FBI contacts Kavanaugh Yale classmate in its investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI has contacted Deborah Ramirez, who’s accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when he was a Yale student, as part of the bureau’s investigation of the Supreme Court nominee, her attorney said Saturday.
Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, said agents want to interview her and she has agreed to cooperate. Ramirez has said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s when they were Yale students.
President Donald Trump ordered the FBI on Friday to reopen Kavanaugh’s background investigation after several women accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Senate leaders agreed to delay a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to allow for a one-week FBI investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee has said the probe should be limited to “current credible allegations” against Kavanaugh and be finished by next Friday.
Leaving the hearing Friday, Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, said it was his understanding there would be an FBI investigation of “the outstanding allegations, the three of them,” but Republicans have not said whether that was their understanding as well.
Trump urges supporters to vote in wake of Kavanaugh hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday turned his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh into a rallying cry for Republicans to vote in November, saying they can help reject the “ruthless and outrageous tactics” he says Democrats used against the judge.
“We see this horrible, horrible, radical group of Democrats. You see what’s happening right now,” Trump said at a rally with thousands of supporters in West Virginia. Trump won the state in 2016 by 42 percentage points and remains popular there.
“And they’re determined to take back power by any means necessary. You see the meanness, the nastiness. They don’t care who they hurt, who they have to run over to get power,” he said.
“We’re not going to give it to them,” Trump said.
Kavanaugh, the federal appeals judge Trump nominated to the nation’s highest court, appeared headed for confirmation until California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in Maryland in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denied her accusations and those of two other women since have accused him of sexual misconduct.
Republicans fear political fallout from Kavanaugh turmoil
NEW YORK (AP) — Whether or not Republicans ultimately confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, some on the front lines of the GOP’s midterm battlefield fear the party may have already lost.
In the days after a divided nation watched Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford deliver conflicting stories about what happened when they were teenagers, Republican campaign operatives acknowledged this is not the fight they wanted six weeks before Election Day.
Should they give Kavanaugh a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court after Ford’s powerful testimony about sexual assault, Republicans risk enraging the women they need to preserve their House majority. Vote him down, they risk enraging the party’s defiant political base.
In swing state New Hampshire, former Republican Party chair Jennifer Horn said Republicans are “grossly underestimating the damage that would be done” at the ballot box in the short and long term should they confirm Kavanaugh.
Horn, a lifelong Republican and frequent Trump critic, described Ford as “the most credible person I have ever seen publicly talk about this.” One young friend of Horn’s family was so inspired by the testimony that she revealed her own painful experience with sexual assault on social media for the first time Thursday.
Musk out as Tesla chair, remains CEO in $40M SEC settlement
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have agreed to pay a total of $40 million and make a series of concessions to settle a government lawsuit alleging Musk duped investors with misleading statements about a proposed buyout of the company.
The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission allows Musk to remain CEO of the electric car company but requires him to relinquish his role as chairman for at least three years.
Tesla must hire an independent chairman to oversee the company, something that should please a number of shareholders who have criticized Tesla’s board for being too beholden to Musk.
The deal was announced Saturday, just two days after SEC filed its case seeking to oust Musk as CEO.
Musk, who has an estimated $20 billion fortune, and Tesla, a company that ended June with $2.2 billion in cash, each are paying $20 million to resolve the case, which stemmed from a tweet Musk sent on Aug. 7 indicating he had the financing in place to take Tesla private at a price of $420 per share.
NKorea: US needs to build our trust, and sanctions lower it
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea needs more trust in the U.S. and their developing relationship before it will get rid of its nuclear weapons, Pyongyang’s top diplomat said Saturday as an envoy from another of the international community’s biggest worries — Syria — demanded that the U.S., France and Turkey withdraw their troops from his civil-war-wracked country.
More than three months after a June summit in Singapore between the U.S. and North Korean leaders, Ri Yong Ho told world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly that the North doesn’t see a “corresponding response” from the U.S. to North Korea’s early disarmament moves. Instead, he noted, the U.S. is continuing sanctions aimed at keeping up pressure.
“The perception that sanctions can bring us on our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant of us,” he said, adding that the continued sanctions are “deepening our mistrust” and deadlocking the current diplomacy.
“Without any trust in the U.S., there will be no confidence in our national security, and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first,” Ri said, adding that the North’s commitment to disarming is “solid and firm,” but that trust is crucial.
Washington is wary of easing sanctions or agreeing to another of the North’s priorities — a declaration ending the Korean War — without Pyongyang first making significant disarmament moves.
N. Korea FM: Peace possible, but only if US ends hostility
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Calling for more trust, North Korea’s foreign minister urged the United States on Saturday to keep moving past what he called seven decades of entrenched hostility if Washington wants to restart stalled negotiations meant to rid Pyongyang of its nuclear bombs.
Boiling the rivals’ diplomatic standoff down to the North’s deepening feeling of mistrust, Ri Yong Ho sought to lay out a vision of peace on the troubled Korean Peninsula — provided the North gets what it wants from the United States.
Ri, standing at a podium at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said North Korea is ready to implement the points that his leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to in June during a summit in Singapore.
But his comments were infused with what came across as impatience at the slow pace of progress in a process the world hopes will cause Pyongyang to abandon an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that aims to accurately target the entire U.S. mainland.
In recent weeks, Kim Jong Un has said he would permanently dismantle North Korea’s main nuclear complex, but only if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures. Kim has also promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad.
Syria FM: Victory over ‘terrorism’ is near, US must leave
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Declaring that victory over “terrorism” is almost at hand after more than seven years of civil war, Syria’s foreign minister took to the world stage Saturday and demanded that “occupation” forces from the U.S., France and Turkey leave the country immediately.
Walid al-Moallem told the General Assembly’s high-level meeting that the situation on the ground “is more stable and secure thanks to combatting terrorism” and “all conditions are now present for the voluntary return of refugees.”
Syrian government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have retaken most of the territory rebels seized during the war that has killed over 400,000 people and driven millions from their homes. President Bashar Assad’s government refers to all armed opposition and rebel groups fighting Syrian forces as “terrorists,” not just Islamic State or al-Qaida militants.
Last week, Russia and Turkey agreed to a deal which stopped an imminent Syrian government offensive to retake the last major rebel stronghold in the northern province of Idlib. It calls for setting up a demilitarized zone around Idlib to separate government forces from rebels, including those from the al-Qaida-linked group formerly known as the Nusra Front.
“We hope that when the agreement is implemented, the Nusra Front and other terrorists will be eradicated, thus eliminating the last remnants of terrorism in Syria,” al-Moallem said.
Indonesia tsunami death toll nears 400, expected to rise
PALU, Indonesia (AP) — Residents too afraid to sleep indoors camped out in the darkness Saturday while victims recounted harrowing stories of being separated from their loved ones a day after a powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that unleashed waves as high as 6 meters (20 feet), killing hundreds on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The official death toll stood at 384, with all the fatalities coming in the hard-hit city of Palu, but it was expected to rise once rescuers reached surrounding coastal areas, said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. He said others were unaccounted for, without giving an estimate. The nearby cities of Donggala and Mamuju were also ravaged, but little information was available due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.
Nugroho said “tens to hundreds” of people were taking part in a beach festival in Palu when the tsunami struck at dusk on Friday. Their fate was unknown.
Hundreds of people were injured and hospitals, damaged by the magnitude 7.5 quake, were overwhelmed.
Some of the injured, including Dwi Haris, who suffered a broken back and shoulder, rested outside Palu’s Army Hospital, where patients were being treated outdoors due to continuing strong aftershocks. Tears filled his eyes as he recounted feeling the violent earthquake shake the fifth-floor hotel room he shared with his wife and daughter.
Tens of thousands say ‘Not him’ to leading Brazil candidate
SAO PAULO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets Saturday in protest against the presidential front-runner, a far-right congressman whose campaign has exposed and deepened divisions in Latin America’s largest country.
The protests came the same day that Jair Bolsonaro was discharged from a Sao Paulo hospital where he received treatment after being stabbed during a campaign rally on Sept. 6. On Saturday evening, after flying home to Rio, he tweeted that there was “no better feeling” than to be close to his family.
In Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, people flooded avenues and squares to sing, dance and shout “Not him!” — the rallying cry of groups who are trying to prevent Bolsonaro from taking office in October elections.
“We’re saying to those people who are undecided: Not him,” said Selia Figueiredo, a 43-year-old banker in Sao Paulo, who said she worried for her rights as a gay woman if Bolsonaro were to win. They can vote “for anyone else, but not him.”
In the heart of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, leftist presidential candidate Guilherme Boulos and his running mate Sonia Guajajara led the march, while people beat drums and waved gay pride flags and banners that denounced Bolsonaro, who is known for offensive comments about gays, women and black people.
Legendary Chicago blues guitarist Otis Rush dies at 84
CHICAGO (AP) — Legendary Chicago blues guitarist Otis Rush, whose passionate, jazz-influenced sound influenced generations of musicians, has died. He was 84.
His longtime manager Rick Bates says Rush died Saturday of complications from a stroke suffered in 2003.
Rush was a key architect of the Chicago “West Side Sound” in the 1950s and 1960s. His first recording in 1956 on Cobra Records, “I Can’t Quit You Baby” reached No. 6 on the Billboard R&B Charts and catapulted him to fame.
He won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording in 1999 for “Any Place I’m Going.” Rush was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984.
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