THE SENATE is poised to put BRETT KAVANAUGH on the Supreme Court. The final vote is scheduled to happen this afternoon around 5 p.m. Senate Democrats have taken to the Senate floor this morning giving impassioned speeches against Kavanaugh’s appointment to the court.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS’ (R-MAINE) defense of KAVANAUGH was, perhaps, better than anything money can buy for Republicans. A woman defending the Supreme Court nominee, standing in front of three women aired live on cable television for almost an hour.
FROM INSIDE THE CHAMBER … COLLINS walked onto the floor at around 2:55 p.m., and sat down at her desk, which is in the middle of the chamber on the aisle. Behind her were Sens. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-W.Va.), JONI ERNST (R-Iowa) and CINDY HYDE-SMITH (R-Miss.) — all sitting in other senators’ seats, presumably as a sign of support for Collins. Collins shuffled through paper, made notes and drank from water before she started.
— SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL walked in at 3:04 p.m. and immediately turned his chair around so it was facing Collins — not the front of the chamber, where he is usually oriented toward. SENATE MAJORITY WHIP JOHN CORNYN did the same. It was like they were sitting in a living room, watching television, or in a theater watching a play.
— COLLINS was briefly interrupted at the beginning of her speech by a group of protestors yelling “show up for Maine women, vote no.” They were promptly removed.
— PEOPLE ON THE FLOOR included Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the chairman of the NRSC; Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sitting with each other, frequently chatting; Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.); Democrats included: Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
— COTTON AND GRAHAM looked at each other and vigorously nodded when Collins said this: “Christine Ford never sought the spotlight. She indicated that she was terrified to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and she has shunned attention since then. She seemed completely unaware of Chairman Grassley’s offer to allow her to testify confidentially in California. Watching her, Mr. President, I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being.”
— COLLINS FINISHED around 3:50 p.m., and McConnell went to shake her hand — she said “Thank you Mitch.” She got a big hug from SENATE JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IOWA).
Good Saturday morning. ONE MONTH until Election Day.
FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP speaking this morning in Egypt on Kavanaugh: “I think he’s highly qualified for the Supreme Court. I’m glad that Dr. Ford was heard. I’m glad that Judge Kavanaugh was heard. … We need to help all the victims no matter what kind of abuse they had. I am against any kind of abuse or violence.”
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — BIG SPENDING IN TEXAS via ALEX ISENSTADT: “Ending Spending Action Fund is joining the Republican cavalry that’s descending on the Texas Senate race. On Saturday, the conservative outside group will launch a $1 million ad blitz labeling Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who’s challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, as a ‘Democrat under the influence of Nancy Pelosi.’” The ad
ABOUT TODAY’S VOTE — Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports): “.@LisaMurkowski says since it will not change the outcome she will vote ‘present’ instead of ‘no’ tomorrow as a courtesy so that her colleague @SteveGaines does not have to fly back from his daughter’s wedding in Montana tomorrow”.
MANCHIN VOTED YES … BUT IT’S STILL NOT ENOUGH — @DonaldJTrumpJr: “A real profile in courage from Lyin’ liberal @JoeManchinWV. Waited until Kavanugh [sic] had enough votes secured before he announced his support. I bet he had another press release ready to go if Collins went the other way. West Virginia — Vote for #MAGA champion @MorriseyWV! #WVSEN”.
— @johnrobertsFox replies: “.@WhiteHouse sources tell @FoxNews Manchin called this morning to inform them he was a ‘yes’ on Kavanaugh. That was long before Collins announced her intentions.”
IT’S NOT OVER … “House Democrat Promises Kavanaugh Investigation if Party Wins Control,” by NYT’s Nick Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg: “House Democrats will open an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and perjury against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh if they win control of the House in November, Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat in line to be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said on Friday.” NYT
— NBC NEWS’ HEIDI PRZYBYLA — “The battle over accusations goes on as Kavanaugh nomination advances”: “Jen Klaus, the former roommate [of Deborah Ramirez], told NBC News that committee staff members called her at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, put her on speakerphone and asked about Ramirez’s drinking habits, whether there was a Yale student known for dropping his pants and the party culture at Yale. She says they suggested the allegation was a case of mistaken identity.
“‘It just gave me the impression they were suggesting perhaps it was (another classmate) who threw his penis in her face instead of Brett. Why would they be asking me this?’ said Klaus, who now resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.
“In a statement to NBC News, the committee’s press secretary, George Hartmann, said that ‘no suggestion of mistaken identity was made. The committee has received numerous tips and asked Ms. Klaus for information she could provide one way or the other.’ ‘To say otherwise would not only be inaccurate, it would also call into question the motivations of the individual doing so,’ Hartmann added.” NBC News
COLLINS BACKLASH — “The effort to unseat Susan Collins in 2020 is already underway,” by CNN’s Dan Merica, Eric Bradner and Gregory Krieg: “Sen. Susan Collins was already one of the Democrats’ biggest Senate targets in 2020 when she took to the Senate floor Friday to announce she would vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But Collins’ decision to back the Supreme Court nominee after he was accused of sexual assault was instantly controversial with not only the hundreds of activists who flooded the Capitol this week but also with Democratic activists in her home state of Maine who have opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination for weeks.
“By the time she finished her speech, Democrats in Maine had begun speculating who might challenge the moderate Republican. And progressive activists are pouring in money to fund the eventual challenger, raising millions of dollars online to unseat Collins.” CNN
TICK TOCK – “‘Willing to go to the mat’: How Trump and Republicans carried Kavanaugh to the cusp of confirmation,” by WaPo’s Phil Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim: “Again and again, President Trump was instructed not to do it. A cadre of advisers, confidants and lawmakers all urged him — implored him, really — not to personally attack the women who had accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault. So he did it anyway.
“Addressing thousands at a boisterous rally in Mississippi, Trump relied on his own visceral sense of the moment and mocked Christine Blasey Ford for gaps in her memory, directly impugning the accuser’s credibility.
“Establishment Republicans initially reacted with horror. But Trump’s 36-second off-script jeremiad proved a key turning point toward victory for the polarizing nominee, White House officials and Kavanaugh allies said, turbocharging momentum behind Kavanaugh just as his fate appeared most in doubt.” WaPo
THE STEP BACK — “Bitter Tenor of Senate Reflects a Nation at Odds With Itself,” by NYT’s Alex Burns: “Brute partisanship in the Senate is a symptom of a much larger national contagion. To the right and left alike, Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination appears less like a final spasm of division — a sobering trauma, followed by calm resolution — than an event that deepens the national mood of turbulence. The country is gripped by a climate of division and distrust rivaled by few other moments in the recent past.” NYT
HMM — “Grassley Says Workload Discourages Women Senators From Joining Judiciary Panel, Then Walks Back Remark,” by WSJ’s Kristina Peterson: “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) predicted that there would be more Republican women on his panel next year, after suggesting that the panel’s workload was a deterrent. ‘It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it,’ Mr. Grassley told reporters. ‘My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.’
“Mr. Grassley later returned to clarify that he did not mean to imply women could not handle the committee’s workload, but rather that it made it less appealing to senators of both genders. ‘We have a hard time getting men on the committee,’ he said. ‘It’s just a lot of work whether you’re a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter.’” WSJ
ON THE WORLD STAGE — “Pompeo seeks allied unity on North Korea denuke effort,” by AP’s Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo: “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged Saturday that the Trump administration’s effort to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons would be fully coordinated with allies Japan and South Korea, as he prepared to travel to Pyongyang under pressure to produce tangible progress toward that goal.
“Pompeo met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on the eve of his fourth visit to North Korea, during which he’ll be looking to arrange a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and plot a path forward on denuclearization. Japan, notably, has been wary of Trump’s initiative, fearing it could affect its long-standing security relationship with the U.S.” AP
CLICKERS – “#MeToo: One Year Later,” by Bloomberg’s Riley Griffin, Hannah Recht and Jeff Green: “The headlines alone are dizzying. Since the New York Times reported allegations of serial predation by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein a year ago, at least 425 prominent people across industries have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct, a broad range of behavior that spans from serial rape to lewd comments and abuse of power. That’s more than one newly reported person facing accusations each day, on average, for the last 12 months.” Bloomberg
– “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 12 keepers
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK – Showtime is giving Playbookers an early look at the trailer for their upcoming Alex Gibney docuseries “Enemies: The President, Justice & The FBI,” which premieres on Nov. 18. Among the interviewed in the series are: Leon Panetta, Bob Woodward, Roger Stone, Ken Starr, Andy Card, Preet Bharara, Ed Meese, Ben Wittes, James Clapper, John Ashcroft, John Dean, Jack Goldsmith, Michael Isikoff and Tim Weiner, whose “Enemies” book the series is based on. The trailer
2018 WATCH — “Jim Renacci defends flying on strip club owner’s plane to meeting with faith leaders,” by Andrew J. Tobias in cleveland.com: “Rep. Jim Renacci, the Republican Senate candidate, on Friday defended flying in a strip-club owner’s private plane to a meeting earlier this week with faith leaders in Scioto County. While deflecting questions about flying with Don Ksiezyk on Ksziezyk’s plane to the Tuesday event in Portsmouth, Renacci seemed to acknowledge doing so.
“‘I’m going with a volunteer, and no one’s concerned about traveling with him or anything,’ Renacci said. ‘Again, it’s so sad that we’re worried about my travel, which is legal, but you won’t report on Sherrod Brown’s multiple abuses over the years.’ Renacci was referencing his recent campaign strategy — which has been reported on by cleveland.com — of repeatedly calling attention to details from Brown’s 1986 divorce, in which his then-wife accused him of frightening her and being rough with her.
“She’s since become a vocal campaign supporter of Brown’s, saying her heated divorce ‘led only to angry words,’ and has denounced Renacci’s efforts to highlight the issue. Brown has denied being violent with his ex-wife, as he has when the issue has been raised in previous elections.
“Flight records show a plane registered to an address shared with the Peek-a-Boo Club in Cleveland, which is owned by Ksiezyk, flew from the Wooster area to Portsmouth around 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Later that evening, Renacci tweeted about meeting with the ‘faith leaders’ before he attended a Scioto County Republican Party event.” Cleveland.com
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — “Trump abruptly replaces federal personnel director after just 7 months,” by WaPo’s Eric Yoder and Lisa Rein: “President Trump on Friday abruptly replaced his federal personnel director after just seven months, leaving the agency that oversees 2.1 million civil servants with no permanent leadership at a time when the White House has proposed drastically shrinking its mission. The White House announced Friday that Margaret Weichert, a senior official of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, is taking over for Jeff Tien Han Pon, the head of the Office of Personnel Management. … [P]eople close to Pon said he was at odds with the administration over its planned revamp of the personnel agency, which would have diminished his role and authority.” WaPo
MANAFORT WATCH — “Take a Tour of Manafort’s Multimillion-Dollar Homes, Going Up for Sale,” by NYT’s Sarah Maslin Nir: “An 1890s Brooklyn brownstone with gilded details. A Soho loft with picture windows. A Lower Manhattan apartment with an automated garage. A house in the Hamptons with a pool, tennis and basketball courts — even a chipping green. When Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors last month, he agreed to forfeit New York real estate worth about $22 million to the government. It’s a list of resplendent homes, some purchased with ill-gotten gains, prosecutors said. And one day, they may all be for sale. They might even go cheap.” With pix. NYT
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman, filing from Nashville:
— “A Top NRA Executive’s Trail of Business Flops and Unpaid Debt,” by Mike Spies and John Cook in The Trace: “As the gun group confronts serious financial straits, it has entrusted its operations to Josh Powell, a failed mail-order mogul who attracted a mountain of lawsuits in his former career.” The Trace
— “Trouble in Lakewood,” by Joan Didion in the New Yorker in July 1993: “How a once idyllic postwar town fell under the sway of a teen-age gang.” New Yorker (h/t Longform.org)
— “‘I’d Do Her’: Mike Bloomberg and the Underbelly of #MeToo,” by The Atlantic’s Megan Garber: “Disparaging comments. Demeaning jokes. As the mogul reportedly considers a 2020 presidential run, it remains an open question whether his long-alleged history of undermining women will affect his chances.” The Atlantic
— “‘Human impulses run riot’: China’s shocking pace of change,” by Yu Hua in the Guardian: “Thirty years ago, politics was paramount. Now, only money counts. China’s leading novelist examines a nation that has transformed in a single lifetime.” Guardian
— “Can a Magazine Still Be Contrarian in 2018? An exit interview with Slate Group chairman Jacob Weisberg,” by Isaac Chotiner in Slate: “‘When we started, you didn’t just have to tell people what an internet magazine was. You usually had to tell them what the internet was. We thought Slate would be like a weekly magazine and people would print it out, and we mainly thought of the web as kind of an instant distribution mechanism.” Slate (h/t TheBrowser.com)
— “The Satanic Verses sowed the seeds of rifts that have grown ever wider,” by Kenan Malik in the Guardian: “On Valentine’s Day 1989 came the event that transformed the controversy – Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death. The fatwa forced Rushdie into hiding. Bookshops were firebombed. Translators and publishers were murdered. Rushdie’s critics lost the battle, but won the war. The Satanic Verses continues to be published. Yet the argument that it is morally wrong to offend other peoples and cultures has become widely accepted in the three decades since. The fatwa has, in effect, become internalized.” Guardian
— “The Targeting and Killing of a Helmandi Combatant,” by Nick McDonell in a Longreads excerpt adapted from “The Bodies in Person: An Account of Civilian Casualties in American Wars”: “Collateral Damage Estimate Methodology requires that strikes, or target packets, meet a series of criteria, or pillars — positive identification, for example. … The lawyer, Bobby, agrees that the process is somewhat like building a capital punishment case. I say to him: In the American legal system we talk about ‘beyond reasonable doubt’; how would you describe the standard that you need to reach here? He replies: Somewhere about probable cause.” Longreads
— “Inside the Haywire World of Beirut’s Electricity Brokers,” by Kenneth R. Rosen in Wired: “Sam rented his apartment last spring. Somewhere along the electrical wires cast like nets across the city, a bootlegged electrical line running from a generator was spliced in his favour. In the Mreijeh neighborhood, one of the electricians is known to locals as ‘the real energy minister’. His wiring, strung between generators and the buildings to which they pump power, is so thick it blots out the sun.” Wired
— “Ted Kennedy on the Rocks,” by Michael Kelly in GQ in Feb. 1990: “As [Carla] Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. … Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on [Chris] Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd’s lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers … Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room. Kennedy, Dodd and their dates leave shortly thereafter, following a friendly argument between the senators over the check.” GQ
— “The Elevator-Phobes of a Vertical City,” by Amos Barshad in Topic – per Longreads.com’s description: “New York City has more elevators than Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington combined — and every day, dozens of people acutely afraid of riding them need to find their way up and down the skyline.” Topic
— “Brigitte Macron, agent provocatrice,” by Sophie Pedder in the Oct./Nov. issue of 1843 Magazine: “A bourgeois teacher at a Jesuit high school in the provincial French town of Amiens, married to a banker and with three children, falls for a pupil in her drama class, 24 years her junior. He is banished to Paris to finish school where he begins his rise through the country’s elite institutions. But he refuses to give her up. Eventually they marry. He ends up as president of France. An independent-minded woman, who is, as she puts it, ‘no vase of flowers’, Brigitte has had to adapt to existing in the shadow of her husband, visible and scrutinised, but silent.” 1843 (h/t TheBrowser.com)
— “Bracing for the Vanilla Boom,” by Annah Zhu in Sapiens: “Traveling vanilla traders come to farmers’ huts and unload piles of cash on their beds. Some farmers allegedly go mad. One farmer, I was told, repeatedly screamed at the large pile of money he had just been paid and then shouted at his entire village to come spend it. Another allegedly boiled all of his earnings in a large metal pot, secretly eating it as a type of money soup. He was found, the story goes, dead the next day.” Sapiens (h/t TheBrowser.com)
SPOTTED: Hope Hicks and Boris Epshteyn chatting at Quality Italian in midtown Manhattan on Friday afternoon – Epshteyn is an investor in the Italian steakhouse –pic … former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) celebrating his 80th birthday (which was Sept. 8) in Atlanta on Friday with around 300 friends, family members and former Senate staff – pic … Robby Mook talking to Peter Hamby about Russia in Washington Circle for a Snapchat show — pic
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Tyler Goldberg of Canal Partners Media (hat tip: Rachel Glasberg)
BIRTHDAYS: Jonathan Alter is 61 … Tracy Sefl, Democratic communications consultant … Darrell West is 64 … Tucker Martin … Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, is 7-0 … Artur Orkisz, president of American Polish Forum and senior advisor for congressional affairs and public diplomacy at the Polish Embassy, is 4-0 … Ben Kenney, director of strategic comms at CMS … House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is 53 … Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) is 72 … Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) is 6-0 … The Daily Beast’s Will O’Connor is 28 … USA Today’s Eliza Collins … Adam Sneed … Lynette Gilliam … Evan Williams of Rep. Tipton’s office … Ashley O’Sullivan … Taylor Kiland … Ruby Mellen … Brett Gerson … EEI’s Jeff Ostermayer (h/t Ed Cash) … Aric Newhouse, NAM’s SVP of policy and gov’t relations … GE’s David Nason … Stephanie Genco of S-3 Public Affairs (h/t Amos Snead) …
… Tara DiJulio, director of global public affairs at GE (h/ts Deirdre Latour and AshLee Strong) … Jen Rokala … David A. Andelman is 74 … Politico’s Caroline Collins … Kathleen Connery Dawe … Lauren Whittington … BBC’s Rowan Bridge … WaPo’s Amy Gardner is 5-0 … Veronica Wong … Jonathan Wilcox (h/ts Kurt Bardella) … Edelman’s Megan Humphries … Doug McPherson … Debora Murray… Carlos Diaz Barriga … Guillaume Nadd-Mitterrand … Steve Grand … Megan Piwowar … Miles Radcliffe-Trenner … Robert Stacy McCain … Anjani Nadadur … GOP pollster Wes Anderson … Nolan Treadway … Brenda Larsen Becker … Tony Marcano … Matt Brock … Sara Rogers … Ted Osthelder … Erica Matthews (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)
THE SHOWS, by @MattMackowiak, filing from Dallas:
“Face the Nation”: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) … Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) … Anthony Salvanto. Panel: John Harris, Seung Min Kim, Ramesh Ponnuru and Nancy Cordes … Greg Miller
“Fox News Sunday”: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) … Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) … Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) … Ronna McDaniel. Panel: Josh Holmes, Chris Stirewalt, Marie Harf and Juan Williams. “Power Player of the Week”: Blair House manager Matthew Wendel
“State of the Union”: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) … Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Panel: Van Jones, Rick Santorum, Amanda Carpenter and Jen Psaki (substitute anchor: Dana Bash)
“Meet the Press”: Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). Panel: Michael Beschloss, Al Cardenas, Kasie Hunt and Danielle Pletka
“This Week”: Guests to be announced
“Sunday Morning Futures”: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) … Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) … Larry Kudlow … Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
“MediaBuzz”: Susan Ferrechio … Mollie Hemingway … Philippe Reines … Karen Tumulty … Emily Jashinsky … Sara Fischer
“Inside Politics”: Jackie Kucinich, Lisa Lerer, Sahil Kapur and Kaitlin Collins (substitute anchor: Nia-Malika Henderson)
“Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Madeleine Albright … Colin Powell
“Reliable Sources”: Panel: Frank Sesno and Olivia Nuzzi … April Ryan and Brian Karem … Susanne Craig … Karen Attiah … Michael Gottlieb
“Al Punto”: Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) … Center for Popular Democracy co-executive director Ana Maria Archila and Republican analyst Adryana Aldeen … United We Dream’s Cristina Jiménez, Camila Duarte and María Asunción Bilbao … former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda … UnidosUS deputy VP Clarissa Martinez
“The Communicators”: Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Jeanette Manfra … “Newsmakers”: Brian O. Walsh, questioned by Sahil Kapur and Reid Epstein … “Q&A”: Joanne Freeman
“Kasie DC”: Senate candidate Mike Espy (D-Miss.) … Marc Lotter … Steve Kornacki … Gregg Nunziata … Ashley Parker … Lisa Lerer … Paul Kane … Maria Teresa Kumar … Mike Memoli … Ali Vitali
“Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher or listen at MackOnPolitics.com): Daniel Goldman.