Saturday, September 22, 2018

The GOP want Kavanaugh real bad

In a preparation session on Tuesday, Kavanaugh faced more than a dozen White House aides in the Eisenhower building, during which aides played different senators for more than two hours.


An array of White House aides, playing the role of various senators on the Judiciary Committee, quizzed Kavanaugh last week about his sex life and other personal matters in an attempt to prepare him for a hearing that would inevitably be uncomfortable.

In his answers during the practice runs, aides said, Kavanaugh condemned sexual assault and carefully avoided seeming to discredit Christine Blasey Ford.


But Kavanaugh grew frustrated when it came to questions that dug into his private life, particularly his drinking habits and his sexual proclivities, according to three people familiar with the preparations, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. He declined to answer some questions altogether, saying they were too personal, these people said.

“I’m not going to answer that,” Kavanaugh said at one point according to a senior White House official, who said that the questions were designed to go over the line and that he struck the right tone.


“The Republicans need women voters, but all hell will break loose (or it will be chaos) if this nomination unravels,” Dan Eberhart, an Arizona-based GOP donor, wrote in an email. “If we can’t get the nomination done, why vote Republican?”

Ridiculous. It's Kavanaugh only because he's compromised and he'll block any attempts to punish Trump in the courts. They could have any number of other candidates, indeed more qualified candidates, to offer, get the nomination through smoothly, and not have this trouble.
But instead of making the final rounds with senators and locking down pivotal swing votes last week, Kavanaugh was calling Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and other key allies, urging them to publicly support him and determining what questions he would face in a hearing that inevitably draws comparisons to the 1991 proceedings with Anita Hill, who had accused now-Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

In one key call, Kavanaugh told Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) that Ford had the wrong guy in mind, saying he had not attended a party like the one she described to The Washington Post.
And we know where that went, don't we? Straight into the shitter.  Where it belonged.
McConnell called Trump Friday to say that [his] tweets [questioning Ford] were not helpful, according to two people familiar with the call, and that they could cause new problems. As of Saturday, Trump had not said anything more directly against Ford.


Republicans have also talked about enlisting female lawyers on the committee, who Grassley said would be “sensitive to the particulars of Dr. Ford’s allegations and are experienced investigators,” to the lead the questioning. They might also help the GOP avoid an optics problem of 11 men grilling a woman about her sexual assault allegation.
Ford's lawyers, it would seem, are okay with that optic.
Democrats are also plotting their own strategy for the hearing. Furious about Grassley’s ­decision to limit testimony to just Kavanaugh and Ford, Democratic aides planned to find other potential witnesses — such as a trauma expert — who could help bolster their case.

If they couldn’t be heard under oath, Democrats discussed holding news conferences where those other experts would speak, aides said. A top priority, according to Democratic officials, was ensuring Ford felt supported, whether it was having enough friends and family in the hearing room with her or finding people who can speak publicly about Ford’s character.


As for questions for Kavanaugh, Democrats planned to hold nothing back. Democratic staff have been researching the broader culture of the prep academy world in which Kavanaugh lived while reading the writings of Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford said was in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her. Judge, who has said he doesn’t want to testify, has written about how much alcohol he and his classmates consumed while in high school and details about other debaucherous behavior.
Is debaucherous a word?
Democrats also planned to grill Kavanaugh on what he knew about a controversial Twitter thread from Ed Whelan, a prominent conservative lawyer and friend of Kavanaugh who not only theorized that Ford could have been assaulted by another person, but named the person whom Whelan suggested could have perpetrated the attack.
Well, I hope they're prepared to press on that and other issues and not just ask a question, let him answer in the negative or say he doesn't recall, and then drop it.
Feinstein gave the full letter to Grassley on Thursday, according to GOP and Democratic aides. Republicans have continued to harp on Feinstein for keeping the letter private, but she says she was honoring Ford’s wishes and, now that it is part of Kavanaugh’s background check file, has declined to release it publicly.

“This is just bizarre,” one senior Senate GOP official said. “They want her to publicly testify . . . but the infamous letter is still not public. They won’t allow it to be.”
Maybe when you release those tens of thousands of pages of Kavanaugh's records you won't give them.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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