September 16, 2019

Last October, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) sent FBI Director Christopher Wray a letter stating that he had relevant information regarding the allegations of sexual assault made against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but the FBI appears to have ignored him, The New York Times reports.

The Times obtained a copy of this letter, which states that Coons heard from multiple people who said they had information on Kavanaugh. He told Wray that he "cannot speak to the relevance or veracity of the information that many of these individuals seek to provide, and I have encouraged them to use the FBI tip portal or contact a regional FBI field office. However, there is one individual whom I would like to specifically refer to you for appropriate follow-up."

Coons was asking the FBI to contact one of Kavanaugh's former Yale classmates, Max Stier, Coons' spokesman Sean Coit confirmed. Over the weekend, the Times reported that during Kavanaugh's freshman year, Stier saw Kavanaugh with his pants down, and his friends pushed his penis into a female student's hand. Stier notified senators and the FBI about the incident, the Times says. The incident has similarities to an allegation made by a former classmate named Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party at Yale their freshman year.

Several Democratic presidential candidates have called for Kavanaugh's impeachment, while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) on Monday said there should be a "full, fair investigation, as was never done at the time. It was a sham, as we said then, and there should be a full inquiry now." Catherine Garcia

7:34 p.m.

Frasier Crane is headed back on the air.

A revival of the hit sitcom Frasier has been officially announced at Paramount+, with star Kelsey Grammer set to return. The news was unveiled during a ViacomCBS presentation on Wednesday focused on Paramount+, the rebranded version of CBS All Access that's launching in March.

"Having spent over 20 years of my creative life on the Paramount lot, both producing shows and performing in several, I'd like to congratulate Paramount+ on its entry into the streaming world," Grammer said. "I gleefully anticipate sharing the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr. Frasier Crane."

Frasier, a spin-off of Cheers, originally ran for 11 seasons from 1993 through 2004, and a potential return has been discussed for years. Chris Harris and Joe Cristalli will write and produce the revival, which Paramount+ promised "will have everything you love about the original: coziness, great writing, and of course, a cast led by" Grammer. Stars David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, and Peri Gilpin aren't currently attached to the revival, according to Variety.

This was just one of a number of Paramount+ reboots and revivals discussed on Wednesday, with others including Rugrats and Criminal Minds, as ViacomCBS reaches into its catalog in hopes of gaining an upper hand in the continuing streaming wars. Brendan Morrow

7:03 p.m.

Moderna announced on Wednesday it will begin testing a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine designed to target the coronavirus variant first reported in South Africa.

The pharmaceutical company said it has sent doses of the booster shot to the U.S. National Institutes of Health for clinical trials. In a statement, CEO Stéphane Bancel said Moderna is "committed to making as many updates to our vaccine as necessary until the pandemic is under control."

Moderna previously revealed that preliminary studies showed the vaccine still made neutralizing antibodies above protective levels for the South African variant, but because it was a reduced level, it prompted the company to begin tweaking the vaccine against the strain, as well as variants that first spread in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

Moderna is already conducting tests involving giving a third dose of its original vaccine as a booster to people who have received two doses, and the new clinical trials will evaluate the safety of the variant-specific booster and a "multivalent booster candidate" that is one dose of the variant-specific booster and original vaccine, NBC News reports. Catherine Garcia

5:18 p.m.

Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday that they're reintroducing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which, if passed, would lead to a series of federal police reforms, including a ban on chokeholds and measures to alter qualified immunity. The House is expected to vote on it next week.

The lower chamber did pass the bill last June, but it was dead on arrival in the Senate, which was still controlled by the GOP at the time. It remains unclear if it will pass now that the Democrats have a narrow majority since there, but Bass said there's "renewed hope" it will become law. Tim O'Donnell

5:11 p.m.

No charges are expected to be brought after Tiger Woods' serious car crash, which was "purely an accident," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says.

The L.A. sheriff provided this update Wednesday after Woods was injured in a solo car accident in California, explaining that reckless driving charges for the golf legend aren't under consideration.

"We don't contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash," Villanueva said. "This remains an accident. An accident is not a crime. They do happen, unfortunately."

This update was "critical amid speculation there may have been some sort of impairment," CNN's Omar Jimenez noted. But Villanueva shot down such speculation, saying Woods "was not drunk" and reiterating there was "no evidence of any impairment whatsoever." The sheriff also pointed out that there have been "quite a few accidents over the years" on the stretch of road where Woods' crash occurred.

Woods' car rolled over several times in the accident, and wearing a seatbelt likely helped safe his life, officials previously said. He was brought to a nearby hospital and underwent surgery for "significant orthopedic injuries," and he's "currently awake, responsive, and recovering," a statement posted to his Twitter account said Wednesday. Ultimately, Villanueva told CNN that after he saw the wreckage, it was "nothing short of a miracle" that Woods survived, as "we have seen accidents with far less obvious [damage] that are fatalities." Brendan Morrow

4:59 p.m.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is once again the swing vote President Biden needs to secure a narrow win — and he's coming through for his party.

On Wednesday, Manchin affirmed he'd support the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to be Biden's interior secretary. Manchin has often opposed measures and candidates that put his state's fossil fuel industry at risk, and Haaland is clear in her intent to move the U.S. past reliance on fossil fuels. But "while we do not agree on every issue," Manchin said in a statement that Haaland's "strong commitment to bipartisanship" and some of Manchin's own priorities won him over.

Manchin has gained influence in this Congress as the most moderate member of the Democratic Senate's narrow 50-50 majority, potentially sinking the Democrats' inclusion of a $15 minimum wage in Biden's COVID-19 relief bill.

It's possible that another Democrat could split from the coalition and cost Haaland the confirmation. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has recently been a party spoiler after her opposition to the $15 minimum wage, but The Washington Post's Dave Weigel doesn't think she'll be a hangup this time around. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:37 p.m.

Well, that didn't age well.

It's now been one year since former President Donald Trump infamously tweeted that the "coronavirus is very much under control" in the United States.

At that point, a search through the Trump Twitter Archive reveals, Trump had been discussing the virus publicly, but mostly in the context of how China was dealing with it; in those days, Trump was still speaking glowingly of President Xi Jinping's response. The Feb. 24 tweet was one of the earliest references Trump made to the virus' presence in the United States, and certainly his most direct about its potential effect on the country.

The comment looks quite jarring in hindsight — earlier this week the U.S. recorded its 500,000th COVID-19 death, and the pandemic remains a serious public health threat, although there are now signs of hope in the form of steadily declining cases and increasing vaccinations.

Trump was far from the only person to downplay the risk of the virus in the U.S. in February 2020, but he did continue to send mixed messages about its danger throughout the rest of his presidency, even after he was infected himself. Tim O'Donnell

3:36 p.m.

The U.S. Postal Service has become a surprisingly controversial subject over the past year, amounting to a testy hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday.

Last year, major Republican donor Louis DeJoy was appointed to lead the USPS board of governors and soon instituted cost-cutting measures that slashed the postal service's efficiency. That was especially problematic as COVID-19 safety measures reduced efficiency but increased demand at the USPS, and as more Americans voted by mail than ever before.

But as he often does when people he likes come before the House, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) used his time questioning DeJoy to call out Democrats who'd made him out to be "the worst guy on the planet" amid department delays. But Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who followed Jordan, wasn't standing for his "gaslighting," given that former President Donald Trump had been vilifying the USPS in the leadup to the election.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) meanwhile suggested COVID-19 was not the main culprit for postal service delays last year, but rather "nationwide mayhem, destruction, rioting and looting conducted by Black Lives Matter and antifa activists." At least two post offices in Minneapolis were destroyed during last year's protests after the police killing of George Floyd, but there were no reports of that being a nationwide problem. Kathryn Krawczyk

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