Trump’s comment on Twitter was his first direct attack on Christine Blasey Ford, the research psychologist in Northern California who leveled the accusation against Kavanaugh, the president’s second nominee to the Supreme Court, just as his confirmation appeared secure.
The outburst came as lawyers for Blasey and top Senate Judiciary Committee aides struggled to reach an agreement that would lead to her testimony next week before the committee.
Those talks continued late into Friday night, appearing to break down at one point, but are now expected to resume Saturday. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter shortly before midnight that he had granted lawyers for Blasey — who sometimes goes by her married name, Ford — another day to negotiate.
Grassley’s tweet, which he directed to Kavanaugh, saying, “I hope u understand,” came after a tense late-night back-and-forth between the two sides. First, Grassley announced that the judiciary panel would vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation Monday morning unless negotiators reached an agreement by 10 p.m. Friday.
Blasey’s lawyer, Debra Katz, responded with a blistering email, accusing Grassley’s aides of pressuring her client “to agree to conditions you find advantageous to the nominee,” and of imposing “aggressive and artificial deadlines” whose “sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family.” She asked for an additional day to negotiate.
Earlier Friday, their legal tango riveted Washington, as the two sides tried to work out details like how many photographers and television cameras would be in the room (Blasey, fearful of being mobbed by the news media, wanted one of each), who would ask the questions (Republicans wanted an outside lawyer; Blasey favored senators) and what day the session would take place (Blasey asked for Thursday; Republicans wanted Wednesday).
Blasey’s allegations, which for weeks had been kept secret by the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, have thrown Kavanaugh’s confirmation process into turmoil. She has accused him of pinning her to a bed, grinding his body against her and muffling her screams at a teenage gathering in the early 1980s. He has categorically denied the accusations, and says he is eager to testify to clear his name.
When, or whether, such testimony will occur remains unclear.
But the allegations have knocked the White House and its conservative allies — who fear that their chance to remake the court is slipping away — on their heels. In a bizarre turn, one of those allies, the conservative legal analyst Edward Whelan, posted pictures on Twitter Thursday night of a high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s — with the man’s name — and suggested he was responsible for the assault. On Friday, facing condemnation from liberals and conservatives alike, Whelan apologized.
In his tweet Friday, Trump called on Blasey — who sometimes goes by her married name, Ford — to produce contemporaneous law enforcement reports “so that we can learn date, time, and place!” Blasey, who was around 15 at the time of the incident, has said publicly that she did not report it to the authorities, and that she does not recall exactly when it took place. Experts say many women are reluctant to come forward and report sexual assaults, in part because they fear they will not be believed.
Trump’s broadside outraged many women who took to social media and the news media to reveal their own stories of long-ago sexual assaults and rapes. Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, wrote a piece for The Washington Post revealing that she was raped about 40 years ago, and like Blasey, is hazy on the details.
In taking to Twitter, Trump did what his aides had feared for a week: He questioned, before hearing a full account, the veracity of a woman who had alleged a sexual assault. In doing so, he risked looking like a bully, and further inflaming the bitter divisions between Democrats and Republicans over Kavanaugh’s nomination during a midterm election in which his party is struggling to win support from female voters.
Until Friday, Trump — who himself has faced sexual assault allegations — had largely left it to senators on the Judiciary Committee to handle Blasey’s claims. His aides had repeatedly reminded him how important it is for Republicans to get Kavanaugh confirmed. So Trump instead trained his fire on the top Democrat on the judiciary panel, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who waited until last week to disclose the existence of a letter Blasey had sent in late July. Feinstein has said she did so because she was respecting Blasey’s wish to remain anonymous.
But with the negotiations dragging on, Trump has been growing increasingly frustrated. “Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!,” he wrote in another tweet Friday. In still another, he called Kavanaugh “a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault from radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers.”
Democrats, meanwhile, took to Twitter themselves to criticize Trump for questioning Blasey.
“This is EXACTLY why Dr. Ford didn’t want to come forward,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said in a tweet.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., called Trump’s comments “unacceptable and beneath the Presidency of the United States.”
And Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said the president should call for the FBI to investigate if he wanted to “get to the bottom” of Blasey’s account.
As the Twitter wars were playing out, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, assured an audience of conservative Christians on Friday that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would go through. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who retired after years as the court’s swing vote. The judge, a reliable conservative, could potentially change the course of American jurisprudence for decades to come — fulfilling a campaign promise of the president.
“Keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job,” McConnell said. “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”
Blasey declined an invitation to testify this coming Monday, but through her lawyer, Debra Katz, she said she was open to testifying later under several conditions. She said she would be willing to speak with senators on the committee as long as she is questioned by lawmakers — not outside counsel — and as long as Kavanaugh is not in the hearing room while she speaks. She also asked for steps to be taken to ensure her safety — she has received death threats.
Privately, Republicans are worried about the fallout from any testimony that comes from Blasey. Republicans are well aware that, in the era of #MeToo, they can ill afford to look as if they are bullying a victim of sexual assault. They know they must tread carefully at any hearing — especially because all 11 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are men, which is one reason they were seeking an outside lawyer, preferably a woman, to do the questioning.
Blasey’s team and Democrats, though, have pushed back hard on that idea. Lawyers for Blasey say that if a lawyer conducts the questioning, instead of senators, the hearing could take on a prosecutorial tone. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, say that no matter what Republicans do, they intend to question Blasey themselves.
Lawyers for Blasey are also pressing Republicans to subpoena outside witnesses, notably Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh’s who Blasey says was in the room when the assault occurred. Judge has said he has no memory of any such episode taking place, and Republican officials have deemed the proposal to subpoena him “a nonstarter.”
With a spate of public opinion polls showing that fewer than 40 percent of Americans favor confirmation, allies of Kavanaugh are trying to shore up support. The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative advocacy group, is running a $1.5 million television advertising campaign featuring a woman who has been friends with Kavanaugh for 35 years. And on Friday, dozens of women who know Kavanaugh held a news conference at a downtown hotel here to praise him as a man of upstanding character.
Blasey, for her part, was to meet Friday afternoon with FBI officials — not to discuss Kavanaugh, but rather to tell them about the threats she has been receiving over the telephone and online, according to her lawyer, Lisa Banks. A senior White House official said Friday that Kavanaugh and his wife were also receiving threats.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
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.
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.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
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
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
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.
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.
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.