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.
Senate Republicans have hired an attorney to use as a questioner of Christine Blasey Ford at Thursday’s high-stakes hearing on a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh but are declining to name her.
Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told POLITICO on Tuesday as he entered the Capitol for a weekly GOP meeting that “we aren’t announcing the name for her safety.” Asked if Republicans have received any indication of threats to the attorney they’re preparing to use, Grassley said: “I don’t know, but I guess we’re just being cautious.”Politico
Bill Cosby will spend the first few days of his prison sentence at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility outside Philadelphia.
Cosby left the suburban Philadelphia courthouse in a dark SUV after a judge sentenced the 81-year-old to three to 10 years in state prison for sexual assault.
A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County district attorney’s office says Cosby will be held at the county jail for at least the next few days. From there, he’ll be taken to SCI Phoenix, a new state prison outside Philadelphia, where staff will assess his physical, medical and security needs.
Cosby could end up in a long-term medical care unit.
Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct during his 50-year career in entertainment. The 2004 assault on Andrea Constand was the only one to lead to criminal charges.AP
U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani exchanged taunts at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday with Trump vowing more sanctions against Tehran and Rouhani suggesting his American counterpart suffers from a “weakness of intellect.”
Trump used his annual address to the United Nations on Tuesday to attack Iran’s “corrupt dictatorship,” praise last year’s bogeyman North Korea and lay down a defiant message that he will reject globalism and protect American interests.
But much of his 35-minute address was aimed squarely at Iran, which the United States accuses of harboring nuclear ambitions and fomenting instability in the Middle East through its support for militant groups in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction,” Trump told the gathering in the green-marbled hall. “They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations.”Reuters
The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s wife and three other members of his inner circle.
On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro, the former attorney general and President of the National Assembly.
Delcy Rodriguez, the executive vice president of Venezuela and Jorge Rodriguez, the minister of popular power for communication and information, and Vladimir Padrino, the defense minister also were also sanctioned by the US government.
“We are continuing to designate loyalists who enable Maduro to solidify his hold on the military and the government while the Venezuelan people suffer,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.CNN
Ken Starr would love to hear from Donald Trump. He thinks he could help.
The former independent counsel whose investigation into President Bill Clinton led to Clinton’s impeachment says President Trump has enough to be worried about that he’ll need good lawyers around him as he decides whether to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller.
“If I’m on his criminal defense team, I would be very concerned,” Starr said in an interview for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. “I don’t know what President Trump knows, but there have been a number of guilty pleas. Some of those guilty pleas go to false statements, so I would just be cautious” before answering questions from Mueller.Politico
President Donald Trump sought to discredit one of the women accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct by saying she was “messed up” and “drunk” at the time of the alleged incident. He also said he believes Democrats are masterminding “a con game” against his Supreme Court nominee.
Trump paused before his bilateral meeting with the Colombian President Tuesday to deliver a broadside against Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior in an interview with The New Yorker, an allegation he has denied repeatedly. CNN has not independently confirmed her story.
“The second accuser has nothing,” Trump said. “She admits that she was drunk. She admits time lapses.”
“She said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up, and she doesn’t know it was him but it might’ve been him,” Trump said, adding sarcastically, ” ‘Oh gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.’ ”CNN
British officials are checking out reports that a beluga whale is swimming in the River Thames.
The RSPCA animal welfare group said Tuesday it is “working with other agencies to monitor the situation.”
It says it is ready to provide help to the whale if asked to do so by other agencies.
Images posted on Twitter appeared to show a white whale in the water. No positive identification has yet been made.AP
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team found itself in an odd spot recently — having to discuss Christopher Steele, the former British spy and author of a fiercely disputed anti-Trump dossier.
Prosecutors were pushed to weigh in on the loaded subject after lawyers for Concord Management — the Russian company Mueller has accused of helping orchestrate the massive online campaign to sow chaos in America’s democratic process — argued in August that Mueller had targeted the firm “selectively” while giving Steele, and others Concord accuses of foreign interference efforts, a pass.
In a document filed Friday night, Mueller’s team responded, arguing that Steele’s actions don’t “remotely compare” to the “systematic, deceptive effort” by the allegedly Concord-backed Russian social media trolls attempting to interfere in the 2016 election.Politico