Today in Trump’s America: Republicans schedule Kavanaugh vote before hearings on sexual assault
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Good morning from Emily Singer at Mic.
Here’s what’s happening in Trump’s America:
• President Donald Trump’s day begins at 8:45 a.m., when he heads back to United Nations headquarters in New York.
About last night: Judiciary Committee Republicans set Friday vote on Kavanaugh
Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford is scheduled to testify Thursday morning about her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But before Ford and Kavanaugh utter one word in that hearing, Republicans have already set a schedule that put Kavanaugh on course to be confirmed to the Supreme Court by early next week.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh in the Judiciary Committee Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned senators they should stay in town over the weekend to vote, ending the debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination. This would allow for the full Senate to vote on his nomination by early next week.
Democrats are pointing to these moves by the GOP as evidence it is not taking Thursday’s testimony seriously and its members have already made up their minds to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
“For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Kavanaugh today, 2 days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted Tuesday evening. “First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now they don’t even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote.”
This comes as Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates accuse him of lying publicly about the clean-cut image he’s tried to craft for himself as a young adult, saying he did drink heavily in college, according to the Washington Post.
As for the hearing, Republicans hired an outside counsel to question Ford, rather than have the all-male slate of senators on the Judiciary Committee ask questions. The attorney, Rachel Mitchell, is chief of the special victims division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Arizona. As part of the special victims unit, Mitchell deals with sexual assault cases.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) suggested to HuffPost Republicans hired a female prosecutor to ask the questions because they are “hiding from their role as members of the Judiciary Committee.”
Ahead of her testimony, Ford has given the Senate Judiciary Committee sworn statements from four people who corroborate her sexual assault allegations. The Senate Judiciary Committee has refused to bring in any outside witnesses, only Ford and Kavanaugh.
Today in Trump’s America: House will vote to avoid a government shutdown
The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a short-term funding bill that would keep the lights on in the federal government until Dec. 7. The move would allow lawmakers to punt on a larger spending bill until after the midterm elections.
The Senate already passed a funding bill last week on a 93-7 vote, meaning if the House passes the bill today, it would then go to Trump’s desk for a signature.
Since the funding bill does not contain money for his pet U.S.-Mexico border wall project, it’s unclear whether Trump will sign the legislation. This could all therefore lead to a chaotic government shutdown weeks before the midterm elections.
Trump has promised he would sign the bill, according to Politico. But he has been known to change his mind at the last minute, including during a government spending debate in March when he wanted to veto the legislation last minute but reluctantly signed it in an angry huff.
House Republicans plan to adjourn by Friday until after the Nov. 6 midterm elections, Politico reported — a move that would give the GOP 40 days to campaign to save its House majority.
So, if Trump vetoes the bill, he could thwart House Republicans’ plans to hit the campaign trail.
And the rest...
Trump the laughing stock: During a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump stated his administration has “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” drawing laughter from the gathered audience of world leaders and diplomats. Trump often criticized former President Barack Obama for being the laughing stock of the world, so the fact that hundreds of world leaders and diplomats actually did laugh at his boastfulness is quite an embarrassing moment for Trump.
Rosenstein: House Republicans have threatened to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he does not testify about his reported comments that he wanted to secretly record Trump. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say whether Trump plans to fire Rosenstein in an upcoming Thursday meeting, a move that could have serious implications for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Election integrity: Congress will fail to pass the bipartisan Secure Elections Act before the midterm elections, Republican Sen. James Lankford told the Hill. That means two years after Russia waged an unprecedented attack on American elections, Congress will have done nothing to improve election security.