Republicans Intent On ‘Plowing Right Through’ Kavanuagh Nomination

Republicans have set a Judiciary Committee vote for less than a day after hearing from Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Even before hearing from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford regarding her charges that she was sexually assaulted by Judge Brett Kavanaugh at a party in the summer of 1982, the Senate Judiciary Committee has set a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for less than twenty-four hours after Dr. Ford’s testimony is expected to conclude:

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford appear before the panel to discuss Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago.

According to committee rules, Judiciary must schedule a committee vote three days in advance. But the committee said the vote will proceed only if a “majority of the members” of the 21-member panel are ready to vote on Friday.\

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can bring Kavanaugh to the floor whether the nominee gets a favorable or unfavorable recommendation. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is undecided on Kavanaugh’s nomination and is the key swing vote on the panel; Flake has not voted in the Senate this week and has not commented on his current thinking about Kavanaugh.

“For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh today, two days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous,” Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking member, said Tuesday. “First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now Republicans don’t even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote.”

Senate Republicans on Tuesday night announced they had hired Rachel Mitchell, on leave as a deputy county attorney in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix and the Division Chief of the Special Victims Division, as an attorney to use as a questioner at Thursday’s high-stakes hearing on a sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh. Earlier in the day, the GOP had declined to release her identity, with Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) telling POLITICO that “we aren’t announcing the name for her safety.”

Asked whether Republicans have received any indication of threats to the attorney they’re preparing to use, Grassley said: “I don’t know, but I guess we’re just being cautious.”

The GOP’s secrecy immediately came under fire from Senate Democrats, who mockingly pointed out that all 11 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are men.

“No one can find that out; it’s a mystery,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday afternoon of the questioner. “It’s interesting that our Republican colleagues, who want to rush this [nomination] through, are afraid to question Dr. Ford themselves and have to put a surrogate there.”\

The back-and-forth over the GOP’s female counsel was part of a day of bitter partisan sniping as both sides prepared for Thursday’s blockbuster hearing. And it could get only more heated. As the committee pressed ahead with a planned vote on Kavanaugh, an attorney representing Deborah Ramirez charged that Republicans on the panel “have refused to meet all scheduled appointments” to discuss her allegation against the judge further.

“Ms. Ramirez is ready to swear to the FBI under penalty of perjury. Why won’t the Senate Judiciary Committee welcome that?” Colorado-based attorney John Clune tweeted on Tuesday.

Appearing later on CNN, Clune accused Republican staffers of “playing games”during negotiations about whether and how Ramirez might come forward. A committee aide for the majority said Grassley had tried seven times in the previous 48 hours to follow up with Clune about what evidence Ramirez could provide.

President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders began the day by angrily lashing out at Feinstein and other Democrats over their handling of the Ford allegation. Schumer responded by attacking Kavanaugh’s credibility, suggesting the federal appeals court judge may have lied during his confirmation hearings.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for Kavanaugh, the future of the Supreme Court and both parties as they head into the midterm elections. Republicans, though, clearly have more to lose. A failure to get Kavanaugh’s nomination through the Senate confirmation process would bring heavy criticism from Trump and the conservative base, and would leave Republicans scrambling to push through a different nominee during a lame-duck session, which would carry big political risks.

With that in mind, McConnell — described by one Republican as “fired up” — was already warning his colleagues that he would keep the Senate in all weekend in order to have a final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh by early next week. The new Supreme Court term starts Oct. 1.

“I’m confident we’re going to win; I’m confident that he will be confirmed in the very near future,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.

This news comes as USA Today reports that four friends of Dr. Blasey Ford have submitted sworn statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee attesting to the fact that she told them about the assault she suffered as a teenager several years before Judge Kavanaugh was named as the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court. President Trump, meanwhile, took time out in between his activities at the United Nations to defend Judge Kavanaugh and attack his accusers:

President Trump assailed the latest woman to accuse Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, saying on Tuesday that she “has nothing” because she was “messed up” at the time, even as a key Republican senator urged colleagues to take the accusations seriously.

With pressure rising in advance of a make-or-break hearing on Thursday, Mr. Trump lashed out in a more vociferous way than he has since his nominee came under fire for allegations of sexual assault, blaming Democrats for orchestrating a “con game” and targeting one of Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers in scathing, personal terms.

“The second accuser has nothing,” Mr. Trump said. “She thinks maybe it could have been him, maybe not. She admits that she was drunk. She admits time lapses. There were time lapses. This is a person, and this is a series of statements, that’s going to take one of the most talented and one of the greatest intellects from a judicial standpoint in our country, going to keep him off the United States Supreme Court?”

(…)

In lashing out on Tuesday, Mr. Trump dispensed with the restraint that advisers have urged him to exercise and adopted the attack mode he prefers. He portrayed the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh as character assassination, and he challenged the credibility of Ms. Ramirez even more sharply than he did Dr. Blasey last week.

“She said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up and she doesn’t know it was him but it might have been him,” Mr. Trump said while in New York for the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. Then, speaking sarcastically, he added, “Oh, gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.”

As the president of Colombia looked on, Mr. Trump accused the Democrats of smearing Judge Kavanaugh. “I think it’s horrible what the Democrats have done. It’s a con game they’re playing; they’re really con artists,” he said. “They’re playing a con game,” he continued, “and they play it very well. They play it actually much better than the Republicans.”

He went on to call it a con game several more times, even at one point spelling it out, “C-O-N.”

Here are the President’s Tweets on the matter:

In addition to setting a committee vote and announcing the hiring of an Arizona sex crimes prosecutor to act in some as-yet-undetermined manner, the committee also set forth a schedule for how tomorrow’s hearing will go. Unlike the first round of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, during which there were as many as three rounds of questioning over the course of two days, this time there will only be one round of questioning during which Senators will have five minutes each to question Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford. It’s unclear if this will include any time that may be taken up by the outside counsel that Republicans are bringing in, or if the questioning by Senators will be in addition to the questioning by the outside counsel. This, combined with the fact that the Judiciary Committee has at least taken the preliminary steps toward scheduling a committee vote that would, if successful, make a final floor vote possible as early as the middle of next week, is yet another demonstration of the fact that Senate Republicans don’t really care what Dr.Blasey Ford has to say. If they did, they could easily take the time to allow the impact of what happens tomorrow sink in, allow constituents to contact their Senators, especially those on the Judiciary Committee, and take a Committee vote sometime next week.

The quick schedule is a strong indication that Republicans remains largely uncertain about the uncertain fate of the Kavanaugh nomination notwithstanding their apparent unity and the confident statements of Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. According to some reports, including one from Fox News Channel Capitol Hill correspondent Chad Pergram, that Republicans may be short of votes, with as many as eight Republicans still on the fence pending tomorrow’s hearing. Perhaps the most important of these is Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who has warned her Senate colleagues about rushing to a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, has expressed support for both Dr. Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the accuser in the article that ran earlier this week in The New Yorker, and called for an F.B.I. investigation. Murkowski has also said she wants the Judiciary Committee to hear from Ramirez, something that seems unlikely to happen unless Friday’s vote is further postponed. If Murkowski proves to be a holdout after tomorrow and convinces one other Senator to join her, and assuming no Democratic crossover votes, which seems unlikely at this point, then the nomination would fail a floor vote and would have to be withdrawn or suffer a defeat. Whether things get to that point, of course, is another issue.

As things stand, it seems clear that there should be more than enough time for Senators to not only conduct tomorrow’s hearing but also consider the outcome of that hearing and the impact it might have on the vote. This would include not only giving Dr. Ford the time she needs to tell her story, and the time for Judge Kavanaugh to respond. but also for the committee to hear from other witnesses such as the four corroborating witnesses that Dr. Ford has produced statements from and people such as Mark Judge, who could easily be subpoenaed, and Deborah Ramirez. Additionally, while I was initially skeptical about the idea of an F.B.I. investigation of these matters, I now find myself reconsidering that position. At the very least, it’s worth noting that such an investigation could have been begun, and likely completed, in the time that has elapsed since the initial report in The Washington Post that started this whole process some ten days ago. In that regard, it’s worth remembering that there was an F.B.I. investigation in the Thomas-Hill matter before the Judiciary Committee held hearings. It took about four days. An investigation here might take a little bit longer. but that hardly seems like a big deal. We are dealing here with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, a position that Kavanaugh could hold for the next 25-30 years. A delay of another week or so would be inconsequential. The only reason to rush this nomination is purely political.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, 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. Tony W says:

    The evidence is irrelevant.

    Hand-wringing aside, there is zero chance any Republicans vote against this nomination.

    Collins, Murkowski, Flake, etc. – party-first

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  2. Gustopher says:

    Again, the Republicans offend me by failing at basic good governance — not just disappoint me, but actually offend me. There is no good faith effort to do their jobs, on this or anything else oversight related, it’s just an effort to consolidate and wield power for its own sake.

    Credible accusations from multiple accusers should slow things down while they are investigated — particularly for a lifetime appointment.

    The Republicans, going back to Reagan, like to claim that government is the problem in America, but the problem is Republicans in government.

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  3. Kari Q says:

    I wonder if there’s something in Kavanaugh’s background that’s worse than what he’s already been accused of? It could explain why they don’t want an investigation and why McConnell believes that time is against Kavanaugh, that slowing the process down will make confirmation less likely. That’s just baseless speculation, though.

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  4. Gustopher says:

    Additionally, while I was initially skeptical about the idea of an F.B.I. investigation of these matters, I now find myself reconsidering that position. At the very least, it’s worth noting that such an investigation could have been begun, and likely completed, in the time that has elapsed since the initial report in The Washington Post that started this whole process some ten days ago.

    The FBI is also officially non-partisan (and mostly so unofficially), and can interview people without putting a national spotlight on them. They would have a much better chance of getting to the truth — if it can be gotten to — than any congressional committee.

    It’s the right tool for the job.

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  5. Kari Q says:

    To anyone with an open mind on this issue (there are probably about six people who care who haven’t gotten a side chosen), I would think that the most disturbing thing about Kavanaugh is that he is lying about drinking as a young man. This lie makes no sense from any perspective:

    1) It’s trivial. He drank when young? Who cares? He’s hardly alone in that and it wouldn’t disqualify him.

    2) It’s obviously a lie. There’s plenty of evidence that he drank. People who knew him, his yearbook, even that amazingly preserved calendar from his high school days confirm it. He drank a lot. It’s so obvious that he did that it’s almost embarrassing to see him try to pretend he didn’t.

    3) It hurts his credibility on everything else. If he’s willing to lie about something that doesn’t matter, why would anyone believe he wouldn’t lie about something important? Why should they believe anything he says?

    Even leaving the sexual allegations aside, this willingness to lie about something when there’s no apparent reason to is troubling.

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  6. Jen says:

    …it’s worth noting that such an investigation could have been begun, and likely completed, in the time that has elapsed since the initial report…

    Yep.

    This entire process is a wreck. Kavanaugh’s attempt at redeeming his reputation on FOX was ridiculous–he has scads of yearbook entries bragging about drinking, his best friend wrote a book about being a blackout drunk, he belonged to a fraternity at Yale known for its partying, AND he has himself made references to his drinking during this time of his life in speeches. Yet, he gets on FOX and essentially says “nope, I was totally focused on sports and community activities” or whatever, and we’re supposed to take him seriously.

    His high levels of debt and their subsequent discharge has never been adequately explained. His role in passing information/receiving stolen emails still has not been adequately explained. He has held significantly partisan roles, which should cast serious doubt on his ability to rule impartially. He might have violated grand jury secrecy laws. There is a July 1 entry on the calendars he kept that appears to be a fair contender for the gathering Ms. Ford spoke about (if this truly is the case, I’m baffled as to why he would turn the calendars over).

    Surely they could find someone else equally eager to overturn Roe without this baggage? Why are they fighting so hard for this particular nominee?

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  7. Kathy says:

    The GOP can’t even manage to get a kangaroo court right. There isn’t even a pretense at fairness or deliberation.

    This is why the world laughs at them.

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    There are now 4 sworn statements from friends of Ford’s that she told them about the assault years ago.
    But Tony w. is correct…every Republican will fall into line. They will all gladly sacrifice their jobs, if that’s what it takes, to put the government in every woman’s bedroom.

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  9. Lounsbury says:

    @Kari Q: This in fact is the major point.

    I thought at the start that the initial accusation was rather weak tea, bad teenager behaviour under the influence. Why it wasn’t simply admitted in a half-fashion (as in “it has been XX years, and as A teenager I drank too much, don’t recall but deeply regret immature behaviour etc”) rather escapes.

    The pious pretension and odd denial approach, that suggests unpleasant flaws.

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  10. gVOR08 says:

    20 months into Trump and the current Congress they’ve accomplished only one SCOTUS appointment and a tax cut everyone hates. They desperately need something going into the midterms and this is all they’ve got. They need to turn out the base, and as long as Kavanaugh can be relied on to cripple Roe v Wade, the evangelical base wouldn’t care if there was video of Kavanaugh raping a 12 year old in the middle of Fifth Avenue yesterday.

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  11. gVOR08 says:

    Isn’t another Yale/Harvard frat boy political apparatchik lawyer the swamp the Trumpskyites are supposed to want drained?

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  12. Mikey says:

    @Kari Q: @Lounsbury: I think he’s making these risible denials to keep this issue at the forefront, because if he responded in a way that made it fade into the background, there would then be a possibility of a serious look at the issues @Jen raised. Like, how the hell did he run up $200K on baseball tickets, and who the hell paid that off? That alone bears a deeper investigation, but instead we’ve spent the last week talking about something he was alleged to have done over 30 years ago (which I mean in no way to diminish the seriousness, and likely truth, of what Dr. Ford has said happened).

    I have no doubt the Republicans are going to ram this through and he’ll be sitting in SCOTUS for the next 30+ years, a fully-compromised GOP functionary on the High Court. It’s disgusting and reprehensible.

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  13. al Ameda says:

    Even if there are actual negative electoral consequences for Republicans this November, I’m sure that they see it as short term, that the benefits of confirming to the Court a very strong conservative who will be there for 30 years, far outweigh the consequences of a possible blue wave that turns the House over to Democrats.

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  14. Mikey says:

    Sigh…can someone please release my comment from moderation?

    Moderators: is there ANY way you can fix the “three links sends a comment to the mod queue” thing? It’s rather frustrating.

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  15. Lounsbury says:

    @Jen:

    Why are they fighting so hard for this particular nominee?

    It would seem gross political malpractice as I have read that at least two other short-list candidates, one of which a woman, would likely be more conservative relative to USA aims and “cleaner” to confirmation.

    But Trump.

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  16. Hal_10000 says:

    Setting a vote means very little. It can easily be delayed or cancelled. It’s mainly a formality in preparation for a possible vote.

    @Kari Q:

    I would think that the most disturbing thing about Kavanaugh is that he is lying about drinking as a young man.

    This is another straw man talking point. He did not lie about drinking. He denied getting black-out drunk. It’s right there in the interview transcript.

    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 and people generally in high school – I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

    (Note: people are hitting him for saying he could drink because it was 18 and the drinking age was raised in 1982. But he’s talking about the seniors being legal.)

    MacCallum: Sir, you are going to be pressed on something that you just said about people do things in high school, and you were all drinking, were there times when perhaps you drank so much – was there ever a time that you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened the night before?

    B. Kavanaugh: No, that never happened.

    As I’ve said, I not a Kavanaugh supporter. I’m undecided about what to make of the allegations. But this ongoing massive willful mirepresentation of his words is making it hard to hold onto that fence I sit in. It really does feel like no one cares about justice; they want a scalp in retaliation for Garland.

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  17. Kari Q says:

    @gVOR08:

    But he’s their Yale/Harvard frat boy political apparatchik lawyer, and the libs are attacking him, so he must be defended to the death. Besides, feminists have to be put in their place. Otherwise a history of sexual assault would have actual consequences. Can’t have that.

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  18. Gustopher says:

    @Kari Q:

    To anyone with an open mind on this issue (there are probably about six people who care who haven’t gotten a side chosen),

    I think there are a lot of people who want a thorough investigation, and are pretty sure they know what a thorough investigation would show, but would be willing to accept the results if they didn’t match their expectation.

    That might not be the fabled “open mind” uncluttered with preconceptions and assumptions, but it’s functionally equivalent.

    And I think it is the default Democratic position right now.

    I would think that the most disturbing thing about Kavanaugh is that he is lying about drinking as a young man.

    I think the most disturbing thing about him is his politics.

    His lack of candor — from which I infer a complete lack of integrity — is also problematic though.

    I don’t think that anyone of Kavanaugh’s pretty radical beliefs should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. But, if we are in a position where someone with those beliefs will be nominated and confirmed (which is where I think we are), I at least want someone who has integrity — someone who speaks openly and with candor, and who treats others with respect — someone who is more like what most people who knew Scalia said he was.

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  19. Facebones says:

    @Kari Q:

    I would think that the most disturbing thing about Kavanaugh is that he is lying about drinking as a young man. This lie makes no sense from any perspective:

    Well, the obvious reason is that if he admits to getting blackout drunk – despite the memories of his contemporaries and the yearbook, etc. – he then can’t realistically deny that he sexually assaulted Ford or thrust his privates at Ramirez or anything else that comes out.

    Still, it puts him in a position of telling an obvious and easily avoidable lie. Add it to the pile, along with his role in the email thefts in the Bush administration, his finances, and so on.

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  20. Kathy says:

    If the Democrats win only the House, can they investigate Kavanaugh further? I realize he’d be sitting on the Supreme Court then, but as the House is in charge of impeachment, what are their prerogatives as regards investigations?

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  21. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000:

    It really does feel like no one cares about justice; they want a scalp in retaliation for Garland.

    I don’t want a scalp in retaliation for Garland, I want a seat.

    I would settle for packing the court up to 11 (one to nullify Gorsuch, one to be the liberal vote). But a scalp is of no value.

    Hmm. 12. There’s the possibility of 6-6 ties, but there is something very appealing about having the number of justices match the number of jurors.

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  22. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Jen:” His high levels of debt and their subsequent discharge has never been adequately explained. His role in passing information/receiving stolen emails still has not been adequately explained. He has held significantly partisan roles, which should cast serious doubt on his ability to rule impartially.” These points exactly. I don’t want to belittle the lying about drinking and assault but they distract from some other very important points.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000: Kavanaugh:

    I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

    He would appear to have a lot more honesty and integrity if he said what he did that he regrets and makes him cringe.

    Right now, he appears to just be parroting phrases prepared for him by his handlers.

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  24. Hal_10000 says:

    @Gustopher:

    Well, at least you’re honest about what this is really all about.

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  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000: I hear you. Not infrequently I see stuff about someone’s “horrible” comment, but then go back and read it or listen to it myself and think, “I’m just not seeing it.” And this is regardless of party or philosophy. But I think what people are trying to grapple with here when they call him a liar is that he, and his supporters, are incessantly parsing the the precise meaning of words in order to create a false image without actually lying. Kavanaugh is doing everything he can to present as a good, wholesome, religious boy. But that’s blatantly false. Let’s set aside his college era and focus just on his high school. He was a heavy drinker, heavy enough to make it into his friends 12 step book as a puking and passed out drunk under the pseudonym “Bart O’Kavanaugh”. He labeled one of his club affiliations in his high school yearbook as “The 100 Kegs Society”. In that same yearbook, he along with 15 other boys also posted another (almost certainly false) sneering and demeaning insider “joke” implying (almost certainly falsely) they had all had sex with the same girl. That girl, now grown, was unaware of that when she signed on to the letter attesting that he was a nice boy in high school. When it was pointed out, she was devastated and humiliated. She cannot understand what goes through the mind of 17 year old boys that they would spread such malicious, hateful lies about her. And Kavanaugh’s reaction is instructive. He doesn’t apologize to her. He doesn’t feel remorse that he engaged in this childish action (admittedly, when he was little more than a child). Instead, he claims that the coded message was just a reference to all these boys being friends with this one particular girl. Nothing sexual implied at all. Look, Kavanaugh doesn’t expect anyone to believe this farcical lie. No one actively paying attention to a Supreme Court vote is that stupid. But what he does need to do is to say something that Republican Senators can pretend to accept as true, or at least allow them to throw up their hands and say “But lawdy lawdy, sir, how can we ever Devine the truth!!?”

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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Avenatti is out with a sworn statement from his client and it is fvcking explosive.
    Kavanaugh is now toast.

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  27. Hal_10000 says:

    Avennati just released a sworn statement. The charges are … incredible if true. The vote and possibly hearing should be delayed while it’s investigated.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000: People can have multiple goals all at once.

    I want to undo the damage that the Republicans caused when they refused to hold hearings for Garland, and I want it to hurt enough that there’s an honest attempt at fixing the process. A scalp isn’t enough for that.

    I also want to have Supreme Court justices with integrity, regardless of their beliefs on the law.

    And I want Congress to actually take their advise and consent role seriously, do proper oversight, and not just rubber stamp the administration.

    It happens that these three desires both point in the same direction right now.

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  29. James Pearce says:

    @Hal_10000:

    It really does feel like no one cares about justice; they want a scalp in retaliation for Garland.

    Seriously.

    But on the other hand, President Garbage is garbaging on Garbage with some garbage: “the potential to be one of the greatest Supreme Courts Justices,” the great heralded legal mind of Brett Kavanaugh, Republican lawyer.

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  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Hal_10000:
    Pretty explosive stuff, from the ambulance chaser, eh?
    This guy is so up in Dennison’s face…Putin is likely to have him murderized.

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  31. Jen says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I just read it and…I’m speechless.

    She claims that there are witnesses that can corroborate everything she is attesting to.

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  32. Hal_10000 says:

    I’ll see what comes out. I am finding it very difficult to believe that this rape crew was operating and six FBI background checks failed to find it. As someone said on Twitter, Kavanaugh is either one of the worst sexual predators ever or is the victim of the biggest political smear since Dreyfuss.

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  33. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: We should be wary of taking the boasts of teenage boys about their drinking and sex as actual literal truth.

    The fact that a fifty-three year old man cannot be truthful about this at all, however, is troubling.

    “Oh, god, that’s embarrassing. We were a bunch of twits, all lying to each other to seem cool in the way that spoiled teenagers think is cool. We were all ‘in love’ with Renate, but I don’t think she really gave any of us more than the time of day, and this is just… I wish we never did this and I wish she never saw it, and I really wish it wasn’t now embarrassing her on a national stage. Renate, if you’re watching, I am so sorry.” — that would have an air of truth about it, and half the men in America would remember when they were stupid enough and immature enough and inexperienced in life enough that they would act that way (and 90% of women would remember men that young).

    It’s not hard to be honest, unless your hiding something awful.

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  34. Jen says:

    @Hal_10000: I too find it bizarre that six FBI background checks wouldn’t bring this to light. But then again, they appear to have completely missed everything referenced in his best friend’s memoir, published over two decades ago.

    If any of this–any of it, from Ford all the way up to Avenatti’s client’s accusations–is true, the FBI background check process is irretrievably broken and needs to be reexamined.

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  35. Hal_10000 says:

    @Jen:

    Agreed. I’ve know people who’ve been through background checks and they tend to be very thorough, even talking to neighbors. If they missed this … good grief.

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  36. Modulo Myself says:

    I don’t trust Avenatti. That Judge is not being subpoenaed is nuts.

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  37. Kari Q says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I find it difficult to believe that this was happening and we didn’t hear about until today.

    These accusations are extraordinary. Avenatti better have some extraordinary evidence. The “I told my therapist 20 years later” type of witness won’t cut it. If they don’t have statements from other people who were at the party where it happened, who saw it themselves, it’s not going to be good enough. If he doesn’t have that, it will backfire and earn Kavanaugh sympathy.

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  38. James Pearce says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Avennati just released a sworn statement.

    Uh oh…

    42% of America just tuned out.

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  39. Kari Q says:

    @Hal_10000:

    It really does feel like no one cares about justice; they want a scalp in retaliation for Garland.

    Garland doesn’t enter into my own thoughts at all on Kavanaugh, but I don’t pretend to know what anyone else is thinking. Garland is certainly the go-to answer any time a Republican tries to say something about process, of course.

    I would guess, however, that the scalp-by-proxy thoughts would have more to do with the sexual assaulter in chief than in Garland.

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  40. Kathy says:

    @Kari Q:

    These accusations are extraordinary. Avenatti better have some extraordinary evidence.

    He seems interested in running for president, or at least he was a few weeks ago. If so, a false accusation now, even if he’s not the one making it, thoroughly destroys his political prospects forever.

    The question then becomes: is he stupid enough to bring in a false accusation? Is he politically savvy at all?

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  41. george says:

    @Kari Q:

    I wonder if there’s something in Kavanaugh’s background that’s worse than what he’s already been accused of? It could explain why they don’t want an investigation and why McConnell believes that time is against Kavanaugh, that slowing the process down will make confirmation less likely. That’s just baseless speculation, though.

    I’ve been thinking that too. Its hard to explain otherwise why they wouldn’t just ride the investigation for a month, knowing that no evidence will come forward. It’d be a win-win for them (their base will stick with them, and independents will be satisfied if a month long investigation comes up empty). Unless they know of some other problems – more sexual assault, or perhaps a gambling problem?

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  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: I think Yglesias lays out the case against Kavanaugh’s honesty pretty well. He focusses not on the overwhelming evidence that Kavanaugh was a very hard drinker in high school. (New one on me: He also listed in his yearbook activities section that he was “Beach Week Ralph Club – Biggest Contributor”.) And, like me, he is not damning Kavanaugh for this partying, but rather for his basic dishonesty in how he is responding to it: by creating the impression of denying it with the most lawyerly and precise language while standing just on this side of a perjury charge.

    Bottom line is that Kavanaugh is not acting like someone who (like me) partied too much in high school and college and was probably obnoxious and offensive and who is embarrassed by this and regrets it. He is acting like someone who was involved in something much more heinous and cannot let a single bad thread appear lest someone tug and pull the whole thing apart.

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  43. Kari Q says:

    @Kathy:

    The question then becomes: is he stupid enough to bring in a false accusation?

    Actually, I think the question is: does he have the evidence to prove the allegation is true? It doesn’t matter if he believes it. It doesn’t even matter if it’s true.* It matters that he can prove it’s true.

    *From a legal and a political perspective only, of course. I do not mean to denigrate the horror that Julie Swetnik experienced if what she alleges actually happened. I just mean that something this awful needs to have a lot more evidence supporting it than the accusations such as Deborah Ramirez made.

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  44. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “42% of America just tuned out.”

    As opposed to their response to any other allegations against Kavanaugh? Please proceed, Governor.

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  45. Jen says:

    @george:

    I’ve been thinking that too. Its hard to explain otherwise why they wouldn’t just ride the investigation for a month, knowing that no evidence will come forward. It’d be a win-win for them (their base will stick with them, and independents will be satisfied if a month long investigation comes up empty).

    The only thing I can think of is that the SC starts its term on, I believe, Oct. 1. Are there cases being heard early on that have a strong potential for a 4/4 split? Not seating him for a month would mean he’d miss the arguments in those cases. I’m assuming that even if he’s eventually seated, he couldn’t vote on cases that he wasn’t seated for during arguments.

    This is literally the only thing I can come up with that would explain a rush to confirm (other than the chances Republicans lose the Senate, which is not too out there but is still looking like it’s a stretch rather than a sure thing, etc.)

    This still wouldn’t explain why they are pressing so hard for *this particular* nominee, rather than cutting loses early and going with one of the others on the Federalist Society’s list, who would likely be confirmed and vote precisely the same way.

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  46. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    As opposed to their response to any other allegations against Kavanaugh?

    I wish I could live in this headspace where Republicans actually want a rapist on the SC.

    Seems to me they’re skeptical of the allegations. They believe they are being made for political reasons. Enter Michael Avenatti to reinforce that perception.

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  47. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:

    I too find it bizarre that six FBI background checks wouldn’t bring this to light.

    I don’t know if this is true…but I read somewhere that background checks only go back to a certain age. Like I said…I don’t know.
    It is shocking they missed this…but there seems to be a lot of smoke for no fire.
    Her sworn statement carries a criminal liability for perjury and, as a clearance holder, perjury would be a career-ender.
    You can tell that Dennison is scared…he just personally attacked Avenatti…something he hasn’t done to date.

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  48. Just nutha says:

    “It’s the right tool for the job.”

    Only to the extent that “the job” is determining whether the allegations have any credibility. Sadly, “the job” in this case is to get this nomination rammed through the Senate. An FBI investigation is more likely to interfere with getting “the job” done than aid it.

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  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen:

    This is literally the only thing I can come up with that would explain a rush to confirm

    Huh. I’ve always thought their rush was much more political. Evangelical leaders have made it clear that they consider failure to get Kavanaugh on the Court to be reason to stay home from the polls in November. It hasn’t been subtle, a number of them have out and out said this in public. Evangelicals are extremely important to the modern Republican Party and will probably be the only group wherein women vote overwhelmingly Republican. I’m pretty sure the calculus is that simple.

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  50. Hal_10000 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    That’s my feeling too. It’s political. And driven by the perception, in conservative circles, that these are delaying tactics. The GOP isn’t that stupid, not on raw politics at least. If they knew something like … this … was in his past, rushing him to the Court only for it to come out later would be a disaster of biblical proportions.

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  51. Jen says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: It would be interesting to know what the parameters are, exactly. I would have thought that there would at least be a threshold of number of years (say, for people getting out of college and entering into programs such as FBI/CIA or any other of the intelligence agencies), rather than a set age, but who knows. I still go back to the fact that his best friend published a book apparently (I haven’t read it myself) full of references to…behavior that would at least have raised eyebrows, and it certainly seems as though no one gave the book a flip-through.

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  52. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: That’s a common threat (I used to work in Republican politics) and it never materializes. The core Republicans view voting as a duty, and they always turn out. This is why Democrats typically slip in mid-term elections, they just don’t (or at least haven’t in the past) viewed voting as a moral obligation.

    I’m not saying that isn’t at least part of the calculus, but I would have thought that most of those on the inside-baseball side of things would know by now that that is not necessarily an idle threat, but it’s definitely in the boy-crying-wolf category of things. Just speculation on my part, of course.

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  53. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “I wish I could live in this headspace where Republicans actually want a rapist on the SC.”

    There’s a difference between actually wanting a rapist on the Supreme Court and caring whether their guy is actually a rapist. It’s remarkably similar to the difference between actually wanting a person who has committed sexual assaults in the Oval Office and caring whether their guy has actually committed them.

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  54. wr says:

    @Jen: “She claims that there are witnesses that can corroborate everything she is attesting to.”

    Well, gosh, I guess that means there IS something the FBI can investigate…

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  55. wr says:

    @Kathy: “The question then becomes: is he stupid enough to bring in a false accusation? Is he politically savvy at all?”

    Politically savvy or not, he seems to be pretty clear on the law and how to use it to his advantage. Bringing in a false accusation would destroy him — especially when there are so many people out there who’d like to see him implode — and I’m pretty sure he knows it.

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  56. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I would really just like to stop and take a moment to thank the GOP for bringing this country to a place where the POTUS, who is laughed at by world leaders, is battling a porn star’s lawyer over the gang rape allegations against a SC nominee.
    Stay classy, Republicans.

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  57. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000:

    If they knew something like … this … was in his past, rushing him to the Court only for it to come out later would be a disaster of biblical proportions.

    You might be right. Or 80 year old Republican Senators who were willing to defy all conventions and block any meaningful investigation into Kavanaugh’s background might have felt they could get away with it. They could push his nomination through in record time and if anything new came out later they could immediately shout out that “Justice Kavanaugh was thoroughly investigated, Sir, I say thoroughly investigated!” in their best Foghorn Leghorn style. If that was their strategy they made a royal cock of it, but we are talking about sexist 80 year old dinosaurs here, and ones surrounded with plenty of people willing to repeat back to them everything they want to hear.

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  58. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like a few of K.’s classmates are putting some dents in that choirboy image.

    (It’s coming down to the same old story: it’s not the crime; it’s the cover-up that does you in.)

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  59. Eric Florack says:

    I would advise you to read McCarthy’s article.

    the fact of the matter is if the Republicans were interested in plowing things right through, the vote would have been held already.

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  60. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I would really just like to stop and take a moment to thank the GOP for bringing this country to a place where the POTUS, who is laughed at by world leaders, is battling a porn star’s lawyer over the gang rape allegations against a SC nominee.

    Totally stealing this.

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  61. Just nutha says:

    @Hal_10000: Not sure that it would be any more of a disaster than this has been. Yes, there would have been a lot of outrage by those who are outraged now, and the base and oligarchs still wouldn’t care, but there would have been plenty of “the damage can’t be undone now” guys. Maybe even some on this thread or among our hosts.

    For raw politics, my inclination would have been too tell Sen. Boxer the complaint is a day late and a dollar short and hold the vote the next day. I’ll roll the dice on November considering that I won the previous time.

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  62. David M says:

    Quit being surprised that the GOP still supports Kavanaugh, they don’t have any choice in the matter

    “today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.”

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  63. MarkedMan says:

    @Moosebreath:

    It’s remarkably similar to the difference between actually wanting a person who has committed sexual assaults in the Oval Office and caring whether their guy has actually committed them.

    This. People should be judged not on what they abhor but on what they will not tolerate. In Pearce’s worldview, it is inconceivable* that Republican’s would tolerate someone who sexually assaults a woman. In the real world, they overwhelmingly support President Pussy Grabber, credibly accused of assaulting roughly 20 women, one of whom was 13 at the time.

    *Not just inconceivable. By giving any credence to Ford or the other women, we are just playing into Trump’s master plan. Pearce is very helpfully telling us to forget this and move on to some other (always unnamed) tactic.

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  64. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: “I would advise you to read McCarthy’s article.”

    I tried. Another whiny-ass titty-baby mewling about how the nasty Democrats are so meaannn! to the virtuous Republicans who are only trying to bring justice and love to everyone in the country. I’d be shocked that any educated individual could be so un-self-aware, but then, that’s what he’s paid for.

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  65. Jen says:

    @Just nutha: You do realize that Senator Barbara Boxer is retired, and no longer serving in the US Senate, right?

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  66. Joe says:

    Oh, you know, Jen, that woman senator.

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  67. Eric Florack says:

    @wr:

    and what would you be saying if evidence was compiled at the Republicans have been using exactly those tactics for the last several decades?

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  68. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack
    Your complete (pretended) ignorance of republican tactics over the past several decades is truly mind boggling. Your utter lack of self reflection is a wonder to behold. I am in awe sir.

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  69. Barry says:

    @Kari Q: “I wonder if there’s something in Kavanaugh’s background that’s worse than what he’s already been accused of? ”

    He was a serious, privileged, black-out abusive drunk, hanging around with peers. Wanna bet that some really nasty stuff did *not* happen?

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  70. Barry says:

    @Jen: “Surely they could find someone else equally eager to overturn Roe without this baggage? Why are they fighting so hard for this particular nominee?”

    The story is that he’s 100% reliable on the principle that Republican Presidents are above the law. The others are at best highly reliable. Trump undoubtedly values that.

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  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen and Joe: My bad! I guess I’ve lost my right to have an opinion now. Buh bye.

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  72. Teve says:

    Bottom line is that Kavanaugh is not acting like someone who (like me) partied too much in high school and college and was probably obnoxious and offensive and who is embarrassed by this and regrets it.

    I did some really obnoxious stuff in college while Blackout Drunk. And I lived by that old English Theatre line “Never ask what you did the night before. It is best not to know.” And I committed sexual harassment during those times, if not assault. And 15 years later I still passed an FBI background check.

    Kavanaugh is guilty AF and everybody knows it.

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  73. Barry says:

    @Hal_10000: “I’ll see what comes out. I am finding it very difficult to believe that this rape crew was operating and six FBI background checks failed to find it. ”

    From what I’ve heard, the standard in these cases is 10 years back or until age 18, which ever is less.

    Ford wants an FBI investigation, which would now likely go back as far as they can.

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