My Take on Where We Are With Kavanaugh #6 (The Evidence Mounts)
Prime Membership Required

I wanted to flag some key details of this developing story. The Judiciary Committee staffer who was forced to resign today over an earlier sexual harassment allegation is more than just an embarrassment for the committee. It runs a bit deeper than that. Garrett Ventry was seconded to the Committee by CRC Public Relations, a well-connected right wing PR firm which works for The Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network (the campaign style group that runs ads and mobilization for Federalist Society-selected candidates).

If that name sounds familiar, it should. CRC Public Relations is the same firm that ran Ed Whelan’s effort to exonerate Kavanaugh with his nonsensical Twitter thread accusing a random high school classmate of attempting to rape Professor Blasey Ford.

Whelan Nutbar Twitter Thread Preserved for Posterity

We still have more questions than answers about Ed Whelan’s bizarre twitter thread that accused another Kavanaugh classmate of attacking Prof. Blasey Ford and roiled the already embattled nomination. So for those who didn’t see or would like to read through it again for clues to what happened, here’s the whole thing.

The Whelan Debacle. It Just Gets Worse.
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Eliana Johnson has a new piece out in Politico on the full dimensions of the Ed Whelan twitter debacle. There are a number of really damaging details, each of which require a lot more answers. Let me hit the key points.


Top GOP senate candidate says Blasey Ford accusation no big deal since it didn’t lead to intercourse. “Again, it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.” Story here from Cam Joseph.

Time for Leonard Leo To Speak Up
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Let me do a quick follow-up to the zany Ed Whelan self-immolation twitter thread. About two hours ago, Whelan denied to The Washington Post that he’d communicated with Kavanaugh, McGahn or “anyone at the White House” about his theory. I would suggest that Whelan’s words should be closely parsed because I’m skeptical that what he claims here is true.

Today’s Agenda: The List Of Questions For Kavanaugh Gets Longer
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Twitter theorizing by a Kavanaugh friend and legal scholar about what may have actually happened during that high school party in the early 1980s has added a new dynamic to the confirmation fight. Here’s more on that and on other stories we’re following.

My Take on Where We Are With Kavanaugh #5 (A Very Bad Night for Kavanaugh)
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Let me try to bring you up to date on a genuinely bizarre turn of events tonight which could end up being very damaging to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

As I noted below, around 6 p.m. this evening Ed Whelan, a key player in D.C.’s conservative judicial establishment, posted a lengthy twitter thread in which he made a highly conjectural argument that the accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is actually a case of mistaken identification and that Prof. Blasey Ford’s alleged attacker was actually a classmate of Kavanaugh’s named Chris Garrett.

This Is Nuts

I’m really not sure quite how to capture what just happened. But a major, major player in the conservative/Federalist Society legal establishment in DC just posted a lengthy Twitter thread in which he accuses another alum of Kavanaugh’s high school of assaulting Professor Blasey Ford. (After making the argument he falls back and says he doesn’t know whether the other guy is guilty. But the entire thread is intended to say that he is the culprit and that Kavanaugh is the victim of a wrongful identification.)

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This Is Important

I’m glad this is getting some attention. Let me quickly walk you through it.

As I noted here, Senate Republicans are pursuing a fairly clear strategy now: bluff Professor Blasey Ford into not appearing on Monday, thus allowing them to move on to a vote and rapid confirmation. But last night Mike Davis, chief counsel to Senate Judiciary Committee – in practice, Chuck Grassley’s chief confirmation process lawyer – got a little too aggressive on Twitter and made the strategy a bit too explicit

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota state Rep. Jim Knoblach abruptly ended his re-election campaign Friday amid allegations of inappropriate touching from his adult daughter.

No campaign wants its planned speaking tour overshadowed by coverage of throngs of angry protesters. But that’s the situation Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) found himself in this week as he hopscotched across the state on his “Make Washington Work Bus Tour.”

Retreat From Democracy: A TPM Feature Series

A constellation of liberal groups is trying to make voting rights issues like gerrymandering and automatic voter registration the ones that get voters to the polls.

Feinstein Blasts Republicans For Pushing Wednesday Kavanaugh Hearing

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Friday afternoon tore into her Republican colleagues for proposing a hearing with Christine Blasey Ford on Wednesday after Blasey Ford asked to testify on Thursday about her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Graham Tells Trump To Beware Of NYT Reporting After Rosenstein Story

Shortly after the New York Times published its bombshell report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein floated secretly recording and ousting President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Trump to be wary of the Times’ reporting.

Fox Host Laura Ingraham Calls on Trump To Fire Rosenstein ‘Today’

Fox News host Laura Ingraham called on President Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “today” after a New York Times report said that Rosenstein floated secretly recording Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to seek his ouster.

Rosenstein Combats NYT Piece: ‘There Is No Basis To Invoke The 25th Amendment’

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein slammed The New York Times’ report that he suggested recording President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, calling the piece “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”

Andrew McCabe Lawyer Responds To Bombshell NYT Story

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s lawyer released a statement on Friday responding to a New York Times report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested recording and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. The Times’ reporting relied heavily on descriptions from people who had been briefed on the contents of memos written by McCabe, which, according to McCabe, contained information about “significant discussions he had with high level officials.”

Susan Collins: ‘I Was Appalled By The President’s Tweet’

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a pivotal vote needed for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, denounced a tweet from President Trump that criticized a woman who has accused the judge of sexual assault.

The Portland Press Herald reported Collins saying:

“I was appalled by the president’s tweet,” Collins said. “First of all, we know that allegations of sexual assault — I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case — but we know allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist. So I thought that the president’s tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong.”

Yale Law Faculty Members Call For FBI Probe Of Kavanaugh Accusation

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, 48 members of the Yale Law School faculty called for an FBI investigation into professor Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Whelan Claims He Had No Contact With WH Or Kavanaugh Before Tweets

Ed Whelan, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, said Friday that he did not communicate with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh or anyone in the White House about his inflammatory Twitter thread before he posted it, according to a Washington Post report.

DeSantis Already Spent Money From Donor Who Used N-Word, Won’t Return It

Republican Florida Gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis is claiming he can’t return the money donated to his campaign by a Republican activist who called President Barack Obama the n-word because he already spent it.

Trump: Blasey Ford Would Have Filed Charges If Incident Was ‘As Bad As She Says’

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