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Holton Arms School Yearbook(WASHINGTON) -- A tentative deal was struck Saturday evening for both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault, to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, two sources close to the talks confirmed to ABC News.

The deal came after considerable wrangling over the dates and conditions of the testimony — after several deadlines set by the committee chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, came and went.

Ford agreed at Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. deadline to testify but her attorney sought other conditions, including that no outside counsel be allowed to question Ford — a reference to the possibility that GOP members might hiring legal staff — likely women — to question Ford to prevent on the optics of an all-male GOP panel questioning her.

After several days of brinkmanship on both sides, Ford's lawyers wrote in an email Saturday afternoon that she "accepts the committee's request to provide her firsthand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct next week."

The email went on to criticize the committee for its proposed conditions as set forward Friday -- including a plan to hold a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh on Monday if an agreement on Ford's testimony wasn't reached -- which Ford's lawyers said "are fundamentally inconsistent with the committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations."

"We are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process. We are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details," the lawyers, Debra S. Katz and Lisa Banks, wrote in Saturday's email, ending with a request to set a time Saturday afternoon "to continue our negotiations."  

Before Saturday evening’s tentative deal, a senior White House official told ABC News they did not see the letter as any kind of agreement to testify.

"Our view is that until there's an agreement there's not an agreement. Judge Kavanaugh agreed to testify and was made available for interviews," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The official said the letter could be "latest delay tactic that they've been attempting," and added that it's a way to continue negotiating.

"Let's see how the committee proceeds, but I don't see this as an agreement," the official said.

Before the deal was struck, the White House released a statement Saturday evening saying it appeared the sides were "no closer to a fair hearing."

“Brett Kavanaugh has been clear from the beginning—he categorically and unequivocally denies this allegation and is eager to testify publicly to defend his integrity and clear his good name," the statement said. "On Monday, Brett Kavanaugh met with Committee counsels to answer questions subject to criminal penalties and offered to testify publicly Tuesday morning.

"Since then, we have heard about different dates, conditions, and ever changing schedules, but today we appear no closer to a fair hearing. But one thing has remained consistent: Brett Kavanaugh remains ready, willing and eager to testify as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, after the deadline had passed, attorney Michael Bromwich -- who formerly held positions as a former federal prosecutor, inspector general for the Department of Justice, and director for President Obama's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management -- tweeted that had joined Ford's legal team.

"I'm honored to joining Debra Katz and Lisa Banks in representing Dr. Ford," he said.

Grassley had tweeted Friday night that he had given another extension to Ford “to decide if she wants to proceed with the statement she made last week to testify to the Senate,” a reference to Ford's account to The Washington Post on Sunday of the alleged assault by Kavanaugh when the two were teens in the Maryland suburbs in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations and said he stands ready to testify whenever called.

The Republican committee chairman also tweeted Friday that he had granted Ford "five extensions" in setting terms for her testimony and he apologized to Kavanaugh, saying he's not normally so indecisive.

Katz sent a letter Friday accusing Grassley of setting "aggressive and artificial deadlines" on the negotiations.

"The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford," Katz wrote. "Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate."

Prior to the extension Friday, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee also questioned why Republicans could not wait another day to get a response from Ford.

“It’s clear that Republicans are doing all they can to cement another conservative seat on the Supreme Court -- at any cost -- even pushing through a nominee with a cloud of controversy hanging over his head,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said.

“Brett Kavanaugh could serve on the court for 40 years. What’s another 24 hours to make sure we get this right?” she said.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite the political theatre surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process, Vice President Mike Pence’s support for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick has not wavered.

"I believe that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will soon be Justice Brett Kavanaugh and take his seat on the Supreme Court of the United States of America," he said to the crowd at the Values Voter Summit Saturday.

Invoking a similar declaration that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made from the same stage Friday — in which he said, "In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court" — Pence electrified the crowd to their feet.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination last Thursday and send it for a full vote before the full Seate floor, but word of a letter from California professor Christine Blasey Ford detailing allegations that he drunkenly assaulted her when they were in high school brought the entire process into turmoil.

Kavanaugh has emphatically denied the allegation, and agreed to publicly testify under oath about the incident, while Republican committee members and Ford continue to engage in negotiations about the possibility of her testifying publicly or privately as early as this week. Both Republicans and Democrats say she should be heard.

Without mentioning Ford or the allegations against the embattled nominee, Pence instead underscored Kavanaugh's qualifications in his long career as a circuit court judge on the D.C. Circuit Court to serve on the nation's highest court.

"Judge Brett Kavanuagh is a man of integrity with impeccable credentials," Pence continued. "His record and career deserves the respect of every member of the United States Senate."

From the onset, Kavanaugh's confirmation has been political brinkmanship between Democrats and Republicans, and showed visible signs of hostility during the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings. Many Democrats, criticized for turning the public process into a show, were also criticized by attendees at the annual political conference for "grandstanding" during interviews with ABC News.

Pence panned the Democrats on the committee for their behavior throughout the process, and drew boos from the crowd everytime the vice president said the word "Democrats."  

"The way some Democrats have conducted themselves during this process is a disgrace and a disservice to the senate and the American people," he said.

"The president and I are confident that Senate Republicans will manage this confirmation properly and with the utmost respect for all concerned," Pence added.

Pence issued a call to action for the Evangelical crowd at the summit, hoping to galvanize conservative voters to the polls in November.

"Complacency is the greatest threat to our majority on Capitol Hill," he said. "We must surpass the energy of the American left. We will win if we get out the vote."

He even imitated Trump’s mannerisms, throwing his arms into the air as he said, "As the president said two nights ago in Las Vegas … You gotta get out for the midterms!"

"We made history in 2016, we’re going to make history again in 2018 when we re-elect Republican majorities in the House and Senate on Capitol Hill," he said.

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Jon Kopaloff / Contributor / Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, alleges in an op-ed that she was raped some 40 years ago and didn't speak of it for decades, defending the woman who recently came forward accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers.

"I never told anyone for decades — not a friend, not a boyfriend, not a therapist, not my husband when I got married years later," Davis, a 65-year-old author, wrote in the op-ed published Friday in The Washington Post. "It doesn’t surprise me one bit that for more than 30 years, Christine Blasey Ford didn’t talk about the assault she remembers, the one she accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of committing."

Her op-ed was published just hours after President Donald Trump, for the first time, called out Kavanaugh's accuser by name and questioned her account of the alleged incident based on the fact that she didn't report it at the time, which prompted a flood of Twitter users to tell why they didn’t report sexual assaults at the time they occurred. The hashtag #WhyIDidntReport was trending Friday and by midday Saturday had over a half-million tweets worldwide.

Davis wrote in her op-ed that the incident occurred during what she thought would be a professional meeting with a prominent music industry executive, whom she doesn't name, in his office to discuss original songs she had written. Like Kavanaugh's accuser, Davis said she can't fully recall certain details of the evening, like what month it was, what she and the executive talked about and whether she declined the cocaine he offered her.

"What happened next, though, is indelible," Davis wrote. "He crossed the room. There was a dark-green carpet, but his footsteps seemed loud, hard. He was against me, on top of me — so quickly…” she went on to describe more of the alleged assault.

Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old professor at Palo Alto University in California, claims she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party in suburban Maryland when both were teens in the early 1980s.

Kavanaugh has strongly denied the accusation as a "completely false allegation."

Speaking publicly for the first time in an article published Sunday by The Washington Post, Ford said she was terrified about getting in trouble for being at a party with underage drinking, so she didn't tell anyone about the alleged incident in detail until 2012 when she was in a couples therapy session with her husband.

Trump said in a couple of tweets Friday that his Supreme Court pick is "under assault by radical left wing politicians" and that if the incident Ford alleges "was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents."

Following his tweets, the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport took off, including among some well-known actresses like Ashley Judd who have been outspoken in the #MeToo movement.

Davis in her op-ed argued that memory of trauma naturally focuses on some details while leaving out others.

"Ford has been criticized for the things she doesn’t remember, like the address where she says the assault happened, or the time of year, or whose house it was. But her memory of the attack itself is vivid and detailed. His hand over her mouth, another young man piling on, her fear that maybe she’d die there, unable to breathe," Davis wrote.

"That’s what happens: Your memory snaps photos of the details that will haunt you forever, that will change your life and live under your skin. It blacks out other parts of the story that really don’t matter much," she added.

Since Ford’s name became public a week ago, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have clashed over how to respond to her allegations. The Republican leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is holding Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, has been negotiating with Ford's attorneys over terms under which she would testify before the committee by as early as next week.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(PHOENIX) -- Most political ads follow a familiar formula: Tout accomplishments, show public testimonials and wrap with the mandatory message of endorsement. Arizona congressional candidate David Brill's ad is no different -- until those criticizing his opponent reveal their last names.

Brill is embroiled in a contentious fight against incumbent Rep. Paul Gosar, who represents Arizona's 4th Congressional District. But he won't for much longer if his siblings have anything to say about it.

Brill unveiled a stunning campaign ad on Friday in which Gosar's own brothers and sisters come out in support of the Democrat -- six of them.

The ad seems like a run-of-the-mill spot, with six Arizonans knocking Gosar's bonafides and calling for voters to support Brill.

"Paul Gosar the congressman isn't doing anything to support rural America," says Grace, touted as a rural physician, as the ad opens.

"Paul's absolutely not working for his district," David, a lawyer, says.

"If he actually cared about people in rural Arizona, I bet he'd be fighting for Social Security, for better access to health care. I bet he would be researching what is the most insightful water policy to help the environment of Arizona sustain itself and be successful," says Jennifer, a medical interpreter.

It's only at the end that the ad reveals these surname-less people are actually Gosar's siblings. In addition to Grace, David and Jennifer, Gosar's other siblings -- Joan, Tim and Gaston -- also appear in the ad. Gosar has nine siblings, with three not appearing in the ad.

Gosar, 59, has represented the 4th District since 2013 and represented the 1st Congressional District for one term before that. He's made a host of controversial comments over the past few years.

Following the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Gosar pushed the conspiracy theory that the riots were "created by the left" and billionaire George Soros, in an interview with VICE News. He also said Soros, a Democratic fundraiser, collaborated with Nazis during World War II, a claim pushed by far-right pundit Alex Jones and Infowars. Soros, and others, condemned the baseless accusation.

Gosar also boycotted a speech to Congress by Pope Francis in 2015 -- the only congressman to do so -- after penning an op-ed that called him a "leftist" and criticized his attention to climate change, which Gosar calls "questionable science" used to "guilt people into leftist policies."

As House Western Caucus chairman, he has also taken a leading role in overhauling the Endangered Species Act.

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Don Arnold/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton called out the Republican Party for backing down to President Donald Trump, asking, "Why are they so intimidated?"

Clinton spoke to The Late Show host Stephen Colbert in a wide-ranging interview on Friday, tackling everything from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation to the Brett Kavanaugh nomination and whether Trump should be impeached.

But she summed up her appearance with a challenge to members of the GOP.

"I do not understand what happened to the Republican Party," Clinton said. "I served with a lot of these people. Why are they so intimidated? At some point, you've gotta put country before party."

The former secretary of state and Trump's opponent in the 2016 presidential election -- Colbert reeled off her accomplishments, including "winner of the popular vote" -- stuck to her talking points early in the interview, which was pegged to the paperback release of her book, What Happened.

Clinton struck a nonpartisan tone, saying it was the country that was in a time of political upheaval, and not just Trump is to blame.

"I want people to take it seriously, regardless of who you voted for," she said. "I want them to think about why our democracy is in chaos."

Clinton also criticized Republicans over their treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She called for an FBI investigation, as requested by Ford, before testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She called it a "fair request" and said it "wouldn't take that long."

Clinton also elicited a cheer from the audience when she said she had "no sympathy" for Republican senators dealing with the issue of when Ford will testify, if at all.

"No, I have no sympathy," Clinton answered.

"We owe it to our constituents, to our Constitution to do it right," she said. "They're the ones who turned it into a political football."

Clinton did deflect talk of impeaching Trump, saying, "There is a constitutional crisis that doesn't have to be looked at only through impeachment."

She encouraged voters to get out to vote in the midterms and make winning Congress a referendum on the president.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford asked for an extra day to work out the conditions for her to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegation of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Attorney Debra S. Katz sent a letter accusing Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, of arbitrarily imposing a 10 p.m. Friday deadline for Ford to agree to testify in the midst of ongoing discussions -- and then scheduling a vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation before the deadline.

"The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford," Katz wrote. "Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the committee is completely inappropriate."

Grassley tweeted late Friday that he was granting the extension, though not without reminding he'd granted Ford "five extensions" and apologizing to Kavanaugh, saying he's not normally so indecisive.

Katz wrote that she notified Grassley at 4:01 p.m. Friday that her team would need an additional day to confer with Ford and provide a "well-considered" response because Ford had met with the FBI for several hours about death threats she had received.

She said the sole purpose of the 10 p.m. deadline is to bully Ford and "deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family."

Katz has said Ford is willing to testify before lawmakers as early as next week so long as certain terms are met that are “fair and ensure her safety.”

Grassley said "extensive efforts" had been made to accommodate Ford's testimony, before he extended an earlier 5 p.m. deadline by five hours.

“I’m extending the deadline for response yet again to 10 o’clock this evening. I’m providing a notice of a vote to occur Monday in the event that Dr. Ford’s attorneys don’t respond or Dr. Ford decides not to testify, Grassley said. "In the event that we can come to a reasonable resolution as I’ve been seeking all week, then I will postpone the committee vote to accommodate her testimony. We cannot continue to delay.”

The top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, shot back.

"Bullying a survivor of attempted rape in order to confirm a nominee -- particularly at a time when she’s receiving death threats -- is an extreme abuse of power," Feinstein said in a statement. "I’m shocked and appalled by the Republicans’ refusal to wait 24 hours for a hearing and instead rush forward with a vote on Monday. From the outset, Republicans have tried to push through this nomination at all costs."

In a letter to Ford's lawyer's released late Friday, GOP staff outlined what it said was the committee efforts to address her concerns.

“Consistent with our sincere desire to hear Dr. Ford’s testimony in her preferred setting—while, at the same time, respecting fundamental notions of due process and Committee practice—we are willing to meet you halfway,” the proposal from the committee staff said.

“This committee has been extremely accommodating to your client. We want to hear Dr. Ford’s testimony and are prepared to accommodate many of your demands, including further delaying a hearing that is currently scheduled for Monday. We are unwilling to accommodate your unreasonable demands. Outside counsel may not dictate the terms under which committee business will be conducted,” the letter said.

The Republicans rejected Ford's request that only senators be permitted to ask questions, and they say they "reserve the right to have female staff attorneys" ask questions. They rejected her request to issue subpoenas for Mark Judge, the other teenager she says was in the room and witnessed the assault and will not call additional witnesses that Ford wants.

"It is not fair to [Judge Kavanaugh] or to his family to allow this situation to continue without a resolution and without an opportunity for him to clear his name. Holding the hearing on Wednesday honors your request for a later hearing date while recognizing that Judge Kavanaugh is entitled to due process. It is the fairest option for both parties," the letter said.

"You demanded that Judge Kavanaugh be the first person to testify. Accommodating this demand would be an affront to fundamental notions of due process," the letter continued. "In the United States, an individual accused of a crime is entitled to a presumption of innocence. And, further, the accused has the right to respond to allegations that are made about him."

"You have indicated that Dr. Ford has allegations that she would like to make in public and under oath. She will have the opportunity to do so before we give Judge Kavanaugh the opportunity to respond," the letter said.

In a call between Ford’s attorneys and the Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s staff Thursday night to discuss terms for a potential hearing, a source familiar with the conversations told ABC News Ford’s attorney requested that Ford be allowed to testify first and that Kavanaugh not be present in the room at the time.

The White House was expected to object to the idea that Kavanaugh testifying first, with a senior administration official saying Kavanaugh should go second to ensure he’s in a position to respond to Ford’s accusation.

Another unresolved issue in the negotiations, the GOP source said Friday, is the level of press coverage inside the hearing room during Ford's testimony. Ford's team has requested that the hearing be “open but with limited press," the source said. Republican sources familiar with the talks could not elaborate on what that means to Ford.

Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Kavanaugh has denied the claim.

Ford’s legal team also asked that there be no time limit on Ford’s opening statement and raised the prospect of a subpoena for Mark Judge, who Ford claims witnessed the assault, and other potential witnesses.

An administration official, responding to that suggestion, prompted demands that others testify as well, including her therapist and the notes her therapist took.

Another possible point of contention is whether outside expert attorneys will be allowed to conduct the questioning of Ford during the hearing. That’s an idea of which the White House is supportive; but Ford’s attorneys have expressed opposition to the idea of anyone other than lawmakers questioning their client, raising concern that the testimony could take on too much of a trial-like atmosphere, according to the source.

The all-male, Republican members of the committee, concerned about "poor optics", have proposed having a female outside counsel question Ford.

Emails obtained by ABC News between Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s staff and Ford's legal team show that Republican staffers reached out the day after Ford’s identity was made public and offered to have her testify later that same week or the following Monday at an upcoming hearing on the Supreme Court nominee.

The emails do not indicate any responses from Ford's legal team prior to Tuesday evening. It was not immediately clear whether there was additional correspondence beyond the emails ABC obtained, and Ford's lawyers did not respond to request for comment about the email outreach.

The tone of the correspondence is markedly different from the heated rhetoric being employed by members of both parties on the Judiciary Committee, who have accused one another of mishandling Ford’s allegations.

Since Ford’s name became public, Democrats and Republicans on and off the Judiciary Committee have traded barbs. On Wednesday, Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, said Grassley’s assertions that committee Republicans had done everything to contact Ford’s legal team was “bull----.”

The rhetoric has been equally heated on the Republican side. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Democrats' handling of the Ford accusations has been “a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh.”

As the shots were fired in public, committee staff and Ford’s lawyers privately continued their relatively mundane correspondence, lamenting the occasional missed missive.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long used government-owned vehicles without proper authorization, but will reimburse the government and not be fired, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement late Friday.

The statement ends days of speculation over whether the FEMA chief would be ousted.

Just as the agency's response to Hurricane Florence got underway, reports surfaced that the administrator was under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. Those findings were delivered to Congress late Friday, but not released publicly.

At issue was Long's use of government vehicles to commute home to his family in Hickory, North Carolina.

According to Nielsen's statement, use of government vehicles was "established practice" by FEMA administrators for "more than a decade to ensure senior leader connectivity in times of crisis."

But this practice posed a problem for Nielsen because Long would use the vehicles to commute home to his family in Hickory -- at least a six-hour drive from the nation's capital.

"Despite this established practice, use of government vehicles to provide home-to-work transportation for the FEMA administrator was never authorized in accordance with applicable law," Nielsen wrote.

She added that she takes "seriously" the "unauthorized or inappropriate use of government resources" and has discussed "next steps" with Long.

"We had a productive conversation where we discussed my expectations regarding the agency’s use of government vehicles going forward," she said. "The administrator acknowledged that mistakes were made, and he took personal responsibility."

In a statement attached to Nielsen's comments, Long said, "As the leader of this agency, I accept full responsibility for any mistakes that were made by me or the agency. The secretary and I are taking corrective action to prevent such mistakes from happening in the future."

Long's job security was in jeopardy even as Hurricane Florence approached North Carolina, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. Separately, the Washington Post reported Thursday that Long considered stepping down over the scandal and sparring with Nielsen, who decided to visit North Carolina without telling Long.

Long bumbled his response to a question about FEMA's preparedness for Florence at a press conference before the storm, calling the storm by the incorrect name: "I am 100 percent focused on Floyd at this moment."

"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly," Long said at the press conference. "Bottom line is, if we made mistakes on the way a program was run, then we'll work with the [Office of Inspector General] to get those corrected."

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(WASHINGTON) -- At a May 2017 meeting between Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a week after President Trump had fired James Comey as director, Rosenstein suggested that McCabe or others wear a wire when speaking with the president, according to memos McCabe made of the conversation, sources familiar with them told ABC News.

Additionally, sources tell ABC News that, according to the memos, Rosenstein told McCabe he could recruit members of the president’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for being unfit. Rosenstein believed he would be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to sign on, according to the sources.

The White House, as of Friday evening, had not commented specifically on the story.

But Trump, speaking at a rally in Springfield, Missouri, once again attacked his Justice Department.

"Look what's being exposed at the Department of Justice and the FBI," the president told a packed house Friday night. "You have some real bad ones. You see what's happening at the FBI -- they’re all gone, they’re all gone. But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that too."

Rosenstein issued a second statement not long after the president spoke.

“I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false," Rosenstein said.

The May 2017 meeting was one of two attended by Rosenstein and McCabe, sources said.

In the first meeting that morning that Rosenstein made reference to the possibility of putting a wire on someone to record conversations with Trump. It is in this meeting that Rosenstein also raised the 25th Amendment, two sources familiar with the meetings said.

The second meeting, later in the day, had more people present, they said, including other senior Justice Department officials and then-FBI attorney Lisa Page. In this meeting, Rosenstein again raised the idea of putting a wire on someone to record Trump, the sources said. Some in the room left the meeting believing he was joking about the wire idea, but McCabe and Page left the room thinking otherwise, according to the sources.

McCabe and Page both wrote their own notes about the meetings, and while Page's notes also mention Rosenstein bringing up the idea of putting a wire on someone to record Trump, Page's notes do not reflect any suggestion that Rosenstein was joking, according to one source familiar with the matter.

The source familiar with the matter, who quoted Rosenstein responding to McCabe, also points out that Lisa Page took more detailed notes in the meeting and apparently does not mention that the 25th Amendment came up.

However, another source familiar with how the Justice Department officials who attended that later meeting viewed what happened, said their belief was that Rosenstein was being "sarcastic" -- noting that there was never any follow-up conversation from Rosenstein or anyone else about it.

This source said that the meeting was essentially just a discussion about the events the week before and everything facing DOJ in the wake of Comey's firing. “It was a difficult time for [the DOJ and FBI]." "Nobody was angry or acting out" in the meeting, but "it was just sort of intense. It was a very intense time," the source said.

The source said Rosenstein's comment about the wire "was a comment borne out of frustration.” It was "a throw-away, sarcastic line that was perhaps in some way a challenge to" the FBI's view of investigating a president. “No one from Justice took it in the least bit seriously," the source said of Rosenstein's wire comment. From the Justice officials' perspective, Rosenstein's comment was "a recognition to the people involved in this thing: How would you go about this investigation?”

Nevertheless, this source said it was unclear even to those in the meeting how McCabe interpreted Rosenstein's comment. “I don’t know what Andy thought. He keeps his cards close,” the source said.

The news was first reported by the New York Times.

In his initial statement Friday afternoon, Rosenstein pushed back on the New York Times report but did not flatly deny it.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

In response to the story, McCabe’s attorney’s issued the following statement to ABC News: "Andrew McCabe drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high-level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions. When he was interviewed by the Special Counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos – classified and unclassified – to the Special Counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos."

After Comey's firing, ABC News reported that Rosenstein was so upset with the White House for pinning Comey’s dismissal on him that he was on the verge of resigning.

Rosenstein remained on the job and a week later assigned Robert Mueller as special counsel to "oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe early last year.

In the months since Mueller’s appointment, Rosenstein has been responsible for overseeing the Russia probe, often holding press conferences to announce indictments brought by Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Rosenstein’s leading role in the Russia probe came as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from all matters related to the presidential campaign to avoid conflicts of interest.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans have targeted Rosenstein in their criticism of the Justice Department’s handling of the Russia probe. In July, 11 House Republicans introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein and accused the Justice Department of hiding investigative information from Congress, abusing the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, and failing to comply with subpoenas.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement: “This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation. Generals Kelly, Mattis and numerous other White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the president without being fired.”

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Yana Paskova/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The man who once led President Donald Trump’s legal defense in the Russia probe expressed interest in providing financial support to Paul Manafort and Rick Gates - the former Trump campaign chairman and deputy chairman, respectively - after they were known to be under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Veteran D.C. attorney John Dowd at one point inquired about channeling money from a special legal defense fund to assist Manafort and Gates, and later solicited donations for the men, sources tell ABC News. Dowd confirmed to ABC News that he at one point considered personally contributing $25,000 of his own money to their legal defense, an idea he relayed to the president’s associates in a February email, the sources told ABC News.

The man who once led President Donald Trump’s legal defense in the Russia probe expressed interest in providing financial support to Paul Manafort and Rick Gates - the former Trump campaign chairman and deputy chairman, respectively - after they were known to be under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Veteran D.C. attorney John Dowd at one point inquired about channeling money from a special legal defense fund to assist Manafort and Gates, and later solicited donations for the men, sources tell ABC News. Dowd confirmed to ABC News that he at one point considered personally contributing $25,000 of his own money to their legal defense, an idea he relayed to the president’s associates in a February email, the sources told ABC News.

On Friday, Dowd confirmed to ABC News he was advised against providing Manafort and Gates with any financial help for their mounting legal bills. Dowd resigned from Trump’s legal team in March. Sources familiar with Dowd’s resignation at the time told ABC News the attorney had felt the president was taking less of his advice.

The Journal report surfaced at a time of increasing scrutiny for the succession of lawyers who have been brought in to help Trump navigate the Mueller probe. Earlier this week, Dowd was the subject of a report in the New York Times that said the special counsel team interviewed at least 10 senior administration officials without Trump’s lawyers first learning what the witnesses planned to say, or debriefing them afterward. Dowd told the Times: “None of this true. You have been badly misinformed.”

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Following news Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested in 2017 that officials in the FBI should wear a wire when speaking with President Trump, the president told a rally in Missouri that he hopes soon to get rid of a "lingering stench" in the Department of Justice and FBI.

"Look what's being exposed at the Department of Justice and the FBI," Trump told a packed house in Springfield, Mo. Friday night. "You have some real bad ones. You see what's happening at the FBI -- they’re all gone, they’re all gone. But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that too."

The comments follow reporting confirmed by ABC News citing sources familiar with memos by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – which allege that Rosenstein told McCabe he could recruit members of the president’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office for being unfit. Rosenstein believed he would be able to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to sign on, according to the sources.

The president made the remarks at an event on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley, who is locked in a tight battle with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in a state Trump won in the 2016 presidential election by 19 points.

"Missouri was never too close to call," Trump joked as he began recounting his signature reflection of election night.

After trashing McCaskill for her recent announcement that she won’t support the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump tied the result of the midterms directly to his presidency.

“Get out in 2018, because you’re voting for me!” Trump said.

Speaking of Kavanaugh, Trump didn’t directly make reference to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who has accused Kavanaugh of attempting to sexually assault her while the two were in high school. Trump instead expressed confidence that Kavanaugh would be confirmed.

“You talk about central casting, he was born for the U.S. Supreme Court. And it’s gonna happen,” Trump said. “We have to fight for him, not worry about the other side, and by the way, women are for that more than anybody would understand."

The president hit on a myriad of other topics in his campaign speech, including immigration, the economy, and the militant leftist group ‘Antifa.’

“You have guys that look like they live with mom and dad in the basement,” Trump said of Antifa. "I would never suggest this, but I will tell you, oy, they’re so lucky that we’re peaceful.”

Trump also trashed the “Democrat party,” saying he chooses the name over “Democratic Party” because “why should I make it sound so sweet?”

"They aren't just extremist," Trump said. “They are dangerous, and frankly, crazy."

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  A federal judge has ordered U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross be deposed over a decision to reinstate a question regarding citizenship status to the upcoming 2020 census, court documents show.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York wrote in his opinion Friday that "Secretary Ross must sit for a deposition because, among other things, his intent and credibility are directly at issue."

Ross is to be questioned by attorneys representing more than a dozen states and cities in lawsuits challenging the decision and accusing Ross of acting improperly.

Ross began considering whether to reinstate the question shortly after he was appointment in February 2017, "well before" the Department of Justice made a formal request to do so on Dec. 12, according to the order, which cited earlier submissions made by Ross.

Ross manifested an "unusually strong personal interest in the matter," Furman wrote, adding that the secretary demanded to know as early as May 2017 why no action had been taken on his months-old request — seven months before the formal DOJ request was made.

The secretary then "ultimately mandated the addition of the citizenship question," despite the "strong and continuing opposition" from the U.S. Census Bureau, the court documents state.

The state of New York — one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the census decision — is welcoming the federal judge's order, said, Amy Spitalnick spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, in a statement to ABC News.

The Department of Commerce declined to comment to ABC News.

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Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden is planning to join Georgia's Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams for a campaign event for the first time in Atlanta next Thursday, an Abrams campaign spokesperson told ABC News.

Abrams is running against White House-backed Republican and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who leveraged the president's endorsement to leapfrog over Republican favorite Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in May's primary.

Abrams' has been thrust into the national spotlight for galvanizing Democrats' hopes of a victory in a southern conservative stronghold. She handily defeated her opponent in the primary, scoring more than 75 percent of the vote statewide and capturing all but six of Georgia's 159 counties, including rural areas across the state where Democrats have struggled to make inroads in their ongoing effort to turn Georgia blue.

Due to her primary victory, Georgia voters will find a black woman on their ballot for governor for the first time in the state's history. Abrams would be the first black woman to be elected governor in the country's history if she is elected.

The former vice president for Barack Obama is planning to have an active fall season on the campaign trail leading up to the midterms.

An aide to Biden told ABC News earlier this month that Biden plans to focus on areas where Democrats can pick up vulnerable red seats or hold on to key seats that they already occupy. Just this month he's campaigned for midterm elections in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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Angelo Merendino/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Barack Obama continued his spirited effort to boost his party's midterm ambitions with an event Friday in Pennsylvania, a state pivotal to Democratic hopes of winning back congressional majorities and one that could provide an indication of whether Democrats have made inroads with blue-collar voters, less than two years after President Donald Trump rode their support to the White House.

Joining Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Bob Casey, both up for re-election in November, as well as a number of Democratic congressional candidates eyeing seats in the state's newly redrawn districts, Obama continued to rail against the ongoing "backlash against progress" he sees in Washington, repeatedly invoking Trump's actions without once naming the current president.

Some of Obama's most spirited critiques came in response Trump's claims of responsibility for the nation's ongoing economic prosperity. The former president was quick to ask the crowd rhetorically when they think the recovery from the Great Recession began.

 The event, at the open-air Dell Music Center on the banks of the Schuylkill River, northwest of Philadelphia, followed Obama's campaign stop in Cleveland a week ago and his endorsement of more than 80 Democratic candidates nationwide. He was particularly adamant about the role Pennsylvania could play in Democrats' success in November, telling the crowd that they had a chance "to restore some sanity" to the country.

As he was in Cleveland, where he stumped for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in his administration, Obama was direct Friday in his criticisms of Republicans, majority-holders in both houses of Congress, for complicity in the shattering of political norms to a point that has nearly exceeded control.

The event, at the open-air Dell Music Center on the banks of the Schuylkill River, northwest of Philadelphia, followed Obama's campaign stop in Cleveland a week ago and his endorsement of more than 80 Democratic candidates nationwide. He was particularly adamant about the role Pennsylvania could play in Democrats' success in November, telling the crowd that they had a chance "to restore some sanity" to the country.

As he was in Cleveland, where he stumped for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in his administration, Obama was direct Friday in his criticisms of Republicans, majority-holders in both houses of Congress, for complicity in the shattering of political norms to a point that has nearly exceeded control.

"They're trying to scare the heck out of you," he said. "In a healthy democracy, that kind of fear-mongering doesn't work."

Though he didn't once address Trump by name, former president cautioned however that his fellow Democrats shouldn't be viewing the upcoming midterm elections as an opportunity to "vote against someone," instead touting the backgrounds diversity of Pennsylvania's House candidates and noting that the state does not currently have a female member of Congress.

"I can tell you -- and Michelle didn’t put me up to this -- stuff works better if women are involved," said Obama, joking about former First Lady Michelle Obama."

With Democrats intending to wrest control of the House from Republicans, while hoping to protect a number of vulnerable Senate seats, as they seek to act as a check on President Trump, perhaps no state is as important as Pennsylvania. Trump won the state by less than one percentage point over Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Republicans captured 13 of 18 House seats.

Early this year, however, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered a redrawing of the state's congressional districts, which it ruled had been unfairly gerrymandered, leading to new boundaries that are universally thought to be far more accommodating to Democrats than the old ones. Then, in March, Democrat Conor Lamb won a narrow victory in a special election in the southwestern 18th district, previously a Republican stronghold.

As it stands, as many as seven seats could be in play in November and state Democrats feel they are likely to become the majority party within Pennsylvania's state delegation, provided the Democratic enthusiasm that has marked the elections since Trump took office continues. To that end, Obama encouraged Democrats to take an active role come November and not grow complacent, the same message he delivered last week in Ohio and a week earlier while accepting an award from the University of Illinois.

“If you don’t like what's going on right now, don’t complain. Don’t hashtag. Don’t put your head in the sand. Don’t boo. Don’t sit back with your boys and act like you’re too cool. Vote," Obama said, citing "indifference" and "cynicism" as the biggest threats to democracy.

In addition to the House seats Democrats are confident of flipping, party officials say they are relatively comfortable with the current positions of both Wolf and Casey, despite Republican efforts to target the seats playoff off momentum from Trump's 2016 victory in the state. Trump visited northeastern Pennsylvania in early August in support of Rep. Lou Barletta, Casey's Senate challenger, but recent polls have shown the two-term senator ahead by double digits.

Wolf, too, outpaced his Republican challenger Scott Wagner by 14 points in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last month, as he seeks to win a second term.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  The drama surrounding the sexual assault allegation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and the turmoil it's caused in his confirmation process, are nothing more than a political spectacle for many conservatives at the Value Voters Summit.

They're standing by President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

"I think he’s the right choice and what the Democrats have pulled, and the dirty tricks, is just appalling," a nine-time attendee of the annual summit, Russ Consentino of Bucks County, told ABC News Friday.

Just days before a Senate Judiciary Committee vote, scheduled for Thursday, that likely would have sent Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate, word of a letter from California professor Christine Blasey Ford detailing the allegation that he drunkenly assaulted her at a house party when they were in high school — locking her in a bedroom, pinning her on a bed, groping her and covering her mouth with his hand to stop her from screaming — brought Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to a startling halt.

"You pull something out after 35, 36 years," Consentino said at the summit, echoing President Trump's tweet Friday morning asking why Ford didn't report the incident to the FBI or other authorities at the time. "She should’ve reported it to the police. What the Democrats are doing is all grandstanding. It’s a shame."

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation and said he would testify to that under oath. Blasey Ford is negotiating with Republican committee members about testifying publicly or privately. Both Republicans and Democrats say she be heard.

To a room filled with conservative evangelicals, Kavanaugh is a like-minded defender of their shared values.

"The people are fired up" about Kavanaugh and "believe he does" have the character to serve on the Supreme Court, according to attendee Roman Buhler of Virginia.

"It’s certainly a motivating issue for people," he added.

Speaker Kayla Kessinger, a Republican state delegate in West Virginia who is running for re-election primarily on a pro-life platform — in a state that is taking up a ballot initiative to revoke public funding of abortions in November — told ABC News: "I am absolutely, one hundred percent supportive of Brett Kavanaugh."

Asked if she believes Ford’s account, Kessinger responded, "I believe that something may have happened to this woman … but I don’t believe Brett Kavanaugh committed those allegations."

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended Trump's pick for the Supreme Court by saying, "There are two sides to every story" before recalling when he was falsely accused, he said, of fathering a child by a Florida woman.

Another attendee, Nancy Seeger of Pennsylvania, called Kavanaugh "a perfectly qualified candidate" and branded Democrats' actions regarding Ford as "suspicious."

"We’re in this circus," she told ABC News. "We want people who are constitutional and will govern in good faith … If it’s true, and it happened, she is now being used as a political pawn. They put her in this position at the eleventh hour. Democrats are using her as a political pawn."

The summit's emcee, Gil Mertz of the Family Research Council, questioned Democrats' intentions by comparing the allegation against Kavanaugh to the accusations of physical abuse against Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, who is running for attorney general in Minnesota.

"Where is Karen Monahan’s support," he asked, referring to Ellison's former girlfriend who has alleged the abuse that he's denied. "Where are the Democratic calls for an FBI investigation for Keith Ellison?"

The summit, a gathering of conservatives who support "traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government," comes nearly seven weeks ahead of the midterm elections, which will decide control of the House and Senate.

Republicans are defending their majority in the House and aiming to hold on to their slim advantage in the Senate.

The stakes could not be higher this November for both parties, but for Republicans, Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a key concern among conservative voters.

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann painted the last two years under the Trump administration as an "unparalleled golden time."

The election, she said, "will decide whether the golden time goes on or whether in fact, we’re in very, very different territory that we’ve never seen before. That will be determined in seven weeks."

"This last year and a half has been the best year and a half in my time in the Senate," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "We’re not going to slow down. We’re just going to keep going ahead."

The prospect of conservative values shared across all three branches has sparked urgency among Republicans to turn out voters.

"I think it’s helping us," Seeger said of Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, adding that it's making Democrats "look bad."

"I hope that our United States Senate will confirm him," Kessinger said. "I hope that Senator Joe Manchin will confirm him. I think West Virginians are supportive of Brett Kavanaugh and West Virginians would hope that Senator Manchin would vote to confirm him."

Senate Republican Leader McConnell suggested that the battle for that future lies in the courts.

Securing judicial appointments including Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land, will help protect "pro-family, opportunity policies," he said to a standing ovation.

Despite the furor over Kavanaugh’s nomination, McConnell boasted confidence, telling the audience: "Keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job."

"In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court," he said firmly.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Another associate of political operative Roger Stone met Friday with a federal grand jury convened to hear testimony in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling, appearing at the U.S. District Court House in Washington, D.C., a source with direct knowledge tells ABC News.

Stone is a longtime and close ally of President Donald Trump who has been under increasing scrutiny from the special counsel investigation.

Jerome Corsi, who until recently served as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the controversial far-right news outlet Infowars, is one of at least 11 individuals associated with Stone who have been contacted by the special counsel.

Corsi had been summoned to testify in Mueller's probe Sept. 7, but his appearance was canceled the night before, his attorney, David Gray told ABC News at the time.

Corsi, who stoked such false rumors as President Barack Obama not being born in the U.S., joined Infowars last year but has since departed. Corsi has been acquainted with Stone – who currently serves as a key contributor to Infowars – for years.

Stone has been under scrutiny from the special counsel in part because of statements he made in August 2016 which political opponents allege showed he knew that WikiLeaks was going to leak damaging information on former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before it was released. Stone has been targeted because he communicated with Guccifer 2.0, the unnamed hacker group that has taken credit for breaking into Democratic National Committee email servers, sources told ABC News.

Corsi's name surfaced earlier this year after investigators with Mueller's team spent almost an hour interviewing Theodore Roosevelt "Ted" Malloch, 65, an American academic and conservative London-based author, discussing his ties to Stone, Corsi, and WikiLeaks, according to a post-script for Malloch's latest book.

Malloch told ABC News in April that the questioning occurred in March after Malloch was detained by federal agents at Boston's Logan Airport upon arrival from his home in London.

Malloch's pro-Trump political book, "The Plot to Destroy Trump: How the Deep State Fabricated the Russian Dossier to Subvert the President," describes the encounter as “intimidating.” In the post-script of his book, Malloch describes the interview and says agents seemed particularly interested in his connections with Stone, WikiLeaks, and Corsi. He described Corsi as a Trump campaign a journalist who edited a memoir he wrote years ago.

Mueller's interest in Stone and WikiLeaks goes to the heart of the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion, released in a report in January 2017, that WikiLeaks weaponized and published damaging information on Clinton provided to it by a hacker from the Russian government.

“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (general main intelligence directorate or GRU) used Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.com to release U.S. victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to Wikileaks,” the intelligence report states. “Assange has denied receiving the trove of hacked information from the Russians. U.S. intelligence does not believe him.”

Stone has told ABC News multiple times that he had never met or spoken with Assange.

In addition to Corsi, individuals tied to Stone who have been contacted by the special counsel include former Trump campaign aides Michael Caputo and Sam Nunberg; Kristin Davis, the one-time “Manhattan Madam” who has worked for Stone and remains close to him; Stone's former driver and assistant, John Kakanis; Stone's one-time social media adviser, Jason Sullivan, and former Stone aide Andrew Miller.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Sept. 22, 2018

Strong storms roar through Chautauqua County Friday night, tornado warnings issued to the east... Several trees were reported down in the central part of Chautauqua County... but, no serious da...

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