Editor’s Blog

Rule Breaking Worked

A number of things have happened over the course of the last year that make me fairly confident that Russian intervention in the 2016 election provided the winning margin for Donald Trump. This doesn’t mean there weren’t numerous other factors or that it was the largest factor. It is mainly because the margin was so tight that it almost goes without saying that without it the outcome likely would have been a Clinton victory. I note this premise as a preface to this point. There is now a 5 Justice hard right majority on the Supreme Court, the oldest member of which, Clarence Thomas, is 70 years old and in apparently robust health. We should now be looking at a very different 6 to 3 progressive majority in which Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are absent and Merrick Garland and another Justice are present. Read More

Groucho Marx

I just randomly happened upon this. It’s a 1969 episode of The Dick Cavett Show with Groucho Marx. There’s a brief intro from Cavett, recorded relatively recently. In the intro Cavett explains two things about the interview. The first was that it was planned as a 30 minute segment. But Groucho was so on that they just decided to keep rolling and went a full hour. The second thing was that Cavett thought this was maybe groucho’s last interview when he really still had his edge. Cavett says he was “there, young and funny.” Everything’s relative: Marx would have been 78 or 79 at the time. His health declined fairly dramatically over the remaining eight years of his life. But he’s not only lucid. He has the impeccable comedic timing and imagination. Watch the full video after the jump … Read More

No Time To Waste

The Supreme Court announces that Brett Kavanaugh will be sworn in immediately.

The Battle Begins

The Senate’s 50-48 confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh sets into motion a series of legal battles that will unfold for years to come over abortion rights, executive power, the administrative state, and other issues yet to be foreseen. These are not the battles progressive activists expected or wanted to fight. It feels like a generational setback. You don’t usually get to pick your battles. They are thrust on you. But it is the fight at hand, and it is only just beginning.

Vicious Dogs

This is a portion of a report from something called The Ben Carson News, a political newsletter from Ben Carson, now Secretary of HUD.

The Democrats are like a pack of vicious dogs with this whole Kavanaugh “crisis”, sinking their teeth in and tearing at the flesh until rivers of blood flow through the street.

They’re crazed lunatics on a seek and destroy mission to annihilate Trump and anyone associated with him.

And the driving force behind them—the reason the left has gone so full-on radical extreme left?

The Deep State.

Presumably Ben isn’t actively managing the publication while in government. And the way these things work in the right wing newsletter world, there’s a decent chance he barely had much involvement with it before he entered the Trump administration. But it’s worth seeing the kinds of things people are reading.

Senate Poised To Confirm Kavanaugh

It’s a mere formality at this point, but the Senate is about to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  The voting is set to begin shortly. TPM’s Tierney Sneed is at the Capitol.

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This Is A Good Point

From TPM Reader MR

One of the most remarkable features of the Kavanaugh vote hasn’t been remarked upon enough in my opinion: the red state Democratic senators dared to come out against Kavanaugh. Heitkamp, Donnelly, McCaskill, Tester, and throw in Nelson as well: all extremely vulnerable, all past the primaries and facing red-state general election voters, and all stood firm against Kavanaugh. (One can quibble about Manchin. My take is that he will always be there when the Democrats really need him (except on coal).)

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More Details

This is notable. I mentioned Thursday that the Trump White House is now trying to hold up China as the ‘real’ meddler in US elections, attempting to delegitimize the investigation into members of the Trump entourage conspiring with Russia. As I wrote then, we should be able to recognize this manipulation without needing to make any excuses for China’s documented and assumed behavior. Like all great powers, China has active and robust espionage and cyber-espionage operations. But Politico talked to various leaders in the private sector cyber-security industry and they say they’re not seeing any of what the Trump White House is claiming. So the White House line on this seems to be even more bogus than I’d imagined. Read More

Aggression and the Meaning of Kavanaugh’s Victory
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.  (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Barring some almost unimaginable development, Brett Kavanaugh will be elevated to the Supreme Court tomorrow. In all likelihood he will serve there for decades into the future. I know many of you are disappointed, angry, resolved. I have nothing wise to add to those sentiments. But I do have an observation I would like to share, one which I think helps put in perspective what we’ve witnessed and experienced over the last two to three weeks. Read More

This Will Continue

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is now basically a certainty. It will be finalized tomorrow. But this won’t be entirely the end of the story. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has made clear that if the Democrats take over the House of Representatives next year his committee will set about doing the investigation Senate Republicans and the White House refused to do. But now there’s this: FOIA lawsuits by Senate Democrats and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) that have unearthed information “about potentially thousands of Brett Kavanaugh’s White House emails and other records related to the Senate hacking scandal from early in the George W. Bush administration and other controversial subjects that have not been disclosed to the Senate.” Read More

Where We Are #2 Prime Badge
Why Doesn’t Grassley Get More Grief for Lying Like This?

For everything that’s happened in this process, in many ways what stuns me most is what Sen. Grassley is doing right now. He is again going back to this claim that the Democrats held the sexual misconduct accusations against Kavanaugh “in reserve” for the last moment to spring on the helpless judge.

We now know quite a bit about the chain of events that brought these accusations to light. Blasey Ford wrote a letter to Dianne Feinstein and asked her not to share it with anyone else. It seems clear that it was Feinstein’s intention to allow the confirmation to go to a vote without these allegations ever being made public. Late in the process some of her colleagues were reportedly getting upset with her because she wasn’t revealing an allegation she knew about. Read More

Someone Needs Help Getting To Yes

Hard for me to believe they let this oped get published if they had all their votes lined up.

Good Lord, Watch This

Chuck Grassley just did some weird, disturbing freestyle Grandpa Simpson imitation, yelling (literally yelling) at the press over bias against Kavanaugh. Watch.

White House Begins the China Counter-Narrative

Vice President Pence is giving a speech today at the Hudson Institute. Normally that wouldn’t get a lot of attention, especially with so much else going on. But this is a bigger deal than it might appear. Seeing portions of the speech now on Twitter, it is crystal clear that the White House is trying to delegitimize the on-going Mueller probe by setting up China is the real meddler in US internal affairs and democratic practice.

Most importantly, they are claiming that China is working against Donald Trump in 2018 and 2020. This is a big, big deal and I expect they will be expanding on it in the coming weeks and likely going into 2020.

Look at these tweets. Seldin is a reporter with Voice of America. Read More

The Fix Is In, Folks

The ‘investigation’ is done. Senators are now reviewing it. And well, everyone is lining up. Susan Collins says “it appears to be a very thorough investigation.” Lindsey Graham says he’s good to go. Feinstein calls it a “incomplete.” Jeff Flake seems to be in line with Susan Collins in calling it a thorough investigation, according to CNN’s Manu Raju.

Designed To Fail

Chuck Grassley declares that the handcuffed FBI probe turned up nothing new on Brett Kavanaugh.

Brett’s Yearbook Now Online

Brett Kavanaugh’s yearbook, the ur-text of Kavanologists, is now online.

Republican Voters are Getting Charged Up. It’s Probably About Kavanaugh.

This may be noise. It may simply be the consolidation and energizing of both major party bases which is expected and inevitable in the closing weeks of the campaign. But there’s enough bits of evidence to suggest that Republicans have gotten more energized and focused on the election in the last week or so – more certainty about voting, more focus on turning out to support Republican candidates and President Trump. Read More

FBI Interviews Chris Garrett

Chris Garrett, the guy who I’ve argued is at the center of this story, has completed an interview with the FBI, according to CNN.

July 1st

This seems highly notable.

He Went There

Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony about her alleged assault at Mississippi campaign rally.

About That New New York Times Article

I just read the new Times piece about this letter Brett Kavanaugh wrote to his pals in advance of a big beach weekend during high school. That is only one part of the piece. The piece illustrates what I think we already know: that Kavanaugh was part of that gang of jocks who dominated your high school, ran the circuit of underground but cool kid parties, drank to insane levels of excess. We know these guys. There’s a different version of the story if it’s a hard-charging elite private school like Georgetown Prep or one of America’s countless public high schools. But I think we all know these guys. It’s pre-Fraternity Life in high school, filled with ridiculous over-consumption of alcohol and jocular innuendo and shout-outs to predatory sexuality. There’s even a clip from the gangs underground high school paper calling out the girls from Holton Arms – which Kavanaugh said his social set didn’t overlap with – as worthless and promiscuous “Holton Hosebag[s]”. Nothing is held back.  Read More

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