With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: George H.W. Bush was 46 when he became the ambassador to the United Nations in 1971. He served just under two years before stepping down to become chairman of the Republican National Committee after Richard Nixon’s landslide reelection. New York is a short hop from Washington, but that distance helped keep Bush from becoming permanently tainted by Watergate the way that many of his contemporaries were — even though his perch at the RNC required him to be one of Nixon’s most vigorous defenders as the scandal engulfed the administration. Bush didn’t become president until 16 years after leaving Turtle Bay, a stretch that included stints as the U.S. envoy to China, CIA director and vice president.

What will Nikki Haley, who is also 46, be doing in 2034? Sixteen years is a political eternity, but that’s the question of the hour after her unexpected announcement Tuesday that she’ll depart the U.N. job at the end of the year. Showing loyalty and deference to President Trump, Haley announced that she will not challenge him in 2020. In turn, the president said she’s made the role “more glamorous … than it was two years ago.”

It would be crazy to sell her political future short. She’s the daughter of immigrants, popular with every faction of the GOP, served as governor of the first state in the South to hold a presidential primary and now has foreign policy experience. Haley exits with high positives. A Quinnipiac University poll from April found 75 percent of Republicans and even 55 percent of Democrats approved of the job she was doing. None of this means she’ll be president, by any means, but her star certainly still has a lot of room to rise.

Of the 29 to hold the U.N. job, only Bush became president. Historically, the U.N. ambassadorship went to elder statesmen types who had failed to realize their presidential dreams. Think Adlai Stevenson, William Scranton and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. More recently, others have tried to parlay the job into bids for higher office, such as Bill Richardson. Susan Rice has been flirting with challenging Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in 2020 since she cast the deciding vote last weekend to install Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

Most likely, Haley is pausing to make some money,” observes columnist Kathleen Parker, who is based in South Carolina and has covered her career closely for a decade. “In her statement, she suggested an imminent return to the private sector. She and her husband have accrued considerable debt, according to the Post and Courier. Also, her parents’ home reportedly is in foreclosure. With her intimate knowledge of international trade, politics and relationships, Haley could pick her job — and name her salary — at any of several top-notch consulting firms. … It won’t serve her presidential aspirations well to stay out of politics for long, as Haley surely knows. Thus, the burning question — what’s next? — has only one certain answer: Whatever she wants.”

Regardless of what she does next, here are five takeaways from Haley’s decision to exit the administration:

1. She’s leaving on her terms and with her reputation intact. Haley is getting out before expected Democratic gains in the midterms and before special counsel Bob Mueller issues a possible report that could prove hurtful to the president.  

The abrupt and unexpected nature of her announcement also means Haley has “secured her membership in a singular club — the rare former White House official who leaves Trump’s orbit as a political force who could pose a potential threat to the president,” Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker write on the front page.

“Rick Tyler, a Republican strategist and former adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), said that while Haley’s departure was highly choreographed — ‘Who gets to resign in the Oval Office? It’s unbelievable.’ — the challenge for Haley will be how she bides her time, especially if Trump seeks reelection in 2020 as expected. ‘If she runs in 2024, she’ll have to figure out how to keep her profile active for the next six years, and most politicians can’t manage that,’ Tyler said.” 

2. Haley’s influence had diminished. She was able to exercise more power and had higher visibility when Rex Tillerson was secretary of state, partly because he didn’t want the limelight. Haley was overshadowed by the arrival of Mike Pompeo at Foggy Bottom and national security adviser John Bolton, who has consolidated power from the West Wing.

3. Who Trump picks to replace Haley will signal which way U.S. foreign policy is headed. The president told reporters on Air Force One last night that he’s narrowed down his choice for replacing Haley to five. He said former deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, who spent last weekend with Haley in South Carolina, is on this shortlist.

“Trump’s praise for the ‘glamour’ Haley brought to the job suggests that he will want someone with celebrity appeal,” Greg Jaffe, John Hudson and Missy Ryan report. “Bolton, meanwhile, is likely to push for an ideological fellow traveler who will join him in his career-long crusade to obliterate international law or anything that constrains U.S. sovereignty. Pompeo, one of the more pragmatic members of the administration, is likely to favor an ally who will defer to his leadership. … The fear in New York and among the more internationally minded members of the Washington foreign policy establishment is that a Bolton-style hard-liner could make strained relations at the United Nations even worse.”

This post requires Senate confirmation, which constrains Trump. “Internally, two camps are emerging,” Josh Rogin reports. Powell “is close to Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and the others sometimes referred to derisively as the ‘West Wing Democrats.’ A Goldman Sachs executive with State Department experience, she would enjoy support from those who seek a more Wall Street-friendly, trade-friendly, internationalist foreign policy going forward. Powell is also said to have earned the trust of the president during her time in the White House and delivered Trump some significant wins, including the safe return of American hostages from Egypt and the administration’s close relationship with Egypt and the Persian Gulf States. …

“Speculation around Bolton’s potential candidate centers on U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a favorite of pro-Trump pundits who have already begun their public lobbying campaign. But Grenell’s confirmation for his current job was held up for months due to Senate Democrats’ concerns about his past undiplomatic behavior and derogatory remarks he made about women on Twitter. Since he has taken up his post in Berlin, Grenell’s aggressive style has angered his German hosts. … Grenell’s confirmation process would be tortured and slow. If Democrats somehow take control of the Senate, it would be impossible. That’s likely why Trump threw cold water on the idea Tuesday afternoon, saying, ‘He’s doing so well in Germany. … Rather keep Ric where he is.’

“Replacing Haley is the continuation of a struggle between Bolton and factions resistant to his brand of conservative foreign policy,” an administration official told Rogin. “If Trump chooses someone more in the mold of Haley or Bolton himself, it’s a big win for Bolton. Someone like Dina Powell means other forces are reasserting their control of personnel for the next two years.”

Ben White, who covers Wall Street for Politico, cites “two people familiar with the matter” to report that Powell is “the top candidate.” Trump, of course, often changes his mind.

4.When it comes to actual changes in U.S. foreign policy, the difference may be more in the style than the substance,” Adam Taylor writes in the WorldViews newsletter. “[Haley] privately opposed some administration policies, such as a recent reduction in the number of refugees resettled in the United States, and took a harder public stance on Russia than her boss. … [But] she personally supported many of his more controversial foreign policy moves, including recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv and withdrawing the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council. She also supported Trump’s push to cut U.S. funding to countries unwilling to support American foreign policy and took a hard line on foes such as Iran and Venezuela . . . Her critics will not remember her as an ‘adult in the room’ but as an enabler of Trump’s frequently brutal foreign goals.”

5. With the departure of an Indian American woman, the senior ranks of the administration will feature even fewer women and racial minorities. “Haley’s departure leaves just four racial or ethnic minorities among the 23 Cabinet-level jobs. One, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, is among the five women left in those positions,” David Nakamura reports. “In Trump’s Cabinet, the only remaining minorities are Chao, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, whose father is from Lebanon. Inside the West Wing, the only ethnic minority among Trump’s senior staff is legislative affairs director Shahira Knight, who emigrated from Egypt as a child.”

Haley’s departure prompted a rebuke from Omarosa Manigault Newman, an African American woman who was fired from a high-ranking White House position last December:

 -- How the Haley news is playing:

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-- Hurricane Michael, now a Category 4 storm with 140-mph winds, could become the most intense hurricane to ever strike the Florida Panhandle. Jason Samenow reports: “[The storm] is predicted to make landfall this afternoon [as a Category 4 hurricane], an event that has never happened in records dating to 1851. As the storm intensified Tuesday evening, forecasters on Twitter described feelings of sickness and dread. ‘Hurricanes that intensify overnight just before reaching land are the worst nightmare of forecasters and emergency managers,’ tweeted Bob Henson, a meteorologist and journalist for Weather Underground. Both Florida’s Panhandle, from Pensacola to Apalachicola, and its Big Bend area are forecast to be hardest hit. Water levels had already begun to rise Tuesday and the storm is poised to push ashore a ‘life-threatening’ surge of ocean water that could inundate more than 325 miles of coastline.”

--  Florida, Alabama and Georgia's governors have declared states of emergency. Luz Lazo and Mark Berman report: “[P]eople in the storm’s path hurried to stack sandbags, fill gas tanks and stock up on bottled water in the final hours before the arrival of a system many said took them by surprise. The looming storm … set off a flurry of evacuation orders and canceled flights along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Shelters opened and schools shuttered, in some cases for the rest of the week.” Here is a city-by-city forecast. The Post has removed article limits on nonsubscribers for our Hurricane Michael coverage.

-- The Rosenstein saga continues: Soon after Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein suggested using a wiretap to record President Trump’s communications, then-acting FBI director Andrew McCabe went to the bureau’s top lawyer seeking advice on what he had just heard,” Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey and Ellen Nakashima report. “Rosenstein, McCabe told the lawyer, wanted to furtively record the president to help explore whether Trump had obstructed justice. How, McCabe asked, should the FBI respond to the outlandish proposition? The lawyer, James Baker, dismissed the idea, according to people familiar with the episode … But importantly, Baker told congressional investigators last week that the deputy attorney general’s suggestion was presented to him by senior FBI officials as being serious — raising questions about Rosenstein’s assertions to the contrary …

This week, Rosenstein is scheduled to talk to congressional investigators about the 2017 episode, which nearly cost him his job after it was revealed in news accounts last month. The high-stakes interview with some of the president’s closest Republican allies could again put the deputy attorney general in the hot seat, especially if those lawmakers leave the interview unconvinced of Rosenstein’s testimony and relay their concerns to the president. … Negotiations were ongoing Tuesday night about the time and parameters of his Thursday interview.” 


  1. Climate change — and the hotter, more extreme weather patterns that accompany it — could put Americans’ mental health at risk, according to a new study. The research identifies three separate ways in which climate change and poor mental health are linked, and predicts that effects will be most pronounced among women and low-income residents. (Los Angeles Times)
  2. Three climate activists were acquitted of damaging an oil pipeline in Minnesota. The state district court judge agreed with defense lawyers’ argument that prosecutors had failed to prove the defendants caused criminal damage to the pipelines. (MPR News)
  3. Google bowed out of the Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud-computing race, saying that the project — which has drawn interest from other major tech companies such as Amazon and Microsoft — would “conflict” with its company values regarding artificial intelligence technology. (Aaron Gregg)
  4. The announcement came on the same day as Google unveiled its new line of Pixel 3 smartphones, which use AI  to personalize mobile experience and save time. The new phones can take pictures, screen calls and even make calls on their own. (Geoffrey A. Fowler)
  5. New Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross had his phones wiretapped by federal authorities in 2016. One source said authorities were looking into tax-break legislation that benefited Norcross’s insurance company. The legislation was co-sponsored by Norcross’s brother, who was at the time a state senator and is now a congressman. (Politico)
  6. A lawyer for a death-row inmate says Tennessee officials are “refusing” to allow his client to be executed via electric chair. The state says Edmund Zagorski, who is scheduled to be put to death tomorrow, waited too long to make his preference known. The lawyer says Tennessee’s three-drug lethal injection cocktail could torture Zagorski to death. (Tennessean)
  7. The Cleveland Indians retired their controversial mascot, Chief Wahoo. The team announced back in January that Chief Wahoo would not be used after the Indians’ 2018 season, which ended Monday after they were swept by the Houston Astros. (Jacob Bogage)
  8. An Alaskan brown bear known as 409 Beadnose won Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Fat Bear Week contest. Beadnose also won the Facebook-based contest back in 2015. (Karin Brulliard)


-- Before the disappearance last week of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to The Post's Global Opinions section, U.S. intelligence intercepted communications from Saudi officials discussing plans to capture him. Loveday Morris, Souad Mekhennet and Kareem Fahim report: “The Saudis wanted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and lay hands on him there, [one] person said. It was not clear whether the Saudis intended to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the United States warned Khashoggi that he was a target, this person said.”

The men suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's disappearance appear to have lain in wait for him: As [Khashoggi] prepared to enter the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, a squad of men from Saudi Arabia who investigators suspect played a role in his disappearance was ready and in place. They had arrived from Riyadh, the Saudi capital, early that morning and checked in at two inter­national hotels in Istanbul before driving to the consulate . . . By the end of the day, a 15-member Saudi team had conducted its business and left the country, departing on planes bound for Cairo and Dubai, according to flight records and the people familiar with the investigation. . . . According to flight records, two privately owned planes flying from Riyadh arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 2, one before sunrise and the other in the late afternoon . . .

“Turkish officials, who are examining the squad’s movements, have now expanded their investigation to explore what happened at the residence of the Saudi consul general, Mohammed al-Otaibi, located 500 yards from the consulate. A photograph taken from a Turkish police closed-circuit television camera outside the residence and obtained by The Washington Post shows a Mercedes Vito van with tinted windows that security officials say transported some of those men from the consulate to the residence about two hours after Khashoggi entered the consulate.”

-- One senior official told the New York Times that Turkish investigators concluded that Khashoggi was assassinated inside the consulate on orders from the "highest" levels of the royal court. David D. Kirkpatrick and Carlotta Gall report: “The official described a quick and complex operation in which Mr. Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose. The security establishment concluded that Mr. Khashoggi’s killing was directed from the top because only the most senior Saudi leaders could order an operation of such scale and complexity … Turkey has now identified the roles that most or all of [the 15 agents] held in the Saudi government or security services . . . One was an autopsy expert, presumably there to help dismember the body.”

-- Turkish authorities say Saudi officials quickly removed security-camera footage from the consulate and gave their Turkish employees the day off on Oct. 2. (The Guardian)

-- Diplomatic pressure from the rest of the West continued to mount — with strong statements from the United Nations, the European Union and a host of other world leaders:

  • Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said it wants to inspect the grounds of Saudi’s consulate in Istanbul. Saudi authorities said they were “open to cooperation” and would allow an examination, though it was unclear when or whether that would actually take place.
  • U.N. officials expressed “grave concern” over Khashoggi’s status and issued a statement calling for an international investigation. And the E.U.’s foreign policy chief told reporters that they expect “a full-out investigation, and full transparency from Saudi authorities on what happened.”
  • The British Foreign Office warned Saudi Arabia of diplomatic fallout if the allegations prove to be true. “Friendships depend on shared values,” it said in a statement.
  • The BBC took the unusual step of broadcasting off-the-record comments Khashoggi made during an interview with the broadcaster three days before his disappearance. “We wouldn’t normally broadcast an off-air conversation, but we’ve decided to make an exception,” the network said.

-- Trump’s tone remained notably muted in comparison. On Tuesday, he told reporters that he would be talking to the Saudi government “soon,” adding: “I know nothing” other than what had been publicly reported.

-- In an op-ed for The Post, Khashoggi's fiancee called on Trump to help shed light on his disappearance. Hatice Cengiz writes: “I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate. Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened. Jamal is a valuable person, an exemplary thinker and a courageous man who has been fighting for his principles. I don’t know how I can keep living if he was abducted or killed in Turkey.”

-- The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), expressed frustration with official explanations offered by the Saudis:

-- A statement from The Post's publisher:

-- “Trump seldom waits for the facts before rendering judgment. But when it comes to the disappearance of [Khashoggi], Trump has been strangely reticent,” Dana Milbank writes in a column. “Does Trump really know nothing? Or does he not want to know? If what Turkish officials told their U.S. counterparts is true — that the body of Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic, was dismembered, removed from the consulate in boxes and flown out of the country in pieces — it would show that Trump is being played for a fool by a Saudi regime he has lavished with affection.”

-- “If Jamal was murdered, it sends chills down the spine of every activist, journalist and dissident around the world,” adds Asli Aydintasbas. “There are plenty of regimes that repress free speech . . . But even repressive regimes rarely target journalists outside of their borders. Dissident Turks have felt safe enough to write from Europe; Russians can produce websites from Estonia or France; many Syrians prefer Istanbul as their new base. But the Khashoggi case could establish a new level of authoritarian outreach that would defy the basic premises of international law and order. … One Turkish official privately told me that the new Saudi regime is emboldened to pull this on Turkish soil on the strength of their close relations with the Trump administration. I found it hard to disagree.”


-- Trump said his second summit with Kim Jong Un would occur after the midterms. Felicia Sonmez reports: “‘I just can’t leave now,’ Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, saying his hectic campaign-trail schedule has left him too busy to arrange a meeting. … Earlier Tuesday . . . Trump said that his staff is looking at ‘three or four locations’ for the summit. He also predicted that North Korea ‘is going to be a very successful country.’ … Asked Tuesday about the potential location for a second summit, Trump said he was open to meeting in North Korea or in the United States — including at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla.”

-- The wife of the former head of Interpol said she received a threatening phone call shortly after her husband disappeared in China. “You listen, but you don’t speak,” the caller said. “We’ve come in two work teams, two work teams just for you.” The call prompted authorities to place Grace Meng under police protection. (AP)

-- A major U.S. telecommunications company has discovered hacked Chinese hardware in its network. Bloomberg News’s Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley report: “[A] security expert, Yossi Appleboum, provided documents, analysis and other evidence of the discovery following the publication of an investigative report in Bloomberg Businessweek that detailed how China’s intelligence services had ordered subcontractors to plant malicious chips in Supermicro server motherboards over a two-year period ending in 2015. … Bloomberg is not identifying the company due to Appleboum’s nondisclosure agreement with the client.”

-- Ford is now planning layoffs in part due to Trump’s escalating trade war with China. NBC News’s Paul A. Eisenstein reports: “[A] recent report by Morgan Stanley estimates ‘a global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent,’ or 24,000 of Ford's 202,000 workers worldwide. … The decision is part of Ford's $25.5 billion reorganization plan, which includes slashing $6 billion in improved capital efficiencies. … Ford has already warned that [Trump's] auto tariffs have impacted the company to the tune of $1 billion, and the president’s trade policies threaten to play havoc with Ford’s ongoing reorganization.

-- The offices of the Kremlin-linked troll farm in St. Petersburg that served as a hub for Russia’s 2016 disinformation campaign were set on fire in an arson attack. (The Hill) 

-- The second GRU operative accused of poisoning an ex-spy and his daughter in Salisbury earlier this year has been identified as Alexander Mishkin — a native of the small Russian village of Loyga. Previously, he was identified only by his alias, Alexander Petrov. (BBC)

-- Bulgarian authorities have identified a suspect in the rape and murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova. James McAuley reports: “Authorities are now saying, however, that the motive was likely sexual assault, not an attack on a journalist, although the investigation is ongoing. The suspect was detained in Germany and has since been charged him with rape and murder. Marinova, 30, was attacked on Saturday as she was jogging in a park in Ruse, a small city in northeastern Bulgaria. Her professional identity as a host on TVN, a local television program, focused on investigative journalism and immediately stoked fears about retributions against journalists exposing corruption schemes, especially in Eastern Europe.”


-- Protesters massed outside the Supreme Court to greet the newly sworn-in Justice Brett Kavanaugh for his first day on the job — but business inside the courthouse continued as usual. Robert Barnes, Ann E. Marimow and Marissa J. Lang report: “The court’s fear of disruption was not realized in two hours of oral arguments, and Kavanaugh was an active participant in his first sitting with his new colleagues. [Chief Justice John Roberts] noted Kavanaugh’s arrival. 'Justice Kavanaugh, we wish you a long and happy career in our common calling,' Roberts said, reciting the usual welcome for a new justice. And from there, the court plunged into three cases that called on them to decipher the Armed Career Criminal Act, passed by Congress in 1984, and designed to get people with a history of violence off the streets by enhancing prison terms.  . . . Kavanaugh asked about a dozen questions in the course of the two arguments, although he avoided the kinds of hypotheticals — one was, does a car in which a homeless person lives qualify as a dwelling? — his colleagues asked. Wearing the same black robe he wore on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh, 53, seemed at ease from his chair at the far end of the bench, where by tradition the newest justice sits.”

-- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he would not take up a Supreme Court nomination in 2020, appearing to contradict Mitch McConnell. “If I’m chairman, they won’t take it up,” Grassley said in an interview with Fox News’s Martha MacCallum. “No, because I pledged that in 2016, that if the ball’s the same as it is. Now, if somebody else is the chairman of the committee, they’ll have to decide for themselves. But that’s a decision I made a long time ago.” (Felicia Sonmez)

-- FBI Director Christopher Wray will likely face questions over the bureau’s Kavanaugh investigation when he testifies before the Senate today. Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian report: “Wray is scheduled to appear alongside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a hearing about security threats held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.”

-- Trump’s tweet alleging that anti-Kavanaugh protesters were angry because they had not been paid apparently stemmed from the president not understanding that a Fox News guest was making a joke — not being serious. From Avi Selk: “The writer Asra Nomani was invited onto ‘Fox & Friends’ to talk about various liberal organizations she says helped organize some of the Kavanaugh protests. (Though she didn’t mention it, conservative groups do this as well; see the Obamacare protests a few years ago.) ‘It’s not the individual protesters who are getting the money,’ Nomani explained. But she also said: ‘People have sent me lots of messages that they’re waiting for their check.’ In case it wasn’t clear, Nomani later told Mediaite her latter remark was sarcasm. And yet within the hour, Trump echoed it with no irony implied (and would repeat the story at a rally in Iowa on Tuesday night).”

-- A Fox News analyst, Andrew Napolitano, criticized Trump for claiming Kavanaugh was “caught up in a hoax that was set up by the Democrats.” “I honestly wish that the president and his people would get past that,” the retired judge said. “The Supreme Court does not have an army to enforce its rulings; its rulings depend upon the intellectual legitimacy of the manner in which the rulings are given from whom they are given. So they really have some work to do to patch up the divisions that exist in the public mind.” (Lindsey Bever and Kristine Phillips)

-- While the Kavanaugh fight has certainly ginned up the Republican base in key red states, new CNN-SSRS polling indicates those most enthusiastic to vote in the midterms are more likely to view the new justice negatively. From Philip Bump: “Disapproval of Trump is higher among those who are more enthusiastic to vote, as is opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Even starker is the difference in opinions of Kavanaugh personally. Those most enthusiastic about voting are much more negative on Kavanaugh than those not very enthusiastic about voting next month.” 

Democrats continue to enjoy a double-digit advantage on the generic ballot question, according to the CNN poll (54 percent to 41 percent): “This is the widest margin of support for Democrats in a midterm cycle since 2006, when at this point, the party held a whopping 21-point lead over Republicans among likely voters. … This year, Democrats' enthusiasm about their congressional vote has increased and 62% now say they're extremely or very enthusiastic to vote, up seven points since September among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, enthusiasm has remained relatively steady, going from 50% in September to 52% in the most recent poll.”

-- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) told CNN that she was fully prepared to vote for Kavanaugh — and instructed her staff to draft a statement outlining her support — until she watched his body language during his hearing. Kristine Phillips reports: “Heitkamp said she listened to Kavanaugh’s exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who asked the judge whether he had ever been blackout drunk. Kavanaugh threw the question back, saying, ‘I don’t know. Have you?’ to the senator, who had just spoken about her father’s problems with alcoholism. Heitkamp watched the hearing again … this time with the volume turned off. ‘We communicate not only with words, but with our body language and demeanor,’ she said. ‘I saw somebody who was very angry, who was very nervous. . . . I saw rage.’” His performance, she said, “changed everything.”

-- Related: The Supreme Court upheld a voter ID law in North Dakota that could make it much more difficult for Heitkamp to get reelected next month. Mother Jones’s Pema Levy reports: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower-court order requiring voters in North Dakota to present certain forms of identification and proof of their residential address in order to cast a ballot in next month’s elections. A case challenging this requirement on behalf of the state’s sizable Native American populations alleged that the requirement would disenfranchise tribal residents, many of whom lack the proper identification and do not have residential addresses on their identification cards. … Heitkamp won her seat by less than 3,000 votes in 2012 with strong backing from Native Americans, and she is the only statewide elected Democrat.”

-- Although Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has attracted intense scrutiny from the right for her Kavanaugh vote, her support for Arctic drilling could save her when she’s up for reelection in 2022, Dino Grandoni writes. “Murkowski wrote a landmark piece of legislation opening 1.5 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, in northeastern Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling. With Trump's signature at the end of last year, anywhere between 4.3 and 11.8 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil will be eligible for extraction, according to a 1998 U.S. Geological Survey estimate. Nearly every elected official the state has sent to Washington before Murkowski over the past three decades — including her own father, former senator and governor Frank Murkowski — had tried and failed to open that remote coastal plain in Alaska's North Slope to fossil-fuel extraction.”

-- Hillary Clinton criticized Trump for turning Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony into a “political rally.” John Wagner reports: “’What was done last night in the White House was a political rally,’ [she told CNN]. ‘It further undermined the image and the integrity of the court, and that troubles me greatly. It saddens me because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government.’ … Clinton suggested that the Kavanaugh confirmation process was a continuation of a pattern by Trump of hostility toward women. ‘He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign, really for many years leading up to the campaign, and he’s continued to do that inside the White House,’ she said.” Asked by a reporter Tuesday about Clinton’s characterization of the event, Trump said: “I guess that’s why she lost. She doesn’t get it.”

-- The bigger picture: “Over time, [Kavanaugh] is expected to provide a consistent vote to implement the conservative movement’s legal agenda in a range of areas where the Supreme Court has failed to produce ideologically consistent results, despite Republican presidents having appointed 14 of 18 justices since 1969,” the Wall Street Journal’s Jess Bravin reports. “At minimum, a five-justice majority more sensitive to regulatory and litigation costs on business should tip more outcomes toward industry and employers, imposing higher bars for workers, consumers and environmentalists . . . At the same time, the new majority is likely to show more sympathy for social conservatives resisting the encroachment of gay rights and access to contraceptives, as well as greater tolerance for state initiatives to curb the availability of abortion. What’s unclear, [legal] experts say, is whether the new majority will act in degrees or represent an epochal change in American law, akin to the post-1937 court that secured the New Deal’s constitutional grounding or the civil-rights revolution [that began under Chief Justice Earl Warren].”

-- A Navy veteran accidentally became the face of #HimToo after his mother tweeted an image of him claiming he “won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind.” The hashtag, originally meant to highlight male victims of sexual abuse, has been appropriated to underscore the supposed suffering of men who are frequently the victims of false sexual assault allegations. (In reality, only 2 to 10 percent of such accusations are false.) The veteran quickly asked his mother to delete the tweet and created his own Twitter account to clarify he supports the #MeToo movement and opposes this strain of the #HimToo cause. (Meagan Flynn)


-- Migrant parents whose children were taken from them because of Trump’s “zero tolerance” crackdown — and then deported back to their home countries — could now lose their kids to adoption. The AP’s Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza report: “As the deportees were led off the plane onto the steamy San Salvador tarmac, an anguished Araceli Ramos Bonilla burst into tears, her face contorted with pain: ‘They want to steal my daughter!’ It had been 10 weeks since Ramos had last held her 2-year-old, Alexa. Ten weeks since she was arrested crossing the [U.S. border and was separated from her daughter]. What followed — one foster family’s initially successful attempt to win full custody of Alexa — reveals what could happen to some of the infants, children and teens taken from their families at the border.

“Federal officials insist they are reuniting families and will continue to do so. But an [AP] investigation drawing on hundreds of court documents, immigration records and interviews in the U.S. and Central America identified holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families — without notifying their parents. And today, with hundreds of those mothers and fathers deported thousands of miles away, the risk has grown exponentially.”

-- ICE authorities were forced to release hundreds of migrant parents and children over the past week due to overcrowding at Arizona detention facilities. Nick Miroff reports: “Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency can no longer conduct basic reviews of migrants’ case files and travel plans without running the risk of exceeding court-imposed limits on how long children can be held in immigration jails. As a result, ICE has been dropping off busloads of families at church shelters and charities, some with ankle monitoring bracelets, others with little more than notices to appear in court. … The U.S. Border Patrol has arrested soaring numbers of Central American families in the three months since [Trump] halted the practice of separating migrant parents and children who enter the United States illegally. Large groups of 100 or more have been turning themselves in to agents and requesting humanitarian refuge.”

-- The Supreme Court has temporarily halted the deposition of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a case pertaining to the citizenship question for the 2020 census. Reuters reports: “In a brief order issued on Tuesday night, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put the looming depositions of Ross and a top Justice Department official, John Gore, on hold while the high court further considers the government's request to shield the officials from questioning. A New York-based federal appeals court rejected the government's bid to stop the depositions earlier on Tuesday.”


-- Images of acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler’s social media activity showed that he “liked” a racist post about the Obamas. From Eli Rosenberg: “[Wheeler] ‘liked’ a racist meme that showed President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama staring at a banana, sometime after it was published in January 2013, according to an image posted online by HuffPost. The Obamas have been prominent targets of those seeking to spread the racist trope, which has a deep historical connection to racism in the United States. In a statement provided by spokesman James Hewitt, Wheeler did not dispute that he had liked the post but said that he did not remember it. Other posts unearthed by Huffpost included incidences in which Wheeler retweeted prominent right-wing conspiracy theorists.”

-- Trump said he wanted to “look at who drew” the U.N. report on climate change before reaching any conclusions. “It was given to me. And I want to look at who drew it. You know, which group drew it. I can give you reports that are fabulous, and I can give you reports that aren't so good. But I will be looking at it, absolutely,” Trump told reporters when asked about the report, which estimates the world has about 12 years to drastically reduce carbon emissions before the impact of climate change becomes irreversible. (ABC News)

-- The Justice Department plans to oppose a pending consent decree the city of Chicago agreed to following police misconduct allegations. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “Chicago’s agreement with the ACLU in late 2015 dramatically undercut proactive policing in the city and kicked off perhaps the greatest surge in murder ever suffered by a major American city, with homicides increasing more than 57 percent the very next year. Now the city’s leaders are seeking to enter into another agreement. It is imperative that the city not repeat the mistakes of the past — the safety of Chicago depends on it.” In response, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called Sessions’s statement “further proof that [Trump officials] are out of step with the people of Chicago and out of touch with reality.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

-- The Education Department is investigating whether a school policy allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity was to blame for a girl’s alleged sexual assault. Moriah Balingit reports: “Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group, filed a civil rights complaint in June with the Education Department against City Schools of Decatur, and last month, the department wrote to say it was opening an investigation. The complaint outlines the girl’s allegations that she was sexually assaulted in a girl’s bathroom by a ‘gender fluid’ classmate who was born male. The girl’s attorneys have accused school officials of creating ‘a hostile and discriminatory learning environment for girls’ in violation of Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in public schools that receive federal funding.”


-- Trump described Democrats as “too dangerous to govern” in his Iowa speech last night. Philip Rucker and Felicia Sonmez report: “Democrats, the president thundered to an arena crowd of roughly 9,000, are ‘radical,’ ‘unhinged’ and ‘dim’ — an ‘angry left-wing mob’ that would destroy people’s businesses, provide sanctuary to murderous immigrant gangs and plunge the nation into ‘poverty’ and ‘chaos.’ ‘The Democrats have become too extreme, and they’ve become, frankly, too dangerous to govern,’ Trump said. ‘They’ve gone wacko!’ For a president who campaigned on and is governing with themes of grievance and fear, the portrait painted Tuesday night in Council Bluffs was especially dark. …

Trump’s 76-minute stemwinder before a roaring crowd of Iowans and Nebraskans in this border town along the Missouri River was a preview not only of his campaign blitz over the next 28 days, but also of his own reelection push that will begin in earnest soon after the midterms. The president charged, for instance, that Fred Hubbell, the Democrat challenging Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), intends to ‘massively raise your taxes,’ ‘take away your ethanol’ and ‘devastate your farms and businesses.’ Hubbell has said he supports ethanol development though has criticized Trump’s ‘devastating trade war.’ … Trump singled out Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for particular disdain. Democrats, he said, ‘have gone so far left that they consider ‘Pocahontas’ a rational person. No, it’s crazy! Elizabeth Warren. Oh, I hope she runs.’ ‘We can finally get down to the fact as to whether or not she has Indian blood,’ Trump continued, adding, in a mocking tone, that ‘her mother says she has high cheekbones.’”

-- The president wrote a USA Today op-ed invoking similarly dire language about “Medicare for All”: “The Democrats' plan means that after a life of hard work and sacrifice, seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised. By eliminating Medicare as a program for seniors, and outlawing the ability of Americans to enroll in private and employer-based plans, the Democratic plan would inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care. … The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela. If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning.”

-- There's been a spike in voter registration, largely among people between the ages of 18 and 29, over the past few days. Some credited Taylor Swift's Instagram post. Others noted that there's usually a surge just before voter registration deadlines in many states. (Amy B Wang

-- Politico’s latest race ratings show the Republican House majority continuing to show signs of collapse. Politico's Steven Shepard reports: “A total of 68 seats currently held by Republicans are firmly in play — rated as ‘Lean Republican’ or worse for the GOP — presenting a stark contrast to the Democratic side, where only a half-dozen Democratic seats are in similar jeopardy. . . . With a month to go until Election Day, there are now 209 seats either firmly or leaning in the Democratic column — only nine shy of the 218 the party needs to wrest away control of the chamber — according to the latest update . . .

“Democratic candidates are [also] better positioned over the final weeks of the campaign, thanks to record-breaking fundraising earlier this year. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the [DCCC], said last week that 60 House Democratic candidates will report raising more than $1 million from July through September — a staggering number — with 30 raising more than $2 million.”

-- “Beto O’Rourke May Benefit From an Unlikely Support Group: White Evangelical Women,” by the New York Times’s Elizabeth Dias: “After church on a recent Sunday, Emily Mooney smiled as she told her girlfriends about her public act of rebellion. She had slapped a ‘Beto for Senate’ sticker on her S.U.V. and driven it to her family’s evangelical church. … Listening to Ms. Mooney’s story, the four other evangelical moms [began] to buzz with excitement. All of them go to similarly conservative churches in Dallas. All are longtime Republican voters … But this November, they have all decided to vote for Mr. O’Rourke, the Democratic upstart who is on the front line of trying to upend politics in deep-red Texas. To Democrats nationwide, who have largely written off white evangelical voters, [those like Mooney send] a signal — not just for the midterms but also for the 2020 presidential campaign — that there are female, religious voters who are open to some of their party’s candidates. ‘I care as much about babies at the border as I do about babies in the womb,’ said Tess Clarke, one of Ms. Mooney’s friends[.]” “I keep going back to who Jesus was when he walked on earth,” she said. “This is about proximity to people in pain.”

-- A new NBC News-Marist poll found Nevada’s Senate and gubernatorial races virtually tied, another data point that challenges the D.C. conventional wisdom. From NBC News’s Mark Murray: “In the Senate race — one of the Democrats’ best pick-up opportunities in their bid to win control of that chamber — incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller gets support from 46 percent of likely voters, while Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen gets 44 percent. … [That’s] within the poll’s margin of error of plus-minus 5.5 percentage points for likely voters. … In the gubernatorial contest, Republican Adam Laxalt gets support from 46 percent of likely voters, compared with 45 percent for Democrat Steve Sisolak.”

-- A new Post-U-Md. poll shows Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan leading Democrat Ben Jealous by 20 points. Erin Cox, Emily Guskin and Ovetta Wiggins report: “Likely voters in Maryland support Hogan by a 20-point margin, 58 percent to 38 percent. Just 5 percent have not settled on a candidate. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1, Hogan appears to have assembled a coalition that cuts into the Democratic base, well ahead of Jealous in bellwether Baltimore County and running competitively in heavily Democratic Montgomery. Jealous leads Hogan in only one of Maryland’s major geographic blocs — Prince George’s County.”

-- As Leslie Cockburn (D) and Denver Riggleman (R) vie to replace retiring Rep. Thomas Garrett in Virginia’s 5th District, they spent a debate arguing over a particularly unusual topic: who has more credibility on Afghanistan. Laura Vozzella reports: “[Cockburn says she has more credibility since] … she was on the ground there as a journalist while he, an Air Force intelligence officer, planned bombing raids over the country from a distant island. ‘I covered three different wars in Afghanistan,’ Cockburn said [at the debate]. ‘I covered the mujahideen war. I was in Kabul when the Taliban came in. And I was there during the American war. I will say, talking about the planned bombing raids right at the beginning of the war, Denver was not in Afghanistan. He was … 3,000 miles away ….’ [And Riggleman] said that as chief of intelligence for the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, he planned the first bombing raids over Afghanistan after 9/11 from Diego Garcia, a British island in the Indian Ocean. Cockburn asserted that an Air Force general, not Riggleman, did the planning — and that the raids missed their targets. Her remarks drew immediate pushback from Riggleman and Republican allies.” 

-- A Tennessee highway patrol trooper assigned to the security team protecting both gubernatorial candidates was removed from his post after he divulged information about one campaign’s schedule to the other. The Tennessean’s Natalie Allison reports: “After learning about a [campaign stop for Democrat Karl Dean that Republican Bill Lee’s campaign] understood to be part of a “Muslim event,” according to Tennessee Highway Patrol memos[,] the Lee campaign reportedly asked another trooper whether his staff could obtain a photo of Dean in a mosque. The Sept. 7 event in question was a meet and greet at a falafel restaurant in Knoxville, and not a religious gathering.”


Michael Bloomberg has re-registered with the Democratic Party:

A Cook Political Report editor analyzed recent midterm polls:

A former attorney general criticized the Supreme Court's decision on a North Dakota voting law:

A former federal prosecutor replied to Trump floating his daughter for the U.N. ambassador job:

The first daughter quickly punctured the trial balloon:

Chuck Grassley was disappointed to see Haley go:

A former CIA director and frequent Trump adversary once again criticized the president in harsh terms:

An LA Times reporter shared this from Trump's rally:

Democrat Jason Kander, who recently dropped out of the Kansas City mayoral race to address his PTSD, thanked everyone for the well wishes:

The CEO of a Democratic data firm drew attention to voter registration in Georgia, the site of a closely watched gubernatorial race:

The president's son continues to hit the campaign trail:

Ohio columnist Connie Schultz reflected on Taylor Swift's political endorsement:

A satirical website reported on voters' fears heading into the midterms:


-- NBC News, “A Catholic society used dreams of a medieval life and rebellion to groom young victims of abuse,” by Corky Siemaszko: “On Dec. 18, 2001, a desperate North Carolina dad wrote a letter to the Vatican asking the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to discipline a group of priests at a Pennsylvania boys’ boarding school who he said took turns sexually abusing his teenage son. The priests were members of an organization called the Society of Saint John, the father wrote … The society is a particularly chilling example of priests with red flags in their backgrounds who were allowed to operate in close proximity to the most vulnerable church members with little oversight.”

-- “The battle in your ear buds: The bros of political podcasting and their quest to reinvent punditry,” by Dan Zak: “Of the Crooked Media guys, Ben Shapiro says: ‘I disagree with everything they say, but I think they're good at what they do.’ Told that a visiting journalist is seeing Shapiro first, Tommy Vietor says: ‘Please tell Baby Steve Bannon I say hello.’ Their operations, methods and goals are different, and yet both have leveraged podcasting into niche stardom, becoming powerful brands, with franchises and spinoffs and corporate sponsors … Now, both Crooked and Shapiro are expanding beyond their new-media platforms into the establishment world of television, with the goal of influencing the midterm elections.”


“A second Michigan instructor withheld a recommendation letter from student headed to Israel,” from Isaac Stanley-Becker: “An instructor at the University of Michigan went back on her commitment last week to provide a letter of recommendation for a student after learning that the undergraduate’s destination for a study-abroad program was Israel — in a previously unreported incident that is the second such case on the Ann Arbor, Mich., campus in the past month. The incidents expose vexed questions about free speech and the role of academics as colleges and universities become battlegrounds in the movement known as BDS — for boycott, divestment and sanctions. . . . BDS seeks the end of Israeli occupation of 'all Arab lands.'”



“De Blasio blames gym rules for dodging homeless activist,” from the New York Post: “Mayor Bill de Blasio is blaming his Brooklyn gym’s rules for why he abruptly ended a workout session after being confronted by a homeless activist. ‘There is an explicit rule: You are not allowed to film in the place,’ de Blasio told NY1 Monday night, referring to his Friday encounter with Nathylin Flowers Adesegun, 72, at the Prospect Park Y. ‘So if someone starts filming, I am not going to engage them.’ However, de Blasio said he would have chatted with the senior and tried putting her in contact with the ‘right person’ at City Hall if she and members of her grassroots group weren’t filming the conversation. He said he regularly interacts with other constituents who approach him at the gym — provided they don’t try recording it.”



Trump will meet with the Homeland Security secretary and the FEMA administrator before having lunch with Jim Mattis. He has a bill-signing ceremony this afternoon and will then travel to Erie, Pa., for a roundtable with supporters and a campaign rally.


“I really worry that someone is going to be killed and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation . . . they have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.” — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on the political climate. (The Hill)



-- It will be another warm and humid day in the District. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Once again, onshore flow means low clouds and fog this morning gradually give way to partly sunny skies by afternoon. Light winds from the south lock the humid air in place, with afternoon highs in the low 80s.”

-- A government computer expert testified that Daron Wint used Google to search “How to beat a lie detector test” and “10 hideout cities for fugitives” shortly after he allegedly killed the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper. Keith L. Alexander reports: “Federal prosecutors in the District called the computer expert to the stand Tuesday as they neared the end of their case, following testimony presented over five weeks. The expert, John Marsh, said he examined Wint’s phone in the days after the May 14, 2015, killings. He testified that the phone was also used for a Google search on ‘5 countries with no U.S. extradition treaty’ as well to call up a Wikipedia entry on ‘extradition laws in the U.S.’”

-- Five D.C. Council members proposed a bill that would make the District totally reliant on renewable sources of energy by 2032. From Peter Jamison: “The bill — which would also enhance the city’s green building standards and authorize the mayor to enter regional agreements with Virginia and Maryland to cut greenhouse gas emissions — comes at a moment of international reckoning with the problem of climate change.”

-- Metro’s general manager said he would not propose fare increases or more service cuts for the coming fiscal year. Metro usually considers fare increases every two years, and the last fare increase occurred in 2017 alongside service cuts. (Faiz Siddiqui)


Jimmy Fallon imagined the conversations Trump will have with Kanye West at the White House:

Trevor Noah shared courtroom sketches from Kavanaugh’s first day at the Supreme Court:

An MSNBC reporter spoke to young voters before the midterms:

The government of Myanmar is pushing its own story about the persecution of Rohingya Muslims:

And a video showing an unusual obstacle course went viral: