Rachel Mitchell Is Not Very Good at Propaganda

The Senate Judiciary Republicans’ hand-picked sex prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, has released a report that is generating the desired headlines from credulous journalists. It should take reporters no more work than to compare what Mitchell claims in her memo with what actually happened last Thursday to declare it a sham report. But since journalists are reporting it as an honest submission, I guess I’ll have to debunk it.

Mitchell’s report makes no mention of July 1

Start with the fact that Mitchell’s report makes no mention of the July 1 get-together that included all of the boys Christine Blasey Ford has claimed were at the event where she was assaulted. Here’s how Mitchell got Brett Kavanaugh to confirm that fact in the hearing.

MITCHELL: I would like you to look at the July 1st entry.

KAVANAUGH: Yes.

MITCHELL: The entry says — and I quote — “Go to Timmy’s (ph) for skis (ph) with Judge (ph), Tom (ph), P.J. (ph), Bernie (ph) and Squee (ph)”?

KAVANAUGH: Squee. That’s a nick…

MITCHELL: What does…

KAVANAUGH: … that’s a nickname.

MITCHELL: OK. To what does this refer, and to whom?

KAVANAUGH: So first, says “Tobin’s (ph) house workout”. So that’s one of the football workouts that we would have — that Dr. (inaudible) would run for guys on the football team during the summer.

So we would be there — that’s usually 6:00 to 8:00 or so, kind of — until near dark. And then it looks like we went over to Timmy’s — you want to know their last names too? I’m happy to do it.

MITCHELL: If you could just identify, is — is “Judge,” Mark Judge?

KAVANAUGH: It is.

MITCHELL: And is “P.J.,” P.J. Smith?

KAVANAUGH: It is.

So — all right. It’s Tim Gaudette (ph), Mark Judge, Tom Caine (ph), P.J. Smith, Bernie McCarthy (ph), Chris Garrett (ph).

MITCHELL: Chris Garrett is Squee?

As I have noted, Mitchell got Kavanaugh to confirm that Judge, PJ, and Kavanaugh — and other boys, as Ford has testified — were drinking at a suburban Maryland home on a weekday around the same time as Ford’s testimony said the event would have happened. This by itself refutes the key prong of Kavanaugh’s defense, that he was never at a party like the one Ford described, as Kavanaugh had claimed in response to Mitchell just minutes earlier.

MITCHELL: Dr. Ford described a small gathering of people at a suburban Maryland home in the summer of 1982. She said that Mark Judge, P.J. Smyth and Leland Ingham also were present, as well as an unknown male, and that the people were drinking to varying degrees. Were you ever at a gathering that fits that description?

KAVANAUGH: No, as I’ve said in my opening statements — opening statement.

He was at such a party, and the calendars he say validate his claims actually undermine his credibility.

But Mitchell makes no mention of the fact that, in her limited questioning of Kavanaugh, he had both provided possible corroboration to Ford and contradicted a statement he made minutes earlier.

The report makes no mention of Mitchell’s truncated questioning of Kavanaugh, at all

Of course Mitchell didn’t mention that, in her limited questioning of Kavanaugh, she obtained evidence from him that actually helps Ford and hurts Kavanaugh. That’s because she’s utterly silent about what happened in her questioning of Kavanaugh.

That’s important because it obscures both what did happen and what didn’t happen. The Republicans subjected Kavanaugh to just three rounds of questioning from Mitchell before Lindsey Graham took over in a rant almost as belligerent as the nominee’s. Over the course of those rounds, Kavanaugh showed visible discomfort — and a professed need to refer back to the definition of sexual behavior — after Mitchell provided that to him.

MITCHELL: I want you to take a moment to review the definition that’s before you of sexual behavior.

MITCHELL: Have you had a chance to review it?

KAVANAUGH: I have. I may refer back to it, if I can?

MITCHELL: Yes, please.

I’d like to point out two specific parts. Among the examples of sexual behavior, it includes rubbing or grinding your genitals against somebody, clothed or unclothed. And I would also point out that the definition applies whether or not the acts were sexually motivated or, for example, horseplay. Do you understand the definition I have given you?

KAVANAUGH: I do.

In round two, under Mitchell’s questioning, Kavanaugh offered up his first really troubling denial of drinking to excess, including a refusal to describe, in behavioral or even legal terms, what it means to drink too much.

MITCHELL: Dr. Ford has described you as being intoxicated at a party. Did you consume alcohol during your high school years?

KAVANAUGH: Yes, we drank beer. My friends and I, the boys and girls. Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer. Still like beer. We drank beer. The drinking age, as I noted, was 18, so the seniors were legal, senior year in high school, people were legal to drink, and we — yeah, we drank beer, and I said sometimes — sometimes probably had too many beers, and sometimes other people had too many beers.

MITCHELL: What do you…

KAVANAUGH: We drank beer. We liked beer.

MITCHELL: What do you consider to be too many beers?

KAVANAUGH: I don’t know. You know, we — whatever the chart says, a blood-alcohol chart.

MITCHELL: When you talked to Fox News the other night, you said that there were times in high school when people might have had too many beers on occasion. Does that include you?

KAVANAUGH: Sure.

MITCHELL: OK. Have you ever passed out from drinking?

KAVANAUGH: I — passed out would be — no, but I’ve gone to sleep, but — but I’ve never blacked out. That’s the — that’s the — the allegation, and that — that — that’s wrong.

Kavanaugh would go on to deny more specific questions about blacking out, but this initial response shows that Kavanaugh is too defensive about his drinking to be reliable.

Immediately after that second round of questioning, Kavanaugh took his first break.

In Mitchell’s third round, she got Kavanaugh to confirm that he had, in fact, been at a party the likes of which he said he had not been, though she didn’t call attention to that fact. Also in that round, she asked him about his interview with the committee about the alleged assaults.

MITCHELL: Since Dr. Ford’s allegation was made public, how many times have you been interviewed by the committee?

KAVANAUGH: It’s — it’s been a — three or four. I’m — I’m trying to remember now. It’s — it’s been several times. Each of these new things, absurd as they are, we’d get on the phone and kind of go through them.

MITCHELL: So have you submitted to interviews specifically about Dr. Ford’s allegation?

KAVANAUGH: Yes.

MITCHELL: And what about Deborah Ramirez’s allegation…

KAVANAUGH: Yes.

MITCHELL: … that you waved your penis in front of her?

KAVANAUGH: Yes.

MITCHELL: What about Julie Swetnick’s allegation that you repeatedly engaged in drugging and gang-raping, or allowing women to be gang-raped?

KAVANAUGH: Yes. Yes, I’ve been interviewed about it.

MITCHELL: Were your answers to my questions today consistent with the answers that you gave to the committee in these various interviews?

KAVANAUGH: Yes, ma’am.

MITCHELL: OK. I see I’m out of time. [my emphasis]

And that was it, Mitchell was yanked by Republicans before she asked any more questions that helped Ford and hurt Kavanaugh.

Mitchell held Ford’s statements to a much higher standard than she did Kavanaugh’s

Now compare that last bit — where Mitchell simply asked Kavanaugh to judge from himself whether his responses to her were consistent with just the interviews he had had with the committee — with how Mitchell asked Ford to review her statements and point out anything she would change.

MITCHELL: OK.

We’ve put before you — and I’m sure you have copies of them anyway — five pieces of information, and I wanted to go over them.

The first is a screenshot of a WhatsApp texting between you and somebody at the Washington Post. Do you have that in front of you?

FORD: Yes.

MITCHELL: The first two texts were sent by you on July 6th. Is that correct?

FORD: Correct.

MITCHELL: And then the last one sent by you was on July 10th?

FORD: Correct.

MITCHELL: OK. Are those three comments accurate?

FORD: I will read them.

(UNKNOWN): Take your time.

Ford did so, and corrected a number of things that were made, often in non-legal contexts, quite specifically. Her corrections of her non-legal statements were a key part of her credibility, because they showed her to be a careful person with attention to detail.

As a threshold matter, Mitchell assessing the consistency of Ford’s statements across five different kinds of statements: statements to her therapists, her spouse and friends, to the WaPo, before a polygraph, and to the committee. She’s only asking Kavanaugh to validate one kind of statement — his interviews with friendly staffers on the committee — with his responses to her questioning, and her questioning didn’t even touch on the topics of one of those interviews (that is, the other allegations). She specifically left out the Fox interview where (among other things), Kavanaugh defined “sexual assault” to be limited to vaginal intercourse, which is far different than the one Kavanaugh squirmed at when presented with it by Mitchell. That’s also where Kavanaugh claimed seniors were legal to drink, and everyone drank that much, and his friendship with girls extended just to those at sister Catholic schools, not Holton-Arms where Ford attended.

friendship, friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all girls Catholic schools.

There was even an exchange where Kavanaugh might be taken to have claimed he never met Ford.

MACCALLUM: And to this date, no one has corroborated the story that she has told. As you accurately point out, but is there – so there’s no chance that there was something between the two of you that maybe she misunderstood the exchange that you had?

Nothing ever physical, you never met her, never kissed her, never touched her, nothing that you remember?

KAVANAUGH: Correct

Though earlier, he had said he may have met her, even though he claimed they did not travel the same circles.

KAVANAUGH: I may have met her, we did not travel in the same social circle, she was not a friend, not someone I knew—

And, of course, the Fox interview is where he claimed he was the last American virgin.

Particularly given the content of the hearing, where Ford testified that Squi was the guy through whom she met Kavanaugh, the judge’s claims that she didn’t travel in his same circles appear absolutely false, as do a number of other details Kavanaugh made public. But by narrowly.construing the validation she asked Kavanaugh to make (as compared to the broad comparison she demanded of Ford), Mitchell avoided making Kavanaugh swear that some of his obviously bullshit comments are true and in the process absolved herself of conducting the same assessment of whether Kavanaugh’s claims were consistent over time. And all that’s before you look at other claims — such as that he claimed the 65 women who signed a letter backing him knew him well, including those who went to Holton-Arms along with Ford, even though he claimed he was only friends with Catholic school girls. Or, his comments in the yearbook.

Kavanaugh’s statements would not survive the kind of apples to orange comparison Mitchell subjected Ford’s statements to

Mitchell’s failure to conduct the same scrutiny of Kavanaugh’s statements matters because that’s a key prong of her finding that Ford’s statements were not consistent, of which these two passages are representative of the problems with Mitchell’s claims.

Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened.

  • In a July 6 text to the Washington Post, she said it happened in the “mid 1980s.” • In her July 30 letter to Senator Feinstein, she said it happened in the “early 80s.” • Her August 7 statement to the polygrapher said that it happened one “high school summer in early 80’s,” but she crossed out the word “early” for reasons she did not explain.
  • A September 16 Washington Post article reported that Dr. Ford said it happened in the “summer of 1982.”
  • Similarly, the September 16 article reported that notes from an individual therapy session in 2013 show her describing the assault as occurring in her “late teens.” But she told the Post and the Committee that she was 15 when the assault allegedly occurred. She has not turned over her therapy records for the Committee to review.
  • While it is common for victims to be uncertain about dates, Dr. Ford failed to explain how she was suddenly able to narrow the timeframe to a particular season and particular year.

[snip]

Her account of who was at the party has been inconsistent.

  • According to the Washington Post’s account of her therapy notes, there were four boys in the bedroom in which she was assaulted.
  • She told the Washington Post that the notes were erroneous because there were four boys at the party, but only two in the bedroom.
  • In her letter to Senator Feinstein, she said “me and 4 others” were present at the party.
  • In her testimony, she said there were four boys in addition to Leland Keyser and herself. She could not remember the name of the fourth boy, and no one has come forward.
  • Dr. Ford listed Patrick “PJ” Smyth as a “bystander” in her statement to the polygrapher and in her July 6 text to the Washington Post, although she testified that it was inaccurate to call him a bystander. She did not list Leland Keyser even though they are good friends. Leland Keyser’s presence should have been more memorable than PJ Smyth’s.

Note how central the WaPo is to this (and, though I won’t deal with it here, to her timeline of Ford’s disclosures). That is, Mitchell is holding Ford responsible for how a text submitted to a tipline gets developed into more specific timelines that appeared in the WaPo. And she may be holding Ford accountable to inaccuracies in the WaPo story and her therapist’s report, neither of which Ford had final control over.

Plus, Mitchell is absolute incorrect when she claims that Ford offered no explanation for how she narrowed in on the summer of 1982 for the assault — because, given that she didn’t drive, it must have been before she got her driver’s license.

MITCHELL: In your polygraph statement you said it was high school summer in ’80s, and you actually had written in and this is one of the corrections I referred to early and then you crossed that out.

Later in your interview with The Washington Post, you were more specific. You believed it occurred in the summer of 1982 and you said at the end of your sophomore year.

FORD: Yes.

MITCHELL: You said the same thing I believe in your prepared statement.

How were you able to narrow down the timeframe?

FORD: I can’t give the exact date. And I would like to be more helpful about the date, and if I knew when Mark Judge worked at the Potomac Safeway, then I would be able to be more helpful in that way.

So I’m just using memories of when I got my driver’s license. I was 15 at the time. And I — I did not drive home from that party or to that party, and once I did have my driver’s license, I liked to drive myself.

It’s remarkable Mitchell completed ignored this explanation, because mapping relationships in time via what friends drove him is something Kavanaugh did, too.

MITCHELL: And how did you know Patrick Smyth?

KAVANAUGH: Also ninth grade, Georgetown Prep. Went by P.J. then. He and I lived close to one another. Played football together, he was defensive tackle, I was the quarterback and wide receiver. We carpooled to school along with De Davis (ph) every year, the three of us for two years. I didn’t have a car, so one of the two of them would drive every day. And I’d be in the (ph), you know, they’d pick me up.

All of which is to say the key basis by which Mitchell declares Ford unreliable is a methodology she protects Kavanaugh from. Had she subjected him to the same treatment, he would have looked far more unreliable.

Both witnesses had short term memory loss

The same is true of Mitchell’s claim that Ford struggled to remember details of the recent past.

Dr. Ford has struggled to recall important recent events relating to her allegations, and her testimony regarding recent events raises further questions about her memory.

  • Dr. Ford struggled to remember her interactions with the Washington Post.

[snip]

  • Dr. Ford refused to provide any of her therapy notes to the Committee.
  • Dr. Ford’s explanation of why she disclosed her allegations the way she did raises questions.
  • Dr. Ford could not remember if she was being audio- or video-recorded when she took the polygraph. And she could not remember whether the polygraph occurred the same day as her grandmother’s funeral or the day after her grandmother’s funeral.

First, the second and third bullets are not memory issues at all — she treats the anxiety of coming forward, and the differing choices she made, as a memory issue rather than a stress one.

But as to the others, she holds Ford accountable for interactions with the WaPo, not all of which may be her doing. And she treats uncertainty about a foreign process, the polygraph, as a memory issue.

And Kavanaugh himself had troubles remembering something even more recent — how many times he had been interviewed by the committee, three or four.

MITCHELL: Since Dr. Ford’s allegation was made public, how many times have you been interviewed by the committee?

KAVANAUGH: It’s — it’s been a — three or four. I’m — I’m trying to remember now. It’s — it’s been several times. Each of these new things, absurd as they are, we’d get on the phone and kind of go through them.

There’s likely a good reason for this memory loss: the committee has only released transcripts from two conversations. So if there were four interviews, it suggests there may be two where he was massaging his story. Whatever the explanation, though, these interviews were just weeks and days before this hearing, and Kavanaugh couldn’t remember them.

In short, this report is an attack on Ford. It’s not a measure of a he said she said dispute. To assess such a dispute, Mitchell would have had to examine how badly Kavanaugh flubbed his responses to her.

And she wasn’t paid for that kind of scrutiny.

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145 replies
  1. klynn says:

    Thank you EW this is an important read.

    Did I miss a link above to Matt Long’s interview on this report on MSNBC?

    (bmaz, thanks for posting about Long on Twitter.)

    Off to find his interview.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lindsey’s rant was shorter than Kavanaugh’s, but it was more cynical.

    It artfully distracted from the Republican’s change in direction, from questioning via a hired gun to choreographed ranting about the Democrats without questioning the nominee, in an attempt to divert from his background, his lies, and his fitness for office.

    (Mr. Trump says the Great Depression started in 1928.  Meh.  It happened before he appeared on earth, so it’s inconsequential when it started.)

  3. SteveB says:

    Of course all you have identified is absolutely correct.

    Mitchell also damned herself in advance of her “report” because of what she her self said at the conclusion of her cross-examination of DrFord viz that ordinarily and preferably the investigation of an allegation such as this would be based on a cognitive interview.

    That concession makes the criticism/attack on Dr. Fords accuracy and reliability based on the contents of therapy notes all the more egregious.

    From the point of view of the therapist, and probably thus the patient accuracy as to date or even year is not a relevant or material matter to the purpose of the discussion then at hand, nor indeed to the memorialisation of the discussion.

    Having spent my entire career at the bar dealing almost exclusively with sexual offending, and a huge number of cases which are ‘historic’ ie prosecution of cases decades old, I am disgusted by Mitchell’s cynical dishonest and to my mind unethical approach to her task.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A critique that applies to her client, which did not seem to think that Mitchell was aggressive enough.

      • SteveB says:

        Oh, of course.

        Kavanaugh is beyond all doubt wholly unsuited to judicial office of any sort – the tone, manner and content of his ‘defence’ was by turns ghastly and risible.

        Mitchell, purports to be measured, analytical, reasoned, reasonable and empathic – whereas, as we all guessed would be the case, she was hired to dollop on the shellac.

  4. Trip says:

    What prosecutor would make such a determination without speaking to other witnesses and not even questioning the alleged perp (for more than 5 minutes)?

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    How Jesuitical an argument to limit the definition of sexual abuse to vaginal intercourse.  It’s like limiting a claim of grievous bodily harm to a kick in the groin.  That leaves out a lot of territory: left hook, right cross, roundhouse to the temple.

    The MacCallum question you quote was the kind of compound question a lawyer is trained to avoid, because a simple answer from an untrained witness might apply to one or all the circumstances MacCallum asked about.  It sows confusion and creates doubt, which makes it the kind of question a defense lawyer might ask in order to create reasonable doubt.  It’s not designed to get at the facts or the truth.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This:

    All of which is to say the key basis by which Mitchell declares Ford unreliable is a methodology she protects Kavanaugh from. Had she subjected him to the same treatment, he would have looked far more unreliable.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Don gives another example of his deep sense of history. Brett Kavanaugh was number one in high school, at Yale College, and at Yale Law School. Not. Kavanaugh only claims that he was first in his class in high school. That’s much less of an accomplishment than the one Trump claims for him. [“Metallurgic coal”? Word compost.]

    The Don was surprised at how honest Kavanaugh was when he drank beer. But he didn’t answer Kaitlin Collins’s question about whether lying about his drinking should bar him from elevation to the Supreme Court. The Don avoids the question by insisting that Kavanaugh did not lie about his drinking.

    The Don tries to confuse lying about drinking with whether drinking would affect Kavanaugh’s performance. Drinking on the job among American corporate executives, for example, costs the economy billions every year.

    The Don distracts from Kavanaugh by giving examples of how Democrats lie when electioneering. Even if his claims were accurate, he isn’t nominating any of them to the Supreme Court, and they’re not lying before a congressional committee.

    • Trip says:

      What about this? This is where we’re at, tossing breadcrumbs on kompromat?

      Abby D. Phillip‏Verified account @abbydphillip

      (!!) Trump implying he’s caught a Dem senator in compromising conditions: “I happen to know some US senators. One who is one the other side, who’s pretty aggressive. I’ve seen that person in very very bad situations. Somewhat compromising.”
      https://twitter.com/abbydphillip/status/1046797269348098048

      #unfuckingbelievable. This is the POTUS.

      • Trip says:

        Jonathan Allen
        ‏Verified account @jonallendc

        Trump says what he saw in Kavanaugh was someone saying “he did have difficulty as a young man with drink … He was very strong on the fact that he drank a lot.”
        Kavanaugh said he never had a drinking problem.

        Jonathan Allen
        ‏Verified account @jonallendc

        Trump appears to be making the case that it’s OK if Kavanaugh lied to the Senate because senators have lied.

        Jonathan Allen
        ‏Verified account @jonallendc

        Trump says Democrat is a drunk. ” I happen to know some United States senators, one who is on the other side who is very aggressive … I ‘ve seen that person in very, very bad situations, somewhat compromising.” Of course, the unnamed senator is not up for the Supreme Court.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The Don’s favorite lawyer, Roy Cohn, was Joe McCarthy’s favorite attack dog, so no surprise there.

        Making unsupported public accusations of wrongdoing is standard operating procedure.  It grabs the headlines and changes the topic.  Any defense or attempt to correct the record is seen as temporizing and ineffectual.

        It is demagoguery, not leadership, but then Donald Trump is not a leader.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Back on topic, your critique of Mitchell’s report is more thorough and accurate than Mitchell’s own.  The words in her opening may come back to haunt her:

    The words written in this memorandum are mine, and I fully stand by all of them.  While I am a registered Republican, I am not a political or partisan person.

    That’s hard to square with her being hired not by the SJC, but only by its Republican members.  That role is inherently political.  The difference in how she questioned all of two witnesses demonstrates it.

    “Dr. Ford’s description of the psychological impact of the event raises questions.”  A fair bit of chutzpah there.  Rachel Mitchell would seem unqualified to address the issue, and she admits that the format the Committee imposed on her was unlikely to elicit an accurate assessment of such traumatic events.  Given Dr. Ford’s professional expertise, it is a direct attack on her credibility.

    Mitchell claims that the Democrats’ interaction with Dr. Ford “affected her account,” implying that it made it inaccurate for partisan reasons.  She fails to make a similar statement about Mr. Kavanaugh’s prior, ex parte meetings with Republican representatives of the SJC.

    Ms. Mitchell is too restrained in claiming that she is not a partisan political actor.

  9. Dunyazad says:

    It was astonishing to me how evasive Kavanaugh was in his answers to the Senators’ questions, given how long he has been a lawyer and a judge. Had he been in court, the trial judge would probably have ordered him to answer the questions. And whether or not the principle “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” articulated by Senator Blumenthal applies with quite the same force as it used to in the past, Kavanaugh’s blatant lies about the yearbook should certainly have been cited by Mitchell if she had any intention of being even-handed. Which obviously she didn’t.

    • Frank Probst says:

      If you take it into the larger context of the last few weeks, I think it’s even worse.  They reportedly did mock questioning with him with various staffers sitting in for Democratic Senators, and the leaks from the White House said he was having trouble with questions about his drinking and some other information about his personal life.  He knew these questions were coming.  He knew his initial attempts to answer them didn’t look good.  He had plenty of time to work on carefully crafting his answers.  He either didn’t do so or just threw the whole script away when he got to the hearing.  Either way, it looks awful for him.

  10. Dunyazad says:

    Also, Kavanaugh’s turning the questions about alcohol back on the questioner was grossly unprofessional and rude. I was stunned that any lawyer, let alone a Court of Appeals judge, would do that. In my experience, only the most unprepared and inexperienced witnesses make that mistake. (I usually say, “The rules are that I’m the only one who can ask questions.”) Such witnesses may not do this out of malice, but Kavanaugh certainly did. I gather than after he tried to grill Senator Klobuchar, someone must have told him during the break how awful it sounded, and that’s why he came back and apologized.

    • Bobster33 says:

      My first thought was that Kavanaugh was either slightly tipsy or hungover from the night before.

  11. skua says:

    I find Mitchell’s devotion of space to “inconsistencies” without any evaluation of the degree or significance of the “inconsistencies” indicative of bias.

    I find her judgement about CBF’s accusation in terms of it’s strength as a basis for criminal charges or criminal investigation to be deliberately misleading  given that Mitchel knows the accusation is not being used in that manner.

    And Mitchell’s passing judgement on the starkly de-contextualized testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, without the facts and relationships that an adequate investigation would provide, without referencing either the testimony of the claimed main perpetrator or the statement of his claimed accomplice, looks like an intellectual form of Trumpian rhetoric. Her claim that she was offering something from a “legal context” notwithstanding.

    Truth was not Mitchell’s goal.

  12. der says:

    In a 2012 interview Rachel Mitchell gave to the fundamentalist magazine FrontLine Mitchel, though it was in answer to questions about child sex abuse, had this to say:

    – “RM: I think one of the big mistakes that they make is that they handle it internally. They “circle the wagons,” and they conduct their own internal investigation. They notify the accused of the allegation. What that does is it thwarts a lot of opportunities for a thorough investigation that is done by trained authorities. It muddies the waters as far as people
    sharing information when it should be kept pristine as far as what people know and how they found out. When they notify the accused, if the accused is guilty, it gives him or her
    the opportunity to destroy evidence, influence witnesses, or flee. I guess the worst thing a church could do is to blame the victim or at least partially blame the victim, and then
    cover up. So those would be huge mistakes by the church.”
    https://fbfi.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2012.02.FrontLine.pdf

    Mitchell does know how it would go and should go from Thursday’s hearing, but hey it’s about overturning the godless socialist agenda so soldier on. I can only hope the press is digging.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Meeting up with Republicans at, say, the Old Ebbett Grill for dinner or drinks is not much evidence of partisanship or impropriety. There’s better evidence for that, Marcy’s take down here being one.

      True, Mitchell should have avoided the appearance of impropriety conveyed by meeting up with a partisan group.  But she was hired by a partisan group – the Committee’s Republican members – so nothing new there.  Don’t hang your hat on that factoid.

      • Charles says:

        After a hearing where the nominee says very loudly 12 times “I like beer!” while denying drinking to excess, there is no irony?

        If Mitchell wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety, she should have refused the committee’s invitation.

  13. Andy says:

    Lying is a classic behavior of addicts. Kavanaugh’s testimony was exactly how addicts respond and react when they are confronted about their addiction. Nobody asked Kavanaugh what his nickname in high school was, but I suspect it was Bart (Mark Judge’s memoir was describing Kavanaugh’s behavior). He has a drinking problem. They are most terrified of Avenatti’s accuser because her claims are explosive and undoubtedly true. Mark Judge admitted as much to his former girlfriend. Any professional sex crimes prosecutor with any integrity should have refused to do the questioning before a proper investigation had been done much less issue an opinion on the accuser’s credibility. I will give her credit for focusing on the 7/1 calendar entry. Who would falsely accuse someone of attempted rape and put their best friend in the room at the same time? Besides, Ford was trying to warn the WH and the Senate before Kavanaugh was nominated. Game, set and match point.

    • der says:

      Or “Barffff” ha, ha, because we were told how the one friend would stretch out the eff word, ha, ha (from time to time Kavanaugh would, with a smirk, glance over at the R side after thinking he got one over), there are so many things about “Judge” Kavanaugh’s behavior that disqualifies him from sitting on any bench.

    • Bobster33 says:

      I also liked Kavanaugh’s implied lie.  I was 17.  Seniors could drink back then.  Kavanaugh knew 18 yr old seniors could drink, but 17 year olds?  He conflates the two.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In an interview in Boston just now, Sen. Jeff Flake confuses Brett Kavanaugh’s “impassioned” rebuttal of Dr. Ford with Kavanaugh producing any verifiable facts that support his passion.

    Sen. Jeff Flake should read more Ken White.  White’s blog sometimes starts with his reminder: “Your feelings are not the law.”  By analogy, Brett Kavanaugh’s feelings are not valid testimony or rebuttal.  They are political theater, as was Lindsey Graham’s hissy fit accusing Democrats of, well, being Democrats.

    If Jeff Flake really does not want to “politicize” the Supreme Court, because it is the “last bastion of trust” in America, he knows what to do: vote No on the hyper-partisan Brett Kavanaugh.

  15. Jenny says:

    How can Mitchell even make a judgement considering the exchange with Kavanaugh was incomplete? This is ridiculous coming from a prosecutor who was “let go” by eleven angry white Republican men who selected her to ask questions. Once Mitchell was out of the picture, they instead chose to be combative, blame & scream their comments. Yep, the good old boys club stick together & Mitchell is drinking the same beer with her report. Ugh.

    • x174 says:

      the blatant procedural improprieties and steady degradation of rules of evidence have been among the primary goals that the rethugs and president dementia (h/t dailykos).

      the inappropriateness of the goofy sex crimes prosecutor sitting at her little table like some kind of ridiculous dwarf was an affront to the American people and senatorial protocol. the fact that the poor, ridiculous woman completed a report in her capacity as paid partisan stooge should be greeted with the same enthusiasm as a loud fart.

      that she wrote up a report though unable to complete her comical “investigation” should be given the same kind of attention as some absurd party favor.

      the rethugs have been steadily lowering the nation’s standards for sometime now. this helps explain in part why the nation is presently in the toilet.

      the national dialogue has descended into one of national shame and international disgrace

      what i am curious to know in regards to this on-going fiasco is have any members of the senate or their staff commit any crimes during this ignominious “process” (h/t kafka)?

  16. Trip says:

    OT: Comey wants public hearing. I like the sort of dig about not having security clearance so need for closed door session:

    Comey offers to testify in public about GOP’s FBI bias claims

    Former FBI Director James Comey has rejected a request by House Judiciary Committee Republicans to appear at a closed hearing as part of the GOP probe into allegations of political bias at the Justice Department and FBI.

    “Mr. Comey respectfully declines your request for a private interview,” Comey’s attorney David Kelley wrote in a response to the committee’s request. “He would, however, welcome the opportunity to testify at a public hearing.” Kelley noted that Comey “no longer has a security clearance” and said that should make his public testimony easier to arrange. He added that any questions about Comey’s tenure at the FBI would presumably be cleared with the bureau.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/01/comey-offers-to-testify-gop-fbi-bias-claims-854868

  17. Geoff says:

    I wonder if, after pulling Mitchell for getting too close for comfort, they decided to have a go at her after the hearing, for not delivering the goods. If she has just left town never to be heard from again, people could have viewed her performance as iffy, but even a bit enlightening, seeing how the July 1 date really got the SJC team’s boxers in a twist. This is what makes me think that once they had her alone, and beat the stuffing out of her for not doing enough of a hatchet job, they threatened her for breach of contract, of something similar, and decided perhaps they would withhold what they promised her for this task. Clearly, she did not deliver what they expected, and they must have been right royally pissed. If she knew she would produce such a slipshod report, why not do the hatchet job you were asked up front? Is that because she knew people would be watching, so she was more cautious, only to unleash her bile afterward, when no one was paying that much attention anymore?

    I guess I shouldnt be so kind as give her any benefit of the doubt about professionalism, given that she signed up for that job in the first place, but I was almost willing to cut her some slack after her part in the hearing wasnt as bad as I expected. But now, her true colors are showing, as this garbage report fits right in with what the Republicans would have wanted.

    But as someone else noted, how does she seriously think she can go back to her day job after doing such an unprofessional job here? Does she think no one will notice? Maybe she just wants to put her self out to pasture with the funds received for this gutless orchestrated hit job.

  18. Tracy says:

    I’m totally disgusted by this Rachel Mitchell. For someone who understand how sexual assault victims’ memories work and the whole process about coming forward, ALL of this is disingenuous and downright deceitful. She’s as much of a hack as anyone, it’s clear.

    Hopefully informed minds will see that she was hired by the GOP and has done their bidding from soup to nuts. The uninformed minds I just feel are lost on this issue anyway.

  19. EveningStarNM says:

    It’s true that Mitchell is not very good at propaganda, but that’s because she’s a sex crimes prosecutor, not a politician, and that’s what got her fired by the Republicans on the SJC. Although she may have wanted to please them, she was conducting an investigation into a possible sex crime, and we’ll never know what she would have done to Kavanaugh had she been allowed to continue.

    • bmaz says:

      Hahahaha, oh jesus, do tell. Please tell me what a good and proper sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell is. How far you want to go back there, “Evening Star”? I’ll be waiting for your uninformed bullshit.

    • Rayne says:

      She wasn’t conducting an investigation into a sex crime. She was performing a political job interview for the all-male GOP senators.

      Had she actually been conducting a sex crime investigation, the GOP senators wouldn’t have terminated her interview when she got close too close to the likely date the assault occurred. A real investigation wouldn’t have stopped there so GOP senators could put on a whiny, dramatic show. ~smh~

      • skua says:

        I’ll put my gullibility on the table.

        During Mitchell’s interviewing of Christine Ford I saw her as respectful and humane.

        Since then, what I’ve read about Mitchell’s history, and her malicious hit-piece memo, does not fit with my initial evaluation of Rachel Mitchell.

        Clearly I was fooled.

        • Rayne says:

          She did what she was hired to do — provide a more friendly face to a prosecutorial interrogation of an assault victim.

          That many of us still believe and expect the best of people makes it easy for the friendly part to stick in our minds and not the prosecutorial element nor the water-carrying for the GOP SJC. You weren’t alone.

  20. SteveB says:

    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/10/rachel-mitchells-former-colleague-slams-her-kavanaugh-memo-as-absolutely-disingenuous/

    Matthew Long, a former sex-crimes prosecutor who was trained by Mitchell in the Maricopa County, Arizona, attorney’s office, told Mother Jones that the memo was “disingenuous” and inconsistent with Mitchell’s own practices as a prosecutor. “I’m very disappointed in my former boss and mentor,” Long said.
    On Sunday, Mitchell submitted the memo to the Republicans who had hired her, stating that Ford’s case would be too weak to bring charges in a criminal trial. “A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove,” Mitchell wrote. “But this case is even weaker than that…I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee.”
    The memo rankled Long, beginning with how Mitchell framed it. “I find her willingness to author this absolutely disingenuous and that she knows better,” Long said. “Because she should only be applying this standard when there’s an adequate investigation.” Rather than jump to conclusions, Mitchell should have laid out the steps that needed be taken in order to gather enough information to make a determination about the case. “Mitchell doesn’t have sufficient information to even draw these conclusions,” he said

  21. Tracy says:

    BTW, I believe that this is the transcript of a Sept 26th SJC phone interview w/ Kav, which relays his responses to the Swetnick allegations, AS WELL AS to a fourth alleged victim (anonymous, for fear of coming forward), from Kamala Harris’ constituency.

    I understand that the GOP may have made or leaked anonymous claims to spoil the credibility of the rest, but I also encourage people to read this to understand what a completely depraved sexual predator this person could have been. At the very least, you cannot PROMOTE someone who has these VERY SERIOUS, PREDATORY, CRIMINAL sexual assault allegations lingering over him.

    These allegations deserve a REAL, SERIOUS investigation into their validity. They would establish a pattern of sexually predatory behavior if borne out. There is a certain congruence to them already, but we really need a proper investigation to know.

    https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/09.26.18%20BMK%20Interview%20Transcript%20(Redacted).pdf

  22. jf-fl says:

    “It should take reporters no more work than to compare what Mitchell claims in her memo with what actually happened last Thursday to declare it a sham report.”

    Again, just wrong here.

    Did BK probably lie under oath about his drinking? Sure, seems like even his supporters admit that. Did he mislead about plenty of other things? Abundunce of examples exist to show that he did, whether you find them significant/material and/or intentional seems to differ. From my personal impression he seems to simply be a good casual liar, but is cautious not to lie about things so important he’d get caught. I understand others (often, but not always, those who are afraid of his legal decisions more than his lying about them) will disagree.

    I personally would not vote to confirm someone who is so comfortable with casual lying. At this point it would not shock anyone if BK is confirmed to write a legal decision that redefines the plain meaning of the word “is” for a political purpose. Some people favor him expressly for this reason. That’s politics- even GWB is still going around stumping for BK (both frat bros in their own time), so we can be pretty confident GWB would have made this same appointment if it had made sense.

    EW, as smart as she is and as rational as her arguments… they’re mostly political with regard to BK (her russian research and reporting really rises to another level, read them all). I say this because she doesn’t lay out standards of proof. Evidence supporting BK committed a crime of sexual assualt is pretty slim. Seems hard to argue a preponderence of evidence exists (standard required for a civil case)- there’s too many people who didn’t remember the two even socializing before 2012 (30 years after the event). So if we go to lower standard: “enough evidence that a reasonable mind could accept as adequate to support a particular conclusion.” this seems like it could fit. This is a real low standard though, we could all- by cherry picking facts and discarding others- find each other likely to have committed all sorts of crimes. Which besides being counter-productive, would be impractical and create so many potential crimes it would essential render the word meaningless.

    Since only 3 people were in the room, it’s impossble for anybody else to have anything else but a hearsay account. 30+ years later, memories do shift and fade. While it’s possible that BK was the person who assaulted Dr ford, it’s also possible that it was someone else and because she never talked about it… her memories seeing BK on tv over time (and perhaps remembering him as a total d*ck when drunk), got mixed together. I’m not saying it’s likely, but the chance of this happening is non-zero. Nobody’s memory is perfect, especially over that long.

    Is it probably more likely that BK is lying than Dr ford? Yes, especially about drinking (and other stuff that might hurt his odds to get on court). Could we find somebody better than BK and put that person in before midterms or next term? Yes on first and probably on 2nd. Should we? Yes on first. At same time, simplying taking accusations as evidence and ignoring contradictary evidence is pretty intellectually dishonest. If you can’t admit your fight is political more than legal (atm anyways, based on what we know), these folks risk suffering some harm to their your reputations a bit I fear. We all make mistakes of course, but only those such as BK fail to admit to them.

    • Frank Probst says:

      “Is it probably more likely that BK is lying than Dr ford? Yes, especially about drinking (and other stuff that might hurt his odds to get on court).”

      Um, how are you defining “a preponderence of evidence”?  Their sworn testimony is evidence.  If you think he’s more likely to be lying than she is–even after being clearly warned that a lie about one thing can be generalized as lying about other things–then her version of events would the one a civil jury would accept, wouldn’t it?

    • Trip says:

      How the hell do you get to a preponderance of evidence, when you resist seeking any? Like not seeking witnesses and not questioning the alleged perp? This person spent about 5 minutes questioning Kavanaugh before she was shut down by the band of hysterical old white man cheerleaders.

      What a bunch of drivel.

    • SteveB says:

      “Evidence supporting BK committed a crime of sexual assualt is pretty slim”

      Actually it is not.

      There is sufficient evidence upon which, apart from a statute of limitation issue, a criminal investigation with a view to prosecution could be launched.

      Would it be desirable to obtain further evidence? Of course it would.

      At present Kavanaugh and his supporters rely on his assertion that Ford was in a different school from people he usually associated with, inviting the inference that he did not know her and could not have known her, and the further inference that therefore she did not know him, and therefore her identification of him as her attacker is false.

      However her evidence of “going out with Garrett” establishes that she intersected with Kavanaugh’s social circle, and lays the foundation for both her presence with him on occassion and her knowledge and recognition of Kavanaugh. Exploring the breadth and depth of a Dr Ford’s interaction with the group and basis for recognising Kavanaugh is clearly a line of inquiry to be pursued: however, Kavanaugh’s evasion on this issue is supportive of the case against him. It is not as if there had been no contact recently between him and Garrett, as Garrett had been approached to give his endorsement. It would be odd for Kavanaughs team not to have sought to find out from Garrett, once it emerged Ford knew him, what Garrett would have to say about Ford and her contact with the group. Kavanaugh also has the problem that persons close to him promoted a false story of Garrett being the perp: it is clearly an issue to what extent Kavanaugh was involved in that.

      The point is Ford has firmly identified Kavanaugh, inferentially has a basis for being able to have done so, and the follow up lines of inquiry would seem to raise more questions about his credibility than hers.

      Given that Kavanaugh is seeking one of the highest offices of trust demanding the greatest levels of conspicuous integrity, it is or should be incumbent on Kavanaugh and his supporters to be models of candour and transparency as a matter of duty and fidelity to justice. Evasion and deflection when the circumstances demand the opposite, entitle objective assessors to draw adverse inferences.

    • Eureka says:

      EW, as smart as she is and as rational as her arguments… they’re mostly political with regard to BK (her russian research and reporting really rises to another level, read them all). I say this because she doesn’t lay out standards of proof. Evidence supporting BK committed a crime of sexual assualt is pretty slim.

      (snip, para continues…)

      That’s not at all what she has argued here.  Or other posts as I recall.  She has principally argued for evidentiary constraints on interpretation of these matters (e.g. Mark Judge Should Testify; The Record Supports Christine Blasey Ford; here; etc).

    • P J Evans says:

      Did he mislead about plenty of other things? Abundunce of examples exist to show that he did, whether you find them significant/material and/or intentional seems to differ.

      They know for a fact that he lied about the e-mails stolen from the Democrats. That in itself should be a disqualifier for this seat. That he worked for Starr and wrote questions to be asked of Clinton, while not a lie, makes him highly partisan in the political arena, and should also be a disqualifier for this seat.

      Kavanaugh may be competent at law, but he has neither the temperament nor the actual learning needed in the Supreme Court. He wasn’t even on the Federalist Society list – he’s not good enough.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Marcy’s analysis here is far superior to this nuts-and-bolts version by Seung Min Kim in the Washington Post, In memo, outside prosecutor argues why she would not bring criminal charges against Kavanaugh.

    The headline is troublesome, too, although it would have been crafted by an editor.  Mitchell’s day job is as a local sex crimes prosecutor in Arizona.  But she was employed by Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee as a private citizen lawyer.  (She was not employed by the Committee because that would have required obtaining the Democrats’ agreement, which would not have been forthcoming.)

    Her job was to be a cutout and to ask questions those elderly white Republican men did not want to ask of Dr. Ford.

    While technically correct, the headline conveys a false impression.  Rachel Mitchell was not working as a prosecutor or for the SJC.  She was working as a private lawyer for a partisan group to ask partisan questions.  She delivered a partisan report.

  24. Frank Probst says:

    Looks like the sham FBI investigation might be turning into a less-shammy FBI investigation.  I’m wondering how things will go if the FBI starts interviewing people above and beyond Kavanaugh, Judge, and “PJ”.  With the exception of the name we got from Ed Whelan (which was initially thought to be a random guy from the yearbook), the main (if only) reason we know the identities of all of his other friends from that time period is because of his calendars.  That means a whole bunch of people who were quietly sitting on the sidelines waiting this out may end up getting calls from the FBI.  If I were them, I wouldn’t be terribly happy about something like that happening.  Ed Whelan’s fall guy is probably already pissed off as it is.  (I think that Ford was pretty much forced to admit that she knew him, and that’s how she could be sure she wasn’t mistaking him for Kavanaugh, but she balked at saying his name to the whole world.)  There’s a lot that can shake loose here if these folks are genuinely questioned, and I don’t think many (if any) are going to be willing to lie for Kavanaugh.

    • Trent says:

      Looks like the sham FBI investigation might be turning into a less-shammy FBI investigation.

      Not seeing what you’re seeing…link please?

        • Trip says:

          I think it’s true because aristocrat McConnell was ffwa-ffwa-ffwa-ing on the floor about Democrats moving goalposts. (The man is insufferable. Also, as he speaks it seems he’s blowing air that gets blocked in his dentures or something. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for me. Ok, maybe I’m a jerk, but it does drive me crazy).

          • Frank Probst says:

            The update at WaPo reads:  “Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismisses allegations against Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh as “character assassination,” says Senate will vote this week.”
            I think “character suicide” is probably a more accurate term, but whatever.

        • Trent says:

          Thank you.  I still think this is horse shit for the gullible to consume.

          Anyone familiar enough with the FBI to know who the key investigative players are and if they’ll do their jobs without all the interference behind the scenes?

        • P J Evans says:

          They keep waffling on whether the FBI will get to do even a halfway thorough investigation, and whether they’ll get that week – which should have started Monday, IMO – or if McTurtle will decide to hold that vote early and f*ck everyone else.

      • Frank Probst says:

        The WaPo article is less hopeful and makes it sound like Trump is going to say McConnell’s in charge while McConnell says that Trump’s in charge.  But Flake has put down a marker.  He may fold later this week, but he was expected to fold.  Right now, Murkowski and Collins have cover to vote no.  Still very fluid, but I haven’t seen anything yet that’s made Kavanaugh’s chances look better.  Everything that’s come out has just made him look worse.

        I can’t figure out how to properly post WaPo links, but the title of the piece is:  Trump adds to confusion over scope of FBI investigation of Kavanaugh accusations

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          WaPo tries to hide the url.  But it’s there, just to the right of “(US)….”.  You have to copy it “blind”, then paste and review it, and also delete the tracking portion at the end of the address.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        MSNBC reporting the same thing, WH supposedly freeing the FBI to investigate what it sees fit.  I’ll believe it when I see it in writing.  There are so many issues about Kavanaugh that merit investigation – poor man – that a week to do it seems inadequate.

          • Frank Probst says:

            Over the weekend, NBC was the first news organization to get the FBI’s side of the story.  I’m waiting for the headline with the word “but” in it.

            • Tracy says:

              Yes, and NBC was first national media to pick up Flake’s speech (posted below).

              I’m also waiting for corroboration that the WH has moved in Flake’s words, though, b/c I see that the NYT piece is in part by stenographer extraordinaire, Mike Schmidt – pushing the party line, no doubt. DJT has been gaslighting the hell outta this thing! I hope more comes out soon.

        • Tracy says:

          For everyone in this thread, I’ll repost what I put in Marcy’s last post: this is Jeff Flake speaking in Boston (now picked up by NBC), saying that he’s been in many convos w/ WH/ McGahn about ensuring that all current credible witnesses are included in the investigation, that the investigation has to be “real” and that it can’t just provide “cover:”

          https://www.nbcnews.com/video/sen-jeff-flake-comments-on-kavanaugh-fbi-investigation-at-forbes-event-1334068291559

          If Flake and Murkowski insist on this, and McConnell doesn’t have their votes, then he will either have to order a “fullsome” investigation via the WH, or withdraw the nominee. Probably explains his bluster, especially since reportedly THE WH HAS NO BACKUP PLAN. He knows that Michael Avenatti’s client is coming forward. He’s probably in full-on crisis/ defense mode. This is developing v fast.

          • Frank Probst says:

            Someone suggested several posts ago that Jeff Flake didn’t suddenly decide to ask for an investigation because two women yelled at him in an elevator.  He did it because that was the deal made at the meeting between him and Murkowski, Collins, and Manchin the night before.  He may very well have been pushed to that point by women in his life telling him about their experiences with sexual assault, but whatever did it, the decision was made at that Thursday night meeting, not suddenly on Friday morning.  This theory makes sense.  Flake is the only one of the four who’s not up for re-election.  He asks for the investigation, and then all four of them agree to vote as a bloc based on the results of the investigation.  He takes the heat for a brief time, but he looks like a fair-minded Senator who left his seat on a high note.

            I think Murkowski is desperate to vote no but wants more cover to do so.  Collins and Manchin just want to vote in whichever direction will win them the most votes at their next election.  I think the meeting was planned in advance, but none of them were ready for the train wreck that happened with Kavanaugh.  His testimony alone was disqualifying.  He was obviously lying under oath.  At that point, the easiest thing to do was to ask for a weeklong investigation while people processed just how out of control Kavanaugh was.  People would start coming forward with stories about Kavanaugh’s drinking (which is already happening), and the FBI would be forced to follow up those people’s statements.  By Friday, there should have been enough to sink the nomination.

            This weekend’s attempt to “handcuff” the investigation was McGahn’s last card to play to get Kavanaugh in there.  Flake called bullshit on it.  Now the FBI is doing more than it was before, but we’re still not sure exactly what.

            McConnell desperately wants to file his cloture motion (which I think he has to do here–not positive with the new filibuster rules).  Right now, he can’t, because the FBI hasn’t really started its real work yet.  If he still needs 60 votes for cloture (again, not sure he does), he doesn’t have them.  If he needs 50 plus Pence, he STILL might not have them.  Flake is taking the heat for the moment while Murkowski, Collins, and Manchin sit on the sidelines waiting to see what else is going to crop up.

            As Tracy notes, it’s developing VERY fast.  But the longer it goes, the worse things look for Kavanaugh.

            • Eureka says:

              Someone suggested several posts ago that Jeff Flake didn’t suddenly decide to ask for an investigation because two women yelled at him in an elevator.  He did it because that was the deal made at the meeting between him and Murkowski, Collins, and Manchin the night before.  He may very well have been pushed to that point by women in his life telling him about their experiences with sexual assault, but whatever did it, the decision was made at that Thursday night meeting, not suddenly on Friday morning.

              Yes, that was bmaz over on the Jeff Flake Sham “Investigation” post, I believe

    • Bobster33 says:

      Ah, the delicious irony if Ed Wheelan’s casual theory of a doppelganger causes said doppelganger to prove Kavanaugh is GUILTY.

  25. SandyL says:

    Another question, that I have not yet seen anyone pay attention to is Kavanaugh’s story about the yearbook editors changing his yearbook entry without permission to make it look “like a movie.”   It should be fairly easy to determine who the yearbook editors were and track them down to ask if that is true or not.

    This really does not ring true to me.  I was a high school yearbook editor two years before Kavanaugh graduated and we would NEVER have changed entries without permission, especially if that person was a top student and popular athlete.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Matthew Long, a former sex crimes prosecutor and colleague of Rachel Mitchell, and now defense lawyer, gives Mother Jones a blistering critique of Mitchell’s memo. He generally agrees with EW’s assessment.

    The short version: Mitchell’s conclusions are unsupported by the evidence.  She should have pointed out what was deficient and made recommendations for further investigation.  She does that all the time in her day job.

    Her report should have said that without further investigation, no conclusions could responsibly be drawn about either Dr. Ford’s claims or Mr. Kavanaugh’s rebuttal.  That she made those conclusions anyway, without pointing out the incompleteness of the investigation, shows her bias.

    • orionATL says:

      the m.j. rebuttal to mitchell seems particularly compelling because mitchell trained that lawyer.

      tx.

  27. Trip says:

    Here’s one answer why none of this came up in previous background checks:
    Jamie Roche‏ @jamie_roche

    As Brett Kavanaugh’s college freshman roommate, I was never contacted by the FBI for any of their background checks. I assume college behavior was not a topic of interest. They did not find Debbie’s story because they were not looking for it.
    https://twitter.com/jamie_roche/status/1046769519505678336

    • bmaz says:

      Or here is another: it is total bullshit. Yearly I get hit up by someone from the Bureau about what one to the other of some clearanced neighbor has been “up to”.

        • josh says:

          Trip,

          I was SC’d for an IRS job. Major fbi background check. They talked to everyone in my past. Really frightening. They talked to people I went to school with through 3rd or 4th grade that had moved away and I had never spoken to Again! They spoke woth everyone of my past! Truly scary the scope of their reach. No fan of kavanaugh but the background check I went through was thorough like a fine tooth comb and I would hope/assume same goes for federal judge!

          • Trip says:

            That may well be. I suppose it depends on how these things actually do work with judges, who orders them, or if limitations are imposed. Perhaps there were assumptions that he was clean. Maybe the FBI only spoke with Kavanaugh’s friends, not people turned off or harmed by him. Perhaps it was more or less cursory, that they didn’t seek out people not in his close circle.

            That guy WAS Kavanaugh’s roommate at Yale. He apparently was never asked questions about Kavanaugh throughout all of the past background checks. Neither was Ramirez.

            • Trip says:

              If the FBI did talk to him or Ramirez during prior background checks, I’d think there would have to be documents somewhere of his interview.

          • P J Evans says:

            Background checks are more limited than those for security clearances. (My father had TS for many years, along with occasional compartmented clearances. His went much farther back and into far more detail than this one would have done.)

    • skua says:

      Low confidence hypothesis about FBI background investigations into Kavanaugh:

      Investigations are (normally) accretional.

      First investigation covers as much as agents see as relevant. This might be the investigation where attitude of investigators to nominee make the most difference. Normally this investigation would cover all significant life of nominee, especially around security and blackmail issues.

      Next background investigation covers period of time from immediately previous investigation forward.

      Next background investigation covers period of time from immediately previous investigation forward.

      etc.

      If this is the way things have been done then Kavanaugh’s HS, college and university years have only been investigated once.

  28. Andy says:

    The biggest tell about Kavanaugh’s behavior is that all three independent accusers say their assaults occurred when Kavanaugh was drunk with other males. Typical fratboy (mob) behavior where normally insecure males get the group courage to act out in ways they normally would not be confident enough to do on their own. The male bonding ritual at Georgetown Prep, fraternities and in most male sports teams is drinking and abusing girls to prove you are a “man” and part of the group.

    • Tracy says:

      Right – there are similarities – plus, there was an anonymous one that Kav answered questions about to SJC in a phone call, which alleges rape by drunken Kav and one of his friends, in a car. I posted the transcript above. It is quite specific and really horrendous. I am sure that they’ll not consider this a credible allegation since it’s anonymous, even though woman said she was afraid of telling her name – also did not mention the time. Unfortunately if it is a true allegation it cannot be weighted like the others since it’s anonymous. But what emerges is a pattern of predatory behavior – criminal, if this is corroborated. Like you said, even the “credible” three have aspects in common.

  29. sk says:

    i hope Mitchell’s treatment is not a reflection on how she deals with actual clients in her day job.

  30. viget says:

    Slightly OT–

    Going back to July 1 — Kavenaugh testified that the party in question couldn’t have been on a weekday because “we all had summer jobs.”  Yet, according to this Slate article,  Kavenaugh’s job was running his own lawn mowing business.  July 1 was a Thursday prior to a long holiday weekend.  He was leaving for Rehobeth beach the very next day.  The FFFFFFourth of July was that Sunday, and he was coming home on Monday the 5th.  Do you really think he was going to be mowing lawns on July 2nd?  I kind of doubt it.  Also, Judge worked at the Safeway,  even if he did show up, he often showed up hungover.

    • harpie says:

      The author of the Politico article, Darren Samuelsohn, tweeted this photo:

      Here’s the scene outside Mueller’s office today where two Paul Manafort attorneys were spotted chatting with special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann. @politico story here:

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Manafort’s plea agreement specifically waived him having his lawyer(s) in attendance when he was being interviewed by the Feds.  His lawyers might have accompanied him to and from talks with Mueller’s people, and debriefed him afterwards, but it’s hard to see Mueller waiving the waiver.

  31. Some Guy in Maine says:

    Ay Carumba!

    Her ‘report’ is nearly Orwellian in its own twisted logic.

    It begins with the disclaimer

    A Senate confirmation hearing is not a trail, especially not a prosecution.

    She the immediately goes on to apply trial standards to her analysis, especially prosecution standards.

    No disclaimers, no qualifiers. Zip.

    No CYA statement to the effect of were this a trial/prosecution other investigative steps and evidence might have been gathered . . .

    Nope, she just points to the appointment language instructions, as if that makes it ok to apply standards she herself calls out as inappropriate.

    This is nuts.

  32. Ed Smiley says:

    I wonder if she had been told that she would be given the time from all the GOP senators for both witnesses to get her to agree to come.

    Her questioning of Kavenaugh, as far as it went, was getting somewhere.

    I do think she is probably “right”–in the NARROW sense that this, as it stands right now, would not be enough to undertake prosecution. (This is NOT relevant, as I outline here.) Ignoring for a moment the likelihood that an attempted rape would be less likely to result in prosecution in the eighties, such a prosecution would have been contemporaneous–and might have a LOT more corroboration of details at the time.

    Read on please, before freaking out….

    This in no way means I do not believe Dr. Ford.

    Of course, this was never a prosecution, it was a hearing to establish if such an event was probable. In my opinion it was VERY probable. That Judge Kavenaugh was covering up (perjuring) significant misbehavior accompanied by extreme quantities of alcohol that makes him an unreliable witness is almost a CERTAINTY.

    Her report may have a partisan bias, or based on the more or less honest assessment of what questioning she was able to do herself. As you note, she was NOT allowed to CONTINUE. I sense surprise and frustration on her part.

    I blame the majority party much more.

    • Ed Smiley says:

      Let me be clear that she was extremely sloppy in not documenting that she was applying a different standard to Judge Kavenaugh. She could have said that her questioning of Judge Kavenaugh was incomplete and that her report would have to, regrettably  and primarily focus on the interactions with Dr. Ford alone.

      One may cynically  say that she was hired as a hatchet job, or it may be that a combination of unconscious political bias, with thwarting of her investigation.

      In any event, the end product is what was desired by the majority on the committee, regardless.

  33. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Regardless of whether Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Dems need to make clear in their campaigning that the Republicans wanted him on the Court, they needed him on the Court, they were willing to avoid looking at his lies and evasions to put him on that Court. What kind of Court does that make? What kind of country?

  34. CCC says:

    The link to the transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff interview with Kavenaugh has been taken down.

  35. Ollie/Bee and I sting says:

    Well I’m posting prior to reading the comments. I’m too upset over this. Marcy: I posted that I thought the reason the GOP boys took over from Mitchell is because she wasn’t being ‘tough’ enough. Now I see my folly. Graham did throw his tizzy fit when you state he did. He did it to avoid Mitchell zeroing in on BK and July 1st. I thought they did it because like everything other ficking thing about women……….they call it: laws, opinions….it’s all there for us to anguish over. We fight so hard for so little.
    So. THere must be something about this jerk that is vital for the GOP/Trump. I follow EW closely so I consider myself up to date w/this issue. BK’s been ‘groomed’ (OH I HATE that term but alas) for this very position and Koch/Trump/GOP need him for their future idiot judges when they get called on their decisions from HONEST/LEGIT Judges …go to the SCOTUS and wa la………we are fucked as a republic. Now to throw up.

  36. Tom says:

    When I tried the link to the transcript that Tracy mentioned above, all that came up was a “Page Not Found” message. Couldn’t get the Reply function to work so am adding this here.

  37. Bruce Olsen says:

    This analysis got me thinking about the July 1 party (or whichever party was the venue for the attack) as well as Ford’s careful calibration of her relationship with Squi, and I was wondering exactly why Whelan accused Squi when it was so likely to be disproven. Some here have suspected Squi as being something of a keystone in this affair.

    What if Squi read too much into Ford’s acknowledged friendship and tried to “take advantage of her” (my generation’s favored euphemism)? Not with the same physical force as BK but with more familiarity than Ford wanted. BK would likely have heard about that. I’ve read that Squi was more of a hanger-on than a “leader” and it’s not hard to imagine BK encouraging Squi to “be a man.” Female conquest as a marker of masculinity was still a thing in 1982, wasn’t it?

    Anyway, Squi, ummm, gets out of hand and Ford shuts him down, but he’s still basically a good guy so they keep going out for a while.
    Ford has been careful about mentioning Squi. I doubt she went “all the way” (“hooked up” for you whippersnappers) but Squi might have gotten farther than BK got. So BK knows Ford allowed Squi some kind of liberties. That knowledge might have prompted BK’s 1982 attack in the first place, but we don’t need to assume it. Either way, BK in 2018 knows that Squi got farther than BK did during his assault, and believes he can use that to make a slut defense. Whelan makes the claim that Squi actually did it. BK knew it would get Ford rattled and probably gain some traction.

    This seems to fit the facts I’m aware of, and seems to explain some of the mystery around Squi. I haven’t figured out what constraints are on the FBI investigation, but I thought Squi was not on the list. I’d hope the GOP would want to talk to him.

    And it points out more holes in the Mitchell whitewash.

    • Rayne says:

      I think that’s reading far too much into the situation. Stick to first principles — what is this on the face of it? Squi is Christopher C. Garrett, a teacher at Atlanta Academy Middle School and a debate coach, who “went out with” Dr. Ford and introduced her to Kavanaugh. What does that tell you in addition to his statement through his lawyer,

      Consistent with Dr. Ford’s own recent statement, Mr. Garrett categorically denies the baseless and irresponsible suggestions and insinuations that he is somehow the subject of Dr. Ford’s allegations. In fact, he has no knowledge or information relating to her claims.

      Mr. Garrett will not be making any further statements regarding this matter.

      Not much. Dr. Ford has been forthcoming; I don’t think she was trying to hide anything about Squi. She may simply respect his privacy. I’m not certain where you see anything indicating Garrett had anything more than a short-term romantic relationship with Garrett at age 15 which may not have included sex at all.

      We’ll have to hope more comes of this half-assed pretense of an investigation.

      • Frank Probst says:

        Wait a minute.  I hadn’t seen this before, but here’s the quote that jumps out at me:

        “In fact, he has no knowledge or information relating to her claims.”  

        That’s an awfully broad statement.  I didn’t realize that was what he had said.  But it certainly leaves you with the impression that he didn’t know Blasey Ford at all or didn’t know her that well, and certainly didn’t know about any connection between Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh.  Dr Blasey Ford says that he’s the one who introduced her to Kavanaugh.  He was obviously friends with Kavanaugh and would be able to speak to his drinking habits.  He may not have been at the July 1 meet up (or at least not at the time that Blasey Ford was there), but this is a man that very clearly has “knowledge or information relating to [Blasey Ford’s] claims.”

      • Frank Probst says:

        In past posts, I’ve brought up the possibility that his school’s principal might have been obligated to report Ed Whelan’s bullshit to Child Protective Services.  Mandatory reporting requirements vary from state to state, and not knowing what state this guy worked in, I’ve said that his principal would probably have to report this to Child Protective Services (CPS), even though it was obviously bullshit.

        Now knowing that he works in Georgia, I’ve read the Georgia statute, and I can say without question that I would NOT have reported this in that state.  It’s not even a close call.  So that makes it the second time I’ve been wrong today.  Apologies for the error.

        (My main experience is in Texas, where the statute covering reporting requirements is ridiculously broad and would cover 99% of people on the street if you took them literally.  A middle school teacher with a possible history of sexual assault against a 15 year-old girl–even one that was decades old–is someone that I would report.  CPS can look at the report and opt to close the file without doing anything more than reviewing what you wrote.  My experiences here have been bizarre, to say the least.  You don’t want to be the one who drops the ball on mandatory reporting down here.  I don’t take chances.)

    • Bobster33 says:

      I had the opposite thought from you.  I thought that Squi had no interest in Ford.  She hung around him, but he never  made a move.  Kavanaugh saw this and said, are you o.k. if I take a crack at her.  Little did Squi know that Kav was not into formalities like asking her out.

  38. Trip says:

    Kavanaugh reached out to mutual friend of Ramirez to get them to back him up. He told committee he only heard about the accusation in the New Yorker, but this outreach happened prior:

    Mutual friend of Ramirez and Kavanaugh anxious to come forward with evidence
    A former classmate of the Supreme Court nominee has reached out to the FBI but hasn’t received a response.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/mutual-friend-ramirez-kavanaugh-anxious-come-forward-evidence-n915566

    • Frank Probst says:

      If accurate, this is pretty damning.  I don’t think it would have been appropriate for his counsel to start investigating this on their own, much less Kavanaugh himself.  And if it really did happen before The New Yorker piece came out, I’m not sure how you explain that away.  I guess he can say that his counsel knew about it and started investigating it on their own without telling him, but that sounds pretty wild to me.  Would the crime-fraud exemption apply here, if this is accurate?  He would have had to have made his statement AFTER all of this happened, right?

      • Trip says:

        I’m not a lawyer so I can’t answer those questions, but I guess at the least he would have perjured himself by telling the committee he only learned after the New Yorker article, but was seeking that photo ahead of time, to show she was “okay with him” and also looking for back-up from friends. Supposedly there are text messages, so that would be pretty damning, if dated and directly from him. It seems like he was trying to influence and demonstrate against her claim BEFORE she claimed it.

        I know Avenatti’s client Swetnick is talking, but this seems more solid.

  39. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Julie Swetnick on MSNBC is describing a date-rape culture at these house parties, which might have involved Brett Kavanaugh. She reports that she reported her experience to the Montgomery County Police. Her mother and the officer she reported her story to are now dead, limiting the ability to confirm or refute her evidence. Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has a reputation for doing his homework when representing high-profile clients. It’s his name on the paperwork, too.

    During his testimony, Brett Kavanaugh swore to God that Julie Swetnick was lying, “not a scintilla of truth” in it.

    • Tracy says:

      I viewed her interview, Earl! This is a good summary.

      I’m glad she told her story! It was horrifying. I do not doubt that that happened.

      I am disappointed for her that other witnesses to this rape culture have not thus far corroborated it – but I imagine it must be one of the hardest things to come forward about – an “open secret” like the grooming of young boys in Hollywood or Harvey Weinstein. People in the culture, who witnesses things and didn’t intervene, don’t want to come forward b/c they fear appearing complicit or to be associated with bad actors.

      However, is a girl really going to go down the hall, or up the stairs to see why a bunch of guys are hanging out outside of a room? It’s an unfair standard to put on witnesses. The Slate piece about this rape culture said that only b/c the writer’s boyfriend was a senior did he have the status to go and break up the “lineup,” as she called it, protecting the drunk girl inside (it says in the article: we didn’t call it rape, we had this word for it.)

      We see the way that Graham has trashed Swetnick, saying: who in their right mind would keep coming back to those parties; “what kind of person” wouldn’t warn their friends? This is the TRUE character assassination.

      Well, Swetnick for her part, says that she didn’t totally know why a group of guys would hang outside of a room until it happened to her. Second of all, when you are within that culture of secrecy – and Kav and his “gang” surely had a gentleman’s agreement “what happened at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown prep” to stay silent – it’s really hard to be the lone voice to speak out. There is a group dynamic of suppression that happens. That’s I think why we are not so far hearing other corroborating accounts.

      • Trip says:

        There are no perfect victims. But that is what society expects.

        And predators in the wild and also the human kind pick vulnerable prey. That’s why kids with fucked up home family life are chosen by child molesters, why prostitutes are kidnapped and killed by serial killers, why an insecure girl or woman looking to fit in with a different social strata might be a perfect target for rape. Those predators go for easy pickings and someone outside their social circle who isn’t respected and will be discounted.

        I didn’t watch the interview, I’m just commenting, in general.

        • Tracy says:

          Yes, and I read that same thing (and you hear it so much about child abuse) recently in a very long piece of reporting in WaPo about a girl named Amber Wyatt who was gang raped – front and back at the same time (I believe that this is what the real Devil’s Triangle is) – in Arlington, TX. The vulnerable, outsider, misfit sort of person gets targeted. If you get a chance to read that story it is really eye-opening about how these dynamics work (again, raped by the popular jocks – a soccer and football player – a younger cheerleader with substance use issues and trying to fit in).

          Worth noting that while Swetnick’s sworn statement says that she knew to avoid the punch, she still seems to have been drugged by Quaaludes, she believes. I think she was trying not to fall victim – she already had a knowing that things were off w/ what the guys were doing – but they got to her. And now she’s struggling to have corroboration.

          Trip, below I am posting an article about a friend afraid to come forward about Ramirez – such a common thing. Another thing is the fear of speaking truth to power.

          All of my comments are super long tonight, LOL. Big topic for me!

          • Tracy says:

            BTW – saw that Bmaz on Twitter made an excellent comment – why the long disclaimers preceding the airing of someone’s personal story of assault? This seemed like undue emphasis on the non-corroboration aspect and it was disrespectful to Julie and to her claims which were very traumatizing for her. I was thinking: my God what it takes to be believed as a woman and as an accuser of a powerful man, they aren’t really be fair to her.

            You could actually just have said “this is a woman’s personal traumatic story of sexual assault, we have not been able to independently verify the claims,” instead of going on about it – same thing happened on Chris Hayes.

  40. Tracy says:

    I note that in Mark Judge’s book “Wasted” as reported by Melber he says that he hung out and drank with “the gang” (must’ve included Kav) 4-7 nights per week!!! So much for not drinking on a weekday night. So much for July 1st being an impossible date for a party.

  41. viget says:

    Replying to Tracy:

    See my analysis above. BK was an “independent contractor” running his own lawnmowing bidness.

    Pretty sure he had no intention of working on Friday July 2nd when he was headed to Rehobeth that day for a long holiday weekend. So no problem with getting drunk that night, huh?

    • Tracy says:

      TY! I will read it! So much breaking news evening has taken me away from making my way the comments. You guys are equally a huge source of reporting for me!

      We all have to be on this to avoid the gaslighting of Kav’s team: Mitch McConnell, Don McGahn, Bill Burck, and the main gaslighter, DJT.

  42. Eureka says:

    Fuck all of the “reports.”  Do we get to have a “reports” pyre when this is all done with?  Will there be any beer left?

  43. bmaz says:

    Yeah, probably not worth much I suppose, but there were people that noted what a zealot hack Rachel Mitchell was, and is, from the get go.

    • Eureka says:

      Yeah I think I heard tell, lol…and to be fair, the reports pyre is to include most of Maggie and Mike’s clippings.

      • bmaz says:

        I do not even know at this point. But there is a long term picture as to Mitchell, her mentor at MCAO sex crimes bureau, Cindi Nanettiti, and the MCAO sex crimes bureau as a whole.  

        One I thought I had already painted as to the nature of said office. Maybe that was not enough. I am sorry I did not paint that clearly enough, that is my fault.

        Rachel Mitchell is bad. Horrible even. Never mind that history, let’s focus only on one 24 hour gig. I will welcome all the continued attention in the future when sickness is going down vis a vis MCAO’s sex crime unit and their charging decisions. Thanks to all for paying attention!

        • Eureka says:

          I think you did do a fair job of warning us, it’s just that the end product is always more egregious than I would have imagined.

  44. Tracy says:

    Wow, looks like NBC has received texts of Kav trying to coordinate story about Ramirez w friends before NYer story came out.

  45. Eureka says:

    Related topic:  it just registered last night that Mark Judge is represented by Cozen O’Connor (!), they of suing-KSA-over-9-11 fame.

      • Tracy says:

        Apparently they have – this is not the article in question as I missed the title of it, but here is some reporting on it:

        https://newrepublic.com/minutes/151483/new-report-contradicts-claim-brett-kavanaugh-made-oath

        Article quotes NBC:

        “The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh’s team and former classmates in advance of the story.”

        • Eureka says:

          Thank you Tracy.  I was just about to say that I am disappointed that this won’t count as witness tampering (as it occurred prior to current FBI background investigation), but in the background with MSNBC in my ear, Chris Matthews is saying that it would count as such as regards SJC investigation.

    • klynn says:

      Jane M should offer to take their leads. She should offer a phone number for folks to call. Bet the FBI would suddenly be available to receive tips and leads after her offer.

      • Eureka says:

        Oh, but there is always a caveat.  From the article:

        Clark would not say whether including Swetnick’s allegations in the investigation meant that the FBI should interview her. She said Collins thinks the FBI should decide who it wants to interview.

  46. Tracy says:

    Anyway, hoping that one morning I will open my phone and see: Brett Kavanaugh Nomination Withdrawn.

    (Let’s deal with that one first, but I think there are real questions on whether he continues to be able to be Judge Anything At All).

  47. Eureka says:

    Related topic: Thank you, Rayne, for your powerful and clear voice, especially over these last several days. I haven’t known where to put this in the din of breaking news. Banner it across EW! Thank you.

  48. timbo says:

    Lost in all this is the point that it is Kavanaugh who introduces the idea of blacking out into the record. I don’t see anywhere where Ford had mentioned the possibility of blacking out, nor had Mitchell. Mitchell was trying to get a handle on how much drinking Kavanaugh engaged in and whether or not he knew how much “too much” was. For Kavanaugh, if he were trying to introduce a defense should the evidence point to his guilt, this would be the way to go about it…

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