Michelle Obama plans special announcement next week & Elaine Chao's me time
Michelle Obama plans special announcement next week & Elaine Chao's me time
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October 02, 2018
Tim Scott Announces SCOTUS Decision, Barack Obama Announces Endorsements, and Jemele Hill Joins The Atlantic
ICE, ICE BABY… As an undergraduate at Yale in 1985, SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of throwing ice on another man during a bar fight. TOO COLD, TOO COLDMultifold ethics complaints have been filed against Kavanaugh in the DC Circuit, including at least one claiming he lied about the sexual assault allegations against him. And who will oversee the complaints? President Obama's shunned nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. GO PROBE… Donald Trump has widened the FBI's probe, giving the Bureau flexibility to interview anyone it deems necessary -- as long as the investigation concludes this week. So far, they have interviewed the four witnesses it was initially asked to question and reached out to others Monday. 99 PROBLEMS, BUT MITCH AIN’T ONE… If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has his way, a procedural vote on Kavanaugh could come as early as Friday and a potential floor vote Sunday. FEELING FROGGY… The Supreme Court opened its new term Monday by handling a case involving a small, critically endangered frog which lives exclusively in a damp forest in Mississippi. The Fish and Wildlife Service wants to be able to move them to Louisiana, but they’re not welcome. VISA EQUALITY… The Trump administration this week began denying visas to the unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats, officials, and employees of the UN -- making marriage a requirement to be eligible for a visa. The “sanctity of marriage” is obviously important to this president. →  STORMY WEATHER… News broke this morning that the President personally directed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen in February to stop Stormy Daniels from publicly describing their alleged sexual encounter. According to reports, he even asked his son Eric Trump to help. THE WIFE IS AWAYFirst Lady Melania Trump landed in Accra, Ghana this morning as part of her first solo international trip to Africa. COMEY TO GOP: NAH. Former FBI Director James Comey rejected a request by House Judiciary Committee Republicans to appear at a closed hearing as part of the GOP probe into allegations of political bias at the DOJ and FBI. But he said he would appear a public hearing. DATES SET… The RNC announced Monday that it will hold the party's 2020 convention in Charlotte, NC from August 24th - 27th. The DNC’s 2020 convention will take place from July 13th - 16th, but the party has yet to announce the host city for its convention. Miami Beach, Milwaukee, and Houston are among the contenders. FLY HIGHThe Los Angeles Airport is now allowing passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana. If Snoop flies commercial, we’ll assume he’s been made aware of this pressing development. DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT… You ready? We’re dropping today’s Beat with all of this…
  • Michelle Obama plans a special announcement next week.
  • Congresswoman Michelle Luján Grisham (D-NM) sounds the alarm on migrant children. 
  • Attorney releases findings in Keith Ellison investigation.
  • NYT names an East Africa Bureau Chief.
  • Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s private time. It’s a thing.
  • Be sure to catch The Beat DC’s Tiffany D. Cross on Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton on SiriusXM ch. 126 today at 1:30 EDT.
Actress LaLa Anthony and MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid at the Global Citizen Festival in NYC over the weekend.
Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) last week during the Senate hearing for SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Tim Scott Backs Brett Kavanaugh
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
, the only Black Republican in the upper chamber, broke his days-long silence on Monday and publicly pledged to support Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. But he says the decision was a difficult one given the compelling testimony of his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. “My heart breaks for Dr. Ford as she obviously still confronts a trauma that occurred while she was a teenager. However, none of the evidence we have points to Brett Kavanaugh as guilty of these crimes.” He says the FBI investigation is an important step, but that barring the discovery of any new information, he plans to vote for Kavanaugh. Recent trips to Iowa have prompted speculation about Scott’s political ambitions. He briefly considered running for Governor of South Carolina earlier this year, and his name gets mentioned as someone who could either run for President or be chosen as a VP nominee. Scott champions a party that is still overwhelmingly white, but the Senator has been very outspoken on race issues. So, too, has Kavanaugh. According to one of the emails Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) released, the SCOTUS nominee’s outlook runs contrary to Scott’s. “The desire to remedy societal discrimination is not a compelling interest,” Kavanaugh wrote in a 2001 email about racial profiling. A couple of years later, Kavanaugh doubled-down by decidedly opposing affirmative action. When asked about how President George W. Bush’s White House could tout a diverse workforce while opposing affirmative action, Kavanaugh said in no uncertain terms, “Diversity is a permissible goal but a state must use race-neutral criteria when available.” He has criticized ‘special legislation’ for minorities and, in a 1999 interview, said he looked forward to the ‘inevitable’ day in 10 or 20 years when, he predicted, the Supreme Court ‘says we are all one race in the eyes of the government. He also once tried to crack a joke about getting sexual favors from a would-be Asian massage parlor in an email with “Su Ching is booked” as the subject line. Scott helped force the withdrawal of another Trump nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals whose racially-charged academic writings from decades earlier mocked multiculturalism and cultural sensitivity. However, this time around, he’s on board with Trump. Read his full statement of support for Kavanaugh here.
Hundreds of Migrant Children Moved to a Texas Tent City, Hispanic Lawmakers Sound the Alarm
Hundreds of migrant children in recent weeks have been moved from private foster homes or shelters to a tent city in West Texas. The children were reportedly placed on buses in the middle of the night to move from shelters in locations ranging from New York to Kansas to the facility in Tornillo, Texas. The NYT reports that the children are now housed in groups of 20, sleeping in lines of bunk beds. There is no school: the children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete. And access to legal services is limited. The mass transfers are raising alarm among immigrant advocates, who were already concerned about the long periods of time migrant children are spending in federal custody. Thousands of migrant families were separated earlier this year as a result of Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. The number of migrant children in federal custody has increased from 2,400 in May 2017 to a record 12,800 this month. The growing number has caused alarm, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Monday sent a letter to the Trump administration demanding answers about its child detention policies. CHC Chairwoman Congresswoman Michelle Luján Grisham (D-NM) and members of CHC leadership sent a letter to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd demanding updates on the remaining children in ORR custody who are separated from their families and the administration’s timeline for ensuring that reunification efforts are completed in a timely manner. The CHC also asked for a meeting “to discuss what ORR is doing to ensure the safety of children in your custody.” The roughly 100 shelters that have, until now, been the main location for housing detained migrant children are licensed and monitored by state child welfare authorities, who impose requirements on safety and education as well as staff hiring and training. The facility in Tornillo is unregulated and opened in June with a 450-bed capacity and was scheduled to stay open for just 30 days. However, it is now expected to stay open until at least the end of the year and now holds 3,800 beds. More here.
Yelp’s Luther Lowe and his wife, CBS News’ Weijia Jiang, announcing her pregnancy on Monday in DC. (It's a girl!)
Cancer advocate Renee Sendelbach with actress and activist Eva Longoria last month raising money for the Kiss This 4 MBC campaign, which supports breast cancer research.
Check Out the Next Round of Barack Obama 2018 Endorsements
Former President Barack Obama yesterday released his newest round of endorsements ahead of the November 7th midterm elections. At the federal level, Obama put his seal of approval behind Joe Neguse, Colorado’s Second Congressional District; Jahana Hayes, Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District; Stephanie Murphy, Florida’s 7th Congressional District; Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Florida’s 26th Congressional District; Lucy McBath, Georgia’s 6th Congressional District; Sharice Davids, Kansas’ Third Congressional District; Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District; Angie Craig, Minnesota’s Second Congressional District; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York’s 14th Congressional District; Linda Coleman, North Carolina’s Second Congressional District; Verónica Escobar, Texas’ 16th Congressional District; Gina Ortiz Jones, Texas’ 23rd Congressional District; Sylvia García, Texas’ 29th Congressional District; and Randy “Iron Stache” Bryce, Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. On the state executive level, Obama endorsed AZ gubernatorial candidate David García; AZ Attorney General candidate January Contreras; FL gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum; MD gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous; MA gubernatorial candidate Jay González; NV Attorney General candidate Aaron Ford; NV Secretary of State candidate Nelson Araujo; NM gubernatorial candidate and Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Congresswoman Michelle Luján Grisham; NM Lt. Governor candidate Howie Morales; OH Treasurer candidate Rob Richardson; and WI Lt. Governor candidate Mandela Barnes. “I’m proud to endorse even more Democratic candidates who aren’t just running against something, but for something—to expand opportunity for all of us and to restore dignity, honor, and compassion to public service. They deserve your vote,” Obama said. Overall, he made 260 new endorsements. There were some notable omissions including MN Attorney General candidate Congressman Keith Ellison and Texas senatorial candidate Congressman Beto O’Rourke. See the full list here.

Mia Love and the Congressional Black Caucus -- It's Complicated
Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT)
is the first, and only, Black female Republican in the House. She is also the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). “I feel as if I’m supported [by Republicans],” she said to BuzzFeed’s Darren Sands. “But the same way, if my leadership asked me to go after a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, I won’t do it.” Love regularly attends CBC meetings, receives guidance as a younger member, and acts as a liaison between the Caucus and House Republicans. It brings both parties to an interesting crossroads. Love is fighting for her political life in a close contest with Salt Lake City Mayor Ben McAdams. The CBC isn’t a partisan group, even though it’s comprised of almost entirely Democrats. However, the CBC PAC could technically choose to support Love for re-election under its guidelines: “The CBC PAC works to increase the number of African Americans in the U.S. Congress, support non-Black candidates that champion our interests, and promote African American participation in the political process — with an emphasis on young voters.” However, the Caucus is eager to see a blue wave so Dems can take control of Congress next year. Love said recently in an interview with Fox News Radio that the DNC and the DCCC are targeting her seat because she is Black, Republican, and successful. “They do not like the fact that I am a black female Republican doing everything I possibly can to talk about the issues that help people go from the lowest common denominator up,” she said. Love also accused House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of not caring about diversity. “They would prefer to diminish the numbers of the CBC so that Nancy Pelosi can stay in power rather than promote diversity,” she charged. We don’t foresee any endorsement. Darren Sands has more.

NBC News’ Harry Smith, Morgan Radford, and Joe Fryer on Monday before their segment on The Today Show in NYC.
MSNBC’s Richard Lui and NBC News contributor Kurt Bardella on-set of NBC News over the weekend.
Elaine Chao’s Private Time
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has spent more than 290 hours in meetings labeled "private" during her first 14 months in the post, according to a new Politico analysis of her calendars. A spokesperson told Politico some of the "private" time was spent traveling, while other blocks involved appointments ranging “from doctor’s appointments to meeting with personal friends to tending to personal needs or regularly sharing meals with her husband." Her husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Six former DOT officials said the amount of time Chao is unaccounted for is “unusual.” In the week before the DOT announced a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, Chao spent 11 hours in "private" meetings. More here.

Attorneys Investigate and Release Report on Abuse Accusations Against Keith Ellison
A lawyer hired by Democrats in Minnesota to investigate abuse allegations from a former girlfriend against Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), who’s running to be Minnesota's Attorney General, says the accusations cannot be substantiated. The attorney wrote in the report that the accuser, Karen Monaghan, refused to provide video of the alleged abuse. Monahan in August claimed that Ellison dragged her from a bed by her feet in 2016 while screaming at her, which Ellison has denied. Monahan’s son claimed in a Facebook post that he found the video, but no one has ever seen the tape. Attorneys noted Monahan’s shifting rationale for refusing to produce the video footage in their report, including that it was lost, on a USB drive in storage, or that it would be too embarrassing and traumatic to release. "We understand the public's desire for definitive answers in this matter, but absent substantiated evidence that proves the claim or definitive exculpatory evidence, we believe it is prudent to ask law enforcement authorities to review the information as a final step in this process," DFL Chairman Ken Martin wrote. More here.
WaPo’s Gene Park on Sunday trying goat yoga to wind down after a crazy news cycle.
Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) last week discussing her opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Jemele Hill Joins The Atlantic
Jemele Hill 
is joining The Atlantic as a Staff Writer covering the intersection of sports, race, and politics. The former ESPN host will also have a podcast. Hill said in a statement that joining The Atlantic "made perfect sense" because sports are a "great entry point for exploring what's happening in the wider society." Hill announced last month that she was leaving ESPN after 12 years at the network. The Hollywood Reporter noted that Hill still had more than two years left on her contract, but the two sides couldn't come to an agreement on what her role would be. The more than $5 million buyout Hill is due will be paid in a series of tranches this year and next. "So much has happened in the last year that I felt like this is as an appropriate time as ever to spread my wings in different ways that I hadn't really thought of before, or that I knew were possible," Hill said. More here.
President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists President Exits ESPN
Hugo Balta 
has left his post as Senior Director of Hispanic Initiatives at ESPN Deportes after seven years with the network. Balta is currently serving his second term as President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and recently added a new side gig as an On-Camera Talent Coach for No Whining Talent Group (NWT). NWT is nationally recognized for investing in the success of on-air journalists as storytellers and newsroom leaders. Balta says he’ll be working with NJ Spotlight, CALmatters, Identidad Latina, and other print and digital media to help expand their reach to Latinos by developing strategies for improving storytelling in English and Spanish for local and national coverage. The bilingual multimedia news exec, who is fluent in English and Spanish, joined ESPN in 2011 as a Coordinating Producer for SportsCenter. “I’m taking advantage of an opportunity to take all I’ve learned in the past several years in order to focus on projects where I can integrate journalism, diversity and inclusion and a focus on best serving the U.S. Hispanic audience,” Balta told Media Moves. More here

Michelle Obama Plans Special Announcement Next Week on NBC
Former First Lady Michelle Obama will stop by NBC’s The Today Show on Thursday, October 11th, the International Day of the Girl. She will talk about the importance of education for girls around the world and will also have a special announcement. She will sit down with Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb to announce her new plans to promote girls’ education worldwide in an hour-long TV special. Obama appears to be teaming up with Jenna Bush Hager, the Today Correspondent and daughter of former President George W. Bush (a self-proclaimed big fan of the former First Lady), who is launching a series on global adolescent girls’ education the same day, according to an NBC News press release. The international observance day declared by the UN supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women, and unfree child marriage. The celebration of the day also "reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research." Increasing girls’ education was one of Obama’s main agendas in the White House -- a mission she has continued in her life post-1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, and Jennifer Hudson will also join FLOTUS44 that morning with live performances. More here.

Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) joining millions in their call for a Smithsonian Latino Museum in DC last week.
NAACP DC Bureau’s Hilary Shelton, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Fuse’s Michael Schwimmer, and UnidosUS’ Janet Murguía in DC last week at a screening of INDIVISIBLE, an award-winning film about "Dreamers."
ABC’s Cecilia Vega Insulted by Trump
During a Rose Garden speech Monday about the newly negotiated trade deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, the president called on ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega. “She's shocked that I picked on her. She's like in a state of shock," he joked. Vega answered, “I’m not, thank you.” The president then retorted, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking, you never do.” Despite this, Vega still attempted to ask about Brett Kavanaugh but Trump said he’d get to those after those about trade. When the White House later released the official transcript, however, they edited Trump’s actual remarks to read, “I know you’re not thanking; you never do.” This is a clear contradiction to the video evidence. The president did eventually come back to Vega for her Kavanaugh question. When the National Association of Hispanic Journalists member asked a follow-up, he told her “you don’t understand what I’m saying, you do understand you just won’t report it that way.” Vega was not the only target of Trump’s ire on Monday -- when CNN’s Kaitlan Collins kept pressing Trump on Kavanaugh, he cut her off: “You know what. You’ve had enough. You’ve really had enough.” More here.

NBC and MSNBC Name New Contributor 
NBC and MSNBC have named The New York Times’  Mara Gay as a contributor. As a member of the NYT’s Editorial Board, Gay writes about city and state politics and other stories. The New York native was previously the City Hall bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal in New York City. Before that, she was a City Hall reporter at the New York Daily News, where she covered the 2013 Mayor's race and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She also worked as a national enterprise reporter at The Daily, News Corp's iPad-only publication, where she covered the 2012 presidential election, wrongful arson convictions, heat-related deaths in high school football, and the demise and rebirth of the city of Detroit. The 2008 University of Michigan graduate began her career as a Staff Editor and Fellow at The Atlantic.

NYT Names East Africa Bureau Chief
The New York Times has named Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura as their East Africa Bureau Chief. In her new post, she’ll cover a wide array of countries including the Sudan, Congo, and Tanzania, among others. De Freytas-Tamura most recently served as a Staff Writer for the NYT in London -- where she was born and raised -- and covered a range of topics including Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, the referendum to repeal the abortion ban in Ireland and their complicated history with the Catholic Church, the Paris terrorist attacks, and more. Prior to joining The Times, de Freytas-Tamura was a Business and Economics Reporter for the BBC, and before that, was an Emerging Markets Reporter for The Financial Times. The University of Pennsylvania graduate, who also has a Master’s from City University in London, began her career as a Reporter for Agence France-Presse. More here

Shanice John Joins ABC News
Shanice John
has joined ABC News as a Weekend Publicist for This Week with George Stephanopoulos. John was most recently a Production Coordinator and Content Monitor at Vidicom, a branded media company based in NYC, where she was responsible for coordinating all activities related to the set and served as the media relations liaison for the branded content team. She also previously freelanced as a Media Monitor. The 2013 University of the West Indies at St. Augustine graduate began her career as a Branding and Events Assistant at Digicel Group. More about her here.

Today: The Indian American Impact Project hosts Women Who Impact, an evening celebrating Indian American women advocates, influencers, and power brokers. Featuring Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA)Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), DNC CEO Seema Nanda, and others. Covington & Burling LLP, 850 10th Street N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 12:30P: Meet and greet for former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, candidate for U.S Senate, hosted by Marcus Sebastian Mason & Patrice Willoughby.Madison Group, 1030 15th St., N.W. Suite 1080 West, DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, October 4th, 4P: The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership hosts “Empowering Latinos Countering Legal Challenges to Immigration and Voting Rights.” Featuring Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice/PRLDEF. The City College of New York, 160 Convent Avenue, Shepard Hall 350. NYC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, October 4th, 5:30P: A night of comedy, cocktails, and conversation in support of MD gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous. Hosted by Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley 
Bagley and Kathleen Matthews, along with honorary Co-Hosts MD Democratic Congressmen Anthony Brown and John Sarbanes, with special guest Dave Chappelle. Home of Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley. Address provided upon RSVP. DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, October 4th, 6:30P: The Raben Group hosts "Cocktails & Conversation with West Wingers." Offering a behind-the-scenes look at the presidency with West Wingers Gautam RaghavanHeather FosterCecilia MuñozLynn Rosenthal, and Stephanie Valencia. Robert Raben moderates. Click here to get on the waitlist.
Thursday, October 4th: Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC hosts their 22nd annual American Courage Awards reception. JW Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., DC. Click here for more information
Monday, October 8th - Tuesday, October 9th: Black Enterprise's TechConneX Summit featuring the first annual Black Tech Awards. Summit speakers include Damien Hooper-Campbell, Chief Diversity Officer at eBay, The Breakfast Club's Angela Yee, among others. San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, 1800 Old Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA. Click here for more information.
Thursday, October 11th, 6P: The Muslim Public Affairs Council hosts the 2018 Empowering Voices Awards. Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, October 16th, 6P: “Keeping the Dream Alive: A Conversation with Julián Castro” hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Tishman Auditorium, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, NYC. Click here for more information.
Sunday, October 21st - Friday, October 26th: National Congress of American Indians’ 75th Annual Convention & Marketplace, “Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future.” Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th St., Denver, CO. Click here for more information.
Sunday, October 28th - Tuesday, October 30thThe Atlantic, The Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies' CityLab 2018, a summit to address the most urgent urban issues of our time. Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, 1114 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
Thursday, November 15th - Friday, November 16th: Men of Color in Communications Business Summit, a two-day conference bringing together more than 300 men of color in marketing, advertising, media, PR, and the digital space. Speakers include Jeffrey Litvack, CEO, AdWeek; Rodney Williams, CEO, Belvedere Vodka; Jana Fleishman, EVP Strategic Marketing, Roc Nation (JAY-Z's Publicist); and many more. Bloomberg Corporate Headquarters, 731 Lexington Avenue, NYC. Click here for more information.
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