Sep 21, 2018

Axios PM

1 big thing: Trump's three dramas

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A trio of major updates have punctuated an otherwise quiet week for President Trump, setting up major fall drama in D.C.

The big picture Senators weighing the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation now know exactly where Trump stands, and notwithstanding a firm denial, Trumpworld has found a new rallying cry to axe Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.

Driving the news:

  1. Trump tweeted doubts about Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, saying her parents would have gone to law enforcement at the time if the accusations were legit. This broke his previous message discipline on the topic, as staffers were hoping he'd last until next week without going after the accuser.
  2. Trump slow-walked his request for declassification of documents related to the Russia investigation, noting concerns by allies. The Justice Department's inspector general will now review the documents. Go deeper.
  3. N.Y. Times headline published this afternoon: "Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment..." (In a statement, Rosenstein called the story factually incorrect and said there are no grounds for using the 25th.)

The bottom line: This presents on the fence Republicans with a nightmarish week ahead, while red state Democrats might have a chance to breathe easier.

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

"People prepare sand bags as floodwaters caused by Hurricane Florence rise near the Crabtree Swamp ... in Conway, South Carolina. The floodwaters are expected to rise through the weekend and into the early part of next week."

2. What you missed
  1. Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence have breached a dam at the L.V. Sutton Power Station in North Carolina, potentially spilling coal ash into the Cape Fear River. Go deeper.
  2. The Texas Senate race is now a toss-up, political analyst Charlie Cook decided today. He also moved the race rating in West Virginia in favor of Democrats and the Montana race in favor of Republicans.
  3. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opened up about the possibility of a second meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un. Go deeper.
  4. Americans were more likely to say they would support a candidate backed by Nancy Pelosi (50%) than a candidate backed by Donald Trump (45%), according to Bloomberg.
  5. Theresa May says Brexit negotiations have reached an impasse. Go deeper.
3. 1 #MeToo thing

"Mariska Hargitay thinks 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' has played a huge role in educating people on sexual violence, but believes there is still a lot of work to do," the AP's John Carucci reports.

  • "She said she was initially drawn to the show because it was tackling issues that others weren’t."
  • “It’s an incredibly progressive show, progressive idea, and really starting a conversation and taking sexual assault, domestic violence, and these issues that were traditionally swept under the carpet."
  • “The conversation is in full swing, and that’s very exciting. I think the show has really been a huge part of the cultural education on sexual violence. I think we have taken on the issues of consent and the neurobiology of trauma and created a survivor-centric show that was utterly unique.”

Go deeper.