Morning Consult Washington: Kavanaugh Accuser Wants FBI Investigation Before Appearing at Public Hearing

Top Stories

  • Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who’s accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago, said she wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate her claims, raising doubts about whether she will appear at a planned Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Monday. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the committee, suggested the hearing should proceed, saying investigators’ efforts would not “have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee.” (Politico)
  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland are set to meet today in Washington as the two countries remain at odds in NAFTA talks. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said patience in Canada is wearing thin among lawmakers, and that Congress would “consider options about how best to move forward” if Canada does not cooperate. (Bloomberg)
  • The Trump administration rolled back the Obama-era rule forcing energy companies to capture methane, a key contributor to climate change. Attorneys general for California and New Mexico filed a lawsuit within hours of the announcement seeking to reinstate the rule. (The Associated Press)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Stimson Center hosts event on priorities for Japan and the United States 2 p.m.
Politico hosts event on 5G 8 a.m.
Richard Cordray, Rep. Renacci participate in Politico event in Ohio 8 a.m.
Brookings hosts event on the future of free college 9 a.m.
Bipartisan Policy Center hosts event on social media in the 20218 campaign 9:30 a.m.
New America hosts event on U.S.-China relations 9:30 a.m.
Trump holds a rally in Las Vegas 7 p.m.
The Federalist Society hosts event previewing the Supreme Court’s October term 12 p.m.
Trump holds a rally in Missouri 6:30 p.m.

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Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too
Eric Talmadge and Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced a sweeping set of agreements after their second day of talks in Pyongyang on Wednesday that included a promise by Kim to permanently dismantle the North’s main nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures, the acceptance of international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032. Declaring they had made a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, the two leaders were side by side as they announced the joint statement to a group of North and South Korean reporters after a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning.

FEMA official suspended in connection with IG probe
Daniel Lippman, Politico

A senior FEMA official has been suspended without pay in connection with a Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigation into the improper use of government vehicles by FEMA administrator Brock Long, according to two current government officials. The official, John Veatch, was informed of his suspension by FEMA chief of staff Eric Heighberger last Friday, just as the agency was leading coordination of the response to Hurricane Florence.

Records: Chao government flights cost $94K
Tanya Snyder, Politico

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao flew on Federal Aviation Administration planes rather than commercial flights on seven occasions between January and August 2017, newly released records show — including one flight to and around Europe that cost taxpayers an estimated $68,892 for her and five staffers. All told, Chao’s flights on the FAA planes cost an estimated $93,977.84, the records show.

Inside Steve Bannon’s Plans for a New European Political Order
Richard Bravo et al., Bloomberg

Steve Bannon helped upend the political order in the U.S. before falling out with President Donald Trump. Now he’s looking to recreate his former glories in Europe.

Shootings Thrust Gun Control Into Campaign Ads
Julie Bykowicz, The Wall Street Journal

Mass shootings, including those in Las Vegas and Parkland, Fla., have thrust the issue of gun control into midterm races that will determine whether Republicans hold control of Congress and maintain dominance in state capitals. Ads promoting stricter gun regulations have aired 102,636 times across the country this year—a 22-fold increase from four years ago, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data.

Justice Department Is Examining Tesla After Musk Comment
Matthew Goldstein et al., The New York Times

Tesla said on Tuesday that the Justice Department had requested documents from the company after its chief executive, Elon Musk, abruptly announced that he had lined up funding to convert the publicly traded electric-car maker into a private company. The request for information suggests that the Justice Department has opened a preliminary investigation into Mr. Musk’s market-moving Twitter post on Aug. 7 about the potential buyout.


Trump rolls back pollution rules for drilling on US lands
Matthew Brown, The Associated Press

The Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era rule meant to curb climate-changing pollution on Tuesday, easing restrictions on energy companies that allow huge volumes of natural gas to escape after drilling it from U.S. lands. The move rescinds much of a 2016 rule adopted under President Barack Obama that forced energy companies to capture methane, a key contributor to climate change.

Poland Offers ‘Fort Trump’ as Name If U.S. Builds Military Base
Justin Sink, Bloomberg

President Donald Trump said the U.S. is looking “very seriously” at establishing a permanent military base in Poland — and Polish President Andrzej Duda, eager to secure a deal, suggested it be named “Fort Trump.” Trump raised the possibility of a new U.S. base in Poland in a meeting with Duda in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

Trump ‘dossier’ stuck in New York, didn’t trigger Russia investigation, sources say
Mark Levine, ABC News

President Donald Trump and his allies have long insisted that what he calls the “fake dirty dossier” was wholly “responsible for starting the totally and discredited witch hunt” by special counsel Robert Mueller. But, beginning in July 2016, that so-called “dossier” actually sat for several weeks inside an organized crime unit at the FBI’s New York field office, even as counterintelligence agents in Washington, D.C. – unaware of the new allegations – were already investigating Russian efforts to hijack American democracy.


Music Modernization Act Passes, Despite Music Industry Infighting
Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act Tuesday evening, despite weeks — or, by some measures, years — of internal music industry turmoil that made the bill’s future seem highly uncertain. Aimed at updating music copyright laws for the digital era, the MMA in the form it’s being passed will accomplish three key things: Making sure songwriters and artists receive royalties on songs recorded before 1972; allocating royalties for music producers; and updating licensing and royalty rules for streaming services to pay rights-holders in a more streamlined way.

‘Why didn’t she bring it up?’: Feinstein under scrutiny for handling of allegations against Kavanaugh
Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

Twenty-six years after she won a Senate seat in the “Year of the Woman,” Dianne Feinstein stands as a central figure in deciding the fate of Brett M. Kavanaugh, whose Supreme Court nomination is in jeopardy after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Feinstein has been a lightning rod for loud criticism from President Trump and quieter frustration from some fellow Democrats after she disclosed she received a letter in July from the woman that she did not share with Senate colleagues and federal law enforcement until last week.

Marco Rubio says he was ‘pissed’ when he saw #Saltbae filleting steak for Maduro  
Alex Daugherty, The Miami Herald

Marco Rubio was not happy while scrolling through Twitter on Monday night. The Florida Republican came across video of celebrity chef Nusret Gökçe, known as Salt Bae, gyrating his hips while serving expensive steak to a cigar-wielding Nicolás Maduro at his restaurant in Turkey.

Claire McCaskill Is in a Rugged Political Fight. She’s Survived Them Before.
Stephanie Saul, The New York Times

Senator Claire McCaskill had rolled through miles of cotton and soybean fields, heading deep into enemy territory — Missouri’s Bootheel, Trump Country. As her S.U.V. pulled up amid a scrum of pickups, the man Republican Party leaders handpicked to unseat her — Josh Hawley — was already inside shaking hands, a Stanford- and Yale-educated constitutional law scholar nevertheless looking very much at home in jeans and cowboy boots.


Democrats fear Shalala campaign is in ‘sleep mode’ while challenger surges
Marc Caputo, Politico

The congressional seat was supposed to be the easiest of Democratic pickups. Hillary Clinton carried the Miami-based 27th District by nearly 20 percentage points just two years ago. Donna Shalala, the Democratic nominee, was a well-known, former Cabinet secretary with a talent for raising money.

Recount makes Lori Trahan’s win official in Third District primary
Matt Stout, The Boston Globe

Ending nearly two weeks of uncertainty, Lori Trahan emerged Monday as the Third Congressional District’s Democratic nominee when a recount confirmed her place atop the 10-Democrat primary by a fraction of a percentage point. The long-delayed finish came after runner-up Dan Koh, who had requested the recount, questioned the “credibility” of the results in Lowell, the district’s largest city, but ultimately conceded Monday afternoon after falling behind Trahan by 145 votes among the 89,000 that were cast.


Cuomo’s top aides knew about Nixon mailer
Nolan Hicks and Carl Campanile, New York Post

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s inner circle was aware of the slimy mailer that sought to link Cynthia Nixon to anti-Semitism, casting new doubts on his campaign’s repeated denials about the smear against his Democratic primary rival. Campaign manager Maggie Moran was copied on discussions about the mailer and her top aide, Adam Steinberger, was involved in its creation two weeks before the election, interviews and documents obtained by The Post show.

Trump rails on top Florida ally over Hurricane Maria flap
Alex Isenstadt and Marc Caputo, Politico

President Donald Trump is privately lashing out at one of his top allies, Ron DeSantis, angrily accusing the Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee of publicly betraying him. The president has told close associates in recent days that he views DeSantis — who won his Aug. 28 GOP primary thanks to Trump’s strong support — as profoundly disloyal for distancing himself from the president’s assertion that the Hurricane Maria death toll was inflated by Democrats for political purposes.

‘Race-blind’ Va. political map offered to replace one deemed racial gerrymander
Laura Vozzella, The Washington Post

Virginia Republicans on Tuesday proposed a new political map to replace one deemed unconstitutional because of the way black voters were concentrated into a few districts. With a court-ordered deadline looming Oct. 30, Republican leaders of the House of Delegates backed a “politically neutral, race-blind remedial redistricting map” that they said would satisfy the court while causing minimal disruption to existing legislative district lines.

Georgia Voters Lose Last-Ditch Bid for Midterm Paper Ballots
Erik Larson, Bloomberg

It’s too late to force Georgia to replace the state’s flawed electronic-voting system with paper ballots for the midterm election despite evidence that votes could be altered, diluted or not counted at all, a U.S. judge ruled. A good-government group and several voters who claimed the current system puts the election at risk of Russian-style interference waited too long to make their request, and switching to paper now could also imperil the election, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled in Atlanta on Monday.

Obamacare lawsuit boosts Democrats in state AG races
Alice Miranda Ollstein, Politico

Democrats believe they have their best chance in years to flip crucial state attorney general seats by trumpeting the same message that drew furious protesters to town halls and to the polls last year: Republicans are trying to take away your health care. These down-ballot races usually fly under the radar, but they are front and center in 2018 as many Democratic officeholders have turned the positions into the cornerstone of resistance to President Donald Trump, challenging dozens of his policies in court, from the separation of immigrant families at the border, to the ban on travel from several Muslim countries, to the crackdown on marijuana sales in states that legalized the drug.

Republican Pete Flores upsets Democrat Pete Gallego in race for Uresti seat
Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

Republican Pete Flores defeated Democrat Pete Gallego on Tuesday night in the special election runoff for Senate District 19, a major upset in a Democratic-friendly seat with implications for the balance of power in the upper chamber. With all precincts reporting, Flores beat Gallego by 6 percentage points in the race to replace convicted former state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio.


Political nonprofits must now name many of their donors under federal court ruling after Supreme Court declines to intervene
Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Robert Barnes, The Washington Post

Advocacy groups pouring money into independent campaigns to impact this fall’s midterm races must disclose many of their political donors beginning this week after the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to intervene in a long-running case. The high court did not grant an emergency request to stay a ruling by a federal judge in Washington who had thrown out a decades-old Federal Election Commission regulation allowing nonprofit groups to keep their donors secret unless they had earmarked their money for certain purposes.

Shopping-mall scion sisters have a beef with Pence and millions for Democratic candidates
Maggie Severns, Politico

A pair of shopping-mall scions from Indiana might seem like unlikely champions of the Democratic resistance. But sisters Deborah Simon and Cynthia Simon-Skjodt — who have for years opposed Mike Pence in Indiana over abortion and religious freedom laws — have poured $12 million into backing Democrats, making their combined contributions the seventh largest chunk of cash donated to either party this cycle.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings Right
Anita Hill, The New York Times

There is no way to redo 1991, but there are ways to do better. The facts underlying Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of being sexually assaulted by a young Brett Kavanaugh will continue to be revealed as confirmation proceedings unfold.

Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore
Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic

Democracy is a most unnatural act. People have no innate democratic instinct; we are not born yearning to set aside our own desires in favor of the majority’s.

Trump says exposing ‘corrupt’ FBI probe could be ‘crowning achievement’ of presidency
John Solomon and Buck Sexton, The Hill

President Trump in an exclusive interview with Hill.TV said Tuesday he ordered the release of classified documents in the Russia collusion case to show the public the FBI probe started as a “hoax,” and that exposing it could become one of the “crowning achievements” of his presidency. “What we’ve done is a great service to the country, really,” Trump said in a 45-minute, wide-ranging interview in the Oval Office.

Research Reports and Polling

Cruz Has 9-Point Likely Voter Lead In Texas Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Trump Gets A Split 49 – 49 Percent Job Approval Score
Quinnipiac University

Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz has a 54 – 45 percent likely voter lead over U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, his Democratic challenger, in the Texas Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.  This is the first survey of likely voters in this race by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll, and can not be compared to earlier surveys of registered voters.

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