The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins

The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins

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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: Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Asks why she didn't file charges 'immediately' | Accuser may testify Thursday | First votes cast in midterms | Midterm blame game begins for GOP, White House | Texas Senate debate tonight | Trump heads to Missouri rally | Mystery over Red Sox banner | Marines rushed to save seniors from DC fire

 

LATEST WITH THE KAVANAUGH SAGA

This morning from Vegas -- Trump just couldn't keep it in anymore:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE just shifted his approach to the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, attacking Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Blasey Ford and questioning her story. http://bit.ly/2OH4E4b 

He tweeted: "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!" Trump also referred to Kavanaugh as a "fine man with an impeccable reputation."  http://bit.ly/2xvIhs1 

He later added: "The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn't someone call the FBI 36 years ago?" http://bit.ly/2MUCBwi 

WHAT'S HAPPENING BEHIND THE SCENES -- JUST MAKE IT UNTIL MONDAY, JUST MAKE IT UNTIL MONDAY: A source told Axios's Jonathan Swan that "you have no idea" how difficult it was to keep President Trump from attacking Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. From a White House official: "Hopefully he can keep it together until Monday. That's only, like, another 48 hours right?" http://bit.ly/2PSMyME 

GIULIANI WEIGHS IN: In a phone interview with The Hill's Niall Stanage, President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani slammed Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMake Trump own the shutdown over his ill-advised border wall More than a tantrum McConnell’s marijuana conundrum: Cory Gardner MORE (D-N.Y.) for believing Ford. "These people like Schumer, who says, 'I believe her'? Well, I mean, you haven't even talked to her. He will believe anybody to hurt Trump, or to put this confirmation off." http://bit.ly/2xEvZg0 

 

Christine Blasey Ford may testify on Thursday:

Via The Washington Post's Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey and Emma BrownChristine Blasey Ford is willing to testify later next week, according to her lawyer. What day Ford's lawyer is suggesting for the hearing: Thursday. Priority for Ford's team: Her safety. Her lawyer said she has been receiving death threats and her family has been forced out of their home. https://wapo.st/2xE2B9G 

TIDBIT -- KAVANAUGH'S TEAM IS PREPARING A DEFENSE, AND IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK: "Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the discussions." https://wapo.st/2xx9VER 

 

Happy Friday! Today is officially the last day of summer. :( 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.

  

MIDTERM NEWS

A few people have actually already cast their ballots: 

Via The Hill's Reid Wilson, the first sets of ballots have been cast in North Carolina, seven weeks before the midterms. Wow: Thirty percent of all voters are expected to take advantage of early voting options this year. http://bit.ly/2xCTm9V 

When and where ballots were sent out: "Absentee ballots have already gone out in four states -- North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. On Friday, four more states will drop absentee ballots in the mail. Fifteen more states follow on Saturday and another four by the end of the month. The remaining 23 states will issue their absentee ballots in October." 

 

Another rousing round of the blame game:

Via The Hill's Jordan Fabian and Scott Wong, "the White House and congressional Republicans are blaming one another for a difficult political environment that has bolstered Democrats' chances of winning control of the House, and possibly the Senate." Republicans' argument: Trump's constant controversies make it difficult for them. The White House's argument: All the GOP retirements and low fundraising totals have made it difficult. What this will mean before the midterms: http://bit.ly/2MST5oD 

 

New tidbit -- make Washington your home next month, senators!:

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellIsrael boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate Schumer blasts GOP request for immigration 'slush fund' Trump: 'Too early to say' if shutdown will be averted MORE (R-Ky.) suggested Friday that he could keep lawmakers in Washington throughout the month of October if Democrats seek to slow or block the confirmation of President Trump's judicial nominees." http://bit.ly/2QNAhun

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Getting traction -- Marines run toward a fire to help save seniors: 

An apartment building for senior citizens in Washington, D.C., caught fire this week. Several Marines were caught on video sprinting toward the fire, not wearing fire protection, to help save dozens of people. Details: https://abcn.ws/2xE6U4J   

Watch: http://bit.ly/2QO6UrG 

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

Normal.:

Watch: http://bit.ly/2PTCumu 

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out. President Trump is spending the day in Las Vegas before traveling to Springfield, Mo., and then to Bedminster, N.J. Vice President Pence is campaigning in Knoxville, Tenn., and Little Rock, Ark.

12:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable with supporters in Las Vegas.

12:35 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC 365: Knoxville event in Tennessee.

1:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence campaigns for Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP Sen. Lamar Alexander won't seek reelection Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — ObamaCare signups lag behind last year despite recent surge | Drug company offers cheaper opioid overdose treatment after hiking price 600 percent | CDC calls fentanyl deadliest drug in US GOP struggles to win votes for Trump’s B wall demand MORE (R- Tenn.) in Knoxville. He then heads to Little Rock, Ark.

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks in Las Vegas and signs a bill appropriating funds. 

3:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves Las Vegas for Springfield, Mo.

6 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence campaigns for Republican congressional candidate French HillJames (French) French HillRep. French Hill wins after unexpected challenge Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide Racial animus moves to the forefront in midterm battle MORE in Little Rock, Ark. 

6:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with supporters in Springfield, Mo.

9:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence arrives in Washington, D.C.

11:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for his golf course in Bedminster, N.J.

Today: International Day of Peace. Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2NwCE6Q

Wednesday: "The Hill's Newsmaker Series: Leadership in Action," featuring Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Peter King (R-N.Y.). Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack will sit down with the congressmen to discuss their visions for bridging the gaps between political parties, especially at a time when the country is seen as being its most partisan. Details and how to RVSP: http://bit.ly/2QNEAG3

  

WHAT TO WATCH

4:45 p.m. EDT: Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMake Trump own the shutdown over his ill-advised border wall Missing: Fiscal sanity in Washington Overnight Energy: Oil giant supports carbon tax push | Poll finds majorities in both parties back Green New Deal | NJ moves to rejoin regional climate pact MORE campaigns for Democratic candidates in Philadelphia. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2psHKT1 

7 p.m. EDT: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) debates his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas). Livestream: https://cs.pn/2poewF0 

New update on the race: The Cook Political Report just moved this race from "leans Republican" to "toss-up." http://bit.ly/2QOXEDB 

7:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Springfield, Mo. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/2PTqOQU 

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Chai Day.

 

One of the funniest videos I've seen in a while:

Via The Boston Globe, the 2018 Red Sox division title banner went missing for two days this week. A Malden man claimed he found it on the side of the highway and held it for ransom -- namely, he wanted tickets to a playoff game. When the story started becoming a little more suspicious, the man returned the banner. The full story: http://bit.ly/2PUUiOb

Watch the ransom video -- it has over a million views so far: 

 

Don't you think these guys belong in this 'Saturday Night Live' skit? --> http://bit.ly/2Dm2YMm 

OK, NOW THAT YOU'RE CAUGHT UP TO SPEED, HERE ARE 18 THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SAGA:
Amazing. http://bit.ly/2MX1LL2 

 

And to get your weekend off to the right start, here are two furry friends who are VERY ready for a road trip: http://bit.ly/2OImEeC