Rumors running across the Hill

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We’re back and we’re reading – everything from the “New York Times” to the “Wall Street Journal.” We’re trying to help you keep up with the rapid pace of politics and policy. Today we’ve got the secret letter about Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s rejection of Hurricane Maria’s death toll, and the teen e-cigarette smoking as an ‘epidemic.’

Secret letter about Kavanaugh referred to FBI by Senate Democrats 

A letter concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was referred to the FBI by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According to BuzzFeed News, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been closely guarding the content of the letter, but rumors of what it contains have already made it across Capitol Hill.

Senate Judiciary Committee pushes back Supreme Court hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee panel voted 11 to 10 to delay voting on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh until next week. The new vote date is Sept. 20.

According to The Washington Post, the delay was expected, and Kavanaugh is set to receive a full Senate confirmation vote next week.

Migrant detention facilities nearing full capacity

The number of migrant children separated from their undocumented families after crossing the border is at an all-time high. According to The New York Times, the number of detained children has increased five times since last summer, reaching a total of 12,800 children.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported shelter capacities are nearing 90 percent capacity.

Despite the Trump administration’s push for more border security, the same number of children are crossing the border illegally as in past years.

CBS boots “60 Minutes” chief

The Executive Produce of CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Jeff Fager, was fired for threatening the career of one of his own reporters. The reporter was looking into allegations of sexual harassment against Fager and another CBS employee. 

CBS President, David Rhodes, said Fager’s actions didn’t match company policy, but his actions are separate from the allegations.

FDA declares flavored e-cigarettes an epidemic

After an increased wave of minors smoking e-cigarettes, the FDA has enforced a ban against manufacturers to put a stop to this ‘epidemic.’

FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, said the ban is a major push against nearly 1,300 e-cigarette companies, like Juul, Blu, Logic and MarkTen, to restrict sales to minors.

According to The Washington Post, the United States has seen a 75 percent increase in e-cigarette smoking among teenagers since 2007. Gottlieb said the rapid growth causes health and addiction threats to teenagers, which is why the issue needs to be taken more seriously.

W. Va bishop under investigation for sexual harassment accusations

Pope Francis issued an investigation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of W. Va in response to sexual harassment allegations tied to the Catholic Church.

Church officials said Bransfield has been accused of molesting teenage boys. Bransfield denied the allegations and has resigned from the church.

“PBS News Hour” reported that Francis has set up a meeting early next year with over 100 bishops to discuss the increase number of sexual abuse and cover up cases within the Catholic Church.

Trump doubts Hurricane Maria death toll

President Trump questioned the number of deaths attributed to Hurricane Maria, accusing the Democrats of inflating the count.

Trump denied the government’s assessment that the hurricane took nearly 3,000 lives. He said a higher number was falsely generated to “make me look as bad as possible.” Trump’s tweets show he projects the death count to be in the range of 6 to 18.

As of August 2018, Puerto Rican officials accepted the official death toll estimate to be as many as 2,975 people.

Check back tomorrow for more.