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EPA Watchdog to Step Down as Scott Pruitt Probes Continue
Arthur Elkins had contradicted the former administrator’s account of his security detail

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies during a hearing in May. The inspector general who led multiple investigations of his spending habits is retiring this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The EPA’s inspector general, who led multiple investigations into former Administrator Scott Pruitt’s spending and management practices at the agency, will leave in October, his office announced Tuesday.

Arthur A. Elkins Jr., who has been EPA inspector general since 2010, said in a news release that he will retire on Oct. 12, but did not indicate whether his departure is related to issues at the agency. Before becoming inspector general, Elkins worked as associate general counsel in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel.

Mark Judge, Possible Witness to Alleged Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault, Does Not Want to Testify
“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved”

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 6. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The third person identified by Christine Blasey Ford as having been present in the room during what she alleged was a sexual assault by Judge Brett Kavanaugh wants no part of the Judiciary Committee proceedings.

“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved,” Judge said in a statement relayed to the committee by his lawyer.

Court Bucks Chief Justice, Sheds Light on Dark Money Donors
Justices denied stay of lower court ruling requiring donor disclosure

The Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision paved the way for super PACs and other avenues of political money. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some political groups may no longer be able to hide the identities of their donors after the full Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a decision by Chief Justice John G. Roberts that had stopped a lower court ruling requiring the disclosures.

The full court, which has eight members at the moment, denied an application for a stay — or delay — of the lower court ruling in a case involving the conservative group Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, which has been fighting since 2012 a lawsuit demanding that it disclose its donors.

Trump Focuses on Kavanaugh’s Resume, Family — Not Accuser
‘This is not a man who deserves this,’ president says

President Donald Trump said Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh is a “gentleman” and expressed empathy for what he and his family are going through — but he did not offer the same to his accuser. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has called for the FBI to investigate his political foes, but on Tuesday he signaled he will let bureau leaders decide whether to look into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

His comments revealed much about the White House and Senate Republicans’ emerging strategy: Focus on Kavanaugh, his career, his professional relationship with women and his family — but do not attack Ford. And do everything they can to keep the nomination in solid enough shape for a floor vote in the coming weeks to tip the balance of the high court to the 5-4 conservative majority the party has eyed for a decade.

Hirono on Kavanaugh Accusation: Men Need to “Shut Up and Step Up”
 

Democratic Sen. Mazie K. Hirono gave an impassioned defense of Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who came forward Sunday with an accusation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

“Not only do women, like Dr. Ford, who bravely come forward need to be heard, but they need to be believed,” Hirono said at a news conference on Tuesday. 

Future of U.S. Military in Syria Decision Coming Soon, Trump Says
Calls out Russian plane downing

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber on January 30, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Extra Hurricane Relief Cash Could Wait Until After Elections
Ryan: ‘Right now FEMA has money in the pipeline’

Residents of Spring Lake, North Carolina, are evacuated from their apartments as flood waters rise. FEMA enters the recovery phase with coffers flush with cash. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has more than enough money to assist states hit by Hurricane Florence and likely won’t need Congress to pass an emergency disaster aid bill in the coming weeks, based on figures provided to lawmakers.

Due to lawmakers’ largesse when they provided more than $136 billion in late 2017 and earlier this year — mostly to respond to Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma — government disaster aid coffers are flush with cash. It’s a vastly different situation from last year, when Congress returned in September after Harvey spent five days battering Houston and surrounding areas.

Menendez, Gillibrand Call for Puerto Rico “Marshall Plan” on Hurricane Anniversary
 

Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez and Kirsten Gillibrand called for Congress to act to provide further assistance to Puerto Rico, criticizing President Donald Trump’s response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma one year after the disasters. 

Schumer: ‘Professor Ford Is Telling the Truth,’ Calls for Full Hearing ‘Done Right’
 

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for a full investigation on the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on Thursday to send Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the floor, but that's been postponed until a Monday, Sept. 24 with both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who came forward late last week alleging sexual assault.

Kavanaugh ‘Anxious’ to Testify, Trump Says
President says he will not order FBI to look at allegations facing Supreme Court nominee

President Donald Trump smiles during his State of the Union address on Jan. 30. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/POOL photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is “anxious” to defend himself before senators next week, and said the FBI should not investigate sexual misconduct allegations the nominee is facing.

Trump could order the FBI to look into the allegations, which date back to a 1982 high school party, ahead of a much-anticipated Senate hearing Monday. But he signaled Tuesday he will not do so.