1/ Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing is set to begin September 4th and should last three to four days, according Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley. The Supreme Court nominee's hearing aligns with Mitch McConnell's plan to get Kavanaugh on the bench before the midterm elections. (Axios / Politico)
Top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency pushed through a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products, and did so over the objections of E.P.A.’s in-house scientists and attorneys, internal agency emails show.
And here’s the “Russia Connection”: Americans breathing in more deadly asbestos will directly benefit Russian asbestos suppliers.
Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts is leading an effort among Democratic state attorneys to fight the asbestos plan, calling it a threat to human health. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other ailments.
“In recent years, tens of thousands have died from mesothelioma and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos and other dangerous chemicals,” she said. “If the Trump administration’s erosion of federal chemical safety rules continues, it will endanger our communities and the health of all Americans.”
The United States no longer mines or manufactures asbestos. Until recently, Brazil had been the source of about 95 percent of all asbestos used in America, according to the E.P.A., but last year that country banned its manufacture and sale. Since then, Russia has stepped in as a supplier.
One Russian producer recently signaled enthusiasm for the American market. Last month, the Russian firm Uralasbest posted on Facebook an image of its asbestos packaging that featured President Donald J. Trump’s face along with the words: “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States.” The company is one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of asbestos.
The new coverage from the NYT brings an additional dimension to the previous reporting on this disgraceful EPA policy change:
Remember Peter Smith? The Republican who committed suicide after the WSJ published a story about his connections with Michael Flynn. Buzzfeed reports that he allegedly had made numerous cash withdrawals in order to pay dark web hackers for Clinton emails.
The money trail, made public here for the first time, sheds new light on Smith’s effort, in which he told people he was in touch with both Russians on the dark web and Trump campaign officials— particularly Michael Flynn, who was then a top adviser to the Trump campaign and later served as national security adviser before having to resign after misleading White House officials about his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
(CNN)A federal district judge who was appointed by President Donald Trump has upheld Robert Mueller’s appointment and constitutional authority in the special counsel’s case against Russian social media propagandists.
Judge Dabney Friedrich, who serves at the trial-court level in DC federal court, said Concord Management and Consulting could not have its case tossed on constitutional grounds. The Russian company accused of backing a social media effort to sway voters against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed Mueller didn’t have power to bring the case because he was not appointment by the President and confirmed by Congress. Mueller was appointed under the authority of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has broad power as the acting head of the Justice Department for the 2016 election probe.