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DOJ veterans pinpoint the moment during Thursday’s high-stakes hearing when Brett Kavanaugh gave away the game – Politics – Pulselive.co.ke

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Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s embattled nominee to fill a Supreme Court seat, came out swinging when he defended himself Thursday against a bombshell allegation of sexual assault.

But the most salient piece of evidence came not from what Kavanaugh said, but what he didn’t say.

At the center of Thursday’s hearing is an accusation of sexual assault that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, made against Kavanaugh earlier this summer and which became public last week.

Testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford said Kavanaugh attacked her when they were at a high school gathering in the summer of 1982. She also said that Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, took part in the alleged assault.

Kavanaugh vehemently and categorically denied Ford’s allegations on Thursday.

But he became visibly evasive when Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked him two pointed questions: would Kavanaugh be in favor of Judge testifying before the committee, and would he ask the White House to order the FBI to investigate the claims against him?

When Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Kavanaugh whether he wanted Judge to testify, Kavanaugh replied: “He’s already provided sworn testimony,” referring to an affidavit Judge submitted.

When Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin asked Kavanaugh whether he would support an FBI investigation into Ford’s claims and Judge appearing before the committee, Kavanaugh said that the FBI “does not reach conclusions” and dodged Durbin’s inquiries about Judge.

“You can’t have it both ways,” Durbin told Kavanaugh. “You can’t say here at the beginning … ‘I welcome any kind of investigation,’ and then walk away from this.”

“This thing was sprung on me,” Kavanaugh said. “This thing was sprung at the last minute after being held by staff, you know, and I called for a hearing immediately.”

Durbin replied: “Judge, if there’s no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that. Are you afraid they might not?”

Kavanaugh then accused Durbin of asking a “phony question,” saying that the FBI would “just go and do what you’re doing: ask questions and then type up a report. They don’t reach the bottom-line conclusion.”

But during his opening statement, Kavanaugh touted the background checks the FBI had conducted on him when he was up for other jobs within the US government earlier in his career, which he said found no evidence of any wrongdoing in his past.

A ‘straw man argument’


Christine Blasey Ford claims Mark Judge aided in an alleged sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at a high school party in Maryland when they were teenagers.play

Christine Blasey Ford claims Mark Judge aided in an alleged sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at a high school party in Maryland when they were teenagers.

(Michael Reynolds/Getty Images)

Throughout the hearing, at least five Democratic lawmakers asked Kavanaugh about opening an FBI investigation on at least nine different occasions. Each time, he declined to give a yes-or-no answer.

Meanwhile, Republicans on the panel asserted that the FBI did not need to investigate the allegations because the committee was conducting an inquiry into them.

Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor in Chicago, characterized the claim as a “straw man argument.”

“FBI finds potential eyewitnesses, tries to confirm surrounding facts,” and more, he said. “Kavanaugh and the sex-crimes prosecutor asking questions would both agree that they would want to talk to any potential witnesses before reaching any conclusions. Any rookie prosecutor, or investigator, or finder of fact, would talk to Mark Judge. A court would do so under oath.”

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Durbin later brought up Ford’s testimony, during which she said that she ran into Judge at a local supermarket six to eight weeks after the alleged assault. Durbin said that if the committee subpoenaed Judge to testify, lawmakers could get answers on some of the specifics of the event that Ford said she could not recall.

“So the point I’m getting to is, we at least can connect some dots here and get some information,” Durbin said. “Why would you resist that kind of investigation?”

Kavanaugh repeated that he wanted a hearing before the committee as soon as the allegation became public last week. He did not say whether he wanted his friend to testify.

He complains about delays & says [Mark] Judge submitted an affidavit, but refuses to agree he should testify & be subjected to cross examination,” wrote the former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance. “This damages his credibility, perhaps irrevocably.”

“He asserts the truth in a prepared statement but can’t seem to handle questions he has to have known were coming,” she added.

Cramer echoed that view and highlighted Judge’s importance in the hearing.

“Democrats should say the name Mark Judge in every question,” he said. “How far was Mark Judge from you and Brett? Where was Mark Judge standing? Did Mark Judge say anything? Did you make eye contact with Mark Judge while being pinned down by Brett?”

Ford said during the hearing that the sharpest memory she had of the attack was the “uproarious laughter” Judge and Kavanaugh allegedly shared at her expense.

“They both seemed to be having a good time,” Ford said in her opening statement. “Mark was urging Brett on, although at times he told Brett to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not.”

Legal scholars and those who observed the testimony from both sides of the aisle said Thursday that they found Ford to be a credible witness.

Kavanaugh was “certainly forceful until it comes to the FBI asking questions or Mark Judge testifying,” Cramer said.

“An affidavit, as the judge knows, is meaningless. Democrats’ questions are weak but targeted. Focus on the only potential eyewitness. Where is Mark Judge?”



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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