Is The F.B.I’s Reopened Investigation Real, Or Just A Political Sham?

Is the reopened investigation of Brett Kavanaugh a real investigation of the charges made against him by three separate women, or is it a political sham? It's beginning to look much more like the latter than the former.

When we last discussed the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the process in the Senate had moved forward slightly with the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee recommending Kavanaugh’s confirmation and sending the nomination to the Senate floor. That didn’t happen, though, before a last-minute effort by Senators Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, and Joe Manchin to delay the process in the Senate to allow for a reopened background investigation to investigate the charges before the Senate. Those charges include not only the charges made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford but also those made by Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Debbie Ramirez and by Julie Swetnick, who traveled in the same social circles as Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge, regarding Kavanaugh’s drinking and his sexual behavior while attending both Georgetown Prep and Yale. As a result of this mini-rebellion, an agreement was reached that allowed for a one week delay in Senate action to allow for a reopening of the background investigation that the F.B.I. had concluded earlier this summer. All in all, it seemed on paper like this was a fair compromise, although as I noted at the time there were questions about just how wide-ranging the Bureau’s investigation would be and whether a week would be long enough to conduct the kind of thorough investigation that most people seemed to expect at the end of the day on Friday.

As the weekend went on, confusion quickly began to reign over just how extensive the investigation would be. In public, the White House was claiming that the investigation was open-ended, but reports are emerging that seem to indicate that the Bureau’s hands have been tied by the Administration to such an extent that it is unclear if the Bureau will be able to properly do its job:

The FBI investigation meant to defuse the explosive conflict over Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sparked a new round of partisan combat Sunday, as the White House appeared to retain sharp limits on the probe even as President Trump and Republican officials publicly suggested otherwise.

Two Trump administration ­officials said Sunday that the White House had not placed any limits on the FBI investigation into claims of sexual assault leveled against Kavanaugh but was also opposed to a “fishing expedition” that could take a broader look at Kavanaugh’s credibility and behavior.

The statements, made by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway in television interviews, followed reports that federal investigators are pursuing allegations made by two women but not a third, Julie Swetnick, who signed a sworn affidavit accusing Kavanaugh of sexually aggressive behavior and being present at parties where gang rapes occurred.

Trump himself tweeted late Saturday that he wanted FBI agents “to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.”

But a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations, confirmed Sunday that Swetnick is not expected to be interviewed and said interviews pertaining to the other allegations will be limited to Kavanaugh, the first two accusers and people who have been identified as present for the incidents.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, described a similar witness list in TV appearances Sunday.

White House counsel Donald McGahn is most directly involved in guiding the investigation and has been in frequent touch with Republican senators about its scope, the administration official said, adding that the administration is hoping a report could be filed even sooner than the Friday deadline.

Amid the confusion, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, wrote to McGahn and FBI Dir­ector Christopher A. Wray on Sunday asking for a copy of any ”written directive” sent to investigators.

Other Democrats warned over the weekend against too many limits on the purview of the in­vestigation.

“They ought to be doing multiple investigations at the same time,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a Judiciary Committee member, said in an MSNBC interview Saturday. “There are multiple allegations currently in front of the committee, and I think it is not hard to figure out the universe of witnesses. It is not 500. It may not be 50. But it has to be more than five.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Sunday that Democrats are “merely attempting to further delay and politicize” the investigation. And Trump, in a shift in tone from the night before, tweeted Sunday afternoon that Democrats are “are starting to put out the word that the ‘time’ and ‘scope’ of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. Hello! For them, it will never be enough — stay tuned and watch!”

The squabbling added to the swirl of public confusion over the parameters of the FBI inquiry and who is setting them. The order to the FBI was signed by Trump but has not been made public. White House officials have sought to lay responsibility for the details on either the Senate or the FBI.

The president’s Saturday tweet also sparked confusion in the FBI, which had previously been told to conduct only a limited investigation of particular allegations, a person familiar with the matter said. It was unclear Sunday whether there had been more communications between the White House and the FBI clarifying what agents should look into.

The only official description of parameters has come from ­Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who said Friday that the FBI investigation would be no more than a week long and would be limited solely to “current credible allegations” against Kavanaugh.

Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, who were the ones who brought the allegations against Kavanaugh by Debbie Ramirez have also written about the limitations that the Administration has apparently placed on the F.B.I. investigation:

As the F.B.I. began its investigation this weekend into allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, several people who hope to contribute information about him to the F.B.I. said that they were unable to make contact with agents. President Trumphas promised to give the F.B.I. “free rein” in its probe, but the Times reported on Saturday that the White House had asked the F.B.I. to question only four witnesses. In the course of the next day, confusion spread about whom the F.B.I. would be interviewing, and Senate Democrats demanded that the White House provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a copy of the written directive that it had sent to the F.B.I. regarding the investigation.

With a one-week deadline looming over the investigation, some who say they have information relevant to the F.B.I.’s probe are suspicious that the investigation will amount to what one of Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmates called a “whitewash.” Roberta Kaplan, an attorney representing one potential witness, Elizabeth Rasor, a former girlfriend of Kavanaugh’s high-school friend Mark Judge, said her client “has repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and to the F.B.I. that she would like the opportunity to speak to them.” But, Kaplan said, “We’ve received no substantive response.”

(…)

Rasor dated Judge on and off for two to three years while they were students at Catholic University, and she is now a public-school teacher in New York. After hearing Judge’s denials, Rasor came forward, offering to give a sworn statement to the F.B.I. challenging Judge’s credibility. According to Kaplan, the F.B.I. has so far shown no interest in hearing what Rasor has to say, and efforts to contact the Bureau have gone nowhere.

A Yale classmate attempting to corroborate Deborah Ramirez’s account that, during her freshman year at Yale, Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face at a drunken party, said that he, too, has struggled unsuccessfully to reach the F.B.I. The classmate, who asked to remain anonymous, recalled hearing about Ramirez’s allegation either the night it happened or during the following two days. The classmate said that he was “one-hundred-per-cent certain” that he had heard an account that was practically identical to Ramirez’s, thirty-five years ago, but the two had never spoken about it. He had hoped to convey this to the F.B.I., but, when he reached out to a Bureau official in Washington, D.C., he was told to contact the F.B.I. field office nearest his home. When he tried that, he was referred to a recording. After several attempts to reach a live person at the field office, he finally reached an official who he said had no idea what he was talking about. At this point, he went back to the official at the F.B.I.’s D.C. headquarters, who then referred him, too, to an 800-number tip line. (He eventually left a tip through an online portal.)

“I thought it was going to be an investigation,” the Yale classmate said, “but instead it seems it’s just an alibi for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh.” He said that he had been in touch with other classmates who also wanted to provide information corroborating Ramirez’s account, but that they had not done so.

On Sunday, a second Yale classmate, Charles Ludington, released a statement accusing Kavanaugh of blatantly mischaracterizing his college drinking during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Ludington said that Kavanaugh often grew “belligerent and aggressive” when drunk, and that he had planned to share his information with the F.B.I. “I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth,” Ludington wrote. “I felt it was my civic duty to tell of my experience while drinking with Brett, and I offer this statement to the press. I have nodesire to speak further publicly, and nothing more to say to the press at this time. I will however, take my information to the F.B.I.” The Times reported that Ludington, a professor at North Carolina State University, said that the F.B.I.’s D.C. field office had told him to go to the Bureau’s Raleigh, North Carolina, field office on Monday if he wished to speak with agents. Ludington said that he intended to do so and “tell the full details of my story.” A lawyer representing Kavanaugh did not respond to a request for comment about Ludington’s statement.

(…)

Democratic officials with experience overseeing F.B.I. background investigations disputed that there was anything procedurally routine thus far in the F.B.I.’s renewed investigation into Kavanaugh. Robert Bauer, who served as the White House counsel to President Obama, said that he had overseen numerous F.B.I. background investigations and never seen one so circumscribed. “The F.B.I. should have the latitude to determine what is necessary in a credible, professional inquiry,” he said. “The issue on the table is, Did he or didn’t he engage in the conduct that Dr. Ford alleged?” To reach the answer, he said, “The F.B.I. needs to utilize its expertise to investigate. But instead the White House has dictated a restricted investigative plan. So it’s contaminated at the core.”

According to New York Times report on Saturday, the White House directive to the Bureau that was issued late on Friday after the Senate agreement was announced limited the Bureau’s investigation to just four people, P.J. Smyth, a high school friend of Kavanaugh’s who Blasey Ford believes was at the party where she was attacked, a high school friend of Blasey Ford’s who was also said to be at the party, and Debbie Ramirez. Missing from that list, of course, are people such as Dr. Blasey Ford herself, who apparently has not been contacted by the Bureau yet even though she is willing to talk to them, Judge Kavanaugh, Julie Swetnick, other people identified as having been among the circle of friends that Kavanaugh and Ford had back in 1982 including, most importantly, Mark Judge, as well as the numerous Yale classmates that Mayer and Farrow identify in their reporting who are rebutting Kavanaugh’s testimony regarding his drinking behavior and other matters that could potentially call into question the testimony he gave during the hearing last week as well as in other forums.

When this process was put on hold on Friday, the publicly stated terms of the agreement that had been reached stated that the vote would be postponed pending a renewed investigation of the “credible” charges that were before the committee. Objectively speaking, this included not just Dr. Blasey Ford’s charges, but also those made by Debbie Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. Additionally, it seems clear that if those charges are going to be properly investigated then the Bureau should be allowed to follow up on leads that may come up during the course of the investigation regarding those three subject matters, including both checks for documentation and other evidence that may be relevant to those charges as well as interviewing witnesses that may have knowledge relevant to those charges. Instead, it seems clear that the White House has deliberately tied the Bureau’s hands to limit the scope of the investigation something which, along with the one-week time limit, makes the probability that the Bureau will be able to conduct a full and complete investigation even more unlikely than seemed possible on Friday. Theoretically at least, the Bureau could seek authorization from the White House to expand the investigation as warranted but it’s unclear if that permission will be granted or if there will even be sufficient time for the Bureau to chase down those leads before the end of the week. All of this goes to the question of just how legitimate this renewed investigation will be.

 

FILED UNDER: 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. MBunge says:

    When are we getting a post on the new US/Mexico/Canada trade deal?

    Mike

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  2. drj says:

    @MBunge:

    When are we getting a post on the new US/Mexico/Canada trade deal?

    Why, yes! A great political triumph for Trump:

    Under the new deal, Canada somewhat increases US access to its dairy market. The terms appear similar to what Canada offered in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Mr Trump abandoned […]

    Robert Lighthizer, US trade representative, was particularly unhappy with chapter 19 of the Nafta agreement, which allows companies to challenge emergency antidumping and antisubsidy tariffs on their exports at a special panel.

    But the panel, which has often been used by Canadian lumber companies to remove blocks on their exports to the US, has been preserved at Ottawa’s insistence.

    At present, details about the deal are still rather sketchy, but it doesn’t appear that Canada gave away anything it wasn’t prepared to give away earlier. And it managed to preserve a part of NAFTA that the US didn’t like.

    In other words, lots of noise, no substance.

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  3. @MBunge:

    Please keep your comments relevant to the subject matter of the post, as set forth in our comment policies.

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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    You mean the re-written Trans-Pacific Partnership that Obama negotiated?
    You’re dumb.

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  5. DrDaveT says:

    Which part of “one week” led you to believe it might not be a sham?

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  6. drj says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    You’re dumb.

    To be fair, he did manage to distract from the topic at hand, i.e. that Republicans insist on proving that sexual assault is not a disqualifier for a place on the Supreme Court.

    Which is a win for Team Troll, I assume.

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  7. Gustopher says:

    The White House would definitely like it to be a sham, and if left to their own devices will do so.

    I would say that it remains to be seen whether the focus on this over the weekend has forced it to open up the investigation, and whether the final report by the FBI includes information that shows how thoroughly they looked if they found nothing.

    Does the investigation include whether Kavanaugh committed perjury while defending himself against the accusations? The hearing was not a traditional perjury trap, but Kavanaugh did decide to commit perjury anyway, lying repeatedly and brazenly about his behavior.

    Will the FBI determine that “boof” is not a reference to flatulence?

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  8. James Pearce says:

    All of this goes to the question of just how legitimate this renewed investigation will be.

    It has been so disheartening, this reliance on these investigations. The Trump administration is shamelessly corrupt and hopelessly partisan, and yet there’s this idea that investigations he controls can somehow not also be shamelessly corrupt and hopelessly partisan. That idea belongs in the same trash bin as “Subscribe to the Times” and “Resist, resist, and resist again.”

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    Bungie,
    Do you get all jealous and angry when Dennison says he is now in love with Kim, and not you anymore?

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  10. Kathy says:

    It’s not that it’s a sham, but that it’s so transparently a sham. Meantime El Cheeto is indignant it gets called a sham, and also transparently tries to shift the blame elsewhere.

    Of course, the minute the FBI says they found nothing, because they were not allowed to look, the GOP and their orange Dear Leader will shout from the rooftops that Kavanaugh has been cleared.

    If Flake has any decency, he’ll denounce the investigation for the sham it was (he should be doing so now), and vote Kavanaugh down. and so should the rest of the GOP, though I’d be satisfied if Collins and Murkowski do so.

    Many actions in politics are a gamble. A thorough investigation of decades old misconduct will most likely come back as inconclusive, or at least without incontrovertible proof. But there’s a chance it can find something more definitive.

    That’s the gamble. If it’s the former, the GOP get their political cover. If the latter, Kavanaugh’s probably toast. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

    Casinos don’t gamble, they run games to their advantage (variance means some people will win). That’s amazingly easy to do in games of chance, mostly as a matter of adjusting the payoffs and sometimes the rules (like 6:5 blackjack, or no doubling after splits). It’s not as easy in the political arena. A sham investigation that can be seen as a sham by everyone, gives political cover to the other side, even if your side swallows the sham as the most legitimate and thorough investigation in the history of the FBI

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  11. al Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    When are we getting a post on the new US/Mexico/Canada trade deal?
    Mike

    I can’t speak for Doug, James and Steven, but I think they’re waiting to get clearance from George Soros for that.

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  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    LOL, was that a rhetorical question? 🙄

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  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Of course it’s a sham…it’s the Dennison administration.
    This is how Republicans (the party of law and order) actually want justice to work…you use law enforcement to persecute your enemies (lock her up) and to protect your friends (Kavanaugh).
    The biggest questions are if, and how, we are able to get back to normal after this dark period in our history.

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  14. CSK says:

    Given the rate at which investigations normally proceed, not much will be accomplished by this Friday.

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  15. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Of course it’s a sham…it’s the Dennison administration.

    Where was this awareness a week ago when the big Dem demand was an FBI investigation?

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  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yea, about that: what we wanted (and want) is an actual investigation. Not some dog and pony show with traffic barriers designed to prevent the investigators from actually examining anything that might be problematic. This little piece of theater is, at best, a farce for consumption by the base intended to give Republican senators enough cover to vote to confirm. It has zero relationship with anything actually intended to uncover wrongdoing.

    We therefore recognize it for what it is: useless political theater. We tend to be funny about things like that.

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  17. gVOR08 says:

    I just moved to Florida. Retired a couple years ago, late, and now we’ve moved south to join the rednecks and codgers. I’m old. How old am I? I’m so old I remember when Pearce’s comments were interesting. Back before he decided to become the incarnation of Murc’s Law.

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  18. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:
    Jesus you’re a dumb fvck. Everyone still wants an FBI investigation — just a real one.
    In your feeble mind we all should have said that, well, there should be an investigation but it’ll just be a sham…so fvck it…just confirm the guy? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    You always manage to find flaw…but never, ever, pose any solutions.
    Just go away.

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  19. charon says:

    Dennison wants this guy, the GOP senators are all frightened of Dennison and his supporters, these are the primary considerations. All else is just theater to move the polls a bit one way or the other. And losing a fight is intolerable.

    Most of them realize the GOP would, in the long run, be better off politically pulling the nomination, substituting candidate B. But their short-term interest overrides.

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  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Rapey POTUS
    Rapey SCOTUS

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  21. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: And your solution is…?

    We don’t have the votes to block his nomination. They just aren’t enough Democrats.

    Here is what I think we have gotten so far:
    – a week’s delay, where Senators will hear from their constituents
    – a week’s delay, where more can come out
    – a week’s delay, which puts the vote to confirm an unpopular nominee closer to the election
    – clear perjury from Kavanaugh
    – an investigation that may or may not be a sham, but which creates a paper trail

    In the end, none of this might matter.

    The nomination is embattled, and on the cusp of failing, the base is energized (good for that election coming up), and if we get a branch of congress we have fodder for oversight.

    Compare this to rolling over where nothing happens.

    We are no worse off, the nomination may still fail, and the clear perjury may make it possible to remove Kavanaugh later if he does get confirmed.

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  22. James Pearce says:

    This little piece of theater is, at best, a farce for consumption by the base intended to give Republican senators enough cover to vote to confirm.

    It was pretty apparent that’s what it was going to be when all the Democrats were calling for it.

    But maybe it was just apparent to me.

    @gVOR08: @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Yawn. Another day, another bunch of personal insults.

    Thankfully I can always count on Gustopher…

    And your solution is…?

    We don’t have the votes to block his nomination. They just aren’t enough Democrats.

    To be a grown-up about it. To accept the things we cannot change (the lack of votes), the courage to change the things we can (our own behaviors), and the wisdom to know the difference.

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  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:
    Again…no fvcking solutions. No fvcking alternatives. Just a whiny fvcking bitch.

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  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    To be a grown-up about it. To accept the things we cannot change (the lack of votes), the courage to change the things we can (our own behaviors), and the wisdom to know the difference.

    LOL, you have officially lost your mind. This is hardball, down in the dirt politics. There is no option but to play the game according to the rules imposed by the majority.

    And we are doing that.

    If you’re looking for some sort of kumbahyah campfire singalong, allow me to politely suggest that you return to whatever delightful ongoing bake sale you evidently inhabit and leave this to the grownups who still have a pair 🙄

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  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    If you’re looking for some sort of kumbahyah campfire singalong

    The gad-damned serenity prayer, no less.
    His solution to the destruction of the Republic is stand idly by and repeat the god-damned serenity prayer.

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  26. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    To be a grown-up about it. To accept the things we cannot change (the lack of votes), the courage to change the things we can (our own behaviors), and the wisdom to know the difference.

    These aren’t solutions, they’re mushy platitudes that amount to nothing more than “bend over, grab your ankles, and let the Republicans do what they do best.”

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  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Pearce is playing to his own audience of family and friends who include #Cult45 members. But my own choice of musical score would not be Kumbayah, but Oooooooklahoma!

    Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends[x2]
    One man likes to push a plough
    The other likes to chase a cow
    But that’s no reason why they cain’t be friends

    [Chorus 2]
    Territory folks should stick together
    Territory folks should all be pals
    Cowboys dance with farmer’s daughters
    Farmers dance with the ranchers’ gals

    Let’s all sing it together!

    Oh, the rapist and his victim should be friends [x2]
    One man sticks his dick in now,
    The ladies scream and fight, but wow,
    That’s no reason why they can’t be friends

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  28. Kathy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    If you’re looking for some sort of kumbahyah campfire singalong,

    Well, to be fair, that would be a perfectly reasonable request for a Quisling to make, wouldn’t it?

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  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kathy:

    I prefer the term “concern troll”, but absolutely. Quisling implies that there was actually once a sense of loyalty to betray …

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  30. Kathy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    He did claim such a loyalty.

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  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    During the Merrick Garland (lack-of) hearings, Pearce was extolling the Republicans–something along the lines of “Democrats think this is a game. Republican’s play hardball. Maybe Democrats need to play hardball too.”

    I thought to myself “Bullsh!t. Pearce will decry any Democratic “hardball” the first chance he gets.”

    I didn’t think, however, he’d go the Kumbaya route.

    This is pretty typical Pearce. “Whatever the Democrats do is wrong, even when it’s what I explicitly called for them to do.”

    I expect soon enough he’ll explain why this is Jimmy Kimmel’s fault.

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  32. Steve V says:

    If the investigation is a sham, then witnesses will take their information to the media. Some already have.

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  33. James Pearce says:

    This is hardball, down in the dirt politics.

    Kavanaugh will be confirmed within two weeks after a fresh FBI investigation that basically exonerates him on the rape allegations, and you call that hardball?

    (And yes, if he is not charged or disbarred or withdrawn, he will have been “basically exonerated,” even if you really really want to just keep calling him a rapist.)

    they’re mushy platitudes that amount to nothing more than “bend over, grab your ankles, and let the Republicans do what they do best.”

    There’s rape, and then there’s a Republican president putting a right wing judge on the SC. Maybe you should question whether they really are so similar.

    @Kathy: I think the word you’re looking for is “apostate,” and here I stand before a crowd armed with stones. (So to speak.)

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  34. James Pearce says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    “Whatever the Democrats do is wrong, even when it’s what I explicitly called for them to do.”

    I don’t believe I ever “explicitly” called on them to use the hearings as some kind of donorbait for their presidential exploratory committees, and I certainly didn’t call for them rally behind some last minute rape allegations.

    Once again, the Dems have their hand out. I don’t say this to hurt any feelings. But they have their hand out, “Help me, FBI. Help me, Mueller. Help me, midterm voters.”

    And at what point do we say, “You’re the ones in power. Help us.”

    I’m sorry our Republican president got his right wing judge and I’m sorry he’s an asshole, but it’s not like we can’t be doing other stuff, like, hello…building more houses.

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Flake called for the investigation in the first place only as cover for voting for Kavanaugh in the final vote–he needs it to be a sham in order for it to work for him.

    And Lily Tomlin is right–the problem with being a cynic these days is that it’s so hard to keep up.

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  36. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    To accept the things we cannot change (the lack of votes), the courage to change the things we can (our own behaviors), and the wisdom to know the difference.

    One hour later…

    And at what point do we say, “You’re the ones in power. Help us.”

    Thank you for immediately proving my point–you don’t really have original thoughts, you just say the opposite of what’s presented to you even when it contradicts what you said one hour earlier.

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  37. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    To be a grown-up about it. To accept the things we cannot change (the lack of votes), the courage to change the things we can (our own behaviors), and the wisdom to know the difference.

    I’d say we have about a one in four chance of forcing Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn. 538 estimates a 1 in 3 chance of taking the Senate last I checked.

    And the longer this goes on, the less the chance the Republicans have to cram someone through a lame duck session.

    So, roughly a 10% chance of preventing another far right ideologue for being seated. Not overwhelming odds in our favor, but enough to be worth trying.

    And he has perjured himself, so there is a small chance of taking him off the court in the future — a Democratic administration might choose to prosecute. This is less likely, but if further cases of sexual assault keep cropping up, even after he is confirmed, I can see a future administration going down that path.

    “Accept the things you cannot change” doesn’t mean “give up if it is hard”.

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  38. Kari Q says:

    @James Pearce:

    And at what point do we say, “You’re the ones in power. Help us.”

    That’s not how any of this works. That’s not how any of this works. You remember the old FDR reply: “I agree with you, now go out and make me do it.” That’s the only way anyone gets anything from elected officials.

    The Republican lawmakers are acting the way they do because their voters, at least their most vocal and engaged voters, demand that they do. If their voters were demanding they verify the facts before voting, that’s what they’d be doing, instead.

    If we want Democrats to behave in a certain way, we need to demand it. Demanding a real investigation has gotten some results: the scope of the investigation has been expanded. Not perfect, but it’s something.

    A one week delay for an investigation is not the ultimate goal, but it isn’t nothing. Buying time is valuable in and of itself.

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  39. Mister Bluster says:

    SERENITY NOW! Frank Costanza

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  40. Mister Bluster says:

    SERENITY NOW Frank Costanza
    (shorter link)

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  41. James Pearce says:

    you don’t really have original thoughts

    It is not, I admit, an “original thought” to believe that our politicians are terrible and because of that, our politics is broken.

    You know what also isn’t an original thought? To think your side are the “good guys” and those other people across the aisle…they’re the villains. Maybe it’s not about being original after all.

    I’d say we have about a one in four chance of forcing Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn.

    I think it’s less than that. The only Republican showing signs of backing down is Jeff Flake, and all hail the activists who cornered him on that elevator, but I’m pretty sure he asked them “What superficial maneuver would shut you up long enough for us to ram this through?”

    Meanwhile, “both sides” are absolutely sure what the FBI investigation will find. In fact, you can probably identify a voter’s party just by asking them about this.

    All thumbs are on the scale.
    @Kari Q:

    If we want Democrats to behave in a certain way, we need to demand it.

    That’s the problem. Democratic voters don’t demand results. They demand performative morality.

    And that’s exactly what we get: The Republicans get the spoils, while we get to comfort ourselves with feelings of moral righteousness.

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  42. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    You know what also isn’t an original thought? To think your side are the “good guys” and those other people across the aisle…they’re the villains. Maybe it’s not about being original after all.

    *Scans my comments.* Nope, I definitely never implied or stated one political side is evil, one good. You punch that strawman real hard now–it’s easier than engaging the actual argument. Bonus points for punching it with a mighty self-righteous fist.

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  43. James Pearce says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    it’s easier than engaging the actual argument.

    What argument? The one about my personality?

    Every time I take the Meyers-Briggs, I come out as INTJ. What is there to argue about?

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  44. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: “If Flake has any decency”

    Good one.

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  45. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce
    I used to buy in to your act, but this episode has confirmed for me that you are just a concern troll. Earlier this year we argued about SJWs and protesters. You said then that what democrats needed to do was to fight back hard against republicans, call their representatives, and work on winning elections. All of that is happening right now and your argument has shifted nearly 180 degrees.
    I am finally convinced that there is not a damn thing the democrats can do that will meet your standards of what they should do. You claim to be progressive, but there is not tactic the left can use you won’t criticize and there are almost no actions the right can take that won’t merit you responding, ” meh, what can you do?”.
    I know I’m late to the party but, I give up. I’m done with you.

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  46. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    You said then that what democrats needed to do was to fight back hard against republicans, call their representatives, and work on winning elections.

    Everything that has transpired since then has only deepened my feeling that we have a looooooong way to go before Dems are ready to start “winning elections” and this “done with you” BS is one of the reasons why.

    Even in Donald Trump’s America, the best the Dems can cobble up in the mid-terms is that they might take the House. Might. There is not enough consensus to be this condescending.

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  47. Grewgills says:

    Pearce
    Yes, concern troll is concerned.

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