Morning Consult Washington, Presented by the Electronic Payments Coalition: New York Officials Probing Trump’s Taxes

Top Stories

  • The state of New York said it is investigating President Donald Trump following a report that he received $413 million in today’s dollars from his father Fred Trump’s real estate business, much of it through tax dodges. A lawyer for the president denied the report, saying Trump “had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters.” (New York Post)
  • The International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ highest court, in a preliminary ruling ordered the United States to lift some sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods, as well as products and services linked to civil aviation safety. Trump moved to restore U.S. sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. (The Associated Press)
  • During a campaign rally in Mississippi, Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is probing Blasey Ford’s allegation, could complete its work as soon as today ahead of a Senate vote expected this week. (The New York Times)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

The Atlantic Festival 7 a.m.
CMS Administrator Verma participates in The Economist’s event on health care 8 a.m.
The Atlantic Festival 7 a.m.
No events scheduled

7 Years Post-Durbin, Consumers Still Don’t See Promised Savings

Seven years after the Durbin amendment went into effect, new polling shows a majority of consumers haven’t seen lower prices as promised by big-box retailers. With consumers failing to see $6-$8 billion each year, isn’t it time we repeal this failed policy? Check out EPC’s latest polling for more on consumers’ views.


Kavanaugh’s 1983 Letter Offers Inside Look at High School Clique
Kate Kelly and David Enrich, The New York Times

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.

Mueller ‘downsizing’ with departure of 2 prosecutors
Darren Samuelsohn, Politico

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is shrinking by two in the wake of its successful prosecution of Paul Manafort and amid signs the Russia investigation may be nearing its final stages. Brandon Van Grack and Kyle Freeny — government lawyers with key roles in bringing the case against the former Trump campaign chairman over tax evasion, bank fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent for his lobbying work in Ukraine — are going back to their prior posts at the Justice Department, according to Mueller spokesman Peter Carr.

FBI navigates political minefield and deadline in Kavanaugh inquiry
Devlin Barrett et al., The Washington Post

FBI leaders are warily trying to navigate their way through the politically charged background-check investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, as the bureau seeks to protect itself now — and after the midterm elections — from what could be fierce congressional criticism, according to people familiar with the matter. The White House has given the FBI until Friday to provide the results of a week-long inquiry into allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted female students while in high school and college — accusations he has angrily denied.

Ripple effect? Amazon’s $15 wage may help lift pay elsewhere
Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

After years of sluggish pay gains, the economy may be starting to work for America’s low-wage workers. Amazon’s announcement Tuesday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour will intensify pressure on other companies to lift their pay levels as well.


11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth
Russ Buettner et al., The New York Times

Donald J. Trump built a business empire and 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. “I built what I built myself,” the president has repeatedly said.

Experts say Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limits
Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press

The EPA is pursuing rule changes that experts say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight. The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk

Trump Directed Legal Action to Enforce Stormy Daniels’s Hush Agreement
Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld, The Wall Street Journal

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.

Trump administration abruptly ends key law enforcement program at wildlife refuges
Miranda Green, The Hill

The Trump administration is abruptly ending a decades-long program that trained national wildlife refuge managers with law enforcement capabilities to police often remote spots of public land. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced to employees on Sept. 21 that refuge managers who were also trained to police the area would no longer be able to act in any enforcement capacity and would be stripped of their firearm, according to an internal FWS email shared with The Hill.


Senate panel’s Trump-Russia probe still faces its toughest test: The collusion question
Karoun Demirjian, The Washington Post

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in U.S. politics, begun just days after Donald Trump took office, is unlikely to end this year, according to people involved with the probe who say its challenging final phase risks jeopardizing the bipartisan cooperation that has evaded other congressional panels examining related matters. The 15-member committee has been an atypical oasis of functionality in a Congress that routinely splinters along party lines when questions are raised about the political implications of Russia’s plot to influence the 2016 election and any role Trump’s associates may have had in those efforts.

Chuck Schumer Rebuts Kavanaugh Delay Charges
Niels Lesniewski, Roll Call

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer used his opening remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning to stress the Democratic caucus lacks the votes to delay confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The New York Democrat was responding to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been pinning the fact that Kavanaugh wasn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court before the start of the term on the Democratic minority.

Hazmat Team Sent to Cruz Campaign Office in Houston
Haley Byrd, The Weekly Standard

A hazardous materials response team was dispatched to Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign office in Houston on Tuesday morning to investigate a mailed envelope that contained a white powdery substance, the campaign confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Multiple fire trucks and at least one hazmat truck were spotted on the scene after the letter was opened by campaign staff and reported to authorities.


Dakota County attorney won’t take up Keith Ellison allegation absent police review
Stephen Montemayor, Star Tribune

A county attorney who was asked to look further into the Minnesota DFL Party’s investigative report of a domestic abuse allegation against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said Tuesday that he would not do so without an additional review by law enforcement. Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal, who received the report Monday from the DFL, forwarded it to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom to avoid a conflict of interest given that Ellison’s son serves on the Minneapolis City Council.  

Collins challenger fights to break through in New York
Laura Nahmias and Nick Niedzwiadek, Politico

A Trump-allied congressman indicted for insider trading who refuses to pull out of his upstate New York re-election race: It’s enough to make Democrats giddy this fall. But while New York Democrats say they feel energized about their chances of capturing Rep. Chris Collins’ seat in November — and some Republicans are annoyed to be stuck with the third-term Republican — underfunded and little-known challenger Nate McMurray still faces a serious challenge in prevailing in one of the reddest districts in the state.

Lewis Narrowly Leads Craig in GOP Poll of Minnesota’s 2nd District
Simone Pathé, Roll Call

A Republican poll has given Minnesota GOP Rep. Jason Lewis, who’s consistently ranked among the year’s most vulnerable incumbents, a narrow lead in his rematch against Angie Craig in the 2nd District. Lewis led the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee 46 percent to 43 percent — within the margin of error — in the survey conducted by WPAi for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Lewis campaign, and obtained first by Roll Call.

David Trone says he is ‘cancer free’ three weeks after surgery
Paul Schwartzman, The Washington Post

David Trone, the Potomac Democrat seeking to succeed Rep. John Delaney (D) in Maryland, declared himself “cancer-free” Tuesday and said that he has resumed campaigning nearly three weeks after undergoing surgery. In a statement released by his campaign, Trone pronounced the operation to remove a kidney a “success” and said his recovery “is going very well.”

Spanberger campaign volunteers leave nasty note at Rep. Dave Brat’s front door
Laura Vozzella, The Washington Post

Abigail Spanberger’s congressional campaign apologized to Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) and fired four campaign volunteers who left a nasty note on the congressman’s front door over the weekend. Brat, who is in a tight race with Spanberger in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, received a piece of his rival’s literature on his front door with the words “Rot in hell Dave” and a smiley face scrawled on it. 


Va. Gov. Northam threatens veto over GOP redistricting plan
Gregory S. Schneider, The Washington Post

Gov. Ralph Northam warned Tuesday he would veto a redistricting plan that Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates hope to approve this month. The lawmakers are set to consider new legislative boundaries in response to a federal court’s ruling that 11 House of Delegates districts were racially gerrymandered.

Jason Kander ends campaign for Kansas City mayor to focus on depression, PTSD
Steve Vockrodt et al., The Kansas City Star

Jason Kander, citing depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, is dropping out of the Kansas City mayor’s race. Kander posted a message on his campaign website and Facebook page saying that in the 11 years since leaving Afghanistan as an Army intelligence officer, he has experienced depression, nightmares and suicidal thoughts.


Drug companies fear Democratic Congress
Nathaniel Weixel and Jessie Hellmann, The Hill

Drug companies are gearing up for a fight if Democrats take over the House. Democratic lawmakers say Republicans have gone too easy on the industry and are vowing that will change if they take power in November’s midterm elections.

Security industry sells lawmakers on school ‘hardening’
Reese Dunklin and Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press

Security companies spent years pushing schools to buy more products — from “ballistic attack-resistant” doors to smoke cannons that spew haze from ceilings to confuse a shooter. But sales were slow, and industry’s campaign to free up taxpayer money for upgrades had stalled.

Michael Bloomberg jolts Senate battle with $20 million for Democrats
Robert Costa, The Washington Post

Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City who is considering a 2020 presidential campaign, will give $20 million to the main Democratic Senate super PAC this week — jolting the national battle for control of the chamber just five weeks away from the midterm elections. Bloomberg’s intervention bolsters the Democrats’ Senate chances by infusing significant late-season capital into the Senate Majority PAC, a group that had $29 million on hand at the end of August and has been purchasing advertising in expensive media markets.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition: 

It’s another Durbin amendment birthday — and not much has changed. Latest polling shows a plurality of consumers continue to believe the provision should be repealed if savings aren’t being passed along. Unfortunately, they aren’t, and consumers lose out on billions each year. It’s time for retailers to stop putting profits over consumers. Take a look at the latest polling from EPC.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Brett Kavanaugh’s Righteous Anger
Orrin Hatch, The Wall Street Journal

A notable shift occurred in the left’s anti-Kavanaugh campaign over the weekend. Attention has turned away from Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault—the entire reason for last week’s hearing and the ensuing delay in Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote—and toward his behavior at the hearing.

Days before trade deal, Trump said Canada’s foreign minister ‘hates America’
Josh Rogin, The Washington Post

President Trump publicly praised Canada’s leaders this week after announcing a new trade deal, sending them his “highest regards.” But only three days before the deal was announced, Trump privately railed against Canada’s foreign minister, saying that “she hates America.”

How to prevent corruption, protect the rule of law and repair democracy
Preet Bharara and Christine Todd Whitman, USA Today

You could read it as a blessing or a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” If last week’s will-he-or-won’t-he drama over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s fate is any indicator (not to mention the Supreme Court confirmation spectacle playing out right now), times just keep getting more interesting.

I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm Him  
Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic

If I were a senator, I would not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. These are words I write with no pleasure, but with deep sadness.

Brett Kavanaugh Is Lying. So Are You.
John Harris, Politico

To opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, two things could hardly be more clear. The first is that Christine Blasey Ford in her Senate testimony last week was speaking a profound truth about an ugly night in her youth and the way it shadowed her life for decades.

Research Reports and Polling

Ideology and Gender in U.S. House Elections
Danielle M. Thomsen, Political Behavior

Studies of gender-ideology stereotypes suggest that voters evaluate male and female candidates in different ways, yet data limitations have hindered an analysis of candidate ideology, sex, and actual election outcomes. This article draws on a new dataset of male and female primary and general election candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1980 to 2012.

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