AP News in Brief 10-03-18

  • President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

‘A scary time’: Trump taps fears of #Metoo run amok

WASHINGTON — Men of America, be afraid. This could happen to you.

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That’s the alarm President Donald Trump and his GOP allies are increasingly sounding as they try to defend their Supreme Court nominee from sexual assault allegations. The three-decade-old accusation facing Brett Kavanaugh is not only false, they argue, but an example of the #MeToo movement gone too far in its call to believe the women — and not the men. It’s a message that looks to channel the frustration and anxieties of the party’s bedrock voters just weeks before an election.

This is “a scary time,” Trump said Tuesday. “It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of. You can be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something … and you’re automatically guilty.”

At a campaign rally later in Mississippi, Trump pretended to be a son asking his mother how to respond to such an accusation. “It’s a damn sad situation,” Trump said.

Trump also mocked one of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, for her Senate testimony last week. He imitated Ford responding “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” to questions about her claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago.

“And a man’s life is in tatters,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments came as Republicans stare down a challenging midterm election and need to motivate their most reliable voters. All signs suggest Democratic women are energized by opposition to Trump’s presidency. The primary season yielded record numbers of female candidates. Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle and the national soul-searching over sexual consent it has provoked threaten only to further motivate liberal female voters, leaving Republicans searching for a counterweight.

Chile church says sorry for conduct guidelines for priests

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile’s Roman Catholic Church has apologized for a set of conduct guidelines for priests dealing with children that have caused outrage just as the South American country is being rocked by a widespread clerical sex abuse scandal.

The recommendations include asking priests not to “touch the area of the genitals or the chest” of minors, kiss them on the mouth, spank them on the buttocks or “lie down to sleep next to boys, girls or teenagers.” It also says that priests should “avoid some behaviors,” including taking photographs of a child, teen or vulnerable person when they’re naked because it could be “misinterpreted.”

The document published on the site of the archbishopric of Santiago was signed by Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati. He is under investigation by prosecutors for allegedly covering up years of abuse, and is expected to be questioned on Wednesday.

The guidelines were expected to come into effect in April 2019. But after a flurry of criticism, the Chilean church removed the document shortly after it was published Friday.

“We’ve made a mistake and we’re going to fix it,” Auxiliary Santiago Bishop Cristian Roncagliolo said. “A crime is a crime.”

Packages with suspected ricin sent to Pentagon, Navy chiefs

WASHINGTON — Authorities at a Pentagon mail screening facility found two envelopes suspected of containing ricin, a poison made from castor beans, and turned them over to the FBI for further analysis, officials said Tuesday.

One envelope was addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who is traveling in Europe this week, and the other to the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson, a defense official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly ahead of FBI release of its findings.

Neither envelope entered the Pentagon. The mail screening facility is on the Pentagon grounds but separate from the main building.

Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood said the envelopes had been found on Monday.

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Another Pentagon spokesman, Col. Rob Manning, said all U.S. Postal Service mail received at the screening facility on Monday is under quarantine and “poses no threat to Pentagon personnel.”

By wire sources