And Now The Committee Vote [NOPE! An FBI Investigation!]

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

With the embarrassingly empty Kavanaugh hearings behind us, and a nation left wrecked by the he said/she said testimonies, the Senate is going ahead with the votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

After a closed-door meeting of the Republican conference late last night following the nearly nine-hour hearing, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) announced plans to vote Kavanaugh out of the Judiciary Committee at 9:30 a.m. Lawmakers were told that they need to stay in Washington over the weekend for procedural votes on Saturday and Monday.  A final confirmation vote on the floor is planned for Tuesday.

Republicans are going to ram this thing through no matter what.

Friday: Judiciary Committee votes at 9:30 a.m. [UPDATE: Moved to 1:30]
Saturday: Senate holds a procedural vote around noon
Monday: Senate votes on cloture
Tuesday: Final vote for confirmation

One of the swing votes, Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is on the Republican committee, and…

The motion to subpoena Mark Judge was defeated 11-10, on party lines.

This is hurtful.

And precisely why women do not come forward.

Some overnight developments.

(1)  America Magazine, a Catholic Jesuit publication, rescinded its endorsement of Kavanaugh following today’s hearing. Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Georgetown prep, is a Jesuit school.

(2) The American Bar Association called on the Senate to halt the consideration of Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh until an FBI investigation is completed into the sexual assault allegations that have roiled his nomination. This is notable, since ABA gave Kavanaugh a well qualified rating.

(3) Even Alan Dershowitz, one of Trump’s favorite legal minds, is now calling for an FBI probe of Kavanaugh charges: “Right now there are too many unanswered questions to bring the confirmation to a vote…FBI needs to talk to the judge’s accusers and others.”

The New York Times penned an editorial, signed by Editorial Board, entitled “Why Brett Kavanaugh Wasn’t Believable (And why Christine Blasey Ford was).  Key grafs:

Judge Kavanaugh’s biggest problem was not his demeanor but his credibility, which has been called in question on multiple issues for more than a decade, and has been an issue again throughout his Supreme Court confirmation process.

On Thursday, he gave misleading answers to questions about seemingly small matters — sharpening doubts about his honesty about far more significant ones. He gave coy answers when pressed about what was clearly a sexual innuendo in his high-school yearbook. He insisted over and over that others Dr. Blasey named as attending the gathering had “said it didn’t happen,” when in fact at least two of them have said only that they don’t recall it — and one of them told a reporter that she believes Dr. Blasey.

Judge Kavanaugh clumsily dodged a number of times when senators asked him about his drinking habits. When Senator Amy Klobuchar gently pressed him about whether he’d ever blacked out from drinking, he at first wouldn’t reply directly. “I don’t know, have you?” he replied — a condescending and dismissive response to the legitimate exercise of a senator’s duty of advise and consent. (Later, after a break in the hearing, he apologized.)

Judge Kavanaugh gave categorical denials a number of times, including, at other points, that he’d ever blacked out from too much drinking. Given numerous reports now of his heavy drinking in college, such a blanket denial is hard to believe.

In contrast, Dr. Blasey bolstered her credibility not only by describing in harrowing detail what she did remember, but by being honest about what she didn’t — like the exact date of the gathering, or the address of the house where it occurred. As she pointed out, the precise details of a trauma get burned into the brain and stay there long after less relevant details fade away.

She was also honest about her ambivalence in coming forward. “I am terrified,” she told the senators in her opening remarks. And then there’s the fact that she gains nothing by coming forward. She is in hiding now with her family in the face of death threats.

And for me, this was the lynchpin — his bizarre (to my mind) and absolute refusal to endorse an FBI investigation:

Pressed over and over by Democratic senators, Judge Kavanaugh never could come up with a clear answer for why he wouldn’t also want a fair, neutral F.B.I. investigation into the allegations against him — the kind of investigation the agency routinely performs, and that Dr. Blasey has called for. At one point, though, he acknowledged that it was common sense to put some questions to other potential witnesses besides him

And there you have it.  This too….


UPDATE:  It is 12:30 and we are approaching the 1:30 vote….

It’s 1:40 and something is DEFINITELY happening. Not voting and meetings (presumably with Flake) in the ante room.  Grassley is frowning.

The room is silent. All the action is in the ante room. FYI:  7 Members of the Committee, actually present, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of discussing business. 9 Members of the Committee, including at least 2 Members of the minority, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business.


Senate Judiciary advances Kavanaugh’s nomination to full Senate, Flake votes “aye” with the understanding that a floor vote could be delayed no more than a week in order to let the FBI do an investigation that is “limited in time and scope.”

Democrats should now send letter to White House formally requesting FBI investigation co-signed by Jeff Flake and every senator who wants FBI investigation.

Senator Graham to reporters: “Someone’s gotta explain this to Trump. I guess that’s my job”

The remarkable turn of events over the past few hours leading to a high probability of up to a week’s delay so the FBI can investigate will be a mirage unless the FBI investigation is deep and thorough. Here’s where they can start

Stay tuned!