The hearings are a sham. The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee (all older white men) will not question any witnesses, but will cede their power to a woman named Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor.
Mitchell is the chief of the special victims division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which deals with sexual assault cases, among others. A registered Republican, Mitchell has worked for in the county attorney’s office for 26 years.
In enlisting Mitchell to join their staff, Republican senators are taking an unusual step. They are turning to her to ask what are expected to be personal and potentially painful questions about the woman’s youth on live television, sparing the all-male panel of 11 Republican senators on the committee some uncomfortable exchanges that could sway the public’s opinion about the session.
That’s not the only thing unusual about the hearing tomorrow. The other thing is that there will be testimony from only two people: Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. Each senator will get five minutes of questioning (which means, presumably, that Mitchell gets 55 minutes per witness). But there will be nobody but those two — basically formalizing a he said/she said.
What can be gained from that? Very little. I expect both will be deemed “credible”. But most people, I assume, will have made up their minds.
The vote is scheduled for Friday morning.
This is not an investigation for the truth. The intention of the hearings, for Republicans, is not to determine the facts of the case, but to assuage the few senators who could be swing votes on the nomination: potentially Sens. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski. Just two Republican senators voting against him would be enough to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Even the president has hinted this is the party’s goal. He told reporters Wednesday morning he would have preferred that the nomination process were sped up earlier, to defray any questions into Kavanaugh’s background.
There will be no testimony from the eyewitness identified by Ford: Mark Judge.
And there will be no testimony related to a SECOND allegation against Kavanaugh. Deborah Ramirez has provided corroboration for her story. According to the New Yorker, a classmate of Ramirez’s told the publication he heard that Kavanaugh had exposed himself to Ramirez at a party shortly after it allegedly happened. Another classmate says he heard about the incident at the time, but wasn’t specifically aware that Kavanaugh was the alleged perpetrator.
And now, Michael Avenatti reveals his client: yet another Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick.
Below is my correspondence to Mr. Davis of moments ago, together with a sworn declaration from my client. We demand an immediate FBI investigation into the allegations. Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation. pic.twitter.com/QHbHBbbfbE— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 26, 2018
Here is a picture of my client Julie Swetnick. She is courageous, brave and honest. We ask that her privacy and that of her family be respected. pic.twitter.com/auuSeHm5s0— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 26, 2018
Will the Swetnick allegation be looked at? Probably not.
Here’s where Kavanaugh may have made a mistake: the Fox News interview. There, he portrayed himself as something of a choir boy. He drank, he said, but was always respectful of women. That did not go over well with many.
….. and it is not even noon.
UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY….
.@Arianedevogue reports: Judiciary Committee has responded to Avenatti, per committee source, saying investigators have “immediately started looking” into the allegations & asked if his client Julie Swetnick is willing to speak to investigators and when she might be available…— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 26, 2018
NEW:President Trump believes “that he must personally take charge of defending his embattled nominee ahead of Thursday’s critical appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.” @kaitlancollins @Kevinliptakcnn @DanaBashCNN report https://t.co/TUnYhUIuTd— andrew kaczynski🧐 (@KFILE) September 26, 2018
.@SenSchumer calls for GOP to “immediately suspend the proceedings related to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, and the president must order the FBI to reopen the background check investigation.” Says “Kavanaugh should withdraw from consideration.”— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 26, 2018
Remember, the “train” rape allegation is not new here…
Mark Judge’s ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Rasor, recalled to the New Yorker “that Judge had told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman. Rasor said that Judge seemed to regard it as fully consensual.”— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) September 26, 2018
Kavanaugh seems to be backtracking in an under oath statement he issued today — now admits to some heavy drinking as a teen
Chairman @ChuckGrassley today received Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s prepared written testimony ahead of tomorrow’s continuation of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to consider his nomination to serve on the United States Supreme Court. #SCOTUS https://t.co/7gpCSHJY9g pic.twitter.com/r8KyrGK9Uy— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) September 26, 2018
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, on Julie Swetnick’s allegations:— David Gura (@davidgura) September 26, 2018
“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”
Uh oh — Trump is entering the fray with Accuser #3
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2018
That’s kind of odd, because the Stormy Daniels accusations turned out to be true!
This seems significant.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 26, 2018
The chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, the main outside group supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination, is unwilling to say definitively that Kavanaugh should be confirmed in light of Swetnick’s new allegations. pic.twitter.com/yAPbithoKo
I will speak about tomorrow’s hearing on the Senate Floor at 1:15pm— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) September 26, 2018
Avenatti responds to Trump….
“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.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 26, 2018
Dems call on Trump to withdraw the nomination or have an FBI investigation —
Keep digging, GOP. It’s not helping!
After Trump voices support for Kavanaugh against accusations, @JordynPhelps asks him, “Are all three women lying?” His response: “What’s your next question?”— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 26, 2018
NEW #KAVANAUGH POLL:— Eli Yokley (@eyokley) September 26, 2018
• Net support for Supreme Court nominee dropped 18 points among GOP women.
• @realDonaldTrump approval fell 19 points among GOP women, with 68% approving and 26% disapproving.https://t.co/aPTiYqJszy pic.twitter.com/2qUT0xHvis
NEW: Christine Blasey Ford’s attorneys have released a polygraph report to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which found her responses “not indicative of deception” – CBS News— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) September 26, 2018
Submission from Ford’s lawyers to the committee including polygraph results:
a Trump supporter on MSNBC told her daughters that men groping women is “no big deal” pic.twitter.com/QbYubOJpXl— Caleb Ecarma (@calebecarma) September 26, 2018
In other corners of DC….
Jeff Flake on Senate floor: “I will have to listen to the testimony before I make up my mind … What I do know is that I don’t believe that Dr. Ford is part of some kind of vast conspiracy from start to finish to smear Judge Kavanaugh, as has been alleged by some on the right.”— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 26, 2018
Never. https://t.co/d1GEe27A7k— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 26, 2018
SCOOP— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) September 26, 2018
Mark Judge's girlfriend is prepared to speak to FBI about what Judge told her about group sex episodes as part of a renewed background check investigation, her lawyer has informed the Judiciary Committee.
I've obtained the letter to the committee:https://t.co/Tm0coSd6MC