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  • As the Senate Judiciary Committee set a showdown hearing for Thursday with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who alleges that the judge sexually assaulted her in high school, the White House on Sunday again defended the President’s pick after new allegations surfaced, as Republicans said this was nothing but a coordinated political effort by Democrats to sink the Kavanaugh nomination. “This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man,” said White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec. The White House also released a statement from Kavanaugh, who said a New Yorker article about him was nothing but ‘a smear, plain and simple.’ “I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name – and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building – against these last-minute allegations,” Kavanaugh said. A few hours earlier, Senate Republicans had announced a hearing for Thursday, at which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will get the chance to detail her allegations of sexual assault from 1982 – and then, Kavanaugh will have the chance to answer the charges. Republicans on Sunday night also released the original letter by Ford to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) from back in July; Democrats did nothing with the allegations until they were leaked to the press in the days before a scheduled committee vote on the Kavanaugh nomination. “It is upsetting to discuss sexual assault and its repercussions, yet I felt guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything,” Ford wrote in her letter. Meanwhile, Republicans were still angry with Feinstein for sitting on the letter for two months, as they joined the White House in making the argument that Democrats were simply trying to come up with anything to stop Kavanaugh from joining the U.S. Supreme Court. “Disgraceful hypocrisy,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). As for Democrats, the rush of new information led them to demand ‘an immediate postponement of any further proceedings’ on the Kavanaugh nomination. “It is time to set politics aside,” Sen. Feinstein wrote in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Grassley. “We must ensure that a thorough and fair investigation is conducted before moving forward.” Also getting involved in the Kavanaugh fray was the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, as Michael Avenatti on Sunday night was already in contact with Judiciary Committee investigators. My e-mail of moments ago with Mike Davis, Chief Counsel for Nominations for U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. We demand that this process be thorough, open and fair, which is what the American public deserves. It must not be rushed and evidence/witnesses must not be hidden. pic.twitter.com/11XLZJBTtY — Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 24, 2018 The rapid developments left lawmakers in Congress waiting – along with everyone else – to see what more might happen before Thursday’s hearing. “I call upon Brett Kavanaugh for the good of the country and the integrity of the court to step aside immediately,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), one of the few Senators making public comments on Sunday night. But there were no indications that the President was going to abandon Kavanaugh, whose nomination may be at its most embattled point yet.  
  • Tiger Woods clawed his way to the Tour Championship, clinging to the lead all day and surviving a couple of rattling back-nine bogies. >> Read more trending news  Woods led by as many as five strokes on the final round but saw his lead cut to two strokes. He ended the day two shots over Billy Horschel. The throng cheered him up the fairway and chanted 'Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!' as he knocked in the final putt. He got support on social media from President Donald Trump and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Woods’ last win was in 2013 at the Bridgestone Invitational. He was ranked No.1,199 in December when he returned to golf and could soon be listed as high as No. 13. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • An Uber driver is accused of stabbing two of her customers last Sunday in east Georgia, the Augusta Chronicle reported. Shaunisha Danielle Brown, 29, of Augusta, faces two counts of aggravated assault, the newspaper reported. She’s accused of stabbing two people in the 5000 block of Reynolds Way, according to a Grovetown police incident report obtained by the Chronicle. >> On MyAJC.com: Who’s driving? Uber, Lyft drivers accused of violent crimes Grovetown is in Columbia County, about 140 miles east of downtown Atlanta and about 12 miles west of Augusta.  >> Read more trending news  The victims were taken to an area hospital, and police searched for a 2012 silver Hyundai Sonata, the report said. The vehicle was later found, and Brown was arrested at an AM/PM gas station, the report said. No bond has been set. Police did not release a motive for the alleged attack. >> On AJC.com: Uber app now includes 911 button, emergency features Uber sent the newspaper a statement on the incident that said: “What the police reported is appalling and not tolerated on the Uber app. This driver no longer has access to the app and we will work with law enforcement to assist with their investigation.”
  • Update 2:02 p.m. EST Sept. 23: Emergency responders are continuing the massive search at a Gastonia park Sunday for a 6-year-old boy with special needs. Original report: Emergency responders began a massive search at a North Carolina park Saturday afternoon for a 6-year-old boy with special needs. The search continued Sunday morning. >> Watch the news report here Maddox Ritch was last seen at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Search and rescue boats were sent to the lake at the park. >> On WSOCTV.com: PHOTOS: Search for boy with special needs at Gastonia park Authorities said he was wearing an orange shirt with “I’m the man” on the front. Maddox is 4 feet tall and weighs 45 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes. Maddox was seen with his father and another adult, authorities said. 'They were walking around the lake,” Gastonia spokeswoman Rachel Bagley said. “They got around to the backside of the lake. He started running, according to the parents, and when they started running after him, they lost sight of him, and no one has seen him ever since.' The Charlotte Fire Department is assisting with the search. CMPD's helicopter suspended its search after sunset.  >> Read more trending news  The city confirmed crews are reviewing surveillance video at the park, and Gastonia police will be working overnight following leads. The ground search will continue at first daylight Sunday.  All activities at Rankin Lake Park have been canceled for Sunday. The park will be closed until further notice. Please call police at 704-866-3300 if you have any information on Maddox’s whereabouts.
  • After days of behind the scenes wrangling, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Sunday afternoon that the panel will hold a hearing on Thursday to take public testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at a high school party in the early 1980’s. The panel had originally set a Monday morning vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, but after a weekend of talks – which still hasn’t resolved all the details for the hearing – committee Republicans agreed to allow Ford to present her case in a public hearing, posting a new hearing notice on the committee’s website. “Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her,” Ford’s legal team told reporters in a statement, adding that a ‘number of important procedural and logistical issues remain unresolved.’ Ford’s lawyers said the committee had rejected a request to invite other witnesses, specifically naming Mark Judge, a high school classmate of Kavanaugh; Ford says Judge was a direct witness to her assault. The current committee plan is for only two witnesses – one would be Ford, to be followed then by Judge Kavanaugh, who has sternly denied any wrongdoing involving Ford. GOP Senators and the White House said Ford has offered no corroborating evidence to back up her allegations. “Dr. Christine Ford claimed she was assaulted at a house party attended by four others,” said White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec. “Since then, all four of these individuals have provided statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any knowledge of the incident or even having attended such a party.” “These official letters from the 4 named by Dr Ford — denying any knowledge of what Dr Ford has alleged — serve the same purpose as sworn testimony,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). NEWS: Attorney for Leland Keyser, who Dr Ford says was at the party where the alleged incident with Kavanaugh occurred says “Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.” pic.twitter.com/l2F0s396IK — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 23, 2018 The Thursday hearing would be a high stakes political event, drawing immediate comparisons to the extra hearings held for the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, when he defended himself against public accusations of sexual harassment by law professor Anita Hill. Unlike that hearing in October of 1991, neither Kavanaugh nor Ford is currently expected to have testimony from additional witnesses.

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