Kavanaugh Confirmation Standards of Nonsense

Okay, in case you have not already guessed, Marcy is away, mostly, for a couple of days. Even a prolific presence like her is entitled to that. So, you get me for today. Sorry!

Now, because I have been a little involved in trying to figure what is the “real standard of proof” for people in the shoes of, say, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, I have been a tad predisposed this morning. But let us for now go back to Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh, Collins, Flake, Grassley and the “standard of proof”.

An executive branch nomination is NOT a criminal trial. Any talk about “presumed innocent” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” is asinine and duplicitous. There is no set standard for a nomination consideration, much less one for the Supreme Court. Senators, especially those on the screening Senate Judiciary Committee, get to make their own individual assessments. In a perverse kind of way, it is like impeachment’s “high crimes and misdemeanors”, it is easy for people to argue, but the net result is that it is whatever strikes Congress as being applicable.

Frankly, I think the argument over what Susan Collins’ standard was is kind of silly and diversionary. Collins stated on the record:

“This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of more likely than not as our standard.”

This is bullshit. As David Graham, again, pointed out:

Citing the lack of corroboration of Ford’s account as well as lacunas in Ford’s own recollection, Collins said she did not believe the “more likely than not” standard had been met.

Although she did not use the phrase, the standard that Collins offers appears to be the same as “the preponderance of the evidence,” which is the burden of proof required in civil trials—as opposed to the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard in criminal cases. This is also the standard that many colleges now use in evaluating sexual-violence claims under Title IX. Obama-era guidance required schools to use a preponderance-of-evidence standard, though the Trump Education Department has granted schools greater leeway, instructing that “findings of fact and conclusions should be reached by applying either a preponderance of the evidence standard or a clear and convincing evidence standard.”

So, what is the relevant standard? As propounded earlier, there is no set one in these circumstances. It certainly is not “beyond a reasonable doubt” as is in criminal trials. Anybody using that language, including most of the geriatric white geezers in the SJC, is lying.

“Clear and convincing evidence”? Nope, there is no precedent for that either. Preponderance of the evidence/more likely than not? Again, there is scant authority to establish that as a relevant standard. Bottom line is Susan Collins manufactured her own “standard” and then cynically applied it, all without any legitimate basis. And, maybe, that is the kind of intellectual malleability these SJC determinations engender, but, if so, people like Collins, and the journalists that cover her charade, should acknowledge it.

So, what is the real “standard”? Again, there is none I can find. But if the course and scope of “background investigations” conducted by the FBI at the behalf of an Article II Executive Branch request is any indication, it is far different than being duplicitously portrayed by both the White House and Senate Judiciary Republicans.

Here is a specialist in clearance and background investigation issues, Brad Moss:

Um, not totally true. It happens for high level national security operatives working for the NSC and related White House components. Those individuals have to hold TS/SCI access and often times can be subject to invasive polygraph screenings.

Actual vetting, not that Kushner BS.

Here is another, Kel McClanahan, of National Security Counselors:

The White House can’t order @FBI to just rummage through a random person’s life. They can definitely AUTHORIZE FBI to rummage through a person’s life who has agreed to be subjected to a background investigation.

If this is true, it was McGahn & not Trump who was playing games…

Yes. Exactly. And, as a Senator who was one of the maybe 115 American citizens able to actually read the “FBI Investigation” work product, for Susan Collins and Jeff Flake to blithely sign off on the limited, restricted and choked off nonsense, is beyond craven. It is straight up duplicitous. And the New York Times article is kind compared to the chicanery that was clearly afoot from Don McGahn, a close friend and Federalist Society gang member for decades with Brett Kavanaugh.

In short, it is NOT about the relative “standard of proof” used by Susan Collins. She used “more likely than not” standard (effectively a preponderance of evidence standard). When she said that was the standard, she was lying. It never has been, and never will be. That was manufactured bullshit.

People have also argued that the standard should have been “reasonable accusation” or “credible accusation”. And those are even lesser than than the preponderance/more likely than not” standard Collins artificially, self servingly and cynically utilized.

Is clearance on a Background Investigation warranted? Does anybody, including the high holy Brett Kavanaugh, have any god given right to have a clean BI and be elevated to the Supreme Court? Of course not (See Title 32 of the CFR), that is gibberish propounded by old white conservative and misogynistic demagogues, like Grassley, Hatch, Cornyn and Graham in the Senate Judiciary Committee. And it is pure rubbish.

And, so too is the manufactured “standard” Susan Collins magically announced in her drama queen dog and pony show yesterday that seemed to narcissistically go on forever.

The bottom line is that whether under Collins’ manufactured and elevated standard, or even lesser ones such as reasonable or credible allegations, Brett Kavanaugh was not fit for passage and subsequent confirmation.

As Mark J. Stern detailed in Slate, Susan Collins’ manifesto announced with all the drama of a royal wedding, was in incredible bad faith. Her “standard” was nonsense and nowhere close to any applicable standard. It was a joke.

But, even more so, under ANY standard Susan Collins could have cited, her “finding” thereunder was garbage. Even in criminal sex cases, not just occasionally, but often, finders of fact (usually juries), decisions come down to weighing the relative credibility of an accuser versus the accused. And, given the relentless series of outright lies Brett Kavanaugh stated under oath, there is no way that a sentient human could see his testimony as more credible than the measured, and admitting as to gaps, honesty of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. And, again, credibility of witnesses is what criminal trials, much less less than even civil litigation burdens, as here, are decided by every day.

This is because there are usually zero other witnesses to such kidnapping, molestation and attempted rape cases as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford credibly alleged, but also because time and reticence of victims is often a factor. And, yet, cases are filed and determinations made on just such “he said/she said” allegations every day. The implication by Susan Collins, Chuck Grassley, the other wrinkled old entitled white men like Hatch in the SJC, not to mention their cynically hired criminal prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, are complete baloney.

Somebody go ask Rachel Mitchell, and the sad old men that hired her before they fired her, how many times she has operated off of an accuser’s words. The answer will be a lie, because it happens all the time. And, yeah, that is enough to generate a full and meaningful “background investigation” despite the bullshit being proffered by the White House, Don McGahn and the SJC.

Three Things: Russia and China Spying, Kavanope

[NB: Yes, it’s Rayne, not Marcy. Check the byline.]

Huge news earlier today related to spying. Really big. MASSIVE.

And a MASSIVE cover-up pawned off on the feeble-minded as a ‘complete investigation‘ into Dr. Ford’s and Deborah Ramirez’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

~ 3 ~

Bloomberg published an epic piece of investigative journalism this morning about China’s spying on U.S. businesses by way of tiny chips embedded in server motherboards. The photos in the story are just as important as the must-read story itself as they crystallize a challenge for U.S. intelligence and tech communities. Like this pic:

That tiny pale obelisk to the right of the penny represents one of the malicious chips found in affected Supermicro brand motherboards shipped to the U.S. market — nearly as small as the numbers in the date on the coin. Imagine looking for something this puny before a machine is turned on and begins to launch its operating system. Imagine trying to find it when it is sandwiched inside the board itself, embedded in the fiberglass on top of which components are cemented.

The chip could undermine encryption and passwords, making any system open to those who know about its presence. According to Bloomberg reporters  Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, the chips found their way into motherboards used by Apple and Amazon.

Information security folks are scrambling right now because this report rocks their assumptions about the supply chain and their overall infosec worldview. Quite a few doubt this Bloomberg report, their skepticism heightened by the carefully worded denials offered by affected and relevant parties Apple, Amazon, Supermicro, and China. Apple provided an itemization of what it believed Bloomberg Businessweek got wrong along with its denial.

I’ll have more on this in a future post. Yes, indeedy.

~ 2 ~

A cooperative, organized response by Britain, The Netherlands, U.S., and Canada today included the indictment of seven Russians by the U.S. for conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money. The Russians have been identified as members of a GRU team organized out of a facility in Moscow, working on hacking and a disinformation influence campaign focused on anti-doping entities and non-Russian Olympic athletic competitors.

Note the underlined bit in this excerpt from the indictment (pdf) — the last indictment I copied with similar wording was that of Evgeny Buryakov and his two comrades, the three spies based in New York City who worked with “Male-1”, now known to be Carter Page. Who are the known and unknown? Persons who have flipped or co-conspirators yet to be named?

The UK released a statement as did the Canadians, and Netherlands issued a joint statement with the UK about the entirety of spying for which this GRU team is believed to be responsible, including an attempt to breach the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) facility analyzing the Novichok nerve agent used to poison the Skripals in the UK as well as chemicals used against Syrians.

Cryptocurrency news outlets report concerns that this indictment reveals the extent of USDOJ’s ability to trace cryptocurrency.

An interesting coincidence took place overnight as well — Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Karapetyan died last night when an unauthorized helicopter flight crashed northeast of Moscow. Karapetyan had been linked this past January to Natalia Veselnitskaya and an attempt to recruit Switzerland’s top investigator as double-agents. But Karapetyan had also been involved in Russia’s response to the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the aftermath of the Skripals’ poisoning in the UK.

What remarkable timing.

One might wonder if this accident had anything to do with the unusual release of GRU personnel details by the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice during their joint statement today.

By comparing the released identity documents, passports, automobile registrations and the address provided when cars were rented, the identities of a total 305 GRU agents may have been identified by bellingcat and The Insider including the four out of the seven men wanted by the U.S. for the anti-doping hackingas well as attempted breach of OPCW.

The identity of the four GRU agents accused of targeting the OPCW was cinched by a taxi receipt in one agent’s pocket from a location on the road next to the GRU’s facility in Russia. Four agents also had consecutive passport numbers.

What remarkably bad opsec.

~ 1 ~

As for the impending vote on Brett Kavanaugh:

– Senator Heidi Heitkamp is voting her conscience — NO on Kavanaugh.
– Senator Joe Manchin is now the lone Dem holdout; he says he’s still listening but hasn’t seen anything incriminating from Kavanaugh’s adulthood. (Gee, I wonder why.)
– Senator Bob Menendez didn’t mince words. He said “It’s a bullshit investigation.” (He should know what a thorough investigation looks like).

And the beer-loving former Yale frat boy had an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal which pleads with us to lose all intelligence and believe that he is really very neutral. I am not even going to link to that POS which has re-enraged women all over the country.

GTFO.

Continue calling your senators to thank them for a NO vote on Kavanaugh so that they aren’t hearing right-wing demands alone. Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. Sic ’em.

Photo: Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

Three URGENT Things: POTUS’ Alert Text, Facebonked, Kavanuh-uh

Let’s get right to it, no time for preamble (and don’t forget to check the byline above).

~ 3 ~

There will be an unblockable nationwide test of the Presidential Alert system on all cell phones today at 2:18 p.m. ET.

This infuriates me to no end, especially after Trump’s insulting bullshit at his fan club rally last night in which he denigrated assault survivor Dr. Blasey Ford. It’s as if he’s going to grab us all by the privates at the same time today without our consent.

Think about it: so much of your private personal life goes through your phone and now Trump’s FEMA has decided it will inject itself into your phone?

Lifehacker has a decent article suggesting some methods for mitigating or avoiding the text if not blocking it — you can read about it at this link.

Make sure you tell friends and family ASAP about this alert so they don’t freak out and aren’t in the middle of something important when this alert shows up.

Pity the poor residents of Hawaii, having to face this crap first thing this morning.

Time zone conversion for the alert:

Eastern: 2:18 p.m. ET
Central: 1:18 p.m. CT
Mountain: 12:18 p.m. MT
Pacific: 11:18 a.m. PT
Alaska: 10:18 a.m.
Hawaii: 08:18 a.m.

Check time conversion at this link. I’m going to shut my phone off at 2:00 p.m. ET and take an hour-long break.

~ 2 ~

The half-assed FBI investigation will likely be finished today; don’t expect to see the Swiss cheese-y results riddled with holes where testimony wasn’t collected. It’s unlikely the public will see this report.

This means McConnell will likely pursue a vote on cloture today to end debate in order for the full Senate to vote on Kavanaugh before the end of the week.

Which in turn means CALL YOUR SENATORS. Yes, even the steadfast Democrats who are unlikely to sway because their offices are being flooded with right-wing calls demanding their poor rich white frat boy judge be seated for a lifetime on the Supreme Court.

Screw that. Just MAKE THE CALLS.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Need a script for your call? @Celeste_pewter has them broken into four categories:

– The Democrats who have already said yes, and won’t flip no matter what.
– The red state Democrats.
– The potential GOP flips.
– The GOP senators who will vote yes, no matter what.

And a universal, all-senators script.

Pick the appropriate script and have at it. (Thanks, Celeste!)

HOOSIERS: Make a special effort to thank Joe Donnelly who came out last night as a NO on Kavanaugh. He is surely being pummeled today by Indiana’s finest red staters.

NORTH DAKOTANS: Heitkamp is down but within margin of error of her Republican opponent. Make sure you call so that she doesn’t feel pressure to backslide.

Trouble getting through switchboard or full mailbox? Try contacting your senators’ local offices. Look them up at:

Contacting Congress: https://www.contactingcongress.org
Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Who_represents_me%3F

~ 1 ~

Facebook’s massive breach exposes what a bad, BAD idea it was to allow a Facebook login to become a universal login for other applications. Let’s not forget Facebook has also appropriated users’ phone numbers for advertising without users’ consent. It’s a security cataclysm and Facebook is once again flat-footed.

NEVER LOG INTO SITES WITH FACEBOOK USERID.

Never use the same password for more than one site.

Use a password manager.

Read up here about the problem.

What did I do? I gave up Facebook years ago when it was clear to me they were a security cesspool.

~ 0 ~

Now get going. Run!

Treat this as an open thread.

One Question: Why Kavanaugh?

[NB: As always, check the byline.]

I don’t have anything new to add to the work Marcy has done so far in her analysis of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony and statements and those of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Nor can I add to bmaz’ criticism of the subsequent investigation.

Voluminous amounts of material have been generated by this confirmation process, including a redacted transcript of a Senate Judiciary Committee phone interview with Kavanaugh released last evening. Myriad questions have been asked about Kavanaugh’s past and his false statements. Given the confirmation process is a job interview, after all we’ve seen and heard publicly, it must be asked: Why Kavanaugh?

Why is the White House and the GOP portion of the Senate Judiciary Committee so deeply invested in Kavanaugh’s confirmation?

Why do they remain staunchly behind him when they’ve long had a list of other identified SCOTUS justice candidates?

Why were those candidates, the first 11 identified in May 2016 during the Trump campaign, inadequate such that Kavanaugh was added later in November 2017 to the candidate list?

Is the man we’ve seen and read so much about really the very best candidate this White House could produce for this lifetime appointment?

Why is a man whose behavior was so disrespectful of the Senate, of the Constitution, of the need for neutral nonpartisan mindset so important that the White House and GOP SJC are willing to burn down what little goodwill remains with centrists and with women and minorities?

Why the sustained commitment to a nominee who so easily lies under oath, in full view of the public?

Why stand so pat behind a nominee whose license to practice law could yet be suspended or worse because he has lied repeatedly under oath?

Do the White House and GOP SJC believe the average American would hire somebody who is supposed to be a careful arbiter of the law but who yells at and lies to his employers’ representatives during an interview?

Why are the White House and GOP SJC willing to risk exposing yet more unpleasantness about Kavanaugh given how much has already surfaced about his iffy finances and his lying about his behavior in high school and college?

Why are White House and GOP SJC willing to risk negatively affecting the mid-term elections with their commitment to Kavanaugh?

Why the investment in social media to prop up support behind Kavanaugh — both in the form of “revisions” to Wikipedia entries related to terms questioned during last Thursday’s hearing, and tweets from the SJC’s account?

Why was a Fox cable network interview necessary for the nominee of a nonpartisan job?

Media is marketing — why does this nominee need to be promoted with the public?

Why haven’t they teased an alternative nominee to test the public’s willingness to support them in lieu of Kavanaugh?

Given an alternative candidate of comparable educational and work history, would the average American as an employer offering a lifetime appointment really pick Kavanaugh over anyone else?

Why are the White House and the GOP SJC insisting Kavanaugh’s confirmation be rushed for what appear to the public to be wholly arbitrary reasons?

Everything about this confirmation process makes no sense; it undermines faith in the Senate Judiciary Committee and may taint the Supreme Court. We must know: Why Kavanaugh?

__________

This is an open thread.

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.

Kavanaugh’s Tell: “Revenge on Behalf of the Clintons,” Plural

There’s a part of Brett Kavanaugh’s bombastic statement Thursday that has stuck with me, because it reveals the foundational logic of his statement — indeed, his entire candidacy for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court.

After complaining about how the nomination has destroyed his family, he accuses a shady, largely fictional, mirror image of the Right Wing Noise Machine of seeking revenge.

This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.

This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions, from serving our country.

The guy who insisted that–

I am strongly opposed to giving the President any ‘break’ in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship — unless before questioning on Monday, he either (i) resigns or (ii) confesses perjury and issues a public apology to [sexual assault cover-up expert Ken Starr].

That guy thinks the scrutiny of his own sexual past is just “revenge on behalf of the Clintons,” plural. Not just Hillary for — as he explicitly mentions — “President Trump and the 2016 election.” But also Bill Clinton, the man whom Kavanaugh demanded describe details of his use of sex toys and enjoyment of blowjobs under oath, and perhaps even Chelsea, the young girl who had to watch her parents be humiliated before the entire nation.

In spite of Kavanaugh’s suggestion that this imagined campaign would have consequences for decades, his admission that it might be revenge means it must be revenge for something. For something done to the Clintons. Hillary. And Bill.

For a guy who is unashamed about using stolen emails, the notion that he considers this revenge for Hillary is troubling enough. If this is revenge, it is revenge for Hillary being wronged during the 2016 election, and a big part of that wrong was using stolen emails. And Kavanaugh is no more embarrassed about using stolen emails than the guy who appointed him.

Kavanaugh suggests, in the same breath, that Hillary was wronged, but that denying him a seat on the Supreme Court, even for behavior that resembles that wrong, would be an outrage, even if his nomination was due entirely to the fact that she was wronged.

Brett Kavanaugh is not going to quit, no matter if his entire nomination is illegitimate because Hillary was wronged.

Perhaps more plausibly, Kavanaugh’s use of the plural, “Clintons,” suggests he thinks this is revenge for his own actions 20 years ago, his own demand that a man and his family be publicly humiliated.

But, again, if this is revenge, it suggests what happened to Clinton — the insistence that Bill confess under oath to Kavanaugh about cumming into Monica’s mouth — was itself wrong.

And once again, Brett Kavanaugh, the guy whose career was launched by demanding to hear the sordid details of sex under oath, does not care. Kavanaugh does not care that (as David Brock laid out early in this process) he himself “set a perjury trap for Clinton, laying the foundation for a crazed national political crisis and an unjust impeachment over a consensual affair.” He may recognize this as revenge and in so doing acknowledge that it is akin to the coordinated campaign he wrongly assumes is amassed against him, but he does not care that Democrats are (he imagines) adopting his own playbook.

You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.

In using that word “revenge” and imagining that Democrats are exacting revenge for both the Clinton impeachment and the use of corrupt means as a means of winning the 2016 election, Kavanaugh admits that he’s just getting a taste of the medicine he once administered. But his response to that is not to take a step back from the edge of the abyss that he himself created (and imagines himself to be standing on), take a step back with the recognition that he himself is not immune from his own tactics, but instead to complete the next logical step, the adoption of those same measures on the highest court of the land.

Never mind that by imagining credible questions about his past treatment of women is solely about the Clintons strips the agency of the millions of women trying to prevent abusers from again getting promoted in spite of it.

Kavanaugh, wrongly, thinks this is revenge for tactics he pioneered long ago. Having faced those tactics and discovered how painful they are, he has doubled down.

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.

On Squi and the 65-Lady Letter

This is an insight I owe entirely to a reader, BI.

There should be an explanation for why Christine Blasey Ford was (presumably) not invited to be on the 65-lady letter backing Brett Kavanaugh pulled together just as allegations of sexual assault became public.

In spite of the fact that it got entered into the record multiple times in Thursday’s hearing, it already had diminishing value as a measure of Kavanaugh’s character. After Ford’s identity was made public, some of the women who signed the letter grew reluctant to stand by their support publicly.

Five of the women who signed the letter declined to comment when reached by POLITICO following the public revelation of Ford’s identity.

Dozens of others either didn’t respond to POLITICO’s inquiries or could not be reached.

The AP reported that “more than a dozen” stood by the letter after Ford came forward, which is not 65.

More strikingly, one of the signers of the letter, Renate Schroeder Dolphin, upon realizing that she was mocked in the yearbooks of 14 boys, including Kavanaugh, spoke instead about how hurtful his circle of friends was.

This month, Renate Schroeder Dolphin joined 64 other women who, saying they knew Judge Kavanaugh during their high school years, signed a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is weighing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. The letter stated that “he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”

When Ms. Dolphin signed the Sept. 14 letter, she wasn’t aware of the “Renate” yearbook references on the pages of Judge Kavanaugh and his football teammates.

“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Ms. Dolphin said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”

So the letter should not, now, be treated as a validating document.

That said, if Ford was not invited to be on the letter, then it is itself proof that the letter does not reflect the views of all the women who were spending time with Kavanaugh during the summer in question.

Having spoken to some folks who were in these circles at the time, I’m not at all suspicious of the explanation behind how the letter came together immediately after Ford’s allegations — but not her identity — were made public.

It started as a series of phone calls among old high-school friends and ended up embroiling 65 women in the firestorm over a sexual assault allegation that could shape the Supreme Court.

In a matter of hours, they all signed onto a letter rallying behind high court nominee and their high school friend Brett Kavanaugh as someone who “has always treated women with decency and respect.”

I don’t regularly use Facebook. I’m not even in close contact with friends from college (who remain a tight-knit network), much less either of my high schools. But for those who do remain close with friends from their youth, especially on Facebook, such a feat would be easy to do. The network that remains close would easily come up with 65 signers. (For what it’s worth, the one network from my youth where I could be relied on to pipe up this quickly includes at least two men I know raped women in the women in the network.)

But Ford presumably wasn’t invited to be on the letter.

There are several possible explanations why she wouldn’t be, but both discredit the letter itself.

The most plausible is that she simply doesn’t run in those circles anymore. She lives on the west coast, she suffered a trauma associated with this network, she found socializing generally more difficult in the years immediately after the assault, which would have been precisely the period when she might keep up those ties.

That’s all well and good, except testimony in Thursday’s hearing makes clear that — regardless of what happened between Kavanaugh and Ford — she is one of the women who might have insight on his behavior at the time. That’s because both Kavanaugh and Ford each spent a lot of time, individually and (at least according to Ford) together that summer with the guy Ed Whelan falsely accused of the assault, whom I’ll refer to only as Squi.

On 13 occasions, Kavanaugh refers to someone named “Squi” on his calendar. It’s the name that crops up the most. Kavanaugh and Squi, who played on the Georgetown Prep football team with him, went to a Washington Bullets game, to Squi’s house in Rehoboth, to see movies, to the beach. On July 1, Kavanaugh, Judge, PJ, Squi and two others go to “Timmy’s for skis” — an apparent reference to going to a friend’s house for beers (“brewskis”).

[snip]

Ford explained. The shared connection to Kavanaugh was the person who Whelan suggested might be the real culprit.

“How long did you know this person?” Mitchell asked.

“Maybe for— a couple of months we socialized,” Ford replied. “But he also was a member of the same country club, and I knew his younger brother as well.” That was a couple of months prior to the alleged attack, Mitchell clarified.

Mitchell then asked Ford to explain the nature of her relationship with that person.

“He was somebody that, I will use the phrase ‘I went out with,’ ” Ford said, using air quotes. “I wouldn’t say ‘date.’ I would say ‘went out with’ for a few months. That was how we termed it at the time.”

[snip]

Ford, in other words, claims that she had been going out with Squi for months before the alleged incident in the summer of 1982. Kavanaugh’s calendar from that year shows that he spent a lot of time with Squi as well. And Kavanaugh further alleges that he “may” have met Ford but that they “did not travel in the same social circle” and that “she was not a friend, not someone I knew.”

Ford went out with Squi (though earlier than the assault, it sounds like), and Kavanaugh spent tons of time with him. If you want to know how Kavanaugh and his buddies treated women that summer, you’d want to ask the women who were dating his buddies. But the letter signers apparently didn’t ask Ford.

Which means they asked a sample of women who remain close whether Kavanaugh treated women well, not the sample that might be best situated to attest to how he treated women that summer. (It’s also possible that Kavanaugh treated the girls from Georgetown Prep’s sister Catholic schools differently than they treated girls from other schools, though the letter includes women who attended both Catholic and non-Catholic schools.)

Of course, there’s a more nefarious possibility, the counterpart to the nefarious possibility that Ed Whelan targeted Squi precisely because he had learned who Ford was before her name became public and knew her connection to Kavanaugh went through Squi and knew that by falsely accusing Squi (who signed the male letter of support for Kavanaugh but has since gotten furious at being falsely accused of assault), he would discredit a key piece of evidence showing that Kavanaugh did travel in the same circles as Ford. That nefarious counterpart possibility is that enough women heard of the attempted rape at the time, knew which woman had been victimized, and so when calling around for supporters, avoided Ford.

The former is the more likely explanation: that the circle of women who — before knowing Ford’s identity, at least — were willing to make a show of a support for a powerful man who was about to become even more powerful, self-selected for those remain close to those who did have positive experiences with this crowd back in the day.

But if it is indeed true that Ford was not asked to sign, then it cannot be considered the proper sample to understand how Kavanaugh was treating women that summer.

The Record Supports Christine Blasey Ford

This may sound counterintuitive. But the Republican-led whitewash hearing into allegations that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted Christine Blasey Ford actually ended up supporting her case, not Kavanaugh’s.

Ford withstood Rachel Mitchell’s interrogation

As bmaz noted, the Republicans hired a skirt: Maricopa sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.

Mitchell conducted all of the questioning — save one impetuous outburst from Lindsey Graham — of Ford. And Mitchell tried diligently to challenge Ford’s account. She started by asking Ford to review all her statements and correct and inconsistencies in her past statements, something she did not do thoroughly with Kavanaugh. She then challenged Ford’s story in a few places, first by shadowing the Ed Whelan theory that the house in question must belong to the parents of Kavanaugh’s doppelganger, Chris Garrett (later testimony would make clear Garrett was how Ford first got introduced to the Kavanaugh crowd); Ford dismissed that by answering that the house in question might be in a broader area. Mitchell tried to suggest that Ford’s symptoms — including PTSD and anxiety — might come from other reasons; but because this is Ford’s academic expertise, Ford swatted those away with science. Mitchell made much of the fact that Ford declined to travel to DC in spite of her dislike of air travel, even though she travels for a yearly family visit and vacations. Mitchell also tried to insinuate that some political actors either coached her or paid for Ford’s polygraph, but Ford’s lawyers pointed out they had paid for it, as is the norm. And Ford’s own timeline simply didn’t support the claim she was politically coached. Mitchell invented a claim, out of an indistinct claim by Ford, that she had wanted to keep her testimony confidential up until the original hearing. In the end, Mitchell got Ford to admit — relying on her expertise — that five minute sessions like this hearing weren’t the best way to get the truth from victims of trauma, which would seem to support a longer investigation, not the kind of hearing Mitchell had been paid to star in.

Ford withstood all those questions with grace (and the timely intervention of her attorneys).

Kavanaugh spent 45 minutes ranting like a belligerent drunk

Chuck Grassley unwisely let each witness take as much time as they wanted for opening statements.

After Ford took a normal amount of time, Kavanaugh, bidding for Trump’s support, took a full 45 minutes for his statement.

His statement was delivered shrilly, with an angry red face, just short of screaming. Coming after hours of testimony he was sometimes a violent drunk, Kavanaugh looked during his statement like the drunk you avoid in the parking lot of a bar, because it’s just not worthwhile human interaction. I don’t rule out him drinking while watching Ford’s testimony, nor did others.

In short, Kavanaugh looked like a guy who could not manage rage, just as numerous witnesses had described him being as as a drunk.

The Mark Judge Safeway timing suggests a late June/early July assault

One reason Ford repeatedly said she’d like an FBI interview is because she assumed that if she could date an exchange she had with Mark Judge after her assault, she might be able to narrow down when the actual event occurred. Republicans want to avoid having Judge’s public comments about drunken debauchery in the time period reviewed by any credible questioner.

Judge has written about that in his book, describing working at the local Safeway for a few weeks to pay for Football camp.

According to Kavanaugh’s calendar, football camp started on August 23 that year.

Ford testified that her exchange with Judge took place 6 to 8 weeks after the incident.

Ford: We had always been friendly with one another. I wouldn’t characterize him as not friendly. He looked ill. Says it happened 6-8 weeks after the incident.

If Judge was working for the few weeks prior to Football camp to pay for it and his and Kavanaugh’s exchange with Ford happened 6 to 8  weeks earlier, that would put the assault in early July.

That would mean this entry, for an event on Thursday, July 1, 1982, in Kavanaugh’s calendar would be solidly within that range.

The Republicans fire their prosecutor after she corroborates Ford’s story

And Kavanaugh’s testimony actually supports Ford.

Start with the claim, in his opening rant, that he usually only drank on weekends. That makes no sense because Judge’s book about the period describes being dysfunctionally hungover routinely while he worked at the Potomac Safeway to earn money for Football camp.

Kavanaugh claims this had to be a weekend bc they all worked. But Judge said he routinely went to work badly hungover.

Then Mitchell started questioning Kavanaugh. She started by asking him to review the definition of sexual assault, as she asked Ford to do. Kavanaugh got a weird set to his lips.

Shortly thereafter, she turned to his calendar, getting him to confirm that he wrote everything in there. In her next round, Mitchell’s first questions were about the July 1 entry. After filibustering about the earlier workout session (about which he wasn’t asked), Kavanaugh admitted that the entry showed he got together at Tim Gaudet’s —  with Mark Judge and PJ Smith — and Chris Garrett, whose nickname is Squi.

In other words, Kavanaugh confirmed he was at a small gathering with the boys Ford said were there, as well as the guy who had introduced her to these boys.

Durbin’s questioning followed, after which Lindsey Graham took over questioning from Mitchell and went on a tear, calling it an unethical sham. Having gotten Kavanaugh to identify a get-together that matched Ford’s description, Mitchell was done questioning for the day.

Effectively, the GOP hired a prosecutor to question a victim, but decided the alleged perpetrator could not withstand the same prosecutor’s questions as soon as she had him identify a get-together that resembled the one described by Ford.

Kavanaugh thrice stopped short of denying being a blackout drunk

One problem with Kavanaugh’s testimony is that he and his alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, are reported to be blackout drunks. Judge even wrote a book admitting to the fact. So Kavanaugh went to some lengths trying to avoid admitting that he had ever blacked out, even while he admitted, “I like beer,” over and over.

The first came, in her first round, when Mitchell asked Kavanaugh what he considered too many beers.

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

Kav: I don’t know, whatever the chart says.

[snip]

Mitchell: Have you ever passed out from drinking?

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

That’s when Republican Senators started to look worried. They gave Kavanaugh one of his three lifeline breaks.

Kavanaugh repeatedly dismissed his freshman roommate’s claim that he was a shy man who became belligerent after drinking by pointing to the squabble that one freshman roommate had with another, as if the normal animus between freshman roommates makes the observation of one invalid.

Finally, Blumenthal raised an incident from college that Kavanaugh had admitted he didn’t recall, only to have Kavanaugh insist he remembered all of it.

Let me ask you this. In a speech that you gave, you described, quote, falling out of the bus onto the front steps of the Yale Law School, at 4:45 AM.

Kavanaugh interrupted to try to prevent Blumenthal from finishing the quote.

The quote ends that you tried to piece things back together, end quote, to recall what happened that night. Meaning?

I know what happened. I know what happened that night.

The appellate court judge actually didn’t claim that he remembered it, just that he knows what happened.

Kavanaugh refuses to call Mark Judge

As a reminder, Ford alleges that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her in the presence of admitted dead drunk Mark Judge. Republicans refused to call Judge over and over.

Then Kavanaugh refused to answer questions about Judge’s own accounts of the period. In response to a question from Patrick Leahy about whether he was the drunk described as Bart O’Kavanaugh in Judge’s book, Kavanaugh refused to answer.

3rd Q: Are you Bart O’Kavanaugh.

Kav: not answering.

Kav finally says, “you’d have to ask him.” Which is the point.

Blumenthal noted to Kavanaugh that Judge’s statement was just six cursory and conclusory sentences signed by Judge’s lawyer, not a sworn statement.

So here’s what we saw yesterday: Christine Blasey Ford was unflappable and consistent. By comparison, Kavanaugh — at least in his statement — appeared to be precisely what he denied he was. His denials that he was a blackout drunk (and therefore that he assaulted Ford but didn’t remember it) were not credible and stopped well short of supporting his claim. And his own calendar, and the Republicans own prosecutor, identified a get-together that matches the time and attendees identified by Ford.

The GOP tried to set up a whitewash of this evidence. But instead, it failed, and they were left with screaming men.

And that won’t stop them from voting out his nomination.

Kavanaugh Hearing: The Aftermath

[NB: CHECK THE BYLINE.]

It was a disaster, no matter how Republicans spin it. As after a disaster, damage continues.

Brett Kavanaugh was an aggressive and belligerent drunk according to a former Yale roommate. His incredibly rude behavior before the Senate yesterday proved his belligerence didn’t require alcohol. Yelling at seated senators, talking over the women who asked him questions — he did not demonstrate either respect for their office as the representatives of the people, nor did he display appropriate judicial temperament.

He also lied several times. Call it prevarication, untruthiness, fib, whatever label makes you feel more comfortable but what came out of his mouth did not match facts.

The SJC’s GOP faction knew he was at extreme risk, particularly so when their hired girl reverted to a prosecutor’s role and asked Kavanaugh about his calendar. It was at this point that Mitchell was ‘disappeared’ and Lindsey Graham flipped his wig, stepping up to put on an act worthy of an Academy Award for a supporting actor. So very Shakespearean in his castigation; woe, woe betide those who dared to ignore the wholly arbitrary deadline the GOP forced on this train wreck confirmation.

Poppycock and nonsense. We haven’t forgotten Merrick Garland and the unacceptable theft of his place on the Supreme Court.

Lest anyone claim Graham wasn’t acting: he was seen laughing in the hallway after the hearing, yucking it up with a couple other GOP senators. His cadre welcomed him later with applause as he entered a closed door meeting.

EDIT — I’d thought of this Carl Sandburg quote yesterday during Graham’s ‘performance’, meant to include it here:

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

Nice drama, babe. You’ve got a second career waiting for you after you leave office — hopefully sooner than later.

The Jesuit magazine which had endorsed Kavanaugh saw through the acts; they revoked their endorsement last night, saying they “recognize that this nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country.”

The American Bar Association expressed its concerns about Kavanaugh’s confirmation and asked the confirmation to be delayed until after a more thorough investigation.

Somebody else is worried about the confirmation, enough that they dispatched George W. Bush to lean on fencesittng GOP holdouts.

Imagine how bad it is that Bush must get engaged in this mess to cover for Trump’s inadequacies as a negotiator, though we shouldn’t overlook the possibility Bush has skin in the game if any cases come before the Supreme Court in which he is a defendant.

And Alan Dershowitz called for a delay to allow for an FBI investigation. Yeah, it was that bad.

In minutes the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet and then we’ll know whether this farcical nomination will continue on to the full Senate.

EDIT — 10:19 AM — AP News reports Senate Judiciary Committee will vote at 1:30 pm today on forwarding Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full senate.

Be sure to check out Marcy’s more detailed analysis of yesterday’s hearing. This is an open thread.

If you haven’t called your senators, do so. Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121.

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