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POLITICO Playbook PM: FBI report coming very soon, Grassley says

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) speaks to reporters, saying that an FBI report into Judge Brett Kavanaugh is “close,” on Wednesday. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

ALERT … SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS is briefing today at 1 p.m. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell (@kellyo) tweeted it’s the first briefing since Sept. 10.

— THE WHITE HOUSE says John Bolton will also speak at the briefing.

MUST WATCH … NEW TRAILER … Check out the trailer for “VICE,” the new biopic about DICK CHENEY with Christian Bale as the VP and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld. The movie will be out on Christmas. The 1:58 trailer

THE POLITICO KAVANAUGH LEDEALL (will be updated all day by our reporters on the Hill) … JOHN BRESNAHAN, ELANA SCHOR and BURGESS EVERETT: “Grassley: FBI report on Kavanaugh ‘very close’”: “[Sen. Chuck] Grassley’s comments come as President Donald Trump and other Republicans supporting Kavanaugh are stepping up their attacks on [Christine Blasey] Ford … But the harsh criticism of Ford from Trump and Kavanaugh supporters could backfire, alienating the handful of undecided senators who control the fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination. … Even Kavanaugh and Trump’s closest allies weren’t happy with the remark. …

“The shift in tactics is part of an effort to undermine Ford’s credibility even as the Senate awaits a report from the FBI on its investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.” POLITICO

— JOHN BRESNAHAN (@brespolitico): “.@ChuckGrassley said FBI report on Kavanaugh ‘is very close,’ but he has not spoken with FBI.”

— CBS’ MARK KNOLLER (@markknoller): “On Senate floor, @senatemajldr serves notice on protestors and opponents of Judge Kavanaugh, ‘we will not be intimidated by these people.’”

— JOSH GERSTEIN, “Merkley makes last ditch court bid for Kavanaugh documents”: “[L]awyers for Merkley filed a motion early Wednesday asking U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to issue a temporary restraining order requiring President Donald Trump to produce a log of more than 100,000 pages of documents kept from the Senate on grounds of executive privilege. …

“Merkley’s lawsuit is considered a longshot by many legal experts because judges rarely involve themselves in tussles between the Congress and the White House.” POLITICO

ELI’S DISPATCH FROM THE ATLANTIC FESTIVAL … SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) defended his anger during last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “I thought she was handled respectfully. I thought Kavanaugh was treated like crap,” he said to boos from the crowd. “Well, boo yourself,” he responded.

— GRAHAM VOICED HIS WORRY that voting Kavanaugh down could permanently damage the Supreme Court and Senate as institutions. “The double standard here offends me. And I voted for Sotomayor and Kagan, and never thought twice about it,” he said. “I would never have done to them what’s been done to this good man. … I don’t know what happened. I know this: that if you’re going to accuse a person of a crime in this country, oh, by the way, you’re not assumed guilty.”

— CLIP AND SAVE … ON DEMS’ ANGER AT MERRICK GARLAND: “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term and the primary process has started, we’ll wait ’til the next election. And I’ve got a pretty good chance of being the Judiciary [chairman]. Hold the tape.”

— ON NORTH KOREA … “I’m worried that North Korea’s dividing us from South Korea. I’m worried that we’re being played here. So I’m telling President Trump: Enough with ‘I love you.’ This is not a guy to love. … From my point of view, this ‘love’ crap needs to stop.”

— GRAHAM ALSO ADDRESSED TRUMP DIRECTLY, telling the president — in anticipation that he’d see it on TV — that the U.S. can neither retreat from its involvement in the Middle East nor bomb its way out: “If you’re not willing to build a small schoolhouse in a remote region in Syria, [Afghanistan] or Pakistan, you name the country, Iraq — they’ll win. You’ve got to invest in the lives of others to win this war. Killing can only take you so far.”

Good Wednesday afternoon. WHAT’S ON THE PRESIDENT’S MIND — @realDonaldTrump at 8:53 a.m.: “The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept of ‘time value of money’ in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”

… at 9:04 a.m.: “The Stock Market just reached an All-Time High during my Administration for the 102nd Time, a presidential record, by far, for less than two years. So much potential as Trade and Military Deals are completed.”

… at 10:05 a.m.: “Blowout numbers on New Jobs and, separately, Services. Market up!”

… at 10:13 a.m.: “Mexico, Canada and the United States are a great partnership and will be a very formidable trading force. We will now, because of the USMCA, work very well together. Great Spirit!”

… at 10:29 a.m.: “I see it each time I go out to Rallies in order to help some of our great Republican candidates. VOTERS ARE REALLY ANGRY AT THE VICIOUS AND DESPICABLE WAY DEMOCRATS ARE TREATING BRETT KAVANAUGH! He and his wonderful family deserve much better.”

… at 10:35 a.m.: “Just spoke to President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico. Great call, we will work well together!”

A message from PhRMA:

New analysis shows some hospitals mark up medicine prices 700% or more. This means if a hospital purchased a medicine for $ 150, a 700% markup could result in patients being billed $ 1,050 for that medicine. These hospital markups lead to higher costs for everyone — patients, employers and payers.

2018 WATCH — “Missing in the G.O.P.: Black and Hispanic Nominees for Governor,” by NYT’s Astead W. Herndon: “The Republican falloff is striking after past election seasons when party leaders attempted to identify and then rally behind minority candidates for governor in major states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania. But several Republican leaders, pollsters and former candidates said they see the lack of diversity as a consequence of President Trump’s offensive language on race.” NYT

— “Collins challenger fights to break through in New York,” by Laura Nahmias and Nick Niedzwiadek: “[W]hile New York Democrats say they feel energized about their chances of capturing Rep. Chris Collins’ seat in November — and some Republicans are annoyed to be stuck with the third-term Republican — underfunded and little-known challenger Nate McMurray still faces a serious challenge in prevailing in one of the reddest districts in the state. …

“[H]is online fundraising pace had slowed dramatically by the end of September, raising questions about whether McMurray will have the resources to fight a campaign against Collins despite his legal woes. The national party hasn’t spent much yet on the race, and McMurray hasn’t drawn many high-profile endorsements.” POLITICO

AP’S LOLITA BALDOR in Brussels: “U.S. to offer cyberwar capabilities to NATO allies”: “Acting to counter Russia’s aggressive use of cyberattacks across Europe and around the world, the U.S. is expected to announce that, if asked, it will use its formidable cyberwarfare capabilities on NATO’s behalf … It reflects growing concerns by the U.S. and its allies over Moscow’s use of cyber operations to influence elections in America and elsewhere.” AP

SANCTIONS FILES — “World Court orders U.S. to ensure Iran sanctions don’t hit humanitarian aid,” by Reuters’ Stephanie van den Berg in The Hague: “Judges at the International Court Of Justice handed a victory to Tehran, which had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump violate the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries. …

“The ICJ is the United Nations’ highest court for resolving disputes between nations. Its rulings are binding, but it has no power to enforce them, and both the United States and Iran have ignored them in the past.” Reuters

— AP: “U.S. terminates 1955 treaty with Iran after UN court ruling”

RICH PEOPLE ALERT … The Forbes 400 tallied the list of the wealthiest Americans, and Jeff Bezos dethroned Bill Gates at No. 1, the first time since 1994 that Gates hasn’t topped the list. Trump dropped to No. 259, with his net worth listed as $ 3.1 billion. (Philanthropy score: 1 out of 5.) The listDan Alexander and Chase Peterson-Withorn on Trump’s failure to profit from the presidency

MAPS DU JOUR — “Tariffs That Send a Political Message,” by NYT’s Eduardo Porter and Karl Russell: “China clearly would like to send a signal to rural American voters. Mapping the counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and those affected by China’s tariffs shows the extent to which Trump voters’ jobs rely on the products being targeted. Beijing hopes it can convince those voters — and their elected representatives — that the president’s trade war could hurt them.” NYT

MORE ON TARIFFS — WSJ’S JOSH ZUMBRUN: “Nafta Rewrite Eases Threat of Auto Tariffs on U.S. Economy”

K STREET FILES — “Lawmakers buy industry fix to protect schools from guns,” by AP’s Reese Dunklin and Justin Pritchard: “Since [the Parkland, Fla.] attack, security firms and nonprofit groups linked to the industry have persuaded lawmakers to elevate the often-costly ‘hardening’ of schools over other measures that researchers and educators say are proven to reduce violence, an Associated Press investigation shows.

“The industry helped Congress draft a law that committed $ 350 million to equipment and other school security over the next decade. Nearly 20 states have come up with another $ 450 million, and local school districts are reworking budgets to find more money.” AP

AFTERNOON READ — “I Found Trump’s Biggest Fan,” adapted from Ben Bradlee Jr.’s new book “The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America” ($ 18.30 on Amazon): “Trump voters in Luzerne generally had a contempt for Washington and the powers that be, who they felt had mostly abandoned them and left them marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change and a dominant liberal culture that mocked their faith and patriotism. …

“[O]ne of the most fascinating people I encountered was Lynette Villano, whose support for Trump, like many others in Luzerne, is total, unconditional and unshakeable. … To them, Trump’s scandals are barely worth mentioning, and his failures to follow through on many of the economic promises he touted in the campaign are unimportant, mostly because, on his Twitter feed and at his ongoing campaign rallies, he has fed them a steady diet of entertaining, rhetorical red meat.” POLITICO Magazine

CLICKER — “The 2018 New Establishment List,” in Vanity Fair: “Are we at the end of one age or the beginning of the next?” THE TOP 10: Robert Mueller, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Bob Iger, Tim Cook, Michelle Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Beyoncé, Randall Stephenson and Masayoshi Son. Vanity Fair

MEDIAWATCH — Beatrice Peterson will be a producer-reporter at ABC. She is currently a video producer at POLITICO.

TRANSITIONS — Garrett Bess is now director of government relations at Heritage Action for America. He previously was legislative director for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and worked for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.).

SPOTTED on the Delta Shuttle from LGA to DCA: Harvey Fierstein, Tom Nides, Michael Lomax and Don Baer.

SPOTTED at a “Toast to Jameson 18,” hosted by Pernod Ricard USA CEO Paul Duffy and VP Tara Engel included special guest Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall, Jack Davies, Kay Kendall, Penny Lee, Erik Huey, Jamie Rubin, Michael Beckerman, Chris and Amy Swonger, Jayne Sandman, Jeff Dufour, Patrick Mellody, Art Collins, John Porter, Tom Quinn, Meredith Balenske, Holidae Hayes, Cheryl Masri, Ashley Gunn and Emma Doyle.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — OBAMA ALUMNI: Deborah Lee James, who was Air Force secretary in the Obama administration, is writing a book called “Aim High…Chart Your Course and Find Success” about her view of how things work in D.C. and lessons for readers on how to navigate life. The book will be published by Post Hill Press and is due to come out in the first quarter of next year.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Jesse Demastrie, SVP and media director of GMMB, and Lexa Lemieux, executive operations manager of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, welcomed Frances Rose Lemieux-Demastrie.

BuzzFeed’s Emily Ashton and David Roberts, group planning lead at BP and a Citi alum, welcomed Lauren Siân Roberts over the weekend. Pic

A message from PhRMA:

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Hospital markups lead to higher costs for everyone – patients, employers and payers. Find out more.

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