On this episode: an ethically dubious report from the Maricopa prosecutor, moderate GOP Senators finally discover they have leverage, Don keeps finding those rakes the hard way, and members of UB40 got real excited about trending on Twitter… for about 30 seconds until they realized it was not because Red Red Wine was suddenly resonating with millennials.
Rachel Mitchell’s report causes some to question what her role was.
- Found no “reasonable prosecutor” would pursue the case
- But this was based solely on the testimony of two witnesses, did not spend any time going over the gaps and inconsistencies of Kavanaugh, and perhaps worst of all overlays a criminal prosecution standard on a nomination process that’s better analogized to a really important job interview.
The Flake deal and the power of the three GOP holdouts over McConnell
- Sen. Jeff Flake stunned the committee as it was poised to vote on reporting Kavanaugh out of committee with a positive recommendation that he (along with Sens Murkowski and probably Collins) leveraged a deal with McConnell to pursue a week delay between Committee and floor vote for an FBI investigation,
- Devil has been in the details as the WH and the Senate majority has tried everything to make the investigation appear legitimate, while simultaneously slapping cuffs on the investigation by limiting witnesses.
- As we’ll note later in the show, Don got involved and tripped all over himself trying to lengthen the con, but eventually got to the point where the shackles were somewhat removed and the FBI was given more leeway to explore leads beyond the limited list before.
- Flake was at public events and has suggested this needs to be a real investigation and not merely cover for a yes vote, AND has said on 60 Minutes if Kavanaugh has lied to the committee his nomination is over.
- Meanwhile the extra time has allowed additional information on Kavanaugh’s boozy past (hello new Beach Week letter! – NYT) and post UB40 show bar brawls to come to light, plus the possibility that he lied to Senator Hatch (!!!!!) about when he first discovered the Ramirez accusations based on text messages uncovered by NBC. Those texts show he knew of the allegations before they became public, but he testified in a question posed by Hatch that he first learned of them in the New Yorker piece.
Why lying about high school and college drinking matters and why we shouldn’t be looking through the lens of perjury as a standard
- Kavanaugh was in a bind. If he admitted to his now well-documented boozy past, it would contribute to the narrative that Dr. Ford testified to… that a drunken Kavanagh attacked her.
- To disrupt this narrative, he lied by stating he never drank to blackout excess, etc.
- This is the important difference… the lies about drinking to excess in high school and college are not themselves an issue. But overlaid on the serious allegations of sexual assault, with his drunken state as a piece of it, the lies point to a consciousness of guilt.
- And the lies happened under oath in front of the SJC. And as we’ve noted, these aren’t the only lies, just the dumbest ones. And the most easily proven alongside Renatte alumni, Devil’s Triangle, and others.
- Set aside the issue of perjury (there are legal hurdles for lies to rise to perjury we won’t get into). Is lying and misleading a Senate committee engaged in advice & consent the type of conduct becoming of a judge for the DC Circuit? A Justice of the Supreme Court? NO! That’s why this matters.
- Oh by the way, his temperament is now a real question too. Matt Damon took it to 15 on SNL.
- Standard of review? The Constitution essentially says whatever Senators want. We’d argue he’s disqualified based on being out of the judicial mainstream, his lack of credibility before the committee and revelations of poor temperament.
Quick hit… is Don helping or hurting the chances for Kavanaugh… in less than 30 seconds…
Tim – hurting (bungled the investigation limits, throws fire on the opposition more than he revs up the support)
Stacey – hurting (breaking news: President Trump mocks Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, during a rally in Mississippi. https://nbcnews.to/2P0Erxr )
Adam – hurting
Cynicism meter: how are we feeling tonight?
As much as I want to believe we’re in Return of the Jedi, I know we’re really at the end of Empire. Flake, Collins and Murkowski find their way to yes. I think Manchin and Heitkamp join them. McConnell rubs his hands together in glee and sips a bourbon by the fire.