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.
Christine Blasey Ford told Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a personal letter penned Saturday that her sole motivation in bringing a sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh is “to tell the truth” about what the Supreme Court nominee did.
Ford’s letter to Grassley, released Monday, comes as Republicans ratchet up their defense of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee by portraying the multiple sexual misconduct claims against him as part of a Democratic smear campaign. The 51-year-old California-based professor sought to counter any depiction of her actions as politically motivated in her note to the Judiciary chairman.Politico
“Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions, while many years ago, were serious and have had a lasting impact on my life,” Ford wrote to Grassley. “I thought that knowledge of his actions could be useful for you and those in charge of choosing among the various candidates. My original intent was first and foremost to be a helpful citizen – in a confidential way that would minimize collateral damage to all families and friends involved.”
As the special counsel’s office appears to be focusing in on President Donald Trump’s longtime political ally Roger Stone, an email recently obtained by ABC News suggests Stone sought contact with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange during what may have been a critical moment in the 2016 campaign.
The email is one of at least two between Stone and Jerome Corsi, a political commentator and self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist, that refer to London-based conservative author Ted Malloch, according to people familiar with the emails.
The July 31, 2016, email appears to be an explicit attempt by Stone to connect with Assange using Corsi and Malloch as intermediaries. ABC News was not able to independently verify the email’s authenticity, though Stone confirmed to ABC News that he sent it and two separate sources confirmed its existence.ABC
President Trump said that he’s not worried about his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleading guilty to federal crimes, including campaign finance law violations.
“I’m not, because I’m an honest guy,” Trump said in an interview on “Geraldo in Cleveland” on WTAM radio that is set to air on Monday, according to The New York Times.
“And that stuff is unrelated to me. And that was — Michael did that stuff. And Michael, I mean, you know, you know I have many, many lawyers. I have very big law firms I have that do my work.”
Trump added that he was unsure if Cohen could tell authorities anything that could be potentially problematic for the president.
“I don’t know anything because, I’ll be honest, I do everything straight,” Trump said. “I do everything straight.”The Hill
President Donald Trump will express a desire for other nations “to exert their sovereignty to solve challenges“ and to listen “to what America can do to help” when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly later this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.
Pompeo and Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addressed reporters Monday at a press conference kicking off Trump’s week in New York, which is jam-packed with meetings and diplomatic events. Haley echoed Pompeo in emphasizing sovereignty as she explained why the the Trump administration has removed the U.S. from a handful of international agreements.Politico
President Donald Trump on Monday declared himself an “absolute no” on statehood for Puerto Rico as long as critics such as San Juan’s mayor remain in office, the latest broadside in his feud with members of the U.S. territory’s leadership.
Trump lobbed fresh broadsides at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a critic of his administration’s response to hurricanes on the island last year, during a radio interview with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera that aired Monday.
“With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” Trump said in an interview with Rivera’s show on Cleveland’s WTAM radio.
Trump said that when “you have good leadership,” statehood for Puerto Rico could be “something they talk about. With people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no.”AP
President Donald Trump’s legal team appears to have won a victory. Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to let Trump provide answers in writing, instead of in a personal interview, to questions concerning his campaign’s contacts with Russia. But far from a defeat for Mueller, this is part of a carefully considered approach that has been repeatedly vindicated.
Since January, Mueller and his team have reportedly been talking with the president’s lawyers about securing his testimony. By dragging out the negotiations, Mueller has allowed breathing room for the rest of his investigation. And he has put that time to good use.
Mueller has charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with hacking Democratic National Committee emails; reached a plea deal with Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager; sentenced George Papadopoulos, the campaign’s former foreign policy adviser; and reached a cooperation agreement with former campaign manager Paul Manafort after convicting him on eight criminal charges.
By all accounts, the end is nowhere in sight. Mueller is like Shakespeare’s Birnam Wood, creeping closer to the White House step by step, without the president fully realizing it.USA Today
Embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is fighting back after new allegations surfaced against him this weekend.
In a letter published by the White House and addressed to the Senate Judiciary Committe, Kavanaugh defended his character and career.
The letter came after additional allegations against him surfaced this weekend, from his time in college and in high school. Government investigators confirmed Monday they’re aware of a potential second sexual assault complaint in the county against former Georgetown Prep student and Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh.
While investigators weren’t specific and spoke on background, they said they are looking at allegations made against Kavanaugh during his senior year in high school after an anonymous witness voluntarily came forward to speak with them this weekend.
This would potentially bring the number to four women accusing Kavanaugh of wrongdoing and comes after Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale college student, stepped forward this weekend to accuse Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her in college, and after attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted out a message saying he represents a woman with “credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.”Montgomery County Sentinel
A hospital release says the two heads were found to have two tracheas and two esophagi, but share one heart and set of lungs. The Charlotte Observer reports state biologists believe both heads are capable of biting and distributing venom.
State herpetologist J.D. Kleopfer says in a Facebook post that two-headed snakes are extremely rare because “they just don’t live that long.” He says he hopes to donate the snake to a zoo.AP