10 things you need to know today: October 1, 2018

The White House denies "micromanaging" the Kavanaugh investigation, Canada joins the U.S.-Mexico trade deal, and more

President Trump.
(Image credit: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

1. White House denies 'micromanaging' Kavanaugh investigation

The White House is staying out of the newly ordered FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday. "The White House isn't intervening," Sanders said. "We're not micromanaging this process ... and we're letting the Senate continue to dictate what the terms look like." President Trump and Senate GOP leaders, after initially pushing for a prompt confirmation vote, agreed to a one-week supplemental background check on Kavanaugh at the insistence of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who said he would vote no without one, potentially sinking Kavanaugh's confirmation. Democrats are criticizing the administration for limiting the inquiry to interviews of as few as four people, saying that could make it a "farce." Trump said over the weekend that the FBI will have "free rein."

The Associated Press The New York Times

2. Canada joins U.S.-Mexico trade deal just before deadline

Canada agreed late Sunday to join the trade agreement reached last month by the U.S. and Mexico, potentially salvaging a revised North American Free Trade Agreement. The deal came after a frantic weekend of talks aiming to beat a midnight deadline set by the White House. In a joint statement, President Trump's trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, and Canada's foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, said the new deal would "give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in our region." The new treaty will be named the "United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement" rather than NAFTA, which Trump long vowed to replace and derided as a terrible deal. Administration officials expect a tough fight for congressional approval.

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The New York Times The Washington Post

3. Kavanaugh college friend says judge misled senators about drinking

One of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's friends from Yale, Charles Ludington, will give the FBI a statement Monday about Kavanaugh's drunken behavior during college, Ludington tells The Washington Post. Ludington, an associate professor at North Carolina State University, writes in his statement that when Kavanaugh "got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive." Ludington said he once witnessed Kavanaugh "respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man's face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail." Ludington also said that Kavanaugh "lied about his past actions on national television" during his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony last week.

The Washington Post

4. American, Japanese researchers win Nobel Prize for Medicine

James Allison of the U.S. and Tasuku Honjo of Japan were named Monday as the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for revolutionary research on treating cancer. Their work takes advantage of the immune system's ability to attack cancer cells by releasing the brakes on immune cells. The Nobels honor achievements in science, literature, and peace, and the award for medicine is the first to be announced each year. The Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, announced in May that it would not award the literature Nobel this year due to a sexual misconduct scandal. A Stockholm court on Monday unanimously sentenced Jean-Claude Arnault, a Frenchman and a central player in Sweden's Nobel community, to two years in prison for a 2011 rape.

France24 The Associated Press

5. Grassley refers false allegation against Kavanaugh to FBI

The Senate Judiciary Committee has sent the FBI and the Justice Department information on an individual who made "materially false statements" while alleging misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants a criminal investigation into whether the false allegations obstructed the committee's nomination process. "Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal," Grassley wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray. The person under investigation called Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (D-R.I.) office to report what turned out to be the false allegation that a woman was sexually assaulted on a boat in 1985 by two drunk men she referred to as "Brett and Mark."


6. Conway says she was a sexual assault victim

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said Sunday that she feels "very empathetic" toward victims of sexual assault, harassment, and rape because of her own experiences. "I'm a victim of sexual assault," she said on CNN's State of the Union. Conway was on the show to discuss the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with CNN's Jake Tapper. Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford appeared at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday to detail her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh also appeared, repeating his categorical denial. Conway said other women who have been victims of sexual assault are unfairly directing their anger at Republicans who back Kavanaugh, rather than their attackers.

Reuters CNN

7. California governor signs law requiring spots for women on corporate boards

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Sunday signed a law requiring publicly traded companies to include women on their boards of directors. California is the first state to take such a step to boost women's rights in the private sector. The law gives California-based public companies until the end of next year to make sure they have at least one woman serving on their boards. The California Chamber of Commerce has warned that the policy will be difficult to put into effect and said it violates constitutional protections against discrimination. Brown also signed legislation making smaller employers provide sexual harassment training and banning secret sexual misconduct settlements.

The Associated Press

8. Three die in Pennsylvania car explosion

A car exploded in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night, killing three men, local police said Sunday. Nearby residents were placed under a shelter-in-place order after the incident, and they were still displaced as of late Sunday. Numerous roads in the area remained blocked off. Carlos Perodin told The Morning Call of Allentown that he and his wife were watching a movie when they heard the explosion, and he rushed to the scene. "The fire was crazy," he said. "The car was pretty much split in half." Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin said investigators "have a high degree of confidence that the perpetrator was probably killed in the incident." Authorities said the reason for the apparently intentional blast remained a mystery, but Allentown Mayor Ray O'Connell said "the residents of the city are safe."

The Morning Call NBC News

9. Night School leads weekend box office

Night School, starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, led the weekend box office, debuting with $28 million in ticket sales, according to Sunday estimates. The film was the first straight-up comedy to come out at No. 1 in more than two years. The last comedy to lead the pack than didn't mix in another genre, such as horror or romance, was Melissa McCarthy's The Boss in April 2016. The romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians took the top spot at the box office for four straight weeks, and Tyler Perry's horror-comedies Boo! A Madea Halloween and its sequel both opened at No. 1.

The Associated Press

10. Europe beats U.S. in Ryder Cup

Europe beat the U.S. to reclaim golf's Ryder Cup on Sunday. Europe's 17½-10½ win was the most lopsided since it scored consecutive 18½-9½ victories more than a decade ago. The Americans formed a Ryder Cup Task Force, spearheaded by Phil Mickelson, after their 2014 loss in the biennial competition, hoping to build continuity and momentum. It paid off with a victory in 2016, but Europe won back the cup, clinching it with Francesco Molinari's victory over Phil Mickelson. The Italian golfer is the first European player to go 5-0 in Ryder Cup play. "It's hard to describe," he told NBC. "I'm just so proud of everyone on the team — an amazing group of guys. Any one of us deserved to clinch the Cup." Tiger Woods went 0-4, the first time in eight Ryder Cups he has failed win a point.

The Washington Post

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