It really is starting to look like the GOP and Trump are choosing to prevail or die on this hill. And I’m not sure it is the best hill to die on.
SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh went on Trump TV (Fox News) last night with his wife, and — imagine this — denied that he sexually assaulted Dr. Ford in high school. He doubled down in a way, saying that he was a virgin throughout high school (which is sweet, but entirely irrelevant) and touted his own bonafides as being respectful of women, even back then.
As for the second allegation, Kavanaugh cited his college reputation as evidence he’s been falsely accused by former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who told the New Yorker Kavanaugh once thrust his genitals into her face at a party.
“The women I knew in college and the men I knew in college say it’s inconveivable that I could have done such a thing,” he said.
But around the same time Kavanaugh was making that claim on Fox News, his former Yale roommate, James Roche, told the Bay Area ABC affiliate that he believes Ramirez.
“I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk,” Roche told ABC 7. “I did not observe the specific incident in question, but I do remember Brett frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk.”
Roche said it was “believable” to him that Kavanaugh was part of a group of men who thought it was fun to torment women.
“I do not consider myself to be a political person and I have no political agenda,” he added. “I have shared this information with a small number of reporters who reached out to me directly because Debbie has a right to be heard and I believe her.”
Also last night following the interview, the New York Times published a deep dive into Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook page. The reporting drilled in on a comment on the page — “Renate Alumnius” — that traced back to high school boasts about the pursuit of a Catholic girls’ school student named Renate Schroeder. The news came as an unpleasant surprise to Schroeder, now Renate Schroeder Dolphin, as described on the Time’s homepage. She told the Times she did not know about the yearbook page and also contradicted a statement from Kavanaugh that the two shared an innocent high school kiss.
“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,” she told the Times. “I pray their daughters are never treated this way.”
During his Fox News interview, Brett Kavanaugh said repeatedly that he wants a “fair process.” That phrase shows up 23 times in the transcript of the interview, in fact. Usually “I just want a fair process where I can be heard” or “I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity.” But when he was asked whether he supports an FBI investigation, he dodged—again using the phrase “fair process,” twice, and “I want to be heard” as well. But Kavanaugh definitely didn’t say that a fair process would involve him being heard by the FBI.
And then there is this:
A third woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct will come forward in the next 48 hours, according to Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film star and alleged President Donald Trump mistress Stormy Daniels.
Following a Monday hearing over Daniels’ lawsuit against Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen over a hush-money deal, Avenatti told reporters he has been hired by a former employee of both the State Department and the U.S. Mint who has information of a sexual nature about Kavanaugh and his high school friend Mark Judge.
“It will relate to how they behaved at countless house parties,’’ Avenatti said.
Avenatti also told reporters the woman, whom he did not name, has multiple security clearances and will “literally risk her life’’ by coming forward. He called her “100 percent credible,’’ saying she has multiple witnesses to corroborate her story and would be willing to take a polygraph if Kavanaugh does as well.
We shall see what happens, but a FOX POLL(!) shows Kavanaugh is not going over well.
BREAKING: Record number of voters now oppose #Kavanaugh nomination:— Fox News Poll (@foxnewspoll) September 23, 2018
The number favoring Kavanaugh’s confirmation dropped 12 points among independents & 11 points among suburban women@FoxNews #Poll DETAILS: https://t.co/vG0zbma11e pic.twitter.com/gzOYdGaTBm
Trump et al would be wise to withdraw the nomination. But he needs to be convinced of that, and I’m not sure anyone is making that argument. And even if he is persuaded, he needs to find a face-saving way to do it. Maybe he’ll just put the screws to Kavanaugh himself to resign.
But in the context of the Kavanaugh fight, Trump’s view that he and people like him should be able to do whatever they like with impunity has stained and corrupted the process of selecting a new Justice from top to bottom.
Some new reporting in The Post sheds light on Trump’s state of mind, now that the Kavanaugh nomination is in some doubt. Trump is “simmering with frustration” over the sluggish pace of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and he and his aides are angry at Senate Republicans over it (bolding added):
Despite their public projections of unity, Trump and his aides behind the scenes see Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) as having been too accommodating to Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who has alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when he was 17, by delaying her hearing until Thursday. The president has said that Republicans are too easily manipulated by Democrats, that he is sick of Ford’s attorneys getting their way and that he does not believe her accusations are credible, according to a Republican briefed on Trump’s private comments.
For today, I hope it is quieter, as each side goes to its respective corner.
UPDATE — Fuel on the fire:
WATCH: “She admits that she was drunk,” President Trump says of Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to accuse Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct; accuses Democrats of playing a “con game” pic.twitter.com/lK6EOkR8Gd— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 25, 2018
Key vote in Murkowski….
Murkowski’s comment is enormously significant given the current attempt to smear the accusers by Trump and Kavanaugh— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) September 25, 2018
And the white men have got a ringer….
NEW: Senate Judiciary Cmte. Republicans have hired a woman staff counsel to ask questions of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh during Thursday’s hearing, two Republican cmte. aides tell @NBCNews – @frankthorp— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 25, 2018
MORE UPDATE — As for Michael Avenatti’s claim of another woman, it could be that he is susceptible to trolls.
Asked @MichaelAvenatti about the rumor his new client is a hoax: “It never happened. None of it. No truth to it. This is a fabrication of the right because they are worried and they should be."— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 25, 2018