👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ The FBI hasn’t interviewed Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford because it doesn’t have authority from the White House, despite Trump’s comment Monday that “the FBI should interview anybody that they want, within reason.” The White House has indicated to the FBI that testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford is sufficient. (Bloomberg)
- Senate Democrats suggested that previous FBI background checks on Kavanaugh included evidence of inappropriate behavior. Eight of the 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Sen. Chuck Grassley to correct his previous statement that “nowhere in any of these six FBI reports … was there ever a whiff of ANY issue … related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.” The Democrats said the information is “not accurate.” (Washington Post)
2/ The FBI is expected to wrap up its investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh today. Ford has not been interviewed by the FBI. Her attorneys have demanded that the FBI interview her and other witnesses to the alleged incidents. Agents completed a first batch of interviews of four individuals closest to the alleged events, including Mark Judge, and are now interviewing Tim Gaudette, a Georgetown Preparatory School classmate of Kavanaugh who lived in the home where the July 1 party marked on Kavanaugh’s 1982 calendar was held. Another friend from Kavanaugh’s high school days, Chris Garrett, has also completed an FBI interview. Mitch McConnell plans to vote later this week and has vowed that “only senators will be allowed to look at” the FBI’s final report. (Politico / Washington Post)
McConnell rejected a request to have the FBI brief all senators on its report on sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, saying “I believe it would be used to further delay this nomination. Republican Senator John Kennedy called for McConnell to either make the FBI’s report public or release an independent synopsis of its findings. (The Hill / Reuters)
If the FBI report reaches the Senate by Wednesday, McConnell will file cloture today on the Kavanaugh nomination. The cloture vote would happen on Friday and, if successful, a final vote on Kavanaugh could take place Saturday night at the earliest. (Politico)
3/ The FBI has not contacted at least 40 potential corroborators or character witnesses about the allegations made against Kavanaugh by Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Two sources, however, say more interviews are happening with a focus on Kavanaugh’s high school friends who are listed as attending a July 1, 1982, party. (NBC News / CNN)
Kavanaugh wrote a letter to his Georgetown Prep friends in 1983 and recommended that one of them “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.” Kavanaugh and his seven friends were staying in Ocean City, Maryland, for “Beach Week.” (New York Times)
Two of Kavanaugh’s former law school classmates are withdrawing their support for him because of “the nature” of his recent testimony. And, three of Kavanaugh’s former clerks who previously supported him told the Senate Judiciary Committee they want to clarify that they are “deeply troubled” by the sexual assault allegations against him. (HuffPost)
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee released an explicit statement about Julie Swetnick’s sex life by Dennis Ketterer, who said he was involved in a relationship with Swetnick in 1993. Swetnick alleges that Kavanaugh was at a house party in 1982 where she was gang raped. In his statement, Ketterer said Swetnick told him that she enjoyed group sex and had first engaged in it during high school. Ketterer said the remark “derailed” their relationship. (Washington Post)
4/ At a Mississippi rally Trump repeatedly mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, for not remembering certain details when she was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee about the incident. “How did you get home?” Trump asked the crowd. “I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know.” (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)
- Jeff Flake called Trump’s ridiculing of Ford “appalling,” saying “there’s no time and no place for remarks like that.” Susan Collins added that “the president’s comments were just plain wrong.” (Washington Post / NBC News)
poll/ 41% of Americans oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination, 33% support it, and 26% don’t have an opinion. (Reuters)
poll/ 45% of Americans believe Ford is telling the truth compared to 33% who believe Kavanaugh. (NPR)
poll/ 56% of Republicans would still consider voting for a candidate accused of sexual harassment as long as they agreed with them on the issues. 81% of Democrats would “definitely not” vote for a candidate accused of sexual harassment. (NBC News)
The International Court of Justice ruled that sanctions against Iran by the U.S. violated the friendship treaty that was signed by both countries in 1955. The United Nations’ highest court ordered the U.S. to ease sanctions on Iran and to not tamper with humanitarian aid efforts by using sanctions, which are due to increase significantly next month. (Politico)
In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. would cancel the treaty. (New York Times)
Rod Rosenstein will meet with the House Judiciary and Oversight committees on October 11 for a joint panel about reports that he proposed to secretly record Trump early last year. (Politico)
A man was arrested in Logan, Utah, as part of the investigation into envelopes filled with ricin that were sent to the Pentagon and Trump. (Salt Lake Tribune)
The White House called the article by The New York Times on Trump’s exploitive use of tax schemes and fraud during the 1990s a “misleading attack” on the president’s family. Sarah Huckabee Sanders then touted Trump’s economic accomplishments. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father, helped his parents dodge taxes by setting up a “sham corporation” to take improper tax deductions, and helped undervalue their real estate holdings. (Politico)
New York City “is looking to recoup” any taxes that Trump should have paid for money he received from his father. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city and state would work together on an investigation. (Bloomberg)
The EPA excluded its top science officials when it rewrote its rules about what kind of scientific studies could be used to protect public health. The proposed rule would allow the EPA to only consider studies where the underlying data is publicly available and can be reproduced by other researchers, which would exclude studies that include proprietary information or confidential information about patients participating in private-sector research. (Washington Post)
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