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The man who could play the most significant role in shaping Donald Trump’s policy legacy speaks publicly for the first time today since the president nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing that Republicans have timed with a view to installing him before the court’s new term begins Oct. 1.
Democrats have little leverage to thwart the nomination but are predicting fiery exchanges as they press Kavanaugh on how far he might pull the court to the right on issues including abortion, gun control and deregulation.
Kavanaugh’s views on the limits of executive privilege may be even more immediately consequential. It’s a topic Democrats plan to plumb thoroughly, given the nominee’s potential role in deciding the fate of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.
Kavanaugh has expressed reservations about the 1974 Supreme Court decision that forced President Richard Nixon to surrender secret White House tape recordings. He's urged Congress to pass legislation to shield sitting presidents from criminal investigations.
With Mueller’s probe inching closer, Trump could end up having a personal stake in the outcome of this week’s hearing.
Holiday interrupted | Trump abruptly canceled a Labor Day outing as his trade standoffs with Canada and China near possible turning points, Justin Sink reports. Reporters watched Trump emerge from the White House wearing golf attire yesterday, only to be told the trip was canceled and the press was being dismissed. The president’s threat to cut a Nafta deal without Canada is facing growing opposition at home.
Budget brouhaha | Italy’s populist coalition is thrashing out its differences over budget policy in public. While the finance ministry promises stability, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is threatening to push the deficit to 3 percent next year while pledging to respect all the rules. Investors are caught in the crossfire.
Peace hopes | Two years after Rosemary Keji fled her village at the height of South Sudan’s civil war with screams and sounds of gunshots in her ears, she’s back home and vows never to leave again. As Okech Francis reports, the 28-year-old mother of two is one of a small but growing number of refugees who are gambling that peace may finally take hold and end the world’s third-largest refugee crisis. “I don’t think we need to run again,” she said.
Macri’s test| Argentine President Mauricio Macri faces the markets’ judgment today on emergency measures, including a “really bad” tax on crop exports, introduced to try to avert economic crisis. Amid soaring inflation and a slumping peso, the measures seek to restore investor confidence and balance the budget by 2019, a year earlier than expected. Argentina’s treasury minister will be in Washington to ask the IMF to speed up payments from a $50 billion credit line.
Thai unity? | Warring political parties in Thailand have told Bloomberg they're open to forming a coalition to prevent unelected members of parliament from installing a military leader after an election planned for February that would end almost five years of army rule. While any collaboration would be fragile, it would signal a push for democratic reform in a nation that has seen about a dozen military takeovers since 1932.
What to Watch
- Japan’s strongest typhoon in 25 years made landfall today, and picked up speed as it headed toward one of the country’s most densely populated areas.
- Bank of England Governor Mark Carney may be grilled by Parliament’s Treasury Committee today on whether he intends to stay on beyond his planned June departure to ensure stability after Brexit in March.
- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the arrest of one of his top critics over a failed mutiny more than a decade ago, in what observers see as his latest move to silence political opponents.
And finally ... Nike may be the latest U.S. company to find itself in Trump’s Twitter firing line after it chose former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for an ad celebrating 30 years of its “Just Do It” campaign. Kaepernick sparked a trend among NFL players in 2016 by kneeling during the pre-game national anthem to protest police violence against African-Americans. Trump condemned the protests as unpatriotic and called for players to be suspended without pay.
--With assistance from Karl Maier, Brendan Scott, Daniel Ten Kate, Flavia Krause-Jackson, Ben Sills and Iain Marlow.
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