FRANKLIN GRAHAM SAYS SEXUAL ASSAULT BY KAVANAUGH "NOT RELEVANT": Evangelist Franklin Graham said sexual assault accusations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from when he was a teenager are “not relevant” and that the U.S. Senate should confirm his nomination. Graham made the remarks in an interview Tuesday with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Asked by the CBN interviewer what kind of message his remarks send to sexual abuse victims, Graham replied: “Well, there wasn’t a crime that was committed. These are two teenagers and it’s obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away.” According to an article published by the Washington Post Sunday, Christine Blasey Ford said when they were in high school in the early 1980s, “Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it.”
LUMBERTON WILL BE UNDER WATER THROUGH THE WEEKEND: The Lumber River has swollen so far over its banks that it's above the water gauge. The Oklahoma City Task Force, a water rescue crew, went door to door in Lumberton on Tuesday looking to help people who had stayed behind during Florence. Floodwater had come up right to Summer Soesbee’s doorstep. “It’s a little overwhelming,” Soesbee said. She brought her daughter outside to thank the task force. “My heart is overjoyed, and I want to hug every single one of them,” Soesbee said. “I am trying not to cry.” The Lumber River has left homes, businesses and roads underwater in Robeson County. It’s expected to crest 1 foot higher than it did during Matthew and 8 feet higher than it did following Floyd. It’s expected to stay at major flood level through the weekend and likely into next week. Lumberton Rescue said they’ve evacuated about 400 people from homes and saved about 100 people from cars and high waters since Florence hit.
SOME FLOOD VICTIMS IN KINSTON WILL NOT BE MOVING BACK AFTER FLORENCE: In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the difference between destruction and deliverance, for some, has been the difference between living on one side of a street as opposed to other, or the difference between living a little farther west, as opposed to east. Gallegos and his family received some of the worst of it. The water rose fast, he said, first covering the stairs on the patio and then flowing inside. Soon, he said, it covered the floor, ruining his rugs, soaking the home where Gallegos had lived for 10 years with his wife and two children. “It’s real sad,” he said, surveying the scene from the edge of his front yard that now looked like a pond with a submerged house in the middle. His immediate plan in the aftermath was to salvage anything that could be salvaged: clothes, appliances, anything that wasn’t wet. Several family members came to help load boxes into the back of the truck, and Gallegos said he’d take it all to Greenville, where he said he could stay for a while with a relative. There would be no coming back here, though, after this. “We need to move,” he said. “It’s no good right here.”
TRUMP GETS RID OF RULE TO CURB FUGITIVE METHANE EMISSIONS FROM DRILLING: The change by Trump could save companies as much as $2 billion in compliance costs over the next decade. It comes a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening a separate methane emissions rule affecting private land and some public lands. "We're for clean air and water, but at the same time, we're for reasonable regulations," Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told reporters. Methane is a component of natural gas that's frequently wasted through leaks or intentional releases during drilling operations. The gas is considered a more potent contributor to climate change than carbon dioxide, although it occurs in smaller volumes. The prior regulation would have cut methane emissions by as much as 180,000 tons a year. Emissions of potentially hazardous pollutants known as volatile organic compounds, which can cause health problems if inhaled, would have been reduced by up to 80,000 tons a year.
TRUMP'S MOVE TO DECLASSIFY INTELLIGENCE DOCUMENTS IN RUSSIA PROBE COULD ENDANGER LIVES: Trump appeared unconcerned Tuesday by the national security implications of the order, tweeting about a supportive congressman and saying, “Really bad things were happening, but they are now being exposed. Big stuff!” At the White House he said he wants “total transparency,” insisting again that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt.” In this case, the materials may shed new insight into why federal agents suspected the aide, Carter Page, of being the agent of a foreign power. But it may also identify specific sources of information for the FBI or disclose previously classified information about Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election — which remains the center of an ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. “The applications routinely will contain critically sensitive details about the methods and means by which intelligence investigations gather information, including the identities of sources who may well be endangered if their identity becomes public and who certainly will be dis-incentivized from future cooperation as well,” said Bobby Chesney, a national security law professor at the University of Texas.