Trump Administration, Week 89: Friday, 28 September – Thursday, 4 October 2018 (Days 617-623)

Families Belong Together and Free: rally in Williamstown, MA, Saturday, 30 June 2018

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 28 September 2018, Day 617:

 

Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and Chris Mooney, Friday, 28 September 2018: “Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century. A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe. But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed. The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020. While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket. ‘The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,’ said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.”

Trump Agrees to Open ‘Limited’ F.B.I. Investigation Into Accusations Against Supreme Court Nominee Brett KavanaughThe New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 28 September 2018: “President Trump, ceding to a request from Senate Republican leaders facing an insurrection in their ranks, ordered the F.B.I. on Friday to reopen a background investigation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his nominee to the Supreme Court, and examine the allegations of sexual assault that have been made against him. The announcement plunged Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination into new turmoil after a tumultuous week on Capitol Hill, and will delay, by as much as a week, a final confirmation vote. It came only 24 hours after the judge and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, each gave emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that led many Republicans to think Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation was inevitable. Republican leaders had little choice but to ask Mr. Trump to order the F.B.I. inquiry after Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, first announced he was supporting Judge Kavanaugh, and then, in a stunning reversal, said he would not vote to confirm him without an F.B.I. investigation first. With a handful of allies in a closely divided Senate, Mr. Flake, a conservative but an outspoken critic of the president, could determine the future of the Kavanaugh nomination, and that gave him leverage over Senate Republicans as well as the president.” See also, Kavanaugh vote: Senate Republican leaders agree to new FBI background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughThe Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, John Wagner, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 28 September 2018: “President Trump on Friday ordered the FBI to reopen the investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s background, a stunning turnaround in an emotional battle over sexual assault allegations that has shaken the Senate and reverberated across the country. The dramatic developments capped an extraordinary day on Capitol Hill, which began with a sense of momentum for Kavanaugh but then sharply changed when one of Trump’s fiercest Republican critics, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), who at first endorsed the nominee, emerged from a private meeting with Democrats to call for a renewed inquiry into misconduct allegations.” See also, How the F.B.I. Will Investigate the Accusations of Sexual Assault Against Supreme Court Nominee Brett KavanaughThe New York Times, Adam Goldman and Rebecca R. Ruiz, Friday, 28 September 2018: “The renewed F.B.I. background check of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh over allegations of sexual assault will be relatively limited, relying on voluntary interviews and document production. Former prosecutors said that because it is not a criminal investigation, F.B.I. agents will not be able to get search warrants or grand jury subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify or hand over documents. Witnesses and others can refuse to cooperate, though talking to an F.B.I. agent is often a powerful motivator to tell the truth.” See also, Here’s What Happened as Senator Jeff Flake Chose to Delay the Kavanaugh VoteBuzzFeed News, David Mack, Friday, 28 September 2018. See also, A Tumultuous 24 Hours: How Jeff Flake Delayed a Vote on KavanaughThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Nicholas Fandos, and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 28 September 2018. See also, A minute-by-minute breakdown of how Kavanaugh’s nomination got held upThe Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Friday, 28 September 2018.

Full Transcript: Senator Jeff Flake Is Confronted on Video by Sexual Assault SurvivorsThe New York Times, Niraj Chokshi and Astead W. Herndon, Friday, 28 September 2018: “The scene was striking: Two women blocking an elevator door, angrily demanding to be heard as a senator stood by, listening quietly, nodding and looking away. ‘On Monday, I stood in front of your office,’ one of the women, Ana Maria Archila, forcefully told Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona. ‘I told the story of my sexual assault.’ Mr. Flake had just announced his intention on Friday morning to vote to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, despite emotional testimony a day earlier from Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Reporters swarmed around as Mr. Flake waited in the elevator, but the two women interrupted and demanded that he listen.” See also, ‘Look at me when I’m talking to you!’: Sexual assault survivors confront Senator Jeff Flake in Capitol elevatorThe Washington Post, Lindsey Bever, Friday, 28 September 2018: “After Sen. Jeff Flake’s announcement that he would, in fact, vote to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, the emotional debate over the confirmation spilled into the halls of Congress — on live television — as two women loudly and tearfully confronted the Arizona Republican in an el­e­va­tor Friday, telling him that he was dis­miss­ing the pain of sexual-assault survivors.” See also, Protest Matters: Senate Asks FBI to Investigate Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh After Senator Jeff Flake Is Confronted by Sexual Assault SurvivorsThe Intercept, Robert Mackey, Friday, 28 September 2018: “The Senate Judiciary Committee abruptly halted the effort to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Friday, agreeing to a request from Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, to delay a final vote for one week, to give the FBI time to investigate three allegations of sexual assault and harassment against the judge. Flake’s request, which stunned colleagues, came after he was confronted on live television by two female protesters who expressed dismay at the Republican rush to confirm the man who had been credibly accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, in dramatic testimony to the committee on Thursday.”

Continue reading Week 89, Friday, 28 September – Thursday, 4 October 2018 (Days 617-623)

American Bar Association and Yale Law School Urge F.B.I. Inquiry Into Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and America, the Magazine of the Jesuit Religious Order in the United States, Withdraws Its EndorsementThe New York Times, Austin Ramzy and Christine Hauser, Friday, 28 September 2018: “The American Bar Association called Thursday evening for postponing a vote on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court until sexual assault and misconduct allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and others are investigated by the F.B.I. The dean of Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh’s alma mater, echoed the A.B.A.’s call. ‘Proceeding with the confirmation process without further investigation is not in the best interest of the Court or our profession,’ Dean Heather K. Gerken said in a statement on Friday. And the magazine of the Jesuit religious order in the United States, America, withdrew its endorsement of Judge Kavanaugh, who was educated by Jesuits at Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland. In a statement on Thursday, the editors said the nomination was ‘no longer in the best interests of the country.'” See also, The American Bar Association and the Yale Law School dean call for FBI probe into allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a delay in the confirmation voteThe Washington Post, Meagan Flynn, Seung Min Kim, and Mark Berman, Friday, 28 September 2018. See also, The American Bar Association had concerns about Kavanaugh 12 years ago. Republicans dismissed those, too. The Washington Post, Avi Selk, Friday, 28 September 2018: “History repeated itself. At least it had a spell of deja vu when the American Bar Association released an extraordinary statement at a crucial moment that raised concerns about Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to a powerful judicial position — just as it had done 12 years earlier. Late Thursday evening, the ABA called for an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on his Supreme Court nomination. The warning was all the more remarkable, because just hours earlier, Kavanaugh and his Republican defenders had cited the ABA’s previously glowing endorsement of the nominee — ‘the gold standard,’ as one leading Republican put it. Flash back to the mid-2000s and another fight in the Senate over Kavanaugh’s nomination to a federal court: Democrats for three years had been blocking President George W. Bush’s 2003 nomination of Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. They argued he was biased, as shown by his work as a lawyer for Bush’s presidential campaign, for an independent counsel’s investigation into President Bill Clinton and for other conservative causes. Republicans kept pushing to make Kavanaugh a judge on the powerful appeals court, year after year…. But in May 2006, as Republicans hoped to finally push Kavanaugh’s nomination across the finish line, the ABA downgraded its endorsement. The group’s judicial investigator had recently interviewed dozens of lawyers, judges and others who had worked with Kavanaugh, the ABA announced at the time, and some of them raised red flags about ‘his professional experience and the question of his freedom from bias and open-mindedness.'”

Brett Kavanaugh’s Friend Mark Judge Says He’ll Talk to the F.B.I. Here’s What We Know About Him. The New York Times, Matthew Haag and Rebecca R. Ruiz, updated on Friday, 28 September 2018: “Mark Judge, who has been named by two women as being a key witness to sexual misconduct by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, said Friday that he would cooperate with any law enforcement agency ‘assigned to confidentially investigate’ the accusations. The statement came in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee after the full Senate decided to delay a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court so the F.B.I. could conduct an investigation of up to one week into the allegations.”

Here’s where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s sworn testimony was misleading or wrongThe Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 28 September 2018: “As he began his questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh on Thursday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked Kavanaugh about a point of procedure in criminal trials. ‘As a federal judge, you’re aware of the jury instruction falsus in omnibus, are you not?’ Blumenthal asked. ‘You’re aware of that jury instruction?’ Kavanaugh said he was, but he deferred to Blumenthal for a direct translation. ‘False in one thing, false in everything,’ Blumenthal replied. ‘Meaning in jury instructions that we — some of us as prosecutors have heard many times, is — told the jury that they can disbelieve a witness if they find them to be false in one thing.’ Blumenthal’s point was that the exceptional hearings centered on the credibility of Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that she’d been assaulted by Kavanaugh at a house party in 1982 when both were in high school. Over the course of his testimony, though, Kavanaugh offered several answers to questions that stretched or misrepresented the truth.” See also, At Times, Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Defense Misleads or Veers Off PointThe New York Times, Mike McIntire, Linda Qiu, Steve Eder, and Kate Kelly, Friday, 28 September 2018: “On Thursday, the adolescent jottings of Brett M. Kavanaugh in his high school yearbook were being scrutinized under the searing lights of a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, where he sat accused of committing a drunken sexual assault when he was 17. The faded references to heavy drinking and sexual pursuits had taken on evidentiary significance, and he was pressed by senators to acknowledge their meaning. Judge Kavanaugh instead offered benign alternative explanations — an apparent reference to throwing up from drinking could have referred to spicy foods upsetting his stomach, he said. So it went for hours, as Judge Kavanaugh mounted an emotional defense against allegations of sexual misconduct and excessive drinking. It was the second time he had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the first being earlier in September when he was asked mostly about his legal career. The New York Times fact-checked his testimony, comparing his statements against the recollections of former classmates and acquaintances from his youth, as well as records from his time working in the administration of George W. Bush. The combative nominee was compelled to answer questions he clearly found embarrassing or offensive. What emerges is the image of a skilled lawyer who, when pressed on difficult subjects, sometimes crafted responses that were misleading, disputed or off point. When asked about his alcohol consumption in high school, he said his classmates were ‘legal to drink’ in their senior year, even though the legality of the drinking was not the issue (and, in fact, he could not legally drink because the age was raised to 21 before he even turned 18).” See also, Brett Kavanaugh likes beer, but not questions about his drinking habitsThe Washington Post, Allyson Chiu, Friday, 28 September 2018. See also, Every time Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh dodged a question, in one chartVox, Alvin Chang, Friday, 28 September 2018.

E-Mails Show That Republican Senate Staff Stymied Kavanaugh Accuser Deborah Ramirez’s Effort to Give Testimony to the Senate Judiciary CommitteeThe New Yorker, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, Friday, 28 September 2018: “Throughout Thursday’s Senate hearing on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual-misconduct allegation against Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee claimed that they had tried in vain to secure more information about other accusations made about the judge. ‘We were moving heaven and earth and even moving the schedule to get to the truth,’ Senator Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, said. ‘Every opportunity you have to go and question a witness, every opportunity that we’ve had to find more truth and to find more facts, we have done it.’ Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, the chairman of the committee, said, about an allegation of sexual misconduct raised last week by a former college classmate of Kavanaugh’s, Deborah Ramirez, ‘My staff made eight requests—yes, eight requests—for evidence from attorneys for Ms. . . . Ms. Ramirez.’ He added, ‘The committee can’t do an investigation if attorneys are stonewalling.’ On Wednesday, several conservative-media outlets published leaks of some of the e-mail correspondence between Ramirez’s team and Republican committee staffers, which appeared to back up Grassley’s characterization. But a fuller copy of the e-mail correspondence between Ramirez’s legal team and Republican and Democratic Senate staffers shows that a Republican aide declined to proceed with telephone calls and instead repeatedly demanded that Ramirez produce additional evidence in written form. Only then could any conversation about her testimony proceed. The exchange culminated in a breakdown of communication between the two sides, as Republican and Democratic staffers traded accusations of stonewalling.”

Elizabeth Warren Introduces a Plan to Expand Affordable Housing and to Dismantle Racist Zoning PracticesThe Intercept, Rachel M. Cohen, Friday, 28 September 2018: “This week, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, one of the most far-reaching federal housing bills in decades. The legislation calls for a half-trillion dollar investment in affordable housing over the next 10 years, creating up to 3.2 million new units for low- and middle-income families. The bill also expands the protections of decades-old legislation to reduce discriminatory banking, ban housing discrimination, and desegregate neighborhoods. For example, Warren’s bill would make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against renters with federal housing vouchers, and would also impose new regulations on credit unions and nonbank mortgage lenders like Quicken Loans. The bill also incentivizes states and localities to loosen their racist and discriminatory zoning restrictions; eases the path for low-income families to move into more affluent communities; and provides federal assistance to first-time homebuyers from formerly segregated areas and those who saw their wealth decimated in the 2008 financial crisis.”

Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan rules that lawsuit by 200 Congressional Democrats alleging Trump’s private business is violating the Constitution can proceedThe Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell, David A. Fahrenthold, and Carol D. Leonnig, Friday, 28 September 2018: “A federal judge on Friday gave the go-ahead to a lawsuit filed by 200 congressional Democrats against President Trump alleging that Trump has violated the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments while in office. The lawsuit is based on the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars presidents from taking payments from foreign states without Congress’s consent. Trump’s business, which he still owns, has hosted foreign embassy events and visiting foreign officials at its downtown D.C. hotel. Trump has not given Congress any details of these transactions, nor has he asked Congress’s permission for them. Trump says he doesn’t need to — by his reckoning, these transactions don’t fit the Founding Fathers’ definition of ’emoluments.’ They are business deals, he says, not payoffs. But the Democratic members of Congress said Trump had effectively nullified their votes by not giving them anything to vote on. In his ruling, Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan agreed with the legislators, writing that they have legal standing to sue and their case can proceed.” See also, Federal Judge Denies Trump’s Request to Dismiss Foreign Payments Lawsuit Filed by Congressional DemocratsThe New York Times, Katie Benner, Friday, 28 September 2018.

 

Saturday, 29 September 2018, Day 618:

 

Details of the F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted RangeThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman, and Michael S. Schmidt, Saturday, 29 September 2018: “President Trump said on Saturday that the F.B.I. will have ‘free rein’ to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, but the emerging contours of the inquiry showed its limited scope. Four witnesses will be questioned in coming days about aspects of the assault accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, according to two people familiar with the matter. Left off the list were former classmates who have contradicted Judge Kavanaugh’s congressional testimony about his drinking and partying as a student. The White House will decide the breadth of the inquiry, though presidential advisers were working in concert with Senate Republicans, said the two people, one a senior administration official, who both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation. The White House can order investigators to further examine the allegations if their findings from the four witness interviews open new avenues of inquiry, and Mr. Trump seemed to stress that part of the plan in a tweet late on Saturday. ‘I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion,’ Mr. Trump wrote. He denied an NBC News report that he was limiting the inquiry and that investigators were not permitted to examine the claims of Julie Swetnick, a woman who has said she witnessed a severely drunken Judge Kavanaugh mistreat women at parties in high school, and that he had attended parties where high school boys gang-raped teenage girls.” See also, Here Are Five Questions the FBI Should Ask Mark Judge About Brett KavanaughThe Intercept, Peter Maass and Akela Lacy, Saturday, 29 September 2018.

The Unbearable Dishonesty of Brett KavanaughThe Intercept, Briahna Gray and Camille Baker, Saturday, 29 September 2018: “Kavanaugh’s choice to lie about things that are easily disproved speaks to a kind of hubris, or entitlement, that befits someone of his pedigree…. Among the most consequential of Kavanaugh’s false claims, and the one Senate Democrats pushed back against the least, was his assertion that all of the witnesses who could corroborate [Christine Blasey] Ford’s testimony denied it ever happened…. Ford testified that in addition to Kavanaugh, at least four other people were in the house on the night of the alleged assault: Mark Judge, who Ford alleges witnessed the assault; and P.J. Smyth, Leland Ingraham Keyser, and an unnamed boy — all of whom Ford said were downstairs when the alleged assault occurred. Nine times during Thursday’s hearing, Kavanaugh claimed that four of the teenagers, including himself, made statements affirming that Ford’s version of events didn’t happen. In an exchange with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Kavanaugh argued, ‘But the core of why we’re here is an allegation for which the four witnesses present have all said it didn’t happen.’ Later, in an change with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., the nominee claimed, ‘The witnesses who were there say it didn’t happen.’ But, apart from Kavanaugh, who denied the allegations, none of the named witnesses said the allegations didn’t happen. Rather, they stated that they did not recall the house party, or have personal knowledge of the alleged sexual assault…. Importantly, having ‘no recollection’ of the night in question, or no ‘knowledge’ of the alleged events is not the same as saying it didn’t happen — especially since Ford never alleged that anyone but Kavanaugh and Judge witnessed the assault. So why would a judge, someone presumably familiar with the implications of what it often means when a witness avers they ‘do not recall,’ so grossly mischaracterize the nature of those statements?… What qualities are non-negotiable in the nation’s top jurists — women and men whose decisions directly affect the lives of over 300 million citizens, and billions across the world who are often beholden to the toxic effects of domestic policy? We would argue that honesty is key to administering justice.” See also, How We Know Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Is LyingCurrent Affairs, Nathan J. Robinson, Saturday, 29 September 2018.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) typically stays neutral about Supreme Court nominees. It didn’t with Brett Kavanaugh. The Washington Post, Kristine Phillips, Saturday, 29 September 2018: “The American Civil Liberties Union announced that it is against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a rarity in the organization’s century-long practice of not endorsing or opposing judicial candidates. The ACLU said in a statement Saturday that Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual misconduct accusations against Kavanaugh, the subsequent allegations from other women, the ‘inadequate investigation’ into these claims and the judge’s own testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday are all reasons to doubt his fitness to serve on the Supreme Court. ‘This is not a decision taken lightly,’ according to a resolution the organization’s national board of directors passed. ‘We cannot remain silent under these extraordinary circumstances about a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. The standard for such an appointment should be high, and the burden is on the nominee.'”

Do Migrant Teenagers Have Abortion Rights? Two Volatile Issues, Immigration and Abortion, Collide in Court. The New York Times, Robert Pear, Saturday, 29 September 2018: “The Trump administration is claiming broad new authority to block access to abortions sought by undocumented immigrants under age 18 who are in its custody. In a case that brings together two of the most volatile issues in American society, immigration and abortion, the Justice Department argued this past week before a federal appeals court that the government ‘has a strong, legitimate and profound interest in the life of the child in the womb.’ But a lawyer for the young immigrants said that federal efforts to restrict their access to abortion were ‘blatantly unconstitutional,’ and that Congress had never given the administration ‘statutory authority to veto a minor’s abortion decision.’ The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is hearing the case after a district court judge ruled in March that the Trump administration policy was probably illegal because it violated Supreme Court precedents on abortion and nullified a young woman’s ‘right to make her own reproductive choices.’ The judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits the government from obstructing or interfering with a pregnant minor’s access to abortion services or counseling.”

 

Sunday, 30 September 2018, Day 619:

 

Trump Administration Prepares a Major Weakening of Mercury Emissions RulesThe New York Times, Coral Davenport, Sunday, 30 September 2018: “The Trump administration has completed a detailed legal proposal to dramatically weaken a major environmental regulation covering mercury, a toxic chemical emitted from coal-burning power plants, according to a person who has seen the document but is not authorized to speak publicly about it. The proposal would not eliminate the mercury regulation entirely, but it is designed to put in place the legal justification for the Trump administration to weaken it and several other pollution rules, while setting the stage for a possible full repeal of the rule. Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who is now the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected in the coming days to send the proposal to the White House for approval. The move is the latest, and one of the most significant, in the Trump administration’s steady march of rollbacks of Obama-era health and environmental regulations on polluting industries, particularly coal. The weakening of the mercury rule — which the E.P.A. considers the most expensive clean air regulation ever put forth in terms of annual cost to industry — would represent a major victory for the coal industry. Mercury is known to damage the nervous systems of children and fetuses.”

Hundreds of Migrant Children Are Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Tent City on the Texas BorderThe New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson, Sunday, 30 September 2018: “In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas. Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room. They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their immigration cases. But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks. There is no school: The children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete. Access to legal services is limited. These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find room for more than 13,000 detained migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year. The average length of time that migrant children spend in custody has nearly doubled over the same period, from 34 days to 59, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees their care.”

The Family of Devin Nunes, Head of the House Intelligence Committee, Is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret: The Nunes Family Dairy Farm Is Not in California. It’s in Iowa. The Family Has Tried to Conceal the Move From the Public for More Than a Decade. Esquire, Ryan Lizza, Sunday, 30 September 2018. “The Nunes family dairy, NuStar Farms LLC, sits on forty-three acres surrounded by corn on the southern outskirts of Sibley, off Highway 60, a main route between Sioux City and Minneapolis. According to Dairy Star, they have about two thousand Jersey cows. A source told me that NuStar sells almost all of its milk to Wells, an ice cream company in Le Mars, which makes the Blue Bunny brand. The NuStar cows are housed in two seven-hundred-foot, white aluminum barns that are the most prominent feature of the farm…. Other dairy farmers in the area helped me understand why the Nunes family might be so secretive about the farm: Midwestern dairies tend to run on undocumented labor. The northwest-Iowa dairy community is small. Most of the farmers know one another, and most belong to a regional trade group called the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance (though WIDA told me NuStar is not a member). One dairy farmer said that the threat of raids from ICE is so acute that WIDA members have discussed forming a NATO-like pact that would treat a raid on one dairy as a raid on all of them. The other pact members would provide labor to the raided dairy until it got back on its feet. In every conversation I had with dairy farmers and industry insiders in northwest Iowa, it was taken as a fact that the local dairies are wholly dependent on undocumented labor.”

The Trump administration is suing California to quash its new net neutrality lawThe Washington Post, Tony Romm and Brian Fung, Sunday, 30 September 2018: “The Trump administration said Sunday it will sue California in an effort to block what some experts have described as the toughest net neutrality law ever enacted in the United States, setting up a high-stakes legal showdown over the future of the Internet. California on Sunday became the largest state to adopt its own rules requiring Internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to treat all web traffic equally. Golden State legislators took the step of writing their law after the Federal Communications Commission scrapped nationwide protections last year, citing the regulatory burdens they had caused for the telecom industry. Mere hours after California’s proposal became law, however, senior Justice Department officials told The Washington Post they would take the state to court on grounds that the federal government, not state leaders, has the exclusive power to regulate net neutrality. DOJ officials stressed the FCC had been granted such authority from Congress to ensure that all 50 states don’t seek to write their own, potentially conflicting, rules governing the web. The U.S. government anticipates filing its lawsuit Monday morning.”

Chad Ludington, a Yale Classmate of Brett Kavanaugh’s, Accuses Kavanaugh of ‘Blatant Mischaracterization’ of His DrinkingThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Robin Pogrebin, Sunday, 30 September 2018: “A Yale classmate of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s accused him on Sunday of a ‘blatant mischaracterization’ of his drinking while in college, saying that he often saw Judge Kavanaugh ‘staggering from alcohol consumption.’ The classmate, Chad Ludington, who said he frequently socialized with Judge Kavanaugh as a student, said in a statement that the judge had been untruthful in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee when he had denied any possibility that he had ever blacked out from drinking. Mr. Ludington said that Judge Kavanaugh had played down ‘the degree and frequency’ of his drinking, and that the judge had often become ‘belligerent and aggressive’ while intoxicated. Other former classmates have made similar claims.” See also, Chad Ludington’s Statement on Kavanaugh’s Drinking and Senate TestimonyThe New York Times, The New York Times, Sunday, 30 September 2018. See also, The Confusion Surrounding the F.B.I.’s Renewed Investigation of Brett KavanaughJane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, Sunday, 30 September 2018: “As the F.B.I. began its investigation this weekend into allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, several people who hope to contribute information about him to the F.B.I. said that they were unable to make contact with agents. President Trump has promised to give the F.B.I. ‘free rein’ in its probe, but the Times reported on Saturday that the White House had asked the F.B.I. to question only four witnesses. In the course of the next day, confusion spread about whom the F.B.I. would be interviewing, and Senate Democrats demanded that the White House provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a copy of the written directive that it had sent to the F.B.I. regarding the investigation. With a one-week deadline looming over the investigation, some who say they have information relevant to the F.B.I.’s probe are suspicious that the investigation will amount to what one of Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmates called a ‘whitewash.’ Roberta Kaplan, an attorney representing one potential witness, Elizabeth Rasor, a former girlfriend of Kavanaugh’s high-school friend Mark Judge, said her client ‘has repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and to the F.B.I. that she would like the opportunity to speak to them.’ But, Kaplan said, ‘We’ve received no substantive response.'” See also, Fight over Kavanaugh intensifies amid confusion over limits of FBI sexual assault investigationThe Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Josh Dawsey, Sunday, 30 September 2018.

U.S. and Canada Reach Trade Deal to Salvage NaftaThe New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Sunday, 30 September 2018: “The United States and Canada reached a last-minute deal to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement on Sunday, overcoming deep divisions to keep the 25-year-old trilateral pact intact…. The agreement reached on Sunday includes changes to several provisions in Nafta. International settlement dispute: A system that allows Nafta countries to rely on an independent body to resolve disputes will remain intact. Canada had insisted on keeping this provision, known as Chapter 19. Dairy: The United States will be allowed to increase dairy exports into Canada, a win for Mr. Trump, who had insisted on greater access for United States dairy farmers. Autos: Requires a higher percentage of a car to be manufactured in North America to qualify for zero tariffs. For the first time, the deal requires that a percentage of any vehicle that qualifies for zero tariffs must be manufactured in a factory where the average production wage is at least $16 an hour. Tariffs — Steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place on Canada and Mexico, pending further negotiations. Canada and Mexico secure at least a partial exemption from any potential future American tariffs on automobiles.” See also, U.S., Canada, and Mexico reached a sweeping new NAFTA deal. Here’s what’s in it. The Washington Post, Heather Long, Monday, published on Monday, 1 October 2018. See also, Trump Just Ripped Up Nafta. Here’s What’s in the New Deal. The New York Times, Jim Tankersley, published on Monday, 1 October 2018.

Hate in the White House–SeptemberSouthern Poverty Law Center, Sunday, 30 September 2018: “The following is a timeline of instances of extremism in the Trump administration in September. President Trump has opened the White House doors to extremism, not only consulting with hate groups on policies that erode our country’s civil rights protections but enabling the infiltration of extremist ideas into the administration’s rhetoric and agenda. Once relegated to the fringes, the radical right now has a toehold in the White House.”

 

Monday, 1 October 2018, Day 620:

 

Text messages suggest Kavanaugh wanted to refute Deborah Ramirez’s claim of sexual assault before it became publicNBC News, Heidi Przybyla and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Monday, 1 October 2018: “In the days leading up to a public allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to a college classmate, the judge and his team were communicating behind the scenes with friends to refute the claim, according to text messages obtained by NBC News. Kerry Berchem, who was at Yale with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has tried to get those messages to the FBI for its newly reopened investigation into the matter but says she has yet to be contacted by the bureau. The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh’s team and former classmates in advance of the story.”

Trump adds to confusion over scope of FBI investigation of Kavanaugh accusationsThe Washington Post, John Wagner, Monday, 1 October 2018: “President Trump sowed further confusion Monday about the scope of the FBI’s investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Brett M. Kavanaugh, offering little clarity at a news conference about who will be interviewed in coming days. Trump said he is open to a ‘very comprehensive investigation’ but suggested at different points that the probe would be guided by the wishes of Republican senators and that the FBI could decide whom to interview so long as it was ‘within reason.'” See also, White House Tells F.B.I. to Interview Anyone Necessary for Kavanaugh InquiryThe New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael S. Schmidt, Monday, 1 October 2018: “The White House has authorized the F.B.I. to expand its abbreviated investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long as the review is finished by the end of the week, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday. The new directive came in the past 24 hours after a backlash from Democrats, who criticized the White House for limiting the scope of the bureau’s investigation into President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. The F.B.I. has already interviewed the four witnesses its agents were originally asked to talk to, the people said. Mr. Trump said on Monday that he favored a ‘comprehensive’ F.B.I. investigation and had no problem if the bureau wanted to question Judge Kavanaugh or even a third accuser who was left off the initial witness list if she seemed credible. His only concerns he said, were that the investigation be wrapped up quickly and that it take direction from the Senate Republicans who will determine whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed.” See also, Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Was Questioned by Police After Bar Fight in 1985The New York Times, Emily Bazelon and Ben Protess, Monday, 1 October 2018: “As an undergraduate student at Yale, Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a local bar during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron, according to a police report. The incident, which occurred in September 1985 during Mr. Kavanaugh’s junior year, resulted in Mr. Kavanaugh and four other men being questioned by the New Haven Police Department. Mr. Kavanaugh was not arrested, but the police report stated that a 21-year-old man accused Mr. Kavanaugh of throwing ice on him ‘for some unknown reason.'” See also, Yale graduate Charles Ludington says Kavanaugh once started a bar fight that led to police questioningThe Washington Post, Aaron C. Davis and Amy Gardner, published on Tuesday, 2 October 2018. See also, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh withdraws from teaching at Harvard Law this winter, as graduates gather signatures objecting to his roleThe Washington Post, Susan Svrluga, Monday, 1 October 2018: “Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh will not teach at Harvard Law School in the winter, as he was expected to do, the university announced Monday night in an email to law students. ‘Today, Judge Kavanaugh indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered,’ Catherine Claypoole of the law school curriculum committee wrote in an email to students Monday night. Hundreds of Harvard Law School graduates had signed a letter calling on the school to rescind Kavanaugh’s appointment as lecturer at the school, following sexual misconduct allegations against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee…. ‘People are coming together to say [that] this isn’t the type of person we want teaching at Harvard Law,’ said Jessica Lynn Corsi, a law lecturer and 2010 graduate of the school. It’s an incredibly important job, she said, to shape the minds of students destined to become Supreme Court justices, legal scholars and other leaders. More than 800 graduates have signed the letter in less than three days, but it’s not just the sheer number that carries weight, Corsi argued. ‘It’s the character and the work of the people that are signing on,’ she said.” See also, New Fronts in the Kavanaugh Wars: Temperament and Honesty and PartisanshipThe New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Monday, 1 October 2018: “Democratic efforts to highlight sexual assault charges that are more than 30 years old have been dismissed by supporters of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as the dredgings of ancient history. But the judge’s response to those accusations has raised new issues that go to the core of who President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is right now: his truthfulness, his partisanship and his temperament. For Democrats determined to derail Judge Kavanaugh, his performance last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee — his dissembling about his teenage years; his playing down drinking in high school and college; his raw, angry emotions; and his broadsides against Democratic questioners — is proving to be a new avenue of attack, if the accusations of sexual assault are not enough to swing the votes of three key Republicans and two undecided Democrats.”

‘The trauma for a man’: Male fury and fear rises in Republicans in defense of Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughThe Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Monday, 1 October 2018: “The sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh have sparked a wave of unbridled anger and anxiety from many Republican men, who say they are in danger of being swept up by false accusers who are biased against them. From President Trump to his namesake son to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), the howls of outrage crystallize a strong current of grievance within a party whose leadership is almost entirely white and overwhelmingly male — and which does not make a secret of its fear that demographic shifts and cultural convulsions could jeopardize its grip on power. This outbreak of male resentment now seems likely to play a defining role in the midterm elections just five weeks away, contrasting with a burst of enthusiasm among women propelling Democratic campaigns and inspired by the national #MeToo reckoning over sexual assault and gender roles.”

Experts question Republican prosecutor Rachel Mitchell’s memo on Christine Blasey FordThe Washington Post, Emma Brown and Seung Min Kim, Monday, 1 October 2018: “The prosecutor hired by Republican senators to question Christine Blasey Ford has declared that Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh are so weak that no ‘reasonable prosecutor’ would pursue the case…. Though Senate Republicans said the memo was helpful, legal experts from both political parties and advocates for victims of sexual assault on Monday questioned how Mitchell could reach such a conclusion without a fuller investigation and without the ability to cross-examine witnesses such as Mark Judge, the only other person Ford says was in the room when the alleged incident occurred in the summer of 1982. ‘As a former prosecutor myself, I’ve come to no conclusion other than the conclusion that there need to be more facts to come to a conclusion,’ said Douglas Wigdor, an employment lawyer who has represented plaintiffs in sexual assault and harassment cases. Wigdor, a Republican, called the memo ‘a joke’ and ‘preposterous.'” See also, Here’s What Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell Gets Wrong About the Evidence Against Brett KavanaughThe Intercept, Briahna Gray, published on Tuesday, 2 October 2018.

In rollback of mercury rule, Trump could revamp how government values human healthThe Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Monday, 1 October 2018: “The Trump administration wants to change federal rulemaking in a way that could make it easier to allow the release of harmful substances into the atmosphere. It’s making the case with mercury, a powerful neurotoxin that can damage the brains of infants and young children. In a proposal sent to the White House on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency suggested recalculating the costs and benefits of a 2011 rule to limit mercury from coal plants, in part by questioning whether it was justified in the first place. The shift is part of a broader effort to narrow what the government counts as benefits when crafting air rules. If adopted, the change would prevent the office from calculating positive health effects — known as ‘co-benefits’ — that come from reducing pollutants other than those being targeted.”

Trump’s family separation policy was flawed from the start according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdogThe Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Maria Sacchetti, and Seung Min Kim, Monday, 1 October 2018: “The Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown at the border this spring was troubled from the outset by planning shortfalls, widespread communication failures and administrative indifference to the separation of small children from their parents, according to an unpublished report by the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog. The report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the government’s first attempt to [assess] the chaos produced between May 5 and June 20, when President Trump abruptly halted the separations under mounting pressure from his party and members of his family.”

County by county, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) faces a growing backlashThe Washington Post, Justin Jouvenal, Monday, 1 October 2018: “Activists in Alexandria, Va., are pressing the sheriff to drop an agreement to detain migrants for ICE. The sheriff in Contra Costa County, Calif., canceled a similar contract in July, soon after at least 1,000 protesters marched on the local jail. And at Philadelphia City Hall, organizers camped out for weeks beneath a banner that read ‘I.C.E. Get Out’ before the city recently agreed to stop sharing real-time arrest information with immigration authorities. With little leverage to counter the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration crackdown in a Republican-controlled Washington, immigrant advocates and grass-roots groups are mounting a furious backlash in local communities across the country. They can’t stop deportations, but they hope to throw sand in the gears by targeting pressure points in the system: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement relies on local agencies to jail detainees who may be in the country illegally, notify ICE of their release and even help conduct immigration enforcement.”

 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018, Day 621:

 

Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His FatherThe New York Times Special Investigation, David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found. 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. But The Times’s 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. Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings. These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances. The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show…. The Times’s findings raise new questions about Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his income tax returns, breaking with decades of practice by past presidents. According to tax experts, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump would be vulnerable to criminal prosecution for helping his parents evade taxes, because the acts happened too long ago and are past the statute of limitations. There is no time limit, however, on civil fines for tax fraud. The findings are based on interviews with Fred Trump’s former employees and advisers and more than 100,000 pages of documents describing the inner workings and immense profitability of his empire. They include documents culled from public sources — mortgages and deeds, probate records, financial disclosure reports, regulatory records and civil court files. The investigation also draws on tens of thousands of pages of confidential records — bank statements, financial audits, accounting ledgers, cash disbursement reports, invoices and canceled checks. Most notably, the documents include more than 200 tax returns from Fred Trump, his companies and various Trump partnerships and trusts. While the records do not include the president’s personal tax returns and reveal little about his recent business dealings at home and abroad, dozens of corporate, partnership and trust tax returns offer the first public accounting of the income he received for decades from various family enterprises.” See also, 11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Donald Trump’s WealthThe New York Times, Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and David Barstow, Tuesday, 2 October 2018. See also, New York state’s tax agency weighs probe after report that Trump family built wealth through tax-avoidance schemes and fraudThe Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “New York state’s tax agency said it is considering an investigation into allegations detailed in a New York Times story that President Trump participated in ‘dubious tax schemes’ that allowed his father to pass him more than $413 million while minimizing tax payments. In some instances, these schemes amounted to ‘outright fraud,’ the Times story said…. ‘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. On Capitol Hill, some Democrats renewed calls for Trump to release his tax returns — which he has repeatedly declined to do, unlike his predecessors.”

Trump Mocks Christine Blasey Ford at a Campaign Rally in MississippiThe New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “President Trump on Tuesday sharply mocked the woman whose allegation of sexual assault has upended his effort to install a second justice on the Supreme Court, escalating a battle that has already polarized Washington and the country. At a campaign rally, Mr. Trump went further than ever before in directly assailing Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his nominee, of pinning her to a bed and trying to take her clothes off at a high school party in the early 1980s. Playing to the crowd of thousands gathered to cheer him on, the president pretended to be Dr. Blasey testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. ‘Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer,’ said Mr. Trump, channeling his version of Dr. Blasey. His voice dripping with derision, he then imitated her being questioned at the hearing, followed by her responses about what she could not recall about the alleged attack. ‘How did you get home? 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,’ Mr. Trump said, as the crowd applauded. ‘But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.’ Then, continuing in his own voice, he said: ‘And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered.’ Referring to those who have championed Dr. Blasey’s case, he added: ‘They destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.'” See also, Trump mocks Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey FordThe Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 2 October 2018. See also, Base President: Trump Mocks, and Lies About, Christine Blasey Ford’s TestimonyThe Intercept, Robert Mackey, published on Wednesday, 3 October 2018.

A reasonably thorough accounting of Brett Kavanaugh’s lies, distortions, and absurditiesThe Washington Post, Paul Waldman, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “Since each day seems to bring more people saying [Brett Kavanaugh] isn’t telling the truth about one matter or another, I’ve assembled a list of Kavanaugh’s false and questionable statements. Considerations of space prevent me from going into too much detail; instead this is intended as a concise but reasonably thorough accounting. I have drawn from many sources, but I’d recommend Nathan J. Robinson’s opus on this topic for more.”

I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm HimThe Atlantic, Benjamin Wittes, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “[I]f I were a senator, I would vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. I would do it both because of Ford’s testimony and because of Kavanaugh’s. For reasons I will describe, I find her account more believable than his. I would also do it because whatever the truth of what happened in the summer of 1982, Thursday’s hearing left Kavanaugh nonviable as a justice…. I cannot condone [Kavanaugh’s] partisanship—which was raw, undisguised, naked, and conspiratorial—from someone who asks for public faith as a dispassionate and impartial judicial actor. His performance was wholly inconsistent with the conduct we should expect from a member of the judiciary.”

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s 1983 Letter to His Friends About Beach Week Offers an Inside Look at His High School CliqueThe New York Times, Kate Kelly and David Enrich, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “The beachfront property was rented, the guests were invited and an ever-organized Brett M. Kavanaugh had some advice for the seven Georgetown Preparatory School classmates who would be joining him for the weeklong escapade. In a 1983 letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, the young Judge Kavanaugh warned his friends of the danger of eviction from an Ocean City, Md., condo. In a neatly written postscript, he added: 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…'”

The American Bar Association Questioned Brett Kavanaugh’s Temperament and Honesty in 2006, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “When Brett M. Kavanaugh was preparing for his second confirmation hearing for a seat on a federal appeals court in 2006, he got some unwelcome news. The American Bar Association, which had earlier given him its highest rating, had reconsidered. The revised rating, the group explained, was prompted by new concerns about Mr. Kavanaugh’s demeanor and veracity, foreshadowing some critiques of his testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to accusations of sexual misconduct.”

‘It’s a Very Scary Time for young Men in America,’ Donald Trump Says. Yes, That Donald Trump. The Intercept, Robert Mackey, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “Asked to comment on the fraught national debate over the fitness of Brett Kavanaugh to sit on the Supreme Court, given credible accusations of sexual assault, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, ‘It’s a very scary time for young men in America.’… The president, who has privately boasted about getting away with sexual assault, was then asked if he had any message for the young women of America. ‘Women,’ he replied, ‘are doing great.’ The president’s remarks provoked anger and dismay — in the first instance, from women who know how difficult it is to come forward and be believed after being attacked by a man…. But Trump’s complaints about a lack of due process for men also stunned people who recall the public campaign he launched in 1989 to have five black and Latino teenage boys executed for the rape of a jogger in Central Park that they did not commit.” See also, Trump says it’s ‘a very scary time’ for young men–but that women are ‘doing great,’ The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Tuesday, 2 October 2018.

Trump Directed Legal Action to Enforce Stormy Daniels’s Hush AgreementThe Wall Street Journal, Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “President Trump personally directed an effort in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, people familiar with the events say. In a phone call, Mr. Trump instructed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to seek a restraining order against the former adult-film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, through a confidential arbitration proceeding, one of the people said.” See also, The coverup uncovered: How Team Trump tried to bury or confuse the Stormy Daniels storyThe Washington Post, Philip Bump, Tuesday, 2 October 2018.

Homeland Security’s Computer Systems Were Unable to Track Family Members Separated at the Mexican BorderThe New York Times, Ron Nixon, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “The Department of Homeland Security was so unprepared for the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that its computer systems were unable to track family members separated at the Mexican border and the agency held migrant children in detention centers far longer than the law allowed, a report released on Tuesday found. Agency officials also gave inconsistent information to migrant parents arriving at the border, so some did not understand that they would be separated from their children, according to the report by the department’s Office of Inspector General. The agency’s problems in identifying, tracking and reuniting families stemmed from limits in its computer systems, the report said. For example, only one part of Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol, had systems that could send information about migrant children directly to Department of Health and Human Services computers. But the Office of Field Operations, another part of Customs and Border Protection, could not. Customs officers, who staff ports of entry, had to send their information to Health and Human Services in emails with Microsoft Word documents as attachments. (Under federal law, unaccompanied children may be held for no more than 72 hours before being transferred to the health agency’s Office of Refugee Resettlement.)”

Republicans and Democrats both like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But they just let it expire. The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “For more than a half-century, the federal government has used money collected from oil and natural gas drilling to buy swaths of wilderness and other land and set them aside for recreation and wildlife conservation. But on Monday, Congress let that long-lasting and popular program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, expire despite broad support within both parties for its continuation. Congress failed to reauthorize the fund for the second time in three years because key members of the House and Senate could not agree about how to pay for the program going forward. The fund’s expiration casts an uncertain future on ongoing projects and prevents new oil and gas receipts from being used for conservation work until the program is reauthorized. Since its inception in 1965, the program has protected millions of acres nationwide, including according to one analysis at least 491,000 acres between 2014 to 2017 alone. Federal agencies and state governments have used the conservation fund to do everything from building swimming pools and basketball courts in cities to expanding wildlife refuges and national parks like Acadia in Maine and Grand Canyon in Arizona.”

U.S. Bans Diplomatic Visas for Foreign Same-Sex Domestic PartnersThe New York Times, Edward Wong and Michael Schwirtz, Tuesday, 2 October 2018: “The Trump administration will no longer issue family visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations who work in the United States, State Department officials said on Tuesday. The shift drew sharp criticism from gay rights advocates, including those who work for the United Nations and could be affected. It also applies to people working in the United States for the World Bank, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other groups. The changes took effect on Monday. United Nations employees were notified in a memo last month that only married same-sex partners seeking to accompany newly arrived officials to the United States would be eligible for a G-4 visa. Under the new State Department rules, foreign couples will need to present proof of marriage to obtain the diplomatic family visas. But only a small number of the United Nations’s 193 member states have legalized same-sex marriage.”

 

Wednesday, 3 October 2018, Day 622:

 

The F.B.I. Probe Ignored Testimonies From Former Classmates of Supreme Court Nominee Brett KavanaughThe New Yorker, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “Frustrated potential witnesses who have been unable to speak with the F.B.I. agents conducting the investigation into sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, have been resorting to sending statements, unsolicited, to the Bureau and to senators, in hopes that they would be seen before the inquiry concluded. On Monday, President Trump said that the Bureau should be able to interview ‘anybody they want within reason,’ but the extent of the constraints placed on the investigating agents by the White House remained unclear. Late Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the F.B.I. probe was over, and cleared the way for an important procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to take place on Friday. NBC News reported that dozens of people who said that they had information about Kavanaugh had contacted F.B.I. field offices, but agents had not been permitted to talk to many of them. Several people interested in speaking to the F.B.I. expressed exasperation in interviews with The New Yorker at what they perceived to be a lack of interest in their accounts.” See also, FBI has not contacted dozens of potential sources in Kavanaugh investigationNBC News, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Heidi Przybyla, Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “More than 40 people with potential information into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have not been contacted by the FBI, according to multiple sources that include friends of both the nominee and his accusers. The bureau is expected to wrap up its expanded background investigation as early as Wednesday into two allegations against Kavanaugh — one from Christine Blasey Ford and the other from Deborah Ramirez.” See also, Whom the FBI has spoken with in the Kavanaugh inquiry–and whom it hasn’tThe Washington Post, Philip Bump, Wednesday, 3 October 2018. See also, I Was Brett Kavanaugh’s College Roommate. He lied under oath about his drinking and terms in his yearbook. Slate, James Roche, Wednesday, 3 October 2018.

The Senate Should Not Confirm Brett KavanaughThe New York Times, Signed, 1,700 + Law Professors (and Counting), Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “The following letter will be presented to the United States Senate on Oct. 4. It will be updated as more signatures are received. Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge. As the Congressional Research Service explains, a judge requires ‘a personality that is even-handed, unbiased, impartial, courteous yet firm, and dedicated to a process, not a result.’ The concern for judicial temperament dates back to our founding; in Federalist 78, titled ‘Judges as Guardians of the Constitution,’ Alexander Hamilton expressed the need for ‘the integrity and moderation of the judiciary.’ We are law professors who teach, research and write about the judicial institutions of this country. Many of us appear in state and federal court, and our work means that we will continue to do so, including before the United States Supreme Court. We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our Senators, to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Sept. 27, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.”

New York City Is ‘Looking to Recoup’ Any Unpaid Trump Taxes, Mayor Bill de Blasio SaysBloomberg, Henry Goldman, Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “New York City will seek any taxes that President Donald Trump should have paid for money he received from his late father, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, following a New York Times report on the transactions. ‘It’s clear to me that there are real ramifications right now to what has been disclosed, either potential violations of law, or in cases where the statute of limitations has ended that there may be very serious civil penalties that can be applied by both the state and the city,’ de Blasio said Wednesday. ‘The city of New York is looking to recoup any money that Donald Trump owes the people of New York City, period.'”

Big oil and gas companies are winners in Trump’s new trade deal with Mexico and CanadaThe Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “Count the oil and gas industry among the winners of the new NAFTA — or as Trump is rebranding it, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. The oil business convinced the White House to keep a number of features of the old NAFTA deal in the new agreement, including provisions that help protect U.S. oil companies’ investments abroad and allowed for tax-free transport of raw and refined products across borders. ‘We’re mostly happy that it’s been preserved, that many of the provisions in the original NAFTA that had supported the integrated North American energy markets are still in place,’ said Aaron Padilla, senior adviser for international policy at the American Petroleum Institute, the nation’s biggest oil and gas lobbying group.”

International Court Orders U.S. to Ease Some Iran SanctionsThe New York Times, Marlise Simons and Alan Cowell, Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “In a rebuke to the Trump administration, the International Court of Justice ordered the United States on Wednesday to ease some sanctions against Iran, including those related to the supply of humanitarian goods and the safety of civil aviation. In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a news conference that the United States would cancel a treaty signed in 1955 by the two countries that had provided a basis for friendly diplomatic exchanges and economic relations, long before Iran’s Islamic revolution turned the two nations into enemies.”

Environmental Protection Agency excluded its own top science officials when it rewrote rules on using scientific studiesThe Washington Post, Steven Mufson and Chris Mooney, Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “When former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt launched an effort to limit what kinds of scientific studies could be used to protect public health, he left out some key experts: the Environmental Protection Agency’s own Office of the Science Advisor, according to an email exchange obtained by The Washington Post. Tom Sinks, director of the office, said in an April 24 email that ‘Even though OSA and I have not participated in the development of this document and I just this moment obtained it (have yet to read it), I am listed as the point of contact.’ Sinks added, accurately, that ‘the proposal likely touches upon three aspects of OSA work — public access to EPA funded research, human subjects research protection, and scientific integrity’ — all of which fall in his area of responsibility.”

Eric Blankenstein, a Federal Anti-Discrimination Official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Is Under Fire for Racial CommentsThe New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Wednesday, 3 October 2018: “The federal official in charge of enforcing fair-lending laws that are intended to prevent discrimination is facing criticism for a series of racially provocative comments spanning the last 14 years. Eric Blankenstein, head of the supervision, enforcement and fair lending division at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency founded under President Barack Obama, apologized to agency staff members on Monday after a blog post using the N-word he wrote in 2004 as a University of Virginia law student became public. On Wednesday, Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee asked Mick Mulvaney, the bureau’s interim director, to explain the vetting procedures used to hire Mr. Blankenstein. Mr. Mulvaney recruited Mr. Blankenstein, a close ally, from a federal trade agency post in December, shortly after being appointed to run the C.F.P.B.”

 

Thursday, 4 October 2018, Day 623:

 

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Says Kavanaugh Is Not Fit for the Supreme CourtThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “In an unusual rebuke from a former member of the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens said on Thursday that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was not qualified to sit on the court. Justice Stevens said he came to the conclusion reluctantly, changing his mind about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination after the second round of the judge’s confirmation hearings last week. Judge Kavanaugh’s statements at those hearings, Justice Stevens said, revealed prejudices that would make it impossible for him to do the court’s work, a point he said had been made by prominent commentators.” See also, Retired Justice John Paul Stevens calls Kavanaugh’s hearing performance disqualifyingThe Washington Post, Robert Baarnes, Thursday, 4 October 2018. See also, The National Council of Churches makes a rare statement to oppose Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughThe Washington Post, Julie Zauzmer, Thrusday, 4 October 2018: “The National Council of Churches, an umbrella organization representing dozens of Protestant denominations, usually steers clear of Supreme Court nominations. When Republican senators refused to hold a vote on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, the NCC did not say a word. When President Trump nominated Neil M. Gorsuch and the Senate confirmed him, the NCC stayed silent. But on Wednesday, the NCC broke its silence on Brett M. Kavanaugh, Trump’s latest nominee whose confirmation process is causing a deep rift across the nation and in many of the churches the NCC includes. ‘We believe he has disqualified himself from this lifetime appointment and must step aside immediately,’ the group, which represents about 30 million U.S. parishioners, wrote in a statement. ‘During his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Kavanaugh exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect toward 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. We are deeply disturbed by the multiple allegations of sexual assault and call for a full and unhindered investigation of these accusations. In addition, his testimony before the Judiciary Committee included several misstatements and some outright falsehoods.'” See also, I Am an Independent, Impartial JudgeThe Wall Street Journal, Brett M. Kavanaugh, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said.” See also, We were Brett Kavanaugh’s drinking buddies. We don’t think he should be confirmed. The Washington Post, Charles Ludington, Lynne Brookes, and Elizabeth Swisher, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “Charles Ludington, Lynne Brookes and Elizabeth Swisher attended Yale University from 1983 to 1987 with Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. We were college classmates and drinking buddies with Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. In the past week, all three of us decidedseparately to respond to questions from the media regarding Brett’s honesty, or lack thereof. In each of our cases, it was his public statements during a Fox News TV interview and his sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that prompted us to speak out. We each asserted that Brett lied to the Senate by stating, under oath, that he never drank to the point of forgetting what he was doing. We said, unequivocally, that each of us, on numerous occasions, had seen Brett stumbling drunk to the point that it would be impossible for him to state with any degree of certainty that he remembered everything that he did when drunk.” See also, Vote ‘no’ on KavanaughThe Washington Post, Editorial Board, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “As senators prepare to vote this week on Supreme Court nominee  M. Kavanaugh, they, and the rest of the country, must wonder: Which Brett M. Kavanaugh are they evaluating? Is it the steady, conservative jurist he was reputed to be before his confirmation saga? Or is it a partisan operative harboring suspicions and resentments about Democrats, with possible misdeeds in his past? Unfortunately — and unnecessarily; it didn’t have to be this way — too many questions remain about his history for senators to responsibly vote ‘yes.’ At the same time, enough has been learned about his partisan instincts that we believe senators must vote ‘no.’ We do not say so lightly. We have not opposed a Supreme Court nominee, liberal or conservative, since Robert H. Bork in 1987.” See also, How Brett Kavanaugh Failed, and Why the Senate Should Vote to Keep Him Off the Supreme CourtThe New York Times, The Editorial Board, Thursday, 4 October 2018.

FBI probe of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sparks partisan fight over its thoroughnessThe Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “Democrats and representatives for those who claimed to have been victimized by Brett M. Kavanaugh angrily denounced the FBI’s background check of Kavanaugh on Thursday, asserting that the bureau, shackled by the White House, did not pursue obvious leads that could have helped corroborate the allegations the Supreme Court nominee faced. The FBI interviewed nine people in its week-long look at Kavanaugh, and the White House and Republicans seized on its findings to declare that the claims of sexual misconduct remained uncorroborated. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), considered a critical swing vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, said the probe seemed to be ‘a very thorough investigation.’ Democrats, though, disputed those characterizations, asserting that what was more important than what the bureau did not find was what its agents did not pursue.” See also, FBI background check of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appears to have been highly curtailed, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Robert O’Harrow Jr., Tom Hamburger, and Devlin Barrett, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “The FBI background check of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh appeared to remain curtailed in its scope, opening up the possibility that the bureau would again face criticism for what some will view as a lackluster investigation…. The investigation was always unlikely to prove whether Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual misconduct decades ago. But the inquiry’s limited scope — which was dictated by the White House, along with a Friday deadline — is likely to exacerbate the partisan tension surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen Issued a Preliminary Injunction That Prohibits the Trump Administration From Stripping Temporary Protected Status From Immigrants Who Fled Wars and Natural Disasters in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan Between 1997 and 2010 to Seek Refuge in the U.S.The Intercept, Leighton Akio Woodhouse, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “A federal court in San Francisco has suspended the Trump administration’s termination of temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of immigrant refugees living in the United States…. The injunction will allow these immigrants to remain in the country legally and with work authorization until the lawsuit challenging the administration’s temporary protected status terminations is resolved in the courts. With the government almost certain to appeal the decision, and with the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals likely to uphold it, this ultimately leaves the fate of temporary protected status in the hands of the Supreme Court. The futures of temporary protected status-holders and their families thus hang on the outcome of the confirmation battle over Judge Brett Kavanaugh, or a replacement nominee. For the time being, however, this ruling affords them a temporary reprieve…. The court ruled that there is ample evidence that the administration’s termination decisions were motivated by President Donald Trump’s racism.” See also, Federal Judge Blocks the Trump Administration From Ending Some Immigrant ProtectionsThe New York Times, Daniel Victor, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “A federal judge in San Francisco blocked the Trump administration from ending special protections for immigrants from four countries devastated by war and natural disaster, temporarily relieving more than 300,000 people from the threat of deportation. Immigrants from El SalvadorHaitiNicaraguaand Sudan — some of whom have spent two decades in the United States — cheered Wednesday’s decision to retain the program, which was signed into law in 1990 by President George Bush. The program includes more than 263,000 Salvadorans, almost 59,000 Haitians, more than 5,000 Nicaraguans and more than 1,000 Sudanese, according to the court.”

Erik Prince, in Kabul, pushes privatization of the Afghan warThe Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Shane Harris, and Dan Lamothe, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “More than a year after his plan to privatize the Afghan war was first shot down by the Trump ­administration, Erik Prince returned late last month to Kabul to push the proposal on the beleaguered government in Afghanistan, where many believe he has the ear — and the potential backing — of the U.S. president. Prince swept through the capital, meeting with influential political figures within and outside the administration of President Ashraf Ghani. ‘He’s winning Afghans over with the assumption that he’s close to Trump,’ said one well-informed Afghan, adding that many of Prince’s ideas feed into frustration with and within the Afghan military, particularly given its high casualty rate. But Prince also sparked what Ghani, in a statement Thursday, condemned as ‘a debate’ within the country over ‘adding new foreign and unaccountable elements to our fight.’ ‘Under no circumstances,’ the statement said, will Afghanistan ‘allow the counterterrorism fight to become a private, for-profit business.'”

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Welcomed Trump’s China Tariffs, Then Helped Seven South Carolina Companies to Avoid ThemThe New York Times, Jim Tankersley, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been one of the biggest proponents of President Trump’s crackdown on China, welcoming tariffs on Chinese imports while conceding that they will raise costs for American businesses and consumers. ‘There is no way for us to address China without absorbing some pain here,’ Mr. Graham said in August. But behind the scenes, Mr. Graham has been working to help chemical and textile companies in his home state avoid the pain of Mr. Trump’s trade war. The senator has advocated on behalf of seven South Carolina companies that import products from China, writing letters urging the Trump administration to remove materials they rely on from a list of goods subject to Mr. Trump’s tariffs. Mr. Trump’s tariffs, Mr. Graham told the administration, could ‘economically harm consumers and stifle economic growth in South Carolina.'”

Trump Mocks Al Franken for Quick Resignation Over Claims of Sexual Misconduct, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 4 October 2018: “President Trump on Thursday mocked former Senator Al Franken for folding ‘like a wet rag’ and quickly resigning last year in the face of sexual misconduct allegations — an extraordinary statement as the president’s Supreme Court nominee nears a vote in a confirmation process rocked by such accusations. Mr. Trump, addressing a rally in Mr. Franken’s home state of Minnesota, mentioned the woman who was appointed to take the senator’s seat, Tina Smith, during an extended riff in which he suggested that Mr. Franken was weak for stepping down so quickly. ‘Nobody knows who the hell she is,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘She took a wacky guy’s place. He was wacky,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘Boy, did he fold up like a wet rag, huh? Man. Man. He was gone so fast, O.K.? Oh, he did something,’ he said, adding, “Oh, oh, oh, I resign, I quit.” I don’t want to mention Al Franken’s name, so I won’t mention.’ The remark was in keeping with Mr. Trump’s long-stated personal mantra of never giving in to any accusation, and considering those who do to be weak.”