News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
This is an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
Country music legend Willie Nelson debuted a new election-themed ditty at a Texas rally for Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke on Saturday night, urging those in attendance to “Vote ‘Em Out.”
Wearing a “Beto for Senate 2018” shirt and playing his trusted guitar Trigger, Nelson took the outdoor stage after a speech by the Democratic candidate before a large crowd in Austin.
Nelson played several country favorites, including “On the Road Again,” with O’Rourke, and then sang the new song — whose lyrics have a straightforward message for November.
“Vote ’em out, vote ’em out.CNN
and when they’re gone we’ll sing and dance and shout.
And we’ll bring some new ones in,
and they will start to show again
that if you don’t like who’s in there, vote ’em out.”
Hundreds of thousands of online donors are pouring gobs of cash into Democratic House campaigns at an accelerating clip — a bulwark against a late-summer advertising assault that Republicans hope could save their majority.
Republicans have long seen their outside-money advantage as a key factor in the battle for the House, with Congressional Leadership Fund pledging to spend a massive $100 million in 2018. The super PAC’s plan is to attack Democrats early and often, and it unleashed a salvo of TV attack ads in 15 districts before Labor Day, seeking to disqualify Democrats before the fall campaign even heated up.Politico
But the gush of online money to Democratic candidates has allowed them to hit the airwaves themselves earlier than ever, blunting the GOP’s game plan. Democrats in nearly 20 districts aired TV ads first to define themselves before facing GOP attacks, according to a review of TV spending totals shared with POLITICO. In another seven districts, CLF went on offense first.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has canceled more than $1 million in planned advertising aimed at helping Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) in the coming weeks.
The decision to cut advertising, described to The Hill by a source familiar with the NRCC’s strategic thinking, is a hint that Republicans are pessimistic about Yoder’s chances of holding his Kansas City-area district.The Hill
Yoder has had significant help from outside groups already. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the largest super PAC backing Republican candidates, has spent about $1.8 million on television advertisements on his behalf. The group still has $750,000 booked in the Kansas City media market for the election’s final four weeks.
But the NRCC, which faces a huge battlefield in a political environment in which Democrats have an edge, will use its money elsewhere. The committee was slated to spend $1.2 million on ads beginning Oct. 9.
In his speech devoted to defending sovereignty at the United Nations this week, President Trump barely touched on Russia, only making a passing reference to Germany’s reliance on Russian energy supplies. As a champion of sovereignty, Trump could have made reference to Russia’s many violations of sovereignty of other countries. This was a gross oversight.
Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become the world’s greatest threat to the sovereignty of other nations. Russia has invaded two neighbors, Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, altering the borders in both. Putin deployed his military to Syria in 2015 to prop up a ruthless dictator, Bashar al-Assad, who — far from showing respect for the sovereignty of his people — has committed war crimes against them. Putin then violated American sovereignty in 2016, using several means — including the theft and publication of private data, deployment of Russian state-owned and state-controlled conventional media, social media, bots, trolls, and fake accounts, as well direct engagement with the Trump campaign – to try to influence the outcome of our presidential election. In 2018, Putin and his regime then violated British sovereignty to try to assassinate Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer.
These are not normal instruments of foreign policy; they are criminal actions. Russia under Putin has been acting increasingly as a rogue state over the last several years, violating the laws, norms, and values of the international system.Washington Post
If Trump will not act on his own to deter Putin’s serial violations of sovereignty of other countries, the U.S. Congress must prod his administration to do so. For crimes, there must be punishments. New economic sanctions are a blunt but necessary tool for punishing illegal, belligerent Russian behavior.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election has yielded numerous bombshell developments, while enduring consistent attacks from President Trump and his allies.
Thirty-seven have been charged in connection with the probe; eight have pleaded guilty; and six, including four Trump associates, have agreed to cooperate.
But more significant than what has been learned through Mueller’s public filings, perhaps, are the remaining unknowns. Mueller has not answered the central question of whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow, nor has he made a judgment on whether the president obstructed justice.
Here is where the investigation stands 16 months after it began…The Hill
The FBI spoke with Deborah Ramirez on Sunday in its investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a source familiar with the matter has told CNN.
Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party when he was a freshman at Yale, according to an account published in The New Yorker. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegation.
In an interview with the magazine, Ramirez said that she realized if she ever did speak with agents for the FBI, she knew she would be questioned about some lapses in her memory, her drinking at the party and her motivation for coming forward.
The source said Ramirez supplied the FBI on Sunday with the names of witnesses.CNN
The revelation raises the question of whether the FBI would interview the witnesses or whether the scope of the agency’s mandate precludes them from doing so.