Sep 27, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: U.S. securities regulators sued Elon Musk for allegedly making false statements related to his abandoned efforts to take Tesla Motors private.

1 big thing: Two unforgettable hearings

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

It was a scene students will study long after we are gone:

  • A cool, credible Christine Blasey Ford methodically outlined how the Republican nominee to the Supreme Court allegedly sought to rape her in high school.
  • An angry and tearful Brett Kavanaugh accused the Democrats of a devious plot to destroy his life, his family, his nomination.

Inside the room, from Axios' Sam Baker: Ford and Kavanaugh both fought back tears as they told the committee about the toll the past few weeks have taken on their families. The similarities ended there.

  • The scene: Ford was quiet, and sometimes hard to hear inside the committee room. She told the committee she wished she could “be more helpful,” that she had never wanted to enter the political fray, but that she could never forget certain details of her alleged assault.
  • Kavanaugh strode across the committee room not just to deny those accusations, but to tear into Senate Democrats. He accused them of “laying in wait” to destroy him and making a “national disgrace” of the Supreme Court confirmation process.
  • Emotions ran high all day. The entire hearing room sat rapt as Ford tearfully recounted the episode she says occurred at a high-school party in 1982, and in stunned silence as Kavanaugh excoriated Democrats and broke down over his daughter saying a bedtime prayer for Ford.

A tale of two quotes:

  • Kavanaugh to Senate Democrats: “My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed... This confirmation process has become a national disgrace … you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.”
  • Ford describing what she remembers from the alleged attack: "Indelible, in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two [Kavanaugh and Judge] ... and they're having fun at my expense."

What's next: The Senate Judiciary, which Republicans control with 11 male members, is scheduled to vote tomorrow. It then goes to the full Senate.

The big question: Do senators believe Ford, or Kavanaugh? And if they believe Ford, should that disqualify Kavanaugh?

Republicans we're watching:

  • Ben Sasse (on Judiciary)
  • Jeff Flake (on Judiciary)
  • Shelley Moore Capito
  • Lisa Murkowski
  • Susan Collins

Go deeper:

Bonus: Tweet du jour
2. What you missed
  1. Seven men have been arrested in the Netherlands by Dutch police, on suspicion that they were "plotting a large-scale extremist attack," the Associated Press reports.
  2. Trump has delayed his meeting with Rod Rosenstein, which was scheduled after Rosenstein had offered his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly on Monday.
  3. Last season's flu epidemic is estimated to have killed 80,000 Americans — the highest level for at least four decades. Go deeper.
  4. A new Pew Research survey found 76% of registered voters say Supreme Court appointments will be a "very important" part of their 2018 midterm vote in November. Go deeper.
3. 1 ⚾️ thing
St. Louis Cardinals' Francisco is called out on strikes on Sept. 13. (Billy Hurst/AP)

"The most-heard sound at major league ballparks this year was 'Strike three!'" per AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum:

  • "Strikeouts will exceed hits over a full season for the first time in major league history. The overall batting average has dropped to its lowest level since 1972, the year before the designated hitter."
  • "Lefty hitters — facing smothering defensive shifts — have fared even worse, with their lowest average since 1968, before the pitcher's mound was lowered.
  • Why it matters: "The game has transformed at a dizzying pace."

The data: "There were 40,196 strikeouts and 40,098 hits through [yesterday] ... Strikeouts have set a record for the 11th consecutive season, surpassing last year's 40,104."

  • "The .248 big league batting average is down seven percentage points from last year and a Steroids Era high of .271 in 1999."
Mike Allen