Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 4, 2018

Harold Maass
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Kavanaugh confirmation hearing gets underway

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing starts Tuesday. Democrats plan to grill Kavanaugh on his views on such issues as abortion rights and health care. They also have expressed concerns that Kavanaugh's position on presidential power would lead him to side with President Trump in a showdown against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Republicans have a narrow majority and are confident Kavanaugh will be confirmed barring unexpected gaffes. Hours before the hearing, former President George W. Bush's lawyer turned over 42,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh's service in the Bush White House. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer complained there was no time to read them before the hearing, but the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee tweeted hours later that its staff had reviewed every page. [Politico, The Washington Post]


Trump slams Sessions for prosecuting 2 congressional allies

President Trump on Sunday stepped up his attacks against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying the Justice Department had thrown two Republican congressional seats into jeopardy in the November midterms with the indictments of two GOP representatives and early Trump supporters, Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York. Trump noted that the indictments stemmed from "Obama era" investigations. "Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time," Trump tweeted. "Good job Jeff." The comments followed several Trump broadsides against Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian election meddling, which opened the door to appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) rebuked Trump for attacking the judicial system, saying the U.S. is "not some banana republic." [The Associated Press, The Hill]


Trump hits back at union leader with Labor Day tweet

President Trump on Labor Day criticized Richard Trumka, president of the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S., saying he had represented the AFL-CIO "poorly." Trump's comments came a day after Trumka said that the president had done more to hurt workers than help them. Trumka also challenged Trump's claim in an earlier tweet that it was unnecessary to keep Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump responded via Twitter, saying: "Some of the things he said were so against the working men and women of our country, and the success of the U.S. itself, that it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly." Trump later added: "The Worker in America is doing better than ever before!" [Reuters]


Haqqani network founder dies

Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of Afghanistan's Haqqani militant network, has died after years of illness, the Taliban announced Tuesday. Haqqani, who had been paralyzed for a decade, was a prized CIA asset during the U.S.-backed Afghan guerrilla war against Soviet occupation in the 1980s, but he aligned himself with the Taliban and al Qaeda in the 1990s. The U.S. declared his network a terrorist organization in 2012, and his son is believed to have taken over control of the group in 2001. The Haqqani network, which operates primarily out of Pakistan, has been blamed for some of the deadliest violence in Afghanistan during the U.S.-led NATO campaign in the country. [The Associated Press, BBC News]


Protesters, police clash in Brazil after museum fire

Brazilian police clashed on Monday with protesters expressing anger at the government over a fire at Brazil's oldest museum, the 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. The blaze is believed to have destroyed millions of items from its collection. Scholars had complained for years that the underfunded museum desperately needed repairs. The fire "is an unbearable catastrophe," said Luiz Duarte, a vice-director of the museum. The museum's collection included Egyptian artifacts, the oldest human skeleton in the Americas, and the largest meteorite ever found in Brazil. "The tragedy this Sunday is a sort of national suicide. A crime against our past and future generations," wrote Bernard Mello Franco, one of Brazil's best-known columnists, on the O Globo newspaper site. [CNN, The Guardian]


Tropical Storm Gordon strengthens on path toward Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Gordon buffeted the southern tip of Florida with heavy rain and strong winds on Monday as it crossed west into the Gulf of Mexico. The storm strengthened through the day, with its top sustained winds reaching 65 miles per hour early Tuesday. Tropical storm warnings were posted in South Florida and the Florida Keys, but with Gordon gaining strength, a hurricane watch was announced for coastal areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to the Florida border, meaning that hurricane conditions are possible in those areas within 48 hours. The latest forecast has the storm crossing the gulf and reaching those areas by late Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said. [USA Today, CNN]


New Yorker cancels Bannon festival appearance after uproar

The New Yorker's editor, David Remnick, announced in an email to the magazine's staff on Monday that Stephen Bannon, President Trump's controversial former chief strategist, had been removed as a headline speaker at this year's New Yorker Festival. The decision came after the magazine faced harsh criticism over Bannon's scheduled participation. Several high-profile participants, including John Mulaney, Judd Apatow, Jack Antonoff, and Jim Carrey, had dropped out of events scheduled during the Oct. 5 to Oct. 7 festival. "The reaction on social media was critical and a lot of the dismay and anger was directed at me and my decision to engage him," Remnick said in his email, adding that he didn't "want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I've ignored their concerns." [The New York Times]


Chinese tech mogul returns home after U.S. arrest, release

Chinese tech billionaire Richard Qiangdong Liu returned to China on Monday, three days after he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. Minneapolis police arrested Liu, the 45-year-old chief executive and founder of e-commerce giant JD.com, but then released him a day later from the Hennepin County Jail. Liu was released without posting bail, and police reportedly were still mulling whether to file charges. JD.com said in a statement posted Sunday to the Chinese social network Weibo that "local police quickly determined there was no substance to the claim against Mr. Liu, and he was subsequently able to resume his business activities as originally planned." [The Washington Post]


Nike taps Kaepernick for 'Just Do It' ad campaign

Nike is making former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick one of the faces of its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" ad campaign. Kaepernick protested against police mistreatment of African Americans by kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick posted a Nike ad featuring his face and wrote: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt." Nike has not announced the deal, but Kaepernick's attorney, Mark Geragos, announced the news via Twitter on Monday. Kaepernick is suing the National Football League, accusing owners of conspiring to keep him off the field. He is a civil rights hero to many, but critics responded to news of the Nike move with calls for a boycott. Some posted photos and videos showing them burning Nike shoes and other gear. [The Associated Press, Bloomberg]


Federer suffers upset in U.S. Open

No. 2 seed Roger Federer was knocked out of the U.S. Open by Australian John Millman in a Monday night match. Millman, in his first win against a top-10 player, beat Federer 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3). Millman is ranked No. 55 in the world, and Federer had never lost in 40 previous matches against players ranked lower than 50. Federer double faulted 10 times in the loss, only the fourth time he has done that in a major tournament, and the first time since 2009. Millman advances to the quarterfinals against No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic, who won his Monday match against unseeded Joao Sosa 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. [CBS Sports]