Editor’s Blog

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.) Read More

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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 Read More

About That Grassley Letter

“We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote in a letter, explaining why he couldn’t fulfill Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer’s request for an FBI investigation into her claims.

That’s technically true, Tierney Sneed writes, but glosses over the leverage Senate Committees have in asking the White House to order FBI follow up investigations. “Grassley was among the more aggressive users of that privilege,” one source told her. Read her full analysis here (Prime access).

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The Big Bluff (Which Seems to Be Working)

As more confirmation of what I wrote last night in my fourth installment on the Kavanaugh controversy, the strategy is to corner Blasey Ford and bluff her out of showing up at all.

See my whole update here (sub req).

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on September 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Grassley’s Shameless Lies, Edition 57
on September 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Let’s begin with a simple point. Senate Republicans left a Supreme Court seat vacant for more than a year for simple politics. Any argument that there’s a rush to fill Anthony Kennedy’s seat, on this view, is plainly ridiculous. But I confess I’m still taken aback by the mammoth bad faith and dishonesty of Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley’s argument in this new letter defending the majority’s conduct. Read More

Senate GOPs Stand Firm on ‘Take It Or Leave It’

As I wrote last night, it’s very clear Senate Republicans feel empowered by their current stance, telling Blasey Ford it’s on her if she doesn’t accept their terms for testimony. The claim that there’s no basis for an FBI review is false. If they want the FBI to review it they will. But they’re emboldened in their ‘take it or leave it’ stance.

Inside the Manafort Trial

Our team of Tierney Sneed and Caitlin MacNeal was in the courtroom through Paul Manafort’s Virginia trial and there right through the the announcement of his unexpected cooperation agreement in court in DC on Friday. Yesterday I talked to Tierney and Caitlin about the Virginia trial, the different players involved and the new cooperation agreement. You can hear the conversation here.

In Secret Calls, Putin Cultivated Trump’s Anger at the “Deep State”

Yet more evidence that Vladimir Putin has continued to ply President Trump with opposition to US intelligence and the so-called “deep state” during their conversations since President Trump entered the White House. Not surprising and yet stunning passage in this excerpt from Greg Miller’s new Trump book … Read More

That’s Interesting

Through the Russia probe and various counter-probes, we’ve seen many cases where delays of various sorts have been interpreted as trying to cover for one side or the other. Such claims have been taken very seriously and even became central to the DOJ Inspector General’s report that made such a splash a few months ago. Now it turns out, according to ABC, that the the Steele Dossier sat in the FBI’s New York field office for weeks with no action. After arriving in New York in July, it didn’t make it to DC until September. It was supposedly sent to the “wrong person” and “took a long period of time for the New York field office to see it and realize what it was.” Read More

Trump on Blasey Ford: “I Have Given Her a Lot of Time.”

President Trump made a series of statements about the Blasey Ford/Kavanaugh controversy this morning before boarding Marine One. Video after the jump … Read More

New Development

Lawyers for Professor Christine Blasey Ford have now sent a letter to Senator Grassley in which they say that “an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegation.” In other words, a period of fact-finding should precede any public hearing. Here’s the letter.

They’re Back on Message

Lindsey Graham: “This has been a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh . . . I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

Senate GOP to Prof Ford: Take It Or Leave It
Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) hold a news conference about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill August 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. Republicans on the committee claim that Senate Democrats are attempting to slow or stall Kavanaugh's confirmation with demands to see emails and other records relating to KavanaughÕs time as staff secretary to former President George W. Bush.

I want to flag your attention to something that may have been lost in this afternoon’s rush of events and statements. Yesterday Chairman Grassley, head of the committee that oversees the confirmation process, announced that a quickie hearing would be held Monday with only two witnesses: Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. He also seemed to imply that both would be there, even though he’d only spoken to Kavanaugh and had yet to make contact with Ford. Read More

No Statutes of Limitations

Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged accomplice, does not want to testify in whatever hearing is slated to take place on Monday. Republicans clearly don’t want him to testify either, for a number of obvious reasons. But a friend, who is a member of the bar in Maryland, tells me that for assault, rape, attempted rape and a wide variety of other crimes there is no statute of limitations in Maryland. This surprised me greatly. But this person has practiced law in the state for 25 years and I think I’ve confirmed this with a bit of research on my own. This would appear to confirm this. Read More

Rough Horse Play

Interesting and perhaps disturbing moment a short time ago as Carrie Severino, spokesperson of the Judicial Crisis Network, was interviewed on CNN. The JCN is the central campaign arm for Republican judicial nominations. The Federalist Society grooms and chooses the nominees. The JCN runs the campaigns, runs political ads in Senators’ states, as necessary. Here Severino argues that it’s not clear that what Ford describes wasn’t simply “rough horse play” as opposed to attempted rape.

Video after the jump .. Read More

Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) hold a news conference about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill August 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. Republicans on the committee claim that Senate Democrats are attempting to slow or stall Kavanaugh's confirmation with demands to see emails and other records relating to KavanaughÕs time as staff secretary to former President George W. Bush.
Dire Development

President Trump orders the politically motivated declassification of investigative materials and the release of texts from targeted top investigators in the Russia probe.

Where Things Stand Now On Kavanaugh

The GOP’s short-lived fallback position that Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser should be heard, but apparently only in private, has quickly been abandoned in favor of a public hearing. CNN is reporting that both Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh will testify next Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Like Clarence Thomas more than a quarter century ago, Kavanaugh will be returning to testify about new sexual misconduct allegations after his initial testimony was complete.

The Senate returned late this afternoon from its recess, and it didn’t take long for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to resign themselves to more committee hearings as the way forward, meaning Thursday’s scheduled committee vote to advance the Kavanaugh nomination to the full Senate will have to be delayed.

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