The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Kavanaugh accuser willing to testify | Kavanaugh denies allegations, says he’s willing to testify | 50 days from the midterms

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Kavanaugh accuser willing to testify | Kavanaugh denies allegations, says he’s willing to testify | 50 days from the midterms
© Greg Nash

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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 storyline of the Supreme Court nomination is very different than it was this time last week

Over the weekend, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser broke her silence, telling her story to The Washington Post and throwing Kavanaugh’s nomination into question. 

His accuserChristine Blasey Ford, who is now 51, is a research psychologist who teaches at Palo Alto University and in a consortium with Stanford University.

What she alleges: “While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.”  

When she says the incident happened: In the early 1980s while Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Preparatory School.

Why the story is coming out now: Ford sent a letter to Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinData shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Bottom line Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) in July, but ultimately decided not to speak on the record. The story then leaked out last week without details. Ford then decided she wanted to be the one to tell her story.  

Read the letter Ford sent to Feinstein: Yesterday, CNN published the contents of that July letter.

Read Christine Blasey Ford’s full account in the Washington Post:

It’s Monday — welcome back.  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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



Kavanaugh strongly denies the allegations: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh denied the allegations and just said he’s willing to testify. In Kavanaugh’s words:  “This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday."

And so does his classmate Mark Judge, who was allegedly involved: Via The Weekly Standard, Mark Judge, who was also named in the incident, also denies the incident. "It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way.” Full comments from Mark Judge:

Democrats ask to postpone the vote: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.) and a growing number of Senate Democrats want the Senate to postpone a vote on Kavanaugh until the “allegations are thoroughly investigated.”  

An important Democrat to call for a delay: Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (Ind.), one of the Senate Democrats considered most likely to vote for Kavanaugh, said Thursday’s vote should be postponed.

Republican Sen. Flake said he isn’t comfortable moving forward: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.) said he isn’t comfortable voting “yes” on Kavanaugh until the Senate Judiciary Committee learns more about the accusations. Keep in mind: If one Republican sides with Democrats, Kavanaugh’s nomination will be stalled.

And another Republican thinks the vote should be delayed: GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) says the committee "might" need to consider delaying the vote. 

But President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE’s son mocked the reportDonald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpSouth Dakota governor flew with Trump on Air Force One after being exposed to coronavirus: report Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Trump Jr. knocks CNN's Chris Cuomo over interview with father: 'I'm not pretending to be a journalist' MORE mocked Senate Democrats for their reaction to the accusations. He posted a photo of a note written by a child that reads, “Hi Cindy, will you be my girlfriend? Love, Bret” with the caption, "Oh boy... the Dems and their usual nonsense games really have him on the ropes now.” The full Instagram post

What will Senate Republicans do?: Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “the fallout from the decades-old allegation is putting a spotlight on Senate Republicans, who must decide if they want to rush forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination with questions lingering over the Senate’s debate and vote.” How this could play out


The latest development — Kavanaugh’s accuser is willing to speak

Christine Blasey Ford is willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to her lawyer Debra Katz.



Flooding in the Carolinas.

At least 17 people have been killed so far in Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Florence, which has battered the Carolina coast. Power has been cut to almost 500,000 homes, closed more than 100 roads and has basically cut off Wilmington, N.C., from the rest of the state. 

What to watch today: “Isolated tornadoes were also a threat on Monday, and forecasters issued about two dozen tornado warnings in North Carolina before 8 a.m.” The latest updates:

If you haven’t been watching the news this weekend: Here are a few photos of the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Aerial video over North Carolina — yikes:

Trending — this is embarrassing: A reporter was struggling to do his live shot because of the wind and rain. But in the background: Two people walk by and aren’t struggling at all. Watch — it has over 27 million views so far:  

Reaction from the Weather Channel: “It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted.”



T-minus 50 days

Via The Hill’s Max Greenwood, “Fifty days out from the November elections, Democrats are widely seen as favored to retake the House majority and are increasingly seen as having a real chance at winning back the Senate if a series of close races break in their direction.” What to expect

A massive typhoon in China

Via CNN, “More than three million people have been moved to safety in southern China as Typhoon Mangkhut moved northward and continued to wreak havoc across the region.”

Video of the storm — this is insane: 

Video of scaffolding collapsing from a building:



We’ve all been there


The Senate will meet later today. The House is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are both in Washington, D.C. 

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump receives an emergency preparedness and response update. He then receives an intelligence briefing. 

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets. The Senate’s full schedule today

2:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts the inaugural meeting of the President’s National Council for the American Worker.

5 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts a celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate has three roll call votes.

7:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has dinner with supporters at an undisclosed event site in Washington, D.C.

229 years ago today: The Constitution of the United States was signed.



1:15 p.m. EDTAttorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions Senate outlook slides for GOP Supreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report MORE discusses free speech on college campuses during a Justice Department event. Livestream: 

Noon Tuesday: The Heritage Foundation is holding an event to preview the Supreme Court’s next term. Details and livestream:



Today is National Monte Cristo Day.



Hawaiian Airlines announced "the longest regularly scheduled domestic route in US history” between Boston and Honolulu. Details:

No big deal or anything...

Via The Atlantic’s Vernon LoebEliud Kipchoge of Kenya set a new world record, running a marathon in 2:01:39. To put that into context: That means he ran 4-minute 38-second miles.

And because you made it this far, here’s a bird trying out new facial expressions: