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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

All eyes will be on Capitol Hill tomorrow as Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his first accuser who alleges he sexual assaulted her in the 1980s, appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a public hearing at 10 a.m. ET.

Why it matters: In a year that has the seen the #MeToo movement force a reckoning in the ranks of dozens of powerful men, Trump's second Supreme Court nominee could be on the verge of being toppled by allegations of sexual assault.

What to expect: The Senate Judiciary Committee has hired Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Kavanaugh, Ford and any other witnesses that may be called.

Ford, who is expected to testify first, alleges that Kavanaugh tried to rape her, pinning her down on a bed and trying to remove her clothes before she managed to escape.

  • She has submitted sworn affidavits from four witnesses who claim she told them about the allegations between 2012 and 2017.
  • All four say Ford told them she had been sexually assaulted as a teenager by someone who is now a federal judge, while two say Ford directly named Kavanaugh as the perpetrator.
  • Ford also submitted the results of a polygraph test that indicate she was truthful during her description of the assault, but has declined to provide the therapist's notes cited by the WashPost.

In his prepared testimony, Kavanaugh will claim the same defense that has been echoed by Trump and other Republicans: these 36-year-old allegations are part of a last-minute, politically motivated smear campaign, and they are not at all consistent with the man he is today.

  • He will admit that while he wasn't perfect in high school and sometimes drank beer with friends, he never sexually assaulted anyone.
  • As evidence, Kavanaugh has submitted a calendar from the summer of 1982 purported to show he did not attend a party like the one Ford describes.

What to watch: With only one vote to spare, Kavanaugh's fate is widely thought to rest in the hands of four key Republican senators: Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker.

  • Adding to tomorrow's drama are the two newer accusers, Deborah Martinez and Julie Swetnick. Martinez says he exposed himself to her at Yale, while Swetnick released a sworn declaration today alleging Kavanaugh and friends plied girls with spiked alcohol back in high school in order to sexually assault them.

The bottom line: As of now, the confirmation vote is still scheduled for Friday.

Go deeper

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."