Jeff Flake’s “Investigation” Is A Predicable Trumpian Sham

This was about the easiest thing in the world to predict. Jeff Flake issues some hollow self indulgent bullshit to make himself look like the last great reasonable man, and it is all garbage being run as cover for a complicit Trump White House and weak Senate Republicans (and at least one faux Democrat) desperately and cowardly seeking any fig leaf possible to allow them to put a craven, partisan, angry and drunkard historical sex offender on the United States Supreme Court for the next three to four decades.

If you thought that was just hyperbole previously, read this from NBC News and chew on it:

Instead of investigating Swetnick’s claims, the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview, according to several people who discussed the parameters on the condition of anonymity. They characterized the White House instructions as a significant constraint on the FBI investigation and caution that such a limited scope, while not unusual in normal circumstances, may make it difficult to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault.

The limited scope seems to be at odds with what some members of the Senate judiciary seemed to expect when they agreed to give the FBI as much as a week to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh, a federal judge who grew up in the Washington DC area and attended an elite all-boys high school before going on to Yale.

Yes, of course Trump and McGahn are limiting the scope and time of this “investigation”. It was always going to be a sham, and that is why it was always so absurd that the SJC Minority, and other Dems, not to mention the ridiculously ever gullible national press, bought off on this idiocy. It was an own goal that they set themselves up for and are now being collared by.

This is a fraud being perpetrated on the American public. The media needs to take the time and do their own investigation, the “FBI” one is a sham being manipulated by the sex criminal led and protecting, White House.

I honestly don’t know who is more clueless in what was up with this ruse….the national media as to the forever sucker play of “the last honest Republican, Jeff Flake”….or the Democratic cheerleaders that thought this was anything other than a sham fig leaf cover play. Both are pathetic. This was obvious from the first second Flake uttered the words “limited” and “one week or less”.

PT Barnum said that a sucker is born even minute. A LOT of them were born yesterday. Didn’t have to be that way, but that is the stupidity of DC politics, and press coverage thereof.

222 replies
  1. Trip says:

    I just read this a few minutes ago. So f-king sickening and depressing.

    You were right, but I wish you had been wrong.

        • Eureka says:

          lol bmaz-Also belated thanks for your insights re the Mitchell situation.  Peterr had pasted over here some of your local color tweets before that post, so we had some warning in the ~ how could it get any worse department.

          • bmaz says:

            Heh, my local color tweets were actually fairly tame. You should have heard some of the discussion going down in the hallways in the courthouse here. Ooof.

  2. oldoilfieldhand says:

    “the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview”. In related news the New York time has exclusive information from an anonymous source that the White House Counsel’s Office included a strict definition of sexual assault as “an assault on sex”. Since the New York Times is a “family values newspaper”, the publisher and editors have decided to redact any and all references to sex. Look over there, a shiny object!

  3. Jordan Orlando says:

    I don’t know why it’s so impossible for everyone here (and, to some degree, everywhere) to recognize the more plausible Occam’s Razor explanation of what we’re seeing — especially in light of what I maintain were seismic events, yesterday, akin to the Rodney King verdict, but going the other direction — which is that Trump <i>et al.</i> are using the week’s delay to provide cover for getting rid of Kavenaugh. They can’t vote against him and they can’t withdraw him, since this would be catastrophic as far as their base supporters’ attitudes (“owning the libs” etc.) and Trump’s insisting he’s never wrong (although we’ve never seen him as chastened as he was yesterday).

    We know Trump doesn’t like weakness, crying, or drunkards, and it’s clear that he’s “read the room” and realized (as have many in the Senate) that they were not gauging the national mood correctly.

    Obviously in a week I could be proven wrong, but I think what’s dubiously regarded as a hedge — and, more cynically (here and elsewhere) as a straight-up con — is, in fact, a measured retreat.

      • Jordan Orlando says:

        Also remember that there’s nothing monolithic about this, and Don McGahn doesn’t speak for the entire right wing. He’s got his own agenda. (Especially in this chaotic, atomized White House.)

        I respect everyone’s skepticism. I just think yesterday may just be one of the dates that future history student will have to memorize.

      • BobCon says:

        I think the right framing is that they’re hoping the real investigation – all of the reporters trying to break through the omerta – doesn’t turn up any leads. Also expect some new craziness to try to distract the press, and give the GOP senators cover.

        The media will be complicit, because they will never, ever report in depth on he persuasion campaigmpn, or how they were distracted from an obvious story in the first place – one they really should have covered years ago.

      • skua says:

        I dunno either. The following may be a major factor or only minor factor in Trump’s handling of BK’s appointment currently.

        WH may have research that shows this issue motivates their base.

        And a motivated base will turn out and vote in the midterms.

        • Frank Probst says:

          On this point, at least, I agree with you.  Trump won’t pull this nomination.  That would be an admission of defeat.  If he wants to tank it, he’ll start leaking all sorts of negative things to his favorite members of the press so that Brett Kavanaugh’s life becomes so miserable that he withdraws.

        • Trip says:

          Kennedy made a deal to retire and I think Kavanaugh was in his sights. Plus, we know how Kavanaugh feels about investigations of presidents. This is Trump’s man. McGahn’s too. If the court decides no investigations, and they kill the Mueller probe, whatever exposure McGahn had disappears too. Are we sure if any other candidates share that opinion?

          • Jordan Orlando says:

            Again, the NBC News story that’s the basis for the post we’re commenting on — the fuse that set off this explosively cynical, bitter rage of “SEE? SEE? The fix is in!” is based entirely on the actions of Don McGahn, not Trump.

            And, again, in any other administration we’d expect coherence and unibloc thinking — we’d be able to read the tea leaves and figure out where the entire Executive was going. Not in the Trump era (as we know from Wolff, Woodward and probably a hundred other credible sources).

            • Trip says:

              If this was only Trump, maybe. But McConnell also wants it done NOW.

              Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if you were picking up the real scent. I just don’t think so.

              • Jordan Orlando says:

                Also remember that this is a complex clockwork with many moving parts and armatures — not (as we make fun of the other side for painting Democrats/liberals as) a monolithic conspiracy.

                The dam broke, unexpectedly, thanks to a profound shift in public opinion in the years since Anita Hill. Of course when that happens it’s going to look like this — the villains aren’t suddenly going to start smiling like mean old Mr. Potter at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life and throw their money into the pile.

                A significant number of extremely powerful people still want Kavenaugh on the high court, no less than they did two days ago. But to regard the entire thing, from Flake onward, as a total con, intended solely to fake us out and mollify us, is no less grotesque an exaggeration than those they apply to us.

                • Anon says:

                  It is also worth noting that Kavanaugh’s performance art made a number of people who were on the fence about him (e.g. Trump and some Evangelical ‘leaders’) embrace him that much more strongly. To them he is the chosen one and his whiny temper tantrum was exactly what they wanted to see. As a consequence they will have an even harder time letting go and be that much less enthused about an alternative.

                  At this point national politics and culture may be against Kavanaugh but to the Conservative Movement that put him at the head and are so close to overturning Roe that they can taste it, the impetus to double down is, I think, that much stronger.

    • DJ says:

      Hmm… If Trump were already determined to get rid of Kavanaugh… why set up (what appears to be) a sham FBI investigation? If you are going to dump Kavanaugh, why not instruct the “FBI, go for it all you wish… after Tuesday.” And then tell Kavanaugh that he can either withdraw on his own accord on Monday or Tuesday, or we will give you the boot and put up #2. I understand the Senate already set up parameters, but does Trump care about parameters, protocol, or appropriate measures?

      As for Trump’s cover for not looking weak, he could say… take your pick:

      “The democrats were tearing the country apart and I have to move on.”

      “Flake is a loser and I said, ‘You know what, I don’t need weak Flakey to order around our Supreme Court.”

      “Kavanaugh isn’t doing anything to help his cause, he’s weak; I fired him.”

      “something, something, something… Hillary… something, something… Hillary… something… lock her up.”

      • Rayne says:

        There’s one other reason niggling at me which might be reason enough to get rid of Kavanaugh. This has dragged out too far and risks the possibility more of the Bush administration documents might be released — documents a whole passel of people don’t want open to the public yet.

        Kennedy’s retirement this year, so late, may have been timed to avoid releasing those papers. Ditch Kavanaugh and swap in Plan B by October 8 and there’s still time to push through a uber-conservative justice if they lean on the Dems hard enough.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Since bmaz was diplomatic, or perhaps speechless, I’ll be more direct.  The arrangement you suggest and Occam’s Razor are not related.

      Trump is startlingly ignorant, but he does have a feral sense of power, weakness, and survival.  What he did learn came mostly from Roy Cohn.  That can be boiled down to deny, attack, blame the victim, attack again.  Neither compromise nor “measured retreat” were in Roy’s syllabus.

      These guys are on a roll, but the clock is running out.  They fear losing their Senate majority in November, and Bob Mueller is bearing down.  Owning the Supreme Court is Trump’s last best hope of survival, as it is the Republican Party’s, which is now all-in for Trump.

      Come hell or high water, that means getting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.  He will owe his patrons big time.  His always delivered.  His frailties and lies help insure he will again.  Someone else might be more conservative, but might not help in keeping Trump from avoiding consequences.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Getting Kavanaugh on the Supremes is part of winning.  Polling suggests that winning is one if not the only thing keeping Trump’s base loyal.  It lives with vulnerability, weakness, and loss every day.  It wins vicariously when its authority figure wins.  It needs to feel that high or it will fidget and look for a new leader who can supply it.

        If Trump lost control of further inquiry into Kavanaugh, if more damaging information about him were documented and made public, and public protest reached a crescendo, the GOP might force Trump to rethink.  We’re not there yet, and Trump is working never to get there.

        McGahn and Leo might be looking for a substitute for Kavanaugh, just in case.  Trump’s pattern is more Thelma, Louise, and the Grand Canyon, except that he thinks he can fly.

        • Anon says:

          There is a more basic transactional reason for it. It is the same reason that is making McConnell so strident about Kavanaugh. The Republican party exists to serve its donors and it does so by corralling the votes of believers. To do that they promise to die on the hill of overturning Roe. If they back down now when they have a pro-polluter anti-roe wunderkint just because he raped a girl then one or the other of their factions will drop them.

          They can afford to be unpopular for a while but they can’t afford losing their core, or their cash.

      • Jordan Orlando says:

        Agreed on all points. For all of those powerful, interested parties, the urgency of seating Kavenaugh (for all the reasons you list, and more) hasn’t diminished in the slightest. In my comments elsewhere on this page, I’ve tried to make clear that I have no doubt that McGahn, McConnell etc. are going to do anything and everything they can to ensure that, at the end of the week, Kavenaugh is confirmed — I would expect nothing less (and, I’m not stupid; I don’t think anyone’s had any kind of “moral awakening” over all of this).

        But we’re not talking about the same thing, are we? I’m saying that yesterday — like the day of the Rodney King verdict, which had a very different ending — a moment of reckoning for America; a crucial “this will not stand” seismic shift in top-to-bottom political awareness. The other side blinked, and, incredibly, acquiesced to what we wanted. I think Flake acted in good faith — in the interests of political expediency, to be sure, but that’s the great thing about a democracy: the self-interest of the politicians and the will of their constituents (and, occasionally by extension, the greater good) are vested.

        So, to be absolutely clear, what I’m objecting to is the cynical and, I think, unwarranted  insistence that from Flake on down, we are being played — that this week is the same kind of pantomime as, say, the Florida recount; a theatrical show with a foregone conclusion. I really don’t think that’s what’s happening.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Oh, I think we’re talking about the same thing.  My experience tells me the cynical, harder-edged view of what those with power do to stay powerful is warranted.  Your experience tells you something else.

          One data point might be useful: Brett Kavanaugh worked on that Florida “recount”, really, a litigation and political strategy to avoid it through the intervention of Florida politicians and the Supreme Court.  It worked.  Its success is one reason Kavanaugh ended up inside the White House.

          The steps required for that success did not happen independently and sequentially.  Little would have been left to chance.  They were strategized and mapped out, including the what ifs, with research, planning, and cooperation.  In the end, they worked out.

          But the hearings on Brett Kavanaugh are also consistent with the idea that a partial revelation of what goes on inside the Beltway could motivate those in a mass movement who would oppose that way of keeping power and the small group it benefits.

          • Ann deLorge says:

            I think Everything Trump does is a con job. Sometimes other players mess it up. Flake is a holier-than-thou whimp trying to look above the fray. What Trump needs for his own survival is all that matters for him. He doesn’t like competition and it’s possible that Kav is getting too much of that. He needs somebody in debt and loyal to keep him “safe”. I think this all depends on how he can accomplish those goals. Meanwhile, he holds the shell that covers the pea we are all looking for. Need to pay close attention to what he needs.

        • sponson says:

          I agree with Jordan, and will go as far: what Collins and Murkowski want (and Manchin and Heitkamp) is to NOT have to vote at all. Being the “swing voters,” C&M (forget Flake) are virtually dictating the parameters of the FBI investigation. I believe they would have to vote yes if Kavanaugh were simply exonerated by the FBI, but what are the odds of that? Virtually zero. It is simply inescapable to vote yes, you either have to assert that Ford is lying or “mixed up” with a mistaken-identity situation, as Orrin Hatch asserts? Would Collins or Murkowski actually sign on to that? I believe their preferences, starting with the highest, go like this:

          1. Don’t vote (only possible to accomplish before November by a withdrawal)

          2. Vote no (made necessary if the FBI investigation is overwhelmingly believed to be a sham OR that Ramirez is rated as credible)

          3. Vote yes (requirement would be that Kavanaugh is exonerated or Ford is discredited, and ALSO that Ramirez is as well)

          They’re trying to influence McGahn/FBI toward #1 but will execute #2 if necessary, in my opinion. #3 seems remarkably unlikely.

          The one time that these 3 were almost pressed to actually vote (Friday), they successfully demonstrated a willingness to vote no. They are not (in my opinion) going to respond to an inconclusively empty FBI report (the most likely outcome) by voting yes, I just can’t imagine it. A yes vote is calling Ford a fabricator.

          • Rayne says:

            A yes vote is calling Ford a fabricator.

            That’s why there is such a concerted effort at character assassination across the the right-wing. If they can sow enough doubt about Dr. Ford they provide cover for GOP senators to vote yes on Kavanaugh.

    • Anon says:

      Or they are using the week’s delay to strong arm senators who were on the fence to shore up his support. In essence a week’s delay could break either way and depends very much on who says what and when and to what extent other people come forward either to the FBI or to the right reporter.

      This was always going to be less than people assumed with “an FBI Investigation” just as it was with Anita Hill. The question is will the pause help people to find the courage to call out the bullshit, or the public pressure to do so? Or will it give them cover to do what they are told?

      • hester says:

        Heard on Tee Vee that the great and wonderful (s/) GWB is calling up people to help them decide about Kavanaugh.

  4. Eureka says:

    UGH, Flake can’t leave it alone.  He was just onstage at the “Global Citizen Festival” with Coons.  I had to wait, but the boos finally came when he decided to joke that ~ ‘you can get in an elevator with me anytime.’

    • Eureka says:

      We have a long week ahead.

      I had hoped- and still do some- that Flake would have the new, exciting experience of approaching action.  Via a speech event that caused some action.  He might like that feeling and become emboldened to vote accordingly.

      What irked me in my original comment was that by repeating (presumably) a producer’s canned lines, he is happy to bask in all the wrong glory.

      If a butterfly wipes Jeff Flake’s tears, will it rain in the Senate?

  5. yogarhythms says:

    Ew, Bmaz,

    Huge thank you. Intuition was spot on. FBI finds Fig leaves in early Oct. botanical miracle. Waiting for second miracle BK investigation wraps up with evidence of white affluenza respects women.

    Hail Mary mother of …Athem.

  6. AitchD says:

    What is the chain of command (“the White House” isn’t in the Constitution)? Who signs the directive that the FBI then would (or must) execute? Plus the directives which begin and command each of the authorizations?

    • Rayne says:

      The White House is in the Constitution — it’s the Executive Branch as described in Article II. Same article, Section 2, subsection 2 describes the authority and delegation of powers the executive may distribute. Headed by a cabinet member, the Department of Justice is responsible for federal law enforcement related to public safety and crime prevention.

      While the Senate Judiciary Committee’s GOP chair GOP Senate Caucus leader may believe an order/request/directive from the executive should be made to DOJ, I’m not convinced. I am wondering if the DOJ ~saw~ questionable activity based in laws and regulations which already triggered an investigation without waiting for executive authorization.

      Or did White House counsel Don McGahn do it automatically because that’s what he should do?

      Let’s see what surfaces.

        • Rayne says:

          bmaz and I will butt heads on this, won’t be the first time. LOL But if they follow Ramirez’ claims, we’re into Beach Week. And a bunch of angry Yalies — remember the school shut down one day this week to allow students to protest Kavanaugh.

          Do I wish Swetnick’s claim was included? Sure. But Ramirez is still pretty big. FBI also moved pretty damned fast, like something triggered them before the door finished swinging all the way back when the SJC members left their committee room after the vote yesterday.

          • Rayne says:

            And Fox reporter dude tweets Grassley kicked off an investigation…


            Grassley makes a criminal referral to the FBI. Cmte says someone made “apparent false statements to committee investigators alleging misconduct by Judge Brett Kavanaugh.” Cmte says it’s “not been able to substantiate any allegations of wrongdoing by Judge Kavanaugh.”

            8:06 PM – 29 Sep 2018

            LOL Want to bet this one goes wider than Grassley intended?

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              LOL.  Pre-emptive muddying of the waters.  I’d like to think this hawk-eyed Iowan won’t be able to control as much as he thinks.

            • bmaz says:

              Nope not taking that bet. going to be circumscribed and then ridiculously misrepresented. History repeats itself.

              • Rayne says:

                I wouldn’t bet on anything right now, either. I don’t know how pissed off factions are within DOJ right now, willing to push the limits of any leash put on them. Also don’t know what else is out there — think about Swetnick and Ramirez and how they emerged once Ford came forward. Are there more women who will surface between now and next Friday?

            • Anon says:

              Well that all depends upon which FBI agent gets the job. Someone eager to advance his career by doing Grassley a solid and smoothing things over like Rachel Mitchell? Or will it land on someone dedicated to doing his job right?

          • Robert says:

            I really wonder if it might be a situation where the FBI decided to jump on it before the White House worked out the details of what “limited scope” means,  so that they could at least follow some leads before they got hamstrung by Trump’s obstruction of justice, which I’m sure they could have anticipated.

            • Rayne says:

              Yup. I can’t find the source that mentioned very early that the FBI had already called a woman to arrange an interview — think it was Brian Williams quoting another news source on 11th Hour on MSNBC last night. If he’s citing it at 11-ish, allow at least an hour before that for his source and their vetting but too late for Maddow at 9:00 pm and The Last Word at 10:00 pm, I am guessing the FBI was on it before 8:00 pm.

              What I don’t know is when exactly the White House (or Don McGahn) narrowed the investigation.

              HEY bmaz: By the way, those jerks at NBC updated the article you linked in this post. I really HATE it when they update a piece instead of posting a new article with a separate URL. At least they included the time of update, 4:30 am GMT (like we all fucking know what GMT is instead of Eastern Time).


              EDIT: That was it, Brian Williams on 11th Hour leading into program with Los Angeles Times’ piece by Jennifer Habercorn.

              Flake and Murkowski join Democrats in calling for FBI inquiry of sex assault allegations against Kavanaugh

              Dateline says ‘SEP 28, 2018 | 7:25 PM | WASHINGTON’. What I don’t know for certain is if that is ET or PT. If time was PT, then MSNBC aired it in ~30 minute window which seems really tight to do any vetting. Excerpt:

              Trump, who just days ago dismissed the allegations as a Democratic “con,” said in a statement that he had ordered the FBI to look into the matter. “As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week,” he said.

              The FBI moved immediately given the short time frame. By Friday night, agents had sought to schedule an interview with one of two other women who, after Blasey Ford went public, made accusations of their own about alleged assaults dating to Kavanaugh’s days in high school and at Yale University, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation who asked to remain unidentified given the sensitivity of the matter.

              FBI investigators contacted the attorneys for the woman and asked to interview her “as early as tonight,” according to one of the sources. Her attorneys countered with a later time, but the interview could occur this weekend, the sources said.

              I haven’t seen anything in the way of a formal statement or order from Trump outlining the FBI’s investigation scope — was it just a tweet? Was it internal to executive branch? Were there any modifications afterward but before Trump’s Saturday evening tweet? Dunno.

              The woman they contacted could be Ramirez and not Swetnick, which would still have been inside that earlier narrowed scope. ~shrug~

              • End Call says:

                The “investigation” findings by the FBI would be delivered to the WH if I understand correctly. Even as limited as is, if more rabbit holes are uncovered can the WH withold those parts to be forwarded to the Senate? Would that be legally acceptable?

  7. Frank Probst says:

    This is obviously bad, but I think most of us expected something like this. I wouldn’t call it an “own goal”, simply because the Dems really didn’t have any other choice. Is there something else you think they could have gotten? I was expecting yesterday’s Judiciary Committee vote, and then a vote from the full Senate by the middle of next week, with the Dems having no options to slow the whole thing down. That’s now been pushed back to Friday, at least. That’s more time for the public to digest this and more time for the media to do its job. And I think that the FBI will make it VERY clear that they thought this was a sham when they submit their report to the Senate. The people involved are ALREADY leaking that this thing is a sham, and we’re less than 24 hours into it. I’m not optimistic, but I don’t think all is lost, either. The entire Blasey Ford situation (I’m not going to pair her name with the word “scandal”.) became public less than two weeks ago. I think things are still pretty fluid.

  8. Trip says:

    bmaz, will there be a public hearing on the scope, before the vote, if you know? If it is determined that the witnesses are so narrow as to be pointless, does that give Murkowski and Collins cover?

    I betcha if Trump and McGahn are instructing the direction, this entire FBI project will be a smear campaign on the women, investigating them from top to bottom, based on the nasty bot brigade I’m seeing across the net.

      • Anon says:

        Wow! What a passive-aggressive move.

        Basically he is wasting letterhead to complain that she actually testified before the committee and he didn’t get what he want. I mean the letter won’t change anything the FBI does, unless they are so in the tank for him that they actually look for excuses to help. The letter solely allows him to vent his spleen and for it to be released to fox.


      • Trip says:

        I guess ‘hearing’ is the wrong term. Won’t the vote be televised, at least by CSPAN? Can the Democrats get the limited nature of the investigation into the record and on the floor before it commences?

        Also, what would you do next, if you were Avenatti, or rather if you had his client?

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I guess this fits the definition of a “limited investigation”: White House Counsel’s Office determines the list of people who can be questioned, and crafts the questions they can be asked.

    Leaves out a universe of potential topics, questions and witnesses about a job applicant who has serially lied during his job interview: sexual conduct; drinking; payments for house, credit card, and country club.

    Jeff Flake takes second bite at apple by claiming – with a straight face – that “he thought the FBI should decide the scope of the investigation.” He might have come closer to that outcome had he and his committee formally put that detail into their request to the White House, and had the Democrats insisted on it.

    Raj Shah lies about it for Donald Trump, allowing the Republicans to pretend that this small fig leaf adequately covers their collective backsides. Democrats openly admire the emperor’s new clothes.

    Trump is right: this is a blessing in disguise, but only for Kavanaugh and his patrons. Nice Supreme Court we had there, it’s a shame what happened to it.

  10. JD12 says:

    It’s probably in Mark Judge’s hands now. Kavanaugh repeatedly used Judge’s letter, under penalty of felony (whatever that means), to defend himself. But Judge didn’t say BK didn’t assault Ford, he said he didn’t recall the incident as described by Ford.

    It’s one thing to lie to a pro-Kavanaugh, Grassley-chaired, joke of a committee. Lying to the FBI is something different.

    I guess he has no obligation to talk, but apparently Judge says he’ll cooperate with the FBI. He’s also reportedly in recovery. If he witnessed something bad happening to Ford, he needs to do what’s best for himself. In this case, that means making it right. Hiding out at the beach, he’s had plenty of time to reflect. The question is, will he do what’s right?

    • Jordan Orlando says:

      Judge’s lawyer, unprompted, immediately issued a statement saying he was willing to coöperate in whatever way he was asked. (I don’t think Judge’s exile to Delaware or his unavailability was his idea — I think he was being painted as “unavailable” for strategic reasons.)

        • Jordan Orlando says:

          Which is exactly why I’m saying it’s significant that, contra what you’re suggesting, Judge’s lawyer immediately signaled Judge’s availability and willingness to coöperate.

            • Anon says:

              Or perhaps desperation? The letter was sent to the committee after all. And his own ex has gone public with an accusation that he admitted to what may be statutory rape.

              As I see it one possibility is that Judge will try to sell Kavanaugh’s story which will be hard given that he himself admits to not remembering much so then his willingness to cooperate would be a sign that he wants to do that first before anyone else leaks anything else that he has to address.

              The other is that they realize he is in deep crap and they are hoping that playing nice will avoid penalties he may well deserve. Either way it sounds like he is desperate to do it ASAP.

                • bmaz says:

                  The ABA is worthless, if you think there is a remedy there, you are sadly mistaken. As to DC bar, they are one of the most notoriously lame about sanctioning public employees in the entire US. Above and beyond all that, Kavanaugh is a federal judge, so is likely only subject to sanction by the judicial conference headed by….John Roberts.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Just as for strategic reasons they will craft a scenario that a witness is hopelessly unreliable and has been for years.  Being willing to talk and having something to say are not the same thing.

        There’s a machine at work behind Kavanaugh’s nomination.  It is not monolithic, but it is well-staffed, well-funded, and has a great deal at stake.  When he was in the White for nearly six years, Kavanaugh was part of it.

  11. Jenny says:

    The more time, the more exposure to unearth more stories from Kavanaugh’s past by the FBI, media & high school/college days.  Perhaps some of the calendar people listed will become conscious & tell the truth.

    I do believe the Republicans knew he had a shady past & were concerned about all the baggage he carries from his days with the Bush administration plus he became a Trump player.  They wanted to ram this confirmation through at warp speed.  Not to be, considering this has already been postponed longer than anyone expected.  At this point, anything is possible.

    I don’t trust Flake because he says one thing & does another; however he was visibly shaken being confronted by the two women at the elevator.  At least the confirmation is postponed for one week.

    The exposure of a patriarchal abuse system continues  … more to be revealed.

  12. AitchD says:

    Georgetown Prep should include Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” in its literature syllabus, and it goes without saying that Kavanaugh never saw “The Caine Mutiny”.

  13. Rusharuse says:

    Trump says the fbi will investigate things “we haven’t even thought of” then he is sprung limiting the the scope of same. My bet- he torches Kavanaugh just to save face. It is after all only about him.

    • Anon says:

      I am not sure he will torch him. Right now Trump is caught between a rock, a hard place, and his ego. On the one hand if he goes with Kavanaugh it will be messy for everyone and the R’s will pay an electoral price but they are already going to do that for putting him up. And shady as his past was it is not (yet) the kind of shady that bothers Trump. And Kavanaugh has the right pedigree for the Federalist society and he will protect Trump and his spawn from any legal consequences. In that respect ramming him through is the safest way to ensure Trump delivers on his end of the bargain and eating the unpopularity is already on the table.

      If on the other hand he dumps Kavanaugh then he has to find someone else and ram them through with double warp speed in the face of people who are ready to halt it. Lindsey Grahm was right in saying that post-Kavanaugh nominees would be treated differently. They will face more advance scrutiny. And the very next nominee from the very same president? The reporters will sift their grandparents’ garbage.

      And there is no guarantee that anyone else on the list would be acceptable. Rememer that Trump’s deal involves ending Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh has been absolutely clear that he would do it, when speaking to people who are not US Senators. The rest of Trump’s list may include people who are more careful, and thus less likely to excite the Evangelicals, or are more obvious, and thus a non-starter with Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. And the investigation of said person could easily drag past the lame duck.

      Thus as bad as all this is for the Republicans ramming through Kavanaugh is still their safest bet in the short term.

  14. pseudonymous in nc says:

    One thing that’s already clear: the FBI will leak. Ken Dilanian will have a very busy week.

    The machine that is powering Rapey Drunky, and probably wiped out his debts — Ed Rollins said the quiet part loud this week — will have to expand its scope. Oh, hi Ron Rosenstein.

    • Rayne says:

      Former FBI have already been prodding the public — I guess Frank Montoya Jr. was on Maddow last night, said anybody having information on Kavanaugh or Mark Judge could go to their closest FBI office.

  15. getouttahere says:

    The longer the patient is on the operating table,  the greater the chances of the patient dying. So that part of the Flake deal is a at least better than a vote on Friday would have been. Now is the time for the press to do it’s job. Though the press has generally sucked in at least the last decade, there are some signs that some will do their job. It was reporting that revealed Blasey Ford (and she was magnificent and likely the catalyst for some hope here.) The two excellent The New Yorker reporters (Farrow and Mayer) brought us Deborah Ramirez. Swetnick may not be interviewed by the FBI, but her story is out there.  There is k’s Yale drinking friend, now a physician who has gotten coverage for calling k out as a liar for minimizing his drinking while at Yale. Perhaps more will come out. Woodward and Bernstein probably did more than the Senate Watergate Committee to bring down Nixon. The press probably has more power here than the Senate Democrats  (they usually don’t use the power they do have when they have it or they just fuck it up or cave.) Though it is probably fantasy, now would be a good time for Mark Judge to make his peace with Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Shiva or dog, etc. and fess up. A prick like k has made enemies and some may see this as their opportunity to strike back.  Keep hope alive.

  16. Rayne says:

    This is a very interesting Twitter thread — open here, read up and down the thread.


    Replying to @DrJenGunter @BobKerns and 5 others

    A thread on Twitter is tracing the IP address that was identified as having modified the Devil’s Triangle entry while #Kavanaugh was testifying. Based on previous edits, there has been vandalism from the range 143.231/249.13* that seem to relate to Lindsey Graham.

    7:17 PM – 29 Sep 2018

    Do they think this is 1991 and we won’t notice this kind of bullshit?

    • orionATL says:

      sen. graham’s outburst was very peculiar behavior for him. a simple explanation is that he is a lawyer (jag) and was playing defense counsel. but i feel, for all that’s worth, that there is something more behind his outburst, perhaps engineering a smokescreen for his own protection as well. i wonder if he has been threatened with revelations about his own behavior.

      • somecallmetim says:

        Well, he did knock the questioning away from where Mitchell had been heading.  It doesn’t sound as if any of the D-Sens. followed up during their 5 minute turns.  Que lastima!

      • Trip says:

        (Non sequitur) Someone on twitter, I forget who, refers to Graham as “Wilting Magnolia”. It’s so theatrical, it sounds like a lawyer character in a classic southern play.

    • Eureka says:

      Thanks for posting this.  Last night I saw a twitter account that posts wiki changes by congresspeople but don’t recall the handle.  It was active on these topics.  Did you see that?

      • Eureka says:

        This is what I was talking about:

        I’m a bot that tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress.

    • Anura says:

      Wikipedia actually blocked Congress a few years ago for bad faith edits. There is a Twitter bot that tracks them:

      That said, I wouldn’t be so quick to say it came from Graham; it mentioned Kavanaugh specifically, which tells you immediately it came after the hearing. The IP also added an entry to the list of Chapo Trap House episodes, which is a far-left podcast.

      • Rayne says:

        Look, just grab the IP address and put it in the search field in Twitter. You’ll see quite a few people have already done whois on it and checked the range. This wasn’t IP spoofing. Somebody in Graham’s office tried to modify the Wiki definitions of slang terms to match Kavanaugh’s lies sometime after midnight ET Friday morning. Wouldn’t take much to identify what device used the IP.

        It’s kind of a shame the open source Wikipedia project caught and reverted the changes instead of letting them go as a form of tampering/interfering with investigation.

        Let’s leave the Chapo Trap House edit out of this — that vandalism is water under the bridge and not part of the confirmation process or potential investigation into false statements.

        ADD: Nope, I don’t think they even waited until midnight.


        what’s beautiful about that phrase is the wikipedia war going on about it XD

        edit that added Kavanaugh’s fake definition to the wikipedia entry…
        $ whois
        Organization: U.S. House of Representatives (ISUHR)
        at least use a proxy when you’re subverting democracy

        4:33 PM – 27 Sep 2018

        ADD: This one’s for you, Eureka.


        Devil’s Triangle (disambiguation) Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives
        Screenshot of edit to Devil’s Triangle (disambiguation)

        2:18 PM – 27 Sep 2018

        Somebody have a strong enough stomach to watch Kavanaugh’s belligerent rant-fest to see what time the “Devil’s Triangle” came up? I can’t do it or I’ll break my monitor.

        • Anura says:

          I think you misread my comment. The Chapo Trap House edits we’re not vandalism; whoever is editing is clearly a fan. The IPs only trace to the House of Representatives, not to a particular office. In most corporate network environments (I’ve never worked government) pretty much everyone in the building will share a single public IP address; the same is likely true of the US House. Given that this IP also makes good faith edits on leftist Wikipedia articles, there is good reason to believe the edit came from a Democrat’s intern, and little reason to think it came from Graham.

          As for the edit itself, I just don’t see it being an attempt to deceive. The edit comment says “clarify an additional definition of “Devil’s Triangle” in light of recent events” and the edit itself says “a popular drinking game enjoyed by friends of judge Bret Kavanaugh” – which is obviously a reference to the hearings themselves. The timestamp is 2018-09-27 21:18 UTC, which is 5:18 PM eastern time on Thursday (I think).

          It’s just an intern screwing around on Wikipedia.

          • Rayne says:

            If the Chapo Trap House changes were made on the clock and not as part of their job, it’s vandalism. Our tax dollars aren’t supposed to be used toward changing non-government content online any more than they should be used to spray graffiti on an non-government building.

            As for the IP range: you didn’t read the rest of the thread. The IP range — specifically that last octet — is locked down. They can isolate where the IP was used let alone what devices were attached to IPs in that range. Oh I am absolutely certain the feds can identify who/what/how/when/where.

            And the change in Wikipedia of terminology used by a witness DURING AN ONGOING HEARING let alone investigations is absolutely unacceptable. I don’t a flying fuck if it’s an intern for Democrat/Independent/GOP — that intern should be fired.

            • Anura says:

              All I see in that thread about the IP address is speculation, and they’ve already made one mistake on the time stamp (it’s UTC, not Pacific). There is no reason that any public IP would be tied to a specific device – every device on the network will have its own private IP address, but it would be an extremely odd configuration to not have the entire local network route through a single public IP. You usually don’t tie a public address to a single device unless you are running a server.

              • Rayne says:

                They know the device grabbed the address XXX.XXX.XXX.133 out of the subnet range after which is likely assigned to a specific area in a building via router.

                (For everybody else reading this who doesn’t work with network addresses, this is the simplest analogy I can offer: we know the apartment numbers on a building’s second floor range from 100 to 200 and the building is 249 on street 143.231. It’s not too difficult to figure out what apartment the occupant is in even if the individual apartment numbers change as occupants come and go.)

                • Anura says:

                  That analogy isn’t really correct. The public IP address as a whole can be thought of as equivalent to a street address, but you can’t just assign meaning to the last octet like that. Assuming a 24-bit prefix on the internal network (which is probably a bad assumption for a network that size, I’d guess 20-22 bits), the last octet of the private IP will tell you the host, but not the public IP; you can have all route through if you want, or you can have a hundred separate subnets routed through a dozen different public IPs. The only way the router even knows what private address to route to is by looking at what port the packet was sent to, and the port is unique to each connection and is probably not even logged.

                  We really have no way to tie this to an office, or even infer anything about where that office might be, without specific details about the US House network configuration.

          • Michael says:

            Pretty sure EDT (eastern daylight savings time) lags UTC by 4 hours, because of the “spring (1 hour) ahead”. We are still on daylight savings time.

            It is EST (eastern standard time) that lags UTC by 5 hours.

            • Michael says:

              Ignore that. I was not thinking clearly. Obviously we are NOT currently on daylight savings time. My deepest apologies to any here who experienced a “Yeah… no…wait… what?” interlude.

              (Note to self: do not comment unless and until you are awake.)

              • bmaz says:

                Hahaha, imagine how hard it is for those of us in Arizona where we never go on DST, but the rest of the country does. Time keeps changing!

          • Mike says:

            Its an opaque reference to rape, its a burn against Kavanaugh and his co-conspirators by someone on the right side of history, these guys didn’t do this kind of thing as a one off. Renate is the key to this. “Judge you boofed yet?” This is them talking to one another through a closed door while they took turns. This was their drinking game.

      • klynn says:


        I looked up Devil Triangle, as I recall, before Kav was asked…and the change had been made with the Kav drinking game reference. I was quite surprised.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The GOP-FedSoc-Heritage nomination and wingnut welfare machine – part of which Kavanaugh helped build – tries not to miss a trick.  It circles the wagons to protect its members and to exclude and punish outsiders, putting into practice Dick Cheney’s mantra that personnel is policy.

  17. AitchD says:

    If the ending has McConnell ordering without objection the rejection of Kavanaugh’s nomination as advice, the Senate R’s consent becomes (optically) righteous and they could keep the Senate for two more years. Then, Brett Kavanaugh will realize he’s been a patsy because no other explanation makes any sense.

  18. Rayne says:

    Really quite sick of this cretin.


    NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!

    10:49 PM – 29 Sep 2018

    ADD: Goddamn it. Reading this chain of tweets is crazy making. Might as well be working in the White House along with the rest of the booby factory. I want to know what Don McGahn said to/about FBI investigation and when he said it.

    • Eureka says:

      Rayne, I wanted to take a baseball bat to the TV the other day over his BS.

      Let us know when he starts subtweeting Iran, and we’ll know something big is about to drop.

      • Rayne says:

        You missed his lovefest this evening at the West Virginia rally. Jesus Christ.
        Some intern will probably get canned for their chiron work tonight. Poor kid.

      • bmaz says:

        Dale is an excellent reporter. And, yeah, Ian is great. Has been for a long time, good to see him getting a little more attention.

    • Anon says:

      Here’s the thing. Are we really certain he is lying?

      He may want that, as past events, (and books, and tweets, and anonymous op-eds) have all shown what he wants is not what always happens in the “Trump” white house.

      Doesn’t change what he is, and in that I agree with you, but he clearly has a habit of ordering his subordinates to do things only to have them immediately do the opposite. Why would this be different?

      • Rayne says:

        If he flip-flops often and fast enough, subordinates are going to do whatever they want, which means it’s really about them and less about him. If it were me, I’d go wide but turn in narrow if that’s what he’s ordered — then I’d still have material in case the wind switches.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh, he is lying. There is absolutely no question that the original scope was incredibly circumscribed. That was the whole original design.

        • Tracy says:

          His gaslighting will be: “The FBI didn’t find anything, and they had full reign to do so” rather than the truth: ” The FBI didn’t find anything b/c they were only allowed to talk to 4 people.”

          Infuriating! THE MOST corrupt presidency of modern times.

          We just want the truth! How will the truth come out? With Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Donald Trump sewing it all up on the Kavanaugh side, and Nunes-Meadows-Gaetz-et al. sewing it up on the Russia front? It is all such a blatant abuse of power it’s breathtaking!

  19. King Bee says:

    “Predictable has a ‘T’ in it.

    I’m agog at the crude attempt to edit Wikipedia. Free press, are you working this weekend? Take this and look for the malefactors!

    • AitchD says:

      Intent won’t be proved, and it’s proper to update entries when something new comes along. The ratfucker can claim that a new understanding of the meaning had gained currency. But, alas, the editors do not consider Brett Kavanaugh a credible authority.

  20. x174 says:

    one of the things that caught my eye was when the odious senator danforth came out about 10 days ago calling (ominously) for a FBI investigation into kavanaugh

    “Noting that the FBI investigation into Anita Hill’s harassment claims against Thomas took only three days, host Jim Acosta asked Danforth ‘why can’t the same process play out this time around?'” (Republican John Danforth says FBI should re-open Kavanaugh background check,

    Also, it may have been johndanforth who first proposed the idea of using a prosecutor to question Dr. Ford (Danforth says politicians should be removed from questioning of Kavanaugh and his accuser,

    they may have been planning for this contingency for over a week.

    • Anon says:

      I would be shocked if someone hadn’t been planning for this. The only open question is whether Kavanaugh and Judge’s lawyers have. From the tirade and the quick offer of help I suspect one did not and the other did.

      • x174 says:

        if so, then flake and murkowski’s responses to trump’s putting his rude finger into the pie of the investigation, needs to be carefully examined. but trump has already begun revealing how the fix is already in and he plans to redirect the import of the probe with his “blessing in disguise” statement.

        let’s see, maybe trump will manage to royally fuck up the zombie’s conspiratorial master plan. just give him a little time.

    • bmaz says:

      Eh, I dunno. A LOT of people continuously call for staff attorneys to do the examination in critical hearings instead of Senators, because the Senators are so horrible at it. That grumbling has been going on for years. And Danforth is old enough to remember when that  used to occur. Thing is, the SJC majority wanted a cut out, not one of their own staffers.

  21. Gnome de Plume says:

    I’m gonna say something very untoward, but I don’t think that elevator scene changed Flake’s mind. It makes a great narrative, but in true conservative fashion, Flake reported that his change of mind came from close friends and family revealing their personal experiences. It was not empathy until it directly affected him.

    • Eureka says:

      I don’t think that’s untoward at all.  And I totally buy it.  Similar to your POV, Chris Coons talked about their conversations, which I bet had more impact than did the women confronting him at/in the elevator.  But the latter will remain his public schtick (I made a comment related to this above).

      • Eureka says:

        To be clear: by “similar to your POV” I meant that people closer to him appear to have been most impactful (not that Coons talked about talking about such personal experiences).

    • bmaz says:

      Gnome! No, you are right. Flake Murkowsi and Collins had already been discussing a play the night before. The elevator scene may have given a tad more urgency to it, but it was certainly not the entire motivation it is being credited with.

  22. Desider says:

    1) I still don’t think the FBI will allow Trump to micromanage the investigation like this, and I don’t believe there’s a good mechanism for it. Or will this be a new reason to fire Rosenstein?

    2) Kavanaugh’s fierce opening attack on Democrats disqualifies him from *any* remotely partisan case that appears before the bench. While all the Justices have their political leanings noted along with an idea of specific positions on issues, *none* of them gave away a sense that the couldn’t be fair & balanced, or calmly consider facts in a new setting with new arguments. Kavanaugh just screwed that pooch. He is overtly and eternally a hack. As Feinstein notes, he does not have the demeanor of a judge. It’s almost to the point where the other 8 would try to find a way to keep him from being seated, or just shun him if they can’t.

    3) Kavanaugh’s record for lying about anything and everything is approaching Trump’s – how he got into Yale (legacy from grandfather), whether he could drink legally (nope), whether he knew his best bud’s summer girlfriend (duh), and on and on, going back to his egregious behavior on the Starr grand jury and his spreading stolen Congressional docs & lying to Congress about it in the 2001-2004 period (not to mention more important issue of torture). The tongue-in-cheek “don’t say anything controversial” approach to getting accepted to the Supreme Court has taken a whole new tack, of complete dishonesty – where politicians just have to say they believe X is honorable, and it’s a Groucho Marx scene, “who ya gonna believe, me? or your lying ears?” If Kavanaugh is confirmed, all gloves are off. And the Republicans tried to avoid this by “plowing” it through with little review and denying hundreds of thousands of relevant docs, and still the anointment ran into the obvious troubles. It’s a taint on their whole party – one that I think will permanently debase the whole process past its normal stink.

    • Desider says:

      PS – 4) we still didn’t get around to investigating Kavanaugh’s sugar daddy who paid off his sports debts – unheard of for such a high profile confirmation. Considering the number of lies Kavanaugh’s told about everything else, and the amount of money laundering & illicit funneling going on with the GOP in general, should be front & center, though probably won’t.

      5) Beer, beer, beeer, beeeerrr….. waiting for someone to realize Kavanaugh likes whiskey and the harder stuff. Great deflection, “I just like a couple of brewskis like anyone else”. Putting an angry drunk partisan hitman on the court to boot? seems like we’re going for broke, unless somehow Trump really cares more about drinking than maniacal control.

    • Tracy says:

      Right – we’ll ask Mark Judge if Swetnick’s claims are correct. He has no motivation to lie, of course, since he was also implicated in her allegations.

      So farcical, it’s disgusting and so demoralizing.

      It’s a banana republic!!!!!

      • bmaz says:

        Right, and without going behind Judge to all kinds of people around him then and now, you cannot challenge. This is the point.

  23. Rayne says:

    I can’t keep up with this. I need to hit the hay.


    After this tweet, @nytmike reported the exact two things the president is specifically claiming are incorrect: that the white house is limiting the scope of the inquiry and those who will be interviewed.


    NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!

    7:49 PM – 29 Sep 2018

    10:36 PM – 29 Sep 2018

    • Anon says:

      So they plan to investigate an accusation (Ms. Swetnick) without actually interviewing the accuser herself? How is that in any way a background check. From the contours of this it seems like they plan to interview four people whom they assume will cover and then declare that they could not go further. Given that noone will be fooled by this except those who want to believe this looks more like a fig leaf with each passing second. Ugh.

      • Tracy says:

        Does the FBI have ANY say about the fact that they are only allowed to conduct a sham investigation?

        I just keep picturing how Obama must be taking all of this, having seen his lambasting of the Republican Party in his U of I speech. It’s disgraceful!!

      • Trip says:

        It translates into a background check of Swetnick. Whereby you find witnesses who discredit her in general. No need to validate her claim.

  24. Anon says:

    I believe that psychologists call this “Projecting”, From the NY Times Article:

    “You see the meanness, the nastiness,” Mr. Trump said. “They don’t care who they hurt, who they have to run over in order to get power and control. That’s what they want, power and control. We are not going to give it to them.”

  25. Bruce Olsen says:

    I agreed with bmaz’ assessment earlier today, but by this evening it seemed pretty clear the GOP is looking for the fire escape.

    Though Trump wants BK for his self-protection, nobody else in GOPworld cares about that (and many of them would rather he lived on Neptune). Any other potential candidate would satisfy the big donors, so why would they allow Trump’s needs to jeopardize their SCOTUS seat? I sure wouldn’t, and I’d also realize that forcing BK onto the court could easily be a Pyrrhic victory. Hell, my wife (who has never discussed politics with me in, oh, 40+ years) has bees coming out of her mouth (like rayne)–and who needs rayne and my wife (and millions of women in between) coming after them? Dump this horse and get another one.

    Trump has already said (at least twice that I heard) that he’s OK with whatever the Senate decides, and whenever he’s been that ambivalent about any of his people it’s Trumpian for “summon the bus.”

    So BK blew his chance, the FBI will miraculously find a ton of dirt on him (people are already stepping up to counter his untruths), and Trump will cut him loose. The rest of the rhetoric is to show he’s fighting the good fight.

    If by some miracle BK comes up incontrovertibly clean, or all his accusers live in Soros’ basement, he’ll get in but as today’s events continued to unfold I don’t see how that’s possible.

    I don’t think switching out BK will mollify anyone who has been horrified by this entire shabby episode, as some have suggested it would. The bees are already out.

    And that McConnell couldn’t warn off Trump will be delicious irony…

    • bmaz says:

      Maybe. But until they parachute out, it is still Kavanaugh. Part of the problem is the FedSoc and associated groups. They have a LOT invested in Kavanaugh. Sure, they also have their claws into any potential replacements (and, if so, my money is still on Coney Barrett or Thapar), but a Kavanaugh tanking will leave a pretty big stain. Lot more in play than just Trump. It is all a pretty fascinating dynamic.

      What I am sure of is that the “limited investigation” was originally thought of as a way to save Kavanaugh when first deployed. That may be changing. And, sure, the people in the shadows will claim that tanking Kavanaugh was the goal all along if Kavanaugh tanks. But the goal as of Friday was to save him, irrespective of what they say later. We shall see!

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, exactly! And Kavanaugh has been a project going back to his years in the Bush White House. Lot of cost sunk into that project. Then add on that Trump HATES to lose, and that Kavanaugh is the most likely to protect him, and you have where we are at.

      • Tracy says:

        The media has to report the hell out of this sham “investigation,” and every allegation that’s out there, and corroborating witnesses and evidence.

        We need some news outlet to compile a summary of every single quote that disputes Kavanaugh’s claims and lies. You’re starting to see them (NYT had one yesterday), but we need a big New Yorker-style piece that is a detailed report outlining, in one place, ALL the ways in which Kavanaugh appears to have falsely represented himself and things about his life.

        We need this reporting to flood the airways, we need frequent polling of his approval ratings – we need the truth about Kavanaugh to come out!!

        And since Avenatti so far appears to be trying to find his way w/ this sham investigation, I am sure he’ll find a way for his client not to be silenced.

  26. Trip says:

    FWIW, it looks like 60 Minutes is going to run a feel-good story of bi-partisan heroism on the part of the Flake/Coons call for an FBI investigation. Will they add an addendum to the story that the scope is severely limited, and by design? Maybe someone on twitter can message them. Trump denials mean nada, as we all know.

    This is like watching the Catholic Church abuse cover-up scandal in real time. Not 30-40 years later

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Bipartisan heroism?  One of the consequences of having a supreme leader like Donald Trump is the the nosebleeding lowering of standards.

      On Trump’s part, for example, getting up before noon is considered a triumph of management grit and determination.  That he accomplish anything is no longer expected.  We just relieved he hasn’t started World War III, which is what gives us “heroism” when two peripheral congresscritters talk to each other and ask a petulant man-chiild, “Pretty please, Mr. President, will you listen to our request?”  Expletive deleted.

      • Trip says:

        I don’t even think it was that. I think McConnell, McGahn, misc operatives came up with the drama plan, and the “investigation” ahead of time. I wondered to myself, “Why is Trump acting like a calm normal person, and not cutting up Ford?” before this plot went into action. I think it was more like, “Here’s what we’re gonna do Mr President”…which is why Trump called it a blessing in disguise. He’s not very good at concealing, he blurts shit out that should stay inside his head (in terms of conspiracies).

        • Trip says:

          Adding this last thing; when Flake got up and walked out, all of the Republicans looked nonplussed, not particularly confused or upset, which would seem to indicate that they knew what was going to happen ahead of time. Lindsey, after his impassioned “Wilting Magnolia” fit, was jovial and made a statement about having to explain it to the president (his new BFF who he talks to every day). Yeah, RIGHT… wink, wink, nudge.

          • bmaz says:

            Yeah, I don’t think this is right, nor is it my understanding of how it went down. Trump, McGahn and Leo just wanted this done and over at whatever cost. This plan was hatched up generally by Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and (I think) Manchin in a late Thursday night pow wow in Collins’ hideaway in the Capitol (yes a few Senators with seniority have private and unmarked “hideaways” separate from their offices). There is no evidence any of this was the initial desire or plan in the White House and FedSoc.

            • Trip says:

              I have no issue with that. But I think Trump was included in how it would go down. That’s why he wasn’t relentlessly jabbing Flake and Ford, etc. as he would normally.

              • Tracy says:

                IMO, DJT accepted it when they sold it to him as: you can severely limit the scope, you can finally stick it to Avenatti who will have no recourse, and you can give a reason to R’s to vote YES.

                I think Avenatti will not go silently into the night, though. And his client deserves to be heard. This is disgraceful!

                • JAAG says:

                  If the other accusers all swore affidavits and sent to representatives, FBI and CNN NYT there would be some good theatre on Friday when Klobuchar and Whitehouse are waving three or four affidavits in the air and Grassley is weaseling around trying to keep them off record.  If I was a Dem lawyer that is what I would advise.

  27. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Anyone considered the possibility that John Roberts may intervene and put the kabosh on Kavanaugh? After all, “the Roberts Court” already has enough trouble trying to overturn appellate court rulings that the republican gerrymandering and voter restriction is unconstitutional. Will “the Roberts Court” legacy include a questionable dry drunk sexual abuser? Will it actually be easier to reverse rulings to favor corporate extraction and polluting industries and white supremecists with so many millions of Americans questioning every reversal due to the miscreant foisted upon it by Trump and the Fed Soc? Are Pitchforks and torches on the horizon?

  28. Trip says:


    Ken Dilanian‏Verified account @KenDilanianNBC

    Actually, multiple sources, uncontradicted by your spokesman, said your White House counsel set the limits, including imposing a list of witnesses. With this tweet, it appears you are lifting those limits, which will be good news to a lot of people.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

    NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!

    • Legonaut says:

      For those of us in the cheap seats, can anyone explain the legal basis for McGahn having anything to do with this? I thought the WH counsel was about advising/protecting the office of the Presidency, not executing the duties of its occupant (direction of the FBI/DOJ)?


      • bmaz says:

        Background checks have to be requested on an individual. For Executive Branch nominees, that request comes from the White House and usually through the WH Counsel’s (Mcgahn’s) office. That said, placing artificial constraints such as done here is NOT normal.

        • Frank Probst says:

          How long do you think they’ll be able to have Trump say one thing while McGahn is doing something completely different?  There will be more leaks by the end of the day, I’d imagine.  I think McGahn is going to desperately TRY to limit the scope of the investigation, but I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to manage actually doing so if Trump keeps spouting off like this.  Part of what the FBI is going to have to do is track down all of these people and set up times and places for interviews with them.  Even with McGahn’s restraints, they can still be spending time locating the people they want to talk to.  When the Trump tweet becomes “official”, all they’ll need to do is schedule times and places to talk.  They may even be able to get away with scheduling interviews as long as they don’t actually have the meetings until McGahn’s constraints have been blown to pieces.

          • bmaz says:

            Heh, Trump tweets are official the second they are posted. Priebus admitted that, and Trump has had “his” DOJ argue that in court.

    • bmaz says:

      Again, not sure this is totally wrong. Any parameters can only be placed by  the WH. That said, this constrained bullshit is exactly what Flake et. al contemplated and, undoubtedly, conveyed to the WH. So, yeah, they are driving it. Cynically driving it, but driving it nevertheless. The WH does NOT have to be so limited though, if they did not want to.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Trigger warning:  This link takes you to video from Fox News.  Chris Wallace is occasionally worth paying attention to.  Like Shep Smith, he sometimes makes genuine attempts to get to the truth.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As bmaz says, Sarah anders statement is wrong.  (A habit of hers.)

      The WH responded to a request from the Senate to do something that is wholly within its jurisdiction: whether or not to tell the federal police – the FBI – to investigate a matter.  It chose to launch an investigation.

      It was up to the WH to determine the parameters of that investigation.  It could have told the FBI to launch an open-ended or restricted investigation.  It chose a restricted one.  But the choice was the WH’s, not the Senate’s.

  29. Frank Probst says:

    Legal question: I have no understanding whatsoever of Kavanaugh’s legal beliefs that have galvanized the Native Alaskan population so strongly. Is it something broad-based that is likely to be shared by other potential nominees, or is it something fairly esoteric that they might all not agree on?

  30. 'Stargirl says:

    Will or did Dr. Ford give permission for her confidential therapist’s notes to be
    released to the FBI?
    Did Dr. Ford mention his name to her therapist in 2012?
    If so, a smoking gun?

  31. Rapier says:

    Off in the weeds but I have been waiting for some reporting on the situation in the FBI field offices in regard to the administrations war on the FBI leadership. I will hazard a guess that a significant portion of field agents are Trump fans. Then too, has there been any accelerated turnover of leadership in the field offices since Trump came in?

    I think it’s safe to say the ‘liberal’ FBI agents have always been an extremely rare commodity and even registered Democrats as well, I hate to say it but I fully expect the FBI to become far more than ever before an arm of the GOP, as ICE now is.

  32. Tracy says:

    Thank you, EW! Also, it is just amazing, the parallels b/t the Kavanaugh-Clinton fiasco and what is happening now. That karma will come to bite you in the arse…

    I was on the naive side of things, thinking that this FBI investigation was our big break into having the truth revealed to the American people. But of course, in this administration, with this Congress, we are receiving only a sham proceeding and a cover up. If Flake indeed was upset and trying to restore order, this is far from the result he could have wanted.

    If Flake really wanted a search for the truth, he would have voted NO in committee and insisted on moving forward contingent on a FULL FBI background investigation, unrestricted by the WH, period. He’s opened himself up to questions about his intentions, those of Murkowski and Collins, whether SJC/ even all R-Senators were in on this, etc.

    I am looking for people’s ideas about HOW possibly the truth can come to light in the midst of all of this. Not only can the WH limit the scope, but they receive the FBI’s findings, which can then be altered or hidden from the public, I’d imagine. In addition, DJT will gaslight the public and say: “They left not stone unturned and found nothing.” SHAM!!!

    It is 100% clear that Kavanaugh should not be any sort of judge anywhere, and all Americans need to know this. There need to constant updating as to what we know about this investigation sham. There needs to be abundant, excellent, Marcy-Wheeler-style, DETAILED investigative reporting uncovering Kavanaugh’s lives and his past.

    I hope that Americans who have information on Kavanaugh will reach out and contribute what they know to the public record. I hope that Julie Swetnick and her corroborating witnesses will be heard. Everyone has to do everything they can to reveal this cover-up.

  33. Trip says:

    A WH reporter on MSNBC, sorry I didn’t see who it was, just said something to the effect that the FBI said that the WH is their client and that they can’t change the (scope of the) investigation based on a tweet, or something like that, paraphrased.

    So twitter declarations made by Trump are official, unless they’re not. I hope that clears everything up.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The FBI will be held to account based on what the White House means, not what it says.  Rid me of this priest, and all that.  But as you say, that gives the White House a thousand outs, and exposes the FBI, just the way the Don always wants it.  But not much of a way to govern a country with pretensions to global leadership.

      • Trip says:

        @earl, I may be completely off base, but the SCOTUS is being used like a monarchy. The prince was anointed, therefore he shall follow in succession to the throne, until the day he dies.

        It’s really making me think that there should not be lifetime appointments on the court, even if we’ll miss out on the longevity of a gem like RBG. How do you have a democracy when one person will rule for 40 years or more, in spite of how ‘the people’ might think?

        I also think it’s time to limit senate terms. Not necessarily by age, but time. No one should be installed to spend an entire career there, cozying up to the lobbyists, benefactors, and in a position for personal windfalls.These people are so up their own asses, they have no clue, nor do they care what the constituency wants or needs.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I highly recommend an article by Nathan Robinson in Current Affairs, noted by bmaz on twitter.  Robinson takes a scalpel to Kavanaugh’s testimony, thoroughly dissects it, and concludes that Kavanaugh is an egregious and serial liar.  He should not sit on the Supreme Court – or any court.

    The issue is not so much Brett Kavanaugh’s school days thirty years ago.  It is that he is a fake, and that he is lying now to cover up what he did then and what he would do tomorrow on the Supreme Court.

    A companion piece by Robinson analyzes Kavanaugh’s dozen years on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.  He writes that Kavanaugh is a man “devoid of human empathy” and that his jurisprudence is “atrocious.”  In Kavanaugh, the quality of mercy is not strained, and fairness knows no bounds, because neither exists.

    Mark Stern of Slate says Kavanaugh has spent “his career protecting polluters, scammers, corporations, and gun sellers” and his idea of liberty is perverse: “Liberty for undocumented minors and Guantanamo detainees? No. Liberty for predatory lenders, industrial polluters, telecom monopolies, religious employers, Abu Ghraib abusers, and assault-weapon enthusiasts? Absolutely.”  [Citations omitted. See original, cited below.]

    Robinson resists going that far, but cites Stern to frame his own conclusion, that “Kavanaugh would make a horrific Supreme Court justice.”

    It is important [for a judge] to…make sure the justice system is functional and fair, and Kavanaugh has not done that. Instead, he has made biased, illogical, morally repugnant…decisions that make the world worse. This should cause everyone to oppose his confirmation.

    For Donald Trump and the Republican Party, however, those decisions and Kavanaugh’s hyper-partisanship are precisely why they want him on the Court.  A delay might make it too late for them to lock in the benefits of his deciding vote on the most contentious cases the Court is likely to address for a generation.

    Read the whole thing, here and here.

  35. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Sorry if I’m being redundant. I’m not reading all the great comments.

    I’d like to tack on to EoH’s insightful comment (I can’t find now) speculating a connection between the attempted rape and BK’s seeming need to impress the guys. The assault of Ramirez surely fits this notion. I imagine he loved hearing his name yelled down the hall in association with thrusting his dick into some non-prestigious girl’s face. I offer that his aggressive behavior with regard to embarrassing Clinton with sexual questions seems to fit perfectly with this analysis. According to this view, he bonded with the boys through sexual bravado, attacking apparently vulnerable women, and possibly humiliating other boys by embarrassing them sexually, either by shaming them for their sexual behavior or by attempted rape of their girl. (Also, has anyone else noticed a seeming similarity between Ramirez and Ford–good girls who were conservative sexually, not frightening a little boy like Kavanaugh with confident, upfront sexuality.)

    Along the lines of shaming other boys/men around sexuality, I also have a very strong intuition that Avatoir’s excellent description of men using women to humiliate other men is somehow a big part of the role of Gaudet. I had already had the same thought. It is possible that Gaudet suffers from trauma either directly related to this incident or some other incident involving DK, Judge and the gang. This would explain Ford’s desire to protect him. I’m tempted to add more details to these speculations, but we are already indulging too much guessing about people’s private lives, imho. I’m noticing that one of EW’s strengths is this It’s just the facts, ma’am.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think that’s an important point that has not been adequately stressed: Kavanaugh bears the hallmarks of a bully.  He’s big, loud, pretentious, arrogant, entitled, but lacks confidence and needs approval, something he hides with his resume and his intelligence.  The predators attracted to Beltway work would spot that dynamic in a New York minute.

      Like Trump, he seeks out the meek and humble, not because they need and deserve consideration, but because they are vulnerable and he can dominate them.  He seeks the approval of others who dominate.  Like Trump, but less pathologically, Kavanaugh relies on the attractiveness of those around him to mask his own perceived ugliness.

      The problem comes, as with Trump, when he’s confronted with people as people, rather than objects.  That would be when the bully comes out – and the booze or beer – to bulldoze away any discomfort.  He is the precise opposite of the personality any sane person would want to sit in judgment over them.

      • Kai-Lee A. Klymchuk says:

        “Like Trump, he seeks out the meek and humble, not because they need and deserve consideration, but because they are vulnerable and he can dominate them.”

        Certainly the displaced, pregnant 17 year old who wanted an abortion would provide ample testimony of that.

        Kavanaugh, according to numerous sources, was said to be sexually aggressive in tandem with other boys/men, and then there is the meaning of this “devil’s triangle” descriptor. There’s something very telling and unusual in a dynamic where 2 males are required with a single female configuration. The more typical male fantasy is of course the opposite. Most men wouldn’t admit to having any kind of interest in this kind of scenario. But in those who would have such an interest…it’s very revealing.

  36. Doctor My Eyes says:

    To me, the most important thing we saw Thursday was “The shot heard ’round the quad”, the opening salvo in the War on Beer.

    “You can have my skis when you pry them from my cold   ̶p̶a̶s̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ peacefully sleeping hands!”

  37. Tom says:

    And up here in Ontario, our new Progressive Conservative Premier, Doug Ford, successfully campaigned this year on a promise to bring back Buck-a-Beer; i.e., a bottle of beer for a loonie, though concerns have been expressed by local microbreweries that you only get what you pay for.

  38. Kim Kaufman says:

    I was very disappointed that someone, say Kamala Harris, didn’t ask Kav directly if he would take a lie detector test. That would have been a remarkable performance from Kav weaseling out of saying yes, of course, he would because he’s got nothing to hide. .

    Also, can FBI investigate claims that get called in, i.e., Judge’s girlfriend who has made a statement that he confessed a gang rape to her? Or Avenatti’s client? Or anyone else that pops up this week?

  39. Tom says:

    President Trump has touted the fact that Judge Kavanaugh has gone through five or six FBI background checks in the past without anything untoward concerning his personal history having come to light. It is because of this that the President has expressed his confidence that the Judge will come through the current FBI investigation unscathed as well. So does the FBI have egg on its collective face for not having previously unearthed the information contained in the allegations that have been made against Kavanaugh in the past several weeks? Was it a matter of the ‘background check’ not having a fine enough mesh to catch the accounts that we have heard from Dr. Ford and others this past week? Or was the FBI mainly concerned with checking Kavanaugh’s document history, public record, interviewing his managers and other people in authority over him without speaking with his peers or past and present social circle? Is it possible that previous background checks on Kavanaugh revealed at least hints of his past drinking and abusive behaviour but that they were not pursued as part of the code of the Old Boys’ network? Obviously, the FBI can only investigate information it is aware of, and it can’t be blamed if no-one has come forward with allegations about the Judge until now. We are also better aware now of the tremendous obstacles that face women who do take the risk of unmasking their abusers. Still, it does seem a little strange that nothing came out of those previous half-dozen background checks considering the information that’s coming to light now.

    • Frank Probst says:

      My understanding from the talking heads on TV is that your first background check covers your life up until that point.  Presumably Kavanaugh had his first one while or after he was in law school.  If he drank a lot in college, that might have come up, but as most people have noted, it’s not really unusual for people to drink a lot in college, and he may have settled down a bit while he was in law school.  I can’t imagine they’d go to the trouble of digging up his high school yearbook, and if he had no police record, I don’t think they would have bothered digging all that deeply on his life before law school.

      Each subsequent background check, if I’m understanding the process correctly, only covers the period starting from the previous background check.  So background check #2 only covered the time period between background check #1 and background check #2, and so on.  They don’t go back past the previous background check unless there is some compelling reason to do so.  So it really doesn’t matter how many background checks he’s had.  The first one is the only one that would have been likely to look at his high school and college days, and he hadn’t been accused of anything at that point, or at any time up until this year.
      McGahn obviously doesn’t want them to dig very deeply, so he’s trying to keep Kavanaugh’s drinking and his yearbook out of the FBI’s investigation.  He may succeed, but the FBI is obviously pushing back against claim that they aren’t severely restricted in terms of what they can do.  (And if they’ve been explicitly told not to look at his drinking or his high school yearbook, that’s going to leak, and it’s going to be pretty damning for both McGahn and Kavanaugh, because those were the two areas where Kavanaugh was most clearly lying.)

  40. Smokeyedaho says:

    So we know that Bart O’ liked beer in high school and still likes beer, okay? And all about his detailed calendar. But nothing about dating, (except his virginity until much later, gag), until his marriage at 39? His exchange with Klobuchar was telling. There have to be other incidents of his aggression, sexualized or not, toward women.

    • Rayne says:

      There probably are. Unfortunately, the way Dr. Ford has been treated will discourage other victims from coming forward. Who would want to subject their family to merciless harassment just to reveal a truth they may have struggled to move past years ago?

      I hope men took note of the more than 700,000 tweets explaining #WhyIDidntReport. What happened to Dr. Ford is all too common including the assumption she is guilty and the alleged perpetrator isn’t.

      • orionATL says:

        a lawrence tribe tweet says that one chad ludington, a classmate of super-k’s at yale, claims that k. was a mean drunk at yale and lied to the senate about his alchol consumption. ludington has said he will talk with the fbi.

        on the other hand, there is the news that senate republicans (sjc only or all of them?) will not allow the fbi to interview ford’s friend squi.

        the senate republicans are telling the fbi what to do? i thought only the prez could direct the fbi about who to interview. what is going on here?

        it should be obvious that what is going on is designing a very selective investigation tailored to fit the story that k. is an o.k. guy to elevate to a supreme court justice.

        the democratic response to this senate republican scam should be to repeatedly criticize its limitations in order to educate the public to the fact that the increasingly severely constrained fbi investigation is designed to absolve k. not investigate to him thoroughly.

      • orionATL says:

        the shit just keeps on oozing out the barn door.

        kavanaugh has a connection, a very strong, long-standing friendship connection, to senior and chief judge, 9th circuit, alex kozinski. kozinski, according to this guardian aricle, sabotaged the court system’s computers so he could continue to download pornography. this allowed the court system to be hacked. but he’s the judge, right?

        kavanaugh has said publicly that he knew nothing of kozinski’s sexual harrassment of his female clerks or his compulsive use of pornography. at one point 4% of downloads in kozinski’s court was porn. as stephen colbert said, it’s probaly not a good idea to give a perv a job where he gets to wear long black robes.

        on another relationship matter, the guardian discusses a friendship circle at yale (law) that includes kavanaugh, hhs secretary alex azar, and fbi director christopher wray. d.c. is just a small town if you went to yale :)

        • Rayne says:

          Kavanaugh’s knowledge of Kozinski’s illicit behavior wasn’t pressed hard enough. But I suspect it’s because of the boys-will-be-boys attitude — who among the white male GOP senators hasn’t shared a good, racy email within an email distribution list?

  41. Michael Keenan says:

    Sep 29, 2018 9:37pm

    More about secrecy than being public at all. And why are the same Senators that approved and brought us Clarence Thomas STILL on the Judiciary Committee 20 years later? Is this some kind of unspoken lifetime appointment in disappointments?

    “And just how,” the mongoose demanded scornfully of the
    serpent, “do you propose to climb Mount Kailas, the home of
    Lord Siva? You who have neither arms nor hands, neither feet
    nor toes with which to grip the precipices?”

    “Very slowly,” the serpent replied. “Carefully. Coiling back
    and forth upon my belly, over a rock here, up through a crevice
    there. I shall get there in the end, you know.”

    The mongoose snorted in derision. But in his heart he
    suspected the serpent spoke truly.

    —Indian fable

  42. Tom says:

    I wonder whether Ms. Ramirez can recall if Judge Kavanaugh is circumcised or not. If so, that’s one piece of physical evidence that could still be checked into.

  43. holdingsteady says:

    In reply to Frank Probst from above in the thread (since I live in Alaska):
    Regarding Alaska Native opposition to Kavanope, maybe it’s more about timing rather than whether another conservative judge would side differently based on state’s rights agenda…

    I’m no expert by any means, but I understand that the Alaska Native opposition to Kavanaugh relates, in part, to a case coming to the Supreme Court on November 5, relating to subsistence rights, Sturgeon v Frost, (it’s about whether the National Park Service or Alaska has jurisdiction about regulating hovercrafts on the Yukon-Charley River) and it is believed Kavanaugh would support Sturgeon, potentially leading to a loss of Native Subsistence rights under Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) which is a big deal for native subsistence rights, protected by feds more than by the State of Alaska.

    here’s an opinion piece in my local paper about it if you care to get into the weeds:)

  44. Wm. Boyce says:

    “The White House has authorized the F.B.I. to expand its abbreviated investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long the review is finished by the end of the week, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday.”
    (NY Times 10-01-18)
    This is a significant expansion of the FBI’s scope, and they have a week to do it. From what I’ve heard, they’re up to it. I have a feeling that the drunken judge is going to suffer further damage, even if the Repugs shove him through.

    • Trip says:

      There was an MSNBC contributor, ex-FBI, who had earlier confirmed the first investigation’s limitations from active agents, his name is something like Fig-ozzi or Fug-something (I forget), and he said if the investigation had expanded, you would have heard of new and different names not mentioned in the original scope. He didn’t seem too optimistic that the investigation was approved beyond its original terms. This was last night and perhaps something has changed since then, but he seemed to have connections and also didn’t come across as hopeful.

  45. holdingsteady says:

    Yikes, I meant to proofread more carefully, here’s one error, ‘opposition to Kavanope’ is a double negative, sorry! I’ll say opposition to the abhorrent person Brett Kavanaugh instead, sorry, going a bit bonkers here, please forgive.

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