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It may be an understatement to say that the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has become a train wreck for the GOP at the hands of politically-motivated Democrats. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has managed to gum up the fast-track nomination process to the point where President Trump is actually mulling whether or not to pull Kavanaugh’s name from consideration.

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As reported here on Monday, a letter from a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, surfaced earlier this summer claiming that Kavanaugh had engaged in an attempted rape at a drunken party during his high school years. Democrats had the letter since July but sat on the contents until just a week ago.

With several days of back-and-forth, we’re at the point now where Kavanaugh vehemently denies the allegation and has agreed to come back before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions on this new revelation. Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, seemed first agreeable to also come before the committee, but then demanded that an FBI investigation take place before she would testify. Republicans are calling this request for an FBI investigation, which lacks jurisdiction in this case, a delay tactic to keep the seat open until after the midterm elections as an attempt to ignite Democratic voter turnout.

There are plenty of other SCOTUS nominees on the Trump short list of judges, but the White House is wary of pulling Kavanaugh over fears of a Republican backlash in November, as the Daily Beast reports:

For Donald Trump’s White House, Brett Kavanaugh is increasingly irrelevant to the politics of his own Supreme Court nomination. Instead, those close to the president view the next few days as a virtual X-ray on the backbone of their party and a litmus test for the future of Trump’s presidency.

Those are the stakes that Team Trump has embraced as it and Kavanaugh respond to allegations that the federal appeals court judge sexually assaulted a fellow high-school student—allegations he strenuously denies.

There has been no talk within the ranks about pulling the nomination and going with an equally conservative—if not less controversial—pick, even if it would remove a major complication from the Republican agenda just 50 days before the midterm elections. To do so, aides and operatives insist, would be a disaster of much greater magnitude: inviting Democrats to launch more aggressive challenges to future judicial nominees and depressing the very base of conservative voters needed in November.

“A withdrawal would be disastrous for Trump,” one pro-Trump political operative who worked on the president’s 2016 campaign said. “You take away the whole ‘We’re sick of winning’ message. That’s a huge, marquee, top-line loss.”

Rarely have Supreme Court fights been defined in such crassly political terms.

New York Magazine also points out that withdrawing Kavanaugh from the process would leave Republicans in an impossible bind with no time left to put up a new nominee and have hearings plus a vote before the court’s term starts in October:

Depending on what happens in the next few days, there is an invisible but very real point of no return on Kavanaugh in terms of withdrawing him and substituting another nominee. It’s already very late in the day for getting an alternative confirmation process underway prior to the November 6 midterms. And with every passing day, the odds of completing a non-Kavanaugh confirmation before the end of the year (and the end of the 115th Congress) go down — with potentially catastrophic consequences for Trump, the GOP, and the conservative movement if Democrats win back control of the Senate in the midterms.

A quick switch from Kavanaugh to, say, Amy Coney Barrett might be a good move politically from a conventional standpoint. It would neutralize the potential midterm gender-gap consequences of white male Republican senators protecting their white male judicial candidate by disrespecting an alleged sexual assault victim. And it would give conservatives a SCOTUS pick that some preferred to Kavanaugh in the first place, in part because of the advantages associated with having a woman to help form a Court majority willing to overturn Roe v. Wade and curtail reproductive rights.

But ruthless as Trump may be, cutting his losses in this case would mean admitting he’s nominated a loser from a list of 25 SCOTUS prospects produced by what he has touted as the most extensive vetting process in presidential history.

In short, the White House is between a rock and a hard place on Kavanaugh. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they want to dump him just to make this problem go away since he has become damaged goods even if the story isn’t true. That would be well and good if there wasn’t an election coming up in 47 days. As Election Day draws closer, Congress will spend more time back home campaigning and less time in DC. It would be impossible to get a new nominee, such as Judge Amy Coney Barrett, for example, vetted by the Judiciary Committee in time to get a vote before the election.

In fact, it’s safe to say that Democrats are angling hard for a delay until after the election, regardless of who the nominee may be. Democratic voters would become instantly more motivated in the Senate races to flip some Republican seats and take back some control over the judicial nomination process. It’s almost a made-to-order campaign issue if Kavanaugh doesn’t get confirmed within the next two weeks.

For all these reasons and more, Republicans plan to push ahead with Kavanaugh, as reported by the Wall Stree Journal:

White House Spokesman Raj Shah said the president won’t look at naming any replacement nominee unless there is a clear need. The administration, he said, was going “full steam ahead” to support Judge Kavanaugh, who has denied the assault accusations.

GOP leaders in the Senate said they were continuing to seek the testimony of Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser, California college professor Christine Blasey Ford. Earlier, Republicans rejected calls from her attorneys and Democrats for an investigation of the allegations as a condition for her appearing at the hearing.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the hearing would start at 10 a.m. Monday, and he pressed Dr. Ford to testify. In a letter to her lawyers, he gave her a deadline of 10 a.m. Friday to submit her biography and prepared remarks if she planned to testify.

Monday is the deadline right now for Ford to show up and testify, possibly derailing the entire nomination depending on her credibility, or to decide not to show, in which case Republicans have vowed to move forward with a committee vote leading to a full Senate vote.

I can’t leave the story without picking this nugget from the WSJ article which makes you truly wonder how long Trump will stick with Kavanaugh:

It wasn’t clear how committed Mr. Trump is to the nomination. A person close to Mr. Trump said the president views Judge Kavanaugh as the pick of outgoing White House Counsel Don McGahn and “won’t lose any sleep if he has to choose someone else.”

Kavanaugh may not have been Trump’s first pick, especially since the Judge hails from the Bush-wing of the Republican Party. Trump will go along now for the politics alone, but if it drags on past Monday, expect the narrative to change if and when Trump decides it’s best to cut Kavanaugh loose and name a new, perhaps more conservative Judge to placate his base. That’ll lead to some epic Senate race battles as the Supreme Court would become the defining campaign issue.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t understand what an FBI investigation could uncover. Apparently Ford didn’t talk to anyone at the time about the event. That’s not surprising for that time. She would have been accused of causing the attack. But it would take the support of a second person to make a difference. With all the publicity, it’s amazing that none of her friends have come forth. Didn’t she have a BFF to confide in?

    On the other hand, this is not an opportunistic claim. Ford first brought it up in 2012, and she has recently taken a lie detector test–so at least she believes the attack occurred. Likewise, Feinstein didn’t bring this forward. In fact, she’s being criticized for NOT reporting it. Feinstein says Ford didn’t want to come forward, so there was nothing to report. It took an unrelated publication to find the story and print it.

  2. I am so over this crazy woman with her impossible to prove supposed attack that goes back at least 35 years. Every Democrat that has come forward has made a stupid statement of how they “believe the “victim”. Do they also believe the “victim” of Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison? Haven’t heard about it yet? You will!

    • CNN asked to view the alleged video, but the accuser, Monahans, does not have a video as she alleged. She told CNN that she misplaced it when moving and could provide no other evidence to corroborate her story. Leaving her up the same creek as Christine Baisley Ford and Anita Hill.

  3. We found out at Trump’s rally in Vegas how truly committed he is to judge Kavanaugh. So the WSJ was way off base. Typical.

    Is Ford really the victim of scum bag politicians? Was she set up?

    I tend to believe that Ford has plenty of smarts but zero street smarts. She’s about to find out that it’s a mean world. Ford has been tucked away in her college life. I think Somebody got to her and convinced her that she can topple Kavanaugh/Trump. Sounds good/easy/harmless.

    I blame this fiasco on DiFi. DiFi knows the score. She’s been around. She set her up to fail.

    Trump once said business is tough but politicians are ruthless.

    What do you and Gothe think? Politics aside please.

    • As I noted elsewhere, Ford first brought this up in 2012, so this is not a big surprise.

      https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/17/politics/kavanaugh-ford-timeline/index.html

      She has undergone a lie detector test, to prove that at least she believes that it happened.

      Trump is disingenuous to say Ford should have gone to the police at the time. At the time, she would have been considered a harlot, and would have been laughed out of the police station (along with catcalls and whistles). And Trump, of all people, should be keeping quiet about abuse of women.

      Note also that Ford knew that she was at a party with illegal drinking.

      And it was a different time for guys. They thought they were allowed to do what they wanted then, and they could. It was also a long time ago.

      Regarding “DiFi,” she did NOT bring this forward, as noted in the link. She did not want this to be public. It was a publication called “The Intercept” that broke the story, and “DiFi” was villified by the left for sitting on it.

      My guess is that if no one comes forth to either corroborate her story–or make a separate claim–Ford will be destroyed. The ridicule is already pretty pronounced.

      • OK. Let’s get real. I believe her. I believe he was drunk (and she may have been, as well). That may be why he doesn’t remember it. It didn’t “happen to him.”

        I also think that he may have seen the action as just being silly, but he was not the person on the bottom. I am not a woman, but I understand that women have a reason to fear men–and may even project negative intent which he may not have.

        I found this:

        https://www.vox.com/2018/9/19/17878968/christine-blasey-ford-brett-kavanaugh-sexual-assault

        “Jim Gensheimer, a close friend. . .shared a chilling detail with the Los Angeles Times: Decades after Kavanaugh allegedly cornered Ford in a bedroom at a high school party, she didn’t want to buy a home without a second exit from the master bedroom.

        “Obviously, something happened that traumatized her so much that she’s afraid of being trapped,” Gensheimer told the Times.

        “. . .accounts from those who do know Ford, as detailed in the LA Times, describe her as honest, calm, a rigorous academic, and ‘a woman of great integrity.’

        “Ford ‘was worried about ruining Kavanaugh’s career and was open to the idea that people can change,’ according to Gensheimer.

        “The descriptions of Ford from her acquaintances and colleagues, in fact, bear a close resemblance to how Republicans have described Kavanaugh.”

        So–depending on whether you want Kavanaugh to be confirmed, you’ll see the event as either “harmless roughhousing” or “assault with attempt to rape.”

        And that’s the sad state of our nation: we can’t be open minded. We have to ascribe evil intent to our opponents in every situation.

        • The new Kavanaugh defense is not “he didn’t do it,” it’s, “it was somebody else.” Someone else was even named.

          • No one seems to deny that Christine Baisley Ford was gang raped and that Kavanaugh was a witness. For Kavanaugh to now say that “he didn’t do it” and “it was somebody else” is still an admission that he silently witnessed a horrible crime and did nothing to stop the crime or to report the crime to law enforcement.

      • Is your reasoning why Flowers and Broaddrick weren’t believed? The times I’m talking about. Or is Ford to be believed no matter what? Even though the facts, and supposed witnesses, are not in sync.

        • Read more carefully. I said that i believe her–that Ford believes the event happened, as shown by a lie detector test, and the fact that she is so paranoid about being in a closed space–such as a bedroom with only one exit, or an airplane.

          But yes, times have changed. Bill Clinton would not have been elected post Weinstein. And neither would Donald Trump.

            • Nonsense. Ford has always said that only one person “witnessed” the event. That is, the guy she says jumped on Kavanaugh, allowing her to escape. That guy says he doesn’t remember it, but has refused to testify under oath. He should have been subpoenaed, to see if he has credibility.

              The point is–was there a party? By naming the people who were at the party, her credibility is increased, not diminished, since she remembers even who was there. To everyone else, it was just another under-age drinking party that they wanted to keep quiet. Can you remember even one party you attended in high school? I remember only one–held at the Catholic school–when I first danced with Donna Newman to Paul Simon’s “Homeward Bound.” Do you seriously think ANY other student who was there remembers that dance?? No way.

              Remember that Ford says she never told anyone until 2012.

              I continue to believe that Ford honestly believes the event happened (whether it did or not). I have heard zero evidence or claims that have shed any doubt on her story. Thursday will be interesting to watch, as the all-male, all-white Republican members of the committee in the “MeToo” era try not to make it look like Anita Hill all over again. They will, no doubt, lie low, unless or until their chosen female lawyer draws blood. Then, they will go for the jugular.

            • Lacking hard evidence, how does it bolster her case to name people at the party and then have those named people say it never happened? I’d expect Kav to say that, but now the others she named have said the same.

              Again, lacking hard evidence, why would any of them be more or less credible than another? If justice is blind, we judge without prejudice toward or against either party.

              Last week I was thinking Kav would be ditched soon. Now I’m back to 50/50 he’s confirmed depending on what happens between now and Thursday.

              BTW, the woman noted in that Hot Air article is a registered Democrat. She could have helped corroborate Ford’s story if she wanted to, but she negated it also.

              Is the new standard that any accusation, regardless of a lack of evidence, is reason someone shouldn’t be confirmed? It’s not a court of law, but to me it looks like reasonable doubt in Kav’s favor given the current situation. If someone corroborates her story, that changes.

              I think Dems have been hoping/praying that at least 1 more woman came forward with a similar accusation. That would’ve been enough to sink him with nobody testifying. As it stands that hasn’t happened (yet) which means Ford’s testimony must stand or fall on its own.

              I don’t have a dog in the race here, I’m just looking at this objectively. If I was a Senator charged with judging this matter for a confirmation vote, how would I vote? I don’t think I know until Thursday.

            • We do agree that this is a typical “he said, she said” story. But in a “he said, she said,” I tend to lean toward the person who has nothing to gain. In this case, Ford knows she is going to be destroyed. She’s already being excoriated.

              She did not even come forward. She merely did her duty to state her misgivings to Dianne Feinstein, but said she would not want to testify, which Feinstein honored.

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/

              This whole issue did not come up until it was reported by the online service, “The Intercept.” Is “The Intercept” a Democratic shill? Hardly. For two years, they’ve been reporting that the Mueller probe is a witch hunt.

              http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/glenn-greenwald-russia-investigation.html

              As noted in my “Donna Neuman” story (I misspelled her name the first time), I dare you to recount any high school party that had no impact on you–yet, you’ll remember it all if it was a big day for you. The important thing is that Ford was so impacted by that party, that she remembers where it was, and even who was there. The fact that people to whom nothing happened don’t remember it actually supports that concept.

              Mark Judge has been identified as the guy Ford claims was the only witness. To him, this would have been nothing out of the ordinary. His memoir brags about his wild times, including blacking out from being drunk. He has refused to testify under oath.

              https://theintercept.com/2018/09/22/mark-judge-wasted-brett-kavanaugh/

              Regarding the HotAir woman, she is irrelevant. Should we hear testimony of everyone in the country who doesn’t remember anything? Even less relevant is the fact that she’s a Democrat. This is not about politics, it’s about gender issues.

              I said elsewhere that I believe that Ford believes what she is saying, not that it necessarily happened. I also said that from Kavanaugh’s view, if it happened, he would have considered it “goofing around” if he remembered it at all, since he was heavily drunk, according to Ford. Why would he remember it? So he’s probably telling the truth, too–that he doesn’t remember it.

              Kavanaugh’s friends are not helping by claiming it did happen, but it was somebody else. . .

              https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/09/21/ed-whelan-tweets-220527

              Or that it did happen, but heck, it was just “rough horseplay.”

              https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/director-of-pro-kavanaugh-group-suddenly-has-a-very-different-message-about-christine-fords-allegations/

              Likewise, Trump, himself.

              https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/407970-mcconnell-told-trump-attacking-kavanaugh-accuser-wasnt-helpful-report

              I also said I agree with you that if no one else comes forward, either to corroborate Ford, or to make a separate claim, that I expect Kavanaugh to prevail–because Republicans have all the votes they need, both in the committee, and in the full senate–and McConnell says, regardless, he will “plow right through.”

              https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/407931-doug-jones-goes-after-mcconnell-over-kavanaugh-confirmation

            • My observation is basically that any one of numerous alleged witnesses, named by Ford, could have corroborated her story to some extent. None have.

              Even something to corroborate that a gathering happened sometime and they know Kav was present. But they got nothing.

              Feinstein has had trouble adequately explaining all her actions on this. It’s entirely plausible someone in her office leaked it so she could be absolved of releasing it.

            • Again. . .she didn’t name them to corroborate. She named them to point out that her memory is clear on the event.

              I very clearly remember a high school dance from the mid 1960s. Because something happened to me. But I cannot remember going to ANY party outside of school, and don’t remember the events of any other gathering sponsored by the school. That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

              The only thing Kavanaugh has at this point is a calendar on which he did NOT write about the party. But if this was a party to have illegal alcohol (he was 17, after all) would one put that on one’s calendar? Also, since there were so few people there, it may not have been a planned party, anyway. It might have been, “my folks are going out of town tomorrow, let’s get a few people together and drink ourselves stupid.”

              Kavanaugh’s real problem is the college student who said he exposed himself to her. But I don’t think he has to worry about Avanetti’s claim that Kavanaugh was running a gang-rape program. That is too bizarre.

              The letter was apparently first sent to Ford’s own rep, Anna Eshoo, and it went through a number of hands. The surprising thing is that Feinstein was able to keep it hidden as long as she did. The Intercept doesn’t name its source.

              https://theintercept.com/2018/09/12/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-dianne-feinstein/

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