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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

What the Rosenstein, Kavanaugh and Iran stories have in common

This week's three most explosive political news items happen to boil down to the same pair of questions:

Did it happen?

If so, what should be done?

First up is Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who suddenly faces allegations of sexual misconduct dating back decades.

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers say: “Dr. Ford believes it is important for senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her."

That was when Kavanaugh was attending Georgetown Prep. Accuser Deborah Ramirez talks of similar behavior when she and Kavanaugh were both students at Yale.

"What I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone," the Supreme court nominee told Fox News.

Exactly what GOP senators decide to believe happened will determine the next step — confirmation or rejection. If those telling their stories are too hazy to be persuasive, Kavanaugh's elevation remains likely.

That could also be true at this point if lawmakers accept the accusers' accounts, but decide they fall short of disqualifying the 53-year-old jurist.

The storm surrounding Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein boils down in the same fashion.

Did Rosenstein really talk to colleagues last year about secretly recording President Donald Trump as part of an attempt to eject him from office under the 25th Amendment?

“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.

Anonymous sources quoted in an array of published reports say Rosenstein made the suggestion sardonically. Others told The New York Times it was not lighthearted.

Trump is due to meet Thursday with Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia-meddling probe, reportedly to decide what to do about this other disputed account.

The third of the big stories focuses on Iran. 

Trump, dead set on restoring sanctions on Iran, insisted in May that nation was still pursuing "nuclear aspirations."

Is that happening? If so, what's the consequence?

Other nations and a number of experts in the U.S. said no, Iran has abided by terms of an multilateral Obama-era nuclear disarmament deal.

For the other signers it appears to remain in effect. Late Monday, it was even reported that the European Union would establish a special payment channel with Russia and China so their companies could legally transact with Iran while avoiding U.S. sanctions.

But Trump's brief against Iran went further than that when he gave a widely panned speech Tuesday before the UN General Assembly.

"Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and disruption," the American president said.

"They do not respect their neighbors, borders or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, they plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond."

As with the Rosenstein and Kavanaugh charges, and their denials, it remains to be seen how those in power in Tehran will respond to what they've heard.

Facts may matter less than feelings in today's political theater. They are still good to know for reality's sake.

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