Two moderate Republicans who could be pivotal in determining whether the Senate confirms U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh criticized President Donald Trump on Wednesday for mocking a woman who has accused the judge of sexual assault.
Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins were among the lawmakers who took issue with comments Trump made regarding Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor from California who detailed her sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh at an extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week.
At a political rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, Trump mocked Ford’s testimony about the alleged assault in Maryland in 1982 when she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17.
Ford testified that she could not remember the precise date or location of the alleged assault, but offered a detailed account of the incident itself in which she said a drunken Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth when she screamed.
“What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember,” Trump said in his imitation of Ford’s testimony.
“And a man’s life is in tatters,” Trump added.
Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Flake said that “there’s no time and no place for remarks like that, that discuss something this sensitive at a political rally.”
“It’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t … done it. I just say it’s kind of appalling,” Flake said of Trump’s comments.
Speaking briefly to reporters, Collins said, “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.” She did not respond when asked if his comments would affect her vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Trump’s fellow Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin. That means if all the Democrats vote against Kavanaugh, Trump could not afford to have more than one Republican oppose his nominee, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tie-breaking vote.
So far, no Republicans have said they would vote against Kavanaugh.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation this week after each senator is given a report on the ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump’s nominee for a lifetime job on the top U.S. court.
The fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lifetime job on the top U.S. court comes against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement fighting sexual harassment and assault that has toppled a succession of powerful men.
Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, McConnell again took aim at Kavanaugh opponents.
McConnell said that there is “no chance in the world they’re going to scare us out of doing our duty. We will not be intimidated by these people. This is all part of the organized effort to delay, obstruct and intimidate, including those of us who will be voting this week.”
The fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination has unfolded just weeks ahead of Nov. 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to seize control of Congress from Republicans.
Brexit Will Not Happen Next Week
Brexit will not happen next week. The United Kingdom has been granted a bit more time to figure out the terms of its departure from the European trading bloc. The date could be April the twelfth or may the twenty-second.
European Council President, Donald Tusk, says he would push the departure date to May the twenty-second if the UK parliament approves a withdrawal agreement next week.
Parliament’s failure to approve the Brexit deal next week would mean deadline for departure from the European Union will be April the twelfth.
The decision to grant the delay came a day after may delivered a televised speech blaming parliament for the Brexit impasse. That speech angered the political spectrum.
May hopes with this European Council next decision, the House of Commons would pass a Brexit deal next week. She says that would help bring an end to the uncertainty and would help the UK to leave Europe in a smooth and orderly manner.
Chemical Factory Explosion In China Kills 47, Injures Over 600
An explosion at a chemical plant that occurred on Thursday in China’s eastern Jiangsu province has killed 47 people and injured over 600, among which 90 are critically injured, state media reported.
The fire which happened at a plant that contained highly inflammable chemical owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Company spread to neighbouring factories was finally brought under control at 3.00 a.m. on Friday.
President Xi Jinping, who is in Italy on a state visit, ordered all-out efforts to care for the injured and to “earnestly maintain social stability”, state television said.
Reuters disclosed that some police at the scene were wearing face masks, sealed off roads to the plant. The blast smashed windows in the village of Wangshang two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, and shocked villagers likened it to an earthquake.
New Zealand Bans Sale Of Assault Rifles, Semi-Automatic Weapons
New Zealand has banned the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons after the country’s worst-ever attack in which fifty persons were killed in two mosques.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference the ban is in the national interest and it’s about safety… To prevent an act of terror from ever happening again in New Zealand.
Ardern said she expects the new law to be in place by mid-April. Buy-back schemes will be established for banned weapons.
Ardern said the suspect arrested in the attacks had purchased his weapons legally and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines “done easily through a simple online purchase.”
The changes in New Zealand’s gun laws are expected to curtail future acts of random violence like the mass mosques shootings in Christchurch.
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