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The day in politics: Fallout from NYT op-ed, Trump rally, Kavanaugh hearings

Trump officials deny authoring op-ed

In newsrooms and White House hallways alike, one question prevailed today: Who did it? "Who" being an anonymous senior Trump administration official, and "it" being, of course, writing a scathing opinion piece in The New York Times criticizing the president and claiming that there is a posse of officials within the administration trying to constrain his "worst inclinations." But aside from the fallout from the op-ed, the dramatic Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings continued, Delaware residents voted in their primaries, and President Trump traveled to Montana for a campaign rally. Here's a recap of what happened in politics on Thursday:

A whodunnit mystery, Washington-style

Trump administration officials and cabinet members were tripping over themselves to release statements denyin that they had written the opinion piece in The Times. Cabinet members from Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke denied writing the op-ed. Within the White House, first lady Melania Trump, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and White House Counsel Don McGahn, among others, also said that they did not author the piece. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Chief of Staff John Kelly have not released statements.

Of course, W. Mark Felt -- the FBI official better known to history as Deep Throat -- also denied leaking to the Washington Post about the Watergate scandal.

Kavanaugh hearings remain heated

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continued Wednesday, and were just as dramatic as the previous two days. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker released "committee confidential" documents, risking the threat of being ousted by the Senate, because he said he "sincerely believes the public deserves to know this nominee's record." The Democrat called it his "Spartacus moment."

Kavanaugh questioned over Roe v. Wade comments

Kavanaugh continued to evade questions on whether he would overturn Roe v. Wade, although he did call it "precedent." He also declined to say how he would rule on 3D guns. Kavanaugh said he did not have any substantive conversations with anyone in the White House about the special counsel investigation, attempting to prove his impartiality. He declined to say whether he viewed Mr. Trump with the "utmost respect," on the basis of asserting his independence.

Trump travels to Montana for rally

Mr. Trump headed to Billings, Montana, Thursday evening to rally for Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. Mr. Trump also attended a rally for Rosendale in July. The rally, which begins at 9:00 p.m. ET, is expected to be another campaign trail stemwinder from the president. The X-factor is whether Mr. Trump will mention the op-ed, or make even more references to the "fake news" media than usual.

Delaware Democratic primary challenge

Delaware held its primary elections on Thursday. The Democratic primary for Senate has attracted the most national attention, as moderate Sen. Tom Carper is being challenged by progressive candidate Kerri Evelyn Harris. Harris has drawn comparisons to New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and is receiving support on the ground from Justice Democrats, a group that aided Ocasio-Cortez's campaign. Although Carper has the name recognition and the funds, Harris may be aided by voter enthusiasm.

What did Trump tweet Thursday?

  • A thank you tweet to North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un for proclaiming "unwavering faith" in the president. "Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!" Mr. Trump wrote.
  • A tweet touting his administration's accomplishments and suggesting that his opponents and members of the media are trying to distract from those victories. "The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy - & they don't know what to do," he wrote.
  • Another tweet promoting the country's economic status, quoting Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo.
  • A tweet quoting James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal, who wrote in an opinion piece that the administration's "record is quite remarkable."
  • A tweet promoting his rally in Billings, Montana, Thursday evening.