Kavanaugh Hearing Up In The Air Amid Negotiations

Monday's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the charges made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh is still on as scheduled, but the details are still being negotiated.

With the hours counting down to the Friday morning deadline set by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley for attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford to advise whether or not their client will appear at a hearing currently set for Monday on her charges against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the two sides appear to be negotiating over the terms of any such appearance with even the date of the hearing now appearing to be up in the air:

WASHINGTON — The woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault is prepared to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, so long as senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” her lawyer told the committee on Thursday.

The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, ruled out Monday as a possibility, but also appeared to leave the door open to testifying even if the F.B.I. does not investigate her accusations, as she had previously requested. The surprise offer was the latest twist in an on-again, off-again negotiation between Dr. Blasey and Senate Republicans, who have scheduled a hearing for Monday and set Friday as a deadline for Dr. Blasey to tell them whether she would attend.

“She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety. A hearing on Monday is not possible, and the committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event,” wrote the lawyer, Debra S. Katz, adding, “Her strong preference continues to be for the Senate Judiciary Committee to allow for a full investigation prior to her testimony.”

Dr. Blasey’s accusations have rocked Washington, upending the confirmation proceeding for Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court, only days before he was to receive a vote in the committee. A research psychologist in Northern California, Dr. Blasey — who is sometimes called by her married name, Ford — has accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school in the early 1980s — an allegation he has vigorously denied.

Thursday’s email jump-started talks between Dr. Blasey’s lawyers and Democratic and Republican committee aides that continued into the evening. They centered mostly on logistical issues, such as timing and security for Dr. Blasey, and whether there might be additional witnesses; the discussions were cordial, according to several people familiar with them.

But there were a number of sticking points. Dr. Blasey’s lawyers asked for the committee to subpoena other witnesses, and for Judge Kavanaugh to testify first, but both requests are viewed by Republicans as nonstarters. Republicans had proposed bringing in an outside counsel to do the questioning, but the lawyers objected, fearing that the hearing would take a prosecutorial tone and arguing that senators themselves should be engaged.

The lawyers suggested Thursday as a hearing date, which Mr. Grassley is considering and taking up with his colleagues. And there was one point of agreement: Both Democrats and Republicans agreed that they needed to take steps to ensure Dr. Blasey’s security.

The talks came only a day after Republicans and Dr. Blasey appeared to reach a stalemate, with Republicans — backed by President Trump — demanding that Dr. Blasey testify on Monday or not at all, and Dr. Blasey resisting.

For his part, Judge Kavanaugh said he wants a hearing as soon as possible, so that “I can clear my name.”

“Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it,” he wrote in a letter released by the White House. “I remain committed to defending my integrity.”

Dr. Blasey’s offer seemed to catch the White House off-guard. Trump advisers and people close to Judge Kavanaugh were betting that she was unlikely to testify, and her decision to do so left Mr. Trump less bullish on the judge’s chances for confirmation than he was earlier this week.

The way forward — and what effect it might have on Judge Kavanaugh’s chances for confirmation — remained unclear. On Wednesday, Republicans, sensing Judge Kavanaugh had enough support to be confirmed despite the allegations, set a committee meeting for Wednesday for a possible vote to move the nomination to the floor. That session is now in question.

George Hartmann, a spokesman for Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, declined on Thursday to say whether Mr. Grassley would accept a date other than Monday.

“We’re glad to hear back,” Mr. Hartmann said, “but that’s about the extent to which we can comment.”

More from The Washington Post:

An attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Thursday that her appearing at a hearing on Monday to detail her claims is ”not possible” but that she could testify later in the week.

Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, relayed the response to top staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, requesting to set up a call with them to ”discuss the conditions under which [Ford] would be prepared to testify next week.”

“As you are aware, she’s been receiving death threats which have been reported to the FBI and she and her family have been forced out of their home,” Katz wrote to the committee. “She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety. A hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.”

The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), said through a spokesman late Thursday that he would be consulting with colleagues on how to proceed. Kavanaugh wrote to Grassley in a letter released by the White House that he looks forward to testifying.

“I continue to want a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name,” Kavanaugh said in the letter. “Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it. I remain committed to defending my integrity.”

(…)

Democratic senators, pointing to the highly charged Anita Hill hearings in October 1991, have defended Ford’s request to have the FBI do its own probe before she testifies. Back then, the FBI report into Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against now-Justice Clarence Thomas was finished on Sept. 26, 1991 — three days after its inquiry began, according to a Washington Post report at the time.

“Someone who is lying does not ask the FBI to investigate their claims,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Thursday at an event on Capitol Hill. “Who is not asking the FBI to investigate these claims? The White House. Judge Kavanaugh has not asked to have the FBI investigate these claims. Is that the reaction of an innocent person? It is not.”

Gillibrand said Senate Republicans’ ultimatum of a Monday hearing was ”bullying.”

Republicans have rejected the comparisons to the Hill proceedings. Grassley wrote in a Wednesday letter to Democrats on the Judiciary Committee that the FBI investigated Hill’s accusations against Thomas when they were still not public. Because Ford’s accusation is already public, Grassley argued that it was appropriate for the Senate to step in with its own investigation as lawmakers did when the Hill allegation first became public.

A senior Senate Democratic aide noted that reopening FBI background checks was fairly routine; 10 such probes into judicial nominees had been reopened in the past three months alone, the aide said. A Republican aide didn’t dispute the figure but said those updates can be relatively minor, such as adding a nominee’s tax records or educational information that had been inadvertently excluded.

Late Thursday afternoon, Republican and Democratic staffers on the Judiciary Committee spoke on the phone with Katz to begin negotiations for a potential hearing next week. The first concern Katz raised on the call, according to a senior Senate aide directly familiar with the conversation, was the issue of Ford’s security — asking the staffers what the protocol is for ensuring that she is safe and whether reporters could be kept at a distance from her, as was done for Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings.

The roughly 30-minute conversation also touched on the scope of the questions, and Katz raised concerns about the potential of an outside counsel coming in to question Ford, arguing that the scenario would be too much like a trial, according to the aide. Ford also does not want Kavanaugh in the hearing room when she testifies, Katz told the staffers, and requested that the nominee speak first.

Katz also raised the possibility of a subpoena for Mark Judge, the person who is alleged to have been in the room at the party, and other potential witnesses, and suggested that Thursday would be a good hearing date.

Republicans are sure to push back on Katz’s requests. One Senate GOP official familiar with the call said Ford’s request to have Kavanaugh testify first is a “non-starter,” adding that “it only makes sense for the accused to respond to the charge.”

The committee also does not plan to issue subpoenas, the GOP official said, who added that other potential witnesses have already made it clear they have no intention of testifying on this matter.

Republicans have so far stuck to the Monday timeline, as well as Grassley’s decision to limit the hearing to two witnesses: Kavanaugh and Ford.

“What is happening with the Judiciary Committee, really, I would call it a railroad job,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said alongside Gillibrand on Thursday. “They are totally intent on getting Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court come hell or high water. . . . You have to ask yourself why.”

On their face, some of the conditions that Dr. Blasey Ford’s attorneys are setting for their client’s appearance seem reasonable while others seem to be coming out of left field:

  • First of all, they are saying that she would not be available to testify on Monday and have suggested next Thursday as a potential date for a hearing. While Republicans might complain that this will further delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation, we’re at the point already where he clearly won’t be able to join the Court when it convenes for the new term. Delaying the hearing a few more days is not a big deal;
  • Second, they want Judge Kavanaugh to testify first. I understand what the strategy here is, Blasey Ford’s lawyers want Kavanaugh’s testimony denying that anything happened locked in before their client takes the stand. At the same time, though, this seems like an odd way to conduct a hearing like this. Blasey Ford is the one making the allegations here, while Kavanaugh is denying anything took place. In such a situation, Kavanaugh testifying first would likely be very short and would not be at all illuminating. Additionally, once Blasey Ford has testified and made her allegations, it would only seem fair to give the Judge an opportunity to rebut the allegations that have been made against him under oath;
  • Third, they don’t want Kavanaugh in the hearing room when Dr. Blasey Ford is testifying. This seems like a reasonable request, and is generally consistent with how Congressional Committee hearings are run;
  • Fourth, they want the questioning to be conducted by the Senators, not outside counsel. This appears to be a reference to the idea that has been floating around Republican circles all week that they would bring in outside counsel, particularly a woman, to conduct the questioning of Dr. Ford on their behalf. The aim of such a strategy would be to avoid the appearance of Dr. Blasey Ford essentially being cross-examined, and badly at that, but a Republican side of the committee that consists entirely of men. Among the names that have been mentioned is that of former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte. Another idea would be to have the principal questioning of both Dr. Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh conducted by the Majority and Minority Counsel for the Committee or, as Senator Susan Collins has suggested, to allow Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford have their own attorneys examine the other party. Honestly, I’m not sure why Blasey Ford’s attorneys want questioning limited to the Senators given the fact that most of these questions will likely be pointless. Having either outside or Committee counsel conduct the questioning would seem to make the most sense, but it seems unlikely to happen;
  • Fifth, Blasey Ford’s attorneys want the committee to subpoena Mark Judge, who she alleges was the other person in the room when the attack happened. Mr. Judge has said that he doesn’t remember anything like what she describes happening, so it’s unclear what questioning him will elicit of value;
  • Sixth and finally, they are asking for a “pool camera” only and for steps to be taken to ensure their client’s safety. In general terms at least these seem like a reasonable request.

The fact that negotiations are going on suggests strongly that Blasey Ford will indeed appear before the committee even without the investigation by the F.B.I. that her attorneys first demanded earlier this week suggests strongly that there will be a hearing and that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination process will be unavoidably delayed. As of last night and this morning, Senate Republicans are sticking firm to their intention to go forward with a hearing on Monday, but absent a complete collapse in negotiations it seems unlikely that they will hold fast to this deadline. As more than one political analyst has noted, Republicans find themselves in something of a political bind due to these allegations, and because of that, it seems unlikely that they will seek to ram the nomination through if Blasey Ford says that she can’t appear on Monday, which is apparently the case.

As it is, it’s clear that Republicans know that the optics of this situation pose some serious political risks for them. While these charges are far more serious than those that Anita Hill brought against Clarence Thomas, the political dynamics are the same and the fact that they are being made more than two decades later in the wake of the #MeToo movement and less than seven weeks prior to the midterm elections makes the potential consequences far more serious in the short-term regardless of whether or not Kavanaugh’s nomination is ultimately confirmed. This and the fact that there are no female Republicans on the GOP side of the Judiciary Committee is why some Republicans are floating the idea of bringing in an outside attorney, who just happens to be a woman, to conduct their questioning for them. Because of this, I find it unlikely that the Committee will refuse to accommodate most of Blasey Ford’s requests. To do otherwise would be to send the message that they never really wanted her to testify. While that may be true, once they made the offer for a hearing they lost this portion of the argument. Generally speaking, the same is true of the rest of the requests, most of which seem reasonable as I noted above.

This is a fast-moving story, so stay tuned.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Law and the Courts, 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. KM says:

    Additionally, once Blasey Ford has testified and made her allegations, it would only seem fair to give the Judge an opportunity to rebut the allegations that have been made against him under oath

    How exactly is he planning to do that? His defense is “I don’t remember” and possibly “I wasn’t at that party (but can’t prove it since I can’t remember)”. You can’t prove a negative. How can he refute something when the entire foundation of his defense rest on the premise that he doesn’t know?

    His denials will be short. “I don’t remember but I didn’t do it. I wasn’t there. I didn’t touch her. I don’t remember details”. If she raises a specific point, what’s his rebuttal going to be? “IDK if it’s certain or true but that’s clearly a ^%&#*&#*# lie”?? If his rebuttal CHANGES to refute a specific point or he suddenly “remembers”, however, that’s perjury and he’s a lying liar who lies….. which is why he’s going first.

    What new defense can he offer that won’t contradict what he’s already stated? If he had proof he wasn’t there (like maybe a pic of him and his buddies hanging out somewhere else at the time), it would be out there already. If he challenges a particular point, it contradicts his “I don’t recall”and opens him up to further questioning on his sudden recollection. He really screwed himself when he made this “he said, she said” because now anytime he changes what he said, he’s vulnerable to being called a liar.

  2. CSK says:

    This is deranged: http://www.nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/ed-whelan-theory.html

    Now Whelan is tweeting that he’s appalled and horrified that he accused the other guy.

    Demented.

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  3. KM says:

    @CSK:
    Yeah, funny how admitting she may have sorta maybe kinda was assaulted but it was TOTALLY some other scumbag that looks enough like him that she could confuse them for years (not his dude tho! Guy’s solid!!) didn’t fly well. He had to tweet since no one would cover it for him. FOX wouldn’t even air that. FOX News, home of fielding bald-faced lies hourly for Trump with a smile and wink, wouldn’t air a segment naming names on her supposed attacker that ABSOLUTELY wasn’t Kavanaugh. For realises, srsly man, he didn’t do it and it was a look-alike guy (possibly with one arm, you know how it goes).

    Whelan basically admitted Ford’s story is true when he tried to pin it on somebody else. This is someone close to Kavanaugh and is desperate AF for him to get nominated. What else is there that they seriously thought this crap would work?!

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  4. Joe says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious why her side wants the senators to do the questioning. Each Republican MAN will be under a national microscope for every nuance of the questioning, which will impact not only the public’s impression of Dr. Blasey, but the public’s impression of senate Republicans and Republicans in general. Republicans could not be caught with a worse team on the field.

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  5. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: You have it right. Here’s something I posted on another (probably dead) thread. I apologize for the length, but I think it’s necessary:

    So in a reply yesterday to James, I mentioned that, to me, the crucial thing in the Ford/Kavanaugh case is what it reveals as to whether he has the character worthy of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. And in evaluating his character we don’t have to know exactly what happened 36 years ago, we can also look at what he has done in the present in responding to the charges. Now we have another piece of evidence.

    There’s a friend of Kavanaugh in the Federalist Society, Ed Whelan. In the Trump administration the Federalist Society has been tasked with selecting their judicial nominations at every level including the Supreme Court. And Ed Whelan is reputed to be a big deal there. So it turns out that Kavanaugh, Whelan and his other advisors have been looking for a way to climb down from Kavanaugh’s absolutist statement that she is lying or crazy without admitting that Kavanaugh himself was involved. Over the past several days they cooked up a lunatic theory that another student (whom they named) was actually the attempted rapist and that Ford, in her distress, had mixed them up. Whelan had shopped this theory to a number of news sources who all basically said “you have absolutely no proof or evidence that this is true*, and therefore if we went with it we would open ourselves up to a libel action”. So Whelan tweets it out last night. And then withdraws it two hours later when the reaction was uniformly and resoundly negative.

    It’s impossible for me to believe that Kavanaugh knew nothing about this. Supposedly, Whelan has been by his side every step of the way, since before he was even nominated. To think Kavanaugh was blind to this genius idea you would have to a) believe that Whelan came up with this by himself with no input from Kavenaugh and b) that in the several days this was being shopped around no one from any of the media involved contacted Kavenaugh about it. But OK, Kavenaugh is a white male Republican so we apply the usual standards and say “if there is any theory by which he is not a POS we have to go with it, no matter how ridiculous, unless we have a confession or videotape evidence.” So say Kavanaugh didn’t know about it until Whelan tweeted it out. How did he react? Did he say “I had no idea about this and don’t want any part of smearing a classmate!” No. Dead silence. He’s waiting to see if he can get any traction from this.

    We don’t need to judge him by a 36 year old case. In the past several weeks he has demonstrated that he does not have the moral character to be a Supreme Court Justice.

    *It should be noted that while they don’t offer any real evidence, they have a sort of TV Detective’s wall of strings and documents kind of scenario that speaks to a whole lot of highly specific knowledge of the party, the night, and where everyone involved was. Considering Kavanaugh’s defenders initial tack was that nothing like this every happened, it makes you wonder where all this information came from.

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  6. CSK says:

    A bit OT, but worth noting: Last night in Vegas, Trump declared that the NYTimes and other media outlets would endorse him six months before the 2020 election, or go bankrupt.

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  7. CSK says:

    @KM:

    I read Whelan’s Twitter feed with mouth agape. The man’s a lawyer. He ought to understand libel. He accused another man of committing a violent crime on the basis of zero evidence. As you say, this is desperation–or lunacy.

    Maybe both.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Definitely both.

  9. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    And in the meantime, Cohen’s been talking to Mueller a lot lately.

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  10. CSK says:

    Well, someone gave Donny’s phone back to him. Here’s what he’s tweeted:
    “Judge Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.”

    and

    “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

  11. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    One wonders if El Cheeto will supply the time machine to allow Dr. Ford to do this.

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  12. KM says:

    @KM:

    FOX wouldn’t even air that. FOX News, home of fielding bald-faced lies hourly for Trump with a smile and wink, wouldn’t air a segment naming names on her supposed attacker that ABSOLUTELY wasn’t Kavanaugh.

    Nvmind – Fox and Friends just went there. May they be sued for everything their black little hearts possess. This is *definitely* slander and libel on Whalen’s part.

    https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/1043109406861393920

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  13. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Donny’s latest Twitter effusion:

    “The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?”

  14. CSK says:

    @KM:

    If you can stand it, check out the front page here: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com

  15. KM says:

    @CSK:
    Fucking disgusting. They’re basically up in arms because they think she made this up to ruin an innocent man’s life and then turn around to do THE SAME THING to a random guy they picked out of the ether with insane troll logic. Ford herself said it’s not him but oh no, it’s a deep state plot or something so let’s fuck up a teacher’s life based on Google Maps and random floor plans!

    They’re doxxing someone for no other reason then to save Kavanaugh’s ass – maybe more then one since he probably doesn’t live at that address anymore and ANOTHER random family does!!! Where are the defenders of the innocent who claim miscarriage of justice over vague accusations and why aren’t they on this?!

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  16. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Do you ever get the feeling Trump’s base get their news from an alternate universe?

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  17. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Oh, I know they do: Infowars, Breitbart, The Gateway Pundit, and The Conservative Treehouse are the prime sites for Trumpkins. They regard even the National Review and the Weekly Standard as hopelessly left-wing anti-MAGAists determined to sabotage Trump’s Triumphs.

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  18. MBunge says:

    The one thing you can say about the Trump era is that it is endlessly entertaining.

    1. People like KM feel they can lie with impunity. Kavanaugh has NEVER said he doesn’t remember such an event. Judge said that. Kavanaugh says it didn’t happen. What’s funny about that is everybody knows KM is lying, even KM.

    2. People getting upset with Whelan is hilarious because what makes them mad is his allegation being a thousand times more credible than Doctor Ford’s.

    3. Dr. Ford tells NO ONE about being groped by a drunken 17-year-old for 30 years? Totally believable. Whelan doesn’t tell anyone about his counter theory for a week or so? Totally unbelievable. Yeah, that makes sense.

    Mike

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  19. Mr. Prosser says:

    @KM: From what I have read, Kavenaugh cannot say “I don’t recall” etc. at this point because he has categorically denied the accusation. Denying, then saying, “Oops, overs” is a real bind. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/brett-kavanaugh-categorically-denies-sexual-misconduct-allegation/

  20. KM says:

    @MBunge:

    2. People getting upset with Whelan is hilarious because what makes them mad is his allegation being a thousand times more credible than Doctor Ford’s.

    Just out of curiosity: what color is the sky in your world? Earth’s is blue, FYI.

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  21. Hal_10000 says:

    Oh great, President Manbaby just went full Leroy Jenkins on the Kavanaugh thing. And I thought the debate couldn’t get more toxic.

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  22. george says:

    @KM:

    Well, they could also be saying not that she’s lying, but that she’s mistaken. Read up on the Innocence Project for examples of witnesses who were 100% certain about their accusations, only to find out they were wrong. The project was started by a woman who was one of the 100% certain only to find out years later from DNA evidence that she was wrong – she’s pretty amazing, and has led to a lot of overturned convictions (including for rape).

    Its quite possible that both Ford and Kavanaugh are stating the truth as they remember it – memory simply is error prone (even without alcohol involved).

    In general eye witness reports are very shaky (there’s a lot of research showing just how bad it is), which is why corroboration is so necessary. My take is that if Kavanaugh attempted to rape her its almost a guarantee that he did the same with others, and if the decision is put off a month hopefully some of those will come forward, as they’ve done for Cosby, Weinstein, Moore, Franken etc.

    And while single memories can be quite faulty, the chances of multiple false memories about the same individual becomes very low – which is why numbers have been so useful in taking down powerful people long after other evidence has disappeared. Even one second accuser saying she (or he for that matter) was raped by Kavanaugh would be an order of magnitude more powerful.

  23. Hal_10000 says:

    @MBunge:

    1. Correct.

    2. WHAT?! Whelan’s thread was on full-on demented. It amounted to “well there was this guy who vaguely looked like Kavanaugh and was friends with Judge and here’s a floorplan that resembles every house in America, so … the Aristocrats!” It was appalling. And Ford herself said she knew both men and there was no way she’d mix them up. It was, until this morning, the worst thing anyone had said about the whole affair.

    3. These are not remotely comparable things. There is no one way people react to sexual assault. Some people report. Some people try to move past. Some people bury it. With someone that young, it may not have even occurred to them that they *could* report it. Here is a story from the WaPo about a 15 y/o who was raped, reported and slut-shamed out of her town. Ford talked to people about this six years before Kavanaugh’s was nominated for SCOTUS. Whelan … just dreamed this up on twitter.

    (Post Scriptum: I don’t think there was any grand conspiracy between Whelan and Kavanaugh to push this line of malarky. But I think it would be appropriate to ask him about it at the hearing).

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  24. KM says:

    In general eye witness reports are very shaky (there’s a lot of research showing just how bad it is), which is why corroboration is so necessary. My take is that if Kavanaugh attempted to rape her its almost a guarantee that he did the same with others, and if the decision is put off a month hopefully some of those will come forward, as they’ve done for Cosby, Weinstein, Moore, Franken etc.

    Given what they are saying about Ford and how she’s being portrayed (look at Trump this morning), how likely do you think it is that someone else is going to risk stepping forward? I mean, they just smeared some random guy in Kavanaugh’s “defense” and he had no skin in the game. It takes a lot of nerve to stand up to this kind of flat out character defamation and it’s going to be around for decades. Look at how morons like Bunge think a twitter theory compromised of pure insane conjecture and is already disavowed by it’s author is “thousand times more credible” then a woman speaking up years later. Look at how Anita Hill is still talked about and imagine the courage you’d need to step into this shitshow and say “Yes, me too”.

    If he did it, he likely did it more then once. There’d be others. But are they going to brave this nonsense and invite its chaos into their lives?

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  25. Eric Florack says:

    @CSK: much as I dislike personally Trump, he’s right.

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  26. Modulo Myself says:

    How did Whelan know about the woman at the party nobody remembers? There’s something fishy with Kavanaugh that’s been there throughout the hearings.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @KM:

    If he did it, he likely did it more then once. There’d be others. But are they going to brave this nonsense and invite its chaos into their lives?

    I don’t agree with this. If he did at the age of 30, or even 25, I would agree with you. But I did a lot of things in high school that I never repeated. (No attempted rapes though.) Kids make mistakes, sometimes very serious ones. Not all kids continue these mistakes throughout their lives.

    My main objection to Kavanaugh wrt Ford is not the charge itself. If it is true it is damning more for his subsequent lies and attempts to discredit her. But even if it is false he has behaved in a reprehensible way, and allowed others to act in even more reprehensible ways to further his agenda. Such a man does not belong on the Supreme Court.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “I’m shocked and appalled that I made a good friend from high school Plan B in the investigation of a sexual assault.” REALLY? Sheesh!

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    A friend of mine is married to a woman who was raped while she was in high school and she is not too very much older than Kavanaugh and Ford. According to what I’ve been told, she DID report it to the police and her account was dismissed by the officers taking the complaint as not credible. AND HER FATHER WAS A POLICE OFFICER!

    So, y’all are gonna need to forgive me if I don’t automatically buy into all this “if it really happened, the police woulda done sumthin” bullshirt.

  30. Mikey says:

    Here’s one woman’s account of what she has had to deal with through her life.

    Everything I can remember

    I was struck by this passage:

    When I was about 11, something happened to me that I’m not going to share with you. So don’t ask, because it’s my story, not yours. And by the way, I didn’t tell anyone, for 27 years.

    I don’t expect the Trumpists here to understand, but the rest of us are capable of empathy.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “I don’t think there was any grand conspiracy between Whelan and Kavanaugh to push this line of malarky. But I think it would be appropriate to ask him about it at the hearing.”

    I don’t either, but I don’t think that the question would be probative in any meaningful way. I have to assume that the Heritage Foundation probably doesn’t put jurists who believe that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” on their short list, so we already know that Kavanaugh can lie just fine when the need arises.

  32. Modulo Myself says:

    My gut take is that Whelan was fed info about Georgetown Prep and used to muddy the waters. But they screwed up and put another person at this party which nobody but Ford can remember. It’s big trouble. It’s no longer about what happened and it’s now about the party itself existing.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    If the Republicans push Kavanaugh through without a proper investigation here, and more importantly, push him through after they’ve withheld virtually all the documents the Dems have asked for, then Kavanaugh is just another tainted piece of Trump’s trash. When then Dems resume control they should release the documents, truly investigate the Ford allegations and then impeach his ass if it turns out he lied during the hearings or at any other times.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Well, he’ll be a tainted piece of Trump trash with a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, so I don’t know how much the taint will trouble them.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My point is that a Supreme Court Justice can be impeached. If they Republicans prevent proper review and, when the Dems regain power, such review reveals he lied, then he should be impeached.

  36. PJ says:

    They should impeach him or pack the court.

    There is no reason why only Democrats should play by the rules.
    Republicans denied Obama a Supreme Court pick and are now busy ramming through Kavanaugh while refusing to properly investigate him.

    Republicans tore up the rule book….

    4
    1
  37. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The problem is you still need a 2/3s majority to convict and have the sexual assailant removed. Absent a 2/3s majority of Democrats in the Senate, I don’t see that happening.

  38. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: “much as I dislike personally Trump, he’s right.”

    Wow. Must be difficult keeping your lips glued to the ass of a man you dislike personally.

  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    The other day, Jennifer Rubin pointed out that the Maryland statute of limitations has not expired on this allegation as sexual assault. A Ford option is to petition the MD AG to investigate the allegation. Political pressure is already mounting in MD for the AG to investigate.

    If this were to occur there would be nothing Trump or Mitch McConnell could do about it.

    Anyone a cartoonist who can sketch McConnell wearing a suicide vest?

  40. Mikey says:

    @TM01: “Well, another woman in an entirely unrelated incident made a false accusation, so there!”

    Yaaaaawwwwnnnn.

  41. george says:

    @KM:

    If he did it, he likely did it more then once. There’d be others. But are they going to brave this nonsense and invite its chaos into their lives?

    That’s a good point, and fear of retribution comes up with witnesses in all sorts of crimes. For instance it can be very hard to get people to testify against gang members for fear of revenge, up to death for the witness and their family. Which is why the argument for a single uncorroborated witness to be sufficient is as common in discussion of gang violence as it is in sexual assault – why would someone make up being the victim of an attack (or even seeing an attack) given the possible revenge? If someone accuses the argument says, they should be believed, because no one would make it up given gang retribution.

    However I still don’t think that a single witness without further evidence should be enough against either gang violence or rape. I simply don’t trust the justice department enough to give them the power of being able to use a single uncorroborated accusation to convict someone for any crime – not even for petty theft, let alone serious crimes – because the gov’t can always find some witness (using everything from plea bargaining to various threats) when they want a case made, and if an uncorroborated accusation becomes the standard then its mainly the poor and minorities who will be targeted (or better, increasingly targeted, the jails are already full of people basically guilty of being poor when some prosecution quota hadn’t been met).

    I guess just like with witnesses against gang violence I hope that if enough come forward the numbers will be too large for revenge. That’s what happened with Weinstein and Moore, and has happened in gang cases.

    Sometimes it takes great anger at the injustice for the first witness, like seeing your son or daughter killed. If Kavanaugh is as accused, he likely did crimes at a high enough level to create such anger.

  42. george says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yup, if they can find a direct lie under oath then impeachment is a very real option. I think every potential justice knows this, which is another reason they’re all very cautious about saying anything definite. But Kavanaugh has explicitly said under oath he didn’t sexually assault Ford. Even if passes the vote, if evidence comes out later than he did assault her he could easily be impeached by the next Democratic senate.

    Politically the GOP is making a mistake in rushing this. If there is no evidence then they’ve lost nothing by waiting a month for the investigation. If there is evidence it’ll come out later (Dem’s will keep digging), and they’ll lose him at a time when the Dem’s can put in a replacement. I

  43. Grewgills says:

    @george:
    That is all 100% true for criminal cases. This is not a criminal case.

  44. george says:

    @Grewgills:

    Maybe it should be, it sounds like a crime may have been committed.