This Is It: The Kavanaugh Hearings

Ken AshfordCongress, Political Scandals, Republicans, Supreme Court, Trump & Administration, Women's IssuesLeave a Comment

Two more allegations last night, although they were anonymous and went to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They were released last night in an effort by Republicans, I suspect, to show that there are many loony accusations.  Also two men came forward to take “credit” for the Kavanaugh assault on Dr. Ford, which actually does not HELP Kavanaugh.

I will not live blog the hearings.  I might not even listen to them that much.  I think, on the whole, they are a farce.  I think most Republicans have made up their mind. I think it only focuses one Ford’s allegation, and not the other two.  And even with Ford’s allegation, it doesn’t call necessary witnesses.

People not testifying at today’s hearing:

1. Deborah Ramirez
2. Julie Swetnick
3. Mark Judge
4. Mark Judge’s ex-girlfriend
5. Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate
6. Four people Ford told about the alleged assault before Kavanaugh was nominated
7. Experts on sexual assault

This may be moot — here’s why:

Senator Grassley has already started his spiel and is already attacking Senator Feinstein and the process, subtly backing the President’s theme that this is all a con.  And now he calls for civility.  If Grassley was concerned about civility, maybe he should allow Ford to speak before blasting the process in which Ford came forward and engaging in an extensive defense of Kavanaugh’s sterling character.

This is starting off like you would expect

Chairmansplaining.

10:40pm.  Seriously, I am not live-blogging this.  But Ford is reading her opening statement and immediately, she comes off as credible if not traumatized.

Ron Lieber, a columnist for the NY Times is on a plane with others, watching the hearing:

Here is her prepared opening statement:

The GOP is fighting a social media battle.  This was released online AS Dr. Ford is reading her opening statement. I think it will backfire.

#IstandWithBrett pic.twitter.com/zviUcC6bvb— GOP (@GOP) September 27, 2018

Ford taps into her psychology background to explain why she’s so sure it was Kavanaugh that attacked her. 

Feinstein asked, “How are you so sure that it was he?”

Ford: “The way that I’m sure I’m talking to you right now, it’s just basic memory functions, and also just the level of norepinephrine and epinephrine in the brain that sort of, as you know, that neurotransmitter encodes memories into the hippocampus so that trauma-related experience is locked there so other memories just drift.” 

Rachel Mitchell, an outside prosecutor who is questioning Ford on behalf of the GOP committee member, is  using a typical “good cop” cross examination tactic — gentle style, non-confrontational, but methodically attempting to build a battery of alleged errors, mistakes or gaps in testimony.

11:30 — They are on break. I have missed a lot so far, but it seems clear that the FORMAT is not helpful.  Five minutes with the Dems and five minutes with Mitchell breaks Mitchell’s line of questioning.  It is all scattershot.

Curious how the right is taking it:

Oh, here’s one of the deplorables:

11:50 pm — They are back and I am listening to Mitchell’s cross.  It’s an attempt at “death at a thousand cuts”.  She is picking at inconsistencies in her statements and press reports.  Her answers are usually, “I don’t have a perfect memory of these things”, which is a valid answer.

All of these questions, though, only manage to highlight THE NEED FOR AN FBI INVESTIGATION.

And now Grassley is defending his decision not to have had an FBI investigation.

Whoa…. NY Times is moved

WHOA  — THIS IS BIG!

Oh my God….

Lunch break. How Fox is reporting it:

When Air Force One landed at Joint Base Andrews late Thursday morning, all of the televisions were tuned to Fox News’ coverage of Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony, according to a pool report. The analysis from President Donald Trump’s favorite network’s news hosts may not have been what he was hoping to hear.

“Compelling testimony, obviously emotional,” anchor Bret Baier said, as the hearing entered its first break.

Fellow news anchor Martha MacCallum, noting the disjointed nature of the questioning by a prosecutor brought in by Republicans for the hearing, said, “You have to believe that the Republican senators right now are asking themselves whether this was a good idea, whether or not they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to ask pointed questions in a way that perhaps might be more compelling.”

But it was veteran news host Chris Wallace who dropped the hammer the hardest.

“This was extremely emotional, extremely raw, and extremely credible,” he said. “Nobody could listen to her deliver those words and a talk about the assault and the impact it had on her life and not have your heart go out to her.”

“This is a disaster for Republicans,” Wallace said, referring to the format and sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell’s questioning. He later added, “The Democrats are landing haymakers.”

***
A viral moment, though, came Thursday, when Wallace discussed conversations he’d had with his daughters about sexual assault. “Two of my daughters have told me stories that I had never heard before about things that happened to them in high school and hadn’t told their parents,” he said.

“There are teenage girls who don’t tell stories to a lot of people,” he said. “I don’t think we can disregard that. I don’t think we can disregard Christine Blasey Ford and the seriousness of this.”

Good story here:

Ben Shapiro is not optimistic:

But Senator Graham, who has pre-judged this, is having a meltdown:

Hearing devolves into discussion about procedure — Lawyers for Ford pipe up with….

Add we’re adjourned for now. Ford is done with testimony.

ANOTHER UPDATE — Lindsay Graham is having a fit…. video coming, I think….

3:10 pm — And we’re back.  Kavanaugh is reading his written testimony.  He’s playing outrage.  Speaking loudly and forcefully.

But he seems to be attacking Democrats.  Saying that rhetoric of the Democrats lead to this.  In his statement, an angry Brett Kavanaugh blamed the Democrats, including the Clintons for his troubles

He is calling a an orchestrated character assassination.

He’s breaking down. Crying a little. Gathers himself.  I’m not sure how that will play.

He is asked about why he doesn’t want FBI to clear his name.  He just rants (almost cries) about how unfair everything has been.  Says he will do whatever the committee wants.  But he won’t answer the question.

The GOP is again passing off their questions to Mitchell.  A bit of a surprise since prosecuting sex assaulter crimes is her milieu. And indeed, she seems to be asking more probing questions of Kavanaugh than Ford.

Trump likes this, reportedly:

Best point made so far in Kavanaugh questioning just made by @SenatorDurbin.  Kavanaugh in his opening said he will welcome any investigation — Dick Durbin just instructed Kavanaugh to turn to Don McGahn and ask for an FBI investigation.  Kavanaugh balks.

Righteous indignation from Lindsay Graham.

Cornyn now trying to rehabilitate Kavanaugh. I guess they’ve abandoned their female prosecutor.

Wow.