But those who worked in the previous administration say Trump’s assertion is simply untrue.
“President Obama thought you had to go to war. You know how close he was to pressing the trigger,” Trump said at the press conference, adding that “not thousands … millions of people would have been killed” in what “could have been a world war.”
Pompeo to travel to North Korea to arrange second Trump-Kim summit

“If I wasn’t elected, you’d be in a war,” Trump declared, seeking to bolster his claim by implying that Obama had “essentially” told him so directly.
It is not the first time that Trump has portrayed Obama’s dealings with North Korea as a failure or implied the previous administration was on the precipice of war in an attempt to boost public perceptions about his own quest for a diplomatic resolution with Pyongyang.
In June, a week after his summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump suggested that the media would have named Obama a “national hero” if he too had “gotten along” with the totalitarian regime.
“If President Obama (who got nowhere with North Korea and would have had to go to war with many millions of people being killed) had gotten along with North Korea and made the initial steps toward a deal that I have, the Fake News would have named him a national hero!” Trump tweeted at the time.
Iran's Rouhani dismisses Trump's threats saying 'America is alone'

Iran's Rouhani dismisses Trump's threats saying 'America is alone'

Obama, came to power vowing to talk directly to America’s enemies. Eventually he traveled to meet Cuba’s President Raul Castro and spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by phone.
But he concluded it would be wrong to cave to North Korea’s provocations.
“This is the same kind of pattern that we saw his father engage in and his grandfather before that,” said Obama in 2013. “Since I came into office, the one thing I was clear about was, we’re not going to reward this kind of provocative behavior. You don’t get to bang your spoon on the table and somehow you get your way.”
Obama did warn Trump before he took office that North Korea’s nuclear program would present him with his toughest foreign policy challenge.
In an interview with Fox News following the Singapore summit, Trump said that Obama told him directly that he “essentially was ready to go to war with North Korea.”
“When I was talking to President Obama, he essentially was ready to go to war with North Korea,” Trump said about their November 10, 2016 meeting. “He felt you had almost to go to war, and I did ask [Obama]: Have you spoken to [Kim]? Do you think it would be a good idea to speak with him maybe?” Trump said.
Trump says China is interfering in midterm elections

Trump says China is interfering in midterm elections

On Wednesday, Trump again compared himself to the 44th President, asserting that Obama was on the verge of initiating a conflict that could have escalated into a world war — comments that prompted immediate push back from former national security officials who worked in the previous administration.
“The Department of Defense always looks at contingencies, but the Obama administration was consistently of the belief — informed by the best thinking and analysis from our intelligence community, war fighters, and diplomats — that diplomacy was the only viable option given what we knew would be catastrophic implications of a conflict on the Peninsula,” Ned Price, a national security council spokesperson in the Obama White House, said in a statement to CNN.
Price pointed out that Trump himself spoke of the massive casualties that would result from a conflict with North Korea, a consequence that did not prevent Trump warning Kim that the US is prepared to use “devastating” military action against Pyongyang last year.
But Trump’s tone has changed dramatically since the two leaders met face-to-face in Singapore earlier this summer and preparations are underway for a second summit between the two leaders despite there being little indication that North Korea has taken concrete steps toward the administration’s long-stated goal of denuclearization.
Trump on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 'I like two-state solution'

Trump on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 'I like two-state solution'

Trump again flaunted his relationship with Kim Wednesday, referencing a new “extraordinary letter” he received from the North Korean dictator and announcing that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head to Pyongyang to lay the groundwork for another meeting between the two leaders.
Critics have pointed out that the Singapore declaration contained no firm commitments from North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs, and US officials have expressed frustration at North Korea’s evasion of sanctions.
Earlier this month, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Russia of “cheating” and acting like a “virus” for helping North Korea evade international sanctions through ship-to-ship transfers on the high seas.
Despite signs that North Korea is sidestepping sanctions, Pompeo and Trump have said that the US campaign to exert maximum pressure on Pyongyang will continue and Turmp has repeatedly claimed progress.
“The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Nuclear testing has stopped,” Trump told the General Assembly on Tuesday. “Some military facilities are already being dismantled. Our hostages have been released. And as promised, the remains of our fallen heroes are being returned home to lay at rest in American soil.”
With a lot in store and any last-minute changes possible, here’s a rough outline of what is expected:
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to reopen its confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party in their high school years, is due to testify first. Following her testimony, Kavanaugh will appear again before the committee.
The all-male GOP side of the committee has hired a female prosecutor to ask questions on its behalf. Both Ford and Kavanaugh have prepared testimony laying out their competing assertions.
Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee chairman, has set the committee vote for Friday — only a day after Ford and Kavanaugh are due to testify. Grassley has allowed for the possibility they could delay the vote if desired, but the notice would give Republicans the opportunity to move Kavanaugh through the panel and to the Senate floor in rapid succession over the coming days.
An announcement from the committee on Wednesday said Ford would give her opening statement followed by one five-minute round of questions from each senator or a designated staff counsel. Once Ford’s testimony and questioning are through, Kavanaugh is scheduled to receive the same approach.
The announcement said there is no estimated duration for the hearing.

Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s fate gripped much of Washington on Monday morning as he headed to the White House just days after The New York Times reported he discussed secretly recording Trump and seeking to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
Rosenstein denied the story, but a source told CNN that he expected to be fired when he headed to the White House and met John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff.
Later Monday, Rosenstein’s position remain unchanged and Trump said he would meet with Rosenstein at the White House once he returned from the United Nations.
It is unclear when their meeting might take place. At a press conference on Wednesday, Trump said he could delay his meeting with Rosenstein so he could focus on the Kavanaugh hearing.
“I may call Rod tonight or tomorrow and ask for a little bit of a delay to the meeting because I don’t want to do anything that gets in the delay of this very important Supreme Court pick,” Trump said. “So I don’t want it competing and hurting the decision, one way or another decision.”
Ford, who came forward into an unwanted spotlight, will face questions too, delivered by a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona instead of the all-male Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Another accuser, Deborah Martinez, from Kavanaugh’s time as an undergraduate at Yale, will not be featured at Thursday’s hearing.
Neither will Julie Swetnick, who went to a DC area high school and alleged in a sworn statement Wednesday that in the early 1980s she attended house parties with Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge. Swetnick said she saw Kavanaugh “drink excessively at many of these parties and engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior towards girls.” She also said Kavanaugh was present at a party where she was gang raped. Swetnick did not identify Kavanaugh or Judge as her attacker in that incident. In a statement, Kavanaugh called those latest allegations “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.”
Republican investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday asked Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about two new allegations against him, both of which he denied.
Programming note: Watch CNN’s full coverage of Thursday’s Kavanaugh-Ford hearing beginning at 8:30 AM ET at CNN.com/go on your desktop, smartphone, and tablet, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and Android TV — no log in required.
Since there is unlikely to be any definitive corroborating evidence for any of the claims against Kavanaugh, what he says and how he answers the accusations will largely help determine whether Republicans rally around him and put him on the court for the rest of his life.
Here are some questions Kavanaugh will likely face in response to Ford’s allegations and testimony:
1. You’ve denied the claims against you. Do you believe Christine Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick made these claims up?
2. President Donald Trump said one of your accusers must not be telling the truth because she was drunk. If you routinely drank until you vomited in high school as your yearbook suggests, how can you be certain you would remember the party described by Ford?
3. You said repeatedly in your Fox News interview you just want a fair process. If a large number of senators believe Ford after Thursday, will you withdraw your nomination?
4. Is there anything Ford could say on Thursday that could lead you to withdraw your nomination?
5. A few days ago, President Trump tweeted: “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!” Do you believe it is unusual that Ford did not immediately file a report?
6. As a judge, would you want the committee to hear testimony from the only named witness in Ford’s account, Mark Judge, especially since he could theoretically exonerate you?
7. President Trump also said of Deborah Ramirez, “She said she was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up. And she doesn’t know if it was him, but it might have been him.” Do you think, in general, that sexual assault allegations are more, less or equally credible given the accuser’s state of mind at the time of an alleged incident?
8. There are references on your yearbook page to “100 kegs” and vomiting. Your friend wrote a book with the title “Wasted.” You’ve said you were concerned mostly with sports and service projects in those years. How much would you routinely drink in high school? Do you still ever drink alcohol to excess?
9. Do you ever attend a party where girls were given drugs or spiked punch, as Swetnick alleges in her sworn affidavit?
10. What does Renate Alumnus mean? Is that a reference to an encounter with Renate Dolphin? She says there was no encounter between you.
11. What explains the fact that your lawyer now says you shared a brief kiss with Renate Dolphin and her lawyer says you didn’t?
12. Is putting a woman’s name in your yearbook without her knowledge a respectful way to treat women?
13. There are other references in the yearbook that are either difficult to understand or suggestive. Could you explain what those meant?
14. You said in your interview with Fox News that you did not have sex until years after college. Do you believe that a virgin, as you described yourself, cannot commit sexual misconduct?
15. When your nomination was announced by President Trump, you said: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.” Clearly you mean that as a compliment. Why not then urge the White House to reopen your FBI background file and get to the bottom of these claims?
How the Clinton sex scandal shaped Brett Kavanaugh -- and could give clues on his thoughts on Robert Mueller

16. Merrick Garland’s nomination did not receive a vote for more than a year because Mitch McConnell said voters should weigh in. If Democrats win control of the Senate on Election Day and your nomination is still in question, should you still be confirmed?
17. You encouraged Kenneth Starr to pursue a vigorous and explicit line of questioning with President Bill Clinton during that investigation. Do you still believe a public official should be made to answer, in great detail, questions about their private sexual life?
18. You’ve talked about your background, your personal life — certainly as a father and husband. When, if ever, is it appropriate for the public to stop considering past behavior when making an assessment of a person? Is there an age before which a person seeking a powerful office should not have to answer for their actions?
19. A college roommate of yours recently came out to say that he did not know specifically about Deborah Ramirez’s allegations, but that you routinely got drunk and became aggressive and belligerent in college. Is he part of the smear campaign you alluded to in a recent statement?
20. Do you believe someone who reports a sexual assault or some kind of sexual misconduct weeks, month or even years after it allegedly took place is less credible than someone who immediately reports it?
21. There was discussion, according to the New Yorker, about the alleged incident with Ramirez on an email thread with Yale alums. Are they part of the smear campaign you discussed?
Trump calls Kavanaugh allegations 'a big, fat con job'

It was a presidential press conference as it would be performed by a comedian.
The President who bragged about abusing women on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape has reportedly taken command of the effort to push Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court despite allegations that, in his high school and college years, he too treated women abysmally.
The result, on display at the press conference, surely left many viewers aghast, while it may have played well with many in his base. There was Trump denying people had laughed at him during his recent the United Nations address (they did laugh at him) and calling a member of Congress from California “little Adam Schiff.”
Trump defends his own past as Kavanaugh faces allegations

Trump defends his own past as Kavanaugh faces allegations

Trump dismissed the allegations against Kavanaugh as part of a “con job” perpetrated by the Democratic Party, referring to the Senate minority leader and his colleagues as “Schumer and the con artists.” He said the Senate minority leader “and his buddies are in there laughing” at the Kavanaugh mess. Of course, no one is laughing about the allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when he was in prep school, attended parties where gang rapes occurred, and exposed himself to a classmate at Yale.
For nearly 90 minutes, the President wandered from topic to topic, often praising himself and resorting to his favorite material, including “the wall” and “if I wasn’t elected, you’d be in a war.” When he turned his attention to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he sounded a lot like the TV dinosaur Barney, saying, “He likes me, I like him, we get along.”
As he gave a master class in changing the topic and misdirection, Trump tried to charm by joshing with reporters and tossing off observations about how the Kurdish people are “great fighters.” He threatened to impose tariffs on cars coming to the US from Canada. “That’s the mother lode,” he quipped. And he insisted that “women are very angry” about the accusations against Kavanaugh. “I have women that are incensed at what’s going on,” he observed.
Hours before, Trump alleged that a college classmate who accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself at a Yale party was “all messed up and doesn’t know,” and called a third accuser’s allegations about Kavanaugh attending parties where gang rapes occurred “ridiculous.”
Trump’s struggle to win Kavanaugh’s confirmation is all the more difficult because of his own personal record of saying awful things about women and the multiple allegations of sexual harassment made against him during the 2016 campaign.
Also, this is the President who has treated some members of his own party so shabbily that he cannot count on their steadfast support. Arizona’s Jeff Flake, to name one, rebuked Trump for casting doubt on Kavanaugh’s accusers and may no longer be in the nominee’s corner. By CNN’s count, Trump has insulted one in five of the GOP senators. How many of them might think that it’s a good idea to slow down on Kavanaugh? If just two abandon Kavanaugh, his nomination will be sunk.
The press conference was also a desperate attempt by Trump to somehow protect the Republican Party and its majorities in the United States House and Senate. The GOP in general, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in particular, made a deal with the devil as they embraced the profoundly divisive President in the interest of seeing dreams of a rightward shift in the federal courts fulfilled.
President Trump holds a rare news conference

President Trump holds a rare news conference

When Trump delivered with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Court, this gamble seemed to pay off. However, now Trump’s rhetoric and behavior have alienated so many voters, especially women, that the Republicans seem as if they could get a shellacking in the upcoming election.
The GOP’s troubles are linked directly to Trump, who is dogged by so many controversies they almost defy counting. The most important, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russians who meddled in the election, might be cooled if Kavanaugh joins the court.
Though once part of the special prosecutor team that tormented President Bill Clinton, Kavanaugh has now said presidents should not be distracted by the sort of investigations he helped press against Clinton. This position made him a perfect fit for Trump, who is imperiled by a process that could land at the high court. Everything is personal where Trump is concerned — but with the threat of Mueller’s investigation hanging over him, a Supreme Court nomination is doubly so.
Why did he fail to make a solid case on Kavanaugh’s behalf, and even confess that he might have his mind changed by what comes out of the Senate hearing tomorrow? (He actually did.) Why did he talk about Elton John? (He did this too.) It’s because everything is always about him, even with the future of the court and his party both at stake.
In the transcript released Wednesday, Kavanaugh denied an allegation that he assaulted a woman he was dating in 1998 while working for independent counsel Ken Starr that investigators said stemmed from an anonymous complaint sent to Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner.
Trump defends his own past as Kavanaugh faces allegations

“No, and we’re dealing with an anonymous letter about an anonymous person and an anonymous friend,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s ridiculous. Total Twilight Zone. And no, I’ve never done anything like that.”
Kavanaugh then was asked about, and categorically denied, an allegation made by a Rhode Island man — whose name was redacted from the transcript — raised in a call to Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s office “concerning a rape on a boat in August of 1985.”
Kavanaugh has denied three other allegations against him, all involving women who have come forward publicly.
At one point, far along into the call, Kavanaugh said he was facing a “smear campaign” and suggested newly revealed allegations were “just absurd and outrageous, coordinated perhaps.”
Thursday, Kavanaugh is set to testify in a hearing that will also feature Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who has said he sexually assaulted her while he was drunk at a party in their high school years.

Accusation while working for Ken Starr

The letter sent to Gardner accused Kavanaugh of violent behavior while under the influence of alcohol during his time working for the investigation led by Starr into then-President Bill Clinton.
The complainant said the writer’s daughter and several friends were with Kavanaugh in 1998 when Kavanaugh assaulted a woman he was dating, who was a friend of the person’s daughter.
One investigator read the letter to Kavanaugh, stating, “Her friend was dating him, and they left the bar under the influence of alcohol. They were all shocked when Brett Kavanaugh shoved her friend up against the wall very aggressively and sexually.”
The author of the letter said their daughter was approached by the friend on September 21, 2018, wondering what to do. Both opted to stay anonymous, as did the author of the letter, according to the letter as read by the investigator.
Through a series of broader questions about his time during the Starr investigation, Kavanaugh continued to deny he had shoved a woman against a wall, behaved violently toward a woman or socialized with someone from Boulder, Colorado.
When asked if, during the Starr investigation, he dated a woman who “would fairly fit the description in the letter,” Kavanaugh asked, “What’s the description?”
“Just based on what I –,” the transcript showed the investigator responding.
“Describe her appearance,” Kavanaugh said.
“No it’s — all we have is what I read,” the investigator said.
“Well, then I don’t know what I’m responding to then,” Kavanaugh replied.

Rhode Island accusation

The second allegation, raised by Whitehouse, alleges that in 1985 “a close acquaintance of the constituent was sexually assaulted by two heavily inebriated men she referred to at the time as Brett and Mark.” The incident allegedly took place on a boat in the Newport harbor. Kavanaugh denied being in Newport or on a boat or on a boat with Mark Judge.
The report as read said when the man learned of the assault, “he and another individual went to the harbor, located the boat the victim had described and physically confronted the two men, leaving them with significant injuries.”
The report said the caller contacted Whitehouse’s office the morning of September 24, 2018, after he saw Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook photo on television and realized one of those men was Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh denied the incident occurred, that he had sexually assaulted any woman in Rhode Island or that two men injured him and someone named Mark.
“No,” Kavanaugh said. “I was not in Newport, haven’t been on a boat in Newport. Not with Mark Judge on a boat, nor all those three things combined. This is just completely made up, or at least not me. I don’t know what they’re referring to.”
Ford has said Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh assaulted her in high school, a charge Judge has denied and said he has no recollection of.
In the transcript released Wednesday, Kavanaugh denied an allegation that he assaulted a woman he was dating in 1998 while working for independent counsel Ken Starr that investigators said stemmed from an anonymous complaint sent to Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner.
Trump defends his own past as Kavanaugh faces allegations

“No, and we’re dealing with an anonymous letter about an anonymous person and an anonymous friend,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s ridiculous. Total Twilight Zone. And no, I’ve never done anything like that.”
Kavanaugh then was asked about, and categorically denied, an allegation made by a Rhode Island man — whose name was redacted from the transcript — raised in a call to Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s office “concerning a rape on a boat in August of 1985.”
Kavanaugh has denied three other allegations against him, all involving women who have come forward publicly.
At one point, far along into the call, Kavanaugh said he was facing a “smear campaign” and suggested newly revealed allegations were “just absurd and outrageous, coordinated perhaps.”
Thursday, Kavanaugh is set to testify in a hearing that will also feature Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who has said he sexually assaulted her while he was drunk at a party in their high school years.

Accusation while working for Ken Starr

The letter sent to Gardner accused Kavanaugh of violent behavior while under the influence of alcohol during his time working for the investigation led by Starr into then-President Bill Clinton.
The complainant said the writer’s daughter and several friends were with Kavanaugh in 1998 when Kavanaugh assaulted a woman he was dating, who was a friend of the person’s daughter.
One investigator read the letter to Kavanaugh, stating, “Her friend was dating him, and they left the bar under the influence of alcohol. They were all shocked when Brett Kavanaugh shoved her friend up against the wall very aggressively and sexually.”
The author of the letter said their daughter was approached by the friend on September 21, 2018, wondering what to do. Both opted to stay anonymous, as did the author of the letter, according to the letter as read by the investigator.
Through a series of broader questions about his time during the Starr investigation, Kavanaugh continued to deny he had shoved a woman against a wall, behaved violently toward a woman or socialized with someone from Boulder, Colorado.
When asked if, during the Starr investigation, he dated a woman who “would fairly fit the description in the letter,” Kavanaugh asked, “What’s the description?”
“Just based on what I –,” the transcript showed the investigator responding.
“Describe her appearance,” Kavanaugh said.
“No it’s — all we have is what I read,” the investigator said.
“Well, then I don’t know what I’m responding to then,” Kavanaugh replied.

Rhode Island accusation

The second allegation, raised by Whitehouse, alleges that in 1985 “a close acquaintance of the constituent was sexually assaulted by two heavily inebriated men she referred to at the time as Brett and Mark.” The incident allegedly took place on a boat in the Newport harbor. Kavanaugh denied being in Newport or on a boat or on a boat with Mark Judge.
The report as read said when the man learned of the assault, “he and another individual went to the harbor, located the boat the victim had described and physically confronted the two men, leaving them with significant injuries.”
The report said the caller contacted Whitehouse’s office the morning of September 24, 2018, after he saw Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook photo on television and realized one of those men was Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh denied the incident occurred, that he had sexually assaulted any woman in Rhode Island or that two men injured him and someone named Mark.
“No,” Kavanaugh said. “I was not in Newport, haven’t been on a boat in Newport. Not with Mark Judge on a boat, nor all those three things combined. This is just completely made up, or at least not me. I don’t know what they’re referring to.”
Ford has said Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh assaulted her in high school, a charge Judge has denied and said he has no recollection of.
Facebook CEO debuts the Oculus Quest in San Jose, California.

Facebook is launching another virtual reality headset that doesn’t need a PC to work. This one might make serious gamers happy.

The Oculus Quest will be released next Spring and retail for $399.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new hardware at the Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, California, on Wednesday.

The latest VR headset from Oculus combines the mobility of its standalone, $199 Oculus Go with some of the power of its Oculus Rift, which must be tethered to a computer to work.

The Quest has some improvements over the Go, including better position tracking through four wide-angle cameras.

Facebook says users will be able to wander around in up to 4,000 square feet of space while using the headset. It comes with handheld motion controllers and will work with 50 existing Oculus applications when it ships.

Facebook bought Oculus for $3 billion in 2014 with the belief that immersive virtual reality would be a place people could socialize in the future.

The company previously launched Facebook Spaces, a virtual reality social network that lets cartoon versions of people interact in virtual locations.

Asked about whether he believed the women who had made accusations of sexual assault or inappropriate conduct against Brett Kavanaugh were liars, Trump responded by noting that he also had been the target of allegations like this. 
“I’ve been accused … by four or five women, who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me who made a lot of money,” Trump said.
(Fact check: More than a dozen women have accused Trump of a variety of charges relating to sexual behavior. He has denied all the charges and threatened to sue those women after the conclusion of the 2016 campaign. He hasn’t filed any of those lawsuits.)
(Fact check 2: Trump’s one-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has testified under oath that Trump directed and coordinated payments to two women — porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playmate Karen McDougal — aimed at buying their silence in the lead-up to the 2016 vote. Both women alleged they had extramarital affairs with Trump in the mid 2000s.)

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That answer — comparing his own accusers to those of Kavanaugh — surely made Senate Republicans who are desperately trying to confirm the judge groan. It was far from the only time that Trump turned a question (OK, any question) at the press conference into a soliloquy about his greatness.
When asked about Kim Jong Un, Trump said that if he had not been elected president, the United States and North Korea would be at war now.
When asked about his planned meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tomorrow, Trump said that Rosenstein had been “very nice” to him.
Why the next 24 hours may be the most important of Trump's presidency so far

Why the next 24 hours may be the most important of Trump's presidency so far

When asked what sort of message he was sending by raising questions about Kavanaugh’s accusers, Trump noted that he had won 52% of the female vote in 2016.
(Fact check 3: He actually won 41% of the women’s vote. He won 52% of white women. He received 4% among black women and 25% among Hispanic women. Here’s the exit poll to prove it.)
When asked about the impact of his tariffs on farmers, he noted that farmers love him.
When he called on a reporter for The New York Times, he said the reporter — Mark Landler — should thank him for the profits the company was making.
Again and again and again, Trump turned the conversation to himself. It was an 81-minute running riff on a) all the things HE has done and b) all the things HE doesn’t get credit for.
The Point: The press conference was remarkable. It was unprecedented. It was wild. It was pure Trump.
Democrats had their first discussion Wednesday over an idea to change caucus rules in a way that would make it significantly harder for anyone, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to win the nomination on their secret ballot this fall.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, who presented the idea Wednesday to the caucus, agreed to withdraw the proposal for now, though he is likely to bring it back up after the midterms when incoming freshmen will be on the Hill. Perlmutter first proposed it last week in a letter, along with Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York and nine other House Democrats, some of them well-known opponents of Pelosi.
Multiple members in the room said there was a consensus from both supporters and opponents of the proposal that now was not the time to vote on a rules change and more time was needed for discussions.
“We’re all united moving forward (in saying) ‘Let’s win and then have the family fight after,'” said Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who challenged Pelosi for minority leader in 2016 and is considering another challenge this year. Ryan is also an early supporter of the proposed rule change.
Traditionally, the Democratic caucus requires a simple majority vote for the nominee on their secret ballot. But some Democrats want to raise the threshold from a majority of the caucus to 218 votes. That would essentially require — depending on if Democrats win the House and by how much — near unanimous caucus support.
The goal behind it is to eliminate any uncertainty heading to the full House vote in January that the Democratic nominee will get to 218 — the already-existing threshold for the floor vote (or whatever number equates a majority at the time).
With dozens of new Democratic candidates vowing to not back Pelosi for speaker, it’s in question whether she could get to 218 on the floor.
3 options that could await House Democrats after the midterms

The rule change would not only be a tall order for Pelosi but for any Democrat who wants the speaker’s gavel. If Pelosi ultimately decides not to run — though she has said many times she will — there’s no clear next-in-line successor who the caucus is ready to coalesce around.
In the meeting Wednesday, members debated the idea for close to a half hour.
According to members in the room, Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida opposed the proposal, saying it would empower a small number of members to hold the vote hostage in the event Democrats only win a slim majority of 219 or 220. She also cautioned the Democrats could become like Republicans in the sense that the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives, have been successful in thwarting previous speaker races and key legislative votes.
Agreeing, Pelosi called it a “blackballing thing,” according to one person in the room. “Any one person can hold this up.” The minority leader said she could live with any scenario but argued now was not the time to talk about a change in rules.
“She didn’t seem like she was inclined (to support it) at this time, let’s put it that way,” quipped Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, who was an early supporter of the proposal.
Those opposing the idea largely make the case that the caucus should focus solely on winning back the House for now.
“I think that this is a distraction, because it cannot be discussed without getting into the personalities of who’s going to run for this and who’s going to run for that,” Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey told CNN.
Pascrell, who has previously called for new leadership and is close with the members who proposed the idea, said the caucus should address this after November 6. “That’s when the debate occurs,” he said. “Not now.”

Signs of openness

Still, some members are intrigued, both privately and publicly.
“It’s very interesting. It’s fascinating,” said Rep. Juan Vargas of California. “I think we’re going to have to debate it some more, but I’m still open to it.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House and someone who’s considered a potential candidate for speaker if Pelosi decides not to run, consistently declines to weigh in on speakership-related questions from reporters, saying he’s focused on the midterms instead. But this week, he expressed openness to the proposal.
“I think it’s an interesting idea. I think members want to make sure that we can elect a speaker and elect a speaker that has broad support, and that’s what their objective is,” he said Tuesday. “I think that objective is a good objective.”
However, Hoyer added, a number as high as 218 may be too much to ask for. “I don’t know that that’s realistic in the sense that, if you have three or four candidates, it may be tough to get to that number.”
Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan said a compromise may be in order. “Something to make it clear that we don’t have our nominee going to the floor with a small marginal victory (in the caucus) but with something more substantial,” he said. “In other words, something that’s doable, but maybe not 218.”
Pushing back on that idea, Rice, the congresswoman who led the letter with Perlmutter, argued it defeats the purpose of the proposal. “There’s no reason to do that,” she said. “What we’re trying to avoid is a spat on the floor of the House that shows us in any other way other than completely united. That’s the goal.”

To be determined…

Procedurally, Perlmutter agreed to withdraw the proposal, but multiple members said they expect the discussion will come back after the midterms, essentially punting further debate for at least another six weeks.
It’s unclear yet whether the postponement kills the momentum for the idea. One Democratic leadership aide predicted many members will want to get the leadership races over and done with so they can focus on getting their committee assignments. “So all this rebel rabble is going to get washed away with a win,” the aide said.
Also in the meeting, the caucus decided to change the date of their leadership elections, so that they’re no sooner than November 28. It was originally set for the week of December 5, which would give more time for leadership candidates to campaign and make their case. But since incoming freshmen would only be on the Hill during the week before Thanksgiving and the week after, the caucus decided to move the vote up.
The change in date could help Pelosi, as it gives potential candidates less time to organize and campaign among the caucus.
Pelosi advocates say if Democrats win big in November, she’ll be walking into speakership discussions with a large victory on her hands and a strong argument to keep her in place as their leader.
Ryan, the congressman considering a challenge, said the other side to that argument will be: “Yeah, a lot of these people won by saying they weren’t going to vote for … her.”
“So how do you figure that out?” he continued. “That’s what the caucus is going to decide.”
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly identify Nancy Pelosi’s title. She is House minority leader.
Asked about whether he believed the women who had made accusations of sexual assault or inappropriate conduct against Brett Kavanaugh were liars, Trump responded by noting that he also had been the target of allegations like this. 
“I’ve been accused … by four or five women, who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me who made a lot of money,” Trump said.
(Fact check: More than a dozen women have accused Trump of a variety of charges relating to sexual behavior. He has denied all the charges and threatened to sue those women after the conclusion of the 2016 campaign. He hasn’t filed any of those lawsuits.)
(Fact check 2: Trump’s one-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has testified under oath that Trump directed and coordinated payments to two women — porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playmate Karen McDougal — aimed at buying their silence in the lead-up to the 2016 vote. Both women alleged they had extramarital affairs with Trump in the mid 2000s.)

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That answer — comparing his own accusers to those of Kavanaugh — surely made Senate Republicans who are desperately trying to confirm the judge groan. It was far from the only time that Trump turned a question (OK, any question) at the press conference into a soliloquy about his greatness.
When asked about Kim Jong Un, Trump said that if he had not been elected president, the United States and North Korea would be at war now.
When asked about his planned meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tomorrow, Trump said that Rosenstein had been “very nice” to him.
Why the next 24 hours may be the most important of Trump's presidency so far

Why the next 24 hours may be the most important of Trump's presidency so far

When asked what sort of message he was sending by raising questions about Kavanaugh’s accusers, Trump noted that he had won 52% of the female vote in 2016.
(Fact check 3: He actually won 41% of the women’s vote. He won 52% of white women. He received 4% among black women and 25% among Hispanic women. Here’s the exit poll to prove it.)
When asked about the impact of his tariffs on farmers, he noted that farmers love him.
When he called on a reporter for The New York Times, he said the reporter — Mark Landler — should thank him for the profits the company was making.
Again and again and again, Trump turned the conversation to himself. It was an 81-minute running riff on a) all the things HE has done and b) all the things HE doesn’t get credit for.
The Point: The press conference was remarkable. It was unprecedented. It was wild. It was pure Trump.