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News organizations report accounts of multiple witnesses who say they were frustrated in efforts to speak to the FBI as Kavanaugh investigation is closed and referred back to Senate for vote. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders defends Trump mockery of Kavanaugh accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, saying he was “stating facts.” Trump rails against “failing” New York Times over blockbuster tax evasion story, calling it “boring.” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official under fire over racially charged blog post using the n-word while he was a law student. Ole Miss Administration responds forcefully to a racist Facebook post by a major benefactor. Bloomberg report finds that a Chinese military unit inserted microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon, as well as US government contractors. -Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer


The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


FBI Has Not Contacted Dozens of Potential Sources in Kavanaugh Investigation
More than 40 people with potential information into the allegations against the Supreme Court nominee have not been contacted by the FBI, according to sources that include friends of both the nominee and his accusers. Former and current FBI officials expressed concern that the constraints of the investigation could damage the Bureau’s reputation for finding the truth.

Sarah Sanders Defends Trump’s Comments about Christine Blasey Ford
The White House Press Secretary said that Trump was merely “stating the facts” when he reenacted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony about her sexual assault allegation. He has since received widespread backlash over his comments, made during a rally in Mississippi.

Trump Attacks “Failing New York Times” Over Tax Scheme Reporting
Calling the article an “old, boring and often told hit piece” by the “Failing New York Times,” Trump did not offer an outright denial of the facts in the report, nor did White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a subsequent briefing with reporters.

Federal Anti-Discrimination Official Under Fire for Racial Comments
Eric Blankenstein, head of the supervision, enforcement, and fair lending division at the CFPB, responsible for enforcing laws against financial discrimination, once questioned in blog posts written in 2004 under a pen name if using the n-word was inherently racist and claimed that the great majority of hate crimes were hoaxes.

Ole Miss Moves Swiftly to Address Latest Racial Controversy
Racist social media posts by Ed Meek, a University of Mississippi graduate and media entrepreneur who had donated $5.3 million to the journalism school, prompted the University to denounce the posts, and explain to the entire university community explaining the process of removing Meek’s name from the building.

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate US Companies
Tiny microchips, not much bigger than a grain of rice, were found nested on servers produced by software company Elemental Technologies and manufactured in China. Elemental’s servers are used by the Department of Defense and the CIA, as well as almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple.


ECHR accepts Sentsov’s complaint against Russia *PEN Case List
The European Court of Human Rights has accepted a lawsuit filed by Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, linking the complaint to the ongoing case Ukraine v. Russia on the annexation of Crimea. Sentsov, imprisoned in Russia on charges stemming from his protest of the annexation, has been on hunger strike since May 14.

Protests to Free Photographer Shahidul Alam Grow before Bangladesh Elections *PEN Case List
Protests over the jailing of renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam continue to grow within and beyond the country, reaching the United Nations General Assembly last week. Critics say Alam’s imprisonment and the passage of a new Digital Security Bill showed a disturbing trend toward suppressing free expression.

Jamal Khashoggi: Mystery over Missing Saudi Journalist Deepens
Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul insists Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist critical of the Saudi government, had already left its building before he vanished on Tuesday. Khashoggi, a regular contributor to the Washington Post, had been living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since last year.

Russia Accused of Cyber-attack on Chemical Weapons Watchdog
A Russian cyber-attack on the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was disrupted by Dutch military intelligence. The OPCW was investigating the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, as well as a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

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