Posts tagged with "Huffington Post"

Psychiatrists’ analysis: Trump seems to be suffering from mental decline

April 29, 2019

President Donald Trump’s “reckless” response to the investigation into his campaign—as detailed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his report—shows that he is unable to rationally process risk, making him a danger to the entire nation, according to a new analysis released on April 26 by an elite group of psychiatrists.

In an excerpt from the study posted on dangerouscase.org, the mental health professionals noted that, instead of worrying about an attack on the nation’s electoral process, Trump has revealed that he is “preoccupied with himself to the point where he does not even consider the good of the nation.”.

The report bears an unwieldy title: “Mental Health Analysis of the Special Counsel’s Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” The authors’ chosen subtitle, though, goes more to the heart of their thesis: “If One is Too Incompetent to Commit a Crime, Despite Trying Hard, Is One Competent to be President?”

The five authors of the report include:

  • Bandy X. Lee, M.D., MDiv., assistant clinical professor in Law and Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine (Project Group Leader);
  • Edwin B. Fisher, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill;
  • Leonard L. Glass, M.D., M.P.H., associate clinical professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School;
  • James R. Merikangas, M.D., clinical professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, George Washington University; and
  • James Gilligan, M.D., clinical professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Law, New York University.

According to a story on the study published by The Huffington Post, Yale University’s Bandy Lee, the lead author of the analysis, said that she and her colleagues believe Trump’s behavior shows that his mental condition is deteriorating rapidly. They are requesting that he undergo a full evaluation within the next three weeks by a “non-governmental, independent and non-partisan” panel that would include psychiatrists, neurologists and internists.

“If he believes he is fit, he should agree to submit to one,” Lee said, adding that if he refuses, her group will piece together a “profile” of Trump’s mental condition much the way the CIA prepares psychological profiles of foreign leaders who are deemed to be threats to the United States. “We believe it is equally valuable to do one when an internal leader is a danger to the nation.”

The White House press office did not respond to HuffPost’s queries about the new report—other than to argue generally that doctors should not offer diagnoses without performing clinical evaluations.

Lee has been arguing for some time, the Huffington Post said, that Trump’s public remarks and written statements on Twitter show that he is unfit for the presidency. She said the 448-page Mueller report offers even more evidence, meticulously collected over a period of two years by a team of experienced investigators.

“There couldn’t be higher quality data,” she said, adding that while Mueller was looking at Trump’s words and deeds from a criminal justice standpoint, her team studied his findings from a mental health perspective.

James Merikangas, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University and another author of the report, said it does not make a diagnosis, as the White House is implying.

“We don’t claim to make a psychiatric or neurological diagnosis, although we’d like to,” he said, adding that evidence collected by Mueller shows that Trump seemed unable to anticipate the bad consequences that would have followed had he managed to fire the special counsel.

“Looking one or two steps down the road requires a certain mental capacity,” Merikangas said.

He noted that the president’s father, Fred Trump, had Alzheimer’s in his final years and that the president, who will turn 73 in June, is at the age where the neurological disorder commonly starts to manifest itself. Merikangas pointed out that President Ronald Reagan, who also developed Alzheimer’s, was known to be exhibiting some symptoms in his second term.

“Reagan was at least surrounded by competent, patriotic people,” said Merikangas, adding that Trump has methodically driven off competent advisers with sound judgment in favor of those who cater to his whims.

The professor said that as a Navy officer in 1962, he witnessed the last above-ground nuclear test conducted by the United States and that has shaped his concerns about Trump. “The president still has the authority to start a nuclear war by himself,” Merikangas said. “That’s one possible consequence. … It’s a very, very dangerous situation.”

The five authors of the new report are among the 37 mental health professionals who contributed to the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” which came out in 2017 and was updated earlier this year.

Research contact: bandy.lee@yale.edu

Democrats: Trump’s move to terminate Obamacare gives us a gift ahead of 2020

March 28, 2019

In a move that has appalled his own advisers, and alarmed the G.O.P. as a whole, President Donald Trump on March 27 began a legal effort to “essentially terminate” the entire Affordable Care Act ―including its heretofore sacrosanct pre-existing conditions protections.

About half of Americans—133 million—have a health issue that qualifies as a pre-existing condition. Under the ACA, also known as Obamacare, insurers have been banned from denying coverage for (or from charging more for plans that cover) pre-existing conditions.

And American voters have made it clear that they like it that way. According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation just before the midterm elections last November, fully 58% of Americans said they were “very concerned” that Republicans would remove this safeguard—and expose them either to higher costs or no coverage at all.

In fact, at that time, healthcare was top-of-mind for U.S. voters—and indications are that it continues to be.

According to a report by the Huffington Post,  Democrats are saying that the president’s extreme position on the ACA will matter far more to voters in 2020 than anything coming out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election.

And while Republicans have said for years that the ACA should be “repealed and replaced,” they are not so sure that the issue should be revisited at this time.

It comes down to this: On March 25, the Department of Justice asked federal courts to throw out all of Obamacare, not just one part of it, as it had done previously. If the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is weighing the lawsuit, agrees with the government, the matter will almost certainly go before the Supreme Court, which has already turned away two major challenges to the 2010 healthcare law, the Huffington Post notes. With two new Trump-picked justices on the high court, however, there is no telling whether the law would survive a third.

“This move by the Trump administration to take away health care will prove far more detrimental to the administration and the Republican Party than any gains they might have made by the issuance” of Attorney General William Barr’s letter summarizing the findings of Mueller’s investigation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York.) said on March 26.

 “They are literally teeing this up as an issue for Democrats for the next year and a half. They’re not even making a laughable attempt to save the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) told reporters on Tuesday.

Vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election in 2020, whose seats Democrats need to win in order to take back control of the Senate, are likely to face additional attacks over healthcare following the Trump administration’s new stance on the lawsuit. But GOP leaders say they have confidence in their members to fend off attacks over Obamacare going into the 2020 election.

By contrast, the Huffington Post reports, G.O.P. senators facing tough re-election fights in 2020 said they support popular elements of the Affordable Care Act even as they continue to maintain that the law should be repealed ― a delicate rhetorical balancing act that failed to save many GOP members of Congress in the 2018 midterm election.

“I support coverage for pre-existing provisions, and Congress should act to make sure that happens. I think what we need to do is make sure we have affordable health care,” Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), who is facing a tough campaign, told reporters.

Only Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who voted against repealing Obamacare in 2017, criticized the decision to argue in court that the entire law should be struck down as unconstitutional.

“It is highly unusual for the [Department of Justice] not to defend duly enacted laws, which the Affordable Care Act certainly was. This decision to even go more broadly in failing to defend the law is very disappointing,” Collins said.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Ten steps to better skin? Dermatologists weigh in.

January 31, 2019

American women are buying into Eastern wisdom bigtime: While hordes of U.S. females are following “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo of Japan; many others have gone on to buy and try board-certified esthetician Charlotte Cho’s Soko Glam ten-step Korean Skin Care Routine.

Founded in 2012 with products curated from South Korea, Soko Glam advances an already rampant trend: If there’s a skin “problem,” there must be a cream, mask, serum, or scrub for that.

And, as the Huffington Post points out in a January 29 story, at a time when high-profile politicians— yes, we’re talking about Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) —are sharing their own skin care secrets, and other beauty-obsessed influencers are boasting about their own favorite elixirs and panaceas; it’s easy to convince ourselves that more is more, and more is better—especially on the path to “perfect” skin.

But are all those products really helping us? Do we really need to be spending all that money and piling a ton of stuff on our faces to keep our skin at its best? The HuffPost spoke to dermatologists to get some answers.

It’s true that plenty of people out there really do love their skin care routines. As Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, told the news outlet, “I think part of this whole trend of wanting to do multi-step skin care comes from a real need or desire in our society to do more self-care.”

So it feels good, but is that a good reason to spend so much time and money on your skin?

“Need is a relative term,” Dr. Anna Guanche, a board-certified dermatologist at Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, California, told the HuffPost via email. She explained that if someone has, say, a ten-step process, that would be “optimal if all ingredients are compatible, stay active on the skin when layered, penetrate, and most importantly, are applied consistently.”

And therein lies one problem: compatibility. There’s a good chance most people aren’t scientists who’ve studied every ingredient in every formula and know exactly how all their products interact with each other.

Chwalek noted that skin care and beauty products are studied for their efficacy on an individual basis, not as part of a layered routine. When you put multiple layers of products on your skin, you can’t always be sure the active ingredients in each of them are penetrating as deeply as they should be for the results you want, she said.

“Not only that, you’re also adding on top of something where there are other ingredients that could be deactivating the active ingredient, or affecting the pH at which the active ingredient works,” Chwalek told the online news source. “It’s hard to know if the active ingredient of the last thing you added actually got [to where it needed] to be in the skin, and if it wasn’t deactivated by something else you put on.”

Chwalek and Guanche both agreed that doing too much to our skin can actually irritate it. And if you’re using so many products, it becomes difficult to pinpoint which one or which ingredient is causing that reaction.

If you do have a large arsenal of products you like using, Dr. Angela Lamb, director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practice in New York City, suggested alternating them. “For example,” she told HuffPost “if you have two cleansers you love, use one in the morning and one at night. If you have two anti-aging serums, use one in the morning and one at night, or one Monday, Wednesday, Friday and another Tuesday, Sunday.”

In Guanche’s opinion, a few high-quality products and consistent application are key when it comes to skin care. Lamb agreed, noting that she likes to walk through exactly which products her patients are using and why.

“I try to pin down their goals for each product,” Lamb said. “Once I get my arms around that, then I can really trim down their regimens.”

Chwalek offered a similar viewpoint, saying that each product should have a purpose.

“Each time you’re putting something on your face, you have to ask yourself, why are you doing it? What is its purpose? If you’re using a bunch of stuff and you can’t say why you’re doing it or what it’s doing for you, I think you have to rethink it.”

It’s no surprise, therefore, that it turns out, it’s possible for a good skin care routine to be composed of only two or three basic products.

According to Guanche, the musts in beauty care are few: a cleanser, a sunscreen, and a moisturizer.

Some people might not even need moisturizers, Chwalek said, especially those who find that their skin naturally produces more oil. In her opinion, not every single person should be using the exact same products ― “it needs to be individualized,” she said ― but her typical recommendations include a gentle cleanser, a vitamin C or antioxidant serum in the morning and sunscreen.

Lamb’s essentials were similar: cleanser twice a day (once for those with drier skin), serum, eye cream, moisturizer and sunscreen. She did note, however, that some products, like combo moisturizers with SPF, can simplify things even more.

All three dermatologists told the HuffPost that toner is one product that’s not necessary for everyone. Chwalek noted it could be beneficial for those with oily skin, and Guanche suggested it for acne-prone individuals.

The reality with skin care, Chwalek said, is that we’re all “wowed by marketing and there’s new products coming out every day.”

“It’s such a huge industry. I understand the desire for people to want to use multiple things, but I do think keeping it simple is best,” she said.

Ultimately, “the best skin care is the is skin care you actually use,” Guanche said. And in this case, that doesn’t always mean more.

Research contact: @juliabruc

Cold comfort: If you always feel ‘chilled out,’ here’s advice on bringing the heat

November 27, 2018

Does even the thought of winter send a shiver down your spine? Most of us want to bundle up when the temperature drops—but if you are always turning up the thermostat or turning down the AC, there may be some good reasons.

The Huffington Post talked to experts and posted some advice on November 26. Do any of the following factors apply to you?

  1. Your thyroid is out of wack. Hypothyroidism—a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone to regulate the body’s metabolism—can cause cold sensitivity, Chirag Shah, a specialist in Emergency Medicine and co-founder of Accesa Labs, a thyroid lab-testing service, told the online news outlet.
  2. You’re older: “The elderly [are] more prone to being cold because their metabolism is slower and they produce less heat,” said Marcelo Campos, an Internal Medicine physician at Atrius Health, a large nonprofit independent medical group based in Newton, Massachusetts. Another factor may be decreased muscle mass.
  3. It could be something you’re eating. Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, told HuffPost that certain foods may be to blame. “People who eat lots of water-dense, cold foods are going to feel cooler,” he said. Examples of these are smoothies, iced drinks and salads. To combat this, try switching to items like soups instead of smoothies, and stir-fry meals in lieu of salads.
  4. You’re anemic. Shah also said that iron deficiency anemia can definitely cause a person to feel frostier than usual—noting that iron is a mineral that is a key component of red blood cells. “Red blood cells are important for carrying oxygen around the body. Without enough iron, the red blood cells cannot function properly and can lead to the sensation of feeling cold in addition to other symptoms,” Shah said. Other symptoms may include exhaustion, light-headedness, rapid heart beat, or shortness of breath.
  5. You’re pregnant. When you are carrying a baby, your body temperature rises, HuffPost reminds us. A pregnant woman’s normal core temperature rises from a norm of 6 degrees to around 100 degrees. “What’s more, pregnant women are prone to both anemia and poor circulation, especially in their legs. They are likely to complain about feeling a chill, especially in their hands and feet.
  6. You’re dehydrated. Carol Aguirre of Nutrition Connections, a nutrition counseling center in South Florida, said that water drives the metabolism by helping break down food, which creates energy and heat. “Not enough water slows your metabolism and prevents your body from making enough energy to keep you warm,” she said in an interview with the news site.
  7. It could be your hormones. According to the experts, estrogen generally dilates blood vessels—dissipating heat in the body. Progesterone has the opposite effect. For women, the time of month may affect how warm or cold they feel. In men, higher testosterone levels may reduce sensitivity to the cold by desensitizing one of the main cold receptors in the skin.
  8. You have poor circulation. If your hands and feet feel like ice but the rest of your body is comfortable, a circulation problem that keeps blood from flowing to your extremities might be to blame.
  9. You may be anxious. “People with anxiety usually feel cold more than others,” said Maryam Jahed, founder Airo Health, which makes an anxiety-tracking wearable device. When you experience anxiety, she told HuffPost, the feeling activates your amygdala ― the part of the brain responsible for protecting the body and responding to danger. “This makes your body put all of its reserves and energy into keeping you ‘safe,’” she said—and your extremities may feel colder, because it’s harder for the blood to circulate there and keep you warm.
  10. Your BMI is too low. Your body mass index affects whether you feel cold, but the amount of fat and muscle you have can also be a factor.  “Muscles are metabolically more active and this generates more heat. Fat is an insulator and this can reduce the amount of heat you lose,” Campos said.

Research contact: @NicolePajer

Matt Whitaker’s appointment may be illegal, says Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano

November 9, 2018

Following his lightening-fast dismissal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the wake of the midterm elections, President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general may do his agenda and his reputation more harm than good: It may constitute obstruction of justice in the ongoing Russia investigation. And it also may be illegal, Andrew Napolitano, senior judicial analyst for Fox News, said on November 7, according to a report by the Huffington Post.

“Under the law, the person running the Department of Justice must have been approved by the United States Senate for some previous position. Even on an interim post,” Napolitano told Fox News’ Dana Perino, who hosts The Daily Briefing. 

Sessions was canned on Wednesday—in his resignation letter, he said he was leaving at the request of the president—and Napolitano said his interim replacement should have been Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

While Whitaker was confirmed by the Senate in 2004 when he was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, according to the HuffPost, Napolitano said that he was nevertheless ineligible to serve in his current post as the confirmation was not “for a leadership position in the Justice Department.”

“Who has been confirmed and who’s next in line? Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein,” Napolitano added.

Research contact: @davefbarden

Facing the music: Why it feels so good to sing in the car

November 2, 2018

There’s nothing like belting out a song in the car to brace you for a hard day ahead—or to bring you back from the doldrums. You’ve probably experienced the euphoria of hopping into the car, turning the volume up on your favorite tune, and singing along like you’re performing at the Grammys. But you might not realize that it’s actually good for your health, the Huffington Post reported on November 1.

In fact, according to findings by researchers at Ashford University— an online for-profit school based in San Diego— music, alone, can increase antibodies that boost your immunity and protect your body against bacteria.

What’s more, the HuffPost reports, singing can induce a bunch of feel-good mental health effects—among them:

indeed, Connie Omari, a licensed professional counselor practicing in North Carolina and owner of Tech Talk Therapy, told the Huffington Post that she suggests singing and driving to her patients. The practice can be its own form of meditation and can help to quiet a racing mind. “By listening to music,” she said, “drivers are [given] an opportunity to replace negative thoughts with more [positivity] through the use of rhythm and beats.” she said.

And because driving alone for long periods of time can have negative effects (some research has found it increases the risk of depression), Omari said singing and driving on a regular basis can help to slightly alleviate some of those issues.

“Most people feel the effects of oxytocin when they’re hugging someone or in the beginning stages of a romantic relationship,” Ziskind noted. “Oxytocin initiates emotions like trust, a sense of stability, and even relaxation.

“It boosts mood and uplifts mood,” she said, adding that oxytocin isn’t the only happy hormone that is released when you’re blasting your favorite tunes. “Studies have shown [e.g., a study published in the journal Nature in 2014] that simply thinking about listening to your favorite song, before you actually listen, releases serotonin, another feel-good chemical in your brain that reduces anxiety.”

  • The dopamine released when you sing can reduce your road rage. In addition to the other feel-good hormones mentioned above, you’re also releasing a hefty dose of dopamine. Kristen Fuller, a physician and clinical mental health writer for Center For Discovery, a treatment center in California, told the HuffPost that dopamine is the kind of neurotransmitter you want if you face a lot of traffic during your commute, because it has an effect on your emotions—producing sensations of pleasure.

“Dopamine boosts your motivation and drive,” Fuller said. “This happy mood can result in less road rage and friendlier driving — which can potentially lead to [fewer] accidents.”

  • Singing releases tension in your diaphragm more naturally than taking deep breaths. When you are anxious, a good remedy is to take long, deep breaths—bBut singing along to your favorite song might be even better than inhaling and exhaling.

Loretta G. Breuning, founder of the Inner Mammal Institute in San Francisco, told the daily news outlet that singing actually relieves tension that can build up in your diaphragm. Tension happens when your body believes you’re being threatened, even if the only danger is being late for work.

“Shallow breathing is a common response to tension,” Breuning said. “It can become a habit, and even though you’re not doing it consciously, it reinforces the sense that you’re threatened. Deeper breaths feel good, but natural ones feel better than forced ones. That’s what singing does.”

  • Singing can help you with unprocessed emotions. Even if the song you’re listening to happens to be sad, it can still help you process your emotions in a healthy way. Depending on your mood, different kinds of musiccan feel almost therapeutic, according to a course taught at Penn State University.

Music is emotionally evocative and helps bring up emotions you might have otherwise avoided for a long time, said Nick Hobson, director of science at the coaching service Psychology Compass, an online “cognition calculator.”

“It’s for this exact reason why music therapy is showing promising results for helping people deal with anxiety, depression and PTSD,” Hobson told the HuffPost.

Research contact: @emilyblackwood

 

Don’t sit still for ‘dead butt syndrome’

November 1, 2018

Use it or lose it: Those of us with desk jobs have been warned that sitting too long can raise our chances of developing some dread diseases, from heart disease to cancer to diabetes—and can even take years off our lives. But there’s one side effect that you may not have realized is linked to parking your tush in a desk chair all day long, according to an October 29 report by the Huffington Post.

Compressing those gluteals for too long can literally lead to a butt that doesn’t want to “get up and go.” And there’s even a name for it: “Dead butt syndrome,” or “gluteal amnesia” is a condition that occurs when your gluteus medius gets inflamed and forgets to function normally.

“Sitting too long can restrict the blood flow, causing gluteal amnesia, which can lead to hip pain, lower backache and problems with your ankles. The glutes will fail to fire properly even when performing exercises targeting the glutes,” celebrity fitness trainer Donovan Green told the news outlet.

 What’s more, Kelly Starrett, a physical therapist and founder of Stand Up Kids, told the HuffPost that our glutes are not built to bear weight for long periods. “If you imagine making a panini sandwich where you take high pressure and high temperature and make a grilled cheese, sitting on your glutes all day is a little like this,” he said.

“The sustained flexed position of the hip and the compression of the tissues sets us up for the perfect storm of shut[ting] down glute function, or in the vernacular of the people, ‘dead butt,’” he added.

People experiencing dead butt syndrome may feel the familiar sensation of a body part “falling asleep.” The sensation can range from mild to severe—and can be brief or long-lasting.

“Sitting for extended periods of time has been shown in multiple studies to have a major impact on how well we can contract and use our glutes effectively,” Green said.

He noted that when your glutes shut down due to lack of activity and stimulus, it causes strain on other muscles and joints and produces an effect where weaker muscles have to do the job of the stronger gluteus maximus.

Left untreated, this can lead to something called “synergistic dominance,” where the smaller helper muscles of the hip and leg are now taking over movement and controlling the forces loaded on the hips, spine, and low back. Muscle tightness in the hips is also a major culprit of dead butt syndrome

So what’s to be done? Jeff Bell, co-founder and master trainer at Belleon Body NYC, told the Huffington Post, “The gluteus maximus was built for power and speed and needs to be fed a regular diet of climbing, squatting, running, lunging, and walking, if it is to be kept in peak condition, or at least appear in top shape.”

“A good rule to remember is, for every hour of sitting, you need to take ten minutes of standing and moving around to reactivate and keep those butt muscles from falling asleep,” he said. Also, clenching your butt muscles occasionally throughout the day might help. “This will fire up those glutes and get them back to moving again,” he said.

Research contact: @NicolePajer

After Ted Cruz declines CNN town hall in Texas, rival Beto O’Rourke gets full hour

October 12, 2018

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has declined to participate in a CNN town hall-style meeting on October 18 with his opponent in the midterm elections—leaving the entire one-hour broadcast to his challenger, Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-16th District), the Huffington Post reported on October 10.

The Texas Senate race remains tightly contested, according to results of a Quinnipiac University poll released on October 11, with Cruz leading by 9 percentage points.

Texas last elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate when Lloyd Bentsen won his fourth term in 1988.

Originally, O’Rourke had proposed six debates between the two candidates, who are vying for the Senate seat that Cruz has held since 2012. However, he then backed off—complaining that Cruz was trying to control too much of the debate structure.

Now, Cruz has refused the town hall platform, although his campaign manager, Jeff Roe, tried to clarify the move on Twitter on October 9, saying “To be clear, the Cruz campaign proposed that @CNN host one of the Cruz-O’Rourke debates. The O’Rourke campaign declined. @CNN subsequently offered back to back town halls, in which we are unable to participate.”

The incumbent has three new campaign events listed on his website—one on October 12 in Houston at the Firehouse Saloon; one on October 13 in Montgomery at Ransom’s Steakhouse; and another later that same day in El Paso at Franklin High School. At this time, he has no events listed for October 18.

Among the comments in response to Roe’s explanation, was one from @jneutron1969, who noted on Twitter, “Why won’t Cruz do a town hall though? I understand that it plays against his strength of traditional debating, but he should still be able to handle the wild-eyed leftist/commie [O’Rourke] in a town hall format shouldn’t he? Sometimes I get the feeling Cruz isn’t very brave. Like Piglet.”

To that, Roe replied, “If @TedCruz had skipped an opportunity to debate before millions of Texans so he could cut a TV ad on Facebook while 6,000 people watched live [on CNN] the media would rightly be lighting their hair on fire. #CricketsforBeto #TXSen.”

Meanwhile, in a write-up of its televised political events, CNN announced: “CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash will moderate a live, one-hour town hall with Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke, who is running for U.S. Senate, on Thursday, October 18, at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT at the McAllen Performing Arts Center near the US-Mexico border.

“GOP Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign initially accepted CNN’s invitation to participate but later declined, a network official said,” CNN said.

Meanwhile, another Twitter reader, @oldmanebro, commented, “Debates can be hustled, Town Hall meetings don’t allow for prepared, prepackaged BS.”

Research contact: carla.baranauckas@huffpost.com

Grassley: FBI report does not corroborate sexual assault allegations

October 5, 2018

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on September 4 that there is no corroboration of sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a supplementary FBI report submitted to the Senate, according to a report by The Hill.

The Senate is scheduled for a floor vote on the nominee on Friday, October 5. The report, requested on September 28 by the White House at the behest of committee member Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), was delivered to the committee at 2:30 a.m. on September 4; after the FBI had done a tightly constrained investigation of just nine or 10 individuals—depending on the news source—whose names were specified on a list provided by the Trump administration.

“I’ve now received a committee staff briefing on the FBI’s supplement to Judge Kavanaugh’s background investigation file. There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know,” Grassley said in a statement.

“These uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations. There’s also no contemporaneous evidence,” he added.

“This investigation found no hint of misconduct…I’ll be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Grassley made his statement after being briefed by Senate GOP staff who viewed the report.

Senators have been filing into and out of the securely compartmentalized information facility in the Capitol Visitor Center to view the report Thursday morning.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (California), the Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, noted that the investigation had been anything but comprehensive. “The White House certainly blocked access to millions of documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s record, I know that,” she tweeted at 11:16 a.m. on September 4, noting also, ““We have seen even more press reports of witnesses who wanted to speak with the FBI but were not interviewed.

The FBI did not interview either nominee Brett Kavanaugh or sexual assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford. “It’s obviously a cover-up,” commented Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts). “The Trump White House, working with the Republican leadership in the Senate, have deliberately circumscribed this investigation”

Attorneys for Ford said that they and their client are “profoundly disappointed” that the FBI investigation into her claims doesn’t seem thorough, according to a report by the Huffington Post.

“An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford―nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony―cannot be called an investigation,” the lawyers said in a statement Wednesday night. “We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in a statement early Thursday that the White House “is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”

“This is now the 7th. time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh,” President Trump later tweeted. “If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats.”

Research contact: @alexanderbolton

Trump denies reports that he is limiting the FBI’s Kavanaugh probe

October 2, 2018

Following a compromise deal made on September 28 by the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to a request by Republican Senator Jeff Flake (R), the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reopened its background investigation of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Already limited to a one-week period, the probe has been further circumscribed by instructions from U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a report by the Huffington Post.

Although the FBI will be permitted to interview Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, who testified before the Judiciary Committee last week—as well as  a second accuser, Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Denise Ramirez— the agency will reportedly leave the nominee’s third accuser alone upon request from the White House.

In addition, according to an NBC News report, the FBI will specifically not be able to question Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates about his drinking habits, even though alcohol plays a role in all three accusers’ claims about the nominee, who denies ever drinking to the point of not remembering certain events.

Ranking Member of the committee Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California.) lashed out on Twitter at the possibility that constraints had been placed on the investigation

Trump tweeted late Saturday night that he was not limiting the FBI in its investigation and that NBC News had got the story wrong. He said, “NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!

Trump told reporters on Saturday that the agency has “free rein” to do “whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do.”

“They’ll be doing things that we have never even thought of,” Trump said. “And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”

Research contactsara.boboltz@huffingtonpost.com