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U.S. News September 2018:
Big donor to Trump campaign made overture to top Russian official, boasting of connections - The businessman, who donated $273,000 in 2016, wanted a face-to-face meeting with a Russian official. A Russian-born American businessman who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Donald Trump's run for president in 2016 offered to brief a high-ranking Russian official during the final months of the campaign, according to a series of emails reviewed by NBC News. The businessman, Simon Kukes, a Houston-based oil executive, sent an email to the official in Moscow in July 2016, boasting of his connections to the Trump campaign and requesting a face-to-face meeting. “I have been actively involved in Trump’s election campaign, and am part of the group on strategy development,” Kukes wrote in the email to Vyacheslav Pavlovsky, vice president of the state-owned Russian Railways and a former Russian ambassador to Norway. “I will be in Switzerland July 20th till August 2nd. Let me know how you are doing, and whether you want to meet.”

Senate panel contacts Michael Avenatti after his claim of damaging information about Brett Kavanaugh - The Senate Judiciary Committee contacts Michael Avenatti after the lawyer claims to have evidence of misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Avenatti says he represents a client who has information about the judge, though he has not yet shared that information publicly. Two women have now accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, which the appeals judge denies.

‘Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court’: McConnell just erased any doubt about Republicans' intentions to hear Ford out - A big reason Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s accuser says she doesn’t want to testify in the Senate without first having her claims investigated by the FBI is she doesn’t think she’ll be treated objectively and fairly by politicians. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) just thoroughly justified Christine Blasey Ford’s concerns. In comments Friday, he laid plain his intention to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, apparently no matter what Ford has to share. “Here’s what I want to tell you,” McConnell said Friday morning at a summit for social conservatives. “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.” There is no other way to read McConnell’s comment other than that the Ford allegation doesn’t matter to him, at least not when he’s so close to fulfilling his goal of firming up the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 conservative majority weeks before an election. Put another way: A woman accused a Supreme Court nominee of drunkenly pinning her to a bed, groping her and covering her mouth when she screamed when they were in high school decades ago. She provided therapist notes from well before Kavanaugh was such a public figure. She took a polygraph test. She is willing to undergo an FBI investigation and testify under oath before the Senate. These are all moves that outside experts say make her story credible, and yet here is the most powerful politician in the Senate appearing to brush all of that aside because he wants to “do [his] job.”

A doctor who was on reality TV and his girlfriend have been charged with drugging and raping 2 women -     A surgeon who once appeared on a reality TV show and his girlfriend have been charged with drugging and raping two people. Grant William Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley allegedly attacked women that they met in 2016, using drugs and alcohol to stop them from resisting. Prosecutors say there could be "hundreds" more victims. They say "thousands" of videos and images on Robicheaux's phone show women intoxicated beyond the ability to consent. The Orange County district attorney said the pair used "good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey."

Anderson Cooper accuses Donald Trump Jr. of ‘tweeting lies’ with old hurricane photo - Anderson Cooper spent the last 10 minutes of his show on Monday night responding to a critic: the president’s son. “Some guy said I was on my knees to make it look deep and then went on to say that I was used to being on my knees, which I assume is some sort of anti-gay reference,” he said. “Very classy.” He later added, “The idea that I am kneeling in water to make it look deep is, frankly, idiotic.” Cooper went on to explain that the photo was taken during Hurricane Ike, not during Hurricane Florence, as anyone who saw it circulating over the weekend might have assumed. He pointed out that the cameraman who appears in the photo was Doug Thomas, a CNN audio technician who died in September 2017. And he played back multiple clips from the original broadcast, which show him walking around in the floodwaters. “I’m not done,” he said, five minutes in. “I’m just getting started.” Pushing back against the idea that he had attempted to dramatize the situation, Cooper pointed out that he had told viewers in 2008 that the water had actually receded, and that CNN had also showed footage of emergency vehicles driving on a nearby road that was not nearly as flooded. “You can argue I didn’t need to be standing in waist-deep water,” he said. “I could have been standing on the road by the camera crew. But, again, I didn’t want to be roaming around on the highway interfering with rescue vehicles in any way. I also wanted to show people how deep the water was and how dangerous it is for anyone driving.”

Kavanaugh Accuser Comes Forward, Saying He Pinned Her on Bed and Groped Her - The woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago has come forward, saying that during a high school party a drunken Mr. Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, groped her and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist at Palo Alto University in Northern California, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

If Trump slaps tariffs on more Chinese goods, U.S. shoppers will pay the price - President Trump’s threat to ramp up tariffs on Chinese imports takes direct aim at American consumers, who face the prospect of higher prices for thousands of Chinese goods from frozen fish sticks to vacuum cleaners. Shoppers could start seeing price increases on perishable Chinese food imports, including seafood, within days of implementation. Other prices might take longer to react, if they do at all. Trump — fed up with a U.S. trade deficit with China that reached a record $376 billion last year — has instructed aides to move forward with 25% tariffs on $200 billion worth of imported Chinese goods spread across 6,031 product categories, Bloomberg reported Friday. However, the announcement was delayed as administration officials consider revisions based on complaints by industry and the public. The list of goods currently includes can openers, pizza cutters, ice cream scoops and other basic housewares that Bradshaw Home Inc. in Rancho Cucamonga imports from China and sells to retailers nationwide, and prices for those products would head higher, said Brett Bradshaw, co-president of Bradshaw Home.

Obama and Trump fight for America's soul - Just as Barack Obama was warning that America is in the grip of a politics of fear that undermines norms and political accountability, President Donald Trump was unleashing his latest assault on traditions of governance that underpin the nation's democracy. "These are extraordinary times. Dangerous times," Obama warned in an extraordinary indictment of the behavior of a successor to whom he handed power in January 2017 and who has torn at the conventions that restrain presidents ever since. It was a revealing moment in an enthralling clash of philosophy, temperament and style that unfolded Friday between a current and former president who epitomize opposing currents in an epochal political moment and are now in direct conflict ahead of the midterm elections. The campaign trail face-off between Obama and Trump also capped a consequential week that saw the awakening of the Washington establishment after John McCain's funeral turned into an indictment of Trumpism and in which Trump battled an enemy within his own administration.

Trump Wants Attorney General to Investigate Source of Anonymous Times Op-Ed - President Trump intensified his attack Friday on an anonymous Op-Ed essay published in The New York Times, declaring that he wanted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the source of the article, which he has condemned as an act of treason. Mr. Trump said he was also considering action against The Times, though he did not elaborate. Prosecutors said it would be inappropriate for the Justice Department to conduct such an investigation, since it was likely that no laws were broken, while The Times said it would be an abuse of power. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to Fargo, N.D., Mr. Trump said, “I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.” The president has raged against the essay since The Times published it on Wednesday afternoon, setting off a frenzy of speculation in the capital about the identity of the author and prompting a parade of denials from cabinet members and other prominent officials in the Trump administration.

Trump's Speeches Feature Mystery Men the White House Won't Name - Trump didn’t identify his supporter, and the White House won’t say who it is. Trade groups representing the largest U.S. businesses and CEOs have almost universally opposed Trump’s disruptive approach to trade. But the person fits a model: an anonymous figure -- important and powerful -- who invariably supports the president’s position, according to Trump himself. They are fixtures of Trump’s speeches, defying conventional wisdom and popping up to back the president on issues including prison reform and immigration, in addition to trade. In some cases Trump’s accounts are rebutted by the people he seems to describe. Key details change when he repeats the stories.

Pro-Trump guest grilled on Fox News: Why are president’s poll numbers so low if Americans are happy? - Fox News host Leland Vittert on Sunday pressed radio host R.J. Harris, an outspoken supporter of President Trump, on why the president's apparent economic successes haven't translated to strong approval ratings. Vittert specifically noted a new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post,  in which 60 percent of respondents said they disapprove of Trump’s  performance in office. The poll also found that only 3 percent of  African-Americans approve of the president's job performance.

Microwave Weapons Could Be The Culprit Behind The Mysterious U.S. Embassy Attacks - Several experts agree the unorthodox weapons are a “prime suspect,” The New York Times reported.

Brett Kavanaugh’s views on privacy and the Fourth Amendment should make Republicans think twice - Republicans and libertarians are raising the alarm about one aspect of Kavanaugh’s record: his views on Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure and on privacy rights more generally. Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) has opposed Kavanaugh as too deferential to the executive branch’s unwarranted collection of electronic data. Similarly Larry Klayman, longtime Clinton legal nemesis and the founder of the conservative group Judicial Watch, took issue with Kavanaugh’s opinion in a case about government bulk collection of metadata, Klayman v. Obama. Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court raises troubling concerns about our right to be free of unwarranted government oversight in an age of expanding capacity to engage in surveillance without our knowledge.

Growth Has Lifted Counties That Voted for Trump. Mostly, It’s the Wealthy Ones. - President Trump’s economy has left the most distressed swaths of the country waiting for their share of the good times. Growth under Mr. Trump has not helped everywhere. It has lifted  wealthy areas, like St. Charles County, which were already growing  before he took office. And it has left the most economically troubled  swaths of the country, the ones that Mr. Trump promised to revitalize,  waiting for their share of the good times.

Trump blasts Sessions over investigations into GOP lawmakers - President Trump slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions over criminal charges brought against two Republican congressmen in recent weeks, suggesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had endangered GOP hopes of retaining both seats in the November elections. "Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department," Trump tweeted.

White House Withholds 100,000 Pages of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Records -  The Trump White House, citing executive privilege, is withholding from the Senate more than 100,000 pages of records from Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time as a lawyer in the administration of former President George W. Bush. The decision, disclosed in a letter that a lawyer for Mr. Bush sent on Friday to Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, comes just days before the start of Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Tuesday. It drew condemnation from Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “We’re witnessing a Friday night document massacre,” Mr. Schumer wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “President Trump’s decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100k pages of Judge Kavanaugh’s records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of SCOTUS noms, it has all the makings of a cover up.”

Trump blasts union leader on Labor Day - President Trump started his Labor Day with an attack on a top union leader, lashing out after criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Mr. Trump tweeted Monday morning that Trumka "represented his union poorly on television this weekend." He added: "it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!" The president's attack came after Trumka appeared on "Fox News Sunday" over the weekend where he said efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement should include Canada. Trumka, whose organization is an umbrella group for most unions, said the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico are "integrated" and "it's pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal."

8 people shot, wounded at California apartment complex - Eight people were shot and wounded Sunday evening in an apparent  exchange of fire at an apartment complex in San Bernardino, California,  authorities said. The incident happened at around 10:45 p.m. according to Capt. Rich  Lawhead, spokesman for the San Bernardino Police Department, ABC station  KABC in Los Angeles reported.

Heavy rain hits Florida as Gulf Coast braces for looming tropical storm - Heavy rain, gusty winds and thunderstorms are hitting South Florida as the Gulf Coast braces for looming Tropical Storm Gordon.

Senator John McCain has been buried at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after a small private ceremony - heavyweights from across the political spectrum gathered at the  Washington National Cathedral to remember the Arizona senator, who  became one of America's most high-profile politicians.

Trump: DOJ, FBI Have To "Straighten Out" Or "I Will Get Involved"; "People Are Angry" - President Trump criticized the Department of Justice and FBI at a campaign rally Thursday night in Indiana. The president threatened to "get involved" but in the meantime, they need to "straighten out" and "start doing their jobs and doing it right."

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