On this episode: Doctor Christine Blasey Ford steps forward with an accusation of criminal wrongdoing by Brett Kavanaugh, and Senate Republicans offer a narrow window of opportunity to state her case. But quickly and without further investigation.
As you have doubtless heard, we know the identity of Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser and the nomination process has understandably and predictably exploded.
Her name is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and as we noted on last week’s episode, her accusations of an assault perpetrated by Brett Kavanaugh at a party in the early 1980s has corroborating information and has to be taken seriously.
In the intervening days since Sunday’s Washington Post article where Dr. Ford stepped forward we’ve see a few important things:
- Comparisons to the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings from 1991. For more on that, listen to Lena’s excellent overview back in Season 1, episode 9. Professor Hill has also written a piece in the New York Times with thoughts on how to avoid the debacle she had to endure.
- Attempts to speed the process with minimal investigation. Republicans are in a tight spot. They cannot appear to openly dismiss the allegations without appearing nakedly partisan. However, they are determined to avoid allowing anything beyond allowing Dr. Ford’s testimony in an attempt to discover the truth. Chairman Grassley, the President and countless talking heads are pushing the rhetorical nonsense that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not an investigative body, and not equipped to investigate the veracity of Dr. Ford’s accusations or pursue leads from other people who Dr. Ford says were there. Furthermore, by dismissing the notion of bringing the third person allegedly in the room who witnessed the attack (Mark Judge) to testify under oath, there appears to be a sense that Republicans are content to suspend any attempts to get additional information that will lead to evaluating what actually happened, and maintain a “She Said, He Said” facade that could be easily supplemented by investigative professionals with minimal delay.
- Doctor Ford is the subject of the type of harassment we hoped would be in the rearview mirror. She has been doxed, the subject of false rumors, and much more.
- It is unclear how next week will shake out. Chairman Grassley has offered a take it or leave it deal of testifying before the committee in some way on Monday. Dr. Ford, through her attorney, has requested an independent FBI investigation into the matter (as opposed to having partisan Committee staff do it, per Chairman Grassley) as a precondition to her testimony, but as of Thursday the 20th has not closed the door on testifying without it. Republicans feel more confident that public opinion has swung their way on forcing this narrow window of testimony, but many privately express that there will be political blowback.
- Oh, by the way, there’s plenty of time. Some back of the napkin math by our resident Senate rules guru Adam clearly shows that Senate Republicans have plenty of time left on the clock to handle this nomination or even a new nomination should Kavanaugh’s name be withdrawn. All they would need is 11.25 days to be exact. Why are they rushing this? If they are so sure he is innocent, why no investigation? There is time to exonerate him if he is telling the truth, and if he is lying, time to cut bait and replace him with another Federalist Society approved nominee.
Last but not least, Judge Kavanaugh’s blatant lies to the Committee regarding the stolen Manny Miranda documents is getting more attention. We talked about it last week, and The Post gives Kavanaugh 3 Pinocchios for his performance (“mostly false”). This should be reason alone to dismiss his nomination. But this issue has obviously taken a backseat to Dr. Ford’s story.
We’ll be back next week with a full trio of suspects from the ragtag gang. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Not 30 seconds after posting, Dr. Ford’s attorney responded to the SJC regarding testimony next week. Read about in the New York Times.
As you are aware, she’s been receiving death threats which have been reported to the FBI and she and her family have been forced out of their home,
. . .
She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety. A hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.