September 28, 2018

Not everyone was as impressed with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's testimony Thursday as the man who nominated him, President Trump. Hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing adjourned and a Friday morning confirmation vote affirmed, the American Bar Association urged the Senate to hit pause until after an FBI investigation and the prominent Jesuit magazine America rescinded its endorsement of Kavanaugh and urged his nomination withdrawn.

America's editors and the ABA gave similar reasons: Christine Blasey Ford's assault testimony was credible enough to merit a full investigation, and America needs to have confidence in the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, a Catholic who attended a Jesuit high school, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), his most impassioned supporter, both held up the ABA's unanimous well-qualified rating in Thursday's hearing as a marker of his character and judgment.

"The basic principles that underscore the Senate's constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI," ABA president Robert Carlson wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate's reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court."

America's editors said while they have "no special insight into who is telling the truth," Kavanaugh's nomination "is no longer in the best interests of the country." There are other jurists with "his legal credentials and his reputation as a committed textualist" but whose confirmation wouldn't signal to women that their sexual assault allegations against powerful men don't merit serious investigation, the editorial says. "Judge Kavanaugh continues to enjoy a legal presumption of innocence," but "there is no presumption of confirmability. The best of the bad resolutions available in this dilemma is for Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to be withdrawn." Read the entire editorial at America. Peter Weber

12:00 a.m.

At Wednesday night's debate in Las Vegas, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hammered former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg so hard, he tried to erase his beating with a Four Pinocchio ad that carefully edits one of his better lines into a "moment." Among the hits Bloomberg appeared totally unprepared for in the debate was Warren pressing him to release from their nondisclosure agreements the unknown number of women (and men) with whom he has reached confidential settlements. In a CNN town hall Thursday night, Warren circled back with some pro bono legal work.

"I used to teach contract law, and I thought I would make this easy," Warren told Erin Burnett and her town hall audience. She held up a contract she had written. "All that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it — I'll text it — sign it, and then the women, or men, will be free to speak and tell their own stories," Warren said, reading some relevant parts of the contract.

Warren also tweeted out the agreement.

Warren didn't tag Bloomberg in her tweet, though maybe she really did text him the contract. Legal work doesn't come cheap, especially from Harvard professors, but it's unlikely Bloomberg will appreciate the gesture. After all, spending money isn't really something he seems to worry about. Peter Weber

February 20, 2020

President Trump is still smarting over remarks Brad Pitt made nearly two weeks ago when he received an Academy Award for his performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Trump held a rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday night, and spent a considerable amount of time complaining about this year's Oscars. "How bad were the Academy Awards?" he asked. He was mad that the widely-praised South Korean film Parasite was named Best Picture, thinking the honor should have gone to an American movie like 1939's Gone With the Wind, and shared his irritation with Pitt.

While accepting the Best Supporting Actor statue, Pitt said, "They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week. I'm thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing." He was referring to the Republican-controlled Senate voting against letting Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, testify during Trump's impeachment trial.

Trump did not appreciate Pitt's comments, which were made as millions of people watched around the world. "I was never a big fan of his," Trump said. "He got up, said a little wise guy thing. He's a little wise guy." Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2020

Former CIA Director John Brennan is very disturbed by a new report from The New York Times, which says last week, members of the House Intelligence Committee were warned by an aide to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in order to get President Trump re-elected.

"We are now in a full-blown national security crisis," Brennan said. "By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow's interests, not America's." Brennan served as CIA director from 2013 to 2017.

The briefing was delivered by Shelby Pierson, one of Maguire's aides known for her blunt delivery, the Times reports. When Trump found out about the briefing, he was livid, and complained that the committee's chair, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), will "weaponize" the intelligence against him, a person with knowledge of the matter told the Times. On Wednesday, Trump announced Maguire is being replaced by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist. Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2020

President Trump has apparently pivoted to Oscars punditry.

At his Thursday night rally, Trump went after the Academy Awards, taking issue with the historic Best Picture win of Parasite. The acclaimed South Korean thriller made history earlier this month by becoming the first foreign-language film to ever win Best Picture, a feat Trump, evidently, found worthy of ridicule.

"And the winner is, a movie from South Korea," Trump mockingly said. "What the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of it, they give them the best movie of the year. Was it good? I don't know."

Trump didn't have a recommendation as to what should have won if not Parasite, among the most acclaimed films released last year. But he went on to ask if we can "get Gone with the Wind back, please," either as a they-don't-make-them-like-they-used-to style complaint or a suggestion that the award for the best film of 2019 should have gone to one released eight decades ago.

The American distributor of Parasite was quick to fire back on Twitter, kicking off the Trump-Neon feud just weird enough to make perfect sense for 2020.

After this Parasite jab, what other strange movie opinions might Trump have to offer next? Well, he did reportedly screen Joker at the White House last year, so look out: a scalding hot presidential take on the DC film may be just around the corner. Brendan Morrow

February 20, 2020

After his longtime friend and former adviser Roger Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison on Thursday, President Trump announced that he has "a very good chance of exoneration."

Stone was found guilty last year of lying to Congress and witness tampering, tied to his involvement with Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. While attending an event in Las Vegas, Trump said he is "following this very closely, and I want to see it play out to its fullest, because Roger has a very good chance of exoneration, in my opinion."

Without sharing her name, Trump also said it is "my strong opinion that the forewoman for the jury is totally tainted." She was, he added, "an anti-Trump person, totally. I don't know if this is a fact, but she had a horrible social media account. She's, I guess from what I hear, a very strong woman, a very dominant person, so she can get people to do whatever she wants."

The forewoman disclosed during jury selection that in 2012, she ran for Congress as a Democrat. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the jury acted with "integrity" and Stone was not prosecuted "for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president." Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2020

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) let billionaire Sheldon Adelson know exactly how much he would pay under her proposed Ultra-Millionaire Tax by taking out a full-page ad in his newspaper and spelling it out for him.

The ad ran Thursday in Adelson's Las Vegas Review-Journal, just two days before the Nevada caucuses. Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands, is a major Republican donor and supporter of President Trump. The Nevada Independent's Jon Ralston tweeted a picture of the ad, which says Adelson has a net worth of $39.6 billion. During the first year of Warren's plan, he would pay $2,300,000,000, less than 6 percent of his wealth.

"Today, our economy is only working for a thinner and thinner slice at the top," the ad says. "That's why Elizabeth Warren has a plan for an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on the richest 75,000 Americans." As the ad is Nevada-specific, it says that the funds generated by this tax would make hundreds of thousands of Nevadans eligible to have their student debt canceled; make roughly 91,000 Nevada families eligible for free, quality child care; provide additional funding for public K-12 schools; and eliminate tuition and fees at Nevada's public universities, community colleges, and trade schools. Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2020

While at a private event in England on Wednesday night, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said for the U.S. economy to keep growing, more immigrants need to come to the country.

The Washington Post obtained audio of Mulvaney's remarks, made at the Oxford Union. He told the crowd the United States is "desperate — desperate — for more people. We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we've had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants." He stressed that they must come in a "legal fashion."

President Trump is surrounded by immigration hardliners like senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, who wants to curtail both legal and illegal immigration, and others who argue that immigrants increase wage competition against U.S. workers. Last year, Trump said the United States is "full," and people trying to cross the southern border need to "turn around." Mulvaney said the president might have an "anti-immigrant" reputation, the Post reports, but he wants to lure more foreign workers to the U.S. Catherine Garcia

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