama despite having suffered significant brain damage. Bryan A. Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative argued executing Madison would be unconstitutional due to his mental state, but Alabama’s deputy attorney general said the state still had the right to seek “retribution” for the 1985 murder of a police officer. (Robert Barnes)
The mayor of Tulsa said the city would reinvestigate whether there are mass graves from a 1921 race massacre. The announcement follows a Washington Post story on unanswered questions from the massacre, during which a white mob killed hundreds of black Tulsa residents and destroyed hundreds of black-owned businesses and homes. (DeNeen L. Brown)
- Scientists announced the discovery of a previously unknown dwarf planet — nicknamed “the Goblin” — at the very fringes of our solar system. According to the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, the dwarf planet is “about 300 kilometers in diameter, and could be a ball of ice. (Ben Guarino)
- FEMA will conduct a nationwide test of its Wireless Emergency Alerts system today, with a message headed “Presidential Alert” going out to cellphones across the country. (Martin Weil)
- A veteran Saudi journalist and outspoken critic of the country’s leadership, Jamal Khashoggi, was reportedly detained in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. According to Khashoggi’s fiancee and a close friend, they lost contact with him when he entered the consulate in hopes of obtaining a marriage license and have not seen or heard from him since. (New York Times)
- WNBA President Lisa Borders announced she is leaving the league to become CEO of Time’s Up, a recently founded advocacy group aimed at combating gender-based harassment and discrimination in the workplace. In a statement, WNBA officials said NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will fill her role until a permanent replacement is hired. (Jacob Bogage)
- The low-cost airline Primera Air declared bankruptcy and abruptly shuttered, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. The news came just weeks after the airline began direct, five-day-a-week service from Dulles International Airport and London’s Stansted Airport. (Lori Aratani)
-- New York’s state tax agency is considering an investigation into allegations detailed in a New York Times story that Trump engaged in tax-avoidance schemes and fraud in the 1990s as he assumed the fortune of his father, David Fahrenthold reports: "'The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the [Times] article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,’ said James Gazzale, a spokesman for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.”
-- The Times's David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner reported in their must read piece: “Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help. [The investigation], based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.” Among the biggest takeaways:
- “By age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. By the time he was 17, his father had given him part ownership of a 52-unit apartment building. Soon after Mr. Trump graduated from college, he was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year … The money increased with the years, to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s.”
- “Fred Trump was relentless and creative in finding ways to channel this wealth to his children. He made Donald not just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, banker and consultant. He gave him loan after loan … money for his car, money for his employees, money to buy stocks, money for his first Manhattan offices … He gave him three trust funds. He gave him shares in multiple partnerships. He gave him $10,000 Christmas checks. He gave him laundry revenue from his buildings.”
- “Much of his giving was structured to sidestep gift and inheritance taxes using methods tax experts described to The Times as improper or possibly illegal. … When he was in his 80s and beginning to slide into dementia, evading gift and estate taxes became a family affair, with Donald Trump playing a crucial role ...”
- “The manipulation of values to evade taxes was central to one of the most important financial events in [Trump’s] life. In [one episode], Trump and his siblings gained ownership of most of their father’s empire … a year and a half before [his] death. Critical to the complex transaction was the value put on the real estate. The lower its value, the lower the gift taxes. The Trumps dodged hundreds of millions in gift taxes by submitting tax returns that grossly undervalued the properties, claiming they were worth just $41.4 million. The same set of buildings would be sold off … for more than 16 times that amount …”
-- Lawmakers are also revving up their calls for Trump to release his tax returns, which he has repeatedly, declined to do, Fahrenthold reports: “‘I knew there had to be a compelling reason why this president departed from previous presidents in not disclosing his income tax returns,’ said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat. Asked whether it merited a new push to reveal Trump’s personal financial records, Durbin said: ‘Yes.’”
-- The White House issued a statement late Tuesday slamming the Times story as misleading: “Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions,' the statement said, before touting Trump’s economic policies and his success at making trade deals.”
-- Tony Schwartz, the co-author of “The Art of the Deal,” said the Times investigation would permanently destroy Trump’s attempts to portray himself as a “self-made man.” “It goes far beyond even what I thought had happened,” Schwartz said on MSNBC. “It’s like the cover has been ripped off this man. Whatever myth there was, as you said earlier, that he was a self-made man, or that he was even a legitimate businessman, is gone forever.” (Eli Rosenberg)
-- In February, Trump “personally directed” a legal effort to stop Stormy Daniels from speaking out about their alleged affair through his son, Eric Trump, and his then-lawyer Michael Cohen. The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld report: “In a phone call, Mr. Trump instructed [Cohen] to seek a restraining order against [Daniels] through a confidential arbitration proceeding . . . Trump and Cohen had learned shortly before that [Daniels] was considering giving a media interview about her alleged relationship with Mr. Trump, despite having signed an October 2016 nondisclosure agreement. Mr. Trump told Mr. Cohen to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump … and another outside lawyer who had represented Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization in other matters[.] Eric Trump, who is running the company with his brother … then tasked a Trump Organization staff attorney in California with signing off on the arbitration paperwork . . . Direct involvement of the president and his son in this year’s effort to silence [Daniels] hasn’t previously been reported. The accounts of that effort recently … suggest that the president’s ties to his company continued into this year and contradict public statements made at the time by the Trump Organization, the White House and Mr. Cohen. Mr. Trump on Tuesday declined to answer questions about whether he had directed his son and Mr. Cohen to pay [Daniels] earlier this year, telling reporters ‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about.’”
-- Forbes estimated that Trump’s net worth has fallen by $1.4 billion since he announced his presidential bid, knocking him 138 places lower on the Forbes 400 list. From Dan Alexander and Chase Peterson-Withorn: “Three factors are at play. Much of that decline is due to deeper reporting, which revealed, for example, that the president had been lying about the size of his penthouse. Some of it is due to larger market forces. … But the third factor comes from how Trump the president affects Trump the brand. … After Trump won the election, [the Miami resort Trump National Doral] lost 100,000 booked room nights, according to someone who knows the resort’s business. While revenues for the Miami luxury hotel market jumped 4% overall in 2017 according to the data analytics firm STR, Doral’s revenues fell by an estimated 16%.”
-- Trump has reportedly tapped Palm Beach-based handbag designer Lana Marks as the next ambassador to South Africa — selecting a woman who once hosted her daughter’s wedding at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The Guardian's Jason Burke reports: “The appointment of [Marks], whose products sell between $10,000 and $400,000, would be likely to cause some surprise: Marks was born in South Africa but has not lived there for more than 40 years. Relations between South Africa and the US have soured in recent weeks following a tweet by the president inaccurately describing ‘large-scale killing’ of white farmers in the country. Trump’s statement prompted outrage and a firm rebuttal from the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa.”
BIG BUSINESS IS WINNING:
-- “The Pentagon has pulled its support for a regulation that would have paid defense contractors less money up front on major weapons deals, a move that follows pressure from influential lawmakers and defense industry lobbyists,” Aaron Gregg reports. “The policy, which the Defense Department proposed last month, would have lowered the amount of financing support defense contractors typically receive in the early phases of a contract. Under current policy, such payments typically cover 80 percent of those costs. The new regulation would have slashed that to 50 percent while tying cash flow more closely to performance, and it also would have set up new restrictions for companies convicted of fraud. … But the now-rescinded financing rule illustrates how political pressure could become an obstacle to broader reform.”
-- Big pharmaceutical companies stand to profit handsomely from the updated North American trade agreement — in some cases at the expense of consumers. Jeanne Whalen reports: “The gains underscore the benefits U.S. industry will be seeking, and the pressure it will exert, as the Trump administration continues rewriting trade deals with other countries and regions. … The pharmaceutical industry won stronger protection for sales of so-called biologic drugs, which are typically derived from living organisms and are administered by injection or infusion. The medicines are among the most costly and innovative on the market and are a major driver of drug spending. USMCA guards new biologic drugs from cheaper generic competition for ‘at least ten years,’ compared with current protection of eight years in Canada and five years in Mexico. … Critics of the trade agreement argued that by setting a minimum of 10 years of protection, the trilateral pact shields the pharmaceutical industry from future legislative attempts in the United States to shorten biologic drug monopolies.”
-- “The EPA is pursuing rule changes that experts say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for [you],” the AP’s Ellen Knickmeyer reports: “The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk. And critics say the proposed change could lead to higher levels of exposure for workers at nuclear installations and oil and gas drilling sites, medical workers doing X-rays and CT scans, people living next to Superfund sites and any members of the public who one day might find themselves exposed to a radiation release. Supporters of the EPA’s proposal argue the government’s current model that there is no safe level of radiation — the so-called linear no-threshold model — forces unnecessary spending for handling exposure in accidents, at nuclear plants, in medical centers and at other sites.”
-- New data reveals that very few companies are putting their windfall from the Trump tax cuts toward increasing workers’ wages, undercutting a central GOP rationale for passing the law last December. The Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Fuhrmans reports: “A new survey of 152 companies by executive-recruitment firm Korn Ferry International revealed 14% were putting part of their tax-cut savings into base salary increases. A poll of 1,500 companies by consulting firm Mercer LLC showed 4% are redirecting tax savings to budgets for bigger paychecks in the coming year. And in a survey of more than 1,000 companies published by human-resources consulting firm Aon PLC, 99% said the tax cuts weren’t prompting them to increase minimum wages. Companies are reluctant to grant higher-than-usual pay raises in part because it adds to their fixed labor costs, compensation experts said.”
-- SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce told a group of law students that representing corporations can be “a form of public interest law.” “Representing corporations also can be a form of public interest law because companies contribute so much to the well-being of society,” Peirce told a University of Michigan Law School class. “I am not referring to corporate sponsorship of the local minor-league baseball team, food bank, or youth orchestra. … These charitable activities are laudable, but, to find something good, we need not look beyond the core profit-making activities of the corporation.”
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- “American Girl: A Story of Immigration, Fear and Fortitude,” by Jennifer Miller: “Over nearly two decades, Salvadoran TPS recipients settled into American life. They found employment, fell in love and married. Many of them bought homes and started businesses. They also gave birth to roughly 192,700 American-born children, some 38,000 of whom live in the District, Maryland and Virginia. In canceling TPS, [the] Trump administration forced families … to confront the question that past administrations had avoided: What would happen to all these American kids when their parents were officially ordered to leave the country? … [Emily, the 14-year-old daughter of two TPS recipients, spoke] with a kind of nostalgia about the girl she’d been before the presidential election . . . ‘I knew racial prejudice was still a thing, but I had complete faith in the U.S.,’ she said. ‘I thought we were good people.’ It was startling how quickly the new reality set in. The morning after Trump won, a neighborhood girl she’d known for years walked over to her at the bus stop and said, ‘Now you’re going back to your country.’”
-- A federal report documented abysmal conditions at a private, for-profit immigration jail in California that violate federal detention standards. Nick Miroff reports: The report describes “cells with nooses dangling from air vents, detainees losing teeth from lack of dental care and one disabled inmate left alone in a wheelchair for nine days. [The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General] audited the facility, overseen by [ICE], in Adelanto, Calif. … ICE officials said they have ordered a full inspection and review of the Adelanto facility that will begin this month.”
-- Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller pushed Trump to stop issuing student visas to Chinese nationals, according to the Financial Times’s Demetri Sevastopulo and Tom Mitchell. “The debate about Chinese students intensified after the White House in December released its national security strategy, which said it would ‘review visa procedures to reduce economic theft by non-traditional intelligence collectors’ and consider restrictions on foreign students in science-related fields. While the debate was largely focused on spying, Mr Miller argued his plan would also hurt elite universities whose staff and students have been highly critical of Mr Trump, according to the three people with knowledge of the debate. The issue came to a head in an Oval Office meeting in the spring during which Mr Miller squared off with administration opponents, including Terry Branstad, the former Iowa governor who is US ambassador to China. … Mr Branstad succeeded in convincing the president that Mr Miller’s proposal was too draconian, according to one person.”
THERE'S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- A GOP operative who sued Trump for defamation in 2016 — and whose personal email was later hacked — says the FBI has referred her case to Robert Mueller’s team. Politico’s Ben Schreckinger reports: “The operative and Trump critic, Cheri Jacobus, [said] FBI agents in the bureau’s cyber division informed her in September that they had forwarded their investigation to Mueller because the matter came to exceed the bounds of computer intrusion, the crime that had been the initial focus of the investigation. It is not clear what led the FBI to conclude that Mueller has jurisdiction over the matter. … Jacobus alleges the hacking of her personal email account was part of a broader campaign of harassment and intimidation that followed critical comments she made about Trump during the 2016 [GOP] primaries. Jacobus, a political PR specialist, served as a source for a 2015 Washington Post investigation that forced a pro-Trump super PAC to shut down.”
-- Mueller’s team is shedding two more prosecutors in its Russia investigation, in another sign that the special counsel probe could be nearing its final stages. Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn reports: “Brandon Van Grack and Kyle Freeny — government lawyers with key roles in bringing the case against the former Trump campaign chairman over tax evasion, bank fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent for his lobbying work in Ukraine — are going back to their prior posts at the Justice Department, according to Mueller spokesman Peter Carr."
-- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to meet with House lawmakers next Thursday. Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports: “The arrangement of the interview with a joint panel of the Republican-led Judiciary and Oversight committees follows intense pressure from [Trump's] top House allies to question Rosenstein about recent reports that he proposed secretly recording Trump early last year. … The precise format of the meeting remains unclear. Some House Republicans have insisted that Rosenstein sit for a transcribed interview that would be treated as an element of the panel’s broader, long-running investigation into the Justice Department and FBI. But Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who invited Rosenstein to brief lawmakers, has not indicated whether he might allow Rosenstein to appear in a less-formal context simply to brief lawmakers on his response to the reports.”
-- The Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation is unlikely to wrap up this year, Karoun Demirjian reports. “[The panel’s] continued harmony is due, in part, to the commitment of Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the panel’s chairman and vice chairman, to keep the process collaborative — and their calculated decision early on to postpone directly assessing whether Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow. That work will not begin until after November’s high-stakes election, which could result in Democrats retaking majorities in Congress.”
THE FUTURE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY:
-- Dan Balz has a deep-dive on the future of the Democratic Party — and whether potential presidential contenders can shake themselves awake before the 2020 elections: “The fact that [Montana Gov. Steve Bullock] — not exactly a household name — is entertaining a presidential campaign speaks directly to the state of the Democratic Party today. At this point, Democrats are bracing for a wide-open nomination contest. Despite the big names who could dominate the field, no one takes anything or anyone for granted …. Unlike in 2016, when most Democrats stayed out because of Hillary Clinton’s dominant position, there are enough question marks … to prompt as many as two dozen people to think about running. Trump taught everyone that the unthinkable is no longer the impossible. But the Bullocks of the party don’t just underscore the sense of opportunity that exists on the Democratic side; they also point to how much remains unresolved as the party looks to find a standard-bearer in 2020.”
-- “With a mere 34 days until the midterm elections, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is urging her caucus to swap talking points about the news of the day with issues she says voters actually care about,” The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott reports: “'Health-care costs in the country — that’s probably the major issue,' she told CNN’s Dana Bash in an interview at The Atlantic Festival . . . ‘And it’s tied to what the president and Republicans did on the tax bill.’ It was a disciplined message amid the frenzied news cycle . . . Pelosi argued that ‘people care about what’s happening in their lives” — matters such as prescription-drug costs and the number on their paycheck. Those things ‘are more important to people than who’s on the Supreme Court,’ she argued, and Democrats need to tailor their pitches accordingly.”
-- Gun control has become a Democratic litmus test, and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has an op-ed in The Post announcing his support for an assault weapons ban — after spending more than 20 years espousing moderation on gun policy. The senator writes: “In the years since the Senate last had a meaningful debate about gun-violence legislation, we’ve seen assault rifles and high-capacity magazines repeatedly used in mass shootings, with ever-higher body counts: Forty-nine murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Fifty-eight killed and 422 wounded by gunfire in Las Vegas, one year ago Monday. We’ve seen the gun lobby close its eyes to the fact that assault rifles were the weapon of choice for the mass shooters at Parkland, Fla., and at Sandy Hook Elementary School — and to the reality that these weapons can kill with an efficiency that shotguns and handguns, like the ones I own, simply cannot match. Though I remain convinced that strengthening our background-check system is critical, I also believe we must do more to end mass shootings.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Melania Trump kicked off her week-long tour of Africa in Ghana, where she was greeted by first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo on the tarmac. Emily Heil and Mary Jordan report: “Later, she stopped by Greater Accra Regional Hospital where she visited with new mothers and held a baby before passing out miniature teddy bears and blankets emblazoned with the logo for Be Best, her child-welfare initiative. From Ghana, Trump will travel to Malawi, then Kenya, and finally to Egypt … As she greets dignitaries in the four countries, [Trump] plans to engage in the kind of ‘soft diplomacy’ expected of first ladies. Unlike her predecessors, Trump has to contend with the baggage of her husband’s belittling comments about African nations that made headlines across the continent.
“Although the first lady’s trip is considered a gesture of goodwill, it also appears to some critics of the Trump administration to be out of step with her husband’s policies. Her stops will largely highlight programs funded by the [USAID], even as the administration has proposed massive cuts to USAID’s budget. … That generated alarm among many in humanitarian circles that it would close U.S. developmental and health programs and diminish efforts to combat AIDS and malaria. Congress ultimately voted to restore the funding.”
-- Days before the new North American trade pact was announced, Trump privately claimed that Canada’s foreign minister “hates America.” Josh Rogin writes: “Trump held court for more than an hour during an appearance at a Sept. 27 Protect the House PAC event at Trump International Hotel in Washington, speaking on a wide range of topics, two attendees told me after the event. … Trump was roasting people inside the room, telling stories about his private interactions with world leaders, discussing sensitive military operations and bragging about his accomplishments. At one point, he began criticizing Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was leading Canada’s negotiations with the United States on the trade deal that both allies announced three days later. ‘She hates America,’ Trump said, referring to Canada’s negotiator without using Freeland’s name.”
-- The U.S. ambassador to NATO caused alarm when she suggested U.S. forces might “take out” Russian missiles that allegedly violate an arms control treaty. From Michael Birnbaum and Paul Sonne: “Although Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison’s comments were somewhat ambiguous, arms control experts said they could be interpreted to mean a preemptive strike. Such a move could lead to nuclear war. Only after the comments drew a furious response from the Russian Foreign Ministry did Hutchison clarify on Twitter that she ‘was not talking about preemptively striking Russia.’”
-- A new poll shows Americans expressing near-record support for global engagement as Trump touts his “America First” agenda. Scott Clement and Dan Balz report: “The newly released survey shows majorities offering positive attitudes about the value of international trade, the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement. A majority also agrees the United States should make concessions to other U.N. countries in the conduct of foreign affairs. Notably, support for these views has increased since a similar poll taken a year ago, with several attitudes changing among Republicans and independents as well as Democrats. … The survey, conducted in July among 2,046 U.S. adults, found that 70 percent of Americans say it is best for the United States to take an active part in world affairs, up from 63 percent in 2017 and 58 percent in 2014.”
-- Some experts fear Trump’s views on North Korea could be swayed by Kim Jong Un’s excessive flattery. Anne Gearan writes: “North Korean rhetoric tends to be over the top in both praise and disdain — last year the regime called Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” — and formal written communication can be particularly hyperbolic, veterans of past negotiations and other North Korea watchers said. They warned that Trump would be wise to focus on what Kim does rather than what he writes in a letter. … Trump’s chumminess with Kim makes traditional U.S. allies in the Pacific nervous — particularly Japan, which is directly threatened by North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.”
-- Iraq named a new president and prime minister after months of gridlock. From Mustafa Salim and Tamer El-Ghobashy: “Within an hour of Iraq’s parliament electing veteran Kurdish politician Barham Salih as president, he announced that he had asked former oil minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to form the next government. The selection of the men showed how the sectarian loyalties in Iraq’s Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab communities that have prevailed since the U.S. invasion in 2003 are breaking down, giving way to more-pragmatic coalitions that cut across sectarian lines. … But the vote left no clear winner in the ongoing tussle between Iran and the United States to place their allies in Iraq’s key political posts as Washington seeks to isolate Tehran economically and politically.”
-- Jason Kander, a Democratic candidate in Kansas City's mayoral race, announced he was dropping out of the race to address his PTSD and depression from his military service in Afghanistan. Eli Rosenberg reports: “Kander, 37, made the announcement in a letter he posted online, saying that he was done ‘trying to outrun depression and PTSD symptoms’ that he traced back 11 years to a four-month tour in the Middle East. ‘I’m done hiding this from myself and from the world,’ Kander said. ‘When I wrote in my book that I was lucky to not have PTSD, I was just trying to convince myself. And I wasn’t sharing the full picture. I still have nightmares. I am depressed.’ Kander, Missouri’s former secretary of state, rose to national prominence with a quirky campaign ad in a bid to unseat Sen. Roy Blunt (R) in 2016. Kander was a likely favorite in the 2019 mayoral race . . . But he wrote that his achievements — a best-selling book, some early signs of success in his bid for mayor, the work of [his] nonprofit organization — had done little to alleviate his symptoms.”
-- Michael Bloomberg will give $20 million to Democrats’ main Senate super PAC. Robert Costa reports: “Bloomberg’s intervention bolsters the Democrats’ Senate chances by infusing significant late-season capital into the Senate Majority PAC, a group that had $29 million on hand at the end of August and has been purchasing advertising in expensive media markets. [Bloomberg] says the emotional national debate over sexual-assault allegations against [Kavanaugh] has energized Democratic voters and provides an opening for the party to be more competitive in rallying women and swing voters, his advisers said Tuesday, adding that he sees last week’s contentious hearings as a tipping point.” Bloomberg is reportedly considering a 2020 presidential bid.
-- The Republican nominee in a competitive House race in Kansas has been accused of embellishing or outright lying about pieces of his biography. The AP’s Roxana Hegeman and John Hanna report: “Steve Watkins’ campaign website featured a since-removed testimonial to his ‘heroic leadership’ when a deadly earthquake shook Mount Everest during an expedition. He has acknowledged inaccurately claiming that he started a Middle East business, expanding it from three to 470 people. And there are doubts about Watkins’ self-description as a devoted, sixth-generation Kansan. Even before Watkins won the crowded primary to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins in eastern Kansas’ 2nd Distric, some fellow Republicans were skeptical. One former GOP foe, state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, called him ‘a charlatan, a fraud and an opportunist,’ though he now won’t criticize him.” Trump is expected in Kansas this weekend to campaign for Watkins and gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach.
-- Climate change has not become a dominant issue in the midterms, even as many scientists blame the severity of recent weather events on a warming planet. The New York Times’s Trip Gabriel reports: “The vast majority of Democrats and Republicans running for federal office do not mention the threat of global warming in digital or TV ads, in their campaign literature or on social media. Environmental activists and political scientists say it is a reflection of the issue’s perpetual low ranking among voters, even Democratic voters, and of the intense polarization along party lines that has developed around global warming, even as the science of human-caused warming has become overwhelming.”
-- House Republicans in close races are trying to balance embracing Trump with highlighting their more bipartisan initiatives. Politico’s Rachael Bade reports: “Take Dave Brat. At a private fundraiser in early September, the Virginia Republican joked to a roomful of Republicans about how he mimics archconservative House Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan on Fox News when discussing the FBI’s Russia investigation. He then encouraged Sebastian Gorka, a controversial former adviser to [Trump], to get involved in Brat's campaign to gin up the base, according to [a recording of the private event]. But in TV ads, Brat has touted his work on issues that transcend party lines. One of them features images of puppies playing with children, and a narrator touting the congressman's work ‘to stop a federal agency from conducting cruel medical research on dogs.’”
-- But White House political director Bill Stepien warned in a memo to West Wing aides that GOP congressional candidates attempting to distance themselves from Trump may come to regret it. The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman reports: “[The memo] essentially lays down a marker for once the dust has settled after Election Day, and it becomes clear which Republicans fared well and which did not. In the White House’s view, according to the memo, those Republicans who are running at a distance from Mr. Trump may come to regret it when the votes are cast. Candidates who are looking for a path to victory need to ‘boldly align’ themselves with a president who is historically popular with Republican voters, Mr. Stepien wrote.”
-- A new Monmouth poll found GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock’s race in Virginia tightening. From Jenna Portnoy: “[Democrat Jennifer] Wexton, a state senator from Loudoun County, is ahead by six points, which is slightly less than her lead of about 10 points in June but still within the margin of error for the Monmouth University poll. The Democrat leads 50 percent to 44 percent, compared with her 49 percent to 39 percent lead over the summer. … At the same time, likely voters have improved their attitudes toward Comstock, who is seeking a third term.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
A Democratic Senate candidate in Tennessee received a harsh response from the crowd when he was asked about Kavanaugh, per an AP reporter:
Phil Bredesen just got booed for saying he's withholding judgment on Kavanaugh at a forum he's hosting tonight in Chattanooga #tnpol— Kimberlee Kruesi (@kkruesi) October 1, 2018
A House Republican slammed Jeff Flake's comments on Kavanaugh:
.@JeffFlake's criticism of Judge Kavanaugh's "sharp" testimony is sad. If Flake was accused of being a serial rapist, I'm confident that he too would deliver a passionate defense. No one is expected to just stand by and accept a politically motivated character assassination.— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) October 2, 2018
A conservative New York Times columnist tried to defend Kavanaugh by sharing his own bar-fight history:
I've been in two bar fights, though I suppose one was technically a "Jumbo Slice fight." (In neither was I anywhere close to blackout drunk.)— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) October 1, 2018
A Fox Business reporter provided additional support:
Ive been in dozens of bar fights (ask the guys I grew up with) nearly lost an eye in one and that's just one of the injuries (I have the scarred stitch marks to prove the rest) never been black out drunk but I have had to defend myself, which I am still perfectly capable of doing https://t.co/VQSotGWW5g— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) October 2, 2018
A former House speaker accused the Democrats of “character assassination”:
The parallel between Lincoln’s feb 1860 speech at Cooper Union and the viciousness of the Democrats character assassination attack on Judge Kavanaugh is very sobering. Republicans must recognize this for the attack on our entire system which it is. “Rule or ruin” is their goal.— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 1, 2018
A Princeton history professor replied:
In 1994, you instructed Republican candidates in House races to call their Democratic opponents "sick" and "corrupt," to insist they were "radicals" and even "traitors."— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) October 1, 2018
You don't get to complain about "character assassination" now. https://t.co/ru6Eysl2VN
A contributor to the conservative site The Federalist responded to a USA Today column by Kirsten Powers:
No, it’s never the woman’s fault for being sexually assaulted. But there is some measure of responsibility when it comes to putting one’s self in the situation and we can learn from it. If I choose to get in a car with a drunk driver & he wrecks, I can regret getting in the car. https://t.co/CQrAgT74vx— DC McAllister (@McAllisterDen) October 2, 2018
Powers fired back:
Actually the woman or girl has exactly ZERO responsibility for being sexually assaulted. https://t.co/rud7g7PnaU— Kirsten Powers (@KirstenPowers) October 2, 2018
A former senior strategist to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign questioned an assertion from Trump:
If there are really any young men in America who feel frightened, take some time off & watch “Saving Private Ryan,” take a little more time to feel ashamed of yourself, then get back to realizing you are the luckiest young men in the world & be thankful for the courage of others. https://t.co/0uETL6tX9O— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) October 2, 2018
The former chief strategist to George W. Bush's 2004 campaign highlighted another Washington figure as the Kavanaugh controversy continues:
The fascinating thing while we are in the midst of the chaos, shouting, grandstanding, and dysfunction on a daily basis, bob mueller quietly and calmly and without fanfare goes about his work for truth and justice. A lesson for us all.— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) October 2, 2018
An assistant managing editor at the New York Times shared this about the paper's investigation into Trump's taxes:
True fact: the @nytimes had to schedule extra workers at the printing factory to publish the monster Trump taxes investigation. Eight pages of the paper.— Sam Dolnick (@samdolnick) October 2, 2018
A Times reporter noted this of Trump's reported efforts to stop Stormy Daniels from speaking about their alleged affair:
President or his aides:— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 2, 2018
- insisted they knew nothing about payments and Nat Enquirer. Insisted he was not aware of payments made to Daniels beforehand. Suggested Cohen acted on his own. All have been shown to be untrue. https://t.co/r9Nm5iyvLz
The former vice president applauded Jason Kander for sharing his battle with PTSD:
Jason - public service takes many forms, and bravely stepping forward today is exactly that. By sharing your story, you are saving lives. Others will get the help they need because of you.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 2, 2018
Jill and I, and all of the Bidens, are with you, Diana, and True every step of the way. https://t.co/owsPjvsigd
The White House issued a correction:
The White House has corrected the transcript from the Rose Garden press conference yesterday. It originally said President Trump told @CeciliaVega she wasn’t “thanking.” It is now reflected to show he said she wasn’t “thinking.” pic.twitter.com/iliSxOIuxi— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 2, 2018
Trump provided some midterm analysis:
THE ONLY REASON TO VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT IS IF YOU’RE TIRED OF WINNING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2018
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized his own party's spending bill:
Trillion dollar deficits from Republicans! That’s why I voted against the Republican Omnibus Budget buster. https://t.co/0F8MbCUiem— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 2, 2018
The Trump tweet truck, an initiative conceived by Beto O'Rourke supporters to highlight the president's past opposition to Ted Cruz, has proved popular on social media:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) thanked Jeffrey P. Bezos for raising Amazon employees' minimum wage:
I want to congratulate Jeff Bezos for doing exactly the right thing by raising the minimum wage at Amazon and Whole Foods to $15 an hour.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 2, 2018
Let me thank the hundreds of Amazon workers who contacted my office and the Fight for $15 movement, which has been leading this effort.
The Amazon founder and CEO (and owner of The Washington Post) replied:
A Politico reporter attempted to rank senators by their walking speeds:
Elizabeth Warren, who used to avoid reporters in the Capitol hallways but has started engaging with them recently in preparation for her 2020 presidential bid, playfully took issue:
-- “A Trump protest, a fur coat, a viral photo: What did it all mean?” by Rachel Kurzius: “[Dianne Bruce’s] unintended notoriety dates to a Saturday evening in April 2017. Bruce was enjoying a quiet ‘no makeup Saturday night’ at her home in Kalorama … Among the folks who inhabit her street are Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Bruce and her neighbors were aware of a planned protest on their block that evening. … Organizers billed the event as a massive queer dance protest for climate justice at Ivanka Trump’s house, and pledged to bring biodegradable glitter. … The next morning, neighbors let her know that there had been, to put it mildly, a strong online reaction to a candid photo of Bruce watching the protest. In the picture, published by the Daily Mail, Bruce is standing on her front steps, wearing her lush coat and sipping a glass of white wine as she watches the revelry happening just outside the frame. ‘I started getting emails from friends who said, ‘You know you’ve gone viral,’ and I said, ‘I don’t even know what that means,’ ’ Bruce recalls.”
-- “Generation Parkland moves on but vows to keep fighting: ‘Our voices do matter,’” by Moriah Balingit and Sarah Larimer: “In the months since the Feb. 14 shooting that took 14 of their classmates and three school staff members, Catie and her friends have fought to rebuild their teenage lives, to return to the routine angst and ecstasy that are supposed to define late adolescence. For Catie and the other members of Generation Parkland — still haunted by the sound of gunshots and screams of their classmates — the start of their college years represents something more: a chance to move on.”
-- Wired, “The Facebook hack exposes an internet-wide failure,” by Issie Lapowsky: “Facebook has received ample blame for the historic data breach that allowed hackers to not only take over the accounts of at least 50 million users but also access third-party websites those users logged into with Facebook. But what makes it so much worse is that fixing the issue is, in many ways, out of Facebook's hands …”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“DeVos’ security detail projected to cost up to $7.7M during the next year,” from Politico: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' security detail is projected to cost up to $7.74 million from now through the end of September 2019, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service [said] on Tuesday night. The Marshals Service said the final cost of protection for DeVos in fiscal 2018 was $6.79 million. That's more than the $6.54 million officials estimated last year as the maximum for fiscal 2018, which the Education Department at that time deemed a ‘high water mark’ that the agency didn't plan to exceed. . . . DeVos’ security detail is provided around the clock by the Marshals Service, which is highly unusual.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“‘Powdery Substance’ Mailed to Cruz Campaign Office,” from Roll Call: “Ted Cruz’s campaign office in Houston received a ‘powdery substance’ in the mail on Tuesday, prompting a fire department investigation, the Texas Republican’s campaign confirmed Tuesday. Cruz spokeswoman Emily Miller confirmed the incident and wrote in an email that a piece of mail with a powdery substance was addressed to the campaign headquarters. … The Houston Fire Department tweeted that two people were taken to the hospital after being exposed to the substance. Miller said no campaign staffers were taken to the hospital, and she does not know who they are.”
Trump will have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then meet with Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I think there were other questions about gender and women that go right to the heart of why I work in this White House and continue to — even though a lot of the men are gone.” — Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- It’s a little warm for October, but the sunshine will bring a pleasant day to the District. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Skies remain partly sunny today, and with high pressure back in control, we should remain rain-free. Highs head for the low 80s, with moderate humidity and light winds from the north-northwest.”
-- The D.C. Council voted to overturn Initiative 77, the proposal voters approved to increase the minimum wage for the District’s tipped workers. Fenit Nirappil reports: “On an 8-to-5 vote — the first of two necessary votes — the D.C. Council approved legislation repealing Initiative 77. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said she would sign the repeal legislation. … The D.C. measure would have gradually raised the current $3.89 hourly tipped wage until it matched the standard minimum wage in 2026.” (My researcher Joanie Greve wrote in August about the council’s efforts to overturn Initiative 77 — and a broader national trend of repealing ballot initiatives.)
-- The D.C. Council also gave preliminary approval to a bill aimed at curbing short-term rentals in the city. From Robert McCartney: “The restrictions would ban hundreds of D.C. property owners from renting out second homes on a short-term basis and place limits on thousands more who rent out spare rooms or basements in their primary residences. … [Airbnb] said it would continue trying to persuade the council to soften the restrictions before a final vote later this month or in November.”
-- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) threatened to veto a redistricting plan proposed by Republicans in the House of Delegates. Gregory S. Schneider reports: “The lawmakers are set to consider new legislative boundaries in response to a federal court’s ruling that 11 House of Delegates districts were racially gerrymandered. House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said earlier Tuesday that he would summon lawmakers on Oct. 21 to take up a plan passed out of committee on a party-line vote last week. If the legislature fails to act by Oct. 30, judges at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia will handle the redistricting themselves.”
-- Fancy D.C. restaurants are increasing their spending on private security after several high-profile confrontations between activists and powerful patrons linked to Trump, from Ted Cruz to Kirstjen Nielsen and Stephen Miller, Tim Carman reports.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Late-night hosts mocked Trump's past claims of being a self-made man following the Times tax investigation:
Hillary Clinton dismissed Kavanaugh's claim of a conspiracy “on behalf of the Clintons” to disrupt his Supreme Court nomination:
Kellyanne Conway offered more background on her decision to disclose she is a victim of sexual assault:
The Fact Checker awarded Trump four Pinocchios for his claims about Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.):
And firefighters in Reno discovered a surprise in a garbage bin: