UN Shocked when Israeli PM reveals classified information about the Islamic Republic

During his speech at the UN General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu revealed highly classified intelligence information that shocked the intelligence community around the world.
Iran maintains its nuclear program to develop a nuclear bomb.
This is the result of the nuclear agreement of Obama and the European Union with Iran.
Iran’s rulers threaten to wipe Israel off the map, but European leaders do not care.
European countries have abandoned Israel, but Israel will defend itself by itself whether the EU and the UN like it or not.
Israel will never allow a regime that chants “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” to develop nuclear weapons.


The Islamic Republic of Iran left an empty seat during the speech of the Israeli Prime Minister at the UN General Assembly.
The Iranian regime is afraid of the truth.
Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.
Hamas, Hezbollah and Shiite militant groups in Yemen and Iraq are receiving an endless supply of weapons from Iran.
Iran also has one of the worst Human Rights Record in the world.
Under Sharia law in Iran:
– There is no freedom of religion or freedom of speech.
– There is no equality between people (the non-Muslim is not equal to the Muslim).
– There are no equal rights for men and women.– There is no democracy or a separation between religion and state politics.
Child marriage, forced marriage, Child brides, polygamy, FGM, Acid attacks, honor killings, beheading and stoning.
Sharia has no place in the civilized world.

The rulers of Iran vowed to destroy Israel “in the name of Islam.”
Every Friday prayer they shout “Death America, Death to Israel”.
The media is turning a blind eye to Iran’s threats to destroy Israel.
Every Western country must stand with Israel against radical Islamic terrorism.
Iran founded the Shiite terror organization Hezbollah in Lebanon with the declared aim of destroying Israel.
During the first and second Lebanon wars, Hezbollah fired tens of thousands of rockets at civilian communities in northern Israel.
The Israeli people face the frighteningening escalation of Islamic terror acts through Israel.

COURTESY: SPEECHPOINT

FED UP: Nikki Haley slams UN “inhumane regimes won’t lecture us about human rights”

WATCH: Nikki Haley Blasts UN Human Rights Council – Nikki Haley Slams Human Rights Council As UN’s ‘Biggest Failure’.
Enough is enough! Regimes that systematically violate human rights, won’t lecture The US and Israel about human rights.
Nikki Haley announced that the United States would be leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council. She says the Trump administration is fed up with its willingness to give membership to some of the world’s cruelest regimes and engage in blatant antisemitism.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/CW3E0a0KhXo?rel=0&showinfo=0&start=39Britain, the US and Australia should stop funding the UN.
The U.N. General Assembly elected Qatar, Congo and Pakistan to its top human rights body, joining existing members such as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Venezuela.

Countries that practice Sharia laws have been chosen to be human rights watchdogs.
Even a country like Iran has been given a seat in the UN Human Rights Council.
Iran Where women are stoned to death, where gays are executed in a public square.
Christians are brutally persecuted in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pastors are jailed for no reason, no reason other than for being Christian leaders. Christians have been lashed for sipping wine during prayer services; Christians have been brutally tortured for doing nothing more than practicing their faith.Saudi Arabia is the head of the Human Rights Council, a country where there are no Christian citizens, even Christian migrant workers are persecuted by the authorities if they practice their religion.
No religion is allowed to exist in Saudi Arabia except Islam, anyone who leaves Islam is executed.

Pakistan is the worst country for Christians to live in. Under sharia blasphemy law Muslims murder Christians on false charges of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran.

These countries are kidnapping the UN bodies to push the anti-Israel and anti-Western agenda.
They use the United Nations to attack Israel which is the only democratic state in the Middle East where Christians are free and women are not considered citizens in rank.

In the last two years Benjamin Netanyahu cut 90% of Israeli aid to the UN after U.N.’s Cultural Agency passed a resolution denying the Jewish and Christian connection to Jerusalem.
Western countries should follow Israel – Cut all funding & Announce Withdrawal From U.N.

COURTESY: SPEECHPOINT

‘It breeds resistance’: Even among conservatives, Trump’s use of presidential power causes alarm


President Trump has rattled national security experts with his use of executive authority. (YURI GRIPAS/Reuters)

September 29 at 4:33 PM

President Trump’s exercise of his executive powers, particularly in matters of national security, is increasingly unsettling an array of legal scholars, including conservatives, who say it risks corroding the office of the presidency and has roiled relations between the White House and other agencies.

Over the past year, Trump has — without consulting the Office of the Pardon Attorney — granted clemency to a number of individuals, including his political ally Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona county sheriff convicted of criminal contempt related to his department’s targeting of undocumented immigrants.

Last month, Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, one of his harshest critics, who has called “treasonous” Trump’s validation of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the expense of U.S. intelligence agencies that concluded Moscow sought to help Trump win the White House.

And this month, Trump ordered the declassification of law enforcement material linked to the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, a move the president eventually walked back after protests from the Justice Department and foreign allies.

Constitutionally, such actions are defensible. But the president is “eviscerating precedent and procedure,” said David Rivkin, a conservative constitutional lawyer who was an attorney in the George H.W. Bush and Reagan administrations.

‘Bruce Ohr is a disgrace’: Trump threatens to revoke more security clearances

President Trump on Aug. 17 defended his action toward ex-CIA director John Brennan, warning former associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr could be next. 

“As far as the mechanics of government are concerned, it is creating anger and disharmony on both the side of the political masters and the career people,” he said. “It breeds resistance. It’s negative synergy.”

Trump’s un­or­tho­dox approach — taking actions, in many cases, without consulting key advisers — may bring a much-needed shake-up to the federal bureaucracy, some conservative scholars say. But others say it not only risks eroding the norms of government, but also may lead Congress and the courts to erect guardrails that constrain the presidency, leaching it of the flexibility integral to its effectiveness.

“If Congress inserts itself into these national security processes as a reaction to the way he’s exercising the powers of his office, then the institution of the presidency will actually be left much weaker than he found it,” said Carrie Cordero, who was a senior Justice Department national security lawyer in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Cordero suggested that, should Democrats retake Congress after November’s elections, they may seek to put restraints on Trump by pursuing legislation that bars the president from firing a special prosecutor or requiring that the chief executive first consult the Justice Department before granting pardons.

To be sure, some national security experts defend the president’s actions as a healthy antidote to the bureaucracy, which they feel has grown too independent.

“Shouldn’t we look, every couple of administrations, at least, at the structure of the executive bureaucracy and ask ourselves, ‘Is it working the way it should work?’ ” said Charles Kesler, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College.

He cited the security clearance issue as an example.

“Security clearances are supposed to be granted to those who have a need to know in order to plan and execute foreign policy,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine that John Brennan, who is calling the president a traitor, has a need to know after he has left office. . . . I don’t think it’s irrational or unseemly to revoke his clearance.”

The president, nonetheless, has taken to the power he is afforded under Article II of the Constitution, which outlines the scope of authorities granted to the office. He has sought to ban transgender men and women from serving in the military. He fired his FBI director, James B. Comey, who had been in charge of the Russia probe, leading to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel.

“The structure of national security is one of empowering executive discretion cabined by congressional and judicial oversight,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a self-described “center-right” think tank, and a senior homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration. “When the president acts within the normal bounds of behavior, the ability of the Cabinet and Congress to look over the shoulder is enough. When he diverges from the norms, the grant of discretion creates an opportunity for mischief, if not maliciousness.”

National security experts were unnerved by Trump’s use of his pardon power. No modern president has exercised it as he has — that is, so early and frequently in a presidency and mostly without input from the Justice Department’s pardon attorney, who reviews clemency petitions and makes recommendations to the White House based on applicants’ post-conviction conduct, their character, acceptance of responsibility and remorse.

Trump pardoned Arpaio, who faced up to six months in jail for defying a court order, in August 2017 — before the former sheriff was even sentenced. The move fanned speculation that the president was signaling his willingness to look out for associates who might be charged in the Russia investigation.

“I’d be the first to say that the use of the pardon power with Sheriff Joe was obviously not within the purpose that the framers hoped,” said John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration. “It’s petty, foolish, unnecessary. But it doesn’t really harm the long-term interests of the country. If he pardoned Paul Manafort, then I would be worried.”

Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman until August 2016 and came under investigation for past consulting work for Ukraine’s pro-Russian ruling party. In August, he was convicted of financial fraud linked to that lobbying work and has pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in Mueller’s probe. As part of his plea agreement, Manafort is cooperating with the special counsel.

Trump has declined to say whether he would pardon Manafort, though he has called the trial a “very sad day for our country” and Manafort “a very good person.”

Stripping Brennan of his security clearance was widely seen as political retaliation , a slap at a senior intelligence official who has taken to Twitter and cable news to attack the president’s agenda and discredit him. Critics of Trump’s decision, even those who feel Brennan’s antagonism toward the president has been excessive, said Trump should have consulted the CIA, which issued the clearance.

“It’s just unseemly,” Rivkin said. “You’ve got to work through the system. You cannot just say, ‘I’m going to strip clearances on my own.’ It sets up a pernicious dynamic. He absolutely can do it, constitutionally, but it is not wise.”

Trump has threatened to revoke the clearances of others who have raised his ire, including Comey, FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Each has played a role in the Russia probe.

Trump fired Comey in May 2017, a move his critics suggest was intended to end the investigation. The president celebrated McCabe’s firing earlier this year amid allegations he misled officials conducting a leak investigation. And Trump suggested that Ohr, who has been linked to a dossier suggesting a conspiracy between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, should be terminated as well.

“The common thread, of course, is that all of these people are associated in some way, in his mind at least, with what he refers to as the ‘witch hunt,’ that is, the investigation of his campaign, or him, and ties to the Russians,” said David Kris, a Justice Department official in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. “So there you see self-interest coming to the fore.”

National security experts were stunned once more when Trump ordered the declassification and public release of sensitive law enforcement documents central to the Russia probe’s origins, including the application to wiretap Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.

The wiretap application was made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs the surveillance of suspected spies and terrorists on U.S. soil. Until this year, no FISA application had ever been made public, on grounds that such documents contain details that could compromise espionage and terrorism investigations, expose informants and put them at risk.

“Look, there is absolutely an overclassification problem in the U.S. government,” said Susan Hennessey, a Brookings Institution fellow and former lawyer in the National Security Agency Office of General Counsel. “But there is information that is genuinely and appropriately classified, and when it’s disclosed, it has immediate consequences.”

Four days after issuing his latest declassification order, the president retreated. Instead, the Justice Department’s inspector general has been directed to conduct an expedited review of the documents. In a tweet, Trump said “key allies” expressed concerns about the documents’ release and that Justice Department officials told him that releasing the material without review could adversely affect the Russia probe.

The president undoubtedly has the legal authority to declassify and even shift the balance between secrecy and transparency, but doing so in this instance is inappropriate, as the records Trump wants released relate to a probe of which he is a subject, Kris said.

“It is very corrosive to the rule of law when it looks clear that the reason he is shifting is not because he has made some broad policy judgment about what lies in the national interest,” he added, “but to serve his own self-interest or for partisan political gain.”

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Elon Musk agrees to pay $20 million and quit as Tesla chairman in deal with SEC

Elon Musk neutral expression

Elon Musk agreed Saturday to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine in a deal to settle charges brought this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under the settlement, which requires court approval, Musk will be allowed to stay as CEO but must leave his role as chairman of the board within 45 days. He cannot seek reelection for three years, according to court filings.

He accepted the deal with the SEC “without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint,” according to a court document.

Separately, Tesla agreed Saturday to pay $20 million to settle claims it failed to adequately police Musk’s tweet.

“The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process,” the SEC said in a press release.

The company also agreed to appoint two new independent directors to its board and establish a board committee to oversee Musk’s communications.

Tesla declined to comment. A spokesperson confirmed Musk will be permitted to remain a member of the board.

The announcement from the SEC comes two days after the agency filed a lawsuit against Musk, claiming he misled investors. The suit centers on tweets Musk sent on August 7 in which he said he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share, causing the company’s stock to soar. He had not secured the funding, the SEC said.

The lawsuit sought to ban Musk from serving as an officer or director of any publicly traded company.

Musk called the SEC’s suit “unjustified.”

“I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors,” he said. “Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”

CNBC, citing unnamed sources, reported that the agency filed the suit on Thursday after Musk refused an earlier settlement offer. Under that deal, Musk would have had to pay a “nominal fine” and leave his role as chairman for two years. He chose not to accept the terms because “because he felt that by settling he would not be truthful to himself,” according to the outlet.

A representative for Musk did not immediately reply to CNN’s request for comment Saturday.

Jay Dubow, a partner at Pepper Hamilton and a veteran of the SEC’s enforcement division, said it was “unusual” that the SEC agreed to let Musk stay on as chief executive but exit the chairman role.

It’s surprising considering “the conduct at issue, if [the SEC] really thought it was egregious,” Dubow said. “The CEO is certainly more involved than the chairman in day-to-day operations.”

He suggested the SEC may have determined that removing Musk as CEO would cause more harm to Tesla’s share price, and thus harm investors.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson estimated in a recent note that Tesla’s stock has a $130 “Musk premium,” which could disappear if he leaves.

Still unclear is whether or not the Department of Justice will file criminal charges against Musk.

Tesla confirmed earlier this month that the DOJ was investigating whether Musk’s comments about taking his company private constituted criminal activity.

Dubow, the former SEC official, said he suspects nothing will come of it.

“My guess is that it’s still possible the DOJ will pursue something, but…it’s more likely than not that the DOJ chooses not to pursue this,” he said.

The settlement has likely assuaged the SEC, mitigating the DOJ’s incentive to act.

Third accuser Julie Swetnick alleges Kavanaugh attended 1982 party where she was gang-raped Michael Finnegan

Third accuser Julie Swetnick alleges Kavanaugh attended 1982 party where she was gang-raped
Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, appeared Monday on Fox News to rebut accusations that the Supreme Court nominee engaged in sexual misconduct in high school and college. (Fox News)

 

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was present at a 1982 house party where a Washington woman says she was gang-raped, according to an explosive statement that her lawyer released Wednesday.

The woman, Julie Swetnick, 55, did not accuse Kavanaugh of participating in the assault, which would have occurred at one of many parties that she said they both attended when Kavanaugh was in high school.

But she said she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh, his friend Mark Judge and others to get girls “inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang-raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys.”

“I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room,” she wrote in a declaration that her attorney, Michael Avenatti, posted Wednesday on Twitter. “These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.”

Kavanaugh and Judge denied the allegations, which The Times has not independently confirmed.

“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,” Kavanaugh, 53, said in a statement released by the White House. “I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”

Swetnick’s statement upended the already tumultuous Senate confirmation hearings of a nominee who could ensure a conservative tilt to the nation’s highest court for years to come. She is the third woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when he was in high school or college.

At a news conference in New York, President Trump defended Kavanaugh and attacked Avenatti as a “low-life” lawyer.

“It’s a con job by the Democrats,” he said of the women’s allegations. “They know it.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships – a total low-life!

Swetnick’s allegations came on the eve of a high-stakes Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychologist and professor at Palo Alto University, is scheduled to testify about what she has described as a sexual assault by Kavanaugh when he was 17 and she was 15.

Kavanaugh is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Avenatti sent Swetnick’s declaration to the Judiciary Committee. Lawyers for the Senate panel were reviewing it Wednesday, and Kavanaugh was going to be asked to respond under oath, according to Republican lawmakers.

Democratic senators and their allies quickly called for a postponement of Friday’s planned vote on Kavanaugh in the Judiciary Committee.

“Republicans need to immediately suspend the proceedings related to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, and the president must order the FBI to reopen the background check investigation,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York.

“There are now multiple, corroborated allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, made under the penalty of perjury, all of which deserve a thorough investigation.”

A Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, said Thursday’s hearing on Ford’s allegation should go forward as planned.

“These most recent allegations don’t have anything to do with Dr. Ford,” he said. “We’ve committed to hearing from her and that’s what we’ll be doing tomorrow.”

It’s unclear whether Senate Republicans will ultimately have enough votes to confirm Kavanaugh. At least two Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, remain undecided.

Swetnick has worked on digital and website operations for a variety of U.S. government agencies in the Washington area.

Her declaration says she has held security clearances at the U.S. Mint, the Internal Revenue Service, State Department, Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security.

Swetnick attended Gaithersburg High School in a Maryland suburb of Washington. From 1981 to 1983, she said in her declaration, Kavanaugh and Judge were present at more than 10 house parties that she attended in the Washington area.

Avenatti told CNN that two witnesses can corroborate her statement on being gang-raped, and multiple others can attest to the behavior of Kavanaugh at the house parties. He declined to name them, but said he would provide their names to the FBI and the Judiciary Committee if investigators pursue the matter.

When she was gang-raped, Swetnick said, “I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me. I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes or something similar placed in what I was drinking.”

Michael Avenatti

@MichaelAvenatti

Here is a picture of my client Julie Swetnick. She is courageous, brave and honest. We ask that her privacy and that of her family be respected.

Swetnick described Kavanaugh and Judge as “joined at the hip.” They drank excessively, she alleged, and engaged in “highly inappropriate conduct, including being overly aggressive with girls and not taking ‘No’ for an answer.”

“This conduct included the fondling and grabbing of girls without their consent,” she wrote.

Swetnick said she recalled seeing Kavanaugh press girls against him without their consent and attempt to take off their clothing to expose private body parts.

Kavanaugh, Judge and others tried to spike the punch at house parties with drugs or grain alcohol so girls would lose their inhibitions about sex, Swetnick alleged.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Michael Avenatti

@MichaelAvenatti

Below is my correspondence to Mr. Davis of moments ago, together with a sworn declaration from my client. We demand an immediate FBI investigation into the allegations. Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation.

Ford has said that Judge, a conservative author and journalist who was Kavanaugh’s classmate at Georgetown Prep high school, was in the room when Kavanaugh attacked her.

In “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” his 1997 autobiographical account of party life at Georgetown Prep, Judge, a recovering alcoholic, wrote about a student named “Bart O’Kavanaugh” who threw up in someone’s car and passed out.

Judge has said he never witnessed any assault on Ford by Kavanaugh. His lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, said Judge also “vehemently denies Ms. Swetnick’s allegations.”

In a Fox News interview on Monday, Kavanaugh was asked about Avenatti’s initial allegation, without naming Swetnick, that he’d attended a party where a gang rape occurred. He called it “totally false and outrageous.”

“Yes, there were parties, and the drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there, and yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school, I think all of us have probably done things, we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit,” he said.

“But that’s not what we’re talking about.,” Kavanaugh said. “We’re talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

Ford has told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh was heavily intoxicated at a party when he jumped on her in a bedroom, tried to remove her clothes and covered her mouth with his hand to stop her from screaming.

Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (ResearchGate.net)

 

On Sunday night, the New Yorker published an article in which one of Kavanaugh’s Yale University classmates, Deborah Ramirez, accused him of exposing himself to her at close range at a drunken dormitory party. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.

The Judiciary Committee has also asked Kavanaugh privately about two other allegations of sexual misconduct by accusers who declined to be publicly identified.

Shortly after Avenatti released Swetnick’s statement, Trump lashed out at the Newport Beach lawyer on Twitter. Trump called him “a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me,” alluding to allegations by Avenatti’s client Stormy Daniels that Trump had extramarital sex with the porn star in 2006.

“He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships — a total low-life!” Trump tweeted.

Avenatti, who says he might seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, has declined to say how Swetnick became his client.

For nearly seven months, Avenatti has been one of Trump’s most aggressive tormentors on television. Until Wednesday, the president, known for belittling his critics, had painstakingly avoided responding to the provocations.

When Trump finally insulted him on Wednesday, Avenatti quickly mocked the president on Twitter as a global laughingstock and a “con” admired by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Michael Avenatti

@MichaelAvenatti

Trump pretends he is a tough guy. He is nothing of the kind. He grew up spoiled with a silver spoon in his mouth and a gold toilet under his butt. He was handed everything. That is why the majority of America & the UN laughs at him and calls him a con. But at least Putin is a fan

Twitter: @finneganLAT

Times staff writers Jennifer Haberkorn, Victoria Kim, David Savage and Sarah D. Wire contributed to this report.

4:35 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from President Trump, Michael Avenatti and Brett Kavanaugh, along with details from Mark Judge’s book.

11:35 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from Barbara Van Gelder and Sens. Charles E. Schumer and John Cornyn.

10 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from Brett Kavanaugh and President Trump.

9:25 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from Julie Swetnick’s declaration.

This article was originally published at 8:45 a.m.

Flake, Murkowski join Democrats in calling for FBI probe of sex assault allegations against Kavanaugh

Flake, Murkowski join Democrats in calling for FBI probe of sex assault allegations against Kavanaugh
Brett Kavanaugh (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

 

In a surprise turnaround, Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined Democrats on Friday in calling for a one-week delay in final voting on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, to allow for an FBI probe into the sexual assault allegations against him.

“I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but no more than one week,” Flake said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after huddling with Democrats. Murkowski, who had previously called for an FBI probe, quickly joined him.

The concerns of the two key Republicans likely ends hopes by GOP leaders to confirm Kavanaugh by next week.

Flake noted the deep divisions that had been exposed by Thursday’s powerful testimony from Palo Alto professor Christine Blasey Ford, who said she was “100%” certain that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh emotionally and strongly denied the allegation.

“This country is being ripped apart here, and we’ve got to make sure that we do due diligence,” said Flake, who is retiring from the Senate in January and has frequently butted heads with Trump.

Despite Flake’s new position, the Judiciary Committee proceeded to approve Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday on a party-line vote, 11 to 10, with strong objections from Democrats.

But the GOP-led committee later endorsed Flake’s call for an FBI background check, reversing its earlier position that one was not needed.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee will request that the administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court,” read a statement from the committee. “The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.”

A preliminary vote by the full Senate was originally planned for Saturday, and Republicans had been optimistic of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) must now decide whether to hold the floor vote as planned. Republicans cannot afford to lose more than one of their members, assuming all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said GOP leaders decided Friday to proceed with Saturday’s preliminary vote by the full Senate as planned, perhaps as a voice vote. But plans for Tuesday’s scheduled final vote remained unclear.

Asked about developments, Trump said Friday, “I’m going to let the Senate handle that. They’ll make their decisions. I’m sure it will all be very good.”

The president also praised Kavanaugh and, for the first time, Ford. “I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman,” Trump said.

Thursday’s hearing laid bare the deeply divisive politics at stake in Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Democrats accused the GOP of rushing through a nominee under a “dark cloud of suspicion [that] will forever change both the Senate and our nation’s highest court,” according to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.).

Republicans blasted Democrats for a “smear campaign” against the nominee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), too, warned it would permanently change the way the Senate treats judicial nominees.

Earlier in the day before he called for an FBI probe, Flake had said he would vote to approve Kavanaugh. He said he left Thursday’s hearing with “as much doubt as certainty.” But, “I believe that the Constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well. I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

After coming under intense criticism in the Capitol from protesters, including some who confronted him outside an elevator saying they were victims of sexual assault, Flake appeared to have second thoughts about voting this weekend. Later, during the committee hearing, Flake abruptly left with Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) to huddle outside the room.

Meanwhile, a key Democrat — Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana — said he would oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination. The move by Donnelly, who supported Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, further increased the partisan tone of Kavanaugh’s nomination. It also increases the pressure on key Republican holdouts to support the nomination if it is to be successful on the Senate floor.

“I have deep reservations about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to this lifetime position,” Donnelly said, echoing calls from other Democrats for an FBI investigation into Ford’s allegation. “Only 113 people have ever served on the Supreme Court, and I believe that we must do our level best to protect its sanctity.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is also undecided and has yet to say how she will vote.

1:05 p.m.: This article was updated with the committee statement.

12:40 p.m.: This article was updated with Sen. John Cornyn’s comments.

11:45 a.m.: This article was updated with Sen Lisa Murkowski joining Flake in calling for a delay on the final vote.

11:10 a.m.: This article was updated with Sen. Jeff Flake’s comments and the committee vote.

8:50 a.m.: This article was updated with Sen. Joe Donnelly’s comment.

7:40 a.m.: This article was updated with Sen. Patrick Leahy’s comment.

7:10 a.m.: This article was updated with details about the committee vote.

This article was originally published at 6:30 a.m.

Christine Ford, Brett Kavanaugh give emotional testimony at US Senate hearing

NEWS

A woman who accuses US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct testified before a Senate committee hearing. Kavanaugh said the claim is false and called the allegations a calculated political hit.

    
Kavanaugh being sworn in during his US Senate hearing (Reuters/T. Williams)

Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh both fought back tears on Thursday as they told a US Senate committee about claims of a sexual assault alleged to have occurred when they were both teenagers in the 1980s.

The hearing will play a major role in senators’ decision to approve Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court.

Testifying first on Thursday, Ford said Kavanaugh locked her in a bedroom during a social gathering and pinned her to the bed. “Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He was having a hard time because he was inebriated… I believed he was going to rape me.”

Kavanaugh, who faced questioning after Ford, told senators he was innocent of the charges leveled against him, saying the accusations had destroyed his family. He called the allegations against him a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.”

Brett Kavanaugh Brett Kavanaugh at times appeared angry as he responded to Ford’s allegations of a sexual attack

Key points from Ford’s testimony 

  • Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology, told the committee Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the summer of 1982 at a house in Maryland when he was 17 and she was 15.
  • “He began running his hands over my body and grinding into me,” she said, adding that Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth when she tried to yell for help.
  • “This is what terrified me the most and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”
  • The 51-year-old said her strongest memory from the alleged assault was that Kavanaugh and another boy were “drunkenly laughing during the attack…and they’re having fun at my expense.”
  • “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life for a very long time,” Ford told senators. She said she had anxiety, phobia and PTSD-type symptoms, and struggled academically and socially for years.
  • When asked by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein if this could be a case of mistaken identity, Ford replied: “Absolutely not.”

    Watch video02:17

    Kavanaugh’s first accuser to testify at crucial hearing

Key points from Kavanaugh’s testimony

  • Kavanaugh, an appellate court judge, said he “categorically and unequivocally denies the allegations against him.”
  • Referring to notes in his calendar, he told senators he was not at the party described by Ford, nor did he have “any sexual or physical encounter of any kind” with her.
  • Kavanaugh admitted to underage drinking, but he said he never drank to the point of blacking out.
  • Sometimes choking back tears, Kavanaugh described the devastating toll of the allegations, saying they had “totally and permanently destroyed” his family and name.
  • The 53-year-old said opposition to his nomination was part of an “orchestrated political hit” fueled by anger against Trump.
  • He called the process “a circus,” and said he would “not be intimidated into withdrawing” his Supreme Court bid.
  • Kavanaugh refused to answer a question from Democratic Senator Richard Durbin about whether he would welcome an FBI investigation into the allegations.

Protesters march on Supreme Court

Protesters supporting Kavanaugh and Ford gathered on Capitol Hill during the hearing. Some held signs urging senators to “confirm Kavanaugh,” others said: “Supreme injustice must end” and “We believe Dr. Blasey Ford.”

“We want to let her know that she has our support,” Nina Marciano from D.C. told DW’s US correspondent, Michael Knigge. “We are here to commend her and also urge our leaders to make the right decision … I would want an FBI investigation.”

Michael Knigge

@kniggem

Second group of protesters now joining first group at Reflecting Pool near the Capitol.

Protesters also marched to the Supreme Court, where Kavanaugh would work if confirmed by the committee and Senate.

Michael Knigge

@kniggem

Chants of “Whose court? — Our court” now ringing out at the Supreme Court.

What other accusers have said: Ford is one of three women to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s. Deborah Ramirez told US media that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a college party when they were both at Yale University. A third woman, Julie Swetnick, said Kavanaugh engaged in “abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls” at parties, and that he was “present” when she was raped by multiple boys.

Trump’s response to the allegations: President Donald Trump has fiercely defended his nominee, alleging the accusations are fabrication and part of a “con job” by the Democrats. However, he has said he would listen to what Ford has to say at the hearing and, if persuaded, could withdraw the nomination.

Watch video02:52

Protesters rally in D.C. against Kavanaugh nomination

How Kavanaugh could impact Supreme Court: Trump chose staunch conservative Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had been a swing vote on a court currently split between four conservative and four liberal justices. Kavanaugh’s appointment would cement conservative control of the top court — furthering Trump’s efforts to shift the federal judiciary to the right. The Democratic Party has balked at Trump’s nominee, and the controversy surrounding the assault allegations has only deepened the battle lines between the two parties. Democrats have demanded the nomination process be suspended until a full investigation into the women’s claims has been carried out.

What happens next: Supreme Court appointments must be confirmed by the Senate, where Trump’s Republican Party holds a slim majority. A few weeks ago, Kavanaugh’s confirmation appeared a done deal, but things have shifted since allegations of misconduct against him surfaced, and there are signs that some moderate Republicans are on the fence. The committee is set to hold a vote on Friday. If approved, Kavanaugh’s nomination could then go before the full Senate on Tuesday for a final vote.

nm/sms(Reuters, dpa, AP)

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COURTESY: DW

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