Headlines: September 5, 2018
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The confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continue into their second day on Wednesday. Sparks flew at the beginning of the hearings on Tuesday when Democrats asked for a motion to adjourn based on not having enough documents, or enough time to review those documents that were made available the night before. There were also repeated protests from members of the public in attendance. Still, Republicans, led by Senator Chuck Grassley, managed to finish up the first day’s hearings by 5 pm. Day 1 included opening statements from Senators, and three people who introduced Kavanaugh, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senator Rob Portman, and attorney Lisa Blatt. Kavanaugh also made his opening statement.
That’s Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee speaking before Senators on Tuesday, day 1 of his confirmation hearings. Despite Kavanaugh’s assertions that he would be an independent justice, one moment that was captured on tape at the hearings suggested otherwise. Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg who was killed by gun violence in Parkland, Florida, approached Kavanaugh during a break to shake his hands. Kavanaugh looked at Guttenberg and refused to respond. The image and video of the handshake that didn’t happen has now gone viral.
Meanwhile dozens of people, mostly women, protested inside and outside the hearing and were arrested. Sixty one people were removed from the hearing room and another nine in another Senate room were also arrested. Trump gave an interview to the ultraconservative website The Daily Caller on Tuesday where he complained about the protesters saying, “I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that. I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don’t even know what side the protesters are on.” He added, “In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.” His suggestion that protesters not be allowed offered yet another illustration of the President’s lack of Constitutional understanding.
On Wednesday the second day of the confirmation hearing began with questioning from Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein. Later on today’s show we’ll speak with Marjorie Cohn, Professor Emerita of Law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law will join us to analyze the first day of hearings. Professor Cohn will examine how Republicans have withheld a majority of information on Kavanaugh, how well Democrats are fighting back against the nomination process, and what is known about Kavanaugh’s positions through the public record.
Competing for news coverage with the Kavanaugh hearings were the first reviews of journalist Bob Woodward’s bombshell book on Trump. The book called Fear: Trump in the White House runs nearly 500 pages long and is based on hundreds of confidential interviews with members of Trump’s inner circle. According to CNN, which obtained an early copy of the book, “Woodward uses confidential background interviews to illustrate how some of the President’s top advisers view him as a danger to national security and have sought to circumvent the commander in chief.” The Washington Post also reviewed Woodward’s book saying it, “paints a harrowing portrait of the Trump presidency,” and that, “[a] central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.”
Woodward told the Washington Post that he made many attempts to secure an interview with the President himself and was repeatedly denied. Then in August, Trump called Woodward after the book was already finished, and claimed to be ignorant of Woodward’s many interview requests.
That was President Trump in a phone conversation with legendary journalist Bob Woodward whose bombshell book Fear: Trump in the White House, will be released in a few weeks. Meanwhile Trump predictably took to Twitter to slam the book in about 8 consecutive tweets, quoting his cabinet members denying that they said insulting things about him.
In the latest round of primary elections, progressives won a major victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday. Ayanna Pressley beat incumbent Democrat Michael Capuano 58 to 42%. Capuano had served 10 terms in Congress. The young African American woman joins the ranks of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tliab, Ilhan Omar, and others Democratic candidates who have beaten establishment favorites from the left. Like Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley will be running in a solidly Democratic district and faces little opposition in the general election. She has served on Boston’s City Council and will become the first African American woman from Massachusetts to serve in Congress.
Also in Massachusetts, a black woman named Rachel Rollins won a key District Attorney’s Democratic primary race for Suffolk County. Rollins is a progressive who has promised to tackle, “systemic race and wealth-based disparities.” Her campaign was backed by journalist and activist Shaun King.
In other electoral news, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuelhas decided not run for reelection. The New York Times said that his decision was made after, “[f]acing a wide field of challengers and critiques over a tenure that included clashes over police conduct, school closings and street violence.” The news shocked the city’s residents especially given that Mr. Emanuel had been racking up campaign donations for his reelection bid. There is no frontrunner yet among those who had challenged his seat. On tomorrow’s show we’ll speak with Rev. Gregory Livingston who had led the protests against Emanuel dubbed “Rahm Resign.”
And in Arizona former Senator Jon Kyl is taking the place of the late Senator John McCain. Arizona’s rule for replacing deceased elected officials is for the state’s governor to appoint a replacement. Kyl may remain in the position until 2020 when the Senate seat is up for election. Like McCain, Kyl says he is a critic of Donald Trump.