The Washington Post reports that Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona county sex crimes prosecutor, is the choice of Senate Republicans to question Christine Blasey Ford about her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were teenagers.
New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s aggressive comments on Tuesday came after privately expressing concern that Judge Kavanaugh had been too weak during an interview on Monday night on Fox News. The judge denied the allegations against him in a calm way, growing a little emotional at the end, but the president and some of his advisers worried that he was not forceful or indignant enough. Judge Kavanaugh repeated some of the same scripted lines repeatedly, to the point that some of his allies believed it came across as robotic.”
“Rod Rosenstein’s departure seemed so certain this week that his boss’s chief of staff told colleagues that he had been tapped by the White House to take over as second-in-command of the Justice Department, while another official would supervise the special counsel probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.
“But by Monday afternoon, the succession plan had been scrapped. Rosenstein, who told the White House he was willing to quit if President Trump wouldn’t disparage him, would remain the deputy attorney general in advance of a high-stakes meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of his employment.”
“While it remained possible that Rosenstein could still resign or be fired imminently, people inside and outside the department said it seemed increasingly more likely that Rosenstein would stay in the job until after November’s elections and then depart, probably along with the attorney general.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled its vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court for Friday morning at 9:30 am, CNN reports.
Politico: “According to committee rules, Judiciary must schedule a committee vote three days in advance. But the committee said the vote will only proceed if a ‘majority of the members’ of the 21-member committee are ready to vote on Friday.”
“Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor and Democratic activist, has directed his political operation to spend more than $5 million aiding Andrew Gillum’s campaign for governor of Florida, an enormous investment that will test whether fired-up Democratic voters can flip control of a state long dominated by Republicans,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Steyer said in an interview that he would spend more money in Florida this fall than any other state. He endorsed Mr. Gillum in the Democratic primary, and hailed him as a model for the national Democratic Party.”
“We are sleepwalking in a very dangerous era, when split-second decisions can kill hundreds of millions of people and people don’t seem to give a damn — or even know about it.”
— California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), in an interview with the New York Times.
A new NBC News/Marist poll in Florida finds Sen. Bill Nelson (D) just ahead of Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 45% among likely voters.
In the race for governor, Andrew Gillum (D) is ahead of Ron DeSantis (R), 48% to 43%.
Said pollster Lee Miringoff: “The political environment in Florida, overall, is tipping in the Democrats’ favor.”
“Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday they will not be questioning Christine Blasey Ford about her sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh later this week. Instead, they are hiring a woman as outside counsel to do it for them,” the HuffPost reports.
“There’s a simple reason Republicans are doing this: Every GOP senator on the committee is male, and they don’t want to be seen as bullying a woman who is speaking out about being sexually assaulted as a teenager.”
Roll Call: “But the identity of that counsel remained an enigma Tuesday.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) released one of the stranger political ads of the year.
Nate Silver: “There are huge risks to the GOP in both rushing to confirm Kavanaugh and in letting the process play out for several more weeks — which means that encouraging Kavanaugh to withdraw now, however painful it might be, is probably their least-worst option.”
“There is one other possibility, which is that McConnell — who reportedly didn’t want Kavanaugh to be chosen in the first place — could be rushing through the process in the hopes that Kavanaugh will be voted down (or forced to withdraw once it becomes clear that McConnell doesn’t have the votes). Back when Ford was Kavanaugh’s only accuser, this had seemed like a fairly likely exit strategy: The hearings would be engineered to allow Kavanaugh to save face, and perhaps to allow Republicans to stoke some grievances with their base. But wavering GOP senators such as Susan Collins and Jeff Flake would find some excuse to oppose his nomination and his nomination would be pulled. This scenario still seems like a distinct possibility — but the fact that the Kavanaugh story is developing so rapidly, with the stakes continuously increasing with every news cycle, could mean that McConnell is now pot-committed to the bluff even if he’d been hoping to keep his options open before.”
“Republican senators have been told they should expect to be in town this weekend to process Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court as he battles sexual misconduct claims,” The Hill reports.
“Republicans have been pushing to install Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court before its new term begins on Monday, though his nomination has yet to advance from the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Reuters: “We’re going to be moving forward. I’m confident we’re going to win, confident that he’ll be confirmed in the very near future. I believe he’ll be confirmed, yes.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not offer any assurances that President Trump will allow the special counsel investigation to continue without delay if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein exits the Justice Department, telling ABC News that she doesn’t want to get ahead of the process.
“I try and tune out the president whenever I can, in terms of his tone and saying things that I think are inappropriate. Unfortunately … it takes a lot of oxygen.”
— Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), in an interview with BuzzFeed News.
“Republican Party leaders may be insisting that they will install Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is offering a blunt warning of her own: Do not prejudge sexual assault allegations against the nominee that will be aired at an extraordinary public hearing on Thursday,” the New York Times reports.
Said Murkowski: “We are now in a place where it’s not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified. It is about whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life is to be believed.”
Michael Avenatti said another woman with damning new allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would reveal her identity and detail her claims when “we have adequate security measures in place,” CNBC reports.
But Avenatti also said that he expects his client to go public in advance of Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. She would be the third woman.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has joined a legal effort to unseal the divorce records of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the Democratic candidate for attorney general.
“The efforts follow allegations by Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that Ellison domestically abused her in 2016. He has denied the allegation repeatedly, and Monahan has continued to press her case in frequent tweets about Keith Ellison.”