Week In The News: Saudi Oil Attacks, Kavanaugh, Corey Lewandowski, GM Strikes

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Journalist Cokie Roberts appears at the National Press Foundation's 26th annual awards dinner on Feb. 10, 2009 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Journalist Cokie Roberts appears at the National Press Foundation's 26th annual awards dinner on Feb. 10, 2009 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

With David Folkenflik

Saudi Arabia oil attacks. The New York Times versus Kavanaugh. Trump’s former campaign manager plays dodgeball on Capitol Hill. GM strikes. The roundtable is here.


Karen Tumulty, Washington Post columnist who covers national politics. (@ktumulty)

Margaret Talev, Axios politics and White House editor. (@margarettalev)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: "Opinion: Don’t revisit the Kavanaugh fight. Learn from it." — "When then-Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) made the agonizing decision nearly a year ago to vote against the confirmation of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, she was well aware that she was probably sealing her doom in her uphill race for reelection.

"'Clearly, the vote hurt me,” Heitkamp said Monday. 'It energized the Republican base. It for them defined the Democratic Party as — what I heard over and over again — the word that basically was used to describe the Democrats was a "mob." '

"She is not the only one who believes the fight that ensued over allegations that Kavanaugh committed sexual misconduct decades ago hurt Democrats in their quest to make gains in red-leaning parts of the country. In focus groups with conservative and moderate white working-class women, the organization Galvanize USA — which is trying to bring those voters back into the Democratic fold — was hearing much the same thing."

NPR: "What We Know About The Attack On Saudi Oil Facilities" — "On Sept. 14, a major Saudi oil processing plant was rocked by a series of explosions. The facility, and another oil field to the south, had been attacked from the air. Here's what we know — at this time — about the attacks based on physical evidence.

"The strike was large and sophisticated

"Images from commercial satellites released by the U.S. government show at least 17 points of impact at the two sites. The larger facility, known as Abqaiq, is one of the world's most important oil production facilities and has long been a potential target for attack. Within that vast plant, the perpetrators seemed to have singled out valuable equipment that would be difficult to replace and storage tanks that might contain flammable materials."

New York Times: "Opinion: Let the Lewandowski Circus Change Congressional Hearings Forever" — "To call Corey Lewandowski’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday problematic would be generous. It was a strutting spectacle of contempt for democratic processes worthy of President Trump himself. Mr. Lewandowski’s performance requires a serious response. Maybe more than one.

"The inaugural witness in this phase of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, Mr. Lewandowski had no interest in shedding light on any of the troubling episodes cited in the Mueller report. Instead, he worked to make a mockery of the proceedings, prove his devotion to the president and gin up attention for a possible Senate run, which he teased on Twitter at one point.

"He refused to answer lawmakers’ questions, claiming some nebulous version of executive privilege that almost certainly does not cover his conversations with the president. The White House had provided a note excusing him from talking about much of anything, which he repeatedly read aloud. He boasted of his dishonesty and went all in on the partisan trolling. He even worked a swing at Hillary Clinton into his opening remarks. 'Such a beautiful Opening Statement! Thank you Corey!' Mr. Trump tweeted from Air Force One.

"Give Mr. Lewandowski points for knowing his audience.

"While The Lewandowski Show was striking in its awfulness, it also suffered from more mundane problems common to such hearings. These high-profile televised events bring out the worst in lawmakers, who cannot resist the opportunity to preen and try to score political points. Extracting useful information from witnesses can seem like an afterthought."

ABC News: "GM no longer paying for striking workers' health insurance as negotiations enter 3rd day" — "General Motors is no longer paying the health care costs for the tens of thousands of auto workers who went on strike on Monday, shifting the costs instead to a union fund.

"More than 49,000 union workers walked off their jobs on Sunday night, starting a nationwide strike at General Motors. As negotiations enter their third day on Wednesday, the health coverage for striking workers will no longer be covered by GM."

Washington Post: "Opinion: Cokie Roberts showed me the greatest skill that any reporter can have" — "Back in 1990, Spy magazine ran a full-page cartoon under the headline: 'Cokie Roberts — Moderately Well Known Broadcast Journalist or Center of the Universe?'

"It was a diagram with Cokie’s name in the middle and a web of lines connecting her to — well, pretty much everyone. The Kennedy and Rockefeller families. Movie stars. Diplomats. Presidents. Rock singers. Media luminaries.

"This was, I suppose, a commentary on celebrity. In those pre-Internet days, we had a different concept of what it meant to be an 'influencer.'

"But for people such as me who were fortunate enough to have felt Cokie’s influence as we learned to navigate Washington, she represented something else. She taught me by her example that the greatest skill that any reporter can have is an ability to remain grounded."

Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on September 20, 2019.



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