F.B.I. Completes Kavanaugh Background Check, Senate Moves Forward On Vote

The F.B.I.'s updated background check is complete and will be reviewed by Senators beginning today. As a result, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is moving forward toward a final vote on the Kavanaugh nomination later this week.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s updated background check on Judge Brett Kavanaugh was completed and delivered to the White House yesterday, and will be available to Senators to view beginning this morning. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is moving forward with the procedure that will bring the nomination to the floor for procedural votes beginning tomorrow and a final vote most likely on Saturday:

WASHINGTON — The White House sent summaries of interviews conducted by the F.B.I. to the Senate early Thursday morning and expressed confidence that none of the information collected by agents should stand in the way of the Senate voting to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The material was conveyed to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night, just hours after Senate Republicans set the stage for a pair of votes later in the week to move to final approval of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. A statement issued by the White House around 2:30 a.m. said the F.B.I. had completed its work and that it represented an unprecedented look at a nominee.

“The White House has received the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s supplemental background investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, and it is being transmitted to the Senate,” Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, said in the statement, which was posted on Twitter.

“This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews, over 1,200 questions for the record and over a half million pages of documents,” he added. “With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”

The White House statement gave no further details about the material, but an official briefed on the F.B.I. review said the bureau contacted 10 people and interviewed nine of them. It was not clear why the 10th person was not interviewed. The White House concluded that the interviews did not corroborate sexual misconduct accusations against Judge Kavanaugh.

Senators will be permitted to review the materials, in what the F.B.I. calls 302 interview summaries, in a secured room at the Capitol starting on Thursday morning, or they can be briefed by a handful of staff members who are cleared to examine the material. After a day of review, the Senate is on track to take an initial vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday and possibly a final vote as early as Saturday.

(…)

Among those the bureau did not interview were Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey. The White House said that was not necessary because they testified under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hours last week.

The F.B.I. apparently did not explore allegations by a third accuser, Julie Swetnick, who is represented by Michael Avenatti, a lawyer who also works for Stephanie Clifford, the former pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels who was paid hush money to keep her from discussing what she said was an extramarital affair with Mr. Trump before the 2016 presidential election. Senate Democrats have not focused as much on Ms. Swetnick’s assertions as on those of Dr. Blasey and Ms. Ramirez.

The official briefed on the review said the bureau focused on the incidents described by Dr. Blasey and Ms. Ramirez but did not go out of its way to pursue broader questions about Judge Kavanaugh’s drinking during high school and college. Judge Kavanaugh told the committee last week that while he sometimes drank too much beer, he never blacked out. Former classmates have since come forward to say he misled the committee about the extent of his drinking.

More from The Washington Post:

The White House prepared late Wednesday to send the FBI’s completed report on Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Senate, as partisan rancor continued to grow over the scope of the investigation into sexual assault allegations that have endangered his confirmation.

The latest FBI probe updating Kavanaugh’s background check was set to arrive Wednesday night on Capitol Hill, according to two people familiar with its release. White House officials have been briefed on the FBI’s findings, the people said.

In anticipation of the report’s arrival, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday night teed up a key vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday. Until that vote, senators will be rushing in and out of a secure facility at the Capitol to review the sensitive FBI report that the bureau has compiled, looking into allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.’

“There will be plenty of time for members to review and be briefed on this supplemental material before a Friday cloture vote,” McConnell said Wednesday night.

The developments came as Senate Democrats opened a new front in their objections to the investigations of Kavanaugh’s conduct, suggesting in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) that past FBI background checks of Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior, without disclosing specifics.

The letter, signed by eight of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, challenged the accuracy of a tweet from the committee’s Republican staff on Tuesday that said: “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issueThis — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.”

The Democrats said the information in the tweet is “not accurate,” urging the GOP to correct it.

“It is troubling that the committee majority has characterized information from Judge Kavanaugh’s confidential background investigation on Twitter, as that information is confidential and not subject to public release,” the Democrats, led by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), wrote to Grassley. “If the committee majority is going to violate that confidentiality and characterize this background investigation publicly, you must at least be honest about it.”

The two committee Democrats who did not sign the letter were Sens. Christopher A. Coons (Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.).

Grassley’s staff responded on Twitter that ”nothing in the tweet is inaccurate or misleading.”

“The committee stands by its statement, which is completely truthful,” the committee Republicans said. “More baseless innuendo and more false smears from Senate Democrats.”

Once the FBI report is sent to the Hill, it will be available at a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, in the Capitol Visitor Center, a secure room designed for senators to review sensitive or classified material, two Senate officials said. Just one physical copy of the report will be available, and only to senators and 10 committee staffers cleared to view the material.

The two parties will take turns having access to the FBI report in shifts, according to a senior Senate official. For example, Republicans will spend an hour with the report from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. Thursday, then Democrats will have an hour with the report. It will rotate throughout the rest of the day Thursday and potentially into Friday, with senators being briefed by staff members simultaneously.

For what it’s worth, the White House is saying that there is nothing in the new report to support the claims against Kavanaugh.

Thanks to a policy agreement between the Senate and the Executive Branch that was reached back in 2009, and which predates other similar agreements, the contents of the background check will not be made public and will effectively be treated as classified material even though it is not marked as classified, This means both that Senators will not be permitted to share copies of the report with the public and that Senators and staffers authorized to review the report will not be authorized to reveal details contained in the report publicly beyond making generalized public statements that don’t disclose any of the details of the report. The reason for this restriction is easy to understand given the fact that these background checks often include personally sensitive information as well as identifying information regarding people who were interviewed for the report whose identity should not be made public. There’s also the potential that releasing the full report, even in a redacted form, would lead to the revelation of Bureau “sources and methods.”

For what it’s worth, the White House is saying that there is nothing in the new report to support the claims against Kavanaugh. All that being said, it’s likely that we’ll get at least some sense of what is in the report as the day goes on. While it’s unlikely that the full report will be released, for example, it is likely that someone will leak at least some of the details in the report to the media on a background basis. This will be even more likely if the report contains information that either corroborates or tends to detract from the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh or his defenses against the charges. Additionally, we’ll be able to get at least some idea of what the report says by watching the reaction of five key Senators, Senators Flake, Collins, Murkowski, Manchin, and Heitkamp. If these Senators aren’t satisfied with what the expanded background check uncovers, or if they believe that the report was somehow incomplete, then they may end up voting against the nomination. If they are satisfied, then most or all of them will likely end up voting in favor of it.

Even before the Senate had received the report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was putting in motion the steps that will lead to a final vote on the nomination:

The Senate is set for a critical Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, teeing up a final vote by the weekend, with an FBI report on the sexual misconduct allegations against the judge expected in the chamber by Thursday morning.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday night set up the critical procedural vote for Friday, saying on the floor that the Senate “will receive” the results of the FBI’s time-limited inquiry into the claims against President Donald Trump’s high court pick in the coming hours.

Senators are expected to view that report from the FBI under restricted parameters throughout the day Thursday, with one copy of that report available for access in a secure facility in the Capitol basement. Members of both parties, as well as a handful of staff, are expected to alternate hour-long viewing time slots, a Democratic aide said.

(…)

If Friday’s expected procedural vote on the nomination is successful, a final vote on Kavanaugh could take place Saturday night at the earliest. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is eager to install Kavanaugh onto the court quickly, given that its new term just began.

McConnell denied a request from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for an FBI briefing for all senators, calling it “unprecedented and irregular” and suggested Democrats would just use it as a pretext to delay the nomination. That means senators will be limited to the raw information of an updated FBI background investigation of Kavanaugh, leaving them to draw their own conclusions.

Grassley said earlier Wednesday that giving senators two days to view the document before they vote is “ample time.” Democrats, however, howled in consternation over constraints placed upon their access to the materials as well as on the abridged nature of the FBI inquiry — which appears to have delved only tangentially into Kavanaugh’s drinking habits and whether he may have misled senators about them during testimony last week.

GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), asked for a one-week delay in the Kavanaugh nomination so the FBI could review the Ford and Ramirez allegations. GOP leaders agreed to that delay when it became clear that they could muster 50 votes to press forward with the nomination.

Flake said on Wednesday afternoon that he’s comfortable voting as long as he has the FBI report beforehand.

As noted above, the nomination’s fate essentially depends on what five Senators decide to do in the wake of the report. Except for these five, all Senate Republicans are on record as saying they would support the nomination and all Senate Democrats are on record opposing it. Taking the GOP’s 51-49 majority, this means that McConnell can at most afford to lose just one Republican without needing to rely on either Manchin or Heitkamp to vote in favor of the nomination to pull Kavanaugh across the line. It is unlikely that the background check will have uncovered anything groundbreaking with regard to any of the matters that were within the scope of its investigation, which apparently included the accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez, but not those made by Julie Swetnick. The investigation also apparently did not look into any allegations that may have rebutted Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony last Thursday regarding his drinking habits at either Georgetown Prep or Yale except to the extent they may have played a role in the Ford and Ramirez charges. Additionally, the Bureau apparently did not talk to either Ford or to Kavanaugh, instead apparently relying on their testimony last Thursday as a guide to the investigation without attempting to dig any further. As a result of this, it’s likely that many opponents of the Kavanaugh nomination will argue that the investigation was rushed and incomplete while supporters will argue that it was more than sufficiently thorough and that the Senate should proceed to a vote.

In any case, this process should come to some kind of an end by the end of this week. If I had to guess right now, I’d guess that all five uncommitted Senators will end up voting for the nomination, meaning that it will pass the Senate on an essentially party-line vote of 53-47.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Congress, Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, Supreme Court, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    He will get every Republican and Manchin and Heitkamp.

    I said this here the other day…look around, you are watching the end of this nation.
    Congress long ago abdicated it’s role in checking the executive. Now the Court has the last necessary member to make it a tool of the the White House. The checks and balances have crumbled.
    By Monday, when Kavanaugh is seated on the court, Dennison can just say, “Fvck it, I am the King”…and neither the Congress nor the Court will lift a hand to stop him.

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  2. HarvardLaw92 says:

    We are about to see a perjurer – a potential felon – installed as a justice on the highest court in the country.

    The disintegration of this nation is complete.

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  3. KM says:

    How through could this have possibly been? Several people who were known associates of Kavanaugh during the relevant time period – including his roommate – have come out and said they were not contacted or that their attempts to contact the FBI were rebuffed. Specifically, they had info on his drinking habits that would establish if perjury occurred.

    Proving Ford’s claims to “beyond a reasonable doubt” courtroom standards after so long was never really in the cards. What the background check was supposed to discover was if he was lying on the stand when he made his claims and denials – was he a heavy drinker, was there such a party, did those calendars accurately represent his lifestyle, etc. It looks like they didn’t really bother to check what’s increasingly becoming apparent – he was a drunken entitled frat boy mess with all the associated issues who then lied about it on the stand over 30 years later under oath.

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  4. James Pearce says:

    There’s also the potential that releasing the full report, even in a redacted form, would lead to the revelation of Bureau “sources and methods.”

    That “sources and methods” stuff is mostly a BS excuse, especially in this case. Let me guess, they knocked on a few doors, made a few phone calls.

    The only reason not to release the report is so they (Kavanaugh defenders) can point to it, and no one else can.

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  5. Hal_10000 says:

    @KM:

    Yes, I read the same garbage Farrow article you did. None of them had any direct or even secondary knowledge of the allegations. We don’t know what’s in the report; most of the things you complain about might be in there.

    I would probably oppose Kavanaugh, mostly because of his weakness on civil liberties and executive authority. The evasiveness during his hearing bothered me as did his claims of a conspiracy against him (although I understand the anger, given the nature of the allegations). The Ford allegations, while no corroborated, also weigh one me. But the anti-Kavanaugh side drifted off into dementia, talking about bar fights, hanging out with jocks in high school and other things. And continuing with this bizarre insistence that he claimed not to have been a problem drinker.

    Everyone’s lost their damned minds.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The F.B.I.’s updated background check is complete

    Ummmm no, it is most decidedly incomplete: FBI Blocked From Interviewing Several Key Witnesses, Looking Into Drinking History

    Republicans destroyed the credibility of the House with their incessant Benghazi! investigations.
    Than they destroyed the credibility of the Senate with their Merrick Garland shenanigans.
    Then they destroyed the credibility of the Presidency with trump.
    Now they are out to destroy the credibility of the Supreme Court.

    Where does this end? I’ll leave it to your imaginations but here’s a hint: It’s not a good place.

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  7. Gustopher says:

    In any case, this process should come to some kind of an end by the end of this week. If I had to guess right now, I’d guess that all five uncommitted Senators will end up voting for the nomination, meaning that it will pass the Senate on an essentially party-line vote of 53-47.

    I’m not willing to,guess upon the outcome — there have been too many twists and turns, and too many people suddenly being bothered by troubling behavior. Did Jeff Flake have a Come To Jesus moment in the elevator? Do the Republican ladies actually care about Kavanaugh’s temperament? No idea. Ok, a vague assumption that he answer there is no and no. But, I expect to be surprised by something.

    McConnell is not going to get more votes than he has now, so it makes sense to just push for the vote — whether he knows he has the votes, thinks he might have the votes, or knows he doesn’t.

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  8. mattbernius says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    He will get every Republican and Manchin and Heitkamp.

    I don’t think either Machin or Heitkamp will vote Republican. Both are doing well in their respective races and need to maximize Democrat turnout.

    The real question is if any Republicans don’t vote for him. I honestly have absolutely no guess as to what will happen, but I expect that he will be confirmed 51 to 49.

    But my prognostications are typically pure crap. I don’t expect this case will be any different.

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This vote will clear the way for Dennison to pardon all his co-conspirators from any State charges (Gamble v. US), as well as to pardon himself. (Kavanaugh doesn’t think Republican Presidents should even be investigated…at all, no matter what.)
    So, essentially the Mueller investigation is over because, no matter what is found, nothing can come of it.

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    The only reason not to release the report is so they (Kavanaugh defenders) can point to it, and no one else can.

    If the Democrats were really playing hardball, someone would leak something about the FBI report containing damning information, whether it does or doesn’t.

    Change the narrative from “The report clears Kavanaugh” to “what are the Republicans hiding?”.

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  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    The report is obviously a . sham engineered by Trump. It will convince no one who actually has an open mind. But it will no doubt be enough for the Craven Ms. Collins and crew.

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  12. Kylopod says:

    @mattbernius:

    I don’t think either Machin or Heitkamp will vote Republican. Both are doing well in their respective races and need to maximize Democrat turnout.

    Heitkamp is not doing well. She’s behind by a substantial amount in recent polls. 538 now gives her only a 1/3rd chance of winning. While I wouldn’t count her out just yet, she’s definitely an underdog at this point.

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  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history,

    In the same sense that the GOP healthcare plan is the best ever, the tax cut enriched the middle class more and will create more jobs than any tax cut ever has (not a high bar to clear BTW), and North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat and the peninsula is now denuclearized.

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  14. Guarneri says:

    LOL. The hysteria is entertaining. Looks like some are having a bad day.

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  15. george says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The report is obviously a . sham engineered by Trump. It will convince no one who actually has an open mind. But it will no doubt be enough for the Craven Ms. Collins and crew.

    That was the intention of the investigation I’d say. Having said that, I don’t think there’s anything in any possible report that would change anyone’s mind at this point. If a year long investigation found him either guilty or not guilty no one’s mind would change – either way people who didn’t like the report would say the investigation was fixed or incompetent.

    Basically, its very hard to prove the charges at this point, and its generally impossible to prove a negative (ie prove you don’t have invisible, untouchable, soundless, scentless, tasteless unicorns running around in your back yard).

    Which is why the argument right now should be that Kavanaugh showed his character to be unfit for the supreme court in his hearing. Yeah, I know the GOP will ignore that too, but its more convincing to undecided voters than unproven accusations, and the big game right now is first the 2018 election, and then the 2020 election. 95% of people are going to vote for the same party they’ve voted for every election in their lives (most without spending even five minutes thinking about it, let alone reading policies or listening to political news). So its about firing up the base (both parties have done that with Kavanaugh), discouraging the other party’s base (neither has done that well), and trying to convince the undecided to first of all vote (hard to do in a midterm) and second of all to vote for change (right now, change means voting Dem).

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  16. Jake says:

    “I don’t know whose house it happened at or even what year it happened. I don’t know if I got there before everyone else or after. I don’t know how I got there or how I got home over 10-15 miles away (at the age of 15).

    I didn’t tell my parents because I’d have to tell them about being at a party with boys drinking. I can’t explain why I didn’t tell my best friend who I left behind at the Party with “rapists.”

    My lifetime friend doesn’t remember any of this (and the other 3 people I said were there testified under oath they don’t know anything about this).

    I claimed to have brought this attack up to my husband in 2012 because I wanted a second front door for security because I’m still scared. That was immediately followed by couples therapy where I told the therapist. (Because I was actually afraid Romney would become president and nominate Kavanaugh). Oh, pay no attention to this story being a total lie as the building permit for a “Second Front Door” was pulled in 2008! Not for security, but because we would sublet a room to various Google interns.

    I have a fear of flying, but have no problem jet-setting all over the world while on vacation. I’ve been on airplanes more in the past two months than most people in a year, but my fear is completely legit, not a stall tactic meant to delay this confirmation vote until after the November midterms.

    I don’t know who paid for my hotel and polygraph test (the afternoon of my grandmothers funeral, or maybe it was the next day, who knows). And guess what? I flew there. Oh, and that polygraph, that I said took much longer than I anticipated but I was able to “Endure through it”, it was only two questions, neither of which were about Kavanaugh. But hey, I “passed” so that’s all that matters. And my PhD in psychology definitely, in no way, helped me with it or my testimony today.

    My “friends on the beach” encouraged me to continue contacting the media with my story (because we were running out of time). I can’t name them, so we’ll just call them “beach friends”. Yet while giving such great advice, none were willing to be character witnesses. Meanwhile, Judge Kavanaugh had hundreds of character witnesses step up in a matter of days.

    My lawyers, out of the kindness of their hearts, are helping me for FREE yet I have a “needed” gofundme page that currently is sitting at $528,000. I’m so desperately in need of help there’s even three more GoFundMe campaigns totaling over $300,000. I promise though I’m not getting anything out of my testimony, that money is just going to cover my “expenses”.

    I’m super smart. I have a PhD and I teach graduate students. I know lots of big words, but it should be totally believable that I don’t understand basic questions and talk like a 10 year old when testifying.

    I was the only person in the United States that didn’t know Congress had agreed to come to me instead of me going to DC. They really do care about my flying phobia after all.

    Get the picture yet, America?”

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  17. george says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Everyone’s lost their damned minds.

    Maybe, though there’s an element of people speaking far more extremely on this than they actually feel – it feels like a crowd in a close sporting event, lots of euphoria and excitement that doesn’t really carry over to day to day life. Some people have taken this into their lives, but from what I can tell 90% of people don’t think about it most of the time.

    And that 90% might be a low estimate, given that 40% of potential voters never bother voting at all, and probably haven’t paid any attention at all to the supreme court hearings – or could even name a single person on SCOTUS.

    Many people who follow politics are consumed by this. I suspect more people are consumed by the MLB play-offs and by how their NFL team is doing. Political forums just aren’t good mirrors for what the general public is paying attention to.

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  18. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    If the Democrats were really playing hardball, someone would leak something about the FBI report containing damning information, whether it does or doesn’t.

    I dunno. That still seems like some weak ball to me, and self-destructive to boot. A Dem staffer is already being charged with a whole slew of ridiculous charges for doxxing some GOP senators. You can imagine what would happen to the FBI report leaker.

    If Dems were playing hardball, Manchin and Heitkamp would be hard NOs, Murkowski and Collins would be soft NOs being feted by Republicans in hushed careful whispers, and Trump’s replacement pick would be ironing his/her suits for the next round of hearings.

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  19. jake says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Really hope you’re not a lawyer.

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  20. mattbernius says:

    @Kylopod:

    Heitkamp is not doing well…

    Remember what I said about me being a crappy prognosticator. I was just coming back to poke some fun at my first comment and note that I totally didn’t account for the most recent polling in my first comment.

    The recent increase in Republican enthusiasm was something I totally didn’t account for… again crappy prognosticator.

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  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @jake:

    It’s not like your mouth breathing ass would know the difference.

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  22. tm01 says:

    Gotta hand it to the Democrats.

    You’ve managed to unite the Trump supporters and the right-leaning anti-Trumpers.

    Well done, lads.

    Thanks!

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  23. Jake says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    No corroborating evidence. If you want I can explain this to you.

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @Jake:

    I have a fear of flying, but have no problem jet-setting all over the world while on vacation.

    It’s common for people with phobias to confront the thing that scares them. It depends on the severity of the phobia and how practical it is to avoid the source of the phobia.

    When I was in 3rd grade I got my hand stabbed with a pencil in the course of a schoolyard fight. My hand blew up to the size of a grapefruit. I had to have multiple surgeries to remove the graphite. I’m 41 and the gray scar on my hand is still visible. I remember going to the orthopedist for my first surgery. It was the first time I ever had novocain. I’d had shots before and they’d never bothered me; just a brief sting and it was over. I was expecting the novocain injected into the front of my hand to be like that.

    I’ll just say that in my entire life it was the most physically painful experience I can remember. It was like I was in a torture chamber. My screams could be heard across the hall. A few weeks later I had to do the whole thing over again. This time, I knew what was coming, in the days and hours leading up to my visit to the hospital. It was even worse than the first time–more painful, longer-lasting. But at least he got most of the remains of the pencil out, and the infection (which in an earlier time would probably have required amputation) went away.

    Since then, I’ve been terrified of needles. Frankly, I start to sweat the moment I enter a doctor’s or dentist’s office, no matter what they’re going to do to me. It isn’t the pain; indeed, for the most part I find needles virtually painless, even the novocain I get at the dentist. But I always get pale and shaky when I have to get them, and more than once the doctors have thought I might faint. But I do it anyway. In fact when I went to a dental surgeon to get my wisdom teeth removed, I actually refused a more general anesthetic, preferring the novocain alone. How can that be, if I’m phobic of needles? It’s because at least I’m used to them. I found the idea of having a drug that would affect my mind more alarming.

    That’s what it’s like having a phobia: it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re incapable of ever doing the thing that frightens you, and with repetition it can get easier. But it’s always going to be something of an ordeal to go through. It may come as a surprise to you that people sometimes do things which are uncomfortable to them.

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  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    The man lied on national television – repeatedly – in response to direct questions from Klobuchar. Multiple affidavits attesting to the falsity of his testimony have been tendered. More than sufficient to substantiate a charge of perjury.

    Of course, we can’t have the FBI investigating that however …

    I’m guessing you missed law school when you attended law school. Run along now, troll.

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  26. KM says:

    @Jake:

    I have a fear of flying, but have no problem jet-setting all over the world while on vacation.

    Oh bullshit. I have a fear of flying but it’s necessary for my job. You know what I do? I pop a Xanax if I have one or I hyperventilate through takeoff and landing if I don’t. Funny story: I met my second last ex on a flight I didn’t have meds for and I grabbed what I thought was the armrest in a panic. Turned out it was his arm and when I finally opened my eyes, he introduced himself and proceeded to talk to me for the rest of the flight. I was still scared stiff but the conversation helped. The flight home sadly was sans hottie so I just had to deal with the terror on my own, his number in my pocket.

    People acting like having a fear of flying and yet still getting on planes is abnormal. For some, it’s freaking necessary for their career or even just to get around. Someone afraid of flying that lives in Hawaii better learn to live with it or never leave the island, after all. If that’s your major GOTCHA, you miss the fact that many professionals do not like flying yet cannot avoid the experience.

    A subtle element of classism that’s getting missed in all the bruh-ha-ha….. if you WANT to fly for vacation or fun, it’s no problem but if you HAVE to for your job, you’re usually in a white-collar position you can’t put it off. Sales people can’t exactly say no when told they gotta go to Spokane or no deal. So you take that pill, you drink that drink, you clutch that armrest and you get it done. Somebody who works at Walmart or 7-11 may think travel is optional if you are afraid but get high enough up the ladder and it’s practically a given. It’s interesting to see who’s pushing that line of thought and buying that little bit of bullshit. Every professional knows someone afraid of flying yet off to the airport they go!

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  27. Kathy says:

    It seems the instruction the FBI received, if not literally, was “My mind is made up. Don’t try to confuse me with facts.”

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  28. Jake says:

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/10/03/no-kavanaugh-didnt-lie-220903

    “[The lack of evidence on other charges] has forced Kavanaugh’s opponents to resort to his testimony itself as the reason he should be disqualified, although they gloss over the most important part if they want to hang him on adolescent drinking.

    In his opening statement in the Senate hearing, Kavanaugh said, “Sometimes, I had too many beers.” This is obviously an acknowledgment of excessive drinking. He further allowed of himself and his friends, in a statement that covers a lot of misbehavior (but not alleged crimes), “We sometimes did goofy or stupid things. I doubt we are alone in looking back in high school and cringing at some things.”

    In the Martha MacCallum interview on Fox News the week before the hearing, he said much the same thing: “And yes, there were parties. And the drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion.” (The reference to the drinking age wasn’t meant to suggest he was drinking legally, rather to explain the ready availability of the beer.)

    COMMENTS
    Kavanaugh never denied going to keg parties, or — to cite the recent reporting — enthusiastically planning his high-school friends’ excursion for beach week, or getting in a barroom scuffle at Yale, or even throwing ice at someone he and his friends mistook for the lead singer of UB40.

    If Kavanaugh had been asked about any of these specifically and denied them, his critics would have a case for dishonesty that simply doesn’t exist.”

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  29. James Joyner says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    So, essentially the Mueller investigation is over because, no matter what is found, nothing can come of it.

    Well, Trump could be impeached by a Democratic House in 2019. Would they get enough votes in the Senate? It would depend on the severity of the findings and the public’s reaction.

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  30. Tyrell says:

    This Senator (“I’m Spartacus”) Booker let the cat out of the bag and the dog out of the house when he said : “it doesn’t matter if he is guilty or not”. So the scheme all along was to delay and oppose Judge Kavanaugh. But it would have been the same no matter who Trump had nominated. It could have been Lyndon Johnson himself – some would have even opposed him and tried to dig up some dirt.
    Senator Booker has taken the long held principle of “innocent until proven guilty” and turned it on its head. Under his thinking you are not only “guilty until proven innocent”, but you are not even allowed to prove you are innocent. Okay. Then that is the way it will go down when they investigate Senator Finestein and the “Mystery of the Ghostly Letter”.

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  31. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jake:

    hang him on adolescent drinking

    You still don’t get it. Most of us don’t give a sh*t if he drank underage, what we care about is what he may or may not have done while drunk.

    What we really really care about is his honesty, especially under oath.

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  32. An Interested Party says:

    What we really really care about is his honesty, especially under oath.

    Indeed…and that Politico link is meaningless…Rich Lowry has become as much of a Trump fluffer as MBunge is…

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  33. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Frankly, I think that McConnell is missing the filibuster. He could say to his donors that Democrats are filibustering Kavanaugh and then Collins and Murkowski would not have to take any position at all.

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  34. Kathy says:

    Moving forward, and assuming the Democrats do take the House, it would be unwise for them to attack the FBI over the Kavanaugh matter.

    But they should inquire whether background checks include questions about past sexual assaults. If they don’t, they definitely should. That’s not to say they’d have found out Kavanaugh’s history in particular, but one wonders what else they may have missed over the years.

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  35. becca says:

    @Guarneri: because that is all you have to live for, isn’t it, Drew?
    You would destroy every principle, any institution, and the whole planet for the chance to punch a hippie.
    Shallow, pathetic and, as always, terminally uncool.

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  36. Steve V says:

    @Jake: So, she was lying then?

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  37. Matt says:

    @Jake:

    I have a fear of flying, but have no problem jet-setting all over the world while on vacation.

    This right here says a lot about you. Healthy people at least try to confront their fears when it might interfere with their life. I’m scared to death of heights due to a near death experience but I still walk out on balconies and other high areas (for brief moments of time at least). Flying is obviously a problem as an airplane is essentially a bus 30k feet in the air. Despite that I have flown to Europe and around the USA. I refuse to have my life ruled by fear and I have managed to make headway against my fears as a result.

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  38. al Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    LOL. The hysteria is entertaining. Looks like some are having a bad day.

    Good point.
    The majority of Americans have been having a bad day since November 9, 2016

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  39. Tyrell says:

    I thought that everyone seemed to be all in with the F. B. I. opening this back up and doing some more investigating. Now some are pitching fits, whining and wailing about the results: be careful what you wish for. If Director J. Edgar Hoover himself had done this investigation they would have complained about that.
    Hoover – best F. B. I. director: the man who got Dillinger.

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  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    Ridiculous. Lowry is not an attorney and he has a profound bias problem.

    From the direct transcript:

    Klobuchar: Was there ever a time when you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened, or part of what happened the night before?

    Kavanaugh: No, I — no. I remember what happened, and I think you’ve probably had beers, Senator, and — and so I…

    Klobuchar: Could you answer the question, Judge? I just — so you — that’s not happened. Is that your answer?

    Kavanaugh: Yeah, and I’m curious if you have.

    Definitive answers. Was there ever a time when you drank so much you couldn’t remember what happened. The reply is no. She pins him down further: is that your answer, that this has never happened? He confirms her understanding by responding in the affirmative.

    Affidavits and testimony by multiple classmates who were temporally and physically located to be aware of his drinking habits have attested those statements to be a lie.

    Whitehouse: Judge, have you — I don’t know if it’s “boufed” or “boofed” — how do you pronounce that?

    Kavanaugh: That refers to flatulence. We were 16.

    Multiple persons have attested that the true meaning of that term within the social environment of Georgetown Prep at the time was anal sex, not flatulence.

    Whitehouse: Devil’s triangle?

    Kavanaugh: Drinking game.

    Multiple persons have attested that the true meaning of that term within the social environment of Georgetown Prep at the time was a sexual threesome involving two men and one woman, not a drinking game.

    Three falsehoods uttered under oath in front of a Senate committee, and that’s just on a casual reading. If you’d like me to sift through it as I would have done as a prosecutor, I’ll find more of them. The man had the right to refuse to answer. He chose instead to lie while under oath. He has no sense of respect for the very laws he will be charged with upholding.

    Three instances of perjury. Federal felony. Maximum of 15 years in a federal prison if convicted. The man is a liar. He is a perjurer. He is a potential felon. He is unfit to serve as a judge on ANY court in this country, much less SCOTUS.

    Reading the transcript, its clear that he’s thinking on the fly and inventing answers to these questions, whether because he had alcohol related blackouts or he’s simply trying to whitewash his own history. Regardless, he committed federal felonies. He belongs in prison. He should not be confirmed and, at a minimum, he needs to be charged and tried for his offenses. If convicted, he should be impeached and removed from the DC Circuit as well.

    The man is a stain on the integrity of the judiciary. The fact that you’re willing to overlook that, simply because you want to win, says all that needs to be said about you (and indeed the others here supporting this nomination). The integrity and honor of the courts may mean nothing to you, sir (and I use that term loosely), but they’re quite important to me.

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  41. Turgid says:

    @Jake: obviously you can’t, because you are incapable of normal interactions

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  42. An Interested Party says:

    He has no sense of respect for the very laws he will be charged with upholding.

    In other words, if he is confirmed, he will fit right in, as many of his potential future colleagues share his lack of respect…

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  43. Guarneri says:

    @becca:

    Therapy might help you with your neuroses. Maybe.

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  44. Guarneri says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Obviously very important. Thats why you have tried and convicted him.

    Remind me to never hire you to be my scribe.

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  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Guarneri:

    For starters, you can’t afford me (your internet persona notwithstanding)

    Beyond that, I want him charged, and I want him to receive the benefit of a fair trial. I’ve neither tried not convicted him, but speaking as a former prosecutor, I’d have little trouble accomplishing the latter with what’s on the table.

    Your side seems to be the one that wants these matters never to be dealt with.

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  46. wr says:

    @tm01: “You’ve managed to unite the Trump supporters and the right-leaning anti-Trumpers.”

    Wow, what an accomplishment — uniting the people who slavishly praise Trump and vote for everything he wants with those who mildly tsk-tsk over his behavior and vote for everything he wants. Really closed that gap bigly!

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  47. wr says:

    @Kathy: “Moving forward, and assuming the Democrats do take the House, it would be unwise for them to attack the FBI over the Kavanaugh matter.”

    I don’t think they’d have any intention of that. They know the FBI can only do what the White House tells it to do here, and that they were operating under those tight constraints.

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  48. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Klobuchar: Was there ever a time when you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened, or part of what happened the night before?

    Kavanaugh: No, I — no. I remember what happened, and I think you’ve probably had beers, Senator, and — and so I…

    Klobuchar: Could you answer the question, Judge? I just — so you — that’s not happened. Is that your answer?

    Kavanaugh: Yeah, and I’m curious if you have.

    Just as an aside, if he drank so much he blacked out he wouldn’t remember not remembering, so he’s not necessarily lying, given he said he did drink too much at times in his youth. In my youth I drank to black out a couple of times, and wouldn’t know it except others told me I was doing things I didn’t remember doing – I don’t remember not remembering, and if I didn’t trust my friends accounts I would honestly answer I never drank so much I couldn’t remember.

    The other two are almost certainly lies.

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