The Hill's 12:30 Report — Booker releases 'confidential' Kavanaugh documents | Anonymous attack shocks White House | Officials rush to deny writing op-ed

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Final day of Kavanaugh questioning | Booker releases 'confidential' Kavanaugh docs | Nominee once questioned if Roe v. Wade was 'settled law' | Anonymous attack shocks White House | Senior officials rush to deny writing op-ed | GOP mulls new punishments for dissident lawmakers



Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE releases confidential Brett Kavanaugh documents:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Thursday released emails from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time as a White House counsel, escalating a heated fight over his documents.

The gist: One of the emails discusses the issue of racial profiling. "The fundamental problem in this case is that these DOT [Department of Transportation] regulations use a lot of legalisms and disguises to mask what in reality is a naked racial set-aside," Kavanaugh writes in one of the emails from 2001.

Keep in mind: The documents are still marked "committee confidential," meaning they are not supposed to be released to the public.

Before Booker released the emails -- he said: "I am right now, before your process is finished, I am going to release the email about racial profiling, and I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate," Booker said during the hearing. Can he do this?: Booker even acknowledged he would be "knowingly violating the rules." 

Read the emails:


Oh and the New York Times obtained another email -- Roe v. whaaa?:

In a 2003 email just obtained by The New York Times, Judge Brett Kavanaugh questioned whether the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade, is the "settled law of the land."

Read the 2003 email:



Brett Kavanaugh is going to sleep well tonight: 

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee today for his final day of questioning. Keep in mind: Twenty-eight outside witnesses will testify tomorrow but today is Kavanaugh's last day before the committee.


An hour into the hearing -- *cue the Jeopardy theme song*: "Brett Kavanaugh, an hour into his confirmation hearing. He hasn't uttered a word to this point as senators argue about why GOP is withholding so many of his records from the public."

Republicans accuse Dems of trying to cut the hearing short: Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces White House denies exploring payroll tax cut to offset worsening economy Schumer joins Pelosi in opposition to post-Brexit trade deal that risks Northern Ireland accord MORE (R-Iowa) said, "I've been told that the Senate Minority Leader or someone on the Democratic party has invoked the two-hour rule. So, if the two-hour rule is invoked nobody on this committee is going to have an opportunity to do what they want to do today. It's the last day he's going to be here and so I hope you don't invoke the two-hour rule."

Live blog of updates:

Livestream of the hearing:


It's Thursday -- we're almost there! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.



Meanwhile at Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) office:

Updates from Kevin Daily: "[For what it's worth] I saw Grassley about 20 minutes ago near the hearing chamber, so I don't believe he is in his office right now. 

"Capitol Police have closed the doors to Grassley's suite, so the demonstrators are effectively sealed in the office." 

"Grassley staffers say the demonstrators are banging on windows and doors."



Spotted: President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE angrily trying to install a lie detector in his office: 

Yesterday afternoon, The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed from a current senior Trump administration official, who described a coordinated effort by White House staff to prevent President Trump's worst instincts and steer him in a positive direction.  

Excerpt: "We believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic. That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office." 

Read the op-ed -- 'I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration':


How Trump reacted when he read the piece

Actual footage of Trump sitting at his desk -->

Via The New York Times's Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, "Mr. Trump erupted in anger after reading the Op-Ed article and John F. Kelly, the chief of staff, and other aides scurried in and out of the press office trying to figure out how to respond. Advisers told Mr. Trump that this was the same as leakers who talk with the news media every day, but a hunt for the author of the offending article was quickly initiated and scrutiny focused on a half-dozen names. Aides said they assumed it was written by someone who worked in the administration but not the White House itself, although they could not be sure."

HE THEN TWEETED: President Trump appeared to respond to the op-ed by tweeting, "TREASON?" He then referred to the anonymous author as "gutless." Full tweets:

REACTION FROM SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NEB.): "I'm still processing it. It's just so similar to what so many of us hear from senior people around the White House, you know, three times a week. So it's really troubling, and yet in a way, not surprising."


OK, so who wrote the op-ed??:

We obviously don't know, but New York Times op-ed editor James Dao appeared on The New York Times podcast "The Daily" to discuss what he can about the publication of the piece. Listen:

What I found the most interesting: Dao discussing whether certain words were edited to hide the identity of the author. It starts around minute 15 of the podcast. 

How Drudge Report labeled the author: "Saboteur inside the White House." Screenshot of Drudge's banner:


DENIALS FROM SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS: A number of top Trump administration officials, including the vice president, on Thursday denied writing the op-ed.

FROM VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Vice President Pence's office denied that he was behind the op-ed. "The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds. The @nytimes should be ashamed and so should the person who wrote the false, illogical, and gutless op-ed," Pence's deputy chief of staff and communications director tweeted.

FROM DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DAN COATS: Coats released a brief statement: "Speculation that The New York Times op-ed was written by me or my Principal Deputy is patently false. We did not. From the beginning of our tenure, we have insisted that the entire [intelligence community] remain focused on our mission to provide the President and policymakers with the best intelligence possible."

FROM TREASURY SECRETARY Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? White House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE: Mnuchin's assistant secretary for public affairs tweeted, "[Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] is honored to serve [President Trump] & the American people. He feels it was irresponsible for [The New York Times] to print this anonymous piece. Now, dignified public servants are forced to deny being the source. It is laughable to think this could come from the Secretary."

FROM SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO: During an overseas visit, Pompeo told reporters he did not write the op-ed. "I come from a place where if you're not in a position to execute the commander's intent, you have a singular option, that is to leave," he said.

FROM DEFENSE SECRETARY JAMES MATTIS: "It was not his op-ed," a spokeswoman told reporters.

FROM HOUSING SECRETARY BEN CARSON: "The Secretary didn't write the op-ed," a spokesman said.


To lighten the mood a bit:




Snap what?:

Via CNBC's Sara Salinas, Snapchat's shares have sunk to an all-time low of under $10. Context: "Snap stock has struggled to hold its value since its IPO early last year. At Thursday's lowest point, Snap was off more than 40 percent from its debut price of $17 and more than 65 percent off its all-time intraday high of $29.44."


Oh, you think you have the autonomy to vote how you like?! Ha. HA.:

Via The Hill's Melanie Zanona, "House Republicans are chewing over a proposal to hold members accountable for not voting along party lines or signing discharge petitions -- two acts of rebellion that GOP leadership has had to grapple with this year."  What could happen to lawmakers voting against their party: "The resolution would require the Steering Committee to review whether changes should be made to a lawmaker's committee assignments if they vote against a rule."



Hahaha, this is great:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is heading to Billings, Mont., this afternoon for a campaign event, and Vice President Pence is campaigning for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is running for Senate.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has a Rosh Hashanah call with Jewish leaders and rabbis.

This afternoon: Vice President Pence campaigns for Rick Scott in Orlando and Ocala, Fla.

1:15 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

1:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes. The Senate's full schedule today:

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Billings, Mont.

4 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

7:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts a private roundtable with supporters.

9:40 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence arrives back in Washington, D.C.



Today: Day three of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing. Livestream:

9 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Billings, Mont. Livestream:



Today is National Coffee Ice Cream Day.


This is why dogs are superior -- (yes, I'm stirring the pot):

BuzzFeed posted an entertaining video of people trying to walk their cats. You can guess how that went. Watch:


Maybe they should throw some lipstick on the fish as well:

Via BBC, a fish market in Kuwait has been shut down for sticking googly eyes on fish to make them look fresher. Photos -- what about eyelashes??:


And because you made it this far, here's a little known fact: Dogs LOVE Superman-diving into ball pits: