October 14, 2018
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In typically dramatic fashion, President Trump slammed Democrats and praised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a campaign rally in Richmond, Kentucky, Saturday night.

"The Democrats have become the party of crime; the Republicans are the party of safety," the president claimed, saying Democratic immigration policy would "open America's borders and turn our country into a friendly sanctuary for murderous thugs from other countries who will kill us all."

McConnell he declared "the greatest leader, in my opinion, in history," praising the Kentucky senator's handling of the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. "There's nobody tougher, there's nobody smarter," Trump said. "He stared down the angry left-wing mob. ... He's better when I'm president than he ever was when anybody else was president." Bonnie Kristian

October 7, 2018
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Saturday predicted the controversy surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation will be a "shot of adrenaline" to get GOP voters to the polls at the midterm elections.

Protest of Kavanaugh "has actually produced an incredible surge of interest among these Republican voters going into the fall election," he told USA Today. "We've all been perplexed about how to get our people as interested as we know the other side is. Well, this has done it."

McConnell was equally cheerful in conversation with The Hill. "Our base is on fire," he said. "I talked to a couple of my political advisers yesterday, and this has been a shot in the arm for us going into the fall election because it underscores the importance of the Senate and our role in personnel, and of course the most important personnel decisions we make are the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court."

President Trump similarly used Kavanaugh as a campaign issue at a rally in Kansas Saturday night. Watch his comments here. Bonnie Kristian

October 4, 2018
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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is asking for a mulligan. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal published online Thursday night and in print on Friday, when he faces a pivotal vote in the Senate, Kavanaugh steps back to the day he was nominated, when he "explained" that "a good judge must be an umpire — a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no political party, litigant, or policy." That's the kind of justice he would be, Kavanaugh insisted, not the "very emotional" man whose "tone was sharp" and who "said a few things I should not have said" as he "forcefully and passionately denied the allegation against me" in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Kavanaugh says that he was so "forceful and passionate" because he'd been "subjected to wrongful and sometimes vicious allegations" and was distressed "at the unfairness of how this allegation has been handled." He does not mention Christine Blasey Ford, who testified the same day that he had tried to rape her in high school, and he doesn't address the false things he said under oath. But he does insist he won't act that way again. "Going forward, you can count on me to be the same kind of judge and person I have been for my entire 28-year legal career: hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent, and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good," he writes. "I have not changed."

More than 2,400 law professors, retired Justice John Paul Stevens, and other jurists have cited Kavanaugh's testimony in withdrawing their support for his nomination. "The Brett Kavanaugh who showed up to Thursday's hearing is a man I have never met, whom I have never even caught a glimpse of in 20 years of knowing the person who showed up to the first hearing," Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes writes in The Atlantic. His partisan testimony "blew across lines that I believe a justice still needs to hold," and "it was not just an angry and aggressive version of the person I have known. It seemed like a different person altogether." You can read Kavanaugh's assertion that it won't happen again at The Wall Street Journal. Peter Weber

September 30, 2018

Speaking at a rally in West Virginia Saturday night, President Trump expressed fond affection for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. After listing signs of progress in U.S.-North Korea relations — the return of American remains from the Korean War and a cessation of missile tests — Trump enthused about his feelings for Kim.

"I like him. He likes me. I guess that's okay. Am I allowed to say that?" the president said. "We would go back and forth, and then we fell in love," Trump added. "He wrote me beautiful letters. And they are great letters. We fell in love." (North Korea on Saturday was less complimentary.)

Immediately after declaring his love, Trump imagined the media mocking his words, then argued that it is exactly this sort of phrasing which makes his supporters love him. Watch a clip below. Bonnie Kristian

September 26, 2018

There was some liberal Sturm und Drang when The New York Times hired conservative Wall Street Journal editorialist Bret Stephens for its op-ed stable. But it would be hard to find a liberal columnist with a more damning indictment of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) than the one Stephens meted out Tuesday. Stephens said he shared colleague Gail Collins' enthusiasm for the Texas Senate race for a couple of reasons: "Small reasons: I like Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic challenger, and I like the idea that Texas can turn a bit purple if you have a candidate with energy, wit, and a human touch."

"The big reason," Stephens added, "is that I despise Ted Cruz. That is 'D-e-s-p-i-s-e.'" He explained why, savagely:

Because he's like a serpent covered in Vaseline. Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats. Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less. Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles. Because I see him as the spiritual love child of the 1980s televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining. Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison. Because "New York values." Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that's just among Republicans. Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade. Because he's conniving enough to try to put one over you, but not perceptive enough to realize that you see right through him. Because he's the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that's what it took to get elected. And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself re-elected. [Bret Stephens, The New York Times]

For what it's worth, Cruz seems kind of obsessed with the race, too. Read more of Stephens' musings at The New York Times. Peter Weber

September 25, 2018

On Tuesday, comedian Bill Cosby was transported to a Pennsylvania state prison in handcuffs after Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill sentenced him to three to 10 years in jail for drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. Cosby, 81 and legally blind, will also be classified as a "sexually violent predator" on a sex-offender registry for the rest of his life. Constand and some of the other 60-plus women who accuse Cosby of sexual assault celebrated the sentence, but Cosby's publicist Andrew Wyatt declared Cosby innocent, criticized the trial, and tied Cosby to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is fighting his own sexual misconduct allegations.

"I believe and think it is important to point out that this has been the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States," Wyatt said. “What is going on in Washington today with Judge Kavanaugh is part of that sex war that Judge O’Neill along with his wife are a part of."

Kavanaugh and his allies may not be thrilled at Wyatt's attempt to shackle the federal appellate judge to a convicted sex offender, but Wyatt had another analogy, too: "They persecuted Jesus, and look what happened. I'm not saying Mr. Cosby's Jesus, but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries. So Mr. Cosby's doing fine, he's holding up well. And everybody who wants to say anything negative, you're a joke as well." Peter Weber

September 23, 2018
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"America is acting like a bully toward the rest of the world," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani charged Sunday in the aftermath of Saturday's attack on an Iranian military parade that left 25 people dead.

"But our people will resist, and the government is ready to confront America. We will overcome this situation," Rouhani continued, referring to U.S. sanctions on Iran, "and America will regret choosing the wrong path."

Rouhani linked the attack to the United States, arguing U.S.-allied Gulf states like Saudi Arabia support an Iranian separatist group, the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement, and the Islamic State, both of which claimed the attack. "The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the U.S. is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities," he said, including "financial, weaponry, and political needs."

Rouhani, who has been called the "diplomat sheikh," managed his country's side of negotiations in the Iran nuclear deal, from which President Trump withdrew the United States earlier this year. Bonnie Kristian

September 17, 2018

Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn, has given her first real interview since her scandalous affair and subsequent marriage to Woody Allen, who had been in a long-term relationship with Farrow until Farrow discovered the affair via nude snapshots of Soon-Yi on Allen's mantle. Previn spoke with writer Daphne Merkin at New York about how she and Allen grew close, how they have stayed married for 20 years, Dylan Farrow's allegations that Allen sexually molested her, and Previn's angry and unhappy memories of life with Farrow.

"I was never interested in writing a Mommie Dearest, getting even with Mia — none of that," Previn said. "But what's happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust. [Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim." She and Allen — who participates in many of the interviews — sound surprised their relationship has lasted so long, Merkin writes. "That's what Mia must be the most shocked by," Previn told her. "That is so foreign to her. She probably can't get her mind around that." She insisted, though, that their relationship wasn't about getting "vengeance at Mia."

Merkin, who has written skeptically about the #MeToo movement and related topics, acknowledged that she's "been friends with Allen for over four decades" and says she "can't pretend to know what actually occurred" between him and Dylan. Seven of Farrow's children released a statement defending Farrow as a loving and caring mother and standing with Dylan Farrow, and one of the seven, Ronan Farrow, released his own statement criticizing New York for publishing Merkin's "hit job." (A second of Farrow's 10 adopted children, Moses, sided with Previn's characterization of Farrow; three of the adopted children have died.)

You can read Previn's account of her childhood and relationship with Allen at New York. Peter Weber

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