Wake Up To Politics - September 7, 2018
I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Friday, September 7, 2018. 60 days until Election Day 2018. 788 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at email@example.com.
Kavanaugh hearing: "The disclosure on Thursday of dozens of previously secret emails involving Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh provoked pointed new questions on the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, as Democrats pressed him to explain fresh disclosures on abortion rights, affirmative action and previous testimony to the Senate."
"Much of the tumult surrounded one quotation from an email that Judge Kavanaugh wrote as a lawyer in George W. Bush’s White House concerning the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade: 'I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.'"
"To Democrats and abortion rights advocates, that March 2003 statement appeared to contradict testimony from the judge on Wednesday, when he said he considered Roe 'settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court.'"
"But Judge Kavanaugh and his Republican backers dismissed its significance. He said he merely was reflecting 'an accurate description of all legal scholars,' not expressing his own opinion." (New York Times)
--- Day Four: Kavanaugh's public testimony has now ended; today, in the last day of his confirmation hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from witnesses called by the majority and minority. Witnesses in support of Kavanaugh include: the chairman of the American Bar Association (which gave the nominee a "well qualified" rating) and former U.S. Solicitors General Theodore Olson and Paul Clement. Opposition witnesses include Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, of Watergate fame.
Russia investigation: "President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani says a deal is near for Trump to provide written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller, but Giuliani disputed a report that Trump has entirely ruled out a sit-down interview with the prosecutor probing the Trump campaign's ties to Russia."
"'I think we're pretty close to an agreement, maybe this weekend,' Giuliani told POLITICO Thursday night about the prospects of a deal for written responses to questions on alleged collusion between the campaign and Russia before Trump took office."
"However, the former New York City mayor said the two sides remain at odds over questioning on issues of obstruction of justice and on whether Trump should be questioned in person by Mueller's team on any issue." (Politico)
--- Also today: Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, will be sentenced at 3pm... two associates of longtime Trump ally Roger Stone will appear before Mueller's grand jury in Washington...
Inside the White House: "This week’s revelations of a purported 'resistance' force of senior government officials acting as guardrails against President Trump — manipulating him, infantilizing him and ignoring his directives — raised the specter of a shadow administration."
..."The successive disclosures [from the anonymous New York Times op-ed and the new Bob Woodward book] crystallized what has long been evident throughout the Trump presidency — a cadre of administration officials alarmed by the whims and wishes of a chief executive they view as mercurial and impetuous working to curb his instincts on a range of issues, including national security, trade and immigration." (Washington Post)
--- 20+ Trump Administration officials have now publicly denied authorship of the Times op-ed. The White House is reportedly paying close attention to the denials as they continue the hunt for the anonymous author. According to the New York Times, the White House has a list of about 12 suspects and has even discussed forcing members of the administration to take polygraph examinations.
--- In a "Fox & Friends" interview that aired this morning, Trump referred to the op-ed as "treason" and speculated that a "deep state person" was behind it. He also tweeted this morning about the Woodward book, which he called a "scam."
2018 Central: "House Republicans withdrew on Thursday from negotiations with Democrats over a pact that would have effectively barred both parties from using hacked or stolen material on the campaign trail this fall." (New York Times)
--- Latest polls: per NBC/Marist, Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly leads Republican opponent Mike Braun in the Indiana Senate race, 49% to 43%, while former Democratic Gov. Phil Breseden leads Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the Tennessee Senate race, 48% to 46%... per AJC/Channel 2, Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp are tied in the Georgia gubernatorial race, 45% to 45%...
Immigration: "The Trump administration announced a new rule Thursday that would allow immigrant children with their parents to be held in detention indefinitely, upending a ban on indefinite detention that has been in place for 20 years."
"The rule, proposed by the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, goes into effect in 60 days and will allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to keep children with their mothers in detention facilities while their cases for asylum play out in court." (NBC News)
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White House schedule
POTUS: President Trump holds two fundraising events in Fargo, North Dakota and two in Sioux Falls, South Dakota today.
VP: Vice President Mike Pence travels to Las Vegas, Nevada today. He is expected to tour Nellis Air Force Base, where he will address a gathering of veterans and airmen; Pence will then participate in a Republican Governors Association event and participate in an event for Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt.
Senate: The Senate will meet briefly in a pro forma session.
House: The lower chamber is expected to vote on the Community Security and Safety Act, which would amend the definition of "crime of violence" in the U.S. Code.
*All times Eastern