10 things you need to know today: September 25, 2018

Trump to meet with Rosenstein, Kavanaugh vows not to withdraw, and more 

Rod Rosenstein at a Senate subcommittee hearing
(Image credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

1. Trump, Rosenstein to meet Thursday amid rumors of ouster

The White House announced Monday that President Trump would meet Thursday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian election meddling, following rumors that Rosenstein might resign or be fired. Trump and Rosenstein will discuss reports that Rosenstein last year talked about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office on the grounds that he was unfit to serve. Rosenstein also reportedly discussed secretly taping his conversations with Trump. The two will meet after Trump returns from New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly. "I spoke with Rod today, and we'll see what happens," Trump said.

The New York Times

2. Kavanaugh calls allegations 'grotesque' and vows not to withdraw

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Monday wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders calling the sexual assault allegations against him "false," "uncorroborated," and "grotesque." The letter reiterated Kavanaugh's denial of a new allegation from Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh had exposed himself to her at a party their freshman year. Kavanaugh said he was being targeted in a "coordinated" attempt at "obvious character assassination," and that he would "not be intimidated into withdrawing." "What I know is the truth, and the truth is I've never sexually assaulted anyone," Kavanaugh said in an interview with Fox News' Martha MacCallum, repeating his denial that he forcibly groped Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. Kavanaugh and Ford are scheduled to testify before the committee on Thursday.

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Bloomberg Fox News

3. Trump says to expect announcement on second Kim summit soon

President Trump said on Monday that he expected to announce his plan for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "pretty soon." Trump met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the United Nations in New York. Moon, who met with Kim in their third summit earlier this month, brought Trump a personal message from Kim expressing hope for a follow-up to the U.S. and North Korean leaders' June summit in Singapore, where Kim committed to working toward denuclearization. "Chairman Kim has been really very open and terrific, frankly," Trump said. "I think he wants to see something happen." Trump also said he and Moon had a productive talk on trade.


4. Trump calls Kavanaugh allegations 'totally political'

President Trump said Monday that the two sexual assault allegations facing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are "highly unsubstantiated" and "totally political." On Sunday, Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of thrusting his penis into her face at a party while both were students at Yale University; last week, Christine Ford alleged that Kavanaugh forcibly groped her at a high school party. Kavanaugh has denied both allegations. While speaking to reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Trump said that he's still behind Kavanaugh "all the way," calling the nominee a "fine man with an unblemished past" and arguing that what is happening to him is "unfair" and "unjust."


5. Dallas chief fires police officer who killed man in his own apartment

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall on Monday fired police officer Amber Guyger, who fatally shot a neighbor, Botham Jean, after she apparently entered his apartment thinking it was hers. Guyger, who is white, had just returned to her apartment complex after her shift and mistakenly entered the apartment of Jean, who is black. Jean's apartment was directly above hers, one floor up. A lawyer representing Jean's family has called Guyger's version of events "demonstrably false." She was arrested and charged with manslaughter days after the shooting, and was placed on administrative leave. Protesters and activists had called for her to be fired. The city's mayor called Guyger's firing "the right decision in the interest of justice."

The Texas Tribune The Dallas Morning News

6. Trump opposes Puerto Rico statehood after clashes with San Juan's mayor

President Trump said in a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera that aired Monday that he opposed statehood for Puerto Rico, partly due to his feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz over the federal government's response to last year's Hurricane Maria. "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 told Rivera in an interview conducted Sunday for WTAM Radio in Cleveland. Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, has been trying to rally support in Washington for statehood, and he called Trump's comments "insensitive, disrespectful" to the three million Americans who live on the island, a U.S. territory.

The Washington Post

7. Trump to call for isolating Iran in 2nd U.N. speech

President Trump is expected to defend his "America first" policies when he delivers his second speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning. Trump, who frequently criticizes the U.N. and complains the U.S. pays too much for its operations, last year gave a fiery speech in which he threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies. This year, Trump is expected to talk up his warmer relations with Pyongyang following his unprecedented June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and urge other nations to help isolate Iran. "You can bet the president will have well deserved strong words for the Iranian regime, which is among the worse violators of U.N. Security Council resolutions, if not the absolute worst in the world," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said ahead of the speech.


8. Judge reinstates protections for grizzly bears

A federal judge on Monday reversed a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lift protections for 700 bears living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wyoming and Idaho had already issued 23 hunting permits for this fall, the first grizzly hunt to take place in the United States outside of Alaska in 27 years, but U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen's decision cancels the hunt. Christensen said this was "not about the ethics of hunting" but rather that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "failed to make a reasoned decision" when it concluded grizzly bears are no longer a threatened species that needs federal protections. Grizzly bears were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, when there were only about 136 of the animals still in Yellowstone.

The Associated Press

9. Instagram founders leave to start 'new chapter'

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are resigning and plan to leave within weeks, saying they are "ready for our next chapter." Systrom, the photo-sharing app's CEO, and Krieger, its chief technology officer, reportedly had been clashing increasingly with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose company bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012. Systrom and Krieger had managed to keep Instagram's brand and product independent while using Facebook's resources to grow, but Zuckerberg has increasingly woven Instagram into plans for Facebook's future. Systrom and Krieger reportedly were frustrated by Zuckerberg's involvement in Instagram's day-to-day operations, and said they would be "taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again." Zuckerberg said he was "looking forward to seeing what they build next."

Bloomberg The New York Times

10. Judge to sentence Bill Cosby in sexual assault case

Prosecutors on Monday asked a Pennsylvania judge to sentence comedian Bill Cosby to five to 10 years in prison for his conviction on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University women's basketball administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. Cosby's defense lawyer appealed to the judge by suggesting that Cosby would be vulnerable to abuse in prison due to his advanced age. "What does an 81-year-old man do in prison?" defense attorney Joseph Green asked. "Despite bullying tactics, despite PR teams and other folks trying to change the optics, as one lawyer for the defense put it, the bottom line is that nobody's above the law. Nobody," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. Judge Steven O'Neill is expected to sentence Cosby Tuesday.

The Associated Press

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.