Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

In a move unusual for new U.S. Supreme Court justices, Brett Kavanaugh returns to the White House tonight for a televised appearance – a ceremonial swearing-in – with President Donald Trump less than a month before pivotal congressional elections.

With Kavanaugh’s seat in the bag, Trump accused the conservative jurist’s alleged victims of perpetuating a left wing “hoax” and claimed Democrats will suffer in the upcoming congressional midterms as a consequence.

Trump said he had no plans to can embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who seemed on thin ice after a report that he had mentioned wearing a wire to secretly record the commander-in-chief.

The two men traveled to Florida together on Air Force One this morning, a week and a half after a face-to-face meeting at the White House was scheduled and then postponed.

The president said that Chicago should look towards the NYPD’s defunct “stop-and-frisk” policy as a lodestar to curb gun violence — even though the controversial police tactic has since long been deemed discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Meghan McCain made an emotional return to “The View” today less than two months after her father, the late former U.S. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, died — and was brought to tears by the applause of the audience.

One victim in Saturday’s horrific crash in Schoharie expressed concerns about the limousine’s safety in a text sent shortly before the crash, writing in a text to a friend: “The motor is making everyone deaf.”

The owner of the limo company involved in the upstate crash served as an FBI informant in a 2009 terror plot that targeted two synagogues in Riverdale and an Air National Guard base.

Shahed Hussain owns Prestige Limousine in Wilton, which is being scrutinized as federal and state investigators try to determine what caused the crash.

Brian Hough, an assistant professor of geology at SUNY Oswego, is one of the two pedestrians killed in Saturday’s horrific accident in Schoharie County.

A landmark report from the UN’s scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

Months after resigning from her role as White House communications director and moving back to New York City, Hope Hicks has been hired by Fox as executive vice president and chief of communications officer.

Ben Smith on former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s potential 2020 presidential campaign: “This is…the operating theory at the eco-friendly Upper East Side mansion that houses Bloomberg’s foundation: That there’s space for a Democrat who wants to make America boring again.”

Google is shutting down its long-overlooked social network Google+ after a software glitch exposed the personal information of hundreds of thousands of users.

The 50th state Senate District is shaping up to be an expensive battle between Republican candidate Bob Antonacci and Democratic nominee John Mannion.

Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer stopped in his tracks and tore down two anti-immigrant posters after he spotted them while out for a morning jog in his neighborhood on Sunday.

Republican NY-24 Rep. John Katko and Dana Balter have tentatively agreed to hold four debates over the final weeks of their race for Congress, the two campaigns said, but Balter isn’t entirely happy with the arrangement.

As of this today, 49.2 percent of voters say they’re pulling for the Democrats to win control of the House this November, while just 41.4 percent are back the GOP, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll of polls.

When public schools across the Empire State open their doors for 2018-19, pupil enrollment will be at its lowest level in nearly 30 years—continuing a long-term decline that has increasing relevance to Albany’s perennial legislative battles over school funding and education policy.

A top NYC Education Department official tasked with fixing the city’s yellow bus crisis, former Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose, was pushed out of her job even as dozens of scheduled bus routes go unstaffed, according to sources in city government and the yellow bus companies.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick is expected to testify on behalf of a man who alleges he was brutalized by Syracuse police.

The Clintons announced they will visit cities this year and next across North America in a series of conversations dubbed “An Evening with President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,” with tickets ranging from $70 to $699, depending on the seat and venue.

Here and Now

It’s Columbus Day, expect a rather light political/government schedule.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

President Donald Trump travels to Orlando, FL, where he’ll deliver remarks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual convention being held at the Orange County Convention Center.

Trump then returns to D.C., where, later this evening, he will participate in the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony of Brett Kavanaugh as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Vice President Mike Pence travels to Dallas, TX, where he will deliver remarks at a Pete Sessions for Congress event, followed by a Ted Cruz for Senate event.

Pence then heads to Springfield, MO for a Josh Hawley for Senate event before returning to D.C.

At 10 a.m., Rep. Grace Meng and postal workers hold a press conference to protest Trump’s proposal to privatize the United States Postal Service, Meng’s Northeast Queens office, 40-13 159th St., Queens.

At 11 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli marches in the New York City Columbus Day Parade, Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.

At 11:30 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will march in the parade.

At 11:40 a.m., Cuomo marches in the parade.

At noon, Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro marches in the parade.

At 1:30 p.m., GOP U.S. Senate candidate Chele Chiavacci Farley and state Sen. Catharine Young discuss agriculture issues and New York’s dairy crisis, Mid-Knight Dairy, 3232 Fluvanna Townline Road, Jamestown.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Headlines..

Four upstate sisters out celebrating the youngest one’s birthday with three of their husbands were among 20 people killed when their limo blew through a stop sign and crashed in Schoharie, grieving family said.

The stretch was rented by Axel and Amy Steenberg, who were just married in June, and headed to a surprise party, reports said. Newlyweds Shane and Erin McGowan were killed as well, according to family. As were Adam and Abby Jackson, parents of two young daughters.

The victims were friends and relatives who were traveling to a brewery in Cooperstown to celebrate a 30th birthday.

The crash killed all 18 occupants of the limousine, including the driver, as well as two pedestrians, in an accident that left deep tire tracks in the ground and the small town about 40 miles west of Albany reeling.

A National Transportation Safety Board team arrived yesterday morning to investigate the worst transportation disaster in U.S. since 2009 when a Colgan Air turboprop plowed into a house short of the runway in Buffalo.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limousine barreled down a hill on State Route 30 and blew past a stop sign, ripped through the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe, and slammed into an empty, parked 2015 Toyota Highlander before rolling into a shallow ravine.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, noted he asked NTSB to toughen safety standards for limos after a 2015 crash. “I commend the NTSB’s immediate aid on scene and am very hopeful that we will have concrete answers soon,” he said.

This crash drew comparisons to the sinking of the Ethan Allen, the tour boat that went down in Lake George in 2005 and killed the same number of people.

New York State Police said autopsies were underway on all the passengers and the driver of the limousine, including toxicology, though they cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that state police are working with federal and local authorities investigating the crash. “My heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives in this horrific accident on Saturday in Schoharie,” the statement said.

The site of a devastating accident is a known danger spot that has long worried locals, according to a manager of the store that sits at the intersection where the incident happened.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chalked up getting Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court as his proudest accomplishment in the chamber.

Kavanaugh will take his seat on the nation’s highest court today and hear cases involving firearms and immigration. The 53-year-old judge missed the first week of oral arguments at the high court as the FBI conducted an additional background check on him that delayed, but did not ultimately prevent, his confirmation.

With less than a month to go until the election, the battle for control of the U.S. Senate has been nationalized in key states by the showdown over the Supreme Court, and for the moment has left Democrats alarmed and Republicans elated.

The size of the Democratic advantage in the fight for control of the House is unclear with a month until the midterm elections, and there are recent signs Republicans might have improved their position, possibly because of the fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The stock market may be booming. Unemployment is hitting record lows. Republicans pushed through $1.5 trillion in tax cuts. But despite all that, for the first time in a decade, the broader financial community is on pace to give more money to Democratic congressional candidates and incumbents than their Republican counterparts.

Last week, reporters at The New York Times broke a major story that Trump helped his father “dodge” taxes, including “instances of outright fraud.” They’re not done. “We’ve got more leads and more string to pull. We’re just going to keep going on it,” investigative reporter Susanne Craig said.

Vice President Mike Pence’s early exit from a Colts-49ers game last year cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for his protest of San Francisco players who kneeled during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality.

The widow of a police officer murdered by infamous cop killer Herman Bell has cut an emotional campaign TV ad for GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro that rips Cuomo for Bell’s release from prison and then giving him the right to vote.

With less than a month to go before the crucial elections that will determine control of the state Senate, the Democrats will report this week having raised $1.35 million since mid-July – 37.8 percent more than the $979,594 they took in during the corresponding period period in 2016.

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The Weekend That Was

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by one of the slimmest margins in American history, locking in a solid conservative majority on the court and capping a rancorous battle that began as a debate over judicial ideology and concluded with a national reckoning over sexual misconduct.

Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony, accompanied by his wife and children. The ceremonial swearing in is expected to happen tomorrow at the White House, which means that now-Justice Kavanaugh will begin hearing cases before the court on Tuesday.

A deeply divided Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh, delivering a victory to Trump and ending a rancorous Washington battle that began as a debate over ideology and jurisprudence and concluded with questions of sexual misconduct.

Trump voiced his confidence in Kavanaugh, saying: “I think he’s going to make us all very proud.”

“There’s nobody with a squeaky clean past like Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump told reporters, dismissing allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against the judge as a “horrible attack by the Democrats,” and calling the judge an “outstanding man, an outstanding person.”

The president took a post-confirmation vote victory lap during a rally in Kansas for embattled GOP candidates, saying Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court was a “a tremendous victory for our nation, our people and our beloved constitution.”

The confirmation marks a major victory for Trump, who will soon be able to take credit for appointing two conservative justices to the Supreme Court during his relatively brief time in office.

For the conservative legal movement, Kavanaugh’s confirmation was a signal triumph, the culmination of a decades-long project that began in the Reagan era with the heady goal of capturing a solid majority on the nation’s highest court.

With Kavanaugh’s nomination hours away from a final vote, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to the Senate floor to speak out against the embattled Supreme Court nominee and lament the confidentiality that Republicans have imposed on the findings of the FBI’s reopened background investigation.

Manhattan Rep. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, says Democrats plan to open an investigation into Kavanaugh if they take back control of the House this fall.

Protesters opposed to the appointment of Kavanaugh flocked to Washington, and protests were scheduled as well in other cities across the country.

With his confirmation hanging in the balance, Kavanaugh’s angry testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was encouraged by the White House counsel.

An online campaign to fund Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ Democratic opponent in the next election saw a significant uptick in donations Friday after she announced that she would vote “yes” on Kavanaugh — all but guaranteeing his confirmation.

A crowdfunding effort to raise money for Collins’s potential 2020 opponent broke $3 million in contributions. (As of now, no challenger has officially come forward).

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker urged Democrats disappointed by Kavanaugh’s confirmation to turn their despair into action as he made his national debut in Iowa as a Democratic presidential prospect.

WNY GOP operative Michael Caputo has signed on for this election season with a Bannon group called Citizens for the American Republic. It has produced a film called “Trump at War” and is working in key elections deemed crucial to maintaining Republican control of the House.

First Lady Melanie Trump, speaking with reporters during a solo trip to Africa, said she doesn’t always agree with what her husband tweets, and sometimes takes his phone away in an attempt to prevent him from going online.

Twenty people died in Saturday’s crash of a limousine in Schoharie County, State Police confirmed.

The largest city named for Christopher Columbus has called off its observance of the divisive holiday that honors the explorer, making a savvy move to tie the switch to a politically safe demographic: veterans.

Advocates for people with disabilities and MTA lawyers didn’t reach an agreement after spending more than an hour trying to settle a lawsuit to get the authority to build more elevators and take other steps to improve access to the subway.

The wildest card in the governor’s race is former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner who is walking away from a career in Democratic politics and is using phrases like “the system is completely broken” and “it needs to be disrupted” in her bid to upend the two-party system.

Political power in New York on Nov. 6 is poised to be coalesced into the hands of Democrats from downstate in a way that could hold for decades given the looming prospect of redistricting. What does that mean for upstate?

Larry Piegza, an Amherst information technology entrepreneur who calls himself “Fix it Larry,” is so willing to dedicate his skills to fixing the federal government that he is running on the Reform Party line for one of the most scrutinized congressional races in America – the contest for Rep. Chris Collins’ seat in NY-27.

Switching to a lighter eco-friendly vehicle that can accommodate NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 6-foot-five-inch frame has presented a challenge to his administration.

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Extras

Judge Brett Kavanaugh cleared a major hurdle this morning in his quest for the Supreme Court, as the Senate voted narrowly to cut off debate on his nomination and move to a final vote as early as Saturday, but one Republican senator left open the possibility that she could still vote no.

The 51-49 vote is the next-to-last step in the most tumultuous Supreme Court confirmation process in decades. The vote fell sharply along party lines, and paved the way for a final vote on Kavanaugh as early as Saturday.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, one of four undecided key senators, voted against advancing Kavanaugh in the procedural vote, while Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, voted to advance his nomination. That does not necessarily mean those senators will vote the same way in a final vote, the timing of which has yet to be announced.

Murkowski said she arrived at her decision to vote against Kavanaugh’s nomination at the last possible moment before opposing him on the Senate floor. She called him “a good man” but added that he’s “not the right man for the court.”

Collins said she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, all but ensuring that a deeply riven Senate will elevate the conservative jurist to the nation’s highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines says he’s going to attend his daughter’s wedding back home in Montana on tomorrow, regardless of a possible Senate vote on Kavanaugh.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call sexual assault survivors protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination “very rude elevator screamers,” and he suggested they are professionals paid by George Soros.

After a series of stumbles in his first term, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has become organized labor’s best friend in Albany, and now they’re returning the favor by going all in on him as he seeks a third term.

In an abrupt about-face, federal prosecutors are rescinding a request to appeal the habeas corpus writ granted to Pablo Villavicencio, the pizza delivery man handed over to ICE officials after making a stop at the Brooklyn Fort Hamilton military facility in June.

Three months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, teachers appear to be sticking with their union, even though they are no longer required to pay dues or a fee in lieu of their dues.

A high-profile trial taking place in New York this week has major implications for college basketball and fans across the country.

State Sen. Elaine Phillips, a Long Island Republican, held several events at a country club – Wheatley Hills Golf Club in East Williston – where women cannot be full members.

Three protesters stood outside Cohoes City Hall and called on Mayor Shawn Morse to step down over allegations he physically abused his wife, a daughter and two former girlfriends.

The Mormon church joined lawmakers, the governor of Utah and advocates to back a deal that would legalize medical marijuana in conservative Utah after months of fierce debate.

A proposed Oct. 18 debate between Rep. Chris Collins and Democratic rival Nathan McMurray is officially off, after the Collins campaign never formally responded to the invitation.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was stretched out in butterfly position at the Park Slope YMCA when a homeless woman asked him to provide more housing for people like her. “I’m doing my workout,” video shows de Blasio telling the 72-year-old woman before he stands up and walks away. “I can’t do this now.”

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was sentenced to eight months behind bars and two years of supervised release after his conviction on a single count of tax evasion in January.

Authorities say a worker from Ohio has been killed in a gas explosion in a zinc mine in the St. Lawrence County town of Gouverneur, near the Canadian border 95 miles north of Syracuse.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area with no public events announced as of yet.

President Donald Trump receives his intelligence briefing this morning, and then participates in a Defense Industrial Base Report Presentation.

Later in the afternoon, the president participates in a signing ceremony for H.R. 4, the “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.”

At 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, WNYC.

Also at 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul makes an announcement, Keuka Candy Emporium & Event Venue, 131 Main St., Penn Yan.

At 10:30 a.m.. NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams join advocates for a rally in support of Sergeant Edwin Raymond, a member of the NYPD 12, after Raymond was unjustly blocked from an earned promotion, City Hall steps, Manhattan.”
At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Jeff Coltin, staff reporter at City & State, WCNY.

At 11:30 a.m., John Liu, a candidate for state Senate, holds a campaign office grand opening, 36-35 Bell Blvd. Suite #LL104, Bayside, Queens.

At noon, Hocghul visits Monica’s Pies to promote local small businesses, 7599 NY-21, Naples.

At 1 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts the first “B.P. On Your Block” event, a new initiative spearheaded by her Northern Manhattan office to bring the office’s resources and expertise directly to communities, Taft Houses RA Room, 1723 Madison Ave., Manhattan.

At 2:15 p.m., Hochul talks with students in a legislative process class, SUNY Geneseo, One College Circle, Doty Hall, Room 310, Geneseo.

At 6 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza appears on NY1 Noticias’s Pura Politica with Juan Manuel Benitez.

At 6:15 p.m., U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will host a town hall meeting, taking questions from constituents on issues ranging from health care to jobs and the economy, Hofstra University, Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center, Hempstead, Long Island.

At 7:30 p.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and other local candidates will be visiting Western New York with 2016 Green presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, Potts Deli & Grille, 41 S. Rossler Ave., Cheektowaga.

At 8 p.m., The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts features Times investigative reporter Russ Buettner explaining an in depth look at President Trump’s wealth, CUNY TV.

Headlines…

The Senate, deeply divided over the results of an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, moved uneasily toward a vote this morning that will most likely determine whether President Trump’s nominee will reach the Supreme Court.

With a procedural vote on his contentious Supreme Court nomination hours away, Brett Kavanaugh apologized in a very unusual essay for his recent Senate testimony, during which he screamed, cried, professed his love of beer, belittled Democratic lawmakers and peddled in anti-Trump conspiracy theories, saying the performance reflected his “deep distress.”

Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, is on the cover of this week’s Time magazine. But it’s not a photograph of Ford; it’s an illustration of the words and phrases from her testimony arranged into a striking image of her taking an oath.

In a highly unusual move, retired Supreme Court Justice John Stevens, 98, urged the Senate to reject Kavanaugh, while speaking at a retiree event in Boca Raton, Fla.

Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, said that anyone who thinks politics didn’t play a role in the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh “ought to put down the bong.”

Democratic North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp released a two-minute video explaining why she chose to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, saying she has concerns not only about his past actions, but also his “current temperament, his honesty and his impartiality.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and fellow Democrats face an uphill climb to defeat Kavanaugh, with Republicans using an inconclusive FBI report to push through confirmation of the 53-year-old embattled judge in the Senate.

At least 18 Albany Law School professors were among some 2,400 law professors signing a letter published in the New York Times asking the Senate to reject the Kavanaugh nomination.

A group of former Yale University students who referred to themselves “drinking buddies” of Kavanaugh’s are calling for the Senate to vote against his confirmation.

Speaking at the Association for a Better New York breakfast, Gov. Andrew Cuomo branded Kavanaugh as another example of national and state Republicans being anti-women and “Trump mini-mes,” leading him to be heckled by state GOP Chair Ed Cox.

Comedian Amy Schumer and model-actress Emily Ratajkowski were among more than 300 people arrested in protests over Kavanaugh.‏

More than 100 Syracuse University students and faculty alike gathered outside of Hendricks Chapel in protest of Kavanaugh’s pending confirmation.

Vice President Pence charged that Russia’s influence operations in America pale in comparison with the covert and overt activities China is taking to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections and counter Trump’s tough trade policies against Beijing.

Though a speech delivered by Pence, the Trump administration took aim at Google, calling on the tech giant to halt development of a project it said would accelerate censorship efforts in China.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, has been one of the biggest proponents of Trump’s crackdown on China. But behind the scenes, he has been working to help chemical and textile companies in his home state avoid the pain of the president’s trade war.

Trump boasted at a rally about fixing a Super Bowl problem for the NFL in a matter of “two minutes,” but lamented the football players will still despise him.

Trump mocked former Sen. Al Franken for resigning so quickly from office when faced with a sexual misconduct allegation. “That guy was wacky. Boy, did he fold up like a wet rag,” the president said in Rochester, Minn. to cheers. “Man, he was gone so fast.”

A day after the Working Families Party decided to offer him their line, Cuomo let the minor progressive party who initially backed his primary foe twist in the wind, saying he hadn’t yet determined if he’ll accept and expects to have conversations with party leaders over the next few days.

In May, WFP Bill Lipton said Cuomo had failed to deliver on liberal promises and was too tied to corporate donors and Republicans. Now, he’s singing a different tune, saying: Our differences with Cuomo are real. But our differences with the Trump Republicans are much bigger.”

The Senate Democrat looking to become the state’s first female legislative majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, of Yonkers, says that GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro “will be nothing short of a disaster for the women of New York.”

New York City officials said that they had joined state regulators in examining whether Trump and his family underpaid taxes on his father’s real estate empire over several decades.

New York has a strong case that Trump ran his charitable foundation with disregard for state and federal law, the state’s attorney general, Barbara Underwood, said in a new court filing.

More >

Extras

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the confidential FBI report on charges that Brett Kavanaugh sexually abused women three decades ago “found no hint of misconduct” by the Supreme Court nominee, adding: “There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know.”

Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray expressing regret that investigators did not speak with her in their review of Kavanaugh, calling the five-day probe a “stain on the process, on the FBI and on our American ideal of justice.”

A pair of GOP senators who had been on the fence about Kavanaugh – Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Maine’s Susan Collins – indicated they were satisfied with the FBI’s updated background check on the Supreme Court nominee — an apparent signal of support of his confirmation.

It’s going to be a “no” vote on Kavanaugh from North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp – one of the few Democratic senators who’d been undecided on the Supreme Court nominee.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, he could be hearing his first oral arguments as a sitting justice next Tuesday.

State Republican Chairman Ed Cox was ripped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a Trump mini-me after heckling the governor at an ABNY breakfast in Manhattan this morning.

The fireworks started when Cuomo fielded softball questions from the audience following an update on the JFK renovations. He was asked whether he supported the Kavanaugh nomination, which triggered a the confrontation with Cox.

A day after the liberal minor party jettisoned activist Cynthia Nixon from its gubernatorial ballot line and offered the spot to Cuomo, the governor said the party was merely acting based on a dose of what he called “reality.”

A jury convicted former state Senate aide Robert Nickol of misdemeanor assault charges for whipping his ex-girlfriend with an electric cord and slapping her in the face, but acquitted him of a felony strangulation charge.

Cuomo today expressed strong support for congestion pricing as the only way to provide critical funding for New York City subway and transportation-infrastructure improvements.

Cuomo’s Republican rival, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, has an odd plan for funding subway fixes: Make car commuters pay upfront, but let the state take the hit in April.

Rep. Chris Collins and the two co-defendants in his insider trading case are asking to be excused from a routine status conference in Manhattan next week. It’s a request, allowed by federal law, which has been granted to myriad defendants in criminal cases.

Some people close to Collins dumped their shares in Innate Immunotherapeutics just before the stock price crashed in June 2017, but not his top aide, Michael Hook, who lost money after the fact. One year later, loaned Hook somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000, which prosecutors consider “potentially suspicious.”

Cuomo announced that John F. Kennedy International Airport will go from an aging facility into a world-class air travel hub in a seven-year, $13 billion transformation.

After 15 years as the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, Paul Steely White has become synonymous with the rabble-rousing safe-streets organization, and had a hand in some of its most successful campaigns. He’s moving on to Bird, the e-scooter company, to serve as its director of Safety and Advocacy.

A play about a fictionalized Hillary Clinton is coming to Broadway.

Over the years, the New-York Historical Society has built its reputation on exhibits dedicated to weighty subjects such as the Vietnam and Civil Wars. Now, it is turning its attention to one of the biggest pop-culture phenomena of the past two decades: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise.

The Cuomo administration has pledged to remove more than 400 of the controversial I Love NY signs from the state’s highways by Nov. 21 and make minor changes to the 103 that will remain.

Cuomo has signed a new law banning the construction of stand-alone mausoleums.

St. Peter’s Health Partners, which operates four hospitals inn the Capital Region, is moving 100 back-office jobs to Michigan as part of a larger consolidation and modernization of the billing department by parent Trinity Health Partners.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

President Donald Trump travels today to Minneapolis, MN, where he will participate in a roundtable with supports, and deliver remarks at a joint fundraising committee reception.

The president then heads to the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN, where he will headline a “Make America Great Again” rally before returning home to D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence this morning delivers remarks on the administration’s policy toward China.

In the early evening, Pence participates in a Barbara Comstock for Congress event, followed by a Danny Tarkanian for Congress event – both in D.C.

At 8 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks and moderates a panel discussion at a NYS MWBE Forum “Generations Talking,” Empire State Plaza, Convention Center, Meeting Room 6, Albany.

At 9 a.m., Cuomo makes an infrastructure announcement at The Association for a Better New York power breakfast, Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features New York Times investigative reporter David Barstow, WNYC.

Also at 10 a.m., Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro attends Christian Community Neighborhood Church with Democratic NYC Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., 1437 Longfellow Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to announce the grand opening of the new, locally-owned food concession Taste of Rochester, Greater Rochester International Airport, 1200 Brooks Ave., Rochester.

Also at 10 a.m., Dr. Jim Maxwell, Rochester neurosurgeon and Republican candidate in NY-25, attends the 29th Annual Family Health and Fitness Fair, which he helps sponsor, 5257 W. Henrietta Rd., Henrietta.

At 10:30 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz holds a regular public hearing on land use, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 11 a.m. – Mark Dunlea, the Green Party candidate for state comptroller, holds a news conference to call for the creation of a state bank similar to North Dakota, LCA Press room (Room 130), Legislative Office Building, State and Swan streets, Albany.

At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter features Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci, WCNY.

At noon, Molinaro holds a press conference to announce two concrete actions he would take to significantly reduce New York City’s skyrocketing property taxes – especially for working-class homeowners, who pay a disproportionate share of the city’s property tax load, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Brooklyn Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr. and Rep. Carolyn Maloney join families of children with Tay-Sachs Disease to call on New York City to help families fighting this disease, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 2 p.m., former Syracuse Mayor and independent gubernatorial candidate Stephanie Miner unveils a plan to fix the NYC subway system, Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall subway entrance, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., Olean Mayor Bill Aiello endorses Republican Rep. Tom Reed for re-election after the two tour downtown, City of Olean Municipal Building, 101 E. State St., Olean.

At 4 p.m., Borough President Katz and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer deliver remarks at ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate opening of the Rioult Dance Center, 34-01 Steinway St., Astoria, Queens.

At 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., “MetroFocus” features investigative reporter Susanne Craig discussing the Times’ report on President Trump’s wealth, WLIW21 (5 p.m.) and WNET Thirteen (6 p.m.).

At 5:30 p.m., Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer speaks at the Cultural Institutions Group’s NYC Culture & Arts Reception in celebration of funding secured for cultural affairs in the city’s fiscal year 2019 budget, Central Park Zoo, 64th Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the Italian Heritage Reception, Gracie Mansion, 88th Street and East End Avenue, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides hold a town hall, P.S. 171, 14-14 29th Ave., Astoria, Queens.

At 7:50 p.m., Borough President Katz accepts award at the ‘State of Queens Real Estate” event presented by the Asian Real Estate Association of America New York East Chapter and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Royal Queens New World Mall (3rd floor), 136-20 Roosevelt Ave. Queens.

Headlines…

The White House has found no corroboration of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after examining interview reports from the FBI’s latest probe into the judge’s background, according to people familiar with the matter.

Senators are being told that they will get to review a supplemental FBI background investigation into Kavanaugh today, but only one copy is being made available to senators under restricted conditions.

The material was conveyed to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night, just hours after Senate Republicans set the stage for a pair of votes later in the week to move to final approval of Kavanaugh’s nomination. A statement issued by the White House around 2:30 a.m. said the FBI had completed its work and that it represented an unprecedented look at a nominee.

Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers say they’ll turn over notes from her therapy sessions and any recordings of her taking a lie detector test to the FBI, if the bureau agrees to interview her.

A plurality of Americans say they found Ford more credible than Kavanaugh at last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing, according to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

The Senate braced for a crucial initial vote Friday on Kavanaugh’s tottering nomination after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set his polarized chamber on a schedule to decide an election-season battle that has consumed the nation. A showdown roll call over confirmation seemed likely over the weekend.

Trump and his siblings could owe New York state more than $400 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties based on the New York Times report that their parents handed down more than $1 billion worth of real estate and cash.

In the wake of the NYT exposé on Trump’s taxes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General candidate Letitia James are calling on their Republican foes to release multiple years worth of taxes.

New York State’s housing regulator is also now “examining” the real estate empire built by Trump’s father in the wake of the paper’s report that the family enriched itself by bilking tenants and cheating on its taxes.

The White House defended Trump’s decision to mock Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. “The president was stating the facts,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

The FBI has taken a suspect into custody in connection to what was believed to be ricin letter threats that were mailed to the Pentagon and other locations Tuesday.

The delay in appointing a new justice will likely have an effect on a number of cases that are scheduled to come before the Supreme Court this fall.

U.S. Capitol Police announced that a former junior Senate Democratic staffer has been arrested for allegedly posting private information about Republican senators on the Wikipedia Internet website.

About 225 million electronic devices across the United States received alerts yesterday afternoon as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducted a test.

Trump’s antitrust chief at the Department of Justice told Capitol Hill lawmakers that his agency could investigate the search giant Google for anti-competitive behavior.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the White House was terminating a 1950s treaty with Iran after a United Nations court ruled the accord prevented the US from imposing sanctions that would affect humanitarian aid.

Trump must turn over information about other women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct because his predecessor, President Clinton, had to do the same thing, a former “Apprentice” contestant argues in new court papers.

Seven South Carolina law enforcement officers were shot, one fatally, in a confrontation with a man who held children hostage as he fired on the officers, officials said.

Trump’s advisers are planning an aggressive schedule in the month before the midterm elections for the president to campaign with House candidates who have supported his agenda — and they are firing a warning shot at those who try to distance themselves from him.

This year’s election carries enormous political stakes, but if history is any guide, the vast majority of eligible voters will stay home on Election Day.

In a sharp reversal for its members, the Working Families Party voted to back Cuomo and LG Kathy Hochul, paving the way to swap out Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, whom the WFP backed in an unsuccessful Democratic primary challenge.

The vote was 62.8 percent of WFP members in favor of the candidate switch and 37.2 percent opposed during a heated meeting in downtown Manhattan.

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Extras

U.S. Senate Republican leaders expect the FBI to provide its supplementary background report on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh today and hold a vote vote on the nominee Friday or Saturday.

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton said she used to stay silent when bullies targeted her, but the birth of her first child forced her to take a different approach.

Two wavering Republican senators lambasted President Donald Trump for mocking Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who has claimed Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, underscoring the risks of assailing Kavanaugh’s three accusers as Senate support teeters for the Supreme Court nominee.

A friend of Ford’s said that, contrary to claims by Ford’s onetime boyfriend, the psychology professor did not coach her on taking a polygraph exam in the 1990s.

The FBI had not interviewed Ford as of this afternoon, her attorneys said in a letter.

The agency also hasn’t interviewed Kavanaugh, as it doesn’t have authority from the White House to do so.

A majority of Republican voters say they would consider voting for a candidate with multiple accusations of sexual harassment, according to a new survey.

Democrats hold a 5 percentage point lead over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot as the midterm campaign enters its final month, according to an Economist/YouGov poll released today.

Zephyr Teachout hasn’t decided yet whether she’s willing to vote for Cuomo, whom she unsuccessfully challenged in 2014.

Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison for Peter Galbraith Kelly, the energy company executive who arranged a “low-show job” for the wife of former gubernatorial aide Joseph Percoco.

Cuomo cut a TV ad for Long Island Democratic House candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley, who is trying to oust veteran Republican Rep. Pete King, the head of the GOP House delegation.

Former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver will stay out of prison on bail for at least two more months while his conviction on corruption charges is being appealed, a Manhattan federal appeals court ruled.

A federal judge ruled that jurors in the upcoming retrial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife won’t be allowed to hear the phrase “retrial,” even though defense attorneys likened the prior proceeding to “Long Island’s trial of the century.”

The new “chief democracy officer” that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is paying $165,000 a year to boost voter turnout couldn’t be bothered to vote herself in several recent primaries — including the mayor’s own 2017 primary.

The former Albany imam, whom supporters believe was caught in an anti-Muslim backlash after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, was expected to be released from federal prison today after serving 15 years for his conviction in an undercover terror sting.

Bishop Richard J. Malone has suspended another retired priest accused of sexual abuse from serving in parishes, bringing to 15 the number of Buffalo Diocese priests who have been put on administrative leave since March.

NYC Public Advocate James, the front-runner to become the next state attorney general, hasn’t given a campaign donation back to a payday lender, as her campaign said she had nearly a month ago.

More than 120 employees of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection collected $300,000 or more during the city’s 2018 fiscal year, according to the latest payroll data added to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. The top 2017 paycheck at DEP was $216,112.

Rapper Common was spotted in Brooklyn, springing a jailbird on behalf of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights foundation’s controversial plan to indiscriminately bail women and teens from city jails.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has begun the process of appealing the August court victory by Pablo Villavicencio, who faced deportation after being detained in June while delivering a pizza to a military base in Brooklyn.

This is not a joke.

DeFran Divests Campaign Cash

From the Morning Memo:

Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco might not be seeking re-election this fall, but he still cares about the outcome of the fight for control of the chamber he’s leaving after more than two decades in Albany, and says he’s doing what he can to assist his fellow Republicans.

DeFrancisco, who decided not to run for another term after a short-lived and unsuccessful run to land the GOP gubernatorial nomination, said during a CapTon interview last night that he has about $1.3 million left in his campaign account, and he’s putting some of that money to use.

“Today I spread a lot around, and I’m going to be spreading more around,” DeFrancisco said. “I gave a substantial contribution to the Republican campaign committee, and I maxed out to (Onondaga County Comptroller) Bob Antonacci, who’s running in my seat, and there’s other candidates I’m going to help out at the local level.”

DeFrancisco declined to say exactly how much money he gave to the SRCC, but we’ll find out the amount soon enough when the pre-general election financial reports start coming in.

Asked what else he plans to do with the money he has raised over the years, DeFeancisco noted that the other options available to him “are you can provide it to charity, you don’t have to do it all at once, or you could create a foundation.”

Or, he could give it back to his donors – though that’s a pretty complicated undertaking. The senator rejected the idea out of hand, saying:

“It’s pretty difficult because I’ve been in the Senate 26 years, I rarely had a real big race, so this money’s been accumulating over the years because it was never spent. It wasn’t that all of a sudden I put a million dollars in a bank account.”

As of mid-July, which was the last regularly scheduled campaign finance filing with the state Board of Elections, DeFrancisco actually had $1.49 million on hand – much of which, about $745,900 – he had transferred in from other committees he had established, including $20,000 from the account he created to fund his short-lived, and unsuccessful, run for governor.

The senator also weighed in on the battle for the 53rd state Senate seat, where former IDC member Dave Valesky lost the Democratic primary to newcomer Rachel May, and subsequently decided not to remain on the ballot in November as an independent.

According to DeFrancisco, this might be a flippable seat for the GOP in November, now that the incumbent is out of the picture.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled or announced as of yet.

Working Families Party members meet tonight to decide whether to remove Cynthia Nixon from the general election ballot after she lost the Democratic primary to Cuomo and replace her with the governor.

President Donald Trump this morning receives his daily intelligence briefing, and then has lunch with the secretary of state.

In the afternoon, the president meets with the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

At 7 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. helps kick off the “24 Hour Transit Tour,” West 242nd Street, Van Cortlandt Park Subway Station, the Bronx.

At 8 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Transportation Alternatives and representatives from e-scooter company Bird hold press conference followed by a group ride on e-scooters to the Grand Street L station, Myrtle-Wyckoff Plaza, Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission holds Commission Meeting, Museum of American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, lower-level auditorium, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the announcement of the winners of the Reimagine the Canals Competition, Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave., Rochester.

At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Stuart Lehman, Educational Coordinator at the Office of General Services and others, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill will hold a media availability on crime statistics, One Police Plaza, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announce a joint fight against proposed federal regulations to limit the ability of homeowners and individuals to deduct state and local taxes (SALT) on their federal tax returns, IRS, 210 E. Post Rd., White Plains

At noon, Borough President Diaz speaks at the Parque de los Ninos groundbreaking ceremony. Metcalf Avenue, between Watson and Westchester avenues, the Bronx.

At 12:45 p.m., Rep. Nita Lowey tours Riverview Nursery School and hosts roundtable to announce federal funding increases for child care and early childhood learning, 150 Piermont Ave., South Nyack.

Also at 12:45 p.m., Hochul makes an announcement, Cornerstone CFCU Arena, 1 Grigg Lewis Way, Lockport.

At 1:30 p.m., state Sens. Todd Kaminsky and Elaine Phillips host a roundtable discussion on adequately locating timely, affordable and quality mental health and addiction care, NYU Langone Winthrop Research Institute, 101 Mineola Blvd., Mineola.

At 5 p.m., Rep. Nydia Velázquez is honored at the 2018 Queens Courier Powerlist Awards, Terrace on the Park, Flushing Meadows Park, 52-11 111th St., Queens.

At 5:30 p.m., Borough President Diaz speaks at a rally to oppose the construction of a new jail in Mott Haven, Bronx County Building steps, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

At 6 p.m., Democratic NY-14 candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hosts a listening tour event, Parkside Senior Center, 644 Adee Ave., the Bronx.

At 6:30 p.m., elected officials testify at the NYC Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform’s public hearing in Queens to listen to people who pay property taxes directly or indirectly, York College Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Queens.

Also at 6:30 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza attends a town hall meeting of District 8’s Community Education Council, Antonia Pantoja Preparatory Academy, 1980 Lafayette Ave., the Bronx.

At 7:30 p.m., Hochul announces the winner of the Winner of 43North Awards, Shea’s Buffalo Theatre, 646 Main St., Buffalo.

Headlines…

The state Department of Taxation and Finance says it is reviewing allegations made in a New York Times article about questionable tax schemes used by now-President Donald Trump in the 1990s.

Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement to the NYT that “allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory,” adding: “There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

The NYT editorial board calls Trump a “self-made sham,” and demands to see his tax returns.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he’d directed the city’s Department of Finance to work with the state and “find out if the appropriate taxes were paid.”

The FBI is expected to complete its investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh and deliver the results to the Senate as early as Wednesday, and Republican leaders said that they expect to vote on the nomination this week.

At a rally in Mississippi, Trump went further than ever before in directly assailing Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who accused Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, of pinning her to a bed and trying to take her clothes off at a high school party in the early 1980s.

“Thirty-six years ago, this happened,” Trump said as the crowd cheered. “‘I had one beer.’ Right? ‘I had one beer,’” he began. “How did you get home? ‘I don’t remember.’ How did you get there? ‘I don’t remember.’ How many years ago was it? ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.'”

Hillary Clinton said she couldn’t help but laugh when asked about Kavanaugh’s remarks last week, when he suggested that his embattled confirmation process had, among other things, turned into “revenge on the behalf of the Clintons.”

An attorney for Deborah Ramirez, a woman who alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the 1980s, says he’s concerned the FBI “is not conducting — or not being permitted to conduct — a serious investigation.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer knocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of a “double standard” for claiming Democrats are trying to delay a Supreme Court nomination.

In a 1983 letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The NYT, a young Kavanaugh warned his friends of the danger of eviction from an Ocean City, Md., condo. saying they should “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is combing through Roger Stone’s track record as a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” amid its investigation into whether Stone was involved in Russian efforts to steal and disseminate damaging information about Democrats ahead of the 2016 election.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City who is considering a 2020 presidential campaign, will give $20 million to the main Democratic Senate super PAC this week — jolting the national battle for control of the chamber just five weeks away from the midterm elections.

Donald Trump Jr. says he and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle have been told they are “the most Googled couple on the Internet,” and he wouldn’t rule out a future political run – perhaps even for governor of New York.

Authorities were investigating two envelopes suspected of containing a suspected poison that were addressed to top military chiefs and a third with unknown contents sent to the president.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo heads into the Working Families Party vote today the favorite to get the nomination, though the situation remains fluid, a party source said. More here.

Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, the WFP’s current nominee for lieutenant governor, is expected to be shifted to running against state Sen. Simcha Felder, a conservative Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, so LG Kathy Hochul can take his place on the LG general election line.

Speaking with the Poughkeepsie Journal editorial board, Molinaro reflected on his past voting record with the state Assembly, his allegations about the opening of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and how the polls reflect the race.

The Nonhuman Rights Project contends Happy — a 47-year-old Asian elephant who is kept in isolation — has been unlawfully imprisoned at the Bronx Zoo, and petitioned a State Supreme Court judge for a writ of habeas corpus in its lawsuit.

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