Day 623: Unfathomable.
1/ The White House is “fully confident” that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the Senate after receiving the FBI report. The White House said it found no evidence in the FBI report corroborating Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. Mitch McConnell scheduled a procedural vote for Friday. If the motion passes, senators will have 30 hours to debate Kavanaugh’s confirmation before making the final decision. (Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
More than 1,700 law professors signed onto a letter opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. The letter to the Senate says “the unprecedented and unfathomable demeanor of Judge Kavanaugh” during his hearing last week displayed a lack of judicial restraint and should disqualify him from serving on the nation’s highest court. (Politico / Washington Post)
A group of 100,000 Christian churches called for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn, saying he “exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect towards certain members of the committee and thereby demonstrated that he possesses neither the temperament nor the character essential for a member of the highest court in our nation.” The National Council of Churches represents 45 million churchgoers in the U.S. (Fortune)
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens doesn’t think Kavanaugh belongs on the Supreme Court, saying his performance during the Senate confirmation hearing suggests he lacks the temperament for the job. (Palm Beach Post)
A former Kavanaugh classmate at Yale said the Supreme Court nominee lied under oath about his drinking and the meaning of his yearbook entries. “Brett Kavanaugh stood up under oath and lied about his drinking and about the meaning of words in his yearbook,” writes James Roche. “He did so baldly, without hesitation or reservation.” Roche said there is “zero chance” that Deborah Ramirez made up her accusation that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party. He also said Kavanaugh lied about never blacking out from drinking, and about the definition of the word “boofing.” (CNN)
2/ Sens. Susan Collins and Jeff Flake called the FBI report “reassuring” and “thorough,” adding that they see “no additional corroborating information” to back up Ford’s allegations. Democrats called the report “incomplete,” saying the FBI – at the White House’s direction – limited the investigation to protect Kavanaugh. The two Republican senators said they are still undecided about how to vote, but a “yes” vote from both would secure Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News)
- 48 Senators publicly support Kavanaugh’s nomination – all Republicans. There are three undecided Republicans – Collins, Flake, and Lisa Murkowski – and one undecided Democrat – Joe Manchin. Kavanaugh needs to pick up at least two of those four votes to advance. Heidi Heitkamp said she will vote “no” on Kavanaugh’s nomination. (Politico / Reuters / CNN)
3/ There is a single copy of the FBI’s findings available to Senators to review in a vault in the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. The report cannot leave the room, senators can’t bring their phones into the SCIF, and if they take notes, the notes must be left in the room when they leave. All 100 senators, four majority committee staffers, four minority committee staffers, and one committee clerk are cleared to view the report. Sen. Dick Durbin called the process “bizarre,” although it’s a standard process for FBI background reports. This FBI report will likely never be made public. (CNN / MSNBC / Business Insider)
- Sen. Robert Menendez called the FBI investigation a “bullshit investigation.” The New Jersey senator added that “you don’t get corroboration if you don’t talk to corroborating witnesses at the end of the day, and obviously that didn’t happen here.” (NJ.com)
A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from ending Temporary Protective Status for more than 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The judge ruled that those TPS recipients and their children would “indisputably” face “irreparable harm and great hardship” if they were to lose protected status. (Politico / New York Times / CNN / NBC News)
Pence accused China of “meddling in America’s democracy” because “China wants a different American President.” Pence claimed that China is engaging in “a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the president” by using “covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policies.” (NBC News / Reuters / Politico)
The U.S. Navy wants to put on a global show of force in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait to warn China that the U.S. is prepared to deter and counter their military actions. One official described it as “just an idea.” (CNN)
The Justice Department indicted seven Russian military intelligence officials for trying to hack anti-doping agencies in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The agencies exposed Russia’s state-sponsored doping scheme that resulted in the country’s athletes being banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. (New York Times / CNBC / CNN / Reuters)
A Russian official linked to the lawyer who met senior Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in 2016 died in a helicopter crash outside of Moscow. Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Albertovich Karapetyan was linked to Natalia Veselnitskaya in a Swiss court case earlier this year for running a foreign recruitment operation that involved bribery, corruption, and double agents. It’s unclear why Karapetyan and two others took off after nightfall in adverse conditions. (Daily Beast)
Robert Mueller’s team gained possession of radio interviews between Roger Stone and radio host Randy Credico, who Stone claimed was his back channel to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The radio interviews took place between August 2016 and April 2017 on local New York station WBAI. Credico has denied Stone’s claim that he was the intermediary between Stone and Assange. Mueller is investigating Stone’s possible involvement in Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. (CNN)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.