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Trump: Believes Saudis Lied But Still Supports Crown Prince

Donald Trump continues his occasional and arbitrary support for the presumption of innocence. In an interview with the Washington Post, he acknowledges the Saudi's lied about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death, but still says he supports Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, because neither Trump nor anyone in his administration has personally heard any evidence (including the reported tapes) implicating him.

Trump does, however, wittingly or unwittingly, seem to implicate the Crown Prince in a Saudi effort to kidnap Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia. [More...]

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Nikki Haley Resigns

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley resigned today. Lots of people are asking why. And some think Trump will name Ivanka as her replacement.

Haley said she will not be a candidate in 2020. Is she looking towards 2024?

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Sen. Collins and Manchin Announce Support for Kavanaugh Nomination

The Senate voted today on the motion to invoke cloture on Judge Brett Kavanaugh and it passed by a vote of 51 to 49. It appears he now has the votes to be confirmed.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me) and Joe Manchin (D-WVA) both announced their intention to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Manchin's statement is here. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)announced her intent to vote against him. Murkowski is the only Republican to vote against Kavanaugh

Senator Susan Collins went on and on in a speech on the Senate floor. Highlights (from my listening to it live): [More...]

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New FBI Report on Kavanaugh: Back to Square One

Republicans assert the new FBI background report on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh adds no new details or confirmation of the improper sexual conduct claims against him that would disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court. They say it's time to vote. Indeed, a vote will likely occur Saturday.

The Democrats and accusers are angry, claiming the FBI didn't interview enough people -- i.e., those supporting the accusers' character and other high school and college classmates of Kavanaugh. However, the people Christine Ford said were present at the party where she was attacked were interviewed and none confirmed her account or even remembered such a gathering at which both Kavanaugh and Ford were present.

This was entirely predictable. [More...]

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Trump Orders Supplemental FBI Investigation re: Kavenaugh

Donald Trump today ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, which is to completed within 1 week and limited to existing accusations.

Mark Judge sent this letter (signed under penalty of felony) to the Committee yesterday. In it he says he never saw Kavanaugh "act in the manner Dr. Ford describes."

Today his lawyer said he will cooperate with the FBI or any confidential law enforcement agency in the probe (she did not say he would testify before any committee.)

Also today, Judge submitted this letter, again under penalty of felony, denying all the allegations in Julie Swetnick's claim.

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Senate Committee Passes Kavenaugh, Flake Calls for FBI Investigation

1:51 pm: Sen. Flake says he has agreed with Democrats that the full Senate vote should be delayed for one week for the FBI to do "due diligence" by investigating existing accusations against Kavanaugh. But he's not saying the Kavanaugh committee vote should be delayed. The press is flummoxed, thinking they didn't vote. They did vote. They passed Kavanaugh on to the full Senate by a vote of 11 to 10. All Flake did was say he wants more information before the full Senate vote. If he changes his mind when the full Senate votes, Kavanaugh would not prevail. But today he votes with other Republicans to pass Kavanaugh's confirmation on to the full Senate.

The committee is now out of jurisdictional control. It's up to the full Senate now. All Flake has done is agree with Democrats that the full Senate vote should be delayed a week so the FBI can investigate pending (not future)allegations of accusers.

Original Post

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court at 1:30 pm ET. You can watch the vote live here or here.

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Senate Hearing Today With Ford and Kavanaugh

The Senate Hearing on Christine Ford's allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh begins at 10:00 am. I will be in court by 8 am MT, so I'm putting the thread up early. It's meant to be a live thread for your comments as the hearing is happening and your thoughts on it afterwards.

The Judiciary Committee has posted these items:

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Reports of Rod Rosenstein's Possible Resignation

Update: Apparently Rosenstein is meeting with Trump on Thursday to discuss his job. (I wonder if Trump will ask for a loyalty oath promising not to indict Don,Jr.)

Original Post: Axios reports that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein has tendered a verbal resignation to John Kelly upon learning Donald Trump plans on firing him.

Looks like the sources for this New York Times article are getting their way.

The tail-spinning of Trump's administration is making me dizzy. He's on a downward spiral and he knows it. I hope getting rid of Rosenstein is too little too late?

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Running Out the Kavenaugh Clock

Christine Ford, through her counsel, has accepted the Committee's invitation to speak about her misconduct allegation against Brett Kavanaugh next week. However, there are still details to be worked out. The hearing will not be Monday.

Ford also added a lawyer to her team -- Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general of the Justice Department who is also representing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Ford wanted to testify after Kavenaugh. That's silly -- she's the accuser, how can he fairly be expected to respond to her accusation if he hasn't heard it first-hand from her?

If Ford can delay her appearance to the end of the week, perhaps the vote on Kavenaugh won't come in time to get Kavenaugh onto the Supreme Court for the October term.

Most egg on his face in this: Ed Wheelan, the former Scalia clerk and conservative lawyer and friend of the Federalist Society, for doxxing a high school classmate of Kavenaugh's and labeling him the possible perp. At least he's now apologized. But others are reporting he didn't act alone, but with the aid of a public relations company called CRC, which just so happens to list the Federalist Society as one of its clients. [More...]

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Poll: Trump Approval Falls Below 40%

A new CNN/SSRS Poll for the period September 06, 2018 to September 09, 2018 shows that Trump's approval level has dropped 6 points just in the last month. Overall, only 36% approve of the way Trump is handling his job.

Here's the actual poll results, the results begin on page 16 (no link to CNN news article due to auto-play video and too many ads).

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Trump Gets Bit By the Snake

Trump loved the story of the snake. We all predicted that the fictional snake would jump up one day and bite Trump in the as*.

And now he has. Here's the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times Here's Trump's response. Here are the staff denials to date.

The sad thing is there is no one to cheer for here. The author sounds like a dangerous infiltrator trying to foist his or her own brand of conservatism on the country. So, who is it? [More...]

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Mueller Gets Another Cooperation Plea: Sam Patten

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team picked up another notch on its belt today with the guilty plea of Sam Patten, a Republican lobbyist who specialized in Russian and Ukraine affairs.

Patten pleaded guilty to a FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) violation. The NY Times decodes several of the persons referred to as "Foreigner A" "Foreigner B", "Company A", etc.

The Information (charging document, in lieu of an Indictment) is here. His plea agreement is here. His statement of offense (factual basis for the plea) is here. [More...]

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WAPO Poll: 60% Disapprove of Trump

A new poll by the Washington Post finds that 60% of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump. On the other hand, they support Robert Mueller and Jeff Sessions.

Here are the results.

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Rudy and "The Truth"

As for Rudy's comment the other day that the truth is not the truth, I think he's right in the context of cooperating with the Government. But his explanation is lame .

My statement was not meant as a pontification on moral theology but one referring to the situation where two people make precisely contradictory statements, the classic “he said,she said” puzzle. Sometimes further inquiry can reveal the truth other times it doesn’t.

I think what he really meant was, when you agree to cooperate with the Government, you are obliged to tell the truth. But it's the Government's truth you have to tell, because if your truth differs from the Government's truth, you get nothing. (Just ask Susan McDougal).

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Are Trump Businesses in a Slump?

Ivanka Trump today announced she will close her clothing business. It was down to 18 employees. The boycotts of her clothes had a big effect. Other companies decided to stop carrying her line due to slumping sales.

The company, based in New York’s Trump Tower, had been dropped by retailers such as Nordstrom due to flagging sales. Its dresses, shoes and handbags — all of which were made in foreign countries such as China and Indonesia — also conflicted with her push for more jobs in the United States.

...“Views on the brand have become highly polarized, and it has become a lightning rod for protests and boycotts,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “While the company is still viable, doing business has become far more challenging and these problems will only increase.”

But it's not just Ivanka's business that seems to be in a slump. Remember Scion, the new hotel line Trump's sons were going to open (more affordable and planned for several mid-western cities)? Not a single one has been opened. [More...]

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