Thursday morning news: September 27, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Ford to testify today » Christine Ford will testify today about her allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh. She’ll appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. this morning.

A short time later, Kavanaugh will also go on the record with lawmakers. The Supreme Court nominee remains adamant that the alleged incident at a high school house party in the early 1980’s never happened.

Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell will question both Kavanaugh and Ford.  

But many Democrats, like Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal say the confirmation hearing should be suspended. 

BLUMENTHAL: If my Republican colleagues have any sense of morality they will refuse to go forward on Friday. They will demand an FBI investigation. 

Those calls have grown louder this week with two new accusations against Kavanaugh.

Earlier this week Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a dormitory party at Yale University. However The New York Times reported Ramirez herself admitted she wasn’t sure that Kavanaugh was the person who exposed himself.

And on Wednesday, a woman named Julie Swetnick claimed she attended high school house parties during which Kavanaugh was among a group of boys who put alcohol or drugs into punch to—quote—“cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No.’” Swetnick did not accuse Kavaugh of assault or of personally drugging drinks.

Kavanaugh has already rebuffed Ramirez’s allegation and on Wednesday he issued a statement saying of Swetnick’s claim—quote—“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”

While many Democrats called for further investigation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday the accusations are enough for him.

SCHUMER: I strongly believe Judge Kavanaugh should withdraw from consideration, and the president should withdraw this nomination, if Kavanaugh won’t do it voluntarily.

Republicans say Democrats waited for weeks to reveal Christine Ford’s allegation in a political ploy to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

President Trump heads U.N. Security Council meeting » President Trump led a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. The meeting focused on countering nuclear threats as well as chemical and biological weapons.

The president once again took Iran to task as the world’s leading sponsor of terror. He defended his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, and said the U.S. “will pursue additional sanctions, tougher than ever before.”

TRUMP: Any individual or entity who fails to comply with these sanctions will face severe consequences. 

He also called out Russia for enabling what he called the “butchery” of the Assad regime in Syria.

And he levied a serious charge against China.

TRUMP: Regrettably, we have found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election.

He did not detail what information or intelligence led to that conclusion, stating only that China is working against him in response to his crackdown on Beijing’s trade practices.

The president once again trumpeted diplomatic progress with North Korea, saying Kim Jong Un wants peace and prosperity for his country and that many positive things are happening “behind the scenes.”

Earlier, the president met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and endorsed a two-state solution to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Trump: Every option on table with respect to Venezuela » President Trump also had strong words for Venezuela on Wednesday.

He said the mounting humanitarian crisis there “is a disgrace.” And with regard to the U.S. intervening more forcefully, he’s not ruling out anything. 

TRUMP: Strong ones and the less than strong ones. And you know what I mean by strong. Every option is on the table with respect to Venezuela. 

President Trump’s remarks came one day after his administration sanctioned members of President Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle for Venezuela’s economic collapse and human rights violations.  

Meantime, Maduro on Wednesday mocked the penalties imposed by the U.S. In a televised statement he thanked the White House for the sanctions and compared them to “being awarded a medal.”

The sanctioned officials include his wife, Cilia. Maduro criticized her inclusion in the list, saying, “Do attack me but let Cilia alone. Don’t be cowards.”

The U.S. previously imposed similar sanctions and froze assets belonging to the country’s president over allegations of corruption and abuse. 

House passes big spending bill » Lawmakers in the House passed a spending bill Wednesday that would avert a government shutdown, at least until after the midterm elections. The appropriations bill funds the government through December 7th.

The House vote was 361-to-61. The Senate has already cleared the measure.

The bill provides funding for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Defense Departments. It will provide a nearly $3-billion increase in funds to fight the opioid epidemic and, as House Speaker Paul Ryan noted, a $20-billion boost for the Pentagon. 

RYAN: One main thing that this does is that this brings certainty to our armed forces. This is the first time in a decade that the Defense Department has not had to operate under a continuing resolution. 

The bill does not fund a border wall. And while President Trump previously threatened to veto any measure that did not do so, he said he will sign the bill to avoid a shutdown.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next—the cap on charitable giving that has taken many by surprise. And Cal Thomas on the confirmation chaos in Washington. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh listens to a question while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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