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. https://wapo.st/2D5WmS2 

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 FeinsteinPoll: Feinstein holds 18-point lead over challenger Durbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ Sen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue 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. https://cnn.it/2NlT2H

Read Christine Blasey Ford’s full account in the Washington Post: https://wapo.st/2D5WmS2

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 cmartel@thehill.com, @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." http://bit.ly/2QDgn51

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: https://tws.io/2xef18Q

Democrats ask to postpone the vote: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerManchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' 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.” http://bit.ly/2pfYZGY  

An important Democrat to call for a delay: Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Donnelly parodies 'Veep' in new campaign ad MORE (Ind.), one of the Senate Democrats considered most likely to vote for Kavanaugh, said Thursday’s vote should be postponed. http://bit.ly/2xfBLFy

Republican Sen. Flake said he isn’t comfortable moving forward: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Flake says he and his family got death threats 'from the right' Trump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona 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. http://bit.ly/2MD81qR

And another Republican thinks the vote should be delayed: GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) says the committee "might" need to consider delaying the vote. http://bit.ly/2MFEX23 

But President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE’s son mocked the reportDonald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Early ballots pouring in with 15 days to the midterms O'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot 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 posthttp://bit.ly/2QA7Z6l

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 outhttp://bit.ly/2pcLVCf


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.  http://bit.ly/2DbBsAO



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. https://usat.ly/2xr6bE9 

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: https://nyti.ms/2QDvWdd

If you haven’t been watching the news this weekend: Here are a few photos of the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. https://cnn.it/2xjrnNb

Aerial video over North Carolina — yikes: http://bit.ly/2MFJ91V

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: http://bit.ly/2OtIeTL  

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.” https://wapo.st/2D2qm1d



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 expecthttp://bit.ly/2MFIM7p

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.” https://cnn.it/2D6qywj

Video of the storm — this is insane: http://bit.ly/2Nkb1O3 

Video of scaffolding collapsing from a building: http://bit.ly/2xlLRE2



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 todayhttp://bit.ly/2NMidSI

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. http://bit.ly/2xgwgpU



1:15 p.m. EDTAttorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Support for legal marijuana hits all-time high: Gallup Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' MORE discusses free speech on college campuses during a Justice Department event. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2pdP84B 

Noon Tuesday: The Heritage Foundation is holding an event to preview the Supreme Court’s next term. Details and livestream: https://herit.ag/2NROJCT



Today is National Monte Cristo Day.



Hawaiian Airlines announced "the longest regularly scheduled domestic route in US history” between Boston and Honolulu. Details: https://cnn.it/2xh23qL

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. http://bit.ly/2NjUyJY

And because you made it this far, here’s a bird trying out new facial expressions: http://bit.ly/2MDpn6Z