Category Archives: Senate

Now we know why the GOP refused an FBI investigation and wanted to rush the Kavanaugh nomination to a vote

The White House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley refused to request an FBI background check in light of the sexual assault allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This is standard operating procedure for the committee but was refused in this instance, despite Dr. Blasey insisting on an FBI investigation before she presents her testimony.

Sen. Grassley has bullied and threatened Dr. Blasey over presenting her testimony, even threatening to proceed to a confirmation vote as early as Monday without her testimony unless Dr. Blasey agreed to Sen. Grassley’s unreasonable demands.

Legal minds have asked “why refuse an FBI background investigation?” and “what is the rush to confirmation?” since there is no actual deadline, other than the GOP’s political calendar for the midterm election.

Now we know the answer to those questions: the GOP is engaged in a cover-up.

On Sunday night, the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer published an article detailing a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Republican Supreme Court nominee. Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate from Kavanaugh’s undergraduate years, described a drunken freshman-year dormitory party during which she claims he exposed himself and thrust his penis into her face, causing her to touch it accidentally as she pushed him away. None of it, she said, occurred with her consent.

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GOP’s privileged white male patriarchy exposed by its bullying of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Over the past week, the GOP has revealed itself as the party of privileged white male patriarchy in its bullying of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. As the New York Times editorializes, G.O.P. Leaders Can’t Even Fake Respect for Christine Blasey Ford. Or for any women.

Senator Orrin Hatch, who so thoroughly disgraced himself during the Anita Hill hearings, suggested Dr. Blasey was “mixed up” (as in “a little bit nutty.”)

Those promoting Brett Kavanaugh concocted a doppelgänger theory to defame a classmate of Brett Kavauagh by accusing him of a criminal sexual assault. Conservative Pundit Points Finger at Another Man to Deflect from Kavanaugh (Ed Whelan has been involved in helping to advise Kavanaugh’s confirmation effort and is close friends with Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society, who has been helping to spearhead the nomination); Kavanaugh ally says he did not communicate with White House or Supreme Court nominee about theory of another attacker. (In the wake of Ford’s allegation, Kavanaugh told White House officials and Republicans on Capitol Hill that it was potentially a case of mistaken identity, according to people who heard his comments or were familiar with the discussions.) Nothing suspicious there.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley, who also thoroughly disgraced himself during the Anita Hill hearings, has feigned that he wants Dr. Blasey to testify while doing everything in his power to make certain that she does not, or that she testifies under terms that are neither fair nor impartial. Grassley has issued threats and arbitrary deadlines to intimidate Dr.Blasey. His “take it or leave it” approach is dismissive of Dr.Blasey’s credible claim. “Let’s hear what the little lady has to say – blah, blah, blah – then let’s vote to confirm.”

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Roll Call: Kavanaugh Accuser’s Schoolmate Says Assault Was Chatter at School Afterward

As I said in the previous post, the FBI needs to complete a background check of the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford before any testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The FBI could discover circumstantial evidence which matches Dr. Blasey’s description of events and speak to other persons who were at the party in question who could corroborate Dr. Blasey’s description of events (she went upstairs with Kavanaugh and Judge, locked herself in a bathroom, fled the party, etc.) Someone at that party must have saw something. Republicans don’t want to take that risk.

Roll Call reports today that Dr. Blasey’s sexual assault was “chatter” among her classmates contemporaneously around the time that it occurred. Someone at that party must have saw something, and the White House by refusing to request the FBI to conduct a follow-up background investigation is actively engaged in a coverup. Kavanaugh Accuser’s Schoolmate Says Assault Was Chatter at School Afterward:

A schoolmate of Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, backed Ford’s claim Wednesday in a letter she posted to Facebook.

“Christine Blasey Ford was a year or so behind me, I remember her,” wrote Cristina King Miranda, who graduated a year ahead of Ford at Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland. Holton-Arms is an all-girls school whose students frequently socialized with Kavanaugh’s all-male alma mater, Georgetown Prep.

This incident did happen,” Miranda wrote. “Many of us heard about it in school and Christine’s recollection should be more than enough for us to truly, deeply know that the accusation is true.”

In order for this to have been chatter at the school contemporaneously around the time that it occurred, it means that someone at that party must have saw something and there are corroborating witnesses whom the FBI has not interviewed solely because the White House has refused to direct the FBI to do a  follow-up background investigation.

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A sham hearing and a denial of due process

This is what GOP authoritarianism looks like: a sham hearing and a denial of due process to a victim of sexual abuse.

I explained yesterday, The Senate needs to get this right, and right now it is failing: for judicial background checks, the client is not the Senate but the White House. And the White House Hasn’t Asked FBI to Vet Kavanaugh Allegations, Sources Say.

The FBI background is the legally correct thing to do in fairness to both the accuser and the accused. Due process demands it. As Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told the Washington Post, “If there’s a hearing before that investigation, the committee is going to be shooting in the dark with questions.” “As a former prosecutor and state attorney general, there’s no way I would put a crime survivor on the stand in front of a jury, let alone the American people, without a full investigation so that I know what the facts are before I start asking questions.”

On Tuesday, Christine Blasey Ford Requested That the F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies, a reasonable request, as is her right:

Speaking through lawyers, Christine Blasey Ford said she would cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee and left open the possibility of testifying later about her allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. But echoing Senate Democrats, she said an investigation should be “the first step” before she is put “on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”

Republicans signaled Tuesday night that they would not negotiate an alternative date and would go ahead with the hearing without her or declare it unnecessary if she refuses to appear, then possibly move to a vote. They have repeatedly stressed that Monday would be Dr. Blasey’s opportunity to testify, either privately or publicly, and that they planned to move forward with the confirmation process afterward.

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The Senate needs to get this right, and right now it is failing

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled next Monday for a hearing on Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh when they were in high school.

While there does need to be a hearing, this is yet again another example of GOP leadership steamrolling the Kavanaugh nomination without all the facts being made available to senators. GOP leadership is setting up this Monday hearing to be another public spectacle like the Anita Hill hearings were in 1991, and that is unfair to Christine Blasey Ford, Brett Kavaaugh, and the Senate. These fools have learned nothing in the intervening years.

Lat week Senator Dianne Feinstein referred the letter of Christine Blasey Ford to the FBI for further background investigation. All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter dated Monday morning urging Grassley to postpone the committee vote, urging that an FBI investigation should conclude before Kavanaugh’s nomination proceeds. Democrats call to delay Kavanaugh committee vote, after accuser comes forward.

The problem is that for judicial background checks, the client is not the Senate but the White House. And the White House Hasn’t Asked FBI to Vet Kavanaugh Allegations, Sources Say:

The White House hasn’t asked the FBI to investigate the allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when they were in high school, a request required for the bureau to take further action, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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The bogus GOP talking point about ‘timing,’ and dueling character witnesses

The Republican talking point today is “Why did Democrats wait until the eleventh hour” to bring to light this allegation of sexual assault by Judge Kavanaugh when he was in high school just days before his confirmation vote?

Seriously? Republicans are complaining about regular order and procedure after having blockaded President Obama’s nomination of Merick Garland for a year, and then rushing the nomination process for Brett Kavanaugh? That is chutzpah.

The confirmation vote has been rushed by the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, before the National Archives has even completed its review of documents related to Kavanaugh. Only about 10% of documents have been made available through an alternative source, a very non-neutral arbiter, Bill Burck, a private attorney employed by former president George W. Bush and a longtime Republican — and reportedly a longtime friend of Kavanaugh’s — overseeing the review of the documents. The fight over the release of Kavanaugh documents. A group of Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have been forced to file a lawsuit against the National Archives in an attempt to gain access to records related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Senate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents.

You want to talk about regular order and procedure Turtle Man? Mitch McConnell is the man who broke America. UPDATE: Charles Pierce at Esquire brings it up to date. History Will Remember Mitch McConnell as One of the Very Worst.

Then there is the fact Christine Blasey Ford did not want to come forward and be subjected to a political assault. She told this to both Senator Dianne Feinstein and reporters at the Washington Post. It was only after her letter was leaked to the Intercept and the New Yorker last week that she made the decision over the weekend that she would be willing to testify after having been outed against her will. She is now, predictably, being politically assaulted.

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