With David Folkenflik
The wrath of Hurricane Florence. Pence says he’d take a lie detector test in a heartbeat. Moonves out at CBS. The roundtable dives in.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis, White House correspondent for The New York Times. (@juliehdavis)
Anita Kumar, White House correspondent for McClatchy. (@anitakumar01)
From The Reading List
NPR: “Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall In N.C.: ‘An Uninvited Brute’ Grinds Ashore” — “Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina at 7:15 a.m. ET, creeping ashore at 6 mph – but bringing winds of 90 mph, a massive storm surge, and a rain system that will soak much of the state and South Carolina for days. Forecasters warn of ‘life –threatening, catastrophic flash flooding.’
“‘Florence is an uninvited brute who doesn’t want to leave,’ North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told NPR’s Morning Edition.
“‘We know we’re in for a long haul,’ Cooper said of predictions that the storm will linger over the area.
“Inland, far from the coast, floodwaters have been hitting towns near rivers that normally discharge into the ocean. But with a storm surge putting pressure on water to head back inland – and heavy rains swelling those rivers – widespread flooding is the result.”
New York Times: “Trump Rejects Puerto Rico Death Toll, Falsely Accusing Democrats of Inflating Numbers” — “President Trump on Thursday falsely accused Democrats of inflating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year, rejecting that government’s assessment that the storm had claimed nearly 3,000 lives.
“Mr. Trump inaccurately stated that the toll was only six to 18 dead after his visit following the storm and said Democrats padded the death toll by including, for example, a person who died of old age ‘in order to make me look as bad as possible.’
“The president’s comments came as the government prepared for Hurricane Florence, whose high winds were already beginning to batter the coast of the Carolinas.”
CNN: “Paul Manafort and special counsel close to deal for guilty plea” — “Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and special counsel Robert Mueller are close to a deal for a guilty plea ahead of his upcoming trial, according to a source familiar with the matter.
“A deal is expected but the source cautioned that the two sides have been close before.
The incentive appears to be to reach a deal ahead of a pre-trial motion hearing Friday, or before jury selection for Manafort’s trial over allegations of illegal foreign lobbying gets underway next week at US District Court in Washington.
“It was not clear if Manafort would be required to cooperate with Mueller’s office. The plea is expected to address both sets of charges he faces — for the upcoming trial in DC and the 10 counts he still faces in Virginia after a mistrial was declared on some charges.
“ABC reported Thursday that a tentative deal has been reached.”
The Atlantic: “Mike Pence Swears His Loyalty on the Sunday Shows” — “By all rights, Brett Kavanaugh’s dramatic confirmation hearings should have been the big story last week. But if the Sunday shows are a reliable barometer, the Senate Democrats’ concerted, if mostly ineffectual, assault on the very conservative D.C. appellate-court judge couldn’t compete with Bob Woodward’s incendiary new book, Fear, or the New York Times op-ed by an anonymous Trump administration official who thinks the president is unfit to govern.
“The shows kept wending their way back to the ‘quiet resistance’ inside the administration, from Woodward’s report of Defense Secretary James Mattis ignoring President Donald Trump’s order to assassinate Syria’s dictator to the anonymous op-ed author’s description of Trump’s sullen resistance to more sanctions after Russia poisoned an ex-spy in Britain. Guests on the shows included Vice President Mike Pence, the Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, former Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Mark Warner, and Chris Coons.
“Pence predictably condemned the anonymous column as ‘un-American’ and an ‘assault on our democracy.’ Speaking on Fox News Sunday, he said he does not know who wrote the piece but suggested that person should leave the administration. His less predictable response came when the host, Chris Wallace, asked whether top officials should submit to lie-detector tests to prove they did not write the op-ed. ‘I would agree to take it it in a heartbeat,’ the vice president said.”
Scores of homes in Massachusetts exploding. Middle-class incomes rising. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleading guilty. Amid all that, we’ll start with a look at a storm breaching the coast of the Carolinas — Hurricane Florence. The policies, preparations and also the politics — President Trump promising a great federal response, and also, without basis, dismissing estimates of 3,000 deaths after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
This hour, On Point: our weekly news roundtable.
— David Folkenflik