SocraticGadfly: Brett Kavanaugh, apparent liar, vs Jeff Flake, clear poseur

September 28, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh, apparent liar, vs Jeff Flake, clear poseur

As for the actual lying? Nathan J. Robinson has a VERY THOROUGH takedown of Kavanaugh's testimony at Current Affairs, and, in reality, his own prized calendar actually helps "convict" him. Unfortunately, it's in the lap of the FBI gods now; Robinson notes that in Kavanaugh's testimony Thursday, Democratic Senators had plenty of chances to follow up on specific threads of seeming lies and failed to do so. (The Intercept adds that he lied about being an environmentalist.)

So, the header?

That's your takeaway after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford spoke at the Senate Judiciary Committee special interrogation yesterday followed by today's delayed, and negotiated, committee vote.

Flake was in long talks with committee chair Chuck Grassley as well as several Democratic committee members in minutes before the vote, eventually delaying it.

What resulted is that, without a formal agreement, the committee is sending Kavanaugh to the full Senate on an 11-10 vote with the stipulation? idea? request? wishful thinking? that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will delay the floor vote, set for Tuesday, by a week, with a renewed FBI investigation at the same time.

First, Flake has less backbone than the William McKinley of Teddy Roosevelt's chocolate eclair bon mot. He had the chance to instead force Grassley to delay the committee vote, not the Senate floor vote, by a week, while similarly asking Mitch the Turtle for that investigation.

(Update, Oct. 4: Flake has now said that nothing in the FBI "investigation" confirms what Ford said. Oct. 5, Flake voted FOR closure, so unless he surprises me Saturday by voting against confirmation, he confirms he's a poseur.)

Second, Flake had more leverage within the committee than on the Senate floor. See next paragraph.

Or, maybe not. He has his second Republican, it seems:
Boom! Murkowski ain't leaving the Senate and ain't intimidated by, or trusting of, the Turtle. Per a 2015 profile by High Country News, she is NOT to be messed with.

Third, what may be at work is the hope of a few Senate Republicans (Collins, Murkowski, and maybe actually Flake) and a few ConservaDems (Manchin, Heitkamp, as Smokey Joe's already indicated he'll vote yes, and she's on radio silence) that Kavanaugh will withdraw over the weekend.

I have two related Twitter polls. First, did Flake indeed make a gonadless deal? Second, is this a hint to Kavanaugh and if so, will he follow it?

Fourth, if McConnell honors this (and it appears Trump has punted to him on calling out the FBI) how thorough will this investigation be? Will other accusers be interviewed? Mark Judge has just said he will cooperate.

And, Trump has agreed to said probe, and it looks like it will be at least halfway thorough:
Kavanaugh needs to buy a clue.

Fifth, if Kavanaugh doesn't withdraw, will Chuck the Weasel Schumer change his stance and put pressure on Smokey Joe et al? That's the key. I wouldn't at all depend on Flake to vote no. Murkowski may well say no if she didn't like what was in the hearing, but that would mean getting Collins to flip and Chuck the Weasel Schumer to line up all 49 of his ducks, which he has currently said he won't try to do.

Meanwhile, as far as any Trump-imposed restrictions on the FBI investigation, it has talked to accuser No. 2, Deborah Ramirez. And, fortunately for those of us who have big concerns about Kavanaugh, but also big concerns that any false steps will be jumped on by wingnuts, the FBI is not interviewing accuser No. 3, Julie Swetnick. This AP piece shows there's good reason for that. Now, the bluster by her attorney, Michael Avenatti, aside, "basta" is right that her past legal issues don't mean that Kavanaugh didn't sexually assault her. They do mean, though, that any story she would tell would be horrible and immediately attacked. Beyond that, there's the redder flag that, in the one suit, she was allegedly the sexual harasser herself. A second suit has the air of gold-digger about it and more. In all of this, and in Avenatti's tissue-thin denials, the air of the gold-digger grows ever larger around him, too.

Update on that: Senate Judiciary Republicans are playing hardball with her. More about Dennis Ketterer here; he's from Utah and reportedly Republican, though he ran as a Democratic Congressional candidate in the mid-1990s. And, since theirs was a brief togetherness, there's no reason Swetnick would have told him of her background.

At the same time, none of this negates the original AP piece, nor my take on the thinness of Avenatti's response to that.

No comments: