1. says

    “The NYT ‘Scoop’ Appears To Be an Effort to Spin Opening an Investigation into Trump as an Erratic Act “:

    …So what the NYT spin of the story is about is suggesting that at the moment when DOJ opened an investigation into the President, the guy who opened it was “acting erratically.” Presumably based off the third-hand opinions of people like Jim Jordan, who knows a bit about acting erratically. It’s also about whether a discussion of removing the President took place at the same meeting where a discussion of investigating him did.

    Likely, the messages are muddled, because they always are when getting laundered through Jim Jordan’s feverish little mind.

  2. says

    NBC – “Rosenstein joked about secretly recording Trump, Justice Department officials say”:

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was joking when he discussed wearing a wire to secretly record President Donald Trump and does not believe Trump should be removed from office through the use of procedures outlined in the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, according to sources familiar with his conversations.

    The sources were responding to a New York Times report that Rosenstein, in the tumultuous spring of 2017, had discussed with other Justice and FBI officials the possibility of recruiting members of Trump’s Cabinet to declare him unfit for the job and that he offered to wear a recording device during conversations with the president.

    In a May, 16, 2017 meeting at a secure facility at the Justice Department — one week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — Rosenstein was arguing with Andrew McCabe, then the acting director of the FBI, about the president, according to a senior Justice Department official.

    “Well, what do you want me to do, Andy, wear a wire?” Rosenstein asked at the meeting, which also included FBI lawyer Lisa Page and four career DOJ officials, according to the senior official. One of the career civil servants was Scott Schools, who would later go on to sign off on the firing of McCabe, the official said.

    This official and a source who was in the room characterized Rosenstein’s remark as sarcastic.

    The senior official further said that the reference to invoking the Constitution to remove Trump comes from a post-meeting memo written by McCabe that said the deputy attorney general “raises 25th amendment” and that Page’s notes from the same meeting do not contain any similar note.

    This summer, two top Trump allies, Republican Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein over his handling of House GOP inquiries into the use of a special federal court that ordered the wiretapping of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, Republican requests for internal Justice Department and FBI documents and his own involvement in related matters that they say amount to a “conflict of interest.”

    That effort, which was opposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., died over the summer, in part because House Republicans realized that a hypothetical Senate removal proceeding could interfere with that chamber’s effort to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice.

    The Times based its reporting on sources who “were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.”…

    LOL, NBC knows what’s what.

  3. says

    “Another Roger Stone associate meets with Mueller grand jury”:

    Another associate of political operative Roger Stone met Friday with a federal grand jury convened to hear testimony in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling, appearing at the U.S. District Court House in Washington, D.C., a source with direct knowledge tells ABC News.

    Jerome Corsi, who until recently served as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the controversial far-right news outlet Infowars, is one of at least 11 individuals associated with Stone who have been contacted by the special counsel….

  4. says

    Oh, great – Matt Apuzzo is suggesting that we should focus on what a remarkable moment this is rather than any motives of the sources for their story. Because what could go wrong with that.

  5. says

    BREAKING: @SecretaryRoss must sit for deposition about his decision to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census.

    ‘Secretary Ross must sit for deposition because, among other things, his intent and credibility are directly at issue’.”

  6. says

    So to summarize the two NYT articles (linked to at the end of the previous thread), one from June and one from today, here’s how Schmidt and Goldman’s sources or the reporters describe Rosenstein at the time he appointed Mueller: desirous of getting rid of Comey and volunteering to write the memo to justify it, primarily concerned with his own reputation and vindication after doing so, making “extreme” suggestions, behaving “erratically,” “conflicted,” “regretful,” “emotional,” subject to angry “outbursts,” “fum[ing]” at the media, “shaken,” “unsteady,” “overwhelmed,” “frantic,” “nervous,” “upset,” and “emotionally dis-regulated.”

    I mean…

  7. says

    Julian Sanchez:

    Of course it’s sarcasm. Even if Rosenstein, like half the administration, accurately believes Trump to be a mentally unfit crook, “wearing a wire to talk to the president” is not a serious suggestion. None of the reported comments make a lick of sense as serious suggestions.

    I can’t believe we’re discussing this like it’s a serious question. The only sources actually present for any of these remarks say they were obviously sarcastic, and either “proposal” would OBVIOUSLY have ended Rosenstein’s career while achieving nothing if actually carried out.

    I’m genuinely not sure what NYT was thinking here. Common sense and their own reporting make it obvious that the comments they’re reporting on aren’t serious, and a leak that pretends they are is a cynical shot at Rosenstein. Yet they go along with the frame.

  8. says

    “Top GOP Senate Nominee: Kavanaugh Accusations ‘Absurd’ Because ‘They Were Teenagers,’ Assault ‘Never Went Anywhere’”:

    Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), the GOP Senate nominee, said Friday that giving credence to allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a young woman when they were teenagers is “absurd.”

    Cramer sounded off on professor Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Brett Kavanaugh drunkenly sexually assaulted her when she was 15 and he was 17 during a radio interview, describing them as “even more absurd” than Anita Hill’s accusations that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her because of Kavanaugh’s age at the time and because it was “an attempt or something that never went anywhere.”

    “This case is even more absurd because these people were teenagers when this supposed, alleged incident took place. Teenagers. Not a boss, supervisor-subordinate situation as the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill situation was claimed to be,” he said during an appearance on KNOX. “These are teenagers who evidently were drunk according to her own, her own statements. They were drunk when it evidently happened… even by her own accusation. Again, it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere. So you just have to wonder.”

    Cramer’s comments could hurt him as he seeks to defeat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) this fall….

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just saw the NYT reporter on All In. Sounded like a partisan asshole, not a reporter with honesty and integrity.

  10. says

    “Sexual Assault Groups Stop Work With Senators Over Treatment Of Christine Blasey Ford”:

    For two years, a task force of national sexual assault and domestic violence groups has been working behind the scenes with the Senate Judiciary Committee to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which expires this year.

    Now the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence is suspending negotiations with the committee over its treatment of Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens.

    Blasey is currently negotiating the conditions under which she will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In a letter to the committee on Friday, members of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence admonished senators for failing to treat Blasey with respect, saying lawmakers’ actions and comments have set the clock back on responding to sexual violence.

    “Your actions and comments in the past week have taken us back 25 years, as if VAWA never existed, as if all of the hard-won, evidence-based, best practices we have invested in as a nation were for naught. How can Congress legislate a coordinated community response for the nation, yet fail to live up to its own mandate?” the letter asks.

    Elsewhere, the letter notes: “If the committee is not willing to engage in a process that upholds the dignity and safety of a person who has come forward to report that she was a victim of sexual assault, then they cannot pretend to care about the reauthorization of VAWA.”…

  11. says

    Murkowksi: I won’t vote on Kavanaugh until hearing from his accuser.”

    Collins has also said she doesn’t see why Blasey Ford had to meet Grassley’s obnoxious deadlines, and Feinstein has called what Grassley and gang are doing bullying. So it’s not looking like his 10 PM deadline can hold.

  12. says

    “Trump HUD Secretary Ben Carson claims Kavanaugh allegations are part of a centuries old socialist plot”:

    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson told an audience of conservative activists on Friday that the sexual assault allegations facing President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court are part of a plot by socialists to take over America that dates back more than a century.

    “If you really understand the big picture of what’s going on, then what’s going on with Kavanaugh will make perfectly good sense to you,” Carson said at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington. “There’ve been people in this country for a very long time, going all the way back to the Fabians, people who’ve wanted to fundamentally change this country.”

    The term “Fabians” refers to the Fabian Society, a British socialist organization that was founded in the 19th century, and which today functions as part of the UK’s Labour Party. An American chapter of the Fabian society was established in 1895 in Boston, but it is no longer active in the United States.

    Nonetheless, Carson vividly described what he claimed the ideological descendants of the Fabians were plotting, and how Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in the 1980s fit into the plot.

    “They don’t like what America is and what it represents, and they want to change us to another system. In order to do that, there are three things they must control: the education system, the media, and the courts.The first two of those they have,” Carson said. “The other they thought they had, but it was snatched out from under their noses in November of 2016.”

    Now, Carson continued, these forces “are like wet hornets, just completely lost control off the deep end, and the further they get away from being able to control the courts the more desperate they become,” he said. “They don’t see themselves as being able to control the courts for another generation, so what is left? Chaos and destruction.”…

  13. says

    John Weaver: “Given how close @EdWhelanEPPC is to Kavanaugh and the Federalist Society leadership, and also to the incompetent gang at the WH, it is impossible to believe Senate & WH staff, Kavanaugh and his team, were not involved in Whelan’s crazy and slanderous trip down conspiracy lane.”

  14. says


    The recalcitrance, stubbornness and lack of cooperation we’ve seen from Republicans is unprecedented. And candidly, the dismissive treatment of Dr. Ford is insulting to all sexual assault survivors.

    I’m concerned that Brett Kavanaugh and his supporters have something to hide. Why not have the FBI investigate? Why not accommodate Dr. Ford as she spends her days with the FBI dealing with death threats and protecting her family? It’s one day. Why the rush? Why the bullying?

    These actions are irresponsible at best, a threat to democracy at worst. Rushing a nomination in order to hide facts is dangerous and disrespectful. Republicans have learned the wrong lessons. We must treat sexual assault survivors with respect, not bully or try to silence them.

  15. says

    Good piece at the Intercept – “Mark Judge’s Memoir About Brett Kavanaugh’s High School Portrays a Culture of Aggression and Excessive Drinking.”

    Worth noting that there’s now evidence that Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker in prep school, college, law school, and (some emails and statements suggest) recent years as well.

    (I still don’t understand the need so many feel to use distancing phrases like “he…has flaunted his incendiary right-wing views, which his critics regard as sexist and racist.” Does Maass agree that Judge’s views are sexist and racist? If so, just call them that. If not – and I don’t see how that’s possible – try to make the argument that they’re not. “Incendiary,” “controversial,” “critics regard,” “opponents view,” and the like need to go.)

  16. says

    Hahahahahaha. The best part is that this isn’t just a tweet but a quote from the real WSJ fucking editorial:

    The accuser has to prove the allegation in a court of law or in some other venue where the accused can challenge the facts. Otherwise we have a Jacobin system of justice in which “J’accuse” becomes the standard and anyone can be ruined on a whim or a vendetta.

    Also includes:

    Another core tenet of due process is that an accusation isn’t any more or less credible because of the gender, race, religion or ethnicity of who makes it. A woman can lie, as the Duke lacrosse players will tell you. Ms. Hirono’s standard of credibility by gender would have appalled the civil-rights campaigners of a half century ago who marched in part against Southern courts that treated the testimony of black Americans as inherently less credible than that of whites. Yet now the liberal heirs of those marchers want to impose a double standard of credibility by gender.

    I love how twisted and laughable this is. Like the courts in the US and around the world haven’t for centuries discredited the testimony of women, particularly victims of sexual assault.

  17. says

    Heidi Przybyla is reporting on MSNBC right now that the press aide for the Republicans on the Kavanaugh nomination has now resigned after past allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.

  18. says

    “Spokesman for GOP on Kavanaugh nomination resigns; has been accused of harassment in the past”:

    A top press adviser helping lead the Senate Judiciary Committee’s response to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stepped down amid evidence he was fired from a previous political job in part because of a sexual harassment allegation against him.

    Garrett Ventry, 29, who serves as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party’s messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. In a response to NBC News, Ventry denied any past “allegations of misconduct.”

    After NBC News raised questions about Ventry’s employment history and the sexual assault allegation against him, Judiciary Committee Spokesman Taylor Foy replied in a statement: “While (Ventry) strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee.”

    Republicans familiar with the situation had been concerned that Ventry, because of his history, could not lead an effective communications response….

  19. says

    “Former top White House official revises statement to special counsel about Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador”:

    A former top White House official has revised her statement to investigators about a key event in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, after her initial claim was contradicted by the guilty plea of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to people familiar with the matter.

    K.T. McFarland, who briefly served as Flynn’s deputy, has now said that he may have been referring to sanctions when they spoke in late December 2016 after Flynn’s calls with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, these people said.

    When FBI agents first visited her at her Long Island home in the summer of 2017, McFarland denied ever talking to Flynn about any discussion of sanctions between him and the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016 during the presidential transition.

    For a time, investigators saw her answers as “inconsistent,” putting her in legal peril as the FBI tried to determine if she had lied to them.

    Not long after Flynn’s plea, McFarland was questioned by investigators again about her conversations with Flynn, and she walked back her previous denial that sanctions were discussed, saying a general statement Flynn had made to her that things were going to be okay could have been a reference to sanctions, these people said.

    Eventually, McFarland and her lawyer Robert Giuffra were able to convince the FBI that she had not intentionally misled the bureau but had rather spoken from memory, without the benefit of any documents that could have helped her remember her exchanges with Flynn about the Kislyak conversations, these people said.

    Just days after Flynn talked to Kislyak, however, McFarland said that her memory was clear, and that the two had never discussed sanctions or how the incoming Trump administration hoped Russia would respond.

    Early on the morning of Jan. 13, 2017, McFarland phoned one of the authors of this article to rebut a column in The Washington Post, which said Flynn and Kislyak had spoken “several times” on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced it was expelling 35 Russian officials and taking other punitive measures.

    The column, by David Ignatius, questioned why Flynn was engaging in sensitive foreign policy discussions with Russia when Trump had yet to take office.

    McFarland insisted in an on-the-record conversation that Flynn and Kislyak had never discussed sanctions and that they had actually spoken prior to the administration’s announcement on Dec. 29.

    Emails among transition officials at the time of Flynn’s contacts also show McFarland communicating about how to respond to sanctions, according to people who have seen the messages.

    McFarland’s statements about Flynn and Kislyak also came under scrutiny by lawmakers and helped scuttle her nomination as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore….

    The article goes into detail about the very specific and insistent falsehoods she told the reporters in response to the Ignatius story. It’s also full of what looks to me like attempted spin from “people familiar with the matter” about how she allegedly “does not appear to be a critical witness” about “what Trump or those close to him knew about Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador,” how her “account does not answer the question of what the president knew or didn’t know about Flynn’s interactions with the ambassador,” and how “Mueller’s team appears to be satisfied with McFarland’s revised account.” The last of these is vague and could be read in different ways, but the first two are pretty much impossible to believe. She was at Mar-a-Lago when she had these conversations with Flynn, Mueller has communications between her and other transition officials about the sanctions, and she lied about her discussions with Flynn to WaPo and the FBI.

  20. says

    “European Court to rule on whether UK can halt Brexit”:

    Anti-Brexit campaigners have been given permission to take their case to Europe’s highest court as they seek a ruling on whether it can be halted.

    The cross-party group of politicians argue that Article 50 can be revoked if MPs vote to do so.

    The Court of Session in Edinburgh had previously rejected their bid to have the case referred to European judges.

    But they have now won an appeal, and the European Court of Justice will be asked to give a definitive ruling.

    The panel of appeal judges at the Court of Session said the “urgency of the issue” – with the UK due to leave the EU on 29 March – meant its request to the European Court was being done under expedited procedure.

    The legal case has been brought by politicians including Scottish Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler and SNP MEP Alyn Smith, who have claimed that Brexit is “not inevitable” and “there is still time to change course”.

    Welcoming the ruling, Mr Greer said: “If negotiations collapse, as appears to be happening, we have to know that a no deal disaster is not the only option on the table.”

    The politicians have been joined by lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC, the director of the Good Law Project, who said the latest ruling was a “bombshell” that could “decide the fate of the nation” and potentially allow the country to “wake up from the nightmare that is this government’s Brexit”.

    The petitioners argue that the UK should now effectively be allowed to change its mind on Brexit, without needing the permission of the other 27 EU members.

    If it is successful, their case could strengthen the hand of any attempt by MPs to keep the UK in the EU after the final details of its departure terms are known.

    This is because it would give parliament the power to unilaterally halt Brexit if it feels any final deal – or no deal – is unacceptable, even if the government wants to leave regardless….

  21. says

    SC @7, a seriously over-written article. Not credible. I respect the New York Times reporters, but this time I think they got it wrong. NBC News and Rachel Maddow did a good job of adding some reasonable assessment, along with recent history, and an examination of motives. Maddow’s first presentation is 14:18 minutes long. Her second segment with Chuck Rosenberg is 7:21 minutes long.

  22. says

    From Hillary Clinton:

    […] In the roughly 21 months since he took the oath of office, Trump has sunk far below the already-low bar he set for himself in his ugly campaign. Exhibit A is the unspeakable cruelty that his administration has inflicted on undocumented families arriving at the border, including separating children, some as young as eight months, from their parents. […]

    […] five main fronts of this assault on our democracy:

    – First, there is Donald Trump’s assault on the rule of law. […]
    – Second, the legitimacy of our elections is in doubt. […]
    – Third, the president is waging war on truth and reason. […]
    – Fourth, there’s Trump’s breathtaking corruption. […]
    – Fifth, Trump undermines the national unity that makes democracy possible. […]

    There is a tendency, when talking about these things, to wring our hands about “both sides.” But the truth is that this is not a symmetrical problem. We should be clear about this: The increasing radicalism and irresponsibility of the Republican Party, including decades of demeaning government, demonizing Democrats, and debasing norms, is what gave us Donald Trump. Whether it was abusing the filibuster and stealing a Supreme Court seat, gerrymandering congressional districts to disenfranchise African Americans, or muzzling government climate scientists, Republicans were undermining American democracy long before Trump made it to the Oval Office. […]

    Atlantic link

  23. says

    From Wonkette’s coverage of the Beto O’Rourke/Ted Cruz debate:

    The debate last night between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke was about what you’d expect from a debate featuring a man who lies almost as much as Donald Trump. While Beto spent the majority of the one-hour debate making impassioned pleas on race and healthcare, Cruz hissed half-truths and insults through his silver tongue and phony Texas drawl. At the end we were left with one conclusion: One of these men should be a US Senator, and one of these men is Ted Cruz. […]

    As the first of three debates, this one focused on domestic policy and touched on issues like health care, immigration, and gun violence. When a question about the death of 26-year-old Bothan Jean at the hands of a Dallas police officer (who is currently charged with manslaughter) was brought up, Cruz attacked O’Rourke for calling for the officer to be fired and saying police killings of black people amount to “modern day Jim Crow.” But when Cruz cited a WaPo fact-check that found Beto neither right or wrong in saying cops kill black kids, Beto called Cruz a goddamn liar who peddles the “politics of fear,” then noted that this is why Ted Cruz has no friends in Washington, and why voters find him creepy. […]

    Ted Cruz’s ability to create 90 second sound bites for people with short attention spans came after a question on supporting Christine Blasey Ford. After meandering his way through Republican talking points, Cruz said Kavanaugh’s nomination was really about Jesus, Hillary Clinton, and the Second Amendment. Clutching his pearls, Cruz then accused Beto of attempting to write the Second Amendment out of the Bill of Rights which led both candidates bickering back and forth as Ted Cruz demanded to know if Beto supported Hillary Clinton. […]

    For their closing statements, Ted Cruz walked down from the podium and spent the next two minutes putting the fear of guns, God and government into all the old people tearfully gripping their guns and Bibles. Cruz made sure to say “Texas” and “socialism” as much as humanly possible, and reminded his wealthy donors about all the bonuses they have under the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich). Beto closed out by saying that “we’re not running against anyone, we’re not running against anything, we’re not running against another political party,” and said how he’s running for the uninsured, teachers, fixing jails, mental health clinics, and keeping public schools. He finished by saying, “Thank you for inspiring me….I am grateful.” […]

    Our hot take: Beto walked away with some blood on his lip, but he still rocked out. Ted Cruz was shaken and limping, but his lack of dignity and the bile that courses through his veins left him standing. […]

    Pretty much in agreement with SC’s comment 14.

  24. says

    News – former DOJ inspector general Michael Bromwich has joined Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team. (Note he also represents former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe). He has just resigned from his law firm effective immediately in light of objections within the partnership.”

  25. says

    “‘Incredibly frustrated’: Inside the GOP effort to save Kavanaugh amid assault allegation”:

    Just as he did several weeks ago to prepare for his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Brett M. Kavanaugh was back inside a room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — again facing questioners readying him for a high-stakes appearance in the Senate.

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

    In his answers during the practice runs, aides said, Kavanaugh condemned sexual assault and carefully avoided seeming to discredit Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor in northern California who has accused the nominee of pinning her to a bed, groping her and putting his hand over her mouth to stifle her screams as he tried to take off her clothes at a drunken high school party in the early 1980s.

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

    Much, much more at the link.

    “McGahn has kept other key aides out of the process, afraid they would leak damaging material, relying on special counsel Annie Donaldson and spokesman Raj Shah.” Oh? What damaging material?

    *** I know I’m a broken record, but Kavanaugh’s a drinker. He is. There are absolutely drinkers who can hold positions of great responsibility. From what I’ve seen, he’s not one of them, and the fact that people in his network have gone out of their way to lie about this, denying his history, indicates that they know. He’s a partier. He’s a frat boy. It’s hugely important even if every other issue is set aside.

  26. says

    Doug Jones, responding to Mitch McConnell:

    I’m a former US Attorney. If a judge/juror made a public statement that their mind was made up before all testimony is in, the trial would be prejudiced & I’d move for mistrial & have the judge removed. Mr. Leader, is this the message we want to send to victims of sexual assault?

    The last time I read the Constitution, it said our role was to advise and consent, not to “plow right through” the confirmation process. If you believe that, then any hearing this week is simply perfunctory. You’ve made up your mind and Dr. Ford’s testimony has no bearing…

  27. says

    SC @49, Thursday is the day first suggested by Blasey Ford’s legal team. Glad to see that they stood up to Grassley’s bullying.

    In other news, what does Beto O’Rourke do after he debates Ted Cruz? He goes to Whataburger with his crew, and plays air drums to a 1971 Who track while they wait in line at the take-out window.. The drumming starts about 23 minutes in.

    “Keith Moon. Tell me there’s a better drummer.” Discussion of various drummers follows.

    As a bonus, there’s also a video of Beto skateboarding in a parking lot.

  28. says

    The blimp of Trump as a baby made an appearance in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was located there to support a rally showing support for sending more aid to Puerto Rico’s storm victims. Link

    The blimp may have been visible from Mar-a-Lago.

  29. says

    Lindsey Graham is making me ill.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham […] a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was blunt in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace: “I’m just being honest. Unless there’s something more, no, I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this.”

    […] Graham said: “We are not going to turn over to the other side how many witnesses to call. There will be two witnesses, Dr. Ford, then Judge Kavanaugh, and we will hire our own counsel. They contest those two things. If they continue to contest those two things, there won’t be a hearing.”

    “We’re not going to turn the hearing over to her lawyers,” he said. […]

    Graham said the committee’s Republicans were “11 politicians who haven’t done a trial in about 20 years.”

    “I thought it would be really smart to have somebody come in that knows what the hell they’re doing, to ask the questions, to be respectful,” he said, adding: “I think it’d be smart to have a professional litigator do this.”

    Well, it is true that Senate Republicans don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Still a cowardly act to hide behind the skirts of a female hired gun to ask questions for them.

    Elsewhere, he [Graham] characterized Blasey Ford’s allegations as being “too old for a criminal trial. You’d never bring a lawsuit because it’s uncertain. You couldn’t even get a warrant.”

    Wallace corrected that statement at the end of the interview, saying that “there is no statute of limitations on sex assault cases in Maryland, so there are weaknesses with the case, obviously, but she could legally bring it.”

    “Well, it would go nowhere,” Graham responded.

    But, Lindsey, this is not a trial.

    Talking Points Memo link

  30. says

    The Trump administration makes another anti-immigrant move:

    […] proposing a new set of rules that could deny green cards to legal immigrants who receive public benefits. The new rules could affect those who receive food assistance, housing vouchers, and Medicare subsidies, […]

    […] a rewriting of a 1999 rule. Under that regulation, those receiving cash benefits have a lower chance of receiving a green card. But it didn’t take other non-cash benefits into account. The new rule would “ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a news release. Any changes are likely to result in court challenges. […]

    […] the American Civil Liberties Union said the move amounted to a “new attempt to kick and keep immigrants out of our country and attack people with disabilities.” […]

    Immigrant advocates immediately raised concern that even mentioning the proposed new rule could push low-income immigrants to avoid requesting public benefits out of fear that it could jeopardize their chances of receiving a green card in the future. Although the move shouldn’t affect those who already have green cards, advocates are also concerned they will stop using public benefits to be on the safe side. […]

    “This would force families—including citizen children—to choose between getting the help they need and remaining in their communities,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The last thing the federal government should do is punish families that have fallen on hard times for feeding their children or keeping a roof over their heads and avoiding homelessness.”

    Slate link

  31. tomh says

    @ #56
    It’s going to ruin Kavanaugh’s life if he doesn’t get a SC seat. That’s a good one. It’s more like it will set back the Republican agenda by a few weeks, until they can slide another yahoo into the slot. That’s the sum total of damage.

  32. says

    tomh, @58, I agree. All of the Republican leaders and “values voters” seriously wailing about the possibility of “ruining Kavanaugh’s life” are not looking at the facts. Perhaps more to the point, they seem to be worried that they will be taken down by the likes of Christine Blasey Ford, as if admitting to the awfulness of rape culture and to the vapidity of “boys will be boys” will doom them all.

    Meanwhile, it looks like Grassley will not allow the other perpetrator/witness, Mr. Judge, to testify under oath.

  33. says

    From an article by Emily Witt, written for The New Yorker:

    […] What Kavanaugh appears to have been taught, as a young person, is that goodness is working at a soup kitchen or volunteering on a mission to a poorer country; it’s granted to other people as an act of charity. Meanwhile, less good behavior would be tolerated, as long as it happened under the veil of drunkenness, or as a joke. The Jesuit fathers would turn a blind eye to the yearbook, and U.S. senators would chuckle at frat-boy antics. In this world, high school doesn’t end when you’re eighteen; it’s a lifelong circle of mutual support, an in-crowd that protects itself. […]


  34. says

    Here are two updates on which way the wind blows when it comes to how Trump is thinking of Rosenstein.

    First, Trump is distancing himself from Rosenstein. “He was hired by Jeff Sessions,” Trump told Geraldo Rivera […]. I was not involved in that process because, you know, they go out and get their own deputies and the people that work in the department.”

    Second, Trump polled people on Air Force One about firing Rosenstein:

    […] Trump polled staffers flying with him to and from a rally in Missouri on Friday over whether he should fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein following an explosive New York Times report published earlier that day, The Associated Press reported.

    The news outlet reported Sunday that Trump spoke with staffers on board and called outside advisers as he watched coverage of the story play out on Fox News programs broadcast on Air Force One televisions. While he received mixed advice, more were in favor of holding off on firing Rosenstein […]

    Trump reportedly decided to hold off on ousting his deputy attorney general. […]


  35. Hj Hornbeck says

    We’ve got at least one more accuser of Brett Kavanaugh, Deborah Ramirez. The first paragraph:

    As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation. “This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”

    I say “at least,” because Michael Avenatti claims to be representing a third, anonymous woman.

  36. KG says

    An unexpected election win for the opposition in the Maldives. The sitting president, Abdulla Yameen, was expected to fix the vote, but either he didn’t try, or he screwed up. At least for now, he’s accepting the result, but another coup in a few weeks or months would not be a surprise. Internationally, the result is seen as a setback for China, a boost for India and the USA, but I know nothing of the incoming president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The Maldives is one of the places most threatened by rising sea levels, and the last freely elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, deposed by Yameen in 2012, was a strong voice for action to mitigate climate change.

  37. KG says

    In the UK, the Labour Party conference is going to include a debate and vote on the possibility of a new referendum on Brexit – but the leadership at least is making clear they would prefer a general election, and if they could not get that, a referendum that did not include the option of cancelling Brexit (they want one on accepting the deal or going back to the EU for further negotiation). They are very unlikely to get a general election – even if whatever deal May gets from the EU is rejected by the Commons, no faction among the Tories is likely to want that, so they would almost certainly* back May in a confidence vote, however obvious it was that they have no confidence in her at all. But a referendum which did not include the option of staying in the EU would be absurd, and further negotiation would surely require a delay in the date of Brexit. John McDonnell (the shadow chancellor, Corbyn’s effective number two) argued on Radio 4’s Today this morning that they had to “respect the referendum result”. But if the electorate can’t be given a chance to change their collective mind about Brexit, why would it be right to give them the chance to change it about who should negotiate leaving in a fresh general election, particularly as they were given that choice more recently than the Brexit referendum?

    *Obviously, I’m hedging my bets here, but it really is difficult to rule anything out completely. May’s deal might be unacceptable to the “D”UP, for example, leading them to vote with the other opposition parties, or the hard right might form a breakaway party, or the unrepentant Remainers might switch to the LibDems…

  38. says

    “How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump”:

    …Politicians may be too timid to explore the subject, but a new book from, of all places, Oxford University Press promises to be incendiary. “Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President—What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know,” by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor of communications at the University of Pennsylvania, dares to ask—and even attempts to answer—whether Russian meddling had a decisive impact in 2016. Jamieson offers a forensic analysis of the available evidence and concludes that Russia very likely delivered Trump’s victory.

    The book, which is coming out less than two months before the midterm elections, at a moment when polls suggest that some sixty per cent of voters disapprove of Trump, may well reignite the question of Trump’s electoral legitimacy. The President’s supporters will likely characterize the study as an act of partisan warfare. But in person Jamieson, who wears her gray hair in a pixie cut and favors silk scarves and matronly tweeds, looks more likely to suspend a troublemaker than to be one. She is seventy-one, and has spent forty years studying political speeches, ads, and debates. Since 1993, she has directed the Annenberg Public Policy Center, at Penn, and in 2003 she co-founded, a nonpartisan watchdog group. She is widely respected by political experts in both parties, though her predominantly male peers have occasionally mocked her scholarly intensity, calling her the Drill Sergeant. As Steven Livingston, a professor of political communication at George Washington University, puts it, “She is the epitome of a humorless, no-nonsense social scientist driven by the numbers. She doesn’t bullshit. She calls it straight.”

    Indeed, when I met recently with Jamieson, in a book-lined conference room at the Annenberg Center, in Philadelphia, and asked her point-blank if she thought that Trump would be President without the aid of Russians, she didn’t equivocate. “No,” she said, her face unsmiling. Clearly cognizant of the gravity of her statement, she clarified, “If everything else is a constant? No, I do not.”

    Her case is based on a growing body of knowledge about the electronic warfare waged by Russian trolls and hackers—whom she terms “discourse saboteurs”—and on five decades’ worth of academic studies about what kinds of persuasion can influence voters, and under what circumstances. Democracies around the world, she told me, have begun to realize that subverting an election doesn’t require tampering with voting machines. Extensive studies of past campaigns, Jamieson said, have demonstrated that “you can affect people, who then change their decision, and that alters the outcome.” She continued, “I’m not arguing that Russians pulled the voting levers. I’m arguing that they persuaded enough people to either vote a certain way or not vote at all.”

    The effect of such manipulations could be momentous in an election as close as the 2016 race, in which Clinton got nearly 2.9 million more votes than Trump, and Trump won the Electoral College only because some eighty thousand votes went his way in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In two hundred and twenty-four pages of extremely dry prose, with four appendixes of charts and graphs and fifty-four pages of footnotes, Jamieson makes a strong case that, in 2016, “Russian masterminds” pulled off a technological and political coup. Moreover, she concludes, the American media “inadvertently helped them achieve their goals.”…

  39. says

    “Saudi Arabia is at its least stable in 50 years”:

    The stability of Saudi Arabia is becoming more fragile as the young crown prince’s judgment and competence are increasingly in doubt. Mohammed bin Salman has a track record of impulsive and reckless decisions at home and abroad that calls into question the kingdom’s future.

    The crown prince’s signature policy initiative is the war in Yemen….

    The war is now in its fourth year with no end in sight. …Yemen is now in a “death channel,” as one observer calls the catastrophe.

    …The war has produced an anti-Saudi reaction worldwide.

    The blockade of Qatar is another foreign policy debacle for the crown prince….

    There is much speculation that the Saudis had a role in the Sept 22 attack in Ahvaz, Iran. The crown prince has publicly said he wants to fight Iran inside Iran. The Ahvaz attack is certain to fuel sectarian tensions throughout the region and inside the kingdom.

    At home, the roundup of prominent Saudis last fall at the Ritz-Carlton has led to capital flight and much reduced foreign investment. Confidence in the economy and the prince’s handling of economic issues is dropping. His signature plan to open up ARAMCO is now dead, the king having killed it. The prince arrests any independent voice — even if it is supporters of allowing women to drive, which he pushed for.

    Fearing for his security, the crown prince is said to spend many nights on his half-billion-dollar yacht moored in Jeddah. It’s a floating palace longer than a football field and with many perks. It is also a potential escape hatch.

    The Trump administration has given Saudi Arabia a blank check and supports its war in Yemen. The crown prince has been touted by the White House. It’s a foolish and dangerous approach….

  40. says

    “Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh faces more allegations”:

    Investigators in Montgomery County confirmed Monday they’re aware of a potential second sexual assault complaint in the county against former Georgetown Prep student and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

    While investigators weren’t specific and spoke on background, they said they are looking at allegations against Kavanaugh during his senior year in high school after an anonymous witness came forward this weekend.

    This would potentially bring the number to four women accusing Kavanaugh of wrongdoing and comes after Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale college student, stepped forward this weekend to accuse Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her in college, and after attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted out a message saying he represents a woman with “credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.”

    Investigators say it is unclear if Avenatti’s tweet and email is in regards to the same woman they’ve interviewed….

  41. says

    “Dozens arrested on Capitol Hill as Kavanaugh protests heat up”:

    Dozens of angry protesters were arrested outside the Capitol Hill offices of multiple senators Monday as opposition to Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh grew stronger and more vocal.

    Protesters carrying signs and chanting slogans filled hallways outside the offices of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and other lawmakers. Many wore black t-shirts emblazoned with “Be a hero.”…

    The protests seem to be fairly large.

  42. says

    Just in from Sarah Sanders: ‘At the request of DAG Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories. Because the President is at the UNGA… they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, D.C.'”

    Same day as the Blasey / Kavanaugh hearings are scheduled. Shitshow.

  43. says

    Update to #70:

    Statement from the Montgomery County Police Department Regarding Victim Accusations of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

    At this time, the Montgomery County Police Department has not received a request by any alleged victim nor a victim’s attorney to initiate a police report or a criminal investigation regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

    The Department recognizes that victims of sexual assault may not want to involve law enforcement and/or initiate a criminal investigation, and we respect that position. The Department, however, stands prepared to assist anyone who reports being the victim of a sexual assault.

    Typically, in a sexual assault case, the cooperation of the victim or witnesses is necessary. As with any criminal investigation, a determination must be made as to the jurisdiction where the alleged offense occurred and the specific details of the event to establish a potential criminal charge.

    Our Department is ready to investigate any claim of sexual assault that is alleged to have occurred within our County.

  44. Hj Hornbeck says

    And then <a href=”>there were four?

    Investigators in Montgomery County confirmed Monday they’re aware of a potential second sexual assault complaint in the county against former Georgetown Prep student and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. […]

    This would potentially bring the number to four women accusing Kavanaugh of wrongdoing and comes after Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale college student, stepped forward this weekend to accuse Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her in college, and after attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted out a message saying he represents a woman with “credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.”

    Bear in mind, these are rumours without names attached. Don’t be surprised if it evaporates.

  45. says

    “‘The Strategy Was to Try and Do Something Really Big’: Trump Wanted to Nuke Rosenstein to Save Kavanaugh’s Bacon”:

    At the beginning of one of the most consequential weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, an enormous smoke bomb was detonated in the news cycle when Axios, deeply wired in Trump’s West Wing, reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had “offered to resign.” Quickly, a head-spinning array of conflicting accounts were put forth: Had he been fired? Was he heading to the White House to be fired—or was he going to a regularly scheduled meeting? Finally, Sarah Huckabee Sanders brought a measure of clarity by tweeting that, whatever was going to happen to Rosenstein would happen on Thursday, when the president returned from New York.

    For all the morning’s madness, there may have been an underlying logic. Over the weekend, as Brett Kavanaugh’s prospects appeared increasingly imperiled, Trump faced two tactical options, both of them fraught. One was to cut Kavanaugh loose. But he was also looking for ways to dramatically shift the news cycle away from his embattled Supreme Court nominee. According to a source briefed on Trump’s thinking, Trump decided that firing Rosenstein would knock Kavanaugh out of the news, potentially saving his nomination and Republicans’ chances for keeping the Senate. “The strategy was to try and do something really big,” the source said. The leak about Rosenstein’s resignation could have been the result, and it certainly had the desired effect of driving Kavanaugh out of the news for a few hours.

    The confusion surrounding Rosenstein’s tenure may not give Kavanaugh a reprieve. In public, Trump continues to voice support for his embattled Supreme Court nominee, telling reporters at the United Nations earlier this morning that he stands with Kavanaugh “all the way.” But in private, Trump is growing increasingly frustrated by being mired in a deteriorating political situation beyond his control. On Monday morning, a Republican briefed on Trump’s thinking said the president has been considering pulling Kavanaugh’s nomination.

    According to the source, Trump allies are imploring him to cut Kavanaugh loose for the sake of saving Republicans’ electoral chances in the midterms….

    As Kavanaugh’s poll numbers plummet, Trump is telling people in private that he was never a fan of Kavanaugh’s selection, sources said. According to two people who’ve spoken with Trump recently, Trump complained that establishment Republicans foisted Kavanaugh on him, because they reasoned Kavanaugh would unite the party in November….

    Trump is keeping his distance from the nominee. A White House official said he hasn’t spoken with Kavanaugh in recent days. “This is Brett Kavanaugh’s fight,” the White House official said.

    More at the link.

  46. says

    “Roger Stone sought contact with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, email suggests”:

    As the special counsel’s office appears to be focusing in on President Donald Trump’s longtime political ally Roger Stone, an email recently obtained by ABC News suggests Stone sought contact with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange during what may have been a critical moment in the 2016 campaign.

    The email is one of at least two between Stone and Jerome Corsi, a political commentator and self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist, that refer to London-based conservative author Ted Malloch, according to people familiar with the emails.

    The July 31, 2016, email appears to be an explicit attempt by Stone to connect with Assange using Corsi and Malloch as intermediaries. ABC News was not able to independently verify the email’s authenticity, though Stone confirmed to ABC News that he sent it and two separate sources confirmed its existence.

    “Malloch should see Assange,” Stone wrote to Corsi.

    The email was sent just nine days after WikiLeaks made public the first batch of stolen Democratic Party documents allegedly obtained by hacker Guccifer 2.0, later identified as Russian state hackers. It appears to bolster the assertion that Stone, a prominent Trump ally, was attempting to communicate with Assange about the politically explosive leaks.

    Stone proposed contact with Assange on a day Trump was facing withering criticism for challenging Gold Star parents of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War. Khan’s parents spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention.

    On Friday, ABC News reported that Corsi became the 11th associate of Stone’s to be contacted by the special counsel.

  47. says

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made some statements on the floor of the Senate today. His main point was that anything said against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is “smear campaign” by the Democrats.

    Even by the far left’s standards, this shameful, shameful smear campaign has hit a new low. Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated.

    I want to make it perfectly clear, Mr. President, Judge Kavanaugh will be voted on here on the Senate floor. Up or down. On the Senate floor, this fine nominee to the Supreme Court will receive a vote in this Senate in the near future.


    Video is available at the link.

  48. says

    Follow-up to comment 88.

    From the Readers’ comments:

    He added, “We will not allow them to corroborate or substantiate their accusations by calling other witnesses. We’re just going through the motions right now because…democracy? I forget, really.”
    McConnell basically means “we will only accept smear campaigns that we initiate.”
    The Republican equivalent of a show trial. Get a female Republican inquisitor to keep your hands clean, brow beat the female witness, ignore the testimony – she had her say, then go ahead and vote the way you were going to anyway.

  49. says

    Making it harder to vote in North Carolina:

    […] A ProPublica analysis of polling locations shows that North Carolina’s 2018 midterm election will have nearly 20 percent fewer early voting locations than there were in 2014. Nearly half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are shutting down polling places, in part because of the new law. Poorer rural counties, often strapped for resources to begin with, are having a particularly difficult time adjusting to the new requirement.

    The closure of polling locations increases the time it takes for voters to travel to the polls, and it could result in lower turnout, making matters worse for a state already dealing with Hurricane Florence. Early voting in North Carolina begins on Oct. 17.

    We interviewed more than two dozen county election officials across North Carolina. None said they were in favor of the new law, and none said they were contacted by state lawmakers for counsel on the legislation. Some referred to the policy as “overkill,” a waste of resources and an “unfunded mandate,” particularly burdensome for cash-strapped counties. […]

    Republican state lawmakers, who championed the new law [a 12-hour, 7-a.m.-to-7-p.m. requirement], argue that the consistency it provides will eliminate uncertainty among voters and expand early voting by increasing hours and allowing those who work full-time jobs to vote before or after work.

    “The purpose of the uniformity is to make it easier and more convenient and more accessible for the voter to participate,” said David Lewis, a state representative who supported the bill. “I think that access to the polls, access to the ballots in a uniform fashion, is more important than poll worker or election worker convenience.” […]

    But according to Robert Stein, a professor of political science at Rice University, aggregate hours are not nearly as important a factor to voter access as the number of early voting locations offered by a county.

    “There is a lot of good research to suggest that when it comes to having a positive effect on early voting turnout, the important things are not the hours of operation but the location of the polling place and the distance and travel time it takes a voter to get there,” Stein said. […]


    Note that it was Republican state lawmakers who championed the misleading and destructive new law.

  50. says

    Lynna @ #88 and #89 – I have similar suspicions to Marshall and Boehlert. They’re not exactly exuding confidence at the moment.

    I’m also not sure why they think having women staff attorneys question her will be such better optics. The old white men will still be there, running the show. And seeing other women pushing the same attacks as men is just going to make us more angry with them and their complicity.

  51. says

    Oh, FFS. Kellyanne Conway is defending Kavanaugh by saying that Kavanaugh is not as bad as Harvey Weinstein.

    Kellyanne Conway, one of […] Trump’s top advisers, reportedly defended embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a call with White House surrogates on Monday … by saying he’s better than Harvey Weinstein.

    Josh Dawsey at the Washington Post reported on Monday that Conway told surrogates to stand up for Kavanaugh’s nomination and compared him to “elite media figures” such as ousted CBS chairman and chief executive Les Moonves and Hollywood producer Weinstein. According to Bloomberg, she also cited former Today anchor Matt Lauer.

    Conway said that the allegations brought against Kavanaugh of sexual assault by Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford and of sexual misconduct by his former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez were not proven, according to Dawsey, while the accusations against Weinstein, Moonves, and Lauer were proven and were worse. All three men lost their jobs as a result of the allegations against them. […]


  52. says

    Yes, Kavanaugh does not come across well here. At all.

    He’s evasive even answering the most friendly set-up of a question, turning to his prepared lines – including ones matching his letter this afternoon almost exactly – and delivering them unconvincingly. And no one believes he’s fought all his life for women’s equality, because he hasn’t remotely. It’s just obvious bullshit. And his emotion just looks like self pity. And his aggression shows through. If this interview is any indication of how he’ll do in a hearing on Thursday after practicing for a week,…

  53. says

    The Mayer/Farrow article has been updated: “2 Kavanaugh classmates withdrew from a statement his lawyers issued disputing Ramirez’s claims. It is now signed by the 2 men whom Ramirez alleged had egged on Kavanaugh, the wife of the man she said told her to ‘kiss it’, and one other classmate”

  54. says

    Chad Pergram, Fox: “Kavanaugh nomination is in trouble. That’s why McConnell made blistering speech today. Baseball teams mail it in once they are out of pennant race. McConnell trying to get GOPers to run out out every ground ball in effort to salvage nomination. Kavanaugh lacks the votes right now.”

  55. says

    NYT – “Rod Rosenstein’s Job Is Safe, for Now: Inside His Dramatic Day”.

    Yeah, I’m not buying it. Rosenstein is “emotional” again:

    …Mr. Rosenstein was emotional, according to people familiar with his meeting with Mr. McGahn. Mr. Rosenstein wanted to leave on amicable terms, not in a manner that would trigger an angry Twitter tirade from Mr. Trump.

    But Mr. McGahn, who is set to leave the White House as soon as the Kavanaugh nomination is concluded, reminded Mr. Rosenstein of his own short-term status and directed him to talk to Mr. Kelly.

    Two people familiar with the discussions described Mr. Kelly as “conflicted” about Mr. Rosenstein’s fate, believing that a departure before the midterm elections in November would be bad for the president. At some point, Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Trump had what the president’s spokeswoman called “an extended conversation” about the Times article. Mr. Trump said the two spoke Monday but did not say when….

    The story doesn’t hang together internally or square with the little evidence we saw today (Rosenstein didn’t appear at all emotional either leaving his house this morning or leaving the WH later, for example). There’s no coherent set of motives that makes sense for the people involved. It’s like the reporters forgot that an article should fit together within a larger pattern of facts and actions. Their main sources seem to be McGahn or his aides and someone “close to Rosenstein” who has it in for him. I’m trying not to be reflexively critical, and I’m sure there’s some truth in what they’re reporting, but I’m skeptical of the account.

  56. says

    SC @96, it all sounds like a bad reality show, one that is partially scripted by bad writers.

    The dueling leaks bother me. The mischaracterization of Rosenstein as a guy who easily cries and/or goes off the emotional deep end is just cheap soap opera.

  57. says

    Trump doesn’t want Puerto Rico to be granted statehood because San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz hurt his small-minded-man feelings:

    President Trump said in a radio interview broadcast Monday that he is an “absolute no” on statehood for Puerto Rico, citing his running feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a critic of the federal response to Hurricane Maria.

    “With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” Trump told host Geraldo Rivera in an interview conducted Sunday with WTAM Radio in Cleveland, later calling Cruz “a horror show.” […]

    “This is an insensitive, disrespectful comment to over 3 million Americans who live in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico,” Rosselló [Governor of the commonwealth] said in a statement in which he also lamented “the unequal and colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.”

    Washington Post link

  58. says

    The audience for Trump’s United Nations speech laughed out loud when Trump bragged about his accomplishments.

    President Donald Trump was laughed at Tuesday during his address to the United Nations General Assembly, after he asserted that his administration “has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

    “Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay,” Trump said.

    The world is laughing at Trump. Video available at the link.

    Stephen Miller wrote that speech.

  59. says

    Follow-up to comment 102.

    Comments from readers of the Talking Points Memo article:

    Literally representatives from every nation in the entire world laughing at you, you colossal buffoon. The en-tire world.
    Trump – “Didn’t expect that reaction…”.

    Seriously, what reaction did you expect – a standing ovation, “lock her up”, exactly what?
    The rest of the Bolton/Miller speech does not get better with claims of independence from the rest of the world, but retaining the right to tell other countries what they must do. Trump is the 1950’s ugly American our “friends” around the world despised and mocked in private. But now we are not the only industrialized country still standing like we were post WW II. It doesn’t work
    “…but that’s okay.”

    Inside, he’s fuming, and will later ask his aides how to screw the UN and the countries whose ambassadors laughed hardest.

    A note: Stephen Miller and John Bolton wrote Trump’s speech.

    What Trump tweeted on August 9, 2014:

    We need a President who isn’t a laughing stock to the entire World. We need a truly great leader, a genius at strategy and winning. Respect!

  60. says

    What Trump said on June 1, 2017: “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more. And they won’t be. They won’t be.”

  61. says

    From Manu Raj, a congressional correspondent for CNN:

    I just asked Sen. Lisa Murkowski, key GOP swing vote, if there should be a full FBI investigation into allegations from Kavanaugh’s past. “It would sure clear up all the questions, wouldn’t it?” she said

  62. says

    Trump had the long knives out for the United Nations before they laughed at him. In his speech he threatened to take U.S. money away from the U.N. and from programs they support. He did that over and over again in the speech.

  63. says

    What Kavanaugh said:

    The women I knew in college and the men I knew in college say it’s inconceivable that I could have done such a thing

    That’s a lie.

    See comment 99 posted by SC.

    From Think Progress:

    […] Kavanaugh also claimed that if he had assaulted Ramirez in college, “it would have been the talk of the campus” — his implication being that it wasn’t. But that’s not true either. As the New Yorker details, news of Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of Ramirez indeed spread around Yale, and more than three decades after it happened, the publication talked to a number of classmates who heard about it at the time and recalled the incident in a manner similar to Ramirez.

  64. says

    ICE agents continue to act like without restraint:

    […] Erick Gamboa Chay and his family were getting ready for the day when ICE agents banged on the door of his Milwaukee home, claiming to be the police, and arrested Chay for previously driving without a license. ICE has denied him bond.

    “Claiming to be police …” That’s not legal. The article documents other instances of ICE agents claiming to be police.

    Chay’s three children, ages 8,4, and 1, hid in the attic and cried as their father was taken away. They are currently staying with a member of their extended family.

    “Now my uncle’s kids keep asking when their dad is going to come back. His youngest son has sickle cell anemia and requires constant care,” Giselle Vera, Chay’s niece, told Voces de la Frontera. “His wife cannot work outside the home because she cares for him and the other two children. This is devastating to his kids and to our family.”

    She added, “The middle son is like, ‘So when is he going to come back? When are they going to bring him back? And how do you answer that question when we don’t even know what’s going to happen?”

    In Green Bay, ICE arrested six individuals, including a father of eight children and a father preparing for his children’s baptism.

    While ICE did not comment on the details of who was arrested and what charges they face, the agency says those arrested “pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”

    Jesús Enciso was detained by ICE near Madison on his way to work with his son and four coworkers.

    “On Friday morning, my husband was driving to work with our son and four coworkers,” Angela Betancourt, Enciso’s wife of 29 years, told Voces de la Frontera. “My son was driving because he has a license. Agents in two cars pulled them over, made everyone get out and asked for all their documents. They took away the five men including my husband. I don’t know why ICE would detain him. He is a hard worker, he provides for our family. We have not been able to communicate with him. We are very sad and we need him here with us.”

    Law enforcement officials from both cities condemned ICE for detaining immigrants without first communicating with local authorities. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval told local media that the department has an agreement with ICE to know when and where arrests are made. Similarly, Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith stated that, in the past, ICE has alerted police when they’ve planned an operation, and sometimes even asked for assistance, but this time, there was nothing.

    “Whether it is a targeted activity or a raid, an ICE failure of communication only heightens fear in the community and poses a great danger to all parties, including the targeted individuals and their families, ICE agents, and local law enforcement,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin at a Sunday press conference. […]

    Think Progress link

  65. says

    Other voices from the United Nations slam Trump and criticize the U.S.

    Failing to provide health care to 29.3 million people is “unethical” and “politically wrong, morally wrong,” said former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in an interview with the Guardian.

    The U.S. is the only wealthy country without universal coverage […]

    “Here, the political interest groups are so, so powerful,” Ban said. “Even president, Congress, senators and representatives of the House, they cannot do much so they are easily influenced by these special interest groups.”

    Ban is hardly alone in his disillusionment with the U.S. health care system and is definitely not the first foreign leader to call the United States out. When President Donald Trump attacked Britain’s health system to slam Democrats running on universal health care, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt blasted him back on Twitter, saying no one in his country “wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover.” […]


  66. says

    Akira @107, and in particular, Iran:

    […] Trump used a large portion of his address to tout his administration’s plans to launch a “campaign of economic pressure” aimed at starving Iran of money it would use “to advance its bloody agenda” in the Middle East and beyond. […]

    “We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues,” he told the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

    Trump rattled off a laundry list of complaints against the “corrupt dictatorship” running Iran, saying it poses a threat to Israel and is helping to destabilize Syria and Yemen, which are both plagued by civil war.

    “We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the world’s deadliest weapons,” he said. […]

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly accused Trump of treating his nation unfairly and it remains unclear if other nations are willing to reverse course and take steps to isolate Iran. Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal was unpopular with European allies.

    There were signs during Tuesday’s speech that Trump’s approach has worn thin among world leaders. […]


  67. says

    From Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate:

    […] Brett Kavanaugh wants you to know that all he’s asking for is a “fair process.” During his interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Monday night, the Supreme Court nominee used that phrase 17 times, often to avoid answering MacCallum’s (pretty good) questions. It’s one of a handful of stock answers that Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, tossed at MacCallum during a conversation that was so on script that it might as well have been published as talking points. […]

    The most alarming thing about Monday’s interview, aside from Kavanaugh’s robotic repetition, was how wildly it diverged in tone and substance from a letter he sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier on Monday. It marked his most vigorous effort thus far to contest the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, who allege that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them. Ford claims Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge attempted to rape her at a house party in the summer of 1982, when the nominee was 17. Ramirez claims Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face during a drunken dormitory party, making her touch it without her consent. Ford has agreed to testify at Thursday’s hearing, and pivotal Republican Sen. Susan Collins has said she wants Senate investigators to question Ramirez under oath as well.

    Kavanaugh initially denied both charges in a measured and concise statement. But in his Monday letter, the nominee went full Clarence Thomas, painting himself as the victim of a “coordinated” attack. He dismissed Ramirez’s “false and uncorroborated accusation from 35 years ago” as part of a “frenzy to come up with something—anything—that will block this process.” The claims from Ramirez and Ford, he insisted, “are smears, pure and simple.” And he declared that this “grotesque and obvious … last-minute character assassination” will “dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service.” […]

    On Fox News […] Kavanaugh […] said he only wished to “defend my integrity and clear my name.”

    “I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect,” Kavanaugh insisted. “Listen to the people who’ve known me best my whole life.” Did he commit sexual assault? He “never saw any such thing.” Did he engage in lurid sexual encounters? He “never participated in any such thing.” Rather, he was focused on “trying to be No. 1 in my class” and “captain of the varsity basketball team” while working on “service projects” and “going to church.” Also, he did not have “anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter.” […]

    It’s clear that when Kavanaugh feels that he needs to remember something, he remembers it. And when he doesn’t remember an alleged incident, that means it could not have occurred. […] He has committed to a narrative of absolute innocence, one in which Ford and Ramirez are the real villains and he is a virtuous victim.

  68. lumipuna says

    Lynna at 103: I wonder if Trump started this rightwing rhetorical trend of saying “the world laughs at Obama and his America”? I vaguely recall I started seeing it sometime around 2015. I’ve been closely following US politics since ca. 2009 and it’s the most bizarre thing ever.

    I guess the implication is that if you’re too generous/forgiving, your allies and foes will not only exploit you but also secretly disrespect you for being exploitable – and that makes it all the worse. Not that there was ever much evidence of either this disrespect or exploitation, it was just a bald assertion. Plus the idea that mere diplomatic smoothness is a sign of weakness because it says that you care about not offending others.

    Isn’t there a long rightwing American tradition of not giving a shit about what foreigners think? Maybe there’s been some secret insecurity since George W. Bush years, when laughter at US conservatism became widespread in (white, western) world? Then this would seem like an effective rhetorical counter, at least until it becomes undeniable that Trump sucks at playing the tough guy he says America needs.

  69. says

    Trump flies his misogynist colors high … again:

    President Trump on Tuesday attacked the second woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, dismissing her account because she was “totally inebriated and all messed up,” and accused Democrats of playing a “con game” in an attempt to derail his Supreme Court nominee.

    In comments to reporters following a speech at the United Nations, Trump took aim at Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale University, who told the New Yorker magazine that said he exposed himself to her at a party when they were both first-year students.

    “The second accuser has nothing,” Trump told reporters. “She admits that she was drunk.”

    The president dismissed the notion that the allegation could be disqualifying, saying sarcastically: “Oh, gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.” […]

    “I do think it’s unfair to continue to drag the process out and continue to put good people through the wringer for the sake of political games the Democrats want to play,” [Sarah Huckabee Sanders] said in a separate interview on Fox News.

    Washington Post link

  70. says

    Follow-up to comment 115.

    Longer quote from Trump, with more context:

    Thirty-six years ago and nobody ever knew about it, nobody ever heard about it? And now a new charge comes up and she said, well, it might not be him, and there were gaps, and she said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up and she doesn’t know it was him, but it might have been him? Oh gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that?

    This is a con game being played by the Democrats.

    The more Trump speaks, the more he indicts himself.

  71. says

    From the Washington Post:

    Rep. Kevin Cramer, the Republican nominee for Senate in North Dakota, questioned Monday whether a sexual assault accusation against Brett M. Kavanaugh should disqualify him from the Supreme Court, even if the allegation is true. […]

    In the interview with host Chris Berg televised Monday, Cramer said that if something like what California professor Christine Blasey Ford alleges about Kavanaugh is accurate, “it’s tragic, it’s unfortunate, it’s terrible.” But, he added of Kavanaugh, “even if it’s all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago, but does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?”

    Earlier, Cramer said, “It was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.” And later told the NBC affiliate in Fargo, “there was no type of intercourse or anything like that.”

    In other words, Cramer is clueless. And Cramer doesn’t care if Kavanaugh has added lying under oath to his resumé.

    Cramer is the guy who said this in March of 2017:

    But by the way, did you notice how poorly several of them [Democratic women] were dressed as well? It is a syndrome. There is no question, there is a disease associated with the notion that a bunch of women would wear bad-looking white pantsuits in solidarity with Hillary Clinton to celebrate her loss. You cannot get that weird.

    In December of 2017, Cramer said this in reference to Roy Moore:

    You’re talking 40 years past.

    I would also say the past, when you’re talking 40 years past, versus last year, two years ago in the case of both Senator Franken and Representative Conyers, you are talking about something a little bit different, you’re talking about a different standard.

    I think then you have to let the past be the past.

  72. says

    lumina @114:

    […] Trump sucks at playing the tough guy he says America needs.

    Ha! Quite true. And, of course, true toughness is not measured by bluster. And not by bullying based on ignorance.

    As far as Trump claiming that the whole world was laughing at President Obama, I think that was a mixture of wishful thinking and projection. One of Trump’s greatest fears is that people will laugh at him. He cuts a ridiculous and willfully ignorant figure every time he appears on a domestic or world stage. Of course people laugh at him. The laughter is bitter when we see that he also does great harm by being so fucking clueless that he didn’t realize that separating immigrant children from their parents would not play well.

  73. says

    Kirstjen Nielsen has been caught in a lie … again.

    Following data showing officials had kidnapped nearly 2,000 migrant children from parents at the border during a six week period this past spring, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen insisted there was no “zero tolerance” policy at all, tweeting that “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.” But according to a newly obtained memo, that was a lie. Period.

    “The memo, first reported on by the Washington Post on April 26, but never previously published, provides evidence that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen signed off on a policy of family separation despite her repeated claims denying that there was such a policy,” […

    The memo obtained by the groups was signed and said DHS could “permissibly direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted,” though the signature has been blacked out. “But,” Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight continue, it was “almost certainly Nielsen’s, given that the memo is addressed to her.”

    During a White House press conference that same month in response to widespread condemnation of the kidnappings, Nielsen again blatantly lied about the family separation policy.

    Reporter: Are you intending for this to play out as this is playing out? Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? Are you intending to send a message?

    Nielsen: I find that offensive. No. Because why would I ever create a policy that ever does that.

    Reporter: Perhaps as a deterrence?

    Nielsen: No!

    However, as Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight reveal, the memo “outlines three options for implementing ‘zero tolerance,’ the policy of increased prosecution of immigration violations. Of these, it recommends ‘Option 3,’ referring for prosecution all adults crossing the border without authorization, ‘including those presenting with a family unit,’ as the ‘most effective.’” […]

    Still, not one Trump official has been jailed, been fired, or been forced to resign over this catastrophic humanitarian disaster and subsequent violation of a court order. Among the top of the list should be Kirstjen Nielsen, who in true Trumpian fashion, stood on her platform and gaslighted the nation about what was happening before our very eyes. She knew about it, she apparently signed off on it, and then lied to our faces.


  74. says

    Republicans are still in a rush to vote on Kavanaugh:

    Republican senators were told to be in D.C. this weekend to vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told reporters Tuesday.

    Following the GOP’s weekly lunch, Corker told reporters the caucus was asked to remain in Washington to process the Kavanaugh nomination quickly. The Hill quoted a Senate GOP aide a short while later as saying the final Kavanaugh vote would likely happen next Tuesday. […]

    Think Progress link

  75. lumipuna says

    To be more accurate, I meant apparently Trump has sold his fans the idea that being a blusterous asshole passes for toughness which is inherently good, that alternating between childish insults and generic flattery is tough negotiation, etc.

    It’s just that world’s laughter is possibly gradually getting to American conservatives, especially those who voted for Trump without being in the fandom bubble. Possibly even Trump himself.

  76. says

    Bill Cosby has been sentenced to 3 to 10 years for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004.

    […] Bill Cosby was led off to prison in handcuffs Tuesday at age 81, sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.

    The punishment made him the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison […]

    “It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said. He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s own statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”

    […] the judge declared Cosby a “sexually violent predator” — a modern-day scarlet letter that subjects him to monthly counseling for the rest of his life and requires that neighbors and schools be notified of his whereabouts. […]

    Cosby faced a sentence of anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison. His lawyers asked for house arrest, saying Cosby — who is legally blind — is too old and vulnerable to do time in prison. Prosecutors asked for five to 10 years behind bars, saying he could still pose a threat to women. […]

    Politico link

  77. says

    lumina @123, I agree.

    Also,Trump being Trump, he will probably look for a way punish the United Nations even more now … and all because an audience there laughed at him.

    I don’t know how long his followers can continue to wear their blinders, but they seem to be really good at blinding themselves.

  78. says

    The trade agreement with Seoul is supposed to boost US car sales. That’s unlikely.

    […] At a meeting in New York on Monday, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed a revised version of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS.

    […] KORUS has been around since 2012. But the new version removes a few regulatory burdens for US automakers to export cars, extends a 25 percent US tariff on imported Korean trucks, and lifts a cap on US car exports to South Korea that don’t need to meet Korean safety standards (caps that American automakers weren’t anywhere close to reaching).

    The six-year-old trade deal has allowed both countries to sell more than $60 billion in cars, machinery, and other goods to each other with few restrictions, and South Korea is now America’s sixth-largest trading partner.

    However, the Trump administration is unhappy that South Korea has been selling more stuff to Americans than the United States has been selling to South Koreans. Americans love South Korean cars, and cheap steel. […] But the new and improved KORUS is hardly revolutionary; it’s basically the same agreement, with a few minor tweaks.

    As part of the new deal, the US also agreed to exempt South Korea from its new 25 percent tariff on global steel. Instead, South Korea accepted a quota to limit steel exports to the United States to 70 percent of what it was selling before.

    On the surface, the deal seems like a win for the US auto industry, but several experts say it won’t change the fact that South Koreans just don’t want to buy American cars. “It hardly seems like it will have an impact,” says Simon Lester, a trade policy expert at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “I think [the Trump administration] needed to declare a victory, to just do something and sell it as a win.” […]

    Trump wants South Koreans to buy more Chevys. Koreans prefer BMWs. […]

    “South Korea has been an adamant ally to the United States for the last 70 years. Now, North Korea is provoking and China is expanding their power, flexing muscles,” Choi Seok-young, a Korean trade official who helped write KORUS, told the Washington Post at the time. “We don’t quite understand what is the main purpose of Mr. Trump attacking Korea by terminating ­the Korea-U.S. [free trade agreement] at this critical time.” […]

    On the surface, lifting this cap is the biggest change in KORUS. But economists are skeptical that will do much to boost American car exports. US car companies haven’t come close to reaching the current 25,000 limit each. Ford only sold 10,727 cars to South Korea in 2016, and Fiat Chrysler exported 7,284. […]

    Vox Link

  79. says

    More people finding out that Kavanaugh is not a good guy … or that he was not a good guy in high school:

    Renate Schroeder Dolphin, a woman who knew President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his high school years, is denouncing a “horrible, hurtful and simply untrue” insinuation after The New York Times revealed that her name had been referenced several times in his high school yearbook.

    […] Kavanaugh and several other football players described themselves as “Renate Alumni” in Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, in an apparently vulgar reference to Dolphin, who attended a nearby Catholic girls high school at the time.

    Dolphin had joined 64 other women who signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Kavanaugh after he was accused of attempted rape in the 1980s earlier this month, writing that they knew the embattled appellate court judge during their teenage years to be a “good person” who “has always treated women with decency and respect.” […]

    She told The Times she was stunned by the revelations that the word “Renate” had appeared at least 14 times in the 1983 yearbook.

    “I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Dolphin said. “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,” she added. […]

    Kavanaugh’s lawyer, Alexandra Walsh, told the newspaper that Dolphin and Kavanaugh were friends in high school and “shared a brief kiss” after a high school event. Dolphin, however, said that she had never kissed Kavanaugh.

    “I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him,” she told the newspaper through her lawyer. […]

    Salon link

  80. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Lynna: “Also,Trump being Trump, he will probably look for a way punish the United Nations even more now.”

    Yeah, America laughed at him and he punished us by becoming President. Harsh!

  81. says

    Follow-up to comments 125, 130 and 131.

    Trump is pretending that he “meant to get some laughter.” No, just no. Nobody is fooled Hair Furor.

    Trump earlier today when foreign leaders laughed at his claim about his presidency being the most successful: “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”

    Several hours later: “Oh it was great. Well, that was meant to get some laughter.”

  82. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    You know, my heart goes out to Dr. Ford for the ordeal she has consented to endure. On the other hand, an event like this brings out the assholes in high relief. If they could drag this whole thing out ’til November, Ann Coulter’s might be the only female vote they get.

  83. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Lynna: “Fox News edited out the laughter.”

    Wow! A first in broadcasting–an anti-laugh track.

  84. KG says

    Kavanaugh’s lawyer, Alexandra Walsh, told the newspaper that Dolphin and Kavanaugh were friends in high school and “shared a brief kiss” after a high school event. Dolphin, however, said that she had never kissed Kavanaugh.

    “I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him,” she told the newspaper through her lawyer. Lynna, OM, quoting Salon@129

    Ah! So Kavanaugh may not be lying when he denies trying to rape Ford; he’s just confused her with someone else who he remembers trying to rape.

  85. KG says

    Fox News edited out the laughter. – Lynna, OM@133

    Thus confirming that they know he’s lying when he claims he meant to get a laugh.

  86. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Another woman has come forth with a signed affidavit accusing Kavanaugh (and Judge) of drugging women at parties so that they could be gang raped.

    The woman in question, Julie Swetnick, is a longtime federal employee with various clearances. Lying on a sworn affidavit is perjury, and would end her career.

  87. says

    Follow-up to What a Maroon’s comment 138.

    A third woman came forward Wednesday morning to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. In this case, the woman accused him of engaging in repeated lewd behavior with women at parties in the early 1980s, and of putting drugs or alcohol in punch to cause women to become inebriated so they could be “gang raped” by a group of male partygoers.

    The woman, Julie Swetnick, said that she was the victim of one of these gang rapes in approximately 1982. She did not allege that Kavanaugh participated in the rape, but said he and his friend Mark Judge were present when it occurred, adding that she was incapacitated by a drug placed in her drink without her consent and was unable to fight off her attackers.

    She also said she saw Kavanaugh and Judge lined up at other parties “waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room.”

    NBC News link to Julie Swetnick’s declaration.

    Rachel Maddow’s interview with Michael Avenatti.

    Kavanaugh’s response:

    This is ridiculous and from the twilight zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.

    From Mark Judge’s attorney:

    Mr. Judge vehemently denies Ms. Swetnick’s allegations.

    From Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:

    Republicans need to immediately suspend the proceedings related to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, and the president must order the FBI to reopen the background check investigation. There are now multiple, corroborated allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, made under the penalty of perjury, all of which deserve a thorough investigation.

  88. says

    Another sneaky move from the Trump administration — this move is meant to hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency’s program to protect children’s health:

    […] Wheeler has put the Director of the Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP), Dr. Ruth Etzel, on administrative leave without explanation. Etzel, as the EPA’s website notes, is an award-winning pediatrician and public health expert whose career “to protect children from hazards in the environment” spans three decades.

    “This seems like a sneaky way for the E.P.A. to get rid of this program and not be upfront about it,” as Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha told the New York Times. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is the pediatrician whose tests of children’s blood revealed elevated lead levels in Flint Michigan’s water. And a former EPA official called the move “highly unusual.” […]

    Think Progress link

    Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Andrew Wheeler replaced Scott Pruitt. Wheeler is better than Pruitt at hiding corruption, but it looks like he equally lacking an ethical core. In his previous job Wheeler was a coal lobbyist.

  89. says

    The rightwing take on Julie Swetnick’s claims against Kavanaugh is that she scammed her lawyer, Michael Avenatti. To that charge, Avenatti replied:

    I made the determination she was 100 percent credible well before Sunday night. [Referring to the first time he disclosed the allegations involving Kavanaugh.] We’ve received over 3,000 inquiries in the last six months from people with all kinds of crazy stories and fabrications. I’ve heard it all. I’ve seen it all. Like we don’t vet clients. Give me a break.

    We don’t just do this at the drop of the hat. Had we waited until everything was in place to surface these allegations, then everyone would be complaining that we just dropped this on the committee at the last moment. There’s no winning in this situation. We wanted to surface the allegations for the committee, reasonably, once they were vetted, which is what we did. […]


    Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have been refusing to speak to Avenatti who wants to set up a process for his client to testify.

  90. says

    This is more subtle than laughing in Trump’s face: world leaders jabbed at Trump in their United Nations’ speeches:

    […] Macron, who has cozied up to Trump in the past and invited him to a military parade in Paris on Bastille Day in 2017, rejected Trump’s foreign policy vision and said in his own speech that “no single one of us can effectively combat inequalities.” […]

    “France continues with all interested parties to spearhead this global fight against climate change,” Macron said. “In the G7, we will be working to see the Paris obligations increased. Should someone be against that, we shall nonetheless press ahead through new fora.” […]

    Peña Nieto, in his last appearance at the UN before handing over the presidential mantle to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, defended multilateralism as “the best way to defend the sovereignty and dignity of each state.” […]

    Rouhani’s rhetorical assault in his General Assembly speech was the latest in a war of words with Trump, who has railed against Iran since before arriving in the White House.

    Trump last year withdrew from the joint nuclear agreement brokered by the Obama administration and reinstated economic sanctions on Tehran. Rouhani rejected the unilateral moves as signaling “an inability in understanding a complex and interconnected world.”

    “It is unfortunate that we are witnessing rulers in the world ride public sentiments and gain popular support through the fomenting of extremist nationalism and racism and through xenophobic tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition,” Rouhani said.

    Trump had sharp words for Iran in his own speech, but earlier in the day, he tweeted of Rouhani: “I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!” […]


  91. says

    Trump is waging a Twitter was against Michael Avenatti:

    Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships – a total low-life!

    Avenatti replied:

    “False accusations?” Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation. You are so inept that your “best and brightest” are Cohen and Giuliani. Let’s go.

    From Jordan Fabian:

    […] The president’s decision to take on Avenatti, rather than Swetnick, is the latest sign that he views the accusations against Kavanaugh as a personal attack on himself. […]


  92. says

    Trump is holding a press conference. It seems to be going on forever.

    Trump has hit all his favorites, including telling the lie that Obama gave $1.6 billion in cash to Iran for nothing, that the New York Times is failing, etc.

    It’s embarrassing. Trump is all over the place. He can hardly say a single sentence in answer to a reporter’s question without going off on a self-congratulatory tangent.

    He made a big deal out of explaining that no one at the United Nations laughed at him.

  93. says

    Trump made a big deal, twice, about women who have accused him of sexual assault. He says that only Fox covered the biggest story of all, namely that “four or five women” came forward and said that they were paid to say bad things about him. “One had her mortgage paid off”, etc. Trump then said that women refused the money because they liked him that much, and they still came forward to tell Fox News that they had been paid to say bad things. Nobody else, Trump claimed, covered the story. He said he “watched everything” and only Fox covered it. He called Sean Hannity and the two of them discussed how big a story it was that women were being paid to say bad things. And on and on and on.

  94. says

    From live blogging coverage:

    I think he just said nobody ever came up with the idea of a two-state solution in the Middle East before him.

    Daily Kos link.

    Earlier Trump claimed that Obama told him that he (Obama) almost pushed the button and started war.


    Trump claimed that his tariffs aren’t hurting anyone.

  95. says

    More excerpts from the live blogging:

    [Summarizes how great he was at the United Nations and then] Takes questions having made no remarks on Kavanaugh. First question about Kavanaugh. Bush White House asked FBI to look into as part of background—why didn’t this WH do the same thing? Is this a missed opportunity with all accusers. A: FBI says they investigated 6 times and there’s nothing to investigate and why do it again and “they don’t do this” which is not true. “It’s not going to change any of the Democrats’ minds…. They’re con artists.” The “beautiful children.” The wife. “They [Dems] laugh like hell at what they pulled off on you.”

    Q: Follow up on his comments that Ford’s parents didn’t report, he doesn’t let her ask the question. “Do you want to hear her story? You appear to have already made up your mind?” He doesn’t answer, starts again blustering about why this didn’t come up sooner, why was it rushed. “We could have heard from her for a long time.” Follow-up: asks about his personal accusations—doesn’t let her finish asking her question. Yells they are all false accusations, women paid a lot of money to make the accusations.

    “I was accused by 4-5 women who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me. We caught them and the mainstream media refused to put them on television or even write about it!” Unclear who he’s talking about. He’s using it to launch an attack on the New York Times. Because of course. This, by the way, is not helping Judiciary Republicans set the stage for tomorrow.

    He’s gone off the rails. “You can check with Sean Hannity, you can check with Fox,” Trump says, denying accusations where women says he treated them inappropriately. “They covered it very strongly.” “The New York Times made it up. A lot of people sitting here are fake.” Tells the woman asking about these accusations to sit down. She doesn’t, gets her question in. He goes on again about false charges.

    Now the NYT gets a question:[Trump says “failing New York Times” and the reporter replies, “We’re kind of thriving these days.” Trump tells him to “Say thank you, Mr. Trump,” reporter demurs. Then a China question. How can you possibly all Xi a friend? Trump says China is studying Trump to see how it’s done.

    Is he this stupid? “I never gave North Korea anything, I just met with him.” Yes, he’s that stupid. Now he’s on some rant about how Obama almost started a war. And he’s getting such beautiful and magnificent letters from Kim Jong Un. “A beautiful piece of art.” He’s losing it on national television.

    Mr. Kurd. That’s how he addresses the next reporter. If you didn’t fear for your republic, fear for it now.

    So I guess we know why they haven’t let him do this for 587 days.

    Sky News woman: Are you at all concerned about the message you’re sending to women when you says things like their allegations are a “con job.” A: as if. Now he’s off talking about winning Michigan. Oh, Russia. A con job. Says this is a “horrible precedent” because he will have other nominees. At least, I think that’s the point.

  96. says

    Nerd @148, right. Thanks for the link. In addition to the CEO of Ford, there are others who have clearly been harmed by Trump’s tariffs.

    I pity whoever has to factcheck that 80-minute press conference.

    One commenter mentioned that the 25th Amendment is a top trending topic on Twitter.

    Trump didn’t do himself any favors. Trump didn’t do Kavanaugh any favors.

    Trump called Avenatti a “lowlife” during this nationally-televised press conference. Avenatti responded:

    Trump is a moron. He knows nothing about me or my client. He is trying to divert attention away from Julie as a smokescreen. I challenge him to debate me regarding Kavanaugh and his accusers and our respective backgrounds. He will never agree because he is a coward and weak.

    And I am thoroughly enjoying living rent free in his head.

    Still can’t believe that Trump claimed that if he nominated a woman for the Supreme Court, the Democrats would accuse her of sexual assault.

    During most of that press conference, Trump was rambling and incoherent. Gave me a headache. I kept trying to understand what he was trying to say, trying to parse his nonsense. I should know better.

  97. says

    Here is one example of Trump’s incoherent bluster:

    President Trump on Wednesday predicted that news organizations that he routinely attacks as “fake news” would endorse him in the future, saying that they would go out of business if he weren’t in office.

    “The [New York] Times, I think they’re going to endorse me,” he said at a news conference in New York. “I think that ABC, I think — well Fox, I like Fox, I really do.”

    “But I think ABC, CBS, NBC, The Times, they’re all going to endorse me,” he added. “Because if they don’t they’re going out of business. Can you imagine if you didn’t have me?”

  98. says

    […] Trump consistently belittled, interrupted, and mistreated woman reporters at a wide-ranging, mostly inexplicable press conference […]

    One woman reporter from Sky News tried to ask a question three times about the optics of calling reports of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a “con job” by the Democratic party, while the president talked over her all three times.

    Trump told another woman reporter, Weija Jiang from CBS, to sit down after she pressed him on whether the fact that more than a dozen women have accused him of sexual assault colors his thinking about the women accusing Kavanaugh.

    Jiang asked her question, and the president used it to go on a rant about the “fake news.”

    “If I could just actually ask my question, Mr. Trump, you didn’t let me ask my question,” she said.

    “You’ve been asking a question for ten minutes,” he snapped back.

    Jiang responded that, no, she had not been asking a question for ten minutes, but Trump interrupted her, saying, “Please sit down.”

    Jiang pressed him again, beginning to ask her question, but she was interrupted.

    “Well, it does impact my opinion, you know why? Because I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me. I’m a very famous person, unfortunately,” he said. “I’ve been a famous person for a long time. But I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me, really false charges. I know friends that have had false charges. People want fame, they want money, they want whatever.”

    He continued, saying, “So when I see it, I view it differently than somebody sitting home watching television where they say ‘Oh, Judge Kavanaugh, this or that. It’s happened many times. I’ve had many false charges. I had a woman sitting in an airplane and I attacked her while people were coming onto the plane and I have a number one best-seller out. It was a total phony story.”


  99. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Lynna #150, your description of Trump’s attitude reminded of an old commercial. “Cookoo for Cocoa Puffs”

  100. says

    More detail from the press conference:

    […] Trump claimed America would be at war with North Korea had he not been elected. [Trump repeated that claim that the U.S. would be at war with North Korea, etc. … several times. Lots of repetition.]

    He accused China of interfering in US elections but refused to elaborate when asked for evidence. “I can’t tell you now.”

    Trump also repeated a false claim that 52 percent of women voted for him during the 2016 election—he only won among white women. […]

    From CNBC on Twitter, with video:

    Trump, asked by @EamonJavers if he has evidence that China is interfering in U.S. elections, responds by saying he does but “I can’t tell you now.” The president added that China “has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain”

  101. says

    Nerd @152, an oldie but a goodie.

    President Cookoo went back an forth between saying he was willing to listen to Kavanaugh’s accusers with an open mind, and saying that Kavanaugh was great and women were making false accusations. Overall, Trump came down solidly on Kavanaugh’s side … unless Kavanaugh doesn’t perform well on TV.

    Trump called Kavanaugh “one of the highest quality people I’ve ever met” and reiterated his belief the three women who have come forward against the judge are making “false accusations.”


    Now Kavanaugh has to worry that Trump might dump him if he doesn’t perform well on TV. I can’t find that exact quote about Kavanaugh on TV right now. Will try to post it later.

  102. says

    Another allegation against Kavanaugh:

    Republican Senate investigators asked Kavanaugh about an anonymous complaint alleging that Supreme Court nominee physically assaulted a woman in 1998, according to a transcript from that phone call.

    The complaint was originally sent to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Co.). […]

    “I will remain anonymous, but I feel obligated to inform you of this 1998 incident involving Brett Kavanaugh,” the complaint says, according to the transcript.

    The complaint’s author, who is anonymous, wrote that the incident involved her daughter and several other people.

    “[My daughter’s] friend was dating him, and they left the bar under the influence of alcohol,” the complaint reads. “They were all shocked when Brett Kavanaugh shoved her friend up against the wall very aggressively and sexually.”

    “There were at least four witnesses, including my daughter,” it continues. “Her friend, still traumatized, called my daughter yesterday, September 21, 2018, wondering what to do about it. They decided to remain anonymous.”

    The letter’s author did not provide any names.

    Kavanaugh during the phone call said he had read the letter and denied the account. […]


  103. says

    The spokesperson and chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network struggled during an on-air interview.
    Scroll down to watch the video, which is 2:09 minutes long.

    […] The Judicial Crisis Network’s chief counsel and policy director, Carrie Severino, told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin shortly after the allegations were made public: “We have to remember, corroboration doesn’t mean ‘I told someone a year ago or two years ago,’ it means actual contemporaneous evidence.” […]

  104. KG says

    After the Labour Party conference in the UK, its position on Brexit is still that of facing in several directions at once. A motion was agreed, which included (I can’t find the full text anywhere):

    If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.


    If the government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from, they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.

    But its spokepeople have disagreed with each other over whether a new referendum would include the option to remain in the EU. Corbyn’s speech included an offer to support an agreement reached by May if it included membership of a customs union with the EU – and again, there have been different interpretations of what he meant. Which is probably what he intended to happen. Overall, there’s no doubt been a shift in a “pro-Remain” direction, but with enough ambiguities to avoid outright revolt by most of the party’s Brexiteers, and enable the leadership to do whatever they think will be most advantageous politically – if they can get the party’s MPs to follow them.

    Something that’s recently occurred to me is that the government might seek a deal with the SNP to get an agreement with the EU (if there is one) through the Commons, since bringing back a deal and then failing to get it through would be politically disastrous for them. The SNP has not committed itself to supporting a referendum on the terms of Brexit, and Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader in the Commons, has hinted there could be a Commons majority for a “soft Brexit”. The SNP’s price, of course, would be the right to call a second referendum on Scottish independence, but May might gamble on this in an effort to save her political skin.

  105. says

    “Skripal Suspect Boshirov Identified as GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga”:

    Bellingcat and its investigative partner The Insider – Russia have established conclusively the identity of one of the suspects in the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal, and in the homicide of British citizen Dawn Sturgess.

    Part 1 and Part 2 of Bellingcat’s investigation into the Skripal poisoning suspects are available for background information. In these previous two parts of the investigation, Bellingcat and the Insider concluded that the two suspects – traveling internationally and appearing on Russian television under the aliases “Ruslan Boshirov” and “Alexander Petrov” – are in fact undercover officers of the Russian Military Intelligence, widely known as GRU.

    Bellingcat has been able to confirm the actual identity of one of the two officers. The suspect using the cover identity of “Ruslan Boshirov” is in fact Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated GRU officer bestowed with Russia’s highest state award, Hero of the Russian Federation. Following Bellingcat’s own identification, multiple sources familiar with the person and/or the investigation have confirmed the suspect’s identity.

    This finding eliminates any remaining doubt that the two suspects in the Novichok poisonings were in fact Russian officers operating on a clandestine government mission….

  106. KG says


    Since Boshirov is an innocent civilian, we will no doubt shortly see a press conference featuring him and Colonel Chepiga side-by-side – that’ll put paid to all these wicked lies about poor Mr. Putin!

  107. Hj Hornbeck says

    Saad @175:

    I think he’s actually supportive of Dr. Ford, He’s basically proposing that she’s either suicidal or has a time machine, and considers the second more likely. It feels weird to agree with him.

    Senator Orrin Hatch, on the other hand…

    Hatch just called Ford an “attractive witness.” Asked to elaborate what he meant, he said “she’s pleasing.”

    Hatch’s office says he has used “attractive” to describe people’s personalities for years, both men and women. Reiterating that we asked him to explain and he said “pleasing.”

    And here’s the audio:

    I love the sound of Republican failure. May they lose the Senate.

  108. Hj Hornbeck says

    Lindsay Graham is following right after Orrin Hatch.

    A woman just told @LindseyGrahamSC she was raped. He said, as he headed into an elevator, “I’m sorry. Tell the cops.”

    #WATCH: Lindsey Graham comes out of Ford hearing swinging, defending Kavanaugh, and warning Democrats… “If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.” DESPICABLE.

    Compare the Graham of 2018 with the one of 2015.

    When Sen. Lindsey Graham was a practicing lawyer, he prosecuted rapists and defended their victims.

    “I learned how much unexpected courage from a deep and hidden place it takes for a rape victim or sexually abused child to testify against their assailants,” the South Carolina Republican wrote in his 2015 autobiography.

    “Trying to get a scared, confused, little kid or young woman who feels the best part of her life is over to recall a memory that their every psychological impulse is trying to suppress is not something you forget,” he continued. “It has stayed with me ever since.”

    And yes, Senator Dick Blumenthal mentioned that quote during the hearing.

  109. Saad says

    HJ, #179

    I think he’s actually supportive of Dr. Ford, He’s basically proposing that she’s either suicidal or has a time machine, and considers the second more likely. It feels weird to agree with him.

    Okay, now it makes sense.

    Yeah, I feel weird too. Almost makes me think there’s a “but…” coming later.

  110. says

    Hj @180, I think Lindsey Graham is so angry because he realizes he has been bested. He did not have good points to make, so he kept throwing around legal terms that didn’t really apply because this is not a trial.

    I also think Lindsey Graham is afraid of Trump.

  111. says

    SC @185, Kavanaugh is not only shouting, he is promoting conspiracy theories, sounding like a rightwing Republican partisan, and he is whining. Sheesh.

    I heard that Trump wanted him to sound more outraged. Not good advice.

    This guy is angrily circling the drain.

  112. says

    From the article by Emily Jane Fox:

    […] “It’s systematic,” an alumnus of Landon, the boys’ school closest to Holton, told me. “It’s not just that there are bad apples, either. These places make more bad apples. And they take the bad apples and polish them up to be shiny apples, who can one day be nominees to the Supreme Court.”


  113. says

    From Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony:

    LEAHY [Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont]: Let’s go back to the incident [in which Brett Kavanaugh allegedly attacked Ford]. What is the strongest memory you have — strongest memory of the incident, something you cannot forget. Take whatever time you need.

    FORD: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense.

    LEAHY: You’ve never forgotten that laughter. You’ve never forgotten them laughing at you.

    FORD: They were laughing with each other…. I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.

  114. says

    Trump has delayed the meeting he was supposed to have with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein today.

    The new plan is to meet some time next week. The day and time for the meeting has not been specified.

    I am wondering if Kavanaugh’s poor showing, (angry white man portrays himself as the victim while insinuating that Blasey-Ford was not good enough to be in his social circle), will that poor showing in today’s testimony before the Senate make Trump so hopping mad that he will feel compelled to fire someone?

  115. johnson catman says

    Lynna, OM @197:
    I suspect that the main reason that 45 has delayed his meeting with Rosenstein is that the Kavanaugh hearings are taking all the press. The orange idiot wants to be the headline, not “in other news”.

  116. tomh says

    Should be and will be are two different things. This looks to be a done deal. I have zero faith in the two women Republicans.

  117. says

    The idea that the level of anger expressed by the accused is some sort of indication that they’re telling the truth is just stupid. In this case, it’s an indication of self-pity, privilege, and a sense of entitlement. Kavanaugh’s unwillingness to call for the FBI to reopen the background check or agree that witnesses/participants be subpoenaed, his dancing around in his responses to questions, and his constant evasiveness are actual indicators here.

  118. says

    In his opening remarks, written by himself as SC noted in comment 203, Kavanaugh accused Democrats of “grotesque and coordinated character assassination.” He went on, angrily, to say,

    This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee and by staff. It would be needed only if you couldn’t take me out on the merits. When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes.

    All of that part of the opening statement was blatant promotion of conspiracy theories, none of which are supported by the facts.

    Kavanaugh put on the hair shirt of victimhood. He sounded like he was auditioning for a gig as a Fox News host.

    The other partisan talking point that he emphasized was that Democrats are orchestrating all of the allegations against him because they are still upset about the 2016 election:

    [This is all a result of] Democrats’ 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 confident and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country and as we all know in the political system of the United States in the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.

    Per that last bit, was Kavanaugh threatening political/judicial retaliation.

  119. says

    SC @213, yes. Pretty obvious I should think, especially when you look at Kavanaugh’s repeatedly evasive answers about the FBI investigation. For example, Kavanaugh said, “I am answering your questions here!”

    The rightwing doesn’t see it that way. For example, Laura Ingraham speaks for lot of right-wingers when she says:

    This is a fantastic open. Kavanaugh is fighting like we need all conservatives fighting against this poisoned process.

    Follow-up to comment 214 as well.

  120. says

    More of the testimony that reflects Kavanaugh’s evasiveness:

    During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday afternoon, Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh had a particularly firey exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), top Democrat on the committee.

    “All three of these women have asked the FBI to investigate their claims. I listened carefully to what you said,” Feinstein said. “Your concern is evident and clear. And if you’re very confident of your position, and you appear to be, why aren’t you also asking the FBI to investigate these claims?”

    “Senator, I’ll do whatever the committee wants. I wanted a hearing the day after the allegation came up,” Kavanaugh responded. “I wanted to be here that day.”

    “Instead, 10 days passed where all this nonsense is coming out, you know, that I’m in gangs, I’m on boats in Rhode Island, I’m in Colorado, you know, I’m sighted all over the place,” said Kavanaugh, who apparently mixed up his allegations of “gang rape” with being in an actual criminal gang.

    Feinstein went on to explain that the hearings are not set by her, but by the majority, the Republicans, and that she simply wanted the FBI to interview his accusers for evidence.

    “You’re interviewing me. You’re interviewing me,” Kavanaugh said forcefully, interrupting Feinstein. “You’re doing it, senator.”

    Feinstein paused and asked Kavanaugh if he denies the sexual misconduct allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnik.

    “That is emphatically what I’m saying. Emphatically. The Swetnick thing is a joke,” Kavanaugh said. “That is a farce.”

    When asked by Feinstein if he wanted to say more about it, Kavanaugh replied “no” with a sneer, and leaned back in his chair.


    Senator Hatch is now castigating Democratic Senators for treating Kavanaugh “unfairly.” Hatch says the Democrats have created this “circus atmosphere,” and are going by what “porn star lawyers” say on the news. “This is a national disgrace!”

    Hatch, like other Republicans, characterizes all of the allegations as “bare assertions,” with “no facts.” I don’t know how they think they can get away with this line when they are the ones who have refused to have the FBI reopen the background investigation so that facts could be established.

    Hatch and others continue to claim there is no corroboration behind any of the allegations, when in fact, there is corroboration.

  121. says

    Follow-up to comment 217.

    Kavanaugh repeatedly interrupted and shouted down Senator Feinstein. He showed a great deal of disrespect to a woman.

  122. says

    From various Twitter comments:

    I just briefly turned on the hearing so I could get the tone of Kavanaugh’s opening statement. Holy christ. If you’re trying to convince someone you don’t have a problem with violent entitlement and uncontrolled rage, this ain’t the way to do it.
    Behold entitled white male rage.
    Whether you believe Dr. Ford or not – understand that she felt she had to come in apologetic and accommodating to report a rape and Kavanaugh feels entitled to this insane angry tirade. That is everything you need to know about being a woman versus a man in our society.
    Kavanaugh today: “This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. … This is a circus.”

    Clarence Thomas: “This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace.”
    Kavanaugh is trying to make the allegations against him seem as partisan as possible. He wants it to seem partisan, but there was nothing at all to indicate during Ford’s testimony that she was motivated by partisanship.
    It’s reasonable to ask how does #Kavanaugh continue serving as a federal judge, much less on #SCOTUS after delivering such an openly partisan attack and identifying so unequivocally as an opponent of the Dem Party? He has validated those who see him as a GOP operative in a robe.
    ‘revenge on behalf of the Clintons’–fascinating conspiracy theory of this hearing from Judge Kavanaugh. Imagine him serving on the court for decades with Clinton appointees.

  123. says

    Follow-up to comments 56, 180, 183 and 206.

    Well, it looks like Lindsey Graham got what he wanted, praise from the White House. From Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

    .@LindseyGrahamSC has more decency and courage than every Democrat member of the committee combined. God bless him.

    From Kellyanne Conway:

    After excoriating the outrageous and unfair treatment of him, “I intend to vote for you and I hope everyone who’s fair-minded will”. @LindseyGrahamSC to Judge Kavanaugh.

  124. says

    From just one of Lindsey’s Graham’s rants:

    “If you wanted a FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, you could have come to us,” Graham said after asking Kavanaugh if he knew Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) staff had the allegation of sexual assault against him for more than 20 days.

    “What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that not me,” Graham yelled, his face turning red.

    “You’ve got nothing to apologize for,” he said, turning to Kavanaugh. “When you see [Supreme Court justices] Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello, ‘cause I voted for them.”

    Turning back to the Durbin and Feinstein, Graham added, “I would never do to them what you do this guy.”

    Graham called the fight over Kavanaugh’s confirmation the most “unethical sham” he’s seen since he’s been in politics.

    “And if you really wanted to know the truth you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy,” he said.

    Turning to his GOP colleagues, Graham vowed: “If you vote ‘no’ you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”

    The South Carolina Republican also said he hopes Democrats never regain control of the Senate.

    “Boy, you all want power, God, I hope you never get it,” he said. “I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it.”

    Graham asked Kavanaugh if he considers the confirmation process to be like a job interview and if he’d say he’s been through hell.

    Kavanaugh said he’s been through hell and then some.

    “This is not a job interview. This is hell,” Graham said. “This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap.”

    Graham said Kavanaugh has been around professional women all his life and not a single accusation has come out against him until now.

    “You’re supposed to be Bill Cosby when you’re a junior and senior in high school and of a sudden you’ve gotten over it,” he said, referring to the famous TV actor who was recently sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting women.

    “It’s my understanding that if you drug women and rape them for two years in high school you probably don’t stop.”


  125. says

    Ken Dilanian: “The fact that Judge Kavanaugh will not agree that the FBI should investigate what he says are false allegations against him—when the accuser is asking for just such an inquiry—is the single most salient piece of evidence to emerge from today’s hearing.”

  126. tomh says

    @ #222
    ” He has validated those who see him as a GOP operative in a robe.”

    Which is exactly why the GOP will confirm him.

  127. says

    SC @234, Maybe that’s why Kavanaugh felt so free to claim in his opening statement that the accusations against him were a conspiracy cooked up by the Democrats. He didn’t watch Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony. Just didn’t interest him enough, I guess.

    Of all the anti-factual bullpucky Kavanaugh threw at the wall today, the fact that he didn’t watch Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony was the nail in his coffin for me. He confirmed his assholiness in that moment.

  128. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    Quick thoughts on Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement. To me he seemed more unhinged than forceful. It had been telegraphed that he wanted to show more emotion than he had in earlier testimony. He certainly managed that. His testimony seemed openly partisan, showing his roots as more of a political operative than a jurist. His testimony was almost the definition of someone who lacks a judicial temperament. […] For that audience of Republican senators and Republican voters I do think he went some way to at least stabilizing the catastrophic damage he suffered this morning.

    I think he quickly lost ground in his only questioning from Democrats. Yelling works better in a statement of defense than it does in a question and answer with a senator. Feinstein asked a straightforward question. He did not answer it.

    Another point. There were various moments, bread crumbs spread through the statement that suggested Kavanaugh does not think he’ll ever make it to the Supreme Court. And I think this assumption shaped his testimony. He looked like someone cuing up another career.

    I agree with the “unhinged” assessment. And I agree with this: “His testimony was almost the definition of someone who lacks a judicial temperament.”

    I think most of the Republicans in the Senate loved Kavanaugh’s trumpish, unhinged performance. This is the kind of bullying bluster they love. This is what they want.

  129. says

    More praise for Kavanaugh from the rightwing:

    […] “I love Kavanaugh’s tone,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote. “It’s nice to see a conservative man fight for his honor and his family against a 35 year old claim with ZERO evidence and lots of holes that amounts to nothing more than a political hit job by the Dems. Others in the GOP should take notice!”

    Trump Jr. had previously shared over a dozen tweets questioning Blasey Ford’s credibility and emotionality during her testimony.

    “She was fake crying. Fake tears,” far-right conspiracy theorist and journalist Laura Loomer opined. “Kavanaugh was actually crying.”

    “Number one thing I’m hearing from female friends is that they’re crying or even ‘sobbing’ while watching Kavanaugh’s testimony,” the Federalist’s Molly Hemingway weighed in.

    The consensus seemed to be that Kavanaugh’s anger was justified given the weight of the allegations against him, and that it was refreshing to see a man behave so emotionally.

    “Judge Kavanaugh dug deep down and did something most of us will never do in front of the world stage He showed us his immortal soul,” said Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec.

    The Resurgent’s Erick Erickson even likened the 53-year-old federal judge’s bearing to that of a child who had been bullied.

    “If you’ve ever had your child come home after being seriously, abusively bullied, you recognize Brett Kavanaugh right now and your heart breaks for him,” Erickson wrote.

    The Federalist’s Sean Davis turned on his own profession, calling the response to the proceedings evidence that the American media is “much, much worse” than the “enemy of the people.”

    “As we are watching right now, they delight in evil and scoff at decency,” he wrote.

    Talking Points Memo link.

    Know the opposition, people. This is how they think. This is why they are likely to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

  130. says

    Trump’s assessment:

    Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!

  131. says

    CNN is reporting that Collins, Murkowski, Flake, and Manchin are meeting in private (not even staff) right now.

    I don’t understand how Kavanaugh’s fitness for the Supreme Court is even a question at this point.

    On a personal note, which of my identities is most salient at any moment is always shifting. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt my identity as a woman more strongly than today.

  132. says



    Listen, NO, YOU listen!
    Do you know who Brett Kavanaugh is? Brett Kavanaugh went to Georgetown Prep!



  133. Hj Hornbeck says

    SC @234:

    Kavanaugh didn’t watch Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony.

    Wall Street Journal:

    Among those watching Dr. Ford’s testimony was Judge Kavanaugh, a committee aide said, from a monitor in another room in the Dirksen Senate Building, where he awaits the opportunity to tell his side of the story later today.

    UPDATE: Judge Kavanaugh said during his hearing that he did not watch Dr. Ford’s testimony. He said he had intended to but was preparing for his own testimony.

    Kavanaugh seems to have a flexible definition of “truth.” No wonder Trump likes him.

  134. says

    He lied about that. He lied about the other terminology in the yearbook. He lied about drinking. He lied to the Senate multiple times before. He has time & again throughout his political career place party ahead of the truth. She was credible. He is a liar. It’s that simple.”

  135. Hj Hornbeck says

    Sean Sullivan: Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn explaining why Rachel Mitchell stopped asking Qs partway through: “Frankly, I think there was some frustration among the senators that they thought there were arguments that needed to be made, that she frankly was not equipped to make.”

    “Equipped.” An interesting choice of words.

  136. says

    He’s lying:

    “A number of my Yale colleagues & i were extremely disappointed in Brett Kavanaugh’s characterization of himself… he often drank to excess,” Lynne Brookes, former classmate of Kavanaugh who says she often drank to excess with him, tells @ChrisCuomo on @CuomoPrimeTime

    Brookes says she’s a Republican who otherwise thinks Kavanaugh’s time on the bench has been “meritorious,” but she described his self characterization today with regard to drinking as “lying”

  137. says

    Susan Hennessey: “I can’t bear anymore of this day, but want to end it on this note: Dr. Ford, I will never forget your grace, strength, and dignity today. And I will hold it in my mind as a reminder that speaking the truth matters even if it doesn’t always make a difference.”

    It’s making a difference.

  138. Pierce R. Butler says

    SC… @ # 234: Kavanaugh didn’t watch Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony.

    Possibly he followed one or another testimony protocol here. That way he presented his testimony-as-prepared the same way she did, not taking advantage of whatever she might reveal.

    Remember when megapreacher Rick Warren hosted a pres. candidates’ “debate” in ’08? Obama spoke first and Warren promised he would keep things fair and had McCain in a “cage” so he couldn’t exploit having the “final word”. Warren spoke the truth, if you define “cage” as McCain’s own limo, equipped of course with full tv…

    Having said something in defense of Kav-enough, I will now go wash my mouth out and chastise myself. Pls disregard the screaming.

  139. says

    Possibly he followed one or another testimony protocol here. That way he presented his testimony-as-prepared the same way she did, not taking advantage of whatever she might reveal.

    LOL, sure.

  140. says

    Kavanaugh may have had Ford’s testimony playing in the background, but my bet is that he did not pay close attention. Otherwise, he might not have used that lie about one of Blasey-Ford’s girlfriends saying he wasn’t at the party, (or that she wasn’t at the party?) … or at least, Kavanaugh might have used that lie fewer times. Blasey-Ford said her friend was dealing with health issues, and that an attorney had issued a misleading statement for her. The friend apologized to Blasey Ford for the misleading statement.

    Kavanaugh relied on the misleading statement from the attorney to clear himself. He did that over and over. Rachel Maddow presented a good segment that totally shredded Kavanaugh’s defense on that point. I’ll look for a link later.

    The friend’s name is Leland Ingram Keyser.

    About that misleading statement from the lawyer:

    “As negotiations continued, Leland Keyser, a woman Ford told The Washington Post was present at the party where she alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her, came forward to say she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present,” according to an email her lawyer sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, obtained by The Post. In a brief interview at her home in Silver Spring, Keyser said that she did not recall the party, but that she was close friends with Ford and that she believes Ford’s allegation.”

    From Blasey Ford’s testimony:

    “Leland has, uh, significant health challenges and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself and getting the health treatment that she needs and she let me know that she needed her lawyer to take care of this for her and she texted my right after with an apology and good wishes, and, etc., so I’m glad that she’s taking care of herself.”

  141. Hj Hornbeck says

    Mmmm. I’m not liking what I see on the Republican side. Remember Mitch McConnell warning Trump against nominating Kavanaugh? Here’s his tune, after watching today’s hearing.

    I Will Proudly Vote to Confirm Judge Kavanaugh

    ‘The Senate and the nation heard two witnesses testify under oath to completely conflicting recollections. What we did not hear was any evidence whatsoever to bolster the allegation made against Judge Kavanaugh… No evidence corroborates Dr. Ford’s allegation. No evidence was presented today to back it up. And all existing evidence refutes it. The task now before the Senate is to do justice. In America, justice begins with the presumption of innocence.’

    Some more Republican voices:

    Ed Rollins, who leads the pro-Trump political group Great America PAC, had just days earlier pegged Kavanaugh’s confirmation changes at “fifty-fifty.” By Thursday evening, he was far more sanguine. “I feel much better about it than I did at about noon today,” Rollins said in an interview.

    “I’ve never quite seen anything like this,” Rollins said. “This was just extraordinary drama. She was very passionate about what she thought happened to her. He was every bit as passionate.” But after Kavanaugh’s performance, he said, “there’s no excuse for any republican not to vote for him.”

    It was a sentiment echoed by other Republicans as well. “Right now I wouldn’t want to be one [Republican Senator] who kills this nomination,” said one prominent Republican campaign consultant working on a number of midterm contests.

    Hours earlier, no one was so bullish. The reaction to Ford’s testimony earlier had been unenthusiastic. […]

    “Her story is compelling and emotional but gaps [are] widening,” one Republican in the trenches of the pro-Kavanaugh fight claimed to The Daily Beast towards the end of her testimony. Ford, the Republican said, did “little to provide any evidence or corroboration.”

    Kavanaugh’s aggressive approach and the he-said-she-said format may have brought Republicans back into the fold.

  142. lotharloo says

    Of course Republicans want to shove him in. Otherwise, the confirmation of the future nominee will be after the elections and it is a chance they are not going to take. They constantly accuse Democrats of making this political while all of their actions are based on political calculations.

  143. lotharloo says

    Good read:

    These male witnesses universally remember nothing. Now, it’s possible they don’t remember because it never happened. Maybe they were too drunk to recall. Or maybe they’re tapping into a long tradition of male in-group protection, partly to avoid being implicated themselves. Mark Judge remembers nothing so much that he’s gone into hiding—his first and only comment to the journalist who tracked him down was, “How did you find me?” The other men Ramirez says were in the room at Yale also have “zero recollection.” It could be there’s just nothing to remember, but there are other possibilities, like a mutually exonerating code of male secrecy. Brett Kavanaugh is on the record instructing his buds to keep Omertà after a 2001 boat trip to Annapolis, Maryland—even from their wives. “Reminders to everyone to be very, very vigilant w/r/t confidentiality on all issues and all fronts, including with spouses,” he wrote after apologizing for a variety of things, including “growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice.” By this time he wasn’t in high school. He was in the White House.

  144. says

    “At the Center of the Kavanaugh Accusations: Heavy Drinking”:

    …While his recollections are of harmless partying, interviews with his former classmates turned up less sanguine memories of Judge Kavanaugh and alcohol. While some found Judge Kavanaugh’s college drinking unexceptional, nearly a dozen others said they recalled his indulging in heavy drinking, with some characterizing it as outside the norms of college life. James Roche, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who roomed with Judge Kavanaugh their freshman year at Yale, described him as “frequently unusually drunk” and someone who could become “belligerent and mean” when he drank.

    Another former classmate, Dr. Elizabeth Swisher, now a gynecologic oncologist in Seattle, said it would be “a lie” to say that he “never had a blackout” from drinking in college.

    “I saw him very drunk many times and there is no way he remembers everything about every night,” she said.

    Several Yale classmates recounted an incident during Judge Kavanaugh’s senior year: After a bout of drinking, they said, he tried to break into the enclosed back of a pickup truck belonging to one of them, and later refused to apologize or repair the damage….

  145. says

    “American Bar Association: Delay Kavanaugh until FBI investigates assault allegations”:

    The American Bar Association is calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to halt the consideration of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until an FBI investigation is completed into the sexual assault allegations that have roiled his nomination.

    In a strongly worded letter obtained by CNN Thursday, the organization said it is making the extraordinary request “because of the ABA’s respect for the rule of law and due process under law,” siding with concerns voiced by Senate Democrats since Christine Blasey Ford’s decades-old allegations became public.

    “The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI,” said Robert Carlson, president of the organization, in a Thursday night letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

    “Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote,” Carlson wrote….

  146. says

    I noticed that Kavanaugh went out of his way yesterday to emphasize that Georgetown Prep was a Jesuit school. The Jesuits have now pulled their endorsement:

    …If Dr. Blasey’s allegation is true, the assault and Judge Kavanaugh’s denial of it mean that he should not be seated on the U.S. Supreme Court. But even if the credibility of the allegation has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt and even if further investigation is warranted to determine its validity or clear Judge Kavanaugh’s name, we recognize that this nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country. While we previously endorsed the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh on the basis of his legal credentials and his reputation as a committed textualist, it is now clear that the nomination should be withdrawn….

  147. says

    Excuse the tinfoil hat, but I can’t help but wonder if one reason they want a lock on the SCOTUS is to make it easier to challenge election results.

  148. says

    #Russia’s state TV:
    Vitaly Milonov, an ultra-conservative lawmaker from Putin’s United Russia party, calls for feminists to be subjected to forced psychiatric treatment or imprisonment. On state television, Milonov argues that feminists are not people, but ‘monkeys’ & ‘witches’.”

  149. says

    “Rand Paul’s Push to Lift Some Russia Sanctions Fizzles”:

    Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) push to lift U.S. sanctions on Russian lawmakers failed on Wednesday, with his colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioning the motives behind the proposal.

    An aide said Paul was the only lawmaker to vote for his amendment, which would scrap U.S. sanctions on members of the Russian Federal Assembly if Moscow agrees to lift its sanctions on American lawmakers. The 20 other senators on the foreign relations panel voted against it….

    The Kentucky lawmaker’s push to normalize U.S.-Russia relations comes a month after he traveled to Moscow and met with Russian lawmakers….

    In recent weeks, Paul has also backed up President Donald Trump’s approach on Russia, which Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized as too conciliatory. Privately, members of the foreign relations committee express confusion about Paul’s push, leading them to question whether his Moscow trip left impressions on him that run contrary to current U.S. policies toward Moscow; publicly, they took victory laps and noted the amendment was “strongly” defeated….

  150. says

    It’s a small thing, but after the Republicans just stopped ceding their time to Mitchell and she had to sit there in silence for the remainder of the hearing, they ended it without thanking her publicly or even acknowledging her role.

  151. says

    Just watched two women confront sen jeff flake with their own stories of sexual assault. And for 5 minutes he said nothing, he couldn’t look them in the eye. It’s easy to make floor speeches and tweets but couldn’t face two women. Senator Flake you are a coward.”

    They held the elevator door open for several minutes, pleading with him to consider what he was doing. He couldn’t even look them in the eye.

  152. says

    “Big donor to Trump campaign made overture to top Russian official, boasting of connections”:

    A Russian-born American businessman who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Donald Trump’s run for president in 2016 offered to brief a high-ranking Russian official during the final months of the campaign, according to a series of emails reviewed by NBC News.

    The businessman, Simon Kukes, a Houston-based oil executive, sent an email to the official in Moscow in July 2016, boasting of his connections to the Trump campaign and requesting a face-to-face meeting.

    “I have been actively involved in Trump’s election campaign, and am part of the group on strategy development,” Kukes wrote in the email to Vyacheslav Pavlovsky, vice president of the state-owned Russian Railways and a former Russian ambassador to Norway. “I will be in Switzerland July 20th till August 2nd. Let me know how you are doing, and whether you want to meet.”

    Kukes is one of several Americans with deep ties to Russia who donated to Trump in 2016. Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born billionaire, donated $1 million to the inauguration through his company Access Industries, a sprawling firm with interests in natural resources, chemicals, and media. New York businessman Andrew Intrater, who oversees the U.S. arm of the Russian mining and telecoms conglomerate Renova Group, donated $250,000 to the inauguration. Those gifts are now being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, several people familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

    Kukes, Blavatnik and Intrater have ties to each other through a Russian oil firm, TNK, which Kukes ran as president from 1998 until 2003. Blavatnik was a shareholder in the company; Intrater is the relative of another former TNK shareholder, Viktor Vekselberg, who was placed under U.S. sanctions in April, one of several oligarchs designated because of their “key role in advancing Russia’s malign activities.”

    On Nov. 9, the morning after Trump won the election, Pavlovsky emailed Kukes to congratulate him. “I have been meaning to call Andrei Fursenko,” Pavlovsky wrote, referring to aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin….

  153. says

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Several Democratic Judiciary Committee members walk out of hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

    They’ve been out talking to the press in the hallway, but MSNBC and CNN are showing Grassley and Hatch lying and bloviating in this travesty of a hearing.

  154. says

    “E-mails Show That Republican Senate Staff Stymied a Kavanaugh Accuser’s Effort to Give Testimony”:

    Throughout Thursday’s Senate hearing on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual-misconduct allegation against Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee claimed that they had tried in vain to secure more information about other accusations made about the judge. “We were moving heaven and earth and even moving the schedule to get to the truth,” Senator Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, said. “Every opportunity you have to go and question a witness, every opportunity that we’ve had to find more truth and to find more facts, we have done it.” Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, the chairman of the committee, said, about an allegation of sexual misconduct raised last week by a former college classmate of Kavanaugh’s, Deborah Ramirez, “My staff made eight requests—yes, eight requests—for evidence from attorneys for Ms. . . . Ms. Ramirez.” He added, “The committee can’t do an investigation if attorneys are stonewalling.”

    On Wednesday, several conservative-media outlets published leaks of some of the e-mail correspondence between Ramirez’s team and Republican committee staffers, which appeared to back up Grassley’s characterization. But a fuller copy of the e-mail correspondence between Ramirez’s legal team and Republican and Democratic Senate staffers shows that a Republican aide declined to proceed with telephone calls and instead repeatedly demanded that Ramirez produce additional evidence in written form. Only then could any conversation about her testimony proceed….

  155. Pierce R. Butler says

    As for Kavanaugh’s claim he didn’t watch Blasey Ford’s testimony (for which I have to retract my suggestion @ # 256 that he was doing so in a show of ethnicality [it’s a word now, okay?]):

    “Among those watching Dr. Ford’s testimony was Judge Kavanaugh, a committee aide said, from a monitor in another room in the Dirksen Senate Building, where he awaits the opportunity to tell his side of the story later today,”…

    per Raw Story quoting the Wall Street Journal. Surely revelation of this untruth will send the Senate Judiciary Committee majority scrambling to change their vote this morning, right?

  156. says

    The Kavanaugh hearing bumped reaction to Trump’s disastrous press conference off the air.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] The inherent conflict in the GOP’s position should be seen as untenable. Republicans, including Flake, have said they’re prepared to support Kavanaugh in large part because they have insufficient evidence in support of Ford’s allegation. Those same Republicans then take steps to voluntarily leave themselves in the dark, not only finding no need for an FBI examination, but rejecting efforts to hear directly from relevant witnesses.

    As for Flake, whose Senate career is nearly complete, the Arizona Republican periodically delivers eloquent speeches, criticizing his party’s president whom he does not respect, and expressing seemingly sincere questions about the direction of his party.

    But once again, after the speeches end, and it’s time to cast meaningful votes, Flake’s pattern of sticking with his partisan brethren is what matters.

  157. says

    Follow-up to comment 260.

    Here is that link:

    Rachel Maddow points out that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s school friend Leland Keyser blames her lawyer for the statement issued in her name and apologized to Dr. Ford. That statement was repeatedly cited by Brett Kavanaugh at today’s Senate Judiciary hearing.

    The video is 7:29 minutes long. Very compelling. We see a montage of the many times Kavanaugh relied on Keyser’s attorney’s statement.

    Ms. Keysey said under penalty of felony [that] she does not know me. Listen to Ms. Keyser! She does not know me! […]

    Kavanaugh made that argument at least six times.

    An FBI investigation, or even cross examination of some witnesses would have cleared that kind of thing up.

  158. says

    From Senator Dianne Feinstein:

    Candidly, in the 25 years on this committee, I have never seen a nominee for any position behave in that manner. Judge Kavanaugh used as much political rhetoric as my Republican colleagues. And what’s more, he went on the attack.

    [Kavanaugh’s claims that the allegations were a “calculated and orchestrated political hit,” backlash to President Trump, and “revenge on behalf of the Clintons,” were, Feinstein said, “unbelievable.”]

    This was not someone who reflected an impartial temperament or the fairness and evenhandedness one would see in a judge. This was someone who was aggressive and belligerent. I have never seen someone who wants to be elevated to the highest court in our country behave in that manner.

    The person who testified yesterday and demonstrated a balanced temperament was Dr. Ford. She gave powerful testimony about her experience of being physically and sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh.

    She was poised. She was credible. And she should be believed. Unfortunately, despite assuring Dr. Ford her allegations would be taken seriously, and she would be treated respectfully, that is not what ultimately happened.

  159. says

    From the reporting, Flake tapped Coons and Klobuchar on the shoulder and the three left the hearing room. Since they returned, there’s been “chatter” amongst the Democrats. Don’t know what that’s about.

  160. tomh says

    I know. I kept waiting for her to turn and say, loud enough to be heard, “I’m still getting paid, aren’t I?”

  161. says

    We’re now almost 10 minutes past the time the vote was supposed to begin. Senators keep coming and going from the room. Reporters’ consensus seems to be that it’s all very strange.

  162. says

    Flake just asked to speak. He’s calling for a delay of the floor vote for up to but not more than a week so the FBI can re-open the background check. He’s voting to advance the nomination to the floor with that understanding.

  163. says

    Even Graham seems OK with the suggestion, since he appears to recognize that they might not have the votes if they don’t have an investigation. And Flake has now given more license to other Republicans to make it a condition of their vote.

  164. says

    The women @ #278 above:

    Ana Maria Archila, protester who confronted Sen. Flake, says prospect of delay in Kavanaugh vote for investigation encourages her ‘that our democracy sometimes works and that with our actions we shape, we can influence what the senators and members of Congress are doing’.”

    Maria Gallagher, the woman who confronted Jeff Flake in the Capitol this morning, told @samstein that it was the first time she’s ever told anyone about her assault.”

  165. says

    Maria Gallagher: “I feel relieved that @JeffFlake seems to have heard my and @AnaMariaArchil2’s voices in the Senate elevator today. We absolutely need an FBI investigation and for him and all Senators to vote NO.”

    A grateful nation thanks you.

  166. says

    One of the small lies that Kavanaugh told, one of the lies that is easy to see:

    “I’m in Colorado.”

    As evidence that the charges against him were ludicrous, Kavanaugh told the committee that he had been falsely accused of committing an assault more than 1,500 miles away. He claimed that according to his accusers, “I’m in Colorado, you know, I’m sighted all over the place.”

    But a transcript of Kavanaugh’s Sept. 25 interview with Judiciary Committee staffers shows no claim of an offense in Colorado. The transcript says that according to a woman from Colorado, “at least four witnesses” saw Kavanaugh shove a woman “up against the wall very aggressively and sexually” in 1998. But Kavanaugh was specifically told during the interview that the scene of the alleged incident was in D.C., where he was living at the time.


    Is Kavanaugh so dull witted that he confuses a letter coming from Colorado, saying he assaulted a woman in D.C., as claiming that he was in Colorado? If so, that’s an entirely new level of unfitness for a position on the Supreme Court.

  167. says

    Lynna @ #313 – that’s a cool chart. I clicked randomly on a part of the transcript, which happened to be one of the few times he actually answered the question. But of course his answer was a lie – the claim that he was of legal age to drink. It was a gratuitous self-serving lie.

  168. says

    From Dahlia Lithwick, writing for Slate:

    […] The hearing room in Dirksen is tiny, and while the slammed binder and the escalating shouting of the nominee might have looked pretty dramatic on TV, inside the chamber, the effect was that of an out-of-control house party. Too loud, too scary, too close, too real. Like being locked inside something terrible with the music cranked up.

    […] Brett Kavanaugh had rage and Christine Blasey Ford had only gender. […]

    The dynamic of Thursday’s hearing was consistent: He had fury, and contempt, and seething threats that the republic would pay if he were thwarted. She had to functionally lie back and try not to infuriate anyone, as Republicans cowered behind the female prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, they had brought on to interrogate her. That was until it was Kavanaugh’s turn to speak, when they quickly jettisoned that paper-thin pretense of investigative “independence” and joined Kavanaugh to form a chorus of angry shouting men. […]

    Ford was patronized, thanked, and told that she was very, very credible. Over and over she was told she’d been given a “safe space” to tell her story; as if a safe space substitutes for reasoned process and investigation. She was given a safe space and then dismissed as though she were some character in a very sad French movie that had been very affecting indeed but had nothing to do with the great man and his destiny. […]

    See the quote from Chris Hayes that SC posted in comment 286.

    […] Ultimately, he had rage and she had gender, and a “job interview” was recast as though it would result in a lifelong criminal conviction with a death sentence on the line for the man in the dock. Calling no witnesses and accepting no supporting testimony were a perfect way to ensure that he would be innocent of all charges. She had gender. They were sorry for her loss.

    Brett Kavanaugh is never going to understand that women don’t sort themselves into those upon which he bestows his munificence (clerks, girls in plaid skirts) and those he can shout at, and bully, like Feinstein and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. […]

    Put aside whether any sane litigant can have any confidence in the justice system after the man who will be the decisive vote on the court made it manifestly clear that he believes half the country, and the media, and liberal dark money were all in on a conspiracy to take him out. Because of the Clintons. This wasn’t ultimately a hearing about whether Kavanaugh deserved to be elevated to the high court. It was a blind partisan tantrum in which he dragged the judicial branch down to a place of ugliness and rancor from which it will not soon recover. […]

  169. says

    Asha Rangappa: “Important to note that even this one allegation would allow questions concerning drinking habits as well as general character and pattern of behavior towards women at that time, which could implicate answers given under oath re drinking and yearbook.”

  170. says

    Collins said she supports the agreement for an FBI investigation and the White House has agreed to it.
    ‘This is an important development and I believe it will let us go forward’.”

    Thinking about #309. Seems like it would have to include the Whelan fiasco, given that the person he accused was friends with Kavanaugh, introduced Kavanaugh to Blasey, and “dated” Blasey in high school. Also need to discover where he got Keyser’s identity. And questions to Kavanaugh about his potential knowledge of or involvement would go to his character and his consciousness of guilt.

  171. says

    SC @316, yes, cool chart, no doubt. It really paints a picture. They could make a separate chart showing how many times Kavanaugh lied.

    From The Washington Post, “Here’s where Kavanaugh’s sworn testimony was misleading or wrong.”

    […] “I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegation.”

    The word “like” is carrying a lot of weight in that sentence, but it’s clear from Kavanaugh’s later testimony and the personal calendars he submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he attended parties like the one Ford describes — up to the point of the alleged assault. […]

    “She and I did not travel in the same social circles.”

    Ford testified that in the spring and summer of 1982 she was going out with Kavanaugh’s friend nicknamed “Squi,” who appears more than a dozen times on Kavanaugh’s calendar of social events.

    “Dr. Ford’s allegation is not merely uncorroborated, it is refuted by the very people she says were there, including by a long-time friend of hers. Refuted.”

    […] Kavanaugh’s presentation of what the others have allegedly said about Ford’s accusations is misleading.

    At various points in his testimony, Kavanaugh said that the two male friends alleged to have been at the party, Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth, had sworn under penalty of perjury that the party didn’t happen. Both actually said that they didn’t recall the party as described, and Judge’s statement to that effect didn’t carry the weight of sworn testimony. (After Kavanaugh’s testimony was complete, he submitted a letter that met that standard.)

    At other points, Kavanaugh refers to the fact that the four witnesses that Ford alleges were at the party all rejected her account. One of those four witnesses is Leland Keyser, who told The Post in a brief interview that she believed Ford’s allegation, although she didn’t remember the party. Another of the four witnesses is Kavanaugh.

    “The event described by Dr. Ford presumably happened on a weekend because I believed everyone worked and had jobs in the summers. And in any event, a drunken early evening event of the kind she describes, presumably happened on a weekend. … If the party described by Dr. Ford happened in the summer of 1982 on a weekend night, my calendar shows all but definitively that I was not there.”

    Ford never said when the alleged incident occurred. It’s also not the case that Kavanaugh’s social circle restricted its drinking bouts to weekends in the summer. Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend, wrote in a book about his battle with sobriety that he would often show up to work either hung over or still intoxicated from the night before.

    “The calendars show a few weekday gatherings at friends’ houses after a workout or just to meet up and have some beers. But none of those gatherings included the group of people that Dr. Ford has identified. And as my calendars show, I was very precise about listing who was there; very precise. ”

    There’s one entry, on July 1, that indicates that Kavanaugh, Judge, Smyth and the boy Ford says she was going out with were headed to a friend’s house for “skis” — acknowledged by Kavanaugh during his testimony as a gathering that involved drinking. […]

    More at the link.

  172. says

    So, this is how the Republicans plan to hobble the coming week of FBI investigations:

    The Senate Judiciary Committee will request that the administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.

    The statement is from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. I don’t see a response yet from Democrats, but it is plain that Democrats on the committee were not part of crafting that statement.

    It sounds like Jeff Flake’s earlier statement, which included the phrase “limited in scope,” has been taken by Grassely, Hatch, etc. to mean that the Republicans get to make up a list of allegations that they think are “credible.” Sheesh.

  173. says

    Follow-up to comment 328.

    You can bet that any allegations brought forward by Michael Avenatti will be deemed “not credible,” and will not be investigated.

    Senator Cornyn and other Republicans have already said as much in earlier statements.

  174. says

    From Wagatwe Wanjuki, writing for Daily Kos:

    Judge Kavanaugh’s opening statement yesterday was loud, emotional, and angry. It was essentially a love letter to Trump and his supporters and a warning to the rest of us who see him for who he truly is.

    His behavior during the questioning remained odd. He was erratic, disrespectful, avoidant [“evasive” is a better description], and just plain cruel. It may seem out of the ordinary, but information from a Georgia State University study really puts his anger in perspective.

    For “A Qualitative Analysis of Offenders’ Emotional Responses to Perpetrating Sexual Assault,” researchers studied the confessions of sexual assailants online and found four main responses to committing assault: shame, guilt, depression, and anger.

    The researchers found that assailants got angry when they hold a hostility to women and are denying responsibility for their actions. Considering that Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record alone is hostile to women, it is pretty reasonable to see how he fits the bill. […]


  175. says

    I can only imagine that a Kavanaugh who knew himself to be innocent, when the allegations first arose, would have said they were completely false and that he wants the FBI to re-open the background check immediately to put them to rest. The way he’s acted is how someone with a guilty conscience or a fear of damaging information being uncovered or previous lies exposed acts. I can’t see any other explanation for it. He could have burnished his image considerably by treating Dr. Blasey Ford respectfully and encouraging others to do the same. He’s done the opposite, and at every turn he’s discouraged the gathering of more information.

  176. says

    SC @331, I see. I still don’t trust them. The phrase “limited to current credible allegations” sounds like a loophole to me. I expect Republicans to exploit it if possible.

  177. says

    Another potential lead. (I don’t think the inconsistencies they note are really inconsistencies. A kid at a house party would be more likely to use the hallway bathroom – which is across from a bedroom – than the one in someone’s parents’ master bedroom. And 11 miles is pretty close when people are driving; she told Mitchell the house was “somewhere between my house and the country club in that vicinity that’s shown in your picture. And the country club is about 20 — a 20-minute drive from my parents’ home.” If the location of her house marked on Whelan’s nutbar thread is accurate, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the house was located in the area between it and the club.)

    I assume the FBI is making contact with this guy.

    Transcript of Blasey Ford’s testimony for reference.

  178. says

    THREAD. 1/I worked in the Senate for 20+ years and handled hundreds of nominations as a Senate committee counsel. I was a nominee myself, and was confirmed for a job at DoD, in 2014. I’ve known many friends who were also nominees….”

    I would add to this that Kavanaugh’s decision to write up and deliver that opening statement showed remarkably bad judgment, which is not a quality you want in a…judge.

  179. says

    SC @341, good point. I also think that the partisan part of that opening statement, with its nonsensical reference to “revenge for the Clintons,” sounds like something the unhinged version of Kavanaugh would think … but that it also sounds Trump-like, and it sounds like something Stephen Miller or Steve Bannon would write. It makes me wonder how much toxic input Kavanaugh soaked up while he spent all that time at the White House.

    Reportedly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was also interacting with Kavanaugh.

    And if, in fact, Kavanaugh was swayed by toxic, fact-free input from the White House, that does not bode well for any claims he might have had to personal integrity.

  180. says

    “The FBI is Now Investigating the Shady Vice Squad That Cuffed Stormy Daniels”:

    The Ohio vice squad that arrested Stormy Daniels at a Columbus strip club this summer is now under federal investigation.

    On Thursday, Columbus police chief Kim Jacobs announced the FBI’s Public Corruption Task Force is probing her agency’s vice section for criminal activity in light of “high-profile incidents,” including Daniels’ motorboating bust and the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old woman during a prostitution sting operation.

    “Recent high-profile incidents have brought forward a variety of allegations against the Vice section via social media postings and other sources,” a press release from the Columbus Division of Police stated. “Persons who have knowledge of criminal activity by members of the Columbus Police Vice personnel are asked to call a tip line set up by the FBI to investigate these claims.”

    In July, cops cuffed Daniels under an arcane state law that bans nude or semi-nude performers from touching patrons who aren’t family members. The Columbus city attorney dropped charges against Daniels the next day, saying no crime was committed.

    Emails obtained by The Fayette Advocate showed one vice detective was researching Daniels—who catapulted to the national spotlight over her alleged romp with President Trump—two days before the sting at Sirens Gentleman’s Club.

    Vice detective Shana Keckley’s emails included press clippings previewing Daniels’ appearances in Columbus, photos of Daniels with Trump, videos of her dancing, and a map to the strip club, the Advocate reported.

    Police initially said Daniels’ bust was “part of a long-term investigation into allegations of human trafficking, prostitution, along with other vice-related violations.” But Keckley’s emails to colleagues suggested otherwise.

    “I got the elements….we arrested Stormy this morning, she is in jail,” she wrote. In another message, Keckley bragged about collaring the adult performer without naming her: “You’re Welcome!!!!!….Thank me in person later.”

    One month after Daniels’ catch and release, undercover vice cop Andrew Mitchell shot and killed a 23-year-old woman after she allegedly stabbed him in the hand. (It doesn’t appear Mitchell was involved in Operation Stormy.)

    The victim, Donna Castleberry, who also went by Donna Dalton, had been charged with soliciting in July, court records show.

    On Wednesday, the FBI searched Mitchell’s home relating to a citizen complaint lodged against him one week before the Castleberry shooting, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

    According to 10TV News in Columbus, Mitchell is an alleged slumlord who rents his properties to known felons.

    Some of his buildings were considered “nuisance properties” by Clinton Township, and 10TV News reported police were often called to them.

    McCalla claimed that people told her Mitchell propositioned women for sex in lieu of paying rent. “Donna was likely not killed for anything she did, but was instead killed for something she knew,” McCalla wrote.

    Alex-Bouzounis said Mitchell is on desk duty and “his gun and his badge were taken.”

    “Everything’s going to the FBI tip line. If anyone has any concerns regarding any vice officer, that’s where it needs to go,” she said. “It’s out of Columbus police’s hands.”

  181. says

    A day later, I’m even more shocked by Kavanaugh’s simpering, sniveling, mewling, snapping, ill-tempered, incontinent, contemptuous, mendacious, partisan tantrum. It just beggars belief that a guy seeking a Supreme Court seat should behave this way and not be ridden out on a rail.”

    Moments of it keep coming back to me, and I’m astonished again that they’re still moving ahead with the nomination after that hearing. He shouldn’t be anywhere near the Supreme Court.

  182. says

    From Sarah Palin:

    Prayers w/all innocents falsely accused. Can’t help but think how fortunate Brett Kavanaugh is to have a platform to clear his name. Many conservatives falsely accused of anything NEVER have opportunity to set the record straight & it’s a helpless, defenseless, sad situation.

    In related news, Palin’s son Track, was arrested on Friday night… for assaulting a woman.

    Track Palin was arrested for domestic violence against a woman at his residence on Friday night. This is far from the first time this has happened. Palin was arrested in 2016 for punching his girlfriend in the face, his ex-wife has accused him of being both physically and verbally abusive, and he’s also been arrested for assaulting his own father.

    Palin is being charged with fourth-degree domestic violence, interfering with the reporting of a domestic violence crime, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. […]


  183. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] Tucker Carlson […] declared Kavanaugh a “folk hero” to people who are sick and tired of being told what to do (ie: don’t try to rape anyone!) by their “moral inferiors” (ie: people who don’t go around trying to rape anyone).

    Transcript via Media Matters:

    At this point Kavanaugh isn’t just a Supreme Court nominee. He is a folk hero to many people, an inspiration to millions. People who have spent the last two years being browbeaten and bullied by their moral inferiors were buoyed by what he said yesterday. These are people who have been told they’re worthless and bigoted. They have been unfairly maligned because they are in the way of other people gaining power. They’ve been commanded to shut up and obey. Kavanaugh stood up to those people yesterday. He raised a middle finger to the tormentors. And they love him for it.

    […] let’s think about this for a moment, shall we? These people, Carlson claims, are very upset that we think they are assholes. “How can this be?” they hypothetically wonder. And then they look upon the ragey Sam Eagle face of Brett Kavanaugh, a man accused of sexual assault, and go “Oh, thank goodness! A hero has come to save us all!” […]

    You know who else thinks of Brett Kavanaugh as a hero? Incels! In a post on the forum highlighted by David Futrelle of We Hunted The Mammoth, the internet’s worst humans went all “Gooble gobble gooble gobble we accept him, one of us” on Kavanaugh, who declared earlier this week that he was a virgin throughout high school and long after and raged at the women who wouldn’t “open their legs” for him. […]

  184. says

    In a legal brief, Mueller spoke out:

    Special counsel Robert Mueller cited more than a century’s worth of presidential scandal on Friday as part of a sweeping legal defense of his own authorities.

    The lead Russia prosecutor made the historical references — that attorney generals have needed special investigators dating back to the 1870s — in a legal brief to a federal appeals court considering the case of a reluctant witness tied to a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump who is seeking to have Mueller’s appointment thrown out on constitutional grounds.

    “These instances—involving appointments by Attorneys General under Presidents Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton—span nearly 140 years and include some of the most notorious scandals in the Nation’s history, including Watergate,” wrote Michael Dreeben, the deputy solicitor general on loan to the Mueller team.

    At issue is the case of Andrew Miller, a former aide to Trump confidante Roger Stone who has so far failed in his bid to knock Mueller out of his post by challenging the legitimacy of several subpoenas seeking his documents and testimony in connection to the Russia probe.

    A federal district court judge rejected Miller’s bid last month to quash the string of grand jury subpoenas, and the ex-Stone aide was later held in contempt of court — a precursor to his current appeal. […]

    Miller’s lawsuit isn’t the first to challenge Mueller’s authority.

    Two federal judges earlier this year rejected efforts by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to have Mueller’s appointment invalidated. A Trump-appointed federal judge last month also rejected a bid by the Russian company Concord Management that challenged Mueller’s jurisdiction after it was charged in connection to a Kremlin-linked online troll farm accused of targeting the American elections.

    Miller’s appeal leans on many of the same arguments raised by Concord, including that Mueller’s appointment was flawed at multiple levels — and at its core remains unconstitutional. They say Mueller’s power is so vast that he should have been subject to presidential nomination and Senate confirmation, rather than treated as an “inferior” officer who may be appointed and supervised by the attorney general.

    While Mueller reports to Rosenstein, Miller’s lawyers argue that Justice regulations prevent the deputy attorney general from overturning many of the special counsel’s decisions. That authority, they argue, should only be permitted for individuals appointed by the president.

    Miller’s defense team has an October 9 deadline to file its reply brief. […]


  185. says

    It feels like eons ago, but last night I flashed on that video of the Parkland father trying to have a word with Brett Kavanaugh. The video of the women confronting Flake must have brought it to mind. What struck us at the time was how dismissive Kavanaugh was, even disdainful. When I first saw it, I didn’t want to make too much of it. In retrospect, it reveals who he really is; when he feels someone is beneath him, he treats them with contempt. He did it with the father, with girls when was younger, with U.S. senators, and he’s doing it with the American people.

    Brett Kavanaugh: “I got into Yale!”

  186. says

    Clarification, sort of:

    A high school friend of Christine Blasey Ford’s, whom Blasey Ford remembers as being present at the gathering at which Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her, told the Senate Judiciary Committee through her lawyer Friday that she does not refute Blasey Ford’s memory of that night.

    “Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account,” Leland Ingham Keyser’s attorney Howard Walsh wrote to the committee overnight Friday, CNN reported Saturday. […]

    Walsh continued […]: “However, the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question.” […]

    Previously, Walsh said of his client: “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”

    Blasey Ford has maintained that Keyser was unaware of the assault, which is alleged to have occurred in 1982, because she was downstairs at the gathering when it happened upstairs.

    At Thursday’s hearing Blasey Ford said Keyser “has significant health challenges, and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself, and getting the health treatment that she needs.”

    “She let me know that she needed her lawyer to take care of this for her, and she texted me right afterward with an apology and good wishes,” Blasey Ford noted.

    Kavanaugh, during his time before the committee Thursday, falsely said that Blasey Ford’s allegations had been “refuted by the very people she says were there, including by a long-time friend of hers. Refuted.”


  187. says

    Follow-up to comment 357..

    Kavanaugh’s exact words when, during the hearing, he took a basic “do not recall” statement and falsely turned it into refutation: “Ms. Keyser said under penalty of felony she does not know me, does not recall ever being at a party with me ever,” Kavanaugh said in his opening statement. “Dr. Ford’s allegation is not merely uncorroborated, it is refuted by the very people she says were there, including by a longtime friend of hers. Refuted.”

    Nope. Not refuted. A judge should know better.

  188. says

    “White House limits scope of the FBI’s investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh”:

    The White House is limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, multiple people briefed on the matter told NBC News.

    While the FBI will examine the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s, those people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. A White House official confirmed that Swetnick’s claims will not be pursued as part of the reopened background investigation into Kavanaugh.

    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 White House official did not specifically dispute limitations on the scope of the FBI’s investigation but denied the White House was “micromanaging” the inquiry.

    …The FBI had no choice but to agree to these terms, the sources told NBC News, because it is conducting the background investigation on behalf of the White House.

    If the FBI learns of others who can corroborate what the existing witnesses are saying, it is not clear whether agents will be able to contact them under the terms laid out by the White House, the two sources briefed on the matter said.

    Some areas are off limits, the sources said.

    The conditions under which the FBI’s reopened background check are occurring appears to differ from the one envisioned by Flake, who used his leverage as a swing vote to pressure the Trump administration to order the FBI investigation.

    Flake said Friday he thought the FBI should decide the scope of the investigation….

    Obviously totally unacceptable. And more evidence that they know, and Kavanaugh knows, what an investigation they don’t control will find.

  189. says

    The only reason they would block the FBI from asking the Potomac Safeway for the dates of Judge’s employment is that they (including Kavanaugh) know it could provide a useful lead. This interference should be reason enough for reasonable Senators to recognize that the nomination needs to be withdrawn. They know what they’re hiding.

  190. says

    Also, more than one of them told reporters that the FBI would decide what leads to follow. So they lied to the public, and it appears to Flake & Co. And they felt the need to do so because they knew they needed to engage in a cover-up. That’s incriminating.

  191. says

    “House Intel GOP Withholds Rohrabacher and Wasserman Schultz’s Russia Probe Transcripts”:

    House Intelligence Committee Republicans voted on Friday against releasing interview transcripts of one of their House GOP colleagues that Democrats consider significant for the panel’s now-shuttered Russia probe.

    Two sources told The Daily Beast on Friday morning that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee wanted their GOP colleagues to disclose an account given to the panel by Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who is considered the Republican legislator closest to the Kremlin.

    “The Republicans are trying to conceal from the voters their colleague Dana Rohrabacher’s Russia investigation testimony,” said a committee source familiar with the issue. “There were highly concerning contacts between Rohrabacher and Russians during the campaign that the public should hear about.”

    As well, two sources said the Republicans denied release of an interview given to them by Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chaired the Democratic National Committee in 2016 when Russian military intelligence infiltrated the organization’s servers and exfiltrated for publication a large trove of internal communications.

    “She has no objection to it being released,” said Wasserman Schultz spokesperson David Damron.

    The Republicans also voted against releasing interviews from the Russia probe with several pivotal former intelligence officials….

    On Friday morning, the panel, which is sharply divided along partisan lines, voted to release 53 interview transcripts from the Russia investigation. Those transcripts now go to the office of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats for a declassification review. Sources were unclear on the precise timing of the review but one anticipated that the transcripts could be released as soon as two days from now.

    Schiff added that the Republican majority again refused to subpoena documents and information Democrats have sought in the probe….

    More at the link.

  192. says

    Ken Dilanian: “It’s not just that they aren’t allowed to investigate the third accuser’s claims. They also won’t look into his drinking at Yale or pull Mark Judge’s employment records or take other basic investigative steps, we are told. Unless something changes.”

  193. says

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

    Ian Bassin: “Note to @FBI: whatever instructions White House staff gave you, the President’s tweet below is actually (no, really I’m not kidding) an order from the President. DOJ’s legal view is that a presidential order need not take any special form; if the president orders it, it counts.”

  194. says

    “Details of F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted Range”:

    President Trump said on Saturday that the F.B.I. will have “free rein” to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, but the emerging contours of the inquiry showed its limited scope.

    Four witnesses will be questioned in coming days about aspects of the assault accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, according to two people familiar with the matter. Left off the list were former classmates who have contradicted Judge Kavanaugh’s congressional testimony about his drinking and partying as a student.

    The White House will decide the breadth of the inquiry, though presidential advisers were working in concert with Senate Republicans, said the two people, one a senior administration official, who both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation.

    The White House can order investigators to further examine the allegations if their findings from the four witness interviews open new avenues of inquiry, and Mr. Trump seemed to stress that part of the plan in a tweet late on Saturday.

    Democrats, left out of the discussions that led to Mr. Trump’s order, tried on Saturday to clarify the scope of the F.B.I. investigation with Senate Republicans and the White House. Senate Republicans drafted the witness list for the background check, according to the people familiar with it, and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, shared it with the White House.

    The four witnesses were Mr. Judge; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of Dr. Blasey’s whom she said attended the party but was not told of the assault; P.J. Smyth, another party guest; and Ms. Ramirez, the Yale accuser.

    The White House has asked that the F.B.I. share its findings after investigators complete those interviews, and at that point, Mr. Trump and his advisers would decide whether to have the accusations investigated further, the people said.

    Led by Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, Mr. Trump’s advisers are helping direct the scope of the background check, according to the senior administration official. Mr. McGahn shared the witness list with the F.B.I. but is working in concert with Senate Republicans,…

    Democrats raised concerns about the scope of the background check on Saturday.

    “We have been concerned from the outset about the so-called limits on scope, not to mention time for this investigation,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and a member of the Judiciary Committee. “It has to be full fair, real, not check-the-box. So any limits should be viewed with serious question.”

    Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, called reports of the White House’s role in the inquiry “outrageous” and said on Twitter, “The White House should not limit or interfere with the FBI investigation in any way.”…

    This reporting contradicts Trump’s tweet. Since it includes mention of the tweet, I have to conclude that he and McGahn are trying to cover up the cover up on an ongoing basis. The FBI having “free reign” and being told to “interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion” are not consistent with “The White House can order investigators to further examine the allegations if their findings from the four witness interviews open new avenues of inquiry” as determined in secret by the WH and Senate Republicans.

  195. says

    The problem for Trump, McGahn, Kavanaugh, and the Senate Republicans is as Miller describes @ #363 above. They can’t keep saying one thing in public and to Flake and the other Republicans while continuing to engage in a cover-up behind the scenes. The FBI wants to do their jobs and doesn’t want to be used for their imprimatur to disguise a bogus investigation, and will leak like crazy if the WH continues to try to constrain and control it, especially after Trump’s tweet. Might as well withdraw the nomination.

  196. says

    I hope the people at the FBI saw Trump’s tweet and said, “Welp, that’s our official order” and tossed the limited witness list to start investigating at their own discretion.

  197. says

    The WH people are saying they‘re not intervening in the investigation and suggesting that it’s a “Senate process.” But the Republican Senators can’t directly intervene – they can only do so through the WH, which is the client.

    MSNBC is now reporting that their sources are saying that Trump’s tweet hasn’t changed the limitations they’re facing from the WH.

    They’re showing clips of Kellyanne Conway, and I have no idea what she’s trying to argue.

  198. says

    Ken Dilanian:

    New: A senior U.S. official and another source familiar with the matter tell NBC News that the FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with its weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.

    In other words, despite the president’s tweet, nothing has changed. The White House-imposed limits remain.

    As I said above, they should just treat Trump’s tweet as reflecting his wishes. In any case it’s obvious that they’re trying to rig the investigation to cover for Kavanaugh and hide it from the public and probably Flake as well (and he, Murkowski, and Collins should pay attention to their motives for doing so).

  199. says

    Here’s the report – “Limits to FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation have not changed, despite Trump’s comments”:

    The FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with its weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a senior U.S. official and another source familiar with the matter tell NBC News.

    According to the sources, the president’s Saturday night tweet saying he wants the FBI to interview whoever agents deem appropriate has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI investigation — including a specific witness list that does not include Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school.

    Also not on the list, the sources say, are former classmates who have contradicted Kavanaugh’s account of his college alcohol consumption, instead describing him as a frequent, heavy drinker. The FBI is also not authorized to interview high school classmates who could shed light on what some people have called untruths in Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony about alleged sexual references in his high school yearbook.

    A U.S. official briefed on the matter said its not unusual for the White House to set the parameters of an FBI background check for a presidential nominee. The FBI had no choice but to agree to these terms, the sources told NBC News, because it is conducting the background investigation on behalf of the White House.

    If the FBI learns of others who can corroborate what the existing witnesses are saying, it is not clear whether agents will be able to contact them under the terms laid out by the White House, the two sources briefed on the matter said.

    Some areas are off limits, the sources said….

    So they’re lying and it’s a sham.

  200. says

    Another thing:

    The White House has asked that the F.B.I. share its findings after investigators complete those interviews, and at that point, Mr. Trump and his advisers would decide whether to have the accusations investigated further, the people said.

    >If the FBI learns of others who can corroborate what the existing witnesses are saying, it is not clear whether agents will be able to contact them under the terms laid out by the White House, the two sources briefed on the matter said.


    If the FBI isn’t allowed to proceed at its own discretion and has to inform the WH of corroborating witnesses and receive approval (or, more probably, not), then this becomes similar to what was happening with the partisan Republicans on the SJC. The WH will obviously immediately turn witness information over to the Senate Republicans. Witnesses who wanted to cooperate with the FBI investigation will be hesitant to do so because they’ll rightly fear the Senate Republicans and WH and Federalist Society will come after them, intimidate them, and try to discredit them.

    In this sense, not only are they rigging the FBI investigation, but using it to get information about people who might have relevant evidence but don’t want to provide it or their identities to highly partisan and hostile Senate staffers or the WH.

    The only way this could be a genuine and fair investigation is if the FBI is able to make their own independent judgments and submit their report at the end.

  201. says

    And another thing: So the FBI so far is authorized to interview just four witnesses, after which it has to report to the WH and receive permission as to further interviews, and has entire relevant areas (including his high school and college drinking!) are walled off. The background check was re-opened on Friday and given a firm deadline of this Friday. The short time frame was already an impediment, and now we’re two days in and don’t know if even those four interviews have been conducted. Every minute under these limitations reduces the opportunities to gather evidence (so I guess they haven’t even contacted Tim Gaudette or Chris Garrett, much less Ed Whelan…) as the time ticks down to the end of the week.

  202. says

    “Hundreds of Migrant Children Quietly Moved to a Tent Camp on the Texas Border”:

    In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.

    Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room. They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their immigration cases.

    But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks. There is no school: The children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete. Access to legal services is limited.

    These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find room for more than 13,000 detained migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.

    The average length of time that migrant children spend in custody has nearly doubled over the same period, from 34 days to 59, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees their care.

    To deal with the surging shelter populations, which have hovered near 90 percent of capacity since May, a mass reshuffling is underway and shows no signs of slowing. Hundreds of children are being shipped from shelters to West Texas each week, totaling more than 1,600 so far.

    The roughly 100 shelters that have, until now, been the main location for housing detained migrant children are licensed and monitored by state child welfare authorities, who impose requirements on safety and education as well as staff hiring and training.

    The tent city in Tornillo, on the other hand, is unregulated, except for guidelines created by the Department of Health and Human Services. For example, schooling is not required there, as it is in regular migrant children shelters.

    Several shelter workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being fired, described what they said has become standard practice for moving the children: In order to avoid escape attempts, the moves are carried out late at night because children will be less likely to try to run away. For the same reason, children are generally given little advance warning that they will be moved.

    The number of detained migrant children has spiked even though monthly border crossings have remained relatively unchanged, in part because harsh rhetoric and policies introduced by the Trump administration have made it harder to place children with sponsors.

    Traditionally, most sponsors have been undocumented immigrants themselves, and have feared jeopardizing their own ability to remain in the country by stepping forward to claim a child. The risk increased in June, when federal authorities announced that potential sponsors and other adult members of their households would have to submit fingerprints, and that the data would be shared with immigration authorities.

    The longer that children remain in custody, the more likely they are to become anxious or depressed, which can lead to violent outbursts or escape attempts, according to shelter workers and reports that have emerged from the system in recent months.

    Advocates said those concerns are heightened at a larger facility like Tornillo, where signs that a child is struggling are more likely to be overlooked, because of its size. They added that moving children to the tent city without providing enough time to prepare them emotionally or to say goodbye to friends could compound trauma that many are already struggling with.


  203. says

    NEW: FBI has not responded to requests from Christine Blasey Ford to do an interview. ‘We have not heard from the FBI, despite repeated efforts to speak with them’, her lawyer, Debra S. Katz, told me, when asked.”

    So to add to #385, they’re stalling the interviews.

  204. says


    A group of Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee told the White House what they would like to see in the supplemental background investigation, “and we’re facilitating that,” according to a White House official.

    “If the Senate changes what they’d like to see, we’d probably change what we’ve told the FBI to do,” the official said, adding that the bureau had some flexibility in how they could carry out the background check.

    The Senate “has made clear who should be interviewed and who should not,” the official said, and the White House has conveyed that message to the FBI.

    This fucking racket.

  205. says

    Lindsey Graham is not done yet. In addition to his rants during the recent Kavanaugh hearing, Graham has been appearing on TV shows to call for an investigation … not for an investigation of Kavanaugh’s drinking, or his calendar/yearbook lies, or of his assault of Blasey Ford or of other women. No, Graham wants an investigation of “the effort to destroy this good man.”

    I hope [committee chairman] Sen. Grassley will do what I’ve suggested: Investigate the abuse here. Who leaked anonymous letters? Who referred Dr. Ford to a lawyer that was a political activist? Did anybody in the committee betray her trust by sending it to it the media so the hearing would be delayed? Why did she not know that we were willing to go to California? How did that happen? Could her lawyers possibly have not told her that? If these lawyers didn’t tell her that we were willing to go to California to avoid this debacle, I want to know that and hold them accountable.”

    Elsewhere, Graham misstated the known facts about Blasey Ford’s allegations.

    “Here’s what I’m 100 percent certain of: When she said Ms. Keyser was at that party, she was wrong.”

    Talking Points Memo link

    See comments 260, 292 and 321, 325, and especially 357 and 358, regarding Ms. Keyser. Lindsey Graham is repeating a falsehood told by Kavanaugh.

  206. says

    Brett Kavanaugh speaking about how he got into Yale:

    I got into Yale Law School. That’s the number one law school in the country. I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail in college.

    That’s a lie. His grandfather, Everett Edward Kavanaugh graduated from Yale.

    From commenters:

    He’s claiming here that he got into Yale Law School with no connections. YLS certainly took into account in the 1980s if you were legacy.

    On second thought, I don’t think he was lying. I think he truly believes he hit a triple, even though we all know he was born on third base.
    He went to Yale undergrad, surely that is a “connection.”

  207. says

    “‘Our Silence Will Serve No One’ — Alumni of Brett Kavanaugh’s High School Urge Graduates to Share Information About Sexual Assaults”:

    A group of alumni from Brett Kavanaugh’s high school is calling on fellow graduates to come forward if they have information about any sexual assaults the Supreme Court nominee committed, stating in a new petition, “Please do not remain silent, even if speaking out comes at some personal cost.”

    There have been petitions in support of Kavanaugh from alumni of Georgetown Prep. But in the wake of both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, some alumni of the all-male school are voicing support for Ford and asking others to come forward with any information that has been held back.

    “We are alumni of Georgetown Prep standing in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and in solidarity with women everywhere who have endured sexual assault, violence, and harassment,” the petition begins. “We have heard Dr. Blasey Ford’s courageous and indelible sworn testimony in open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and we believe her.”…

    The petition was posted on Medium on September 29 by two graduates of the Class of 1986, Fikri Yucel and Bill Barbot. In an interview with The Intercept, Yucel said that when Ford’s allegation first surfaced, he was inclined to believe it, because it is rare for women to come forward with false accusations of sexual assault. “Knowing what I know about sexual assault in general, and putting that together with what I know about that time and place, the student body of Georgetown Prep back in the middle ’80s, it was plausible,” he said. “There was certainly a strong streak of sexism and sexual objectification that lots of people just ascribed to ‘boys will be boys.’”

    Yucel, who is a public health researcher in North Carolina, watched as much as he could of the Senate hearing on Thursday. It was a clarifying event for him. “I was utterly taken with the credibility of Dr. Blasey Ford, and just struck time and again by Brett’s demeanor,” Yucel said. “It just seemed clearer and clearer to me that she’s telling the truth. So when yesterday there was the announcement that the Senate was going to call for further FBI investigations … I think that was the precipitating event.”

    Yucel made clear in his Facebook post that he loved his years at Georgetown Prep, “but, holy fuck, man, is it ever the goddamn patriarchy.” He hoped more corroborating information would come to light. “In the meantime, though, I feel completely comfortable saying: I am an alumnus of Georgetown Prep, Class of 1986, and I stand with Christine Blasey Ford.”…

  208. says

    David Corn: “Total conflict of interest for McGahn to be overseeing the FBI probe and limiting its scope. If this is allowed to continue, it will mean that Flake and the others were played by a disingenuous White House. And…a perfect target for investigation if Dems win the House.”


  209. says

    “Yale Classmate Accuses Kavanaugh of ‘Blatant Mischaracterization’ of His Drinking”:

    A Yale classmate of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s accused him on Sunday of a “blatant mischaracterization” of his drinking while in college, saying that he often saw Judge Kavanaugh “staggering from alcohol consumption.”

    The classmate, Chad Ludington, who said he frequently socialized with Judge Kavanaugh as a student, said in a statement that the judge had been untruthful in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee when he had denied any possibility that he had ever blacked out from drinking.

    Mr. Ludington said that Judge Kavanaugh had played down “the degree and frequency” of his drinking, and that the judge had often become “belligerent and aggressive” while intoxicated.

    “It is truth that is at stake, and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation’s most powerful judges,” Mr. Ludington said, adding that he planned to “take my information to the F.B.I.”

    Mr. Ludington, a professor at North Carolina State University who appears to have made small political contributions to Democratic candidates, said to The New York Times on Sunday that he had been told by the F.B.I.’s Washington, D.C., field office that he should go to the bureau’s Raleigh, N.C., office on Monday morning. He said he intended to do that, so he could “tell the full details of my story.”

    It is illegal to lie to Congress. But it was unclear whether the F.B.I. would add Mr. Ludington’s accusations to the newly reopened background investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Kavanaugh, which has been limited in scope and time by the White House and Senate Republicans….

    It’s clear that Flake, Collins, and the Democrats all believed when this agreement was reached that the decisions would be made by the FBI, and it was plainly known to McConnell, Trump, and McGahn or they wouldn’t have bothered to conceal and lie about it.

    “NEW: Feinstein wrote to Don McGahn & Chris Wray asking for a copy of a written directive sent to the FBI by the WH.” Here’s the letter.

  210. says

    SC @398, if a “mutual friend” was thrown in jail due to a fight Kavanaugh started, then there will be yet another witness to out-of-control drunkenness. And, there will be a record if a person was actually jailed.

  211. says

    More re #392 – “Brett Kavanaugh’s Former Roommate Describes Their Debauched Dorm at Yale.” Wow.

    By my count, from Yale alone, so far that’s: Ramirez, Brookes, Swisher, Roche, Winter, and Ludington. Also, from the Mayer/Farrow piece: “Mark Krasberg, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico who was also a member of Kavanaugh and Ramirez’s class at Yale, said Kavanaugh’s college behavior had become a topic of discussion among former Yale students soon after Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

  212. says

    Thrasymachus thread!: “Kavanaugh’s furious performance before senators on Thursday reminds me of an exchange early in Plato’s Republic. Both Kavanaugh’s style and implicit message resemble those of Thrasymachus, Socrates’ red-faced nemesis. He has dealt a huge blow to SCOTUS’s legitimacy. 1/…”

  213. says

    More, from WaPo:

    …Charles Ludington, a former varsity basketball player and friend of Kavanaugh’s at Yale, told The Washington Post on Sunday that he plans to deliver a statement to the FBI field office in Raleigh on Monday detailing violent drunken behavior by Kavanaugh in college.

    Ludington, an associate professor at North Carolina State University, provided a copy of the statement to The Post.

    In it, Ludington says in one instance, Kavanaugh initiated a fight that led to the arrest of a mutual friend: “When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.”

    Ludington says he was deeply troubled by Kavanaugh appearing to blatantly mischaracterize his drinking in Senate testimony.

    “I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18 or even 21 year old should condemn a person for the rest of his life,” Ludington wrote. “However … if he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences.”

    Many Democrats have called for the FBI to take a broader look at whether Kavanaugh may have misled senators by minimizing his carousing behavior in high school and college or by mischaracterizing entries in his high school yearbook that could indicate a penchant for drunken and misogynistic behavior. [and go to his credibility and character! – SC]

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), speaking on CNN, said Kavanaugh’s claims that he had never blacked out or suffered any memory loss while drinking don’t “quite make sense to me” and said she hoped the FBI would interview friends to determine whether that was credible.

    She added that the FBI could also interview high school friends of Kavanaugh’s to determine whether his innocent explanations for portions of his yearbook entry are accurate.

    “I’ve never heard that the White House, either under this president or other presidents, is saying: ‘Well, you can’t interview this person; you can’t look at this time period; you can only look at these people from one side of the street,’” she said. “I mean, come on.”…

  214. says

    The fact that GOP won’t let FBI interview Squi — the common link bt Kavanaugh and Ford — is admission they know (and, given Ed Whelan’s stunt) knew that Squi could fuck things over for Kav.”

    Guy was:
    – one of Kavanaugh’s closest friends in the summer of ’82
    – according to Blasey (who Kavanaugh says he didn’t know and didn’t travel in his social circles), going out with her around the same time
    – mentioned (IIRC) 13 times in Kavanaugh’s calendar as someone he hung out with, including at the July 1 gathering
    – accused by Ed Whelan as being the assailant in that Twitter fiasco (for which Whelan had a lot of information that wasn’t yet publicly available)

    There is no way the allegation can be properly investigated without interviewing him.

  215. says

    Matt Miller: “The FBI will have figured out that 2019 is likely to bring at least a Democratic House with subpoena power. Going to be a lot of memos to the file written over the next week documenting whatever restrictions the WH has demanded.”

  216. says

    Update: Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford appear unlikely to be interviewed by FBI due to White House restrictions. One congressional aide said the Friday statement from Senate Judiciary Committee about the scope of the probe was left purposefully vague.”

    Completely ridiculous. Again – they know Kavanaugh’s nomination can’t survive an FBI interview.

  217. says

    southpaw: “There are American citizens with credible connections to the Supreme Court nominee’s case knocking on the doors of the Senate and the FBI trying to volunteer information, and no one in power has the decency to take their statement. It’s really upsetting.”

    More at the link. Infuriating.

  218. says

    “The GOP is buying the House. Literally.”:

    If Republicans succeed in keeping the House in November, it will have been bought for them by corporations and the rich — quite literally.

    President Trump recast the Republican Party as a vehicle for the forgotten man. But these putative populists passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut that, according to a poll this month for the Republican National Committee, is now seen, by a 2-to-1 margin, as a benefit to “larger corporations and rich Americans” over the middle class. And now these same friends of the little guy are running a campaign for the House bankrolled almost entirely by corporate interests and those who can afford to write four-figure checks to politicians.

    Records show House Republican incumbents in seats targeted by Democrats are getting almost all their campaign funds from large contributors (often those who donate $2,700 or $5,400) and political action committees. Only a tiny fraction comes from those who give $200 or less.

    For example, Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Kevin Yoder (Kan.), Ann Wagner (Mo.), Tom MacArthur (N.J.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) and Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.) all get less than 1 percent of their campaign cash from small donations.

    As the campaign-finance reform group End Citizens United points out, the disparities in competitive races are often particularly stark….

    Some of the most vulnerable Republicans do almost entirely without small donors:…

    …164 House Democrats have co-sponsored a “By the People Resolution” from Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) promising action on voting security, automatic voter registration, nonpartisan redistricting, ethics laws, lobbying limits, disclosure of secret campaign money and a constitutional amendment undoing the Citizens United ruling.

    The resolution, introduced in June with the support of Democratic leaders, has zero chance of coming to a vote. It is meant to present voters with a choice for the next Congress: an anti-corruption agenda as the first order of business, or the best House money can buy.

    (Just a personal note, but I refuse to call them the “GOP.” They won’t even say “Democratic,” and gleefully admit that this is done to publicly disrespect Democrats. I’m not going to come up with an equivalent petty insult, but I’ll be damned if I call this evil racket the “Grand Old Party.”)

  219. says

    “Another Trump coverup? Former FBI agents question limits on probe of Kavanaugh.”:

    …Former FBI agents I spoke with questioned the apparent limits on the renewed background check.

    “It’s not an investigation if the FBI is going to accept the dictates of the White House in terms of who you can interview and who you can’t,” John Mindermann, a former FBI special agent who investigated the Watergate break-in, told me. Mindermann added that the idea of such a limited investigation is “ridiculous” and that if this holds, “it would be unprofessional, it would be grossly incomplete, and it would be unfair to the American public.”

    …Indeed, Mindermann told me that a “complete investigation” would include talking to more people “in all of the venues in which Kavanaugh interacted — private school, parties, law school.” Mindermann added that if the FBI “did the job they should and can do, I would be very surprised if they did not find relevant, very significant additional information about Kavanaugh.”

    “A complete background check investigation will not be possible without the ability to interview classmates and associates and anybody with knowledge of the circumstances in the time frame in question,” Dennis Franks, a former FBI agent with two decades of experience, added in an interview with me. “The circumstances in this matter deal with allegations of extensive drinking and behavior while intoxicated. This would normally be an issue that is addressed.”…

  220. says

    Chad Ludington’s full statement (I assume it’s OK to quote in full):

    I have been contacted by numerous reporters about Brett Kavanaugh and have not wanted to say anything because I had nothing to contribute about what kind of justice he would be. I knew Brett at Yale because I was a classmate and a varsity basketball player and Brett enjoyed socializing with athletes. Indeed, athletes formed the core of Brett’s social circle.

    In recent days I have become deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale. When I watched Brett and his wife being interviewed on Fox News on Monday, and when I watched Brett deliver his testimony under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, I cringed. For the fact is, at Yale, and I can speak to no other times, Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him. On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.

    I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18- or even 21-year-old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. I would be a hypocrite to think so. However, I have direct and repeated knowledge about his drinking and his disposition while drunk. And I do believe that Brett’s actions as a 53-year-old federal judge matter. If he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences. It is truth that is at stake, and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation’s most powerful judges.

    I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth.

    I felt it was my civic duty to tell of my experience while drinking with Brett, and I offer this statement to the press. I have no desire to speak further publicly, and nothing more to say to the press at this time. I will, however, take my information to the F.B.I.

    Charles (Chad) Ludington

  221. says

    “The Washington Times settles lawsuit with Seth Rich’s brother, issues retraction and apology for its coverage”:

    The Washington Times on Monday issued a lengthy retraction and apology for an editorial it published in March about Aaron Rich, the brother of the slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich whose unsolved murder became the basis for conspiracy theories on the far-right.

    “The Column included statements about Aaron Rich, the brother of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, that we now believe to be false,” read part of the retraction.

    The retraction added, “The Washington Times apologizes to Mr. Rich and his family. All online copies of the Column have been deleted and all online content referencing the Column has been deleted to the extent within The Washington Times’ control.”

    The retraction came as part of a settlement Aaron Rich reached with The Washington Times after he filed a lawsuit against the conservative newspaper — and others — in March, his attorney Michael Gottlieb told CNN.

    Gottlieb declined to discuss other terms of the settlement, but said that Aaron Rich had accepted the newspaper’s apology.

    “The apology and retraction are robust — unusually robust,” Gottlieb told CNN. “And Mr. Rich is very pleased with The Washington Times taking responsibility for its publication and he’s accepted their apology.”

    “We look at this as a significant step forward in clearing Aaron’s name,” added Gottlieb….

  222. says

    “Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100”:

    Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century.

    A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.

    But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.

    The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020. While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket.

    “The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,” said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002….

    “In rollback of mercury rule, Trump could revamp how government values human health”:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has sent a proposal to the White House that would weaken existing curbs on power plants’ emissions of mercury, a powerful neurotoxin, by changing the way it calculates the cost and benefits of curbing hazardous air pollutants.

    The proposed rule, according to two senior administration officials who have reviewed the document but spoke on the condition of anonymity because it has not been finalized, would reverse a 2011 Obama administration finding that the agency must factor in any additional health benefits that arise from lowering toxic pollutants from coal plants when evaluating the rule’s costs and benefits. These “co-benefits,” which include soot and smog-forming pollutants, help underpin the justification for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) that the EPA issued seven years ago.

    If enacted, the rollback — which was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Friday — would not eliminate existing mercury emissions limits altogether. But it could severely weaken the underlying public health justification that the previous administration used to restrict the release of that and other harmful pollutants into the air.

    Coal-fired power plants are the single biggest emitter of mercury, which can cause brain damage in young children. Over time, these emissions build up in fish, whose elevated levels of mercury are absorbed by people who eat it….

    Much more at both WaPo links.

  223. says

    Ken Dilanian: “As has become clear, it turns out the president hasn’t lifted the constraints on this investigation, sources tell NBC News and every other major media organization. His tweet was just disinformation, plain and simple.”

  224. says

    Trump changes NAFTA’s name (but not much else)

    […] Trump has long opposed NAFTA for reasons he’s struggled to explain, and [he] made it a priority to renegotiate the terms of the existing trade deal with our Canadian and Mexican partners. The deadline for an agreement was last night, and it looks like the deal is done. […]

    The agreement now heads to Congress, where its future is uncertain.

    As expected, the new NAFTA includes an extensive list of provisions, but it does not appear to be a dramatic overhaul. The New Republic’s Jeet Heer explained that the new agreement “is only a minor shift from the status quo,” adding that the changes are “mostly cosmetic.”

    The major victory for the Trump administration is that the Canadian market will be opened up for more American dairy products. But, as The New York Times notes, this opening “is similar to what the United States would have gained through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade treaty that President Trump withdrew from last year.” Under the new agreement, the United States would now have access to 3.6% of Canada’s dairy market (TPP would’ve opened up 3.25% of the dairy market). In other words, the most significant concession Canada made was only slightly larger than what it had already been prepared to make.

    And, get this, it was President Obama’s administration that negotiated that dairy market deal. The deal was ready for Trump when he took office.

    The New York Times’ Paul Krugman added, “My original prediction on Trump/NAFTA was that we would end up making some minor changes to the agreement, Trump would declare victory, and we’d move on. That’s what seems to have happened.” […]

    The American president was determined to “rebrand” NAFTA, not to change its core provisions. To that end, the new NAFTA, at the White House’s insistence, will now be called USMCA – for “U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement – which is vastly more difficult to say.

    Nevertheless, the name change was a “non-negotiable” demand from the Trump administration’s delegation. Trump wanted a new NAFTA deal, and he was heavily invested in the idea that NAFTA needed a new name.

    Which brings us to an eerily familiar point: this president may not care much about public policy, but Trump cares deeply about what public policies are called. […]

  225. says

    From the Boston Globe:

    Make no mistake: Brett Kavanaugh’s a liar.

    He lies about little things. He lies about big things. He lies under oath. […]

    Unfortunately, the only way for senators to convince themselves that Kavanaugh hasn’t already been shown to be a habitual liar is to lie to themselves.

  226. says

    Beto O’Rourke, Democratic Senate candidate in Texas, drew a crowd of more than 50,000 people for his Saturday night rally. Willie Nelson was a featured guest.

    […] The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday those kind of numbers would make it the largest rally for a single candidate since “at least” the 2016 presidential campaign. Nelson even debuted a new song at the rally, “Vote ‘Em Out,” which he ended with a shout out to the Democratic candidate: “Thank you Beto, all the way buddy!” […]


    Video available at the link.

  227. says

    Republicans allowed a good program to lapse. The Land and water Conservation Fund program expired on Sunday (yesterday):

    […] The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides funding to protect parks, forests, cultural heritage sites, and water resources, at zero expense to taxpayers. The fund, which is paid for through revenues from offshore drilling, was passed in 1964 and has financed projects in all 50 states.

    Money from the fund is used to protect lands and recreation access across the board: from local baseball fields and trails, to purchasing private land inholdings within national parks.

    With the lapse of the fund, the authority to carry out current LWCF projects remains authorized, but any new revenue from offshore drilling stops going into the fund, meaning new and upcoming projects will likely not have funding to proceed. […]

    “It’s outrageous that the Republican-led Congress is allowing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to expire,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters in a statement. “LWCF has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Its expiration is a clear failure of leadership, starting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to even schedule votes. Communities need Congress to fix this and save America’s best parks program.”

    Part of the reason the fund was left to expire is that Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, and Republicans have repeatedly attempted to frame it as an “either/or” choice between investing in the LWCF and addressing the National Park Service’s (NPS) backlog of maintenance projects. In fact, despite paying lip service in support of LWCF, Secretary Zinke’s budget recommended zeroing out funding for LWCF, while at the same time proposing a new fund to pay for infrastructure in national parks. […]

    the maintenance needs of NPS and other public lands agencies could be swiftly addressed if Congress were to provide adequate funding through its normal appropriations process, rather than establishing a separate new program that threatens to divert money away from the LWCF. […]


  228. says

    ICE strikes again … ICE hauled an immigrant out of his marriage interview:

    Oscar Hernández and his wife María Eugenia Hernández waited three years for their marriage interview last week with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). But by mid-interview, the Hernándezes were separated and Oscar was on his way to an immigration detention facility, according to the Miami Herald.

    USCIS conducts marriage interviews to ensure that marriages are legitimate and that immigrants like Oscar are eligible to have their immigration status legalized.

    The Hernándezes brought with them to the interview a small album of wedding and family photos, their marriage certificate, and a statement from their joint bank account. Oscar is the primary wage-earner in the household.

    The couple has been together for four years and married for three. Neither anticipated what ultimately happened to them.

    “I went to the immigration appointment with a lot of confidence because it was an interview. I never imagined they would take my husband away under arrest,” Maria told the Miami Herald. “We are trying to do the right thing.”

    During the interview with USCIS, Maria was asked to step of the office. Twenty minutes later, she was told that Oscar had an order of deportation from years ago and as a result, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    Oscar, a 42-year-old born in Nicaragua, had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without papers in 2004. At the time, he was arrested, processed, and released by border patrol and was sent a letter ordering him to appear before an immigration judge. Maria claims he never received the letter because he had moved to Florida. When Oscar missed his court date and an order of deportation was issued. […]

    USCIS and ICE agents have been working in concert to coordinate the interviews and arrests of immigrants applying for citizenship through marriage.

    According to emails obtained by the Boston Globe between employees at the two agencies, ICE asked USCIS officials to space out the meetings so that the public wouldn’t catch on and draw “negative media interests.”

    […] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over the arrests, describing the coordinated meetings as “traps.” […]


  229. says

    I guess the Trump administration really doesn’t want Wilbur Ross to testify. The courts do not agree, calling Trump’s attempts to block court actions “frivolous” and “outrageous.”

    On Sunday, a federal judge blasted the Trump administration’s attempt to block key depositions in a case challenging a controversial question about US citizenship on the 2020 census, calling the request “frivolous—if not outrageous.”

    Jesse Furman, a judge on a federal district court in New York, has ordered top administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights John Gore, to sit for depositions as part of a lawsuit against the administration filed by New York and 16 other states challenging the citizenship question. The Trump administration plans to appeal those orders to the Supreme Court and asked Furman to halt all depositions in the case “pending Supreme Court review.”

    The depositions of Ross and Gore, in particular, could provide key insight into why the administration added a citizenship question to the census for the first time since 1950. Civil rights groups have strongly criticized the move, arguing that it will cause immigrants to be afraid to respond to the census and will lead to undercounting of immigrants and reduced political power and resources for the areas where they live.

    Ross testified before Congress that the push for the citizenship question was “initiated” by the Justice Department, but internal documents released as part of the lawsuit show that Ross aggressively lobbied the Justice Department to request the question. […]


  230. says

    Steve Bannon’s take on the Kavanaugh nomination:

    There’s no walking this thing back. You get Kavanaugh, you’re going to get turnout. You get turnout, you’re going to get victory. This is march or die.

    So, that’s it then. In the minds of Republicans this all about the midterm elections in November, and not about the integrity of the Supreme Court.

  231. says

    Trump is still pretending to be backing a “comprehensive” FBI probe into Kavanaugh’s fitness for the Supreme Court. Trump said today that he does not object if the FBI interviews a woman represented by Michael Avenatti.

    […] “It wouldn’t bother me at all,” Trump said at a White House news conference when asked if he is OK with the FBI interviewing all three of Kavanaugh’s accusers.

    Trump said he heard the woman, Julie Swetnick, had “very little credibility” but has no problem with the FBI carrying out a comprehensive probe. […]


  232. says

    Well, he’s already a “mess,” but I guess it could be worse:

    […] While answering questions about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s drinking habits, Trump said he thought the judge was “really strong on the fact that he drank a lot,” but drove home the fact he does not partake himself.

    “I can honestly say I never had a beer in my entire life. It’s one of my only good traits,” Trump said at a news conference at the White House.

    “Can you imagine if I had, what a mess I’d be?” he continued, prompting laughter from administration officials in the crowd.

    But Trump declined to answer a reporter’s question about whether he would pull Kavanaugh’s nomination if he was found to have lied about his drinking in high school.


  233. says

    Trump is evasive about what a comprehensive FBI probe means:

    […] Trump also called for the FBI to conduct its investigation within the parameters of what the Senate GOP majority had set out.

    “I think the FBI should do what they have to do to get to the answer,” Trump told reporters during a press conference announcing a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

    “I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation, whatever that means according to the senators, and the Republicans, and the Republican majority, I want them to do that,” the president added.

    “Now with that being said, I’d like it go go quickly,” he continued. “Because it’s unfair to (Kavanaugh) at this point.” […]


    Trump says he wants a “very comprehensive investigation,” and in the same sentence says that the FBI should conduct the investigation according to “the Republican majority.” You can’t have both.

  234. says

    From an article in Esquire, Devin Nunes has a secret, and it involves his family hiring a lot illegal immigrants.

    […] The Nunes family dairy of political lore—the one where his brother and parents work—isn’t in California. It’s in Iowa. Devin; his brother, Anthony III; and his parents, Anthony Jr. and Toni Dian, sold their California farmland in 2006. Anthony Jr. and Toni Dian, who has also been the treasurer of every one of Devin’s campaigns since 2001, used their cash from the sale to buy a dairy eighteen hundred miles away in Sibley, a small town in northwest Iowa where they—as well as Anthony III, Devin’s only sibling, and his wife, Lori—have lived since 2007. […]

    There’s nothing particularly strange about a congressman’s family moving. But what is strange is that the family has apparently tried to conceal the move from the public—for more than a decade. As far as I could tell, until late August, neither Nunes nor the local California press that covers him had ever publicly mentioned that his family dairy is no longer in Tulare. […]

    Other dairy farmers in the area helped me understand why the Nunes family might be so secretive about the farm: Midwestern dairies tend to run on undocumented labor. The northwest-Iowa dairy community is small. Most of the farmers know one another, and most belong to a regional trade group called the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance […] One dairy farmer said that the threat of raids from ICE is so acute that WIDA members have discussed forming a NATO-like pact that would treat a raid on one dairy as a raid on all of them. The other pact members would provide labor to the raided dairy until it got back on its feet.

    In every conversation I had with dairy farmers and industry insiders in northwest Iowa, it was taken as a fact that the local dairies are wholly dependent on undocumented labor. The low unemployment rate (it’s 2 percent in Osceola County), the low profit margins in the dairy business, and the global glut of milk that keeps prices low make hiring outside of the readily available pool of immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala unthinkable.

    “Eighty percent of the Latino population out here in northwest Iowa is undocumented,” estimated one dairy farmer in the area who knows the Nunes family and often sees them while buying hay in nearby Rock Valley. “It would be great if we had enough unemployed Americans in northwest Iowa to milk the cows. But there’s just not. We have a very tight labor pool around here.” This person said the system was broken, leaving dairy farmers no choice. “I would love it if all my guys could be legal.” […]

    Much more at the link. The article is a good read.

  235. says

    So MSNBC just showed a few minutes of an interview with Jeff Flake in Boston (good questions), in which he expressed that he wants the FBI investigation to be significant and that he’d been talking to the WH. Then Ken Dilanian said that there’s a new report in the NYT saying that the WH has issued a new directive to the FBI telling them basically to do what they think is necessary. He hasn’t confirmed it yet, but if true that’s good, if belated, news.

  236. says

    Here’s the NYT piece, which has now been confirmed by NBC (great work by Ken Dilanian on this, btw) – “White House Tells F.B.I. to Interview Anyone Necessary for Kavanaugh Inquiry”:

    The White House has authorized the F.B.I. to expand its abbreviated investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long the review is finished by the end of the week, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

    The new directive came in the past 24 hours after a backlash from Democrats, who criticized the White House for limiting the scope of the bureau’s investigation into President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. The F.B.I. has already completed interviews with the four witnesses its agents were originally asked to talk to, the people said.

    Mr. Trump ordered the one-week F.B.I. investigation on Friday after Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona and a key swing vote on the nomination, insisted that the allegations be examined before he committed to voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh on the floor. But the White House and Senate Republicans gave the F.B.I. a list of just four people to question: Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth, high school friends of Judge Kavanaugh’s; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of his main accuser, Christine Blasey Ford; and Deborah Ramirez, another of the judge’s accusers.

    Mr. Flake expressed concern on Monday that the inquiry not be limited and said he had pressed to make sure that happens. “It does no good to have an investigation that gives us more cover, for example,” he said in a public appearance in Boston. “We actually have to find out what we can find out.”

    In interviews, several former senior F.B.I. officials said that they could think of no previous instance when the White House restricted the bureau’s ability to interview potential witnesses during a background check. Chuck Rosenberg, who served as chief of staff under James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, said background investigations were frequently reopened, but that the bureau decides how to pursue new allegations.

    “The White House normally tells the F.B.I. what issue to examine, but would not tell the F.B.I. how to examine it, or with whom they should speak,” he said. “It’s highly unusual — in fact, as far I know, uniquely so — for the F.B.I. to be directed to speak only to a limited number of designated people.”…

    And now it’s eaten up almost three days of the week they had. Trump also took the opportunity to lie about Richard Blumenthal some more:

    …“This guy lied when he was the attorney general of Connecticut,” Mr. Trump said. “He lied.”

    The president was referring to a 2010 article in The New York Times reporting that Mr. Blumenthal had told audiences that he had “served in Vietnam,” implying he had fought in the war, when in fact he served in the Marine Reserve in the United States at the time. Mr. Blumenthal noted that he did serve in “the Vietnam era” but said he took “full responsibility” for what he called “a few misplaced words.”

    The president went further, saying that Mr. Blumenthal had boasted of fighting in Da Nang. “We call him ‘Da Nang Richard,’” he said. “And now he’s up there talking like he’s holier than thou.” In fact, the Times article did not report that Mr. Blumenthal had ever claimed to fight in Da Nang or any other specific battle. Mr. Trump also said incorrectly that Mr. Blumenthal dropped out of his Senate race as a result but won anyway….

    And to claim he had kompromat on a Democratic Senator.

  237. Hj Hornbeck says

    SC @438:

    Comey tells the House Judiciary Committee that he won’t do a private interview but will do a public hearing.

    Update: the HJC says no, private-only plz.

    The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), doesn’t appear to be interested in Comey’s alternative proposal.

    “We have invited Mr. Comey to come in for a transcribed interview and we are prepared to issue a subpoena to compel his appearance,” an aide said, when asked about Comey’s request for a public hearing.

  238. says

    NBC is reporting that they have text messages showing Kavanaugh communicated with friends to get them to refute Ramirez’ claim prior to the publication of the New Yorker article. A mutual friend of Ramirez’ and Kavanaugh’s has been trying to get information about it to the FBI but hasn’t yet been able.

  239. says

    Here’s the NBC article: “Mutual friend of Ramirez and Kavanaugh anxious to come forward with evidence.”

    You have to read the whole thing. It’s something else.

    Further, the texts show Kavanaugh may need to be questioned about how far back he anticipated Ramirez would air allegations against him. Berchem says, in her memo, that Kavanaugh “and/or” his friends “may have initiated an anticipatory narrative” as early as July to “conceal or discredit” Ramirez.

    Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that the first time he heard of his former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez’s allegation that he exposed himself to her in college was in a Sept. 23 article in The New Yorker.

  240. says

    “Kavanaugh Was Questioned by Police After Bar Fight in 1985”:

    As an undergraduate student at Yale, Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a local bar during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron, according to a police report.

    The incident, which occurred in September 1985 during Mr. Kavanaugh’s junior year, resulted in Mr. Kavanaugh and four other men being questioned by the New Haven Police Department. Mr. Kavanaugh was not arrested, but the police report stated that a 21-year-old man accused Mr. Kavanaugh of throwing ice on him “for some unknown reason.”

    A witness to the fight said that Chris Dudley, a Yale basketball player who was friends with Mr. Kavanaugh, then hit the man in the ear with a glass, according to the police report, which was obtained by The New York Times.

    The report said that the victim, Dom Cozzolino, “was bleeding from the right ear” and was later treated at a local hospital. A detective was notified of the incident at 1:20 a.m.

    Mr. Dudley denied the accusation, according to the report. For his part, speaking to the officers, Mr. Kavanaugh did not want “to say if he threw the ice or not,” the police report said.

    The report referred to the altercation, which occurred at a bar called Demery’s, as “an assault.” It did not say whether anyone was arrested, and there is no indication that charges were filed.

    The outlines of the incident were first referred to in a statement issued on Sunday by Chad Ludington, one of Judge Kavanaugh’s college classmates and a member of the Yale basketball team….

    More at the link. Dudley sounds like another peach.

  241. says

    Bloomberg – “Kavanaugh College Visit to Bar Erupted in Fight, Classmate Says”:

    Future Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and two fellow Yale University students were in an off-campus bar back in 1985.

    They had just come from seeing the English reggae band UB40 at a nearby venue in New Haven, Connecticut, when they saw a man who resembled the lead singer. The man told the trio he wasn’t the singer and brusquely told them to stop looking at him. Kavanaugh couldn’t let the comment pass, according to one of the two friends with Kavanaugh that night.

    Kavanaugh first cursed at the man. After the man responded in kind, Kavanaugh threw a beer in his face, said Charles Ludington, a former Yale basketball player who’s now a history professor at North Carolina State University. The act precipitated a brawl that drew in their other friend — Yale basketball star and future NBA player Chris Dudley — and eventually prompted a call to police.

    Kavanaugh was frequently “belligerent and aggressive” after drinking and had lied to senators about his experience with alcohol, Ludington said in a statement released to the news media Sunday. The barroom fisticuffs were the most searing example of Kavanaugh’s behavior he remembers, Ludington said in an interview with Bloomberg News, where he expanded on his statement for the first time.

    “It was sort of a general feature of hanging out with Brett in college,” he said in an interview. “When you’re having beers on a Friday or Saturday night, that was kind of Brett’s shtick. He was aggressive. He was belligerent.”

    Ludington said he has no information about any of the allegations of sexual impropriety facing Kavanaugh. But he has clear memories of the nominee’s drinking during college and of the incident at the bar.

    The incident would become a hot topic of conversation among the other members of the basketball team because its star at the time, Dudley, was involved, according to another team member.

    Team members were given a harsh lecture by coaches the next day telling them to avoid the bar, said the former player in an interview. He asked not to be named because of the intense politics surrounding the nomination hearing….

    When Dudley’s story first came out, all the bots and trolls were like, “Well, if this really happened, surely a police report can be produced.” And now it has!

  242. says

    Jane Mayer: “Interestingly, though Kavanaugh’s team scrambled to find someone who would call Ramirez a liar, no one did. I interviewed the Yale friend they produced, and when pressed, she declined to say Ramirez was lying, or was politically motivated.”

  243. says

    “White House agrees to expand Kavanaugh probe slightly as McConnell signals vote is imminent”:

    The White House has given the FBI permission to expand its probe of Brett M. Kavanaugh at least slightly, according to two people familiar with the matter, after facing a barrage of criticism over the weekend about the constricted investigation.

    The FBI has completed an initial round of interviews as part of its reopened background check of the Supreme Court nominee, and more are likely in the coming days, people familiar with the matter said.

    The White House and the FBI, though, still view the investigation as limited and time-sensitive, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday he intends to hold a vote on the nomination “this week.”

    Even the broadened probe — which will now encompass the allegations of a third accuser — seemed to have limits that might fuel the controversy.

    The FBI will not, for example, conduct an unfettered review of Kavanaugh’s youthful drinking or examine statements Kavanaugh made about his alcohol consumption during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to see if those answers were accurate or misleading, the people familiar with the matter said. The White House also could resist inquiries into new allegations, the people said.

    But people familiar with the matter said agents will be allowed to question more witnesses with information on the sexual-misconduct allegations. Drinking is inextricably intertwined with the allegations Kavanaugh faces, so it would be impossible to avoid that topic entirely. Two people familiar with the interviews so far say agents have asked routine questions, including about alcohol use.

    Precisely whom FBI agents will talk to was not immediately clear. A person familiar with the matter said the White House is getting briefed regularly on the investigation. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and politically charged law enforcement matter.

    As of Monday afternoon, the bureau had conducted interviews with at least four people. Three of them were identified as attendees of a party in Maryland where Christine Blasey Ford alleged Kavanaugh assaulted her when both were teenagers. The fourth was Deborah Ramirez, who had told the New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed his penis to her when both were students at Yale….

    That’s about one interview a day, and the same as the original list. If they really had “free rein,” they could have interviewed dozens of people and reviewed a huge amount of documents by now. There’s no evidence it’s expanded like that even now, and we haven’t seen the new directive.

    This article says essentially the same thing as Frank Figliuzzi just said on Maddow (with Joy Reid) and Ken Dilanian confirmed that this is what he’s hearing. Not good.

  244. says

    Re #s 443, 444, and 448 above:

    Update: When asked, Kavanaugh told committee staff Sept. 25th he was “probably” at a wedding with Ramirez. “I am sure I saw her because it wasn’t a huge wedding,” but “doesn’t have a specific recollection.” Texts show his team had the photo, from a friend, at least since Sept. 22.

  245. says

    “Former Miss Iraq ‘threatened’ after fellow Instagram star’s murder”:

    A former Miss Iraq says she has received death threats, days after another Iraqi model was shot dead.

    Shimaa Qassem voiced fears for her life in a live video broadcast online, saying she had received a message warning her that she would be next.

    On Thursday, Tara Fares – who had 2.8 million followers on Instagram – was killed by unknown gunmen in Baghdad.

    Her death came two days after a female human rights activist, Suad al-Ali, was gunned down in the city of Basra.

    And in August, the owners of two beauty salons in Baghdad – Rafeef al-Yaseri and Rasha al-Hassan – died a week apart in “mysterious circumstances” at their homes.

    Both women were reportedly from the same social circle as Ms Fares.

    It is not clear whether any of the deaths are connected. But Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he has the impression there is “a plan behind these crimes” and he has ordered an investigation….

  246. says

    Update to #444 – Heidi Przybyla is saying on MSNBC that her source and several other people are still “desperately” trying to get their information to the FBI and the FBI has been turning them away. The information in this case is directly related not only to Ramirez’ allegation but to Kavanaugh’s and his handlers’ attempts to contact witnesses about it in September.

    Total cover-up.

  247. says

    More on Trump’s “new” trade deals that are not really new:

    At the United Nations last week, Donald Trump put his signature on a new trade deal, alongside South Korea’s Moon Jae-in. “I’m very excited about our new trade agreement. And this is a brand-new agreement. This is not an old one, rewritten. This is a brand-new agreement.”

    Wrong. […] the original KORUS agreement was reached in 2012 under the Obama administration, and the current Republican administration really just revised some provisions. When Trump said he wasn’t just amending the previous deal, he had it largely backwards.

    A New York Times report explained last week that the revised trade deal features “few fundamental changes to the existing agreement,” adding that analysts believe “the revised agreement includes few provisions that will appreciably change the trade balance between the two countries, which Mr. Trump has complained about.”

    [Yesterday, Trump] touted the a new NAFTA-but-we’re-not-supposed-to-call-it-that agreement. “It’s a brand-new deal,” Trump said yesterday. “It’s not NAFTA redone; it’s a brand-new deal.”

    It’s really not. As the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell explained: “For the most part, despite Trump’s assertion that ‘it’s not NAFTA redone, it’s a brand-new deal,’ the president mostly kept NAFTA intact.

    “What’s more, some of the more significant changes — relating to issues such as labor standards, environmental protections and e-commerce — appear to be cribbed from another trade deal that Trump has demonized: the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

    Right. About that last bit, see comment 421.

    […] The most significant revisions mirror the provisions the Obama administration negotiated during the TPP talks a couple of years ago.

    Follow the series of events:

    1. Trump condemned NAFTA, despite not appearing to know any relevant details about NAFTA.

    2. Trump condemned the TPP, despite not appearing to know any relevant details about it, either.

    3. Trump killed the TPP and demanded negotiations to revise NAFTA.

    4. Trump settled on an agreement that, […] is “mostly just a smooshing together of two trade deals that he derided as the worst trade deals ever made.”

    Kevin Drum derided the new NAFTA as “one of the most trivial trade agreements ever.”

    So why bother? In part because Trump was obsessed with giving NAFTA a new name – it’s supposed to be called USMCA, which is unpronounceable, and which is at odds with the published text of the agreement, which uses “NAFTA 2018” – and in part because this president likes to be seen doing stuff.

    The goal is to create a talking point, not a policy. Trump will spend the next couple of years insisting that he shredded NAFTA and replaced it with a “historic” triumph, and we’ll be expected to believe this, even though it’s plainly at odds with what actually happened.


  248. says

    Update on polls that show Trump is ridiculed and disrespected pretty much worldwide, with few exceptions:

    […] Among the notable details from the new Pew report:

    * 70% of people around the world lack confidence in Trump.

    * Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are both held in higher regard internationally than Trump.

    * There are a handful of countries, including Japan, in which Trump’s standing has improved as compared to last year, but he’s still short of Obama’s level of support.

    In a Washington Post piece, Dan Drezner concluded, “Trump can say that America is respected again as much as he likes, but the public opinion data is clear on this point. A majority of Americans do not believe the country is more respected now than in the past. Foreign populations neither trust nor respect the United States more under Trump. Donald Trump’s America is less respected across the world. The president has succeeded in little beyond making America anxious about its global standing again.”


    Meanwhile, delusional Trump tweets:

    Thanks to REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, America is WINNING AGAIN – and America is being RESPECTED again all over the world. Because we are finally putting AMERICA FIRST!
    Our Economy is setting records on virtually every front – Probably the best our country has ever done. Tremendous value created since the Election. The World is respecting us again! Companies are moving back to the U.S.A.
    The U.S. is respected again!

    From Steve Benen:

    […] In the Reagan era, Trump insisted that “bad guys” were “laughing at” the United States. In 2011, The Atlantic ran a piece noting Trump making the same argument about international laughter, at Americans’ expense, during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama eras.

    “Everyone is always pointing and laughing at America, in Trump’s view,” The Atlantic piece noted. “A psychologist might have a field day with this.”

    Stop by the Trump Twitter Archive and search for example of the president writing missives about people laughing at us. It’s not a short list.

    Traditionally, this has made Trump appear vaguely paranoid about ridicule that didn’t really exist, responding to laughter that only he could hear. […] at the United Nations, the world laughed at Trump.

    It wasn’t just brutal, it was a reaction no modern American leader has confronted in such a setting.

  249. says

    Concerning reports surrounding the apparent disappearance of #MBS critic [Jamal Khashoggi] shortly after a visit to the #Saudi consulate in #Istanbul.

    #Riyadh says he left the facility; Khashoggi’s wife says he never came out.

    Already, disparaging hashtags are spreading online…”

  250. says

    Murkowski appears in no hurry even as McConnell pledges to move forward with Kavanaugh vote this week. ‘He talked about a vote last week, too,’ she told AP. Collins, riding with Murkowski on the Senate subway, smiled and told Murkowski, ‘Good answer.'”

    Flake also said that he didn’t like how Kavanaugh was “sharp” and “partisan” in the hearing last week – “We can’t have that on the Court.”

  251. says

    .@lisamurkowski: ‘I have had a conversation with Mr. McGahn about the extent of what the FBI is doing and what I have been assured is that they’re conducting this background investigation as they do all background investigations, allowing for the investigation to take its course’.”

    That doesn’t track with what Przybyla, Figliuzzi, and others are reporting, or with the evidence (we’re four days in, and there’s been no surge of FBI agents; they seem to be barely beyond the original four interviews).

  252. says

    Benjamin Wittes – “I Know Brett Kavanaugh, But I Wouldn’t Confirm Him: This is an article I never imagined myself writing, that I never wanted to write, that I wish I could not write.”

    (I’ve had my fill of more conservative takes, even if they reach the right general conclusions, so I’ll just say that I’m glad – not “gleeful” – that Wittes wrote this and recognize that it must have been extremely difficult for him to do…and that he reached the right general conclusions.)

  253. says

    Sources tell @JuliaEAinsley and me that while Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team has repeatedly reached out to the FBI, the FBI does not currently have plans to interview her. A source familiar with the matter says the White House feels her public testimony was sufficient.”

    Meanwhile, McConnell is saying that a report will “soon” be available, to Senators only.

  254. Hj Hornbeck says

    Much as I loathe the New York Times, they do pull off some excellent journalism from time to time.

    The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

    Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

    These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

    Trump’s lawyer is already threatening to sue the NYT, apparently having learned nothing.

  255. says

    Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez have said their clients are concerned the investigation is not thorough. Blasey’s lawyers have reached out repeatedly to the FBI and no one is getting back to them; they don’t even know who’s in charge.

  256. says

    Ramirez’ lawyer John Clune:

    Debbie Ramirez spoke to the FBI for over two hours this past Sunday. It was a detailed and productive interview, and the agents were clearly motivated to investigate the matter in any way they were permitted. Ms. Ramirez identified a number of witnesses, and, at the end of the interview, her lawyers provided the FBI the names and known contact information of additional witnesses (totaling more than 20) who may have corroborating information. Although we do not know the status of the investigation, we are not aware of the FBI affirmatively reaching out to any of those witnesses. Though we appreciated the agents who responded on Sunday, we have great concern that the FBI is not conducting—or not being permitted to conduct—a serious investigation.

  257. says

    The NYT uses a form of ‘fraud’ 10 times in its exposé of Trump finances: ‘overt fraud’…’appeared fraudulent’…’defrauding tenants’. I can see those words being circled in red every time by the Times’ lawyers, challenging the staff to prove it, justify it. Apparently they did.”

    (Remembering that Trump settled a $25 million fraud suit during the transition, and that his bogus foundation and company are both under investigation…)

  258. says

    More immigration-related cruelty from the Trump administration:

    […] Trump’s administration began denying visas to the unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and officials and employees of the United Nations this week — making marriage a requirement to be eligible for a visa.

    President Donald Trump’s administration began denying visas to the unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and officials and employees of the United Nations this week — making marriage a requirement to be eligible for a visa.

    The policy was made effective Monday.

    It comes despite the fact that the majority of countries do not recognize same-sex marriage and many same-sex couples face prosecution in their own countries.

    The shift was detailed in a memo circulated at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York last month but unveiled in July, according to the State Department.

    The policy shift gives the same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and U.N. workers until the end of the year to get married or leave the country. […]

    USA Today link.

  259. says

    From Trump’s comments today:

    It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.

    You can be somebody that was perfect your entire life, and somebody could accuse you of something.

    Women are doing great.

  260. Hj Hornbeck says

    We have more background info on “Beach Week,” again thanks to the NYT:

    In a 1983 letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, the young Judge Kavanaugh warned his friends of the danger of eviction from an Ocean City, Md., condo. In a neatly written postscript, he added: Whoever arrived first at the condo should “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us. Advise them to go about 30 miles…” […]

    “I think we are unanimous that any girls we can beg to stay there are welcomed with open….,” he wrote, his ellipsis at the end leaving certain things unsaid. He noted that the boys should kick out anyone who didn’t belong: “The danger of eviction is great and that would suck because of the money and because this week has big potential. (Interpret as wish.)”

  261. says

    Follow-up to comments 468 and 469.

    From Matt Shuham and Allegra Kirkland:

    […] “In every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply intertwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth.” […]

    Fred Trump’s assistance to his son started early, the Times reported, with huge cash gifts, a “flood” of millions of dollars in loans (“many” never paid back), trust funds, ownership interests in buildings, salaried positions and other financial help for Donald Trump beginning at a young age. Fred Trump gave his son money to establish his own businesses, including for leases, cars, stocks and employees’ salaries.

    At every step, Fred Trump, and eventually Donald Trump, avoided gift and inheritance taxes in ways experts told the Times were “improper or possibly illegal,” though there’s little chance Trump faces criminal consequences now, years later. […]

    One consistent avoidance tactic, the Times reported, involved severely underestimating the value of Fred Trump’s empire to avoid a high tax bill.

    When the elder Trump transferred his business to his children, the Trump kids valued a collection of buildings they’d received at $41.4 million. Those same buildings, the Times reported, would cumulatively be sold for a 16-fold increase over that number. […]

    Another “overt fraud,” in the Times’ surprisingly blunt language, involved a Trump company established to purchase supplies for the empire, but which in reality “simply mark[ed] up purchases already made by his employees,” leading to millions in untaxed revenue.

    Tactics abound: For example, Fred Trump would buy his own mortgages from the banks lending him money and transfer ownership of the debt to his children. They, in essence, would become his bankers, collecting interest on the loans. In other instances, he converted his buildings into cooperatives so that his children could benefit from an influx of cash.

    In 2004, Fred Trump’s children sold off his empire. Donald Trump received $177.3 million, the Times reported, “or $236.2 million in today’s dollars.”

  262. says

    NEWWWWS: FBI today interviewed Tim Gaudette, a Georgetown Prep classmate of Kavanaugh made famous through Kavanaugh’s calendar indicating he may have hosted July 1 ‘brewskis’ party. Dr. Ford claims Kavanagh attacked her at a party matching this.”

    I could be the only one, but when Dr. Blasey described it and how drunk Kavanaugh and Judge already were, I got the impression that maybe the guys had been there and been drinking since earlier in the day, so some of them were already there when she arrived.

  263. Hj Hornbeck says

    Huh, I just came across an interesting observation. From the NYT, on Kavanaugh’s Beach Week:

    When he drank, Mr. Garrett would stutter words that began with the letter F. It became such a joke that many football teammates, including Judge Kavanaugh and Mr. Garrett himself, had “FFFFF” references in their personal yearbook pages.

    But it turns out “FFFF” has a very different meaning.

    A one night stand. Used a lot in the 80’s.

    Find ’em, Feel ’em, F*ck ’em and Forget ’em.

    It’s not hard to believe that some 17-year-olds would get a huge kick out of spelling “FFFF” as “FFFFF” and claiming the two are entirely different. In fact, that story has a yearbook photo of a male student running around in a cheerleader’s skirt captioned “A FFFFestive Occasion.”

  264. says

    Follow-up to comments 481, 482 and 484.

    Response from Michael Bromwich, one of Ford’s attorneys:

    A vicious, vile and soulless attack on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well?

    She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice.

  265. says

    From Beto O’Rourke:

    Dr. Ford showed courage, power, and strength in her testimony. She should be treated with dignity and respect — not demeaned and belittled by the President of the United States.

  266. says

    More of the actual Trump screed against Christine Blasey Ford:

    36 years ago, this happened […] How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know.

    What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know, but I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.

    A man’s life is in tatters. His wife is shattered.

    They destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.

    Guilty until proven innocent, that’s very dangerous for our country. I have it myself all the time, but for me it’s like part of the job description…Let it happen to me. It shouldn’t happen to him.

  267. says

    From Hillary Clinton:

    I thought it was part of the whole of his [Kavanaugh’s] very defensive and unconvincing presentation. I told someone later, “Boy, I tell you, they give us a lot of credit — 36 years ago we started this against Kavanaugh.”

  268. says

    “Kavanaugh Defender Stood Up for Coach Accused of Sexually Abusing Girls”:

    When Chris Dudley, the ex-NBA player who knew Brett Kavanaugh in college, stood up for his friend, the White House quickly blasted out his comments to press as a character witness for the embattled nominee.

    With some light Googling, they may have discovered Dudley has some experience defending friends who find themselves under public scrutiny. One of the last men Dudley publicly backed up was a swim coach who was ultimately arrested and banned from USA Swimming for sexual assault allegations.

    The case took place roughly a decade ago, when Dudley vouched for the character of disgraced Lake Oswego swim coach Don King, who was accused of felony counts of sexual abusing minors he had coached.

    According to a post at the progressive website BlueOregon, which chronicled the September 2008 minutes of a Lake Oswego School Board hearing, Dudley testified as a key witness for King, who was at the time trying to get his old job back.

    The document appears to have been since removed from the Lake Oswego School District web page, but according to BlueOregon’s aggregation, Dudley was wholeheartedly supportive of his embattled friend….


  269. says

    “Dozens of potential sources of information have not been contacted by the FBI in Kavanaugh investigation”:

    More than 40 people with potential information for the investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have not been contacted for interviews by the FBI, according to multiple sources that include friends of both the nominee and his accusers.

    The bureau is expected to wrap up its expanded background investigation as early as Wednesday into two allegations against Kavanaugh — one from Christine Blasey Ford and the other from Deborah Ramirez.

    But sources close to the investigation, as well as a number of people who know those involved, say the FBI has not contacted dozens of potential corroborators or character witnesses.

    More than 20 individuals who know either Kavanaugh or Ramirez, who has accused the nominee of exposing himself to her while the two attended Yale University, have not heard from the FBI despite attempts to contact investigators, including Kavanaugh’s roommate at the time and a former close Ramirez friend.

    Additionally, these former classmates say the FBI would not be doing a thorough investigation if they don’t talk to Kavanaugh’s closest friends during that time, including Kevin Genda and David White.

    White lived in the same dorm suite as Kavanaugh and sources say all three hung out often and partied together. Neither Genda nor White have returned multiple requests for comment. NBC News does not know if they have been contacted yet for an interview.

    Genda, who works at Blue Torch Feeder Fund in New York City, married Karen Yarsavage, who was also friends with Kavanaugh and Ramirez at Yale. Both Kavanaugh and Ramirez were in their wedding party in 1997.

    Another mutual friend, Kerry Berchem, has sent a series of text messages she exchanged with Yarsavage to the FBI.

    The texts suggest that Kavanaugh had recently been in contact with Genda and Yarsavage, including in the days leading up to the release of the New Yorker story detailing Ramirez’ allegations.

    Despite three attempts to contact the FBI, the bureau has not responded to Berchem, she tells NBC News. Yarsavage has not responded to NBC’s inquiry to determine whether she has been contacted by investigators.

    White is another person former classmates say should be a person of interest to the FBI because they say it is plausible he is the person who was referenced in the New Yorker story who ran down the hallway and yelled that Kavanaugh put his genitals in Ramirez’ face.

    Another person that multiple sources say the FBI should speak to is Tracy Harmon. She was a close friend of Ramirez’ and they often attended social gatherings together, including those held in the dorm suite. According to sources familiar with the matter, Harmon had not been contacted as of later Tuesday night.

    Richard Oh, who lived in the suite where the alleged incident took place, told NBC News that he has tried to contact the FBI twice, once online and once in person.

    When he called the first time on Saturday morning, Oh said he struggled to get through. He submitted his information online and reached a person at the bureau over the phone on Sunday morning, he said. He was quoted in the New Yorker as hearing a female student recount the incident to another woman student. He said he didn’t know Ramirez but the account of what he heard that night matches Ramirez’ story. Oh is now an emergency room doctor in Northern California,

    Another former Yale classmate, Mark Krasberg, has also tried multiple times to reach the FBI but has received no response. He said wanted to inform them “that I have evidence which would be helpful to the investigation.”

    Krasberg, who lived in a dorm suite that Kavanaugh often hung out in, said he tried to reach the FBI multiple times, including contacting the Denver office, which is the office that is leading the investigation. He was transferred to the national FBI hotline where he spent 45 minutes retelling some of his story.

    He has since been in touch with the offices of Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Chris Coons, D-Del., who helped him to get in touch with the FBI. While the FBI hadn’t contacted him as of Tuesday morning, he was told Republican staff on the Judiciary Committee would contact him. He was still waiting for a call as of Tuesday night.

    Krasberg, a current neurology research assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, acknowledged that he doesn’t have corroborating evidence of Ramirez’ account but that his information might help to connect the dots.

    With time ticking on the investigation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated on Tuesday that he plans to hold a final vote on Kavanaugh this week.

    Republican staffers should be nowhere near this investigation.

    If I were Flake (Collins, Murkowski, Capito, Corker,…), I would be paying attention to these attempts to rig the “investigation” and cover up for Kavanaugh, and draw conclusions about the reasons for doing so.

  270. says

    Tim O’Brien just called Trump the “most successful con man in US history,” to which Stephanie Ruhle responded, “That’s why I call him a branding and marketing genius.” The distinctions between these two things have been totally lost.

  271. says

    Several groups have joined forces to file a lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State and GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp. The lawsuit claims that racially-biased methods were used to remove about 700,000 voters from the rolls in Georgia. This was done, perhaps, to affect the November midterm elections.

    […] Kemp has not notified the 700,000 citizens [the lawsuit alleges] — roughly one in ten of all eligible voters in the state — that they have been removed from the rolls over the last two years. In additional to legal action, the activists plan to make the list of purged voters public so that individuals can check for their names and then re-register before the October 9 deadline.

    Kemp’s office relies on the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, maintained by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), to maintain Georgia’s rolls. But the Crosscheck system is extremely flawed. One report found that when the program flags potential double-voters, or people registered to vote in more than one state, it identifies false positives more than 99 percent of the time. The National Voter Registration Act includes protections against types of voter roll maintenance programs that inadvertently remove properly registered voters. [Kobach again!]

    The groups filing the lawsuit include the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rainbow/PUSH, Georgia Coalition for The Peoples Agenda, and the New Georgia Project. Investigative journalist Greg Palast is also named as a plaintiff, alleging the state has not responded to his requests to public information regarding the purges. […]

    More to come:

    […] Palast and the voting groups said the Georgia lawsuit is just the first of 26 they plan to file across the country in states that use Kobach’s Crosscheck system.

    A July report from the Brennan Center for Justice found that states purged more than 16 million voters from the rolls between 2014 and 2016, with low-income and minority voters disproportionately affected. The increase in purged voters was most significant in parts of the country like Georgia with a history of racial discrimination that, until the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, were required to seek pre-approval of changes to their voting laws from the Department of Justice.

    Many of the states conducting illegal purges use the Crosscheck program, which has generated significant controversy in recent years. At least eight states have pulled out of the system because of its high margin of error.

  272. says

    From Max Boot, the author of “the Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right”:

    […] it took the emergence of Donald Trump. I was in my conservative bunker, and I thought this was a gross libel against the Republican Party to claim that we were catering to racism, or that it was a libel on America to claim that America was a pervasively racist society. And then Trump came along and I realized, “Wait a second. There is a much larger constituency for racism and xenophobia than I had realized.” And it made me think, “Oh, my goodness. This is why a lot of people were voting Republican.”

    It wasn’t because they loved supply-side economics. It wasn’t because they supported NATO. It was because they were looking for a candidate who would champion the interests of white people. And Donald Trump did that more unabashedly and more unapologetically than previous Republican candidates had done. That was a wake-up call. And then of course I saw other examples of racism coming to the fore in ways that were undeniable, like all these videotapes of police officers killing and abusing African Americans. The evidence is right there, on the tape. You can’t deny it. African Americans have been saying for years that they have been the victims of racist police, but I tended to believe the police officers.

    Same with the #MeToo movement, which made me realize, “Hey, feminists have a point when they talk about the abuses of patriarchal society and the suffering that women endure in America.” To be clear, I’m not buying into some kind of anti-American worldview. We have made real progress, but I think we have a long way to go. I think a lot of my fellow conservatives are in denial about the state of modern America. […]

    The reason why so many people are Republicans is because they hate Democrats; the actual substance of what Republicans stand for almost doesn’t matter. And that’s been a shocking realization.

    I re­registered as an independent the day after the election and no longer think of myself as a member of that community. On a personal level, it’s been a difficult experience because much of my identity was tied up in the conservative movement. And it’s hard for me to talk to a lot of my friends—the gap between us is so wide. But I’ve also realized the extent to which I had tailored my public statements to what the movement would find acceptable. I didn’t say anything I didn’t believe in, but there was a lot of stuff that I just didn’t comment on.

    I think it’s crazy that Republicans are opposed to all gun control when we have such a rampant problem with gun violence. But I just never tackled it. Or when Republicans deny climate change, which is a scientific fact, I didn’t deal with it. I just stayed in my lane, foreign policy and national security policy, and ignored the craziness all around me. I went with the tribe. I took the path of least resistance, and now it’s making me realize, no, I’ve got to think for myself, and that’s something very few people do, because being part of one of these political tribes, as much as anything, is a substitute for thought.

    The text above is an excerpt from a much longer interview conducted by David Corn.