Monday morning news: October 1, 2018

Kavanaugh vote delayed as FBI reopens background check » The Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh is in limbo this week as the FBI looks into allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Democrats had been calling for the FBI to reopen its background check on Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford said he assaulted her when both were in high school. They got their wish on Friday after Republican Senator Jeff Flake said he would only vote to confirm Kavanaugh if the FBI looked into the accusations. 

Democrat Amy Klobuchar expressed cautious optimism.

KLOBUCHAR: As long as it is conducted in a professional manner, and we give the FBI the ability to do their jobs, instead of having it be micromanaged by the White House, we can at least get to the bottom of the evidence. 

But Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the White House is staying out of the probe.

SANDERS: It’s a Senate process. It has been from the beginning, and we’re letting the Senate continue to dictate what the terms look like. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee says the probe should be limited to “current credible allegations” against Kavanaugh and be finished by the end of this week.

That mandate has allowed the FBI to also contact Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dormitory party at Yale in the early 1980s. After The New Yorker published her claim last week, The New York Times reported that Ramirez had told classmates she wasn’t actually sure that Kavanaugh was the person who exposed himself.

President Trump has strongly opposed reopening the background check, but on Saturday but he softened his stance, saying it could help clear Kavanaugh’s name. 

TRUMP: Having them do a thorough investigation I actually think will be a blessing in disguise. It’ll be a good thing.

With Senator Flake’s conditional support in committee, Kavanaugh’s nomination advanced to the Senate floor on Friday. But the FBI probe means the Senate is unlikely to vote on his confirmation until at least the end of the week. 

Republicans call for probe into handling of Ford allegation » Meantime, a Republican lawmaker said Sunday that Senator Dianne Feinstein will have to answer for how she handled Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said Feinstein and her staff are—quoting here—“going to face an investigation [into] why they leaked that.” 

COTTON: Dianne Feinstein could have showed that letter to Chuck Grassley, and the two of them as the leaders of the that committee could’ve shared it with the FBI, who could’ve discretely conducted this inquiry in July and in August without betraying Ms. Ford’s confidences, and they have betrayed her. 

Both Ford and Kavanaugh have faced death threats since Ford’s accusations became public.

Republicans accuse Democrats of leaking the accusation at the last minute in an effort to keep the Supreme Court seat vacant past the midterm elections.

More than 800 dead in earthquake in tsunami in Indonesia » In Indonesia on Sunday, rescuers struggled to reach victims in several coastal towns hit by an earthquake and a deadly tsunami Friday night. The death toll stands at more than 800and that number is likely to rise.

With the area largely cut off by debris, relief supplies are being flown into the hard-hit city of Palu and others in the region. But rescuers are desperately trying to move in more heavy equipment to reach possible survivors in collapsed buildings including an eight-story hotel in Palu where voices were heard in the rubble.

The quake came only weeks after another tremor killed more than 500 people on the Indonesian island of Lombok.

U.S. and Canada reach trade deal » The U.S. and Canada reached a trade agreement on Sunday, just hours ahead of a U.S.-imposed midnight deadline.

The Trump administration was prepared to pull the plug on the North American Free Trade Agreement, if all sides were unable to renegotiate the pact. The U.S. reached a deal, in principle, with Mexico back in August, but the trade spat with Canada remained until last night.

Among final sticking points reportedly resolved were Canada’s protected dairy market as well as disagreements over how to resolve trade disputes.

The Trump administration is expected to present the new agreement to Congress early this week.

Two tie-breaker games set up baseball playoffs » For the first time in Major League Baseball history, two tie-breaker games will take place on the same day to determine playoff pairings.

The Chicago Cubs will host the Milwaukee Brewers at 1 p.m. Eastern to decide the National League Central title. Both teams have won 95 games.

And at 4 p.m. Eastern, the Colorado Rockies will play the Dodgers in LA for the NL West crown. Those teams are tied at 91 wins. Dodgers’ second baseman Brian Dozier told SportsNet LA… 

DOZIER: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy starting the season, seeing where everybody started and where they end up and stuff, and it all comes down to one game. No matter what we’re in the postseason, but everybody in that locker room, we want to win the division.

The winners of each of those games will head to the National League Divisional Series. The losers of those games will go head to head in tomorrow’s sudden death National League Wild Card game.

I’m Kent Covington. Legal Docket is straight ahead. Plus, J.C. Derrick on the Kavanaugh controversy. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, hold hands as they leave a holding room after a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. 

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