Yesterday was a compendium of so many things in our public life. There are too many things that could be said about it. Let me start now with one observation on the entirety of the day and what I think was the most critical development in terms of specific new evidence that really demands some investigation.
In the morning, you had what appeared to be a near universal sense that Christine Blasey Ford was credible and compelling. Republicans who are intent and fast-tracking a vote before Kavanaugh loses more support were grim and crestfallen. Kavanaugh’s performance told us little new that we didn’t know but was filled with rage, grievance and aggression. Senate Republicans were close to ecstatic in response and appear to remain so this morning. That in itself is among the most telling things. Kavanaugh decided to emulate Trump – right down to the conspiracy theories, casual lying and aggressive counter-attacks against political enemies. It all seemed to come naturally. And Senate Republicans loved it. The reaction alone – to a performance that cannot possibly ever command even the most limited respect on the Court from those Kavanaugh explicitly terms his political enemies – is the most telling political takeaway from yesterday.
But there is an entirely different aspect of what emerged yesterday, something that caught my attention immediately and which others have since found more on. Kavanaugh rested his aggressive defense on the claim that he and Blasey Ford weren’t even in the same social circles and that he didn’t even attend parties like the one she describes in the summer in question. But little discussed in the hearing was significant new evidence about what connected them and a party that seems to match it closely.
Remember that wild Ed Whelan debacle where Kavanaugh’s close friend came up with this highly speculative theory which pointed the finger of blame at a classmate named Chris Garrett, now a middle school teacher in Georgia. It turns out he wasn’t some random guy from the yearbook. He was apparently one of Kavanaugh’s group of friends, seemingly a fairly good friend. He shows up with him in the yearbook and he’s referenced repeatedly in Kavanaugh’s calendar/diary under the nickname “Squi”. Both Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh identified him as such. It turns out that around this time he was also dating Christine Blasey. This is needless to say a pretty clear way the two social worlds came together.
There is in fact a reference to a pre-party get together on July 1st, 1982 in that calendar that sounds a lot like the event Blasey Ford describes. It has Kavanaugh, Mark Judge and at least one (“PJ”) of the other boys Blasey Ford said in her initial letter were there. You can see the entry here.
Now, all we can really say based on this bit of evidence is that Kavanaugh clearly was attending parties like the one Blasey Ford described at that time, something that is not at all incriminating in itself but which is nevertheless something Kavanaugh has denied. But there is actually more suggestive evidence. And the best walk through it comes in a series of article yesterday by the Post’s Philip Bump. Here is one on information in Mark Judge’s book which appears to confirm one element of Blasey Ford’s account. Here is a second one. And here is the one specifically about this party. As Bump notes, coincidentally or not, it was after Rachel Mitchell’s questioning on this party that her participation in the hearing abruptly ended.
I don’t believe it is coincidental that the man Ed Whelan chose to publicly accuse, apparently working in concert Leonard Leo of The Federalist Society and quite possibly Kavanaugh himself, happened to be someone who was actually a good friend of Kavanaugh’s and happened to be dating Blasey Ford at around the same time. There is a connection here.
The relevant point for us is not that this is necessarily the date that the incident happened or that we could get closer to corroboration or exoneration based on these details. It is that there is an obvious place to start for the FBI to review these details as part of a reopened background check.
What seems like highly relevant information is sitting right there and they’re refusing to look at it. Senate Republicans are now rushing to a final floor vote on Monday. This needs to be examined and there is little no time to lose.