Sep 22, 2018

Chuck Grassley aide resigns after sexual harassment allegation

Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein talk to their aides. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Garrett Ventry, a press adviser for the Senate Judiciary Committee, resigned Saturday after NBC News confronted him with questions about a previous allegation of sexual harassment.

The big picture: Ventry, who denied any past "allegations of misconduct" to NBC News, was a communications aide to Committee Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and had been a coordinator for the committee's messaging involving Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982.

  • Judiciary Committee Spokesman Taylor Foy told NBC News in a statement: "While (Ventry) strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee."
  • CRC Public Relations, the firm where Ventry had been on a temporary leave of absence while working for the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement: “Garrett was on a leave of absence from the company and as of this morning we have accepted his resignation."

The bottom line: "Republicans familiar with the situation had been concerned that Ventry, because of his history, could not lead an effective communications response," reports NBC News.

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Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee Molson Coors on Wednesday, including the 51-year-old gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

WHO official leads criticism of Trump's coronavirus response

President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

The big picture: As the number of confirmed cases reaches 60 in the U.S., the top health professional — who was a health policy adviser in the Obama administration — is among several leading figures, in particular, Democrats, to criticize the president for his response to the outbreak.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health