Emotional Kavanaugh decries ‘circus’ and maintains innocence, as Ford testifies he ‘sexually assaulted me’
A visibly angry and emotional Brett Kavanaugh denied under oath that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, telling senators Thursday his name has been “totally and permanently destroyed” by these “false” allegations – after his accuser testified she's "one-hundred percent" sure he tried to force himself on her 36 years ago. The drastically conflicting statements, delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee in dramatic testimony that carried echoes of the 1991 Anita Hill hearings, left senators to make a judgment call on whose story is accurate.
Video by KING-TV Seattle
SEATTLE — A campaign bankrolled by the oil industry has raised $20.46 million to defeat a carbon pollution fee on the ballot in Washington state aiming at tackling climate change.
The money raised so far by the "No on 1631" campaign sponsored by the Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry trade group, puts it near the top in fundraising efforts by a statewide initiative campaign in Washington, according to a review of state campaign finance data by The Associated Press.
Corker announces support for Kavanaugh
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced Thursday that he will vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, after the judge testified in response to allegations of sexual assault. Corker's vote, along with Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowksi (Alaska) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.), has been uncertain throughout the confirmation process.Corker is retiring from the Senate at the end of his term and has been one of the most vocal Republican critics of President Trump in the Senate.
The state record of $22.45 million was set in 2013 by the "No on 522" committee which successfully defeated a ballot measure requiring labels on food with genetically engineered ingredients.
If approved by voters Nov. 6, Initiative 1631 would make Washington the first state in the U.S. to impose a direct carbon fee or tax by voter initiative.
The initiative would charge large carbon emitters fees on fossil fuels used or sold in the state or electricity generated within the state. The fees would raise an estimated $2.3 billion in the first five years to fund a wide range of programs intended at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Oil companies have given the bulk of opposition money, with Phillips 66 the top donor at $7.2 million.
Jeff Flake announces he will vote for Kavanaugh nomination
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced Friday morning that he would vote to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee."I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh," Flake, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and was a key undecided Republican vote, said in a statement.
"This costly and flawed initiative would create damaging policies for our state and unfairly hurt Washington's families, small businesses and our economy," said Dennis Nuss, a spokesman with Phillips 66, which operates an oil refinery in Ferndale.
State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, a Seattle Democrat who sponsored a carbon tax bill in the most recent session, said big oil companies are trying to stop any momentum on carbon-pricing in the U.S.
California has a carbon-pricing program called cap-and-trade that limits emissions and allows polluters to buy and trade pollution credits. A coalition of Northeast states has a cap-and-trade program that applies to power plants.
Supporters of the measure have raised $6.1 million. The Nature Conservancy is the top donor giving $1 million in cash.
Proponents have run ads saying the initiative will hold polluters who have harmed people's health responsible and invests the money in clean energy, clean water and other projects.
3rd Kavanaugh accuser has history of legal disputes
Julie Swetnick, one of the women who has publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, has an extensive history of involvement in legal disputes, including a lawsuit in which an ex-employer accused her of falsifying her college and work history on her job application.Legal documents from Maryland, Oregon and Florida provide a partial picture of a woman who stepped into the media glare amid the battle over Kavanaugh's nomination for the nation's highest court.
Meanwhile, an opposition TV ad warns that the measure unfairly exempts many of the state's largest polluters, including the state's only coal-fired power plant, steel mills and aviation fuels — and claims that smaller businesses and consumers are left with the burden.
Initiative backers say the measure covers most of the polluters in the state. A state law passed in 2011 required the TransAlta coal-fired plant to shut down one of its boilers by 2020 and the other by 2025.
The measure comes two years after Washington voters rejected a carbon tax that would have been the first in the nation.
The escalating fees would start in 2020 at $15 per metric ton of carbon emissions, adding an estimated 14 cents to each gallon of gasoline sold. The fees increase $2 each year plus inflation and continues until the state meets goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Then it would only adjust for inflation.
Galvanized by Kavanaugh, women's groups turn to midterms
Advocates for sexual assault survivors and women's rights, who mobilized against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, are now turning their energy to the November midterms and beyond. The groups gained national attention over the past month with their protests in Washington, D.C., and around the nation, personally confronting senators and sparking mass arrests at the Capitol.
The initiative would also set up a 15-member public oversight board made up of governor appointees and state officials, to supervise the spending.
Critics say the board, with only one elected official, would have too much authority to spend billions of dollars on programs without accountability if emissions reduction targets are not met.
"This gives them huge latitude to do all sorts of things," said Todd Myers with the Washington Policy Center, a conservative think tank, adding that there would be no accountability if efforts fail.
Carlyle, the state senator, said the board's structure is in line with other state boards and commissions and the legislature ultimately has appropriations authority.
"The buck stops with the Legislature when it comes to spending authority," he said.
Dana Bieber, a spokeswoman for the No on 1631 campaign, said it doesn't matter to voters who funds initiatives.
"What they care about it how much the measure is going to cost them," she said. "This unfair energy tax is going to increase the cost of gas, electricity, heating fuel and natural gas."
Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, said gas prices and electrical costs will go up initially but investments in clean energy will bring down the costs over time as the state transitions away from fossil fuels.
He said the board and three investment panels will go through a "rigorous process" to make sure projects will cut emissions.
"The whole goal is to reduce carbon emissions and clean up the air, the water and forests and have healthier outcomes for people," he said.
After a Bitter Fight, Justice Kavanaugh to Take the Bench .
On Tuesday, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh will hear his first Supreme Court arguments, all concerning enhanced sentences for gun crimes.WASHINGTON — Three days after the fierce battle over his nomination ended in his elevation to the Supreme Court, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh will join his new colleagues on the bench for the first time on Tuesday morning, taking a seat on the far right side of the bench, in the spot reserved for the most junior justice.