The Note: Kavanaugh fight raises stakes for midterms


The Note: Kavanaugh fight raises stakes for midterms

The politics of #MeToo, the reflexive partisanship on Capitol Hill, the showmanship of President Donald Trump, the impending midterms, the survival instincts of red state Democrats, the latent worries of a handful of Republicans – all have come together in the fallout from the sexual assault allegation leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.

Even Trump seems to recognize the stakes – stakes so high that he is agreeing to slow things down a bit, and not publicly trumpet Kavanaugh’s denials.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee will now permit the extraordinary scene of public testimony by Kavanaugh’s accuser – with the risks of that devolving into spectacle, particularly given the all-male GOP side of that committee.

Seven weeks before Election Day, control of two branches of government could be at stake.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Two key numbers this week: 25.4 million – the number of refugees forced out of their homes as of last year, according to the United Nations refugee agency, and 30,000 – the maximum number of refugees the Trump administration now says it will allow into the United States next year, marking yet another dramatic cut from previous presidencies.

Considering this administration’s rhetoric and policies toward immigrants and refugees thus far, the new low number is not a surprise, but it raises tough questions.

This administration also has been ratcheting up how it handles illegal border crossings. So, at the same time, the White House and Department of Homeland Security are saying: Fewer people can come in legally and those who come in illegally will be dealt with more severely.

Plus, all the while, the administration has been readily acknowledging the brutality of gangs and war in South America and around the world that has contributed to these spikes in refugees fleeing for their lives.

The Note: Kavanaugh fight raises stakes for midterms

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images FILEHomeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (L) and Vice President Mike Pence watch as President Donald Trump signs an executive order on immigration in the Oval Office of the White House, June 20, 2018.

The TIP with Ben Siegel

Rep. Chris Collins, the New York Republican, has reversed course and announced he will run for re-election in November, despite his indictment on insider trading charges last month.

“Because of the protracted and uncertain nature of any legal effort to replace Congressman Collins we do not see a path allowing Congressman Collins to be replaced on the ballot,” his counsel said in a statement on Monday. (New York election law also would have made it extremely difficult for Collins to take his name off the ballot.)

Collins won’t be the only indicted GOP congressman on the ballot this fall: California Rep. Duncan Hunter, charged with misuse of campaign funds, is running for re-election in the San Diego area.

While Democrats say both candidacies play into their anti-corruption campaign message, the change of plan by Collins could help Republicans keep the seat, as incumbents are historically better positioned to win re-election.

His situation isn’t unprecedented: Former Rep. Michael Grimm, R-New York, infamously won re-election in 2014 after being indicted on fraud charges, though he went on to resign one month later and lose a comeback bid in this year’s GOP primary.

The Note: Kavanaugh fight raises stakes for midterms

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images, FILERep. Chris Collins leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol, June 20, 2018.


  • President Trump participates in a signing ceremony for the Biodefense National Security Presidential Memorandum at 11:30 a.m.
  • The president hosts a joint press conference with the President of the Republic of Poland at 2:10 p.m.
  • Second lady Karen Pence visits an opioid addiction program that helps addicts get re-employed in Indiana, where she and Vice President Mike Pence call home. She’ll lead the visit alongside Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
  • Congress will review the detention of immigrant children at the border at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing with top officials from the Homeland Security and Justice departments at 10 a.m.
  • Congress celebrates 225 years since the cornerstone was laid at the U.S. Capitol.

    “If it takes a little delay, it will take a little delay — it shouldn’t certainly be very much.” – President Donald Trump on getting the facts straight regarding the sexual assault allegation made against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.


    ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features the latest on the sexual assault allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. ABC News Senior Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce tell us Kavanaugh and his accuser will be testifying on Capitol Hill next week. And, ABC News’ Mike Levine explains why President Trump is declassifying documents related to a FISA warrant application and Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr.


    Trump directs release of declassified surveillance warrant on Russia probe. Additionally, Trump ordered the “Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr,” according to the White House press release. (Mike Levine)

    The political stakes and risks in the Kavanaugh controversy: ANALYSIS. A senior White House official on Monday said the bombshell accusation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was a political attempt to “torpedo” the judge’s confirmation. (MaryAlice Parks)

    Kavanaugh, accuser set to testify at public hearing Monday. The expectation is that both the Supreme Court nominee and professor Christine Blasey Ford would appear on the same day but not side-by-side on the same panel. The development effectively delays a planned committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination that had been set for this Thursday. (Jordyn Phelps)

    Democrats, Republican committee members spar over handling of Kavanaugh sexual misconduct allegation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor on Monday afternoon to criticize Democrats for holding on to the accusation until “11th hour” and saying “it’s not fair to either of them the way this was handled.” (John Parkinson and Mariam Khan)

    Outside groups dig in as allegation roils Kavanaugh nomination. Following the initial firestorm over the allegation, leading groups on the left and right tell ABC News they are readying major advertising buys to push key Senators to either move forward on or put a stop to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. (John Verhovek)

    The sometimes rocky road to the Supreme Court. Recent history shows the road to getting on the nation’s highest court can be treacherous. (Luke Barr)

    DeVos: Americans should stop ‘hiding behind screens and Twitter handles.’ Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ statement on truth also comes less than a week after Trump’s insisted that an independent estimate of nearly 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico resulting from last year’s Hurricane Maria was an attempt by Democrats to make him look bad. (Anne Flaherty)

    Flynn ready to be sentenced in Russia probe, his lawyer and special counsel tell court. Friends and relatives have said the former Defense Intelligence Agency director and confidant of Trump, who at 2016 campaign rallies led chants of “Lock her up!” about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, is eager to face the judge and accept his fate following his dramatic guilty plea on Dec. 1. (James Gordon Meek)

    Congressional investigators ask FEMA head to detail use of government vehicles for personal trips. The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy, has sent a letter to FEMA requesting documents and records pertaining to administrator Brock Long’s use of government vehicles and staff to travel to and from North Carolina. (Stephanie Ebbs and Benjamin Siegel)

    Trump admin sets lowest cap ever for refugee admissions amid historic global need. The Trump administration is setting a cap of 30,000 refugee admissions in the 2019 fiscal year, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – marking the lowest cap ever set in the refugee admissions program’s 43-year history. (Conor Finnegan)

    Americans didn’t believe Anita Hill. How will they respond to Kavanaugh’s accuser? While the cases stem from very different contexts and eras in American history, FiveThirtyEight takes a look at what Americans thought during Anita Hill’s testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, and what might be different this time around.

    Female candidates in Michigan are determined to recapture union voters in 2018 – taking a key bloc from President Donald Trump, reports the New York Times.


    The Note: Kavanaugh fight raises stakes for midterms

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