Tuesday's Mini-Report, 9.25.18

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Kavanaugh fight: "Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans said Tuesday that they had hired an outside counsel to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her, at the committee's hearing on Thursday -- though they would not reveal the lawyer's identity, drawing criticism from Democrats and women's advocates."

* In related news: "Brett Kavanaugh's page in his high school yearbook offers a glimpse of the teenage years of the man who is now President Trump's Supreme Court nominee: lots of football, plenty of drinking, parties at the beach. Among the reminiscences about sports and booze is a mysterious entry: 'Renate Alumnius.'"

* Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told reporters he considers the allegation from Deborah Ramirez to be "phony." Asked how he knows this, the retiring Republican senator replied, "Because I know it is. That's why."

* Trade war: "The White House's decision to extend its tariff campaign to an even broader range of Chinese imports starting Monday is putting similar pressure on more U.S. companies to uproot their Chinese manufacturing, and to consider layoffs, price hikes and investment cuts."

* In related news: "China has denied a request for a U.S. warship to visit Hong Kong, American officials said Tuesday. The incident came amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington over tariffs and follows the U.S. last week imposing sanctions on China after it bought arms from Russia."

* This is very easy to believe: "Antsy and impatient, President Trump called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday with an unmistakable message: Call the vote on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, and call it soon, according to two people familiar with the conversation."

* And this seems like a bad idea: "Trains that carry oil and other flammable material won't have to install electronically controlled brakes that reduce the risk of train derailments and explosions after the reversal by Trump officials of an Obama-era safety rule."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.