Open Thread

The Open Thread for October 2, 2018

Charles Ludington, a college friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, told the Washington Post that he will deliver a statement to the FBI on Monday detailing Kavanaugh’s “belligerent and aggressive” drunken conduct while the two were at Yale.

Said Ludington: “When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.”

Ludington says he was deeply troubled by Kavanaugh appearing to blatantly mischaracterize his drinking in Senate testimony.

Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford may not be interviewed in the FBI’s week-long probe into the allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Ford claims that she has not been contacted by the FBI since the week-long ceasefire was announced, suggesting that she and Kavanaugh may fall outside the scope of the probe.

Playbook: “If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, won’t he have to recuse himself from a whole broad swath of cases, based on what he said at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing? Kavanaugh believes he was the subject of a campaign by the Clintons to discredit him, and he criticized the media and the Senate. Won’t he have to bow out of any case that has to do with partisan politics, or the press?”

Axios: “In a call to Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, nine days ago from his Bedminster, N.J., country club, Mr. Trump unleashed an expletive-filled tirade, telling Mr. McConnell that he had let the process get away from him,” the N.Y. Times’ Mike Shear and Robin Pogrebin report.  “Trump later told associates that the Republicans and [White House counsel Don] McGahn had erred by not quickly holding a full Senate vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday, after the Judiciary Committee advanced it along party lines.”  “The president said senators like [Jeff] Flake who were wavering about the nomination should have been forced to vote against Judge Kavanaugh and suffer the political consequences.”

“In the days leading up to a public allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to a college classmate, the judge and his team were communicating behind the scenes with friends to refute the claim,” according to text messages obtained by NBC News.

“Kerry Berchem, who was at Yale with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has attempted to get those messages to the FBI for its newly reopened investigation into the matter but says she has yet to be contacted by the bureau.”

“The texts also demonstrate that Kavanaugh and Ramirez were more socially connected than previously understood and that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they saw each other at a wedding 10 years after they graduated.”

NUNES’ DIARY FARM LEFT HIS DISTRICT FOR IOWA 12 YEARS AGO.  AND HE HAS BEEN LYING ABOUT EVER SINCE.   Ryan Lizza: “The Nunes family dairy of political lore—the one where his brother and parents work—isn’t in California. It’s in Iowa. Devin; his brother, Anthony III; and his parents, Anthony Jr. and Toni Dian, sold their California farmland in 2006. Anthony Jr. and Toni Dian, who has also been the treasurer of every one of Devin’s campaigns since 2001, used their cash from the sale to buy a dairy eighteen hundred miles away in Sibley, a small town in northwest Iowa where they—as well as Anthony III, Devin’s only sibling, and his wife, Lori—have lived since 2007.”

“There’s nothing particularly strange about a congressman’s family moving. But what is strange is that the family has apparently tried to conceal the move from the public—for more than a decade. As far as I could tell, as of late August, neither Nunes nor the local California press that covers him had ever publicly mentioned that his family dairy is no longer in Tulare.”

MCCONNELL PLOWS AHEAD WITH A VOTE ON FRIDAY.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s “good name and his family have been dragged through the mud with a campaign of character assassinations based on allegations that lack any corroboration,” the Washington Post reports.

Despite a reopened background check, McConnell made clear in his speech that Republicans will move ahead on the nomination: “The time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close. We’ll be voting this week.”

WHERE IS ELAINE MCCONNELL?  “Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s day-to-day calendars are filled with large swaths of time blocked out as “private,” according to Politico‘s analysis of newly released records — a pattern that several former DOT officials called unusual.”

“In total, Chao clocked more than 290 hours of appointments labeled private — the equivalent of about seven weeks’ vacation — during her first 14 months in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, based on a review of documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act. That total does not include any private hours that occurred on nights, weekends, days marked as vacation or federal holidays.

TEXAS GOVERNOR SCARED OF BETO.  Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) described Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) as “cult-like” in the way that he’s garnered attention in his bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), The Hill reports.  Said Abbot: “He’s been a cult-like, very popular figure the way that he’s run the campaign, but you don’t vote on cult, you don’t vote on personality when you get to the U.S. Senate. You vote on the issues.”

Yeah, not really.  Or else Hillary would be President.

The Austin American Statesman reports O’Rourke held a rally over the weekend attended by more than 50,000 people.

MAINE’S LARGEST PAPER CALLS ON COLLINS TO VOTE NO.   The Portland Press Herald urged Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) not to vote for Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, “regardless” of what the FBI finds.

“Based on what he demonstrated in his own testimony, Kavanaugh lacks the character and judgment to serve on the Supreme Court…. Kavanaugh revealed that he has an explosive temper and resorts to bullying when he feels threatened… Kavanaugh also showed himself to be impermissibly political for a job that is supposed to be above politics. We’re not naïve. But we have never had a Supreme Court nominee who ripped off the nonpartisan mask the way Kavanaugh did Thursday… After his partisan rant, Kavanaugh will never be able to judge a case without the animus he expressed being considered a factor in his decision.”

Bloomberg: “The battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination is driving a wedge deeper into an already wide political chasm between men and women, leading to what could be an unprecedented gender gap in the 2018 midterm election vote.”

“With little more than a month before balloting to decide control of Congress, last week’s emotional Senate hearing and now an FBI probe of sexual assault allegations against President Donald Trump’s nominee add to a combustible mix of social and political trends defining this year’s election. Those include the intense partisan split over the president, a potent movement to expose sexual harassment and assault and a record number of women running for office.”

ROSENSTEIN MEETING DELAYED ANOTHER WEEK?   “President Trump’s highly anticipated meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could be delayed again,” the Washington Post reports.

“White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that Trump and Rosenstein could meet this week — a date hasn’t been set — but she added that the meeting could be delayed again given the continued focus on Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

IF ITS BAD IN KANSAS…. The National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled more than $1 million in advertising support from Rep. Kevin Yoder’s (R-KS) re-election campaign in the Kansas 3rd District, according to The Hill.

ROSENSTEIN FIRING WOULD BE A GIFTReuters: “Democratic Party sources and strategists say they know that if Trump fires Rosenstein, he will ignite a firestorm of accusations that the president is attempting to shut down the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election he won.”

“That will likely bolster their argument that Democrats should gain power to serve as a check on the presidency.”

“This week, Trump is due to hold his first meeting with Rosenstein since a Sept. 21 New York Times report said he considered secretly recording the president as part of a possible effort to remove him from office.”

MITCHELL GIVES THE GOP WHAT IT WANTSWashington Post: “The outside prosecutor Senate Republicans hired to lead the questioning in last week’s hearing about the sexual assault allegations against Brett M. Kavanaugh is arguing in a new memo why she would not bring criminal charges against the Supreme Court nominee.”

“In the five-page memo… Rachel Mitchell outlines more than half a dozen reasons why she thinks the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a house in suburban Maryland when they were teenagers in the early 1980s — has some key inconsistencies.”

MANAFORT MEETS WITH MUELLER.  “Paul Manafort met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of his cooperation agreement in the special counsel’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election,” Politico reports

“The sit-down at the special counsel’s downtown Washington D.C. office stems from Manafort’s guilty plea last month, which requires the former Trump campaign chairman to cooperate ‘fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly…in any and all matters as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant.’”

FLAKE DOESN’T WANT FAKE COVER.  Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) urged the FBI to investigate all “credible” allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, adding that he felt dismay that the Senate Judiciary Committee hadn’t been “doing due diligence” going into its Thursday hearing addressing the allegations, Politico reports.

Said Flake: “It does no good to have an investigation that gives us more cover.”

NEW DEAL SAME AS THE OLD DEAL?  “The United States and Canada reached a last-minute deal to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement on Sunday, overcoming deep divisions to keep the 25-year-old trilateral pact intact,” the New York Times reports.

“The deal came after a weekend of frantic talks to try and preserve a trade agreement that has stitched together the economies of Mexico, Canada and the United States but that was on the verge of collapsing. After more than a year of tense talks and strained relations between President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, negotiators from both sides came to a resolution just ahead of a midnight deadline set by the White House.”

“The 11th-hour agreement was punctuated by a frenetic Sunday, with Canada’s leaders teleconferencing throughout the day with top American officials in Washington.”

But, besides not calling it NAFTA anymore (it’s now the USMCA), what has changed?

“President Trump hailed a revised North American Free Trade Agreement as a victory for the United States, Canada and Mexico on Monday, saying his get-tough approach to trade, including his use of tariffs, was bringing results,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump portrayed the new agreement as the fulfillment of a campaign promise to terminate NAFTA, saying he had made good on his plan to rip up ‘the worst trade deal ever made’ and help American businesses and workers.”

Playbook: “This is exceedingly unlikely to be ratified this Congress. That’s what every senior Republican and Democratic aide on Capitol Hill says. It’s going to require a massive whip effort, and the House is out until after the election. If Republicans lose the House, there will be an effort to jam this through in the lame-duck. That will be really tough.”

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

22 comments on “The Open Thread for October 2, 2018

  1. Is there anything Kavanaugh doesn’t lie about?

    • Boofing?

    • How much he loves beer…

      And I have no doubt that the beer he pledges such fealty and love for isn’t even good beer… When he says how much he likes beer, he ain’t talkin’ about a nice Palo Santo Maron or Namaste White from Dogfish Head…

  2. Steven Fackenthall

    “Despite a reopened background check, McConnell made clear in his speech that Republicans will move ahead on the nomination: “The time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close. We’ll be voting this week.”

    LOL But he didn’t even give Garland a hearing…yeah, obstruction. Ok.

    • Forcing this vote could blow up in McConnell’s face. People are coming forward contradicting Kavanugh’s under oath statements. This won’t stop after a vote is taken. The FBI needs to look at those texts between the women who attended Yale with Kav.

      Republicans are trying to make this about beers in high school and college. No one cares about that. It’s the constant lying, sexual assault, outrageous partisan statements and temperament. One of these is disqualifying.

  3. “Manafort meets with Mueller…as part of his cooperation agreement in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. ….The sit-down at the special counsel’s downtown Washington DC office…” – Politico

    Speaking of “sit-downs” while I’m on vacay over here in gai paree, yours truly is having a “sit-down” with some American ex-pats and spouses / SO’s.

    One of the Q’s I’m asking is:

    “Is anyone over here is taking seriously the notion that the Russkies flipped the 2016 election to Trump from one of his wedding guests.”

    As a public service, I’m offering to relay any Q’s you folks back home would like me to ask to get an ex-pat’s perspective, …,just comment below before 10 AM eastern.

    Best regards,


    • You sure are devoted to your warped view of reality, but I’ll be there myself next month to join my ex-pat wife, who takes it seriously because there’s lots of evidence, mounting daily, that it did happen. One has to wonder why you’re so invested in insisting that it didn’t.

      • How am I “invested” ?

        • you never miss a chance to blab about how you think ( despite all the convictions, guilty pleas, flipped witnesses and admission by your Dear Leader himself ) this is, to borrow a phrase, a “nothing burger”. It gets more and more hilarious each time.

          • Thank you, Ben.

            I could understand someone claiming that Russian interference wasn’t the reason she lost, but that doesn’t seem to be his argument. He seems to think the Russians hacking into voting machines didn’t happen at all.

            These things clearly happened, so the only other explanation would be that there was a Deep State conspiracy that started many months before the election. If there were, wouldn’t they just assassinate him?

            He never offers any evidence but his own opinion that I can recall. I no longer believe he’s a bot, but it’s analogous to the point that there’s no real difference between people who don’t read and illiterates.

            • “Russians hacking into voting machines” – alby

              None of the states elections authorities claim any vote totals were changed and most, if not all, deny the alleged attempted breaches were successful.

              It’s just another indication that Russiagate will be gone with the wind, b/c wind is what it largely consists.

              • Rather than believe a rando on the internet, I instead believe the computer people who say that it’s inconceivable that once they were in they didn’t do anything.

                But suppose you instead explain why you’re so certain nothing happened.

                • What “computer people” ?

                  …. what do “the computer people” say was done?

                  • Look it up yourself. I don’t have the time or interest in showing you information that’s widely available.

                    There’s no burden of proof on me. It’s on you.

                    • I’ll prove the Russians never flipped the election away from Clinton when you prove you never beat your wife.

                    • I’m not asking you to prove anything. I’m asking you to refute the evidence that’s been presented. Very different thing.

                    • Also, don’t think that people can’t tell that whenever you’re called on your nothing-but-opinion bullshit, you deflect, deflect, deflect. You’re a coward.

    • Please ask about Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly last week. Were they laughing at him or laughing with him?

      • The people laughing have already been interviewed. They were laughing at him. Look it up.

  4. When is Cory Booker resigning? He admitted to sexual harassment in college and bragged about it?? Anyone? Anyone?

    • Did you even read his article? Oh, who am I kidding. Of course, you didn’t.

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