Politics | KERA News

Politics

Political news from North Texas, across the state and beyond.

Updated at 10:12 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh issued a mea culpa of sorts on the eve of a key Senate vote that could determine whether or not he reaches the Supreme Court, admitting in an op-ed that his testimony last week forcefully defending himself from sexual assault allegations "might have been too emotional at times."

Updated at 7:51 a.m. ET on Thursday

The FBI's highly anticipated supplemental background check on Brett Kavanaugh was sent to the White House and Capitol Hill overnight, with senators set to review the report on Thursday in the final chapter of what has become a deeply acrimonious confirmation battle.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the planned arrival of the report on Wednesday night and said all senators would get a chance to review it ahead of the next procedural milestones in the chamber.

Just over a month away from critical elections across the country, the wide Democratic enthusiasm advantage that has defined the 2018 campaign up to this point has disappeared, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

In July, there was a 10-point gap between the number of Democrats and Republicans saying the November elections were "very important." Now, that is down to 2 points, a statistical tie.

After a day of wrenching testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused him of sexual assault in high school — more Americans say they believe Ford's account over Kavanaugh's denials, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush signed a resolution Tuesday agreeing to changes to the Alamo grounds.

The master plan calls for closing streets around the Alamo, creating a museum, and relocating the Cenotaph monument that honors defenders to another spot in the plaza – a proposal that generated some public opposition.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Dallas on Monday to campaign for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, according to a White House official.

Updated on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday afternoon, at exactly 2:18 p.m. ET, million of Americans received a text headlined "Presidential Alert" on their cellphones.

But it wasn't exactly from President Trump. Rather, it was a test of a new nationwide warning system that a president could use in case of an armed attack by another country, a cyberattack or a widespread natural disaster.

Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune

Two people were taken to the hospital Tuesday after a "white powdery substance" was sent to the Houston campaign office of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, according to authorities who said the powder turned out not to be hazardous.

Updated at 9:49 p.m. ET

President Trump continued his defense Tuesday of his Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, mocking one of Kavanaugh's accusers at a Mississippi campaign rally.

The latest move by Trump came just hours after he had highlighted the possibility of false accusations against young men in the midst of a cultural moment brought on in the past year by the #MeToo movement.

Former President Barack Obama weighed in on the midterm election conversation Monday, endorsing 260 candidates in federal and state races across the country.

That brings the former president's list of endorsed candidates for November's midterms, all Democrats, to over 300, as he released a tranche of endorsements in August as well.

President Trump said Monday he wants a "comprehensive" reinvestigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh so long as it is over within the one-week timetable as laid out in the Senate compromise reached Friday.

Trump said it "wouldn't bother me" if FBI investigators talked with all three women who have leveled allegations about sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh — allegations that the federal appeals court judge has denied — or pursue whatever other avenues they deem appropriate.

Updated at 7:35 a.m. ET Sunday

The FBI on Saturday began its first full day of work on an additional background investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and has reached out to the woman who alleges that the Supreme Court nominee exposed himself to her while the two were students at Yale University.

The woman, Deborah Ramirez, has agreed to cooperate with the FBI investigation, according to a statement issued by her attorney, John Clune. "Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we will have no further comment at this time," the statement said.

Why Is The Center Missing From Texas Politics?

Sep 28, 2018

From Texas Standard:

During these highly partisan times, you might be wondering, what happened to the political center? What happened to that willingness to work together despite party affiliation to get things done? Experts agree the center is definitely not holding. And they’re not sure when it’s going to come back.

AP

Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic rival Lupe Valdez face off in tonight's live, one-and-done gubernatorial debate.

AP

The close U.S. Senate race in Texas has overshadowed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's bid for a second term.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz / via Texas Tribune

The Sunday debate between Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, has been postponed due to weekend U.S. Supreme Court confirmation votes on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Tom Williams / Pool Image via AP

Thee Senate Judiciary Committee debated the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh today in advance of a vote expected at 12:30 p.m.

Watch the PBS Newshour broadcast of the hearing and the vote here.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his closest challenger, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, take the stage in Austin tonight for the first and only debate between the candidates.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET Saturday

President Trump has ordered the FBI to conduct a limited "supplemental investigation" into his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, to update the judge's background check, following a deal struck by Senate Republicans to move the nomination forward.

The move comes after Senate Republicans agreed to delay a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to give the FBI one week to look into the allegation of sexual assault brought against him by Christine Blasey Ford, which the federal appeals court judge denies.

O'Rourke: Richard W. Rodriguez/AP; Cruz: AJ Mast/AP

About the only thing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke have in common is how long they've served Texans in Washington. Both first got elected to Congress in 2012. Six years later, Cruz, a Republican, is up for re-election and O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, is vying to unseat him.

Updated at 8:47 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was defiant and visibly angry as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon, rebutting earlier emotional testimony from the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

Updated at 9:24 p.m. ET

During a rare press conference Wednesday, President Trump sent mixed messages about the fate of his embattled Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The stakes are high for Thursday's Capitol Hill hearing, pitting Trump Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault — an accusation Kavanaugh has denied — when they were both in high school more than three decades ago.

JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT

Public radio stations in Texas want to know what you want to know about the 2018 elections.

What topics do you want to hear more from the candidates about? Is education at the top of your list? How about roads, or taxes, or the environment?

Let us know and we'll do our best to give you as much information as possible before you head to the polls.

Updated at 7:47 p.m. ET

President Trump attacked Brett Kavanaugh's second accuser Tuesday, saying she "has nothing" on the Supreme Court nominee and was "totally inebriated and all messed up" during a college party at which, she said, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her.

Trump, at a photo op during his visit to the United Nations, said the accusations were part of a "con game being played by Democrats."

When President Trump delivers his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, one phrase is unlikely to show up: "rocket man."

A lot has changed since Trump used that derisive nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his address at the U.N. last year — remarks where he also said the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary.

Updated at 1:06 p.m. ET.

President Trump defended his "America First" agenda in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, in effect spiking the football at what his secretary of state described as the "Super Bowl of diplomacy."

The president boasted that he's accomplished more during his time in office than almost any previous administration — a claim that drew immediate laughter from the assembled diplomats and other world leaders.

Trump pressed ahead, undaunted.

"I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK," he said.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/Pool Photo

At their first debate in Texas’ 2018 U.S. Senate general election campaign, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, and incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, traded blows Friday over a range of issues that included immigration and criminal justice. 

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago, will testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Attorneys for Ford reached an agreement with committee staff on Sunday after days of negotiations over the conditions and details of her appearance. The terms of their agreement provide that Kavanaugh will also appear before the committee, but he will not be in the room while Ford is speaking or being questioned.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her in high school, has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, her attorneys said Saturday.

Bipartisan negotiators have tentatively agreed to work toward a Thursday hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee with Kavanaugh and Ford, but talks continue on a final agreement, according to multiple congressional sources.

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