The Open Thread for September 21, 2018

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, has told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she “would be prepared to testify next week,” so long as senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” the New York Times reports.

However, her lawyer said that the timetable Republicans have set for a hearing  “is not possible and the Committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.”

The lawyer reiterated that it is Dr. Blasey’s “strong preference” that “a full investigation” occur before her testimony but stopped short of demanding an F.B.I. probe and suggested she is open to testifying without one.

Jennifer Rubin: “Ford might choose to appear on Monday, and make a powerful opening statement accusing Republicans of running a sham investigation… In short, Ford can use the hearing to put the senators, who have behaved shabbily, on defense.”

“Ford has another option: Hold a news conference with her own experts and make the case directly to the American people. She can sit down for an interview with a respected TV journalist. She can say whatever she wants, make certain that experts are heard and even recount the much more extensive investigative efforts undertaken when Hill stepped forward. To make her case to the American people and convince them that she is sincere, honest and credible, Ford doesn’t need the Senate.”

“Ford also might have the ability to go to local police to investigate if the White House refuses to activate the FBI.”

Quinta Jurecic: “Ford’s story is highly credible. Kavanaugh denies it. This is where we are.”

“Here’s another question: What level of certainty about the nominee’s guilt should drive a senator to vote against that nominee? The standard to convict a defendant in criminal court is often understood as requiring anywhere from 95 to 100 percent certainty of the defendant’s guilt. In civil court, the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard requires 51 percent certainty. As the economist Justin Wolfers asked on Twitter, ‘Would you appoint someone to the Supreme Court if you think there were a 25 percent chance they’ve done bad things? A 10 percent chance? A 5 percent chance? A 1 percent chance?’”

Kathleen Davis: “Far too often in cases of sexual harassment or sexual violence, the accused is given the benefit of the doubt while the accuser is saddled with the burden of proof, even though studies show that the rate of false accusations is incredibly low (around 2-6%).

“White House aides who steeled themselves for what President Trump would say when he finally addressed the sexual assault allegation against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were quietly stunned when Trump said the process should be followed and the accuser should be heard,” CNN reports.

“In recent days, Trump has bragged about the positive coverage he’s received for his response… That response has contributed to him continuing to say Christine Blasey Ford should come forward with her story.”

New York Times: “For two years, Americans have tried to absorb the details of the 2016 attack: hacked emails, social media fraud, suspected spies — and President Trump’s claims that it’s all a hoax. The Timesexplores what we know and what it means.”

“Worried their chance to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court could slip away, a growing number of evangelical and anti-abortion leaders are expressing frustration that Senate Republicans and the White House are not protecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh more forcefully from a sexual assault allegation and warning that conservative voters may stay home in November if his nomination falls apart,” the New York Times reports.

“The pleas are, in part, an attempt to apply political pressure: Some evangelical leaders are warning that religious conservatives may feel little motivation to vote in the midterm elections unless Senate Republicans move the nomination out of committee soon and do more to defend Judge Kavanaugh from what they say is a desperate Democratic ploy to prevent President Trump from filling future court vacancies.”

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) “opened an election debate Thursday by joking that he almost had to miss it and fly back to Washington to address the latest drama involving the Supreme Court,” the Charleston Post & Courier reports.

Said Norman: “Did y’all hear the latest late-breaking news on the Kavanaugh hearings? Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out saying she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

Norman is the same lawmaker who pulled out a gun at a town meeting earlier this year and said, “I’m not going to be Gabby Giffords.”

President Trump “slammed the Republican-led Congress for not including money for his border wall in its spending bill as U.S. lawmakers push their plan to fund the government before the fiscal year ends this month,” Reuters reports.

“The Senate on Tuesday passed a short-term spending bill that would keep the government running through Dec. 7, aiming to put off a fight over funding for President Trump’s border wall until after the midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“GOP leaders designed the package to combine key Republican and Democratic priorities in an attempt to garner overwhelming bipartisan support — and give Trump a win on military spending, even as Congress delays a fight over the money he wants for his wall.”

“The legislation still must pass the House, which is expected to take it up next week. But it remains uncertain whether Trump will sign it. The president has toyed repeatedly with shutting down the government to try to get more money for the border wall.”

Michael Cohen “has participated over the last month in multiple interview sessions lasting for hours with investigators from the office of special counsel, Robert Mueller,” ABC News reports.

“The special counsel’s questioning of Cohen, one of the president’s closest associates over the past decade, has focused primarily on all aspects of Trump’s dealings with Russia — including financial and business dealings and the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and its surrogates to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.”

“Investigators were also interested in knowing whether Trump or any of his associates discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen.”

“We got a little hiccup here with the Kavanaugh nomination. We’ll get through this and we’ll get off to the races.”

— Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), quoted by the Nevada Independent, downplaying the sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

“Dr. Ford passed a lie detector test and asked for an FBI investigation. Will Judge Kavanaugh do the same?”

— Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), on Twitter.

Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel (R) said the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were made up, the AP reports.

Said McDaniel: “They’re going to drag something up, at least even theoretically, allegedly, from all those years ago. All of the sudden, that disqualifies this man? All of the sudden, he’s a terrible human being? No, not a chance. You know, I don’t fall for it anymore. I hope the American people aren’t falling for it. These allegations, 99 percent of the time, are just absolutely fabricated.”

He added: “I’m tired of all these made-up scandals, frankly.”

“Former Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore called on Republicans to ‘take a stand’ and support suggested U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following the sexual misconduct allegations levied against him, adding that he believes the Democrats are using Kavanaugh’s accuser as a political pawn,” the Birmingham News reports.

“Moore is no stranger to such allegations. He was accused by nine women of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred during the 1970s – allegations that surfaced about a month before the December special election between Moore and Doug Jones. Moore denied the allegations, although he conceded to dating young women at the time.”

Matt Bai: “My fear about Kavanaugh isn’t that he’s a sexual predator; barring new revelations, there’s no evidence to suggest he is.”

“My fear is that his experiences as a partying teenager didn’t actually teach him a hell of a lot about fallibility or shame. He seems not to have emerged with much appreciation for the gray areas in which most larger truths reside.”

“A Supreme Court justice doesn’t need to be a perfect person, or to have led an unfailingly exemplary life. None of us can say that. But, especially on a divided court in a divided nation, we deserve a justice who demonstrates a capacity for nuance, reflection and humility. Whatever else is true about him, Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t seem to be that guy.”

The Atlantic: “In a move described as a direct shot at Nancy Pelosi, some Democrats are trying to make it more difficult for one of their own to become speaker of the House.”

“At least 10 Democrats in the lower chamber have signed onto a letter to Caucus Chair Joe Crowley seeking a change to caucus rules that would raise the number of votes required to nominate a candidate for speaker. Current rules mandate that a nominee receive support from only a simple majority of caucus members before advancing to the floor for a vote. The letter requests that threshold be changed to 218, a majority of the House.”

Playbook: “This is likely to be defeated in the Democratic Caucus soundly. Five percent of Democrats signed this letter. This is a way for Democrats to let off steam, but it underscores, in part, that they have no one else to run against Pelosi — for now. Pelosi supporters even have a mechanism to quash this before it comes up for a vote. In some ways, this could hurt the anti-Pelosi movement by showing that, at the moment, process is the only tool they have to go up against her.”

Pennsylvania state Rep. Will Tallman (R) has introduced a bill that would ban public school teachers from discussing politics or government in their classrooms, the Allentown Morning Call reports.

“Tallman said his bill would forbid public school teachers from endorsing, supporting or opposing candidates or incumbents for local, state and federal offices while in the classroom. On the job, teachers could not discuss enacted or pending legislation, regulations, executive orders or court cases involving any level or branch of government.”

President Trump and Senate Republicans “took a hard line: full-speed ahead on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court despite an allegation of sexual assault decades ago,” the Washington Postreports.

“But privately, discussions about the political fallout gripped the party, with Republican lawmakers and strategists unnerved by the charged, gender-infused debates that have upended this campaign season.”

Mike Allen: “Republicans are privately worried about the risk unleashed by an explosive allegation of a teenage sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but still hope to push ahead to a final confirmation vote next week.”

“If Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination sinks, Democrats would turn the midterms into a referendum not just on President Trump but also women’s rights, abortion and the future of the Supreme Court,” sources tell Axios.

“In what Republicans believe is an increasingly unlikely scenario where Kavanaugh tanks, Dems believe they can juice turnout — already hitting record levels — by playing off the huge public attention to the court, and Roe v. Wade in particular.”

“They envision President Obama and Michelle Obama locking arms with the Clintons, the Bidens, and Democratic congressional leaders to crank up a presidential-election-sized campaign.”

This should be doing this if Kavanaugh is confirmed too.


“President Trump told Spain’s foreign minister that he had a sure-fire plan to prevent asylum seekers from Africa from flooding European shores — build a wall in the Sahara desert,” the New York Post reports.

“Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, a former president of the European Parliament, revealed that Trump told him that a border wall in the desert — like his long promised wall on the Mexican border — would work for Europe as well.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

12 comments on “The Open Thread for September 21, 2018

    • Good.

      And then we have this:

      Donald J. Trump
      ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

      I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!

      Keep tweeting, President “grab them by the p*ssy”

    • I’d like to see Democrats talking more about impeachment of not just Kavanaugh, whom I expect they’ll ram through despite the damage it’s inflicting on the GOP, but Thomas, who also lied about his sexual assault history.

      Indeed, one of the major projects Democrats should pursue once they regain power is purging the judiciary of the Trump nominees, on the basis of “fruit of the poisoned tree.”

      Farfetched? Maybe, but especially if they don’t try, and our corporate wuss “Democrats” probably won’t try. And talking about it would help dispel the air of hopelessness I get from so many liberals these days.

  1. “Tallman said his bill would forbid public school teachers from endorsing, supporting or opposing candidates or incumbents for local, state and federal offices while in the classroom. On the job, teachers could not discuss enacted or pending legislation, regulations, executive orders or court cases involving any level or branch of government.”

    More of the GOP trying to legislate the stupidity they come by naturally.

  2. On another subject congratulations to Trini and Mitch for the great work in “fixing” the Insurance Dept. Got in the crapper in record time:)

  3. This is a good question:

    Jon Favreau
    ‏Verified account @jonfavs

    Here’s a question: how did Ed Whelan know the location of Ford’s female friend’s house? He had it on the map. As far as I know, her name hasn’t been made public.

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