It's Friday, so it's time for the panel news roundup!.
First up, it's been reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested last year that he secretly record President Donald Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit. Rosenstein reportedly made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and FBI officials. None of Mr. Rosenstein's alleged proposals apparently came to fruition. Mr. Rosenstein disputed this account. "The New York Times's story is inaccurate and factually incorrect," he said in a statement. "I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda." Really, Mr. Rosenstein?
Is the GOP trying to bargain with Judge Brett Kavanaugh's accuser? Senate Republicans are putting together a counteroffer to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault, asking her to testify Wednesday, September 26, and answer questions from a special counsel. My first question is: who's driving this train? I don't think I would want to play poker with Dr. Ford. It will be interesting to see if Dr. Ford is allowed to bring witnesses, because beyond her therapist and husband, at least one classmate has come forward to say, yes, kids heard this contemporaneously. The offer under discussion would have Ford testify first before the Senate Judiciary Committee this coming Wednesday, September 26, and then give Kavanaugh a chance to follow her with a response. Ford's lawyers, in a phone call with committee staff Wednesday afternoon, asked that the hearing be held this coming Thursday (September 27), that Kavanaugh testify first and that senators — and not an outside counsel — question the witnesses. Ford also requested through her legal team that Kavanaugh not be present in the room when she testifies and that adequate security is provided.
Meanwhile, evangelicals are threatening not to vote in the midterms if the GOP doesn't approve Kavanaugh ASAP. They have expressed their outrage with Republicans who are willing to let his accuser, Dr. Ford, testify before the Senate. The New York Times reported on Thursday that evangelical leaders have threatened to stay home and not vote in the upcoming midterms if the GOP doesn't get Kavanaugh seated. "One of the political costs of failing to confirm Brett Kavanaugh is likely the loss of the United States Senate," warned Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed, who added, "If Republicans were to fail to defend and confirm such an obviously and eminently qualified and decent nominee, then it will be very difficult to motivate and energize faith-based and conservative voters in November." Franklin Graham, an evangelical who has supported Donald Trump and even denied that the president committed adultery when having affairs with adult entertainers, said, "I hope the Senate is smarter than this, and they're not going to let this stop the process from moving forward and confirming this man."
We've got all your news analysis and so much more to cover, including an in-depth discussion on race in America.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson — Political analyst, author of Why Black Lives Do Matter and host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.
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