The Note: Trump uses Kavanaugh to start political gender war

The Note: Trump uses Kavanaugh to start political gender war

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The TAKE with Rick Klein

He went there – and then some.

President Donald Trump’s decision to attack Christine Blasey Ford in Mississippi Tuesday night– mocking her memory gaps from her alleged sexual assault after last week calling her "credible" — marks more than a typical Trumpian response, and more than simply an effort to boost his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump sees a political gender war for him and his party. When he called it a "very scary time for young men in America," he is of course hoping those men vote.

This attack is not about pressure on the Senate. The support of any two of three wavering Republican senators would likely put Kavanaugh on the court; attacking Ford, it’s fair to say, won’t win him any points from senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, or Jeff Flake.

The six days since Ford’s testimony have energized Democrats around their messaging, as they hammer the point that women deserve to be heard. Republican strategists concede that droves of female voters are almost certainly lost to the GOP in the midterm elections.

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judiciary-commitee-02-rtr-jrl-18092_hpEmbed_3x2_992.jpgWin McNamee/Getty ImagesRepublican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and staff surround Sen. Jeff Flake, center, at the end of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, Sept. 28, 2019. From left to right are Sen. Thom Tillis,Sen. Mike Crapo, and Sen. Lindsey Graham.

But the president senses that the GOP is galvanized now, too.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who did much to turn the political tide at least week’s hearing, is so confident of where Republicans stand that he said Trump should nominate Kavanaugh all over again if his nomination falls short in the Senate.

Kavanaugh, Graham argues, should be on the midterm ballot, for what his nomination represents. A whole lot of Democrats like that idea.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

If Democrats take control of the House it is hard to imagine the sheer number of President Trump-related investigations some will want to pursue.

But the allegations in a story Tuesday in the New York Times remind us that there are lots of other ways information about the president, his family members and their finances can come to light.

The New York Times said it based its conclusions — that Trump helped his father defraud the federal government and avoid paying taxes — on "interviews with Fred Trump’s former employees and advisers and more than 100,000 pages of documents describing the inner workings and immense profitability of his empire."

donald-fred-trump-file-gty-jef-181002_hpEmbed_3x4_992.jpgRon Galella/WireImage/Getty ImagesDonald Trump, left, and father Fred Trump celebrate the launch of "The Art of the Deal" at Trump Towers in New York City.

Wow. That suggests potentially dozens of stories and revelations still to come even if the president’s lawyer calls the allegations "100 percent false."

What's more, the New York State Tax Department now says it is reviewing the allegations in the article and "is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation."

So, Democrats winning back the gavel on House committees — combined with the state of New York’s legal powers — could mean we’ll see the president’s tax returns before too long. The question then: What will they show and was there a reason he kept them from public review to begin with?

The TIP with John Verhovek

As Democrats continue their push to re-take control of the U.S. House in November, the leading gun control organization is launching a new effort to topple a Republican incumbent in a key Minnesota swing district.

Hoping to animate voters around an issue that could factor into a number of top races this cycle, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence — the gun safety group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly — is putting $1.3 million behind a new ad campaign in a suburban Minneapolis district that Donald Trump won narrowly in 2016 and is currently held by GOP Rep. Jason Lewis.

AP_gabby_giffords_er_160616._hpEmbed_2_3x2_992.jpgCarolyn Kaster/AP Photo, FILEGabby Giffords arrives in the East Room of the White House in Washington to hear President Obama speak about steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence, Jan. 5, 2016.

The ad, featuring Air Force Veteran, gun owner and former NRA sharpshooter Bob Mokos, is another foray into a battleground district for Giffords, which has endorsed more than 140 U.S. House candidates this cycle, including Lewis’ Democratic opponent Angie Craig.

"Every day in America, 96 Americans die because of guns. The day my sister died is a day I'll never forget," Mokos, whose sister Diane was shot and killed during a robbery more than 30 years ago, said in a statement provided to ABC News, "All I can do is learn to live with the pain and try my best to stop this kind of tragedy from happening to another family."

President Trump is set to make his second visit to Minnesota this cycle on Thursday to the congressional district directly to the south of Lewis’, one of two open seat races in the state where the GOP has a rare opportunity to go on the offensive in an otherwise difficult midterm environment.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning’s episode features ABC News Senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega – she says the public may not see the FBI’s Kavanaugh report when it’s finished. And, ABC News’ Kyra Phillips tells us about a New York Times investigation into Trump’s alleged use of tax evasion schemes. https://bit.ly/2Ohkpz8

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

President Trump has no open press events today. He holds a closed meeting with Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at 1:45 p.m. The president's son, Donald Trump Jr., campaigns with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Wichita Falls and Conroe, Texas, today. In 2016, Cruz ran in a bitter race against Trump for the Republican nomination for president, at one point calling him a "sniveling coward" after Trump shared an unflattering comparison of the two candidates' wives on Twitter. Now, Cruz will be joined by his former opponent's son and girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, on the campaign trail. Cruz is locked in a tight race against Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham sits for an interview at 10 a.m. during the second day of The Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C. Graham, who lashed out at Democrats during Kavanaugh's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, has been one of the strongest supporters for the Supreme Court nominee, saying in a statement Tuesday that if the nomination fails, Trump should re-nominate the judge to appeal the Senate's verdict "directly to the American people." At 2 p.m., former Secretary of State John Kerry sits for an interview. Kerry has been repeatedly asked about 2020 ambitions but hasn't given a direct answer, instead consistently turning his response to 2018 and the midterms. ABC7 Chicago, along with the League of Women Voters of Illinois Education Fund and Univision Chicago, host the Illinois gubernatorial debate at 7 p.m. featuring Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is widely viewed as the most vulnerable incumbent Republican governor this cycle, and Democrat J.B. Pritzker, the heir to the Hyatt Hotel chain fortune, in one of this cycle's most expensive races. Donald Trump lost the state by 15 points in the 2016 election, and Democrats continue to eye the contest as a top pickup opportunity this cycle.

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