Kavanaugh says he ‘might have been too emotional’ at hearing WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged Thursday he “might have been too emotional” when testifying about sexual misconduct allegations as he made…
Kavanaugh says he ‘might have been too emotional’ at hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged Thursday he “might have been too emotional” when testifying about sexual misconduct allegations as he made a final bid to win over wavering GOP senators on the eve of a crucial vote to advance his confirmation.
Three GOP senators and one Democrat remain undecided about elevating Kavanaugh to the high court. Two of the Republicans signaled Thursday that they were satisfied with the findings of a confidential new FBI report into the assault allegations, boosting the hopes of GOP leaders.
President Donald Trump rallied behind Kavanaugh during a campaign event in Minnesota Thursday night, telling supporters that the “rage-fueled resistance” to his nominee “is starting to backfire at a level nobody has ever seen before.”
Still, Kavanaugh’s op-ed underscored that his performance at a Senate hearing last week opened new questions about his impartiality and judicial temperament. Democrats say Kavanaugh’s assertion that left-wing groups seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” were behind the misconduct allegations suggests he would rule from the bench with a partisan bent.
In an op-ed Thursday in The Wall Street Journal, Kavanaugh said there were “a few things I should not have said” during the hearing.
Russia accused of targeting chemical weapons watchdog
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Dutch defense minister on Thursday accused Russia’s military intelligence unit of attempted cybercrimes targeting the international chemical weapons watchdog and the investigation into the 2014 Malaysian Airlines crash over Ukraine.
The Dutch allegations came as British officials blamed Russia’s GRU for allegedly “brazen” activities worldwide the globe and for trying to cover up its alleged participation in the nerve agent poisoning of an ex-spy and the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine. MH17. Russia has consistently denied involvement in the events.
Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said that the GRU’s alleged hacking attempts on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons took place in April and were disrupted by authorities. Four Russian intelligence officers were immediately expelled from the Netherlands, she said.
Speaking about Russia’s hacking attempts into the MH17 crash investigation, she said: “We have been aware of the interest of Russian intelligence services in this investigation and have taken appropriate measures.”
“We remain very alert about this,” she said.
Heitkamp says no to Kavanaugh, citing temperament
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s decision to vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court defies her state’s heavy support for President Donald Trump, but could boost the vulnerable Democrat’s standing with independents and women.
In a politically fraught decision Thursday just a month before the Nov. 6 election, Heitkamp cited concerns about the federal judge’s temperament in announcing her opposition. Heitkamp was one of a handful of senators who had not declared how she intended to vote.
“In my judgment, Judge Kavanaugh is not someone we want on the Supreme Court,” Heitkamp said on a conference call with reporters.
Heitkamp said she “without hesitation” believed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were teenagers in Maryland in the 1980s.
Heitkamp, locked in a difficult re-election battle with Republican Kevin Cramer , was under heavy pressure over Kavanaugh. Her vote was seen as a huge gamble in a reliably Republican state where Trump remains popular, heavily recruited Cramer to run and has campaigned for him.
Passion, chaos as Kavanaugh confirmation vote nears
WASHINGTON (AP) — “This is what democracy looks like!” protesters shouted outside the Supreme Court, voicing their opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court but somehow speaking for everyone on every side on a day of passion, chaos and consequence.
Democracy on Thursday looked like:
— Senators scurrying AWAY from the cameras, not their natural state.
— Sexual assault victims pouring out their stories in the halls of the Capitol and from the steps of the high court across the street.
— “Confirm Brett!” cries from members of “Women for Kavanaugh” outside the office of Sen. Jeff Flake, one of three Republicans and perhaps one wavering Democrat who will determine whether the judge accused of sexual misconduct will become a justice.
New York AG fires another salvo at Trump Foundation
NEW YORK (AP) — New York has a strong case that President Donald Trump ran his charitable foundation with disregard for state and federal law, the state’s attorney general said Thursday in a new court filing.
Attorney General Barbara Underwood is suing the foundation, saying it broke rules prohibiting charities from engaging in political activity.
“The law is clear — private foundations cannot use their funds for the personal or business benefit of their directors, and they cannot engage in political activities,” the court filing argued.
Trump’s lawyers have asked a judge to dismiss the case, saying it was politically motivated.
In its latest salvo, state lawyers reiterated their demand that Trump be barred from being involved in running any charities for 10 years.
West accuses Russian spy agency of scores of attacks
LONDON (AP) — The West unleashed an onslaught of new evidence and indictments Thursday accusing Russian military spies of hacking so widespread that it seemed to target anyone, anywhere who investigates Moscow’s involvement in an array of criminal activities — including doping, poisoning and the downing of a plane.
Russia defiantly denied the charges, neither humbled nor embarrassed by the exceptional revelations on one of the most high-tension days in East-West relations in years. Moscow lashed back with allegations that the Pentagon runs a clandestine U.S. biological weapons program involving toxic mosquitoes, ticks and more.
The nucleus of Thursday’s drama was Russia’s military intelligence agency known as the GRU, increasingly the embodiment of Russian meddling abroad.
In the last 24 hours: U.S. authorities charged seven officers from the GRU with hacking international agencies; British and Australian authorities accused the GRU of a devastating 2017 cyberattack on Ukraine, the email leaks that rocked the U.S. 2016 election and other damaging hacks; And Dutch officials alleged that GRU agents tried and failed to hack into the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The ham-handed attempted break-in — involving hacking equipment in the trunk of a car and a trail of physical and virtual clues — was the most stunning operation revealed Thursday. It was so obvious, in fact, that it almost looked like the Russians didn’t care about getting caught.
Crew recount terror of tsunami that dumped ferry in village
WANI, Indonesia (AP) — The captain and crew sailing the Sabuk Nusantara ferry to new owners on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi got the task done and then some.
The hulking red and yellow ship was bounced like a basketball as a massive earthquake rocked the region and it landed in front of a row of houses in the village of Wani, dumped by tsunami waves that the crew say were a towering 15 meters (50 feet) or higher.
A week after the magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami hit central Sulawesi, the captain and 20 crew of the ferry remain on board, waiting for an assessment team to arrive and decide if the ship, its propeller jutting over the waterfront, can be put back to sea.
In interviews on the bridge, the captain, second-in-command and petty officer recounted minutes of chaos and sheer panic as at least 10 other vessels twisted and collided and the rapidly retreating tide — a sure sign a tsunami is coming — sucked the Sabuk Nusantara away from the pier.
“It was just sudden,” said the vessel’s second-in-command, Jona Johanes. “We felt the ship was like a basketball being bounced” as the quake rocked the region.
Busboy who comforted Robert Kennedy after he was shot dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Robert F. Kennedy decided to duck through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after declaring victory in the 1968 Democratic presidential primary, Juan Romero reveled at his good fortune.
It meant the 18-year-old busboy might get to shake hands with his hero — the man he’d assured himself would be the next president of the United States — for the second time in two days.
Romero had just grasped Kennedy’s hand when gunshots rang out, one of them striking the senator in the head.
Kennedy would die the next day and the teenage Mexican immigrant who had idolized him would carry the emotional burden of that encounter for most of his life.
“I remember him one time saying he felt guilty,” his daughter, Josefina Guerra, said Thursday. “He thought it was his fault.”
No free lunch for renewables: More wind power would warm US
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ramping up wind power in America would also dial up the nation’s temperatures, a new study out of Harvard found.
While wind energy is widely celebrated as environmentally friendly, the researchers concluded that a dramatic, all-out expansion in the number of turbines could warm the country even more than climate change from burning coal and other fossil fuels, because of the way the spinning blades disturb the layers of warm and cold air in the atmosphere.
Some parts of the central United States are already seeing nights that are up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer because of nearby wind farms, said study lead author Lee Miller, an environmental scientist at Harvard.
“Any big energy system has an environmental impact,” said Harvard engineering and physics professor David Keith, a study co-author. “There is no free lunch. You do wind on a scale big enough … it’ll change things.”
The researchers and other scientists stressed that climate change from greenhouse gas emissions is clearly a far bigger threat globally and over the long term than turbine-caused warming, which is temporary and stops when the blades aren’t turning.
Scientists: US military program could be seen as bioweapon
NEW YORK (AP) — A research arm of the U.S. military is exploring the possibility of deploying insects to make plants more resilient by altering their genes. Some experts say the work may be seen as a potential biological weapon.
In an opinion paper published Thursday in the journal Science, the authors say the U.S. needs to provide greater justification for the peace-time purpose of its Insect Allies project to avoid being perceived as hostile to other countries. Other experts expressed ethical and security concerns with the research, which seeks to transmit protective traits to crops already growing in the field.
That would mark a departure from the current widely used procedure of genetically modifying seeds for crops such as corn and soy, before they grow into plants.
The military research agency says its goal is to protect the nation’s food supply from threats like drought, crop disease and bioterrorism by using insects to infect plants with viruses that protect against such dangers.
“Food security is national security,” said Blake Bextine, who heads the 2-year-old project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.