Politics & Government

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This week in the Russia investigations: 21st century great power competition means the challenge of defending American democracy will get tougher, not easier.

The woods are dark and deep

Americans inside and outside of Washington, D.C., spent the last week transfixed by the drama over President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, but there also were ample reminders about how the rest of the world is not standing still.

Updated at 11:31 p.m. ET

A sharply divided Senate — reflecting a deeply divided nation — voted almost entirely along party lines Saturday afternoon to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A little more than two hours later, Kavauangh was sworn in during a private ceremony as protesters stood on the court's steps.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has moved to seize former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's condo in Trump Tower in New York.

According to a court filing from Friday, the seizure is expected take place on or after Oct. 20.

The prosecutors said the federal government would "take full and exclusive custody and control" as part of a broader forfeiture, and Manafort signed the document.

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And we're joined now by one of the senators who voted no this morning. Dick Durbin is a Democrat from Illinois and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Thanks for joining us this afternoon.

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And Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now one step away from a seat on the Supreme Court. Looks like he has the votes he needs to be confirmed in a final vote tomorrow.

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Editor's note: This story contains language some may find offensive.

The allegations of drinking and sexual misconduct swirling around Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have prompted a new round of soul-searching at elite prep schools like the one he attended three decades ago. Schools are taking a hard look at how they may have permitted a culture of drinking and sexual misconduct.

Updated 5:33 p.m. ET Friday

After GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine came out in favor of confirming him Friday afternoon on the Senate floor, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is all but certainly headed for the Supreme Court in very short order.

The Senate advanced Kavanaugh's nomination, 51 to 49, Friday. A final vote is expected Saturday.

There was a lot that went down Friday. What exactly happened and what does it mean going forward?

Updated 6:33 p.m. ET

White Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

It took the jury of eight women and four men about eight hours to reach a verdict.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Inside the Senate chamber Friday, lawmakers gathered to consider Brett Kavanaugh's controversial nomination to Supreme Court. There, the federal judge earned just enough support to advance to a final vote on his confirmation.

President Trump's choice of Brett Kavanaugh is already the most contentious nomination to the Supreme Court since Clarence Thomas won a 52-48 confirmation vote in 1991.

Thomas' was the closest vote confirming a justice since the 1800s, and it followed a stormy hearing and an adverse vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The process nearly foundered on accusations of sexual harassment and racial prejudice.

But the Senate in that day settled down, and Thomas has served on the court for 27 years – a nearly always silent anchor on the court's right.

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And NPR's Tim Mak is covering this story and has been listening along with us. What did you hear there, Tim?

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President Trump says the fight over his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is about more than just the nation's highest court. He says it's about how America treats the accused.

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct decades ago, allegations he adamantly denies.

Trump tweeted Thursday that "Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!"

Central Park Five case

But Trump has not always been such a staunch defender of due process.

Updated at 8:41 p.m. ET

Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Friday, and his confirmation now seems all but certain, after a key swing vote, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, declared her support in a speech on the Senate floor.

Moments after Collins completed her remarks, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced in a statement that he too will support the nomination when it comes up for a final vote.

That final vote is expected as soon as Saturday.

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Protests in Washington this week suggest the passion surrounding today's vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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First lady Melania Trump has been touring the African continent. She's visiting four countries. She's mostly been focusing on conservation and children and families. NPR's Eyder Peralta caught up with the tour in Nairobi, Kenya.

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Today an initial vote tells us if Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gets to 50.

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The New York Attorney General's Office is urging a state court not to dismiss its lawsuit against President Trump's charitable foundation, saying the foundation has repeatedly violated state and federal laws.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood said the Donald J. Trump Foundation "was a shell corporation that functioned as a checkbook from which the business entity known as the Trump Organization made payments."

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

With Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination speeding toward a Senate confirmation vote, demonstrators descended on Washington, D.C., to declare their urgent opposition to his bid.

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