W

October 07, 2018

Week 99

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This was all predictable. The descent to authoritarianism follows a predictable path in history. Masha Gessen, one of the “experts in authoritarianism” I read before starting the project of making the weekly list, wrote this in a New York Review of Books article on November 10, 2016, “There is little doubt that Trump will appoint someone who will cause the Court to veer to the right; there is also the risk that it might be someone who will wreak havoc with the very culture of the high court.” Prescient indeed.

This week, veering off norm after norm, and stoking a culture war between #MeToo and his newly coined #HeToo movement, Trump, with the help of Sen. Mitch McConnell plowed through to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh’s 50–48 confirmation vote margin was the lowest since Stanley Matthews’ 24–23 vote in 1881. Bookending Gessen’s piece, this week in the New York Review of Books Christopher Browning, in a piece titled “The Suffocation of Democracy,” compares McConnell to Hitler-era German President Paul von Hindenburg — both of whom he refers to as “gravediggers” of democracy.

Meanwhile, the acts of hatred against “the others” continued this week. Trump again beat the familiar drum of white men as victims, this time at the hands of women who dare to find their voices. A bombshell article by the NYTrevealed the lie behind Trump’s campaign image of a self-made billionaire; reporters found his fortune was largely handed down by his father, much of it in a fraudulent manner.

  1. A Pew Research poll found America’s global image has plummeted under Trump, amid widespread opposition to his regime’s policies and a widely shared lack of confidence in his leadership abilities.
  2. The poll finds the world has significant concerns about America’s role in world affairs, citing isolationism and the U.S. doing less to help solve major global challenges. American soft power is waning as well.
  3. Trump polled the lowest among leaders of major powers, with 70% of those surveyed in 25 countries saying they have no confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Just 27% have confidence.
  4. On Saturday, Trump visited West Virginia for a campaign rally where he bragged about his economic accomplishments. Under Trump, poverty in the state climbed to 19.1% in 2017 from 17.9% in 2016.
  5. Speaking on North Korea, Trump said he started off being tough with Kim Jong Un, but “then we fell in love, OK. No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters. And then we fell in love.”
  6. On Saturday, the Intercept reported that despite Kavanaugh’s claim at the Senate hearing that “I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail,” his grandfather Everett Edward Kavanaugh also attended Yale.
  7. On Saturday, NBC News reported the White House counsel’s office has imposed severe limitations to the FBI investigation. The probe will not include interviewing Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Julie Swetnick.
  8. The FBI will not interview Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates about alleged excessive drinking or high school classmates about sexual references in his yearbook to see if witnesses would contradict his Senate testimony.
  9. Just four people will be interviewed: Mark Judge; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of Ford who she said attended the party but was not told of the assault; P.J. Smyth, another party guest; and Deborah Ramirez.
  10. WSJ reported the investigation is being “tightly controlled” by the White House, and the FBI will not have free rein to pursue all potential leads.
  11. On Saturday evening, Trump tweeted, “NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation,” adding, “I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.”
  12. On Sunday, NBC News reported that despite Trump’s tweet, the FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about changing the limitations on the investigation.
  13. On Sunday, Sen. Diane Feinstein sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a copy of the written directive the White House sent to the FBI.
  14. On Sunday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton told “Face the Nation” that Feinstein and her staff will be investigated over the leaked Ford letterFeinstein repeated Monday that she and her staff did not leak the letter.
  15. On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway said on “State of the Union” that she was a victim of sexual assault, then seemed to use her admission to support Kavanaugh saying, “You have to be responsible for your own conduct.”
  16. On Monday, Trump told reporters he had instructed McGahn to have the FBI carry out an open investigation, with the caveat that the inquiry should accommodate the desires of Senate Republicans.
  17. Trump said he wanted a “comprehensive” FBI investigation and had no problem if the FBI questioned Kavanaugh or even Swetnick. Trump said he accepted Kavanaugh’s denials, calling confirmation process deeply unfair.
  18. On Monday, the Portland Press Herald reported Sen. Susan Collins wants the FBI to investigate the allegations brought by Julie Swetnick and not limit the scope of its investigation to those raised at the Senate hearings.
  19. The editorial boards of two Maine newspapers spoke out against Kavanaugh: the Portland Herald Press wrote “he doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court,” and the Bangor Daily News called him “unfit.”
  20. On Sunday, CNN reported the FBI spoke to Deborah Ramirez and she provided them with names of witnesses. On Tuesday, her attorney John Clune said none of the 20 witnesses had been contacted.
  21. On Sunday, the New Yorker reported the attorney for Elizabeth Rasor, a college girlfriend of Judge, repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and FBI she would like to speak but has not heard back.
  22. On Monday, NBC News reported in the days leading up to Ramirez’s allegations becoming public, Kavanaugh and his team surreptitiously communicated with his Yale classmates about refuting the story.
  23. Kerry Berchem, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh and Ramirez, said she has tried to get those messages to the FBI but has not heard back. Berchem emailed FBI agent J.C. McDonough a memo, along with screenshots of texts.
  24. In a text message between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense.
  25. Texts show Kavanaugh tried to get a copy of a photo from a 1997 wedding of Yale classmates both he and Ramirez attended to discredit her. Berchem said Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh that day, and she “clung to me.”
  26. Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that the first time he heard of Ramirez’s allegation was in the New Yorker article published on September 23.
  27. A spokesman for judiciary committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley said that the texts “do not appear relevant or contradictory” to Kavanaugh’s testimony, calling it “another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination” by Democrats.
  28. On Monday, NYT reported in recent weeks hundreds of migrant children at shelters from Kansas to New York have been roused in the middle of the night and clandestinely transported a tent city in West Texas.
  29. The population of migrant children has grown fivefold since last year. Private foster homes and shelters that sleep two to three to a room, and provide formal schooling and legal representation, are overburdened.
  30. The children are in groups of 20, split by gender, and have no formal schooling and limited legal representation. The tent cities are unregulated, except for guidelines created by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  31. The children wore belts etched in pen with phone numbers for their emergency contacts. Some shelter staff members cried for fear of what was in store for migrant children being moved to tents.
  32. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a report by the DHS inspector general found “DHS was not fully prepared to implement the administration’s zero-tolerance policy or to deal with some of its after-effects.”
  33. Immigration law allows Customs and Border Protection to hold unaccompanied children for up to 72 hours. The report found one-fifth of the children were held at least five days and one longer.
  34. The report also found that while the Trump regime urged asylum seekers to come through ports of entry, overwhelmed facilities “likely resulted in additional illegal border crossings.”
  35. On Wednesday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump regime from terminating temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.
  36. On Wednesday, CNN reported a surprise DHS inspection general visit to a privately run California ICE detention facility found nooses hanging in cells, misuse of solitary confinement, and delayed medical care.
  37. The facility is run by GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs a number of large immigrant detention centers. GEO donated $250,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC and hired two former aides of attorney general Jeff Sessions in Week 50.
  38. Beverly Goldstein, a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio, in a tweet blamed passage of an ordinance banning LGBTQ discrimination on the “illiteracy” of Black voters.
  39. Republicans in New York are referring to Antonio Delgado, an African American congressional candidate who is a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate, as a “big-city rapper” in political attack ads.
  40. Linda Dwire was arrested in a Colorado grocery store, after another patron, Kamira Trent, called the police to report that Dwire was harassing two Mexican women for speaking Spanish.
  41. On Saturday, for the second time in the last 18 months, the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia was vandalized. Vandals painted 19 swastikas on the center.
  42. The president of the center said, “This is getting to be a regular thing — it’s in the air around us, in the country around us,” and said that “expressions of support…are tinged with fatigue.”
  43. On Sunday, WAPO reported the Trump regime announced it will sue California in an effort to block that state’s new net neutrality law, which has been described by experts as the toughest ever enacted in the U.S.
  44. Just hours after California’s proposal became law, senior Justice Department officials told WAPO they will sue on grounds that the federal government has the exclusive power to regulate net neutrality.
  45. On Wednesday, FEMA sent a presidential alert via a text messageAccording to FEMA, unlike emergency alerts and Amber alerts, these presidential alerts cannot be turned off.
  46. The system was originally put in place under George W. Bush for radio and TV, and later updated by Obama to include cellphones. This is the first time the system has been used.
  47. AP reported Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing rule changes that would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, breaking with decades of policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.
  48. The EPA cited a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and that a bit of radiation damage is good, like a little bit of sunlight.
  49. On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported Trump is considering firing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson over her pushback on his directive to stand up a separate Space Force in the U.S. military.
  50. Sources say Wilson has not figured out a way to disagree with Trump, and he therefore permanently sees her as “troublesome and ineffective.” Trump will make his final decision on firing her after the midterms.
  51. On Thursday, an article in the conservative Federalist called on WAPO to stop labeling op-ed columnist Jennifer Rubin a “conservative,” citing her non-support of Trump.
  52. On Thursday, NYT reported as Afghanistan frays, mercenary executive Erik Prince has been the talk of Kabul and is frequently introduced as an adviser to Trump.
  53. Prince is pushing a vision that his contractors could offer an official military withdrawal from Afghanistan against the wishes of the country’s president, who does not want foreign mercenaries.
  54. Prince has also tied his proposal to a favorite topic of Trump’s: exploiting Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, including rare earth deposits. Some officials in the Afghan government have tried to block Prince from getting a visa.
  55. On Monday, at a press conference in the Rose Garden, Trump insulted ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega. After calling on her and her thanking him, Trump said, “I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”
  56. On Tuesday, bowing to public scrutiny, the White House corrected the press conference transcript. The Monday version had read, “I know you’re not thanking. You never do.”
  57. Trump also derided CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, wagging his finger and saying, “Don’t do that,” when she asked about Kavanaugh, then saying, “You know what, you’ve really had enough. Hey. You’ve had enough”
  58. On Tuesday, at a rally in Mississippi, Trump attacked Democrats as “holier than thou,” and, offering no proof, claimed one Senate Democrat drinks too much and encouraged the crowd to Google the senator’s name.
  59. Trump also mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, imitating her Senate testimony, saying, “‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”
  60. Trump also claimed because of the #MeToo movement men were going to be fired from their jobs after being unfairly accused of sexual harassment, saying, “Think of your husbands. Think of your sons.”
  61. On Wednesday, the three swing Republicans — Sens. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski — criticized Trump for mocking Ford, with his remarks called “kind of appalling” by Flake “wholly inappropriate” by Murkowski.
  62. On Tuesday, a bombshell yearlong NYT investigative report found despite Trump’s campaign claims that his father gave him a $1 million loan that he turned into an empire, Fred Trump gave him $60.7 million in loans.
  63. In total, Trump received the equivalent of at least $413 million in today’s dollars from Fred Trump’s real estate empire, much of it through dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.
  64. According to a deposition by Robert Trump, the Trumps used padded receipts to justify rent increases in rent-stabilized buildings. “The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged.”
  65. In 1990 Donald Trump had one of his lawyers draft a codicil that would have changed his dad’s will. Fred Trump dispatched Trump’s sister to find a new real estate lawyer, rewrote the will, and signed it immediately.
  66. On Tuesday, CNBC reported, the New York state tax department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and, according to an official, “is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.”
  67. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about “the Failing New York Times,” saying, “Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”
  68. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that if Democrats take control of the Senate in the midterms, Sen. Ron Wyden, who would chair the Senate Finance Committee, plans to ask for Trump’s tax returns.
  69. On Thursday, AP reported experts say although the statute of limitations has passed for criminal charges, Trump could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in civil fines from state and from federal authorities.
  70. Trump dropped 11 more spots on the Forbes’ 400 list of the richest Americans. In the last two years, Trump’s net worth has dropped from $4.5 billion to $3.1 billion, dropping him from 121 to number 259.
  71. Forbes noted that Trump is actively trying, but failing, to get rich off his presidency. The Trump brand has suffered, and deeper reporting has revealed that Trump had been lying about valuations.
  72. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump personally directed his then-attorney Michael Cohen in February 2018 to stop Stephanie Clifford from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter on “60 Minutes.”
  73. Trump told Cohen to seek a restraining order against Stephanie Clifford and to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump and Jill Martin, an outside lawyer who represented Trump and the Trump Organization.
  74. Five days later, as instructed, Martin filed paperwork for a confidential arbitration proceeding. An arbitrator privately issued a restraining order against Clifford, who ignored it and went on television on March 25.
  75. On Thursday, New York attorney general Barbara Underwood said in a court filing that Trump caused his charitable foundation to break state and federal laws governing non-profit groups.
  76. Underwood wrote Trump’s use of the Trump Foundation “for his own personal benefit” justifies her request to ban him for 10 years from being involved in any non-profit group.
  77. On Monday, former FBI director James Comey rejected a request by House Judiciary Committee Republicans to appear at a closed hearing on alleged political bias at the Department of Justice and FBI, saying he would appear in a public hearing.
  78. Politico reported on Monday that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Manafort’s attorneys, Richard Westling and Tom Zehnle, were also seen speaking with one of Muller’s lead prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann.
  79. On Tuesday, Politico reported Roger Stone associate Randi Credico told the Senate Intelligence Committee through his lawyer that he would plead the Fifth Amendment rather than testify in the panel’s Russia probe.
  80. On Tuesday, Politico reported Federal law enforcement officials referred a 2-year-old email hacking investigation related to Cheri Jacobus, an anti-Trump Republican, to Mueller’s team.
  81. On Tuesday, Politico reported Mueller is further downsizing his team of prosecutors, with Brandon Van Grack and Kyle Freeny returning to their prior posts at the Justice Department.
  82. Van Grack played a role in the Virginia bank and tax-fraud case, as well as Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. Freeny has “concluded her work here” per Mueller’s spokesperson. The number of prosecutors is down from 17 to 13.
  83. On Thursday, the DOJ unveiled indictments against seven officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency who were targeting top Olympic athletes, anti-doping organizations, and chemical weapons monitors.
  84. The DOJ announced that in the summer of 2016, GRU hacked drug-test results from the World Anti-Doping Agency and leaked confidential information about U.S. Olympic athletes on the internet.
  85. Three of the seven were previously indicted for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election as part of the Mueller probe.
  86. The Dutch and British governments earlier on Thursday also described GRU attacks. The Dutch described a hack at a chemical-weapons agency in Week 92, while the British government called the cyberattacks “reckless and indiscriminate.”
  87. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters in Brussels that the U.S. stands “shoulder-to-shoulder” with our NATO allies and pledged U.S. cyberoffense capabilities to other allies if asked.
  88. Daily Beast reported Russian deputy attorney general Saak Albertovich Karapetyan died in a helicopter crash. Media reports claimed the crash happened during an unauthorized flight in the Kostroma region.
  89. Karapetyan’s ties to directing the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya were exposed in a Swiss court this year as part of a plot to enlist a Swiss law-enforcement official as a double-agent for the Kremlin.
  90. He and Veselnitskaya together tried to recruit a high-level law-enforcement official who was supposed to be investigating the Swiss bank accounts of Russian oligarchs and mobsters.
  91. Veselnitskaya had helped to draft a document on behalf of the Russian government related to the fraud case against Prevezon. Karapetyan wrote the cover letter.
  92. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Republican Senators emailed an explicit statement about Julie Swetnick’s sex life to reporters. Swetnick’s attorney Michael Avenatti says the FBI still refuses to interview her.
  93. On Tuesday, Majority Leader McConnell vowed to vote in the Senate on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week, even as attorneys for Ford, and others who have reached out to the FBI, have not yet been interviewed.
  94. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the FBI has completed the first four interviews and is now interviewing Tim Gaudette and Chris Garrett, high school classmates of Kavanaugh.
  95. The investigation is being led by the FBI’s Security Division, a branch that handles background checks. FBI director Christopher Wray, who was two years behind Kavanaugh at Yale, is also directly involved.
  96. On Tuesday, NYT obtained a 1983 letter written by Kavanaugh that contradicts his testimony before the Senate. In it he writes, “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.”
  97. Interviews with a dozen classmates and friends depict Kavanaugh as a member of a small clique of football players who celebrated a culture of heavy drinking, even by standards of that era, contradicting his testimony.
  98. On Wednesday, Rachel Maddow read a sworn affidavit from Elizabeth Rasor, which the FBI neglected to take, saying Mark Judge had conveyed “a degree of shame” about taking turns having sex with a drunk woman.
  99. BuzzFeed reported ethics complaints have been filed against Kavanaugh in the DC Circuit, including at least one related to his alleged lying about sexual assault allegations against him.
  100. Ethics experts say there is no precedent for what happens to the complaints if he is elevated to the Supreme Court. For now, the complaints are under the purview of DC Circuit chief judge Merrick Garland.
  101. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that, according to multiple sources, more than 40 people with potential information into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh have not been contacted by the FBI.
  102. On Wednesday, James Roche, Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate at Yale, said in an op-ed that Kavanaugh “lied under oath about his drinking and terms in his yearbook.” The FBI has not contacted Roche at any time.
  103. On Wednesday, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 45% of Americans believe Ford is telling the truth, up from 32% before her testimony. Just 33% believe Kavanaugh is telling the truth.
  104. On Wednesday, the National Council of Churches, the nation’s largest coalition of Christian churches, said in a statement “Kavanaugh has ‘disqualified himself’” and “must step aside immediately.”
  105. On Wednesday, Ford’s attorneys wrote a letter to chairman Grassley, again saying the FBI has not contacted them despite Ford’s desire to be interviewed in the probe.
  106. When asked about the limited scope of FBI interviews, press secretary Sarah Sanders blamed it on senators, telling reporters, “We’re going to allow the Senate to make the determination of the scope.”
  107. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported the FBI lacks White House approval to interview Ford and Kavanaugh. Late Wednesday, McConnell started the clock for a Friday test vote on the nomination.
  108. Officials inside the FBI are concerned constraints placed on the investigation by Trump’s White House could damage the bureau’s reputation for finding the truth.
  109. On Wednesday, the NYT published an open letter by 650 law school professors in opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination. By Thursday, there were more than 2,400 signatures.
  110. On Wednesday, more than 1,000 Maine academics signed a letter urging Sen. Collins not to support Kavanaugh, citing credible allegations of sexual misconduct and an “angry demeanor” at the Senate hearing.
  111. On Thursday, the White House issued a statement at around 2:30 a.m. saying the FBI had completed its work and the materials were conveyed to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night.
  112. Deputy press secretary Raj Shah falsely said, “This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews.”
  113. The public was not allowed to see the FBI report. Only senators were permitted to review the materials.
  114. Although the FBI was given a week to complete their investigation, they stopped after just five days.
  115. Senators’ review took place in a secured room at the Capitol starting Thursday morning. Republican senators were permitted to see the information first. Time was limited to allow a vote on Friday.
  116. On Thursday, WSJ reported the White House believes the FBI report has no corroboration of sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
  117. NYT reported that as part of the inquiry, the FBI contacted ten people and interviewed nine of themWAPO reported that it could confirm interviews with only six people.
  118. The FBI has not publicly explained why it stopped after talking with just five more people, nor did the bureaus explain why they did not interview Ford or Kavanaugh.
  119. The Senate Judiciary Committee tweeted, “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports…reviewed on a bipartisan basis…[is anything] related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.”
  120. Sen. Dick Durbin responded in a tweet, “This tweet is not accurate” and in a letter insinuated previous background checks of Kavanaugh had turned up evidence of either inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.
  121. Late Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on the Senate floor that the FBI reports show there was not a full and fair investigation. Instead, she said, it was sharply limited in scope and did not explore the relevant confirming facts.
  122. Sen. Warren also said the available documents do not exonerate Kavanaugh and that the documents contradict statements Kavanaugh made under oath at the Senate hearing.
  123. On Thursday, thousands protested Kavanaugh’s nomination outside the courthouse where Kavanaugh works, at the Supreme Court, and at two Senate office buildings. Protestors chanted, “We believe survivors.”
  124. The U.S. Capitol Police said 302 people were arrested in two Senate office buildings, including actress Amy Schumer who said, “A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote saying women don’t matter.”
  125. On Thursday, Jen Klaus, the former roommate of Ramirez, told NBC NewsSenate committee staff members called her at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, put her on speakerphone, and asked about Ramirez’s drinking habits at Yale.
  126. Klaus said the staffers also suggested it was a case of mistaken identity, saying “It just gave me the impression they were suggesting perhaps it was (another classmate) who threw his penis in her face instead of Brett.”
  127. A Yale classmate, Kathy Charlton, told NBC News she tried to contact the FBI about text messages she received from a mutual friend of Kavanaugh ahead of the Ramirez story breaking.
  128. Charlton said three days prior to the New Yorker story, in a phone conversation, the former classmate told her Kavanaugh had called him and advised him not to say anything “bad” if the press were to call.
  129. After she spoke to a reporter, the friend texted Charlton, saying, “Hellllllooooo. Don’t F****** TELL PEOPLE BRETT GOT IN TOUCH WITH ME!!! I TOLD YOU AT THE TIME THAT WAS IN CONFIDENCE!!!”
  130. Both Charlton and Kerry Berchem made numerous attempts to get in touch with the FBI but did not hear back.
  131. Berchem told NBC News on Thursday she sent her third email to Mike Davis, the chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. She briefly spoke to a staffer on October 3 and heard nothing further.
  132. On Thursday, speaking to a crowd of retirees in Florida, Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican, said Kavanaugh does not belong on the Supreme Court, saying he lacked the temperament.
  133. Late Thursday, Kavanaugh wrote an op-ed for the WSJ defending himself as an “independent, impartial judge,” explaining his behavior at last week’s Senate hearing as being “emotional” as a “son, husband and dad.”
  134. Late Thursday, the WAPO Editorial Board urged senators to vote “no” on Kavanaugh, citing “his partisan instincts.” This is the first time the Post has called for a no vote since 1987.
  135. On Thursday, at a rally in Minnesota, Trump mocked Al Franken’s resignation over sexual assault allegations, saying he folded “like a wet rag,” and mocked Franken, “‘oh, he did something,’ ‘oh I resign. I quit.’”
  136. On Friday, the American Bar Association said in a letter that its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has reopened its evaluation of Kavanaugh in light of his testimony before the Senate last week.
  137. Hundreds of female attorneys in Alaska said in a letter to Sen. Murkowski to vote no, and other Alaskans who are survivors flew to Washington D.C. to meet with her Thursday. On Friday, she voted no on cloture.
  138. On Friday, when Sen. Grassley was asked by Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo if George Soros was behind the protestors who confronted Sen. Flake in the elevator, Grassley said, “I tend to believe it.”
  139. On Friday, in a morning tweet, Trump attacked survivors who had protested, saying “the very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad.”
  140. Trump also tweeted a conspiracy theory, saying “look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
  141. An ABA spokesperson said the committee did not expect to complete its evaluation ahead of voting Friday, so the association’s assessment of Kavanaugh as “well qualified” rating stands, but it “must be read in conjunction with the foregoing.”
  142. On Friday, at a 3 p.m. speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Collins declared her support for Kavanaugh in a fierce 44 minutes-long speech. Her deciding vote ensured his confirmation.
  143. Seated behind her during the speech were the three other Republican women senators who were voting to support Kavanaugh. The GOP has only five women in the Senate.
  144. Before Collins’ speech started, protesters stood up in the gallery above her, yelling, “Vote no! Show up for Maine women!” After she finished her speech, McConnell led a standing ovation.
  145. Collins went on to blast Democrats and progressive organizations and to cite the oft-used GOP trope that she believes Ford was sexually assaulted but does not believe her recollection that it was Kavanaugh.
  146. Minutes after her speech, a crowdfunding site where activists have been raising money to defeat Collins in 2020 was inundated with pledges and crashed. The site raised more than $3 million dollars.
  147. On Friday, when asked by reporters why there are no Republican women on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley cited the workload as a deterrent: “It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it.
  148. Grassley added, “My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.” Grassley later returned to clarify that the workload made it less appealing to both genders.
  149. On Friday, NYT reported that in the beginning of the week, Trump had called McGahn to tell him the FBI should be able to investigate anythingbecause they needed the critics to stop.
  150. McGahn reportedly responded that a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding would be potentially disastrous for Kavanaugh’s chances of being confirmed.
  151. McGahn noted since this was not a criminal investigation, FBI agents could not use search warrants and subpoenas. He said the White House could not order the FBI to rummage indiscriminately through someone’s life.
  152. Late Friday, Ford’s attorney criticized the investigation in a statement: “an F.B.I. investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word.”
  153. Experts said it was highly unusual for the FBI not to conduct those interviews, with one expert adding it was “indefensible” not to interview Ford, review her polygraph results, or get her therapist’s notes.
  154. On Saturday, anti-Kavanaugh protests continued, with hundreds protesting and more arrests.
  155. On Saturday, WAPO reported Chief Justice John Roberts received more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints in recent weeks on Kavanaugh but chose not to refer them to a judicial panel.
  156. Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court on which Kavanaugh serves, passed complaints the court received starting three weeks ago on to Roberts.
  157. Henderson dismissed other claims as frivolous. In a statement Saturday, she said the complaints centered on statements Kavanaugh made during his Senate hearings, questioning his honesty and temperament.
  158. This is the first time in history that a Supreme Court nominee has been poised to join the court while a fellow judge recommends that misconduct claims against that nominee warrant review by the Chief Justice.
  159. According to experts, once Kavanaugh is confirmed, the details of the complaints could be dismissed. Supreme Court justices are not subject to misconduct rules governing these claims.
  160. On Saturday, Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50–48 vote, along party lines with the exception of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted yes, and Sen. Murkowski, who voted present.
  161. Kavanaugh’s two-vote margin was the lowest in modern history. The only lower margin of support for a Supreme Court justice was in 1881 when Stanley Matthews was confirmed 24 to 23.
  162. The state of Texas set a new voter registration record, with 15.6 million new registered voters ahead of the hotly contest midterm race between incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.
  163. Election records show the state has added 400,000 voters since March alone. The state on average added just over 100,000 voters a year between 2002 and 2014.
  164. On National Voter Registration Day, a record 800,000 voters registered ahead of midterms. The campaign’s initial aim was to add 300,000 voters.

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Demonstrators march toward the Supreme Court during the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Protest on October 4, 2018, in Washington, DC.