Things Moving Very Fast

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 18: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks with reporters about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill September 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 18: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks with reporters about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill September 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced a hearing before the Judiciary Committee with Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, next Monday. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 23, 2018 10:07 pm
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As you may have already seen, all hell has broken loose over the last hour or so in the already chaotic and ugly Kavanaugh confirmation process. For now I’m simply going to flag and link to the main points. I’ll try to put my thoughts together on them later.

The big new thing is this article by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer in The New Yorker. This is a new accusation which the article and even the accuser concedes has gaps and is based on incomplete memories. The authors are very precise on what’s known, remembered and what’s not. The gist is a sex-charged drinking game in a Yale dorm room when Kavanaugh and a woman named Deborah Ramirez were freshmen. As she remembers it, the men focused the calls to drink on her. She got drunk. There was teasing of her with what sounds like a dildo. Then Kavanaugh put his penis in her face and she pushed him away. The details are so meticulously sketched out — what people do or don’t remember, etc. — I won’t describe more than that. If you haven’t, you should read it.

In some ways what seems at least as significant are details buried deep in the story. One is that Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s alleged accomplice, apparently admitted to a girlfriend in college what sounds like a gang rape he participated in in high school.

Here’s the passage.

After seeing Judge’s denial, Elizabeth Rasor, who met Judge at Catholic University and was in a relationship with him for about three years, said that she felt morally obligated to challenge his account that “ ‘no horseplay’ took place at Georgetown Prep with women.” Rasor stressed that “under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t reveal information that was told in confidence,” but, she said, “I can’t stand by and watch him lie.” In an interview with The New Yorker, she said, “Mark told me a very different story.” Rasor recalled that Judge had told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman. Rasor said that Judge seemed to regard it as fully consensual. She said that Judge did not name others involved in the incident, and she has no knowledge that Kavanaugh participated. But Rasor was disturbed by the story and noted that it undercut Judge’s protestations about the sexual innocence of Georgetown Prep. (Barbara Van Gelder, an attorney for Judge, said that he “categorically denies” the account related by Rasor. Van Gelder said that Judge had no further comment.)

This is third hand. We don’t have enough facts to know precisely what happened here. But it certainly blows apart Judge’s claim that he never saw anything untoward like what Ford alleges when he was in high school. For the moment, Senate Republicans are insisting that Judge will not be called to testify.

Adding more gas to this fire, Michael Avenatti is out this evening saying he is representing more witnesses. As things unfolded tonight, it became clear that he is representing some person or persons who say that Kavanaugh and Judge were known to prey on fellow students with alcohol and do things which sound like the paragraph above.

Here’s his latest blast.

Avenatti is usually able to back up his claims. Or, perhaps better to say, when he has something, he usually does … have something. But obviously he operates much more fast and loose than the folks at The New Yorker. So who knows what he has or can prove. For now I think all we know is that this injects more drama, tension and unpredictability into the moment.

Finally a short time ago, Senator Feinstein sent a letter to Senator Grassley asking for an immediate postponement of all Kavanaugh proceedings.

Finally here’s my brief twitter thread on the unfolding electoral politics of all of this — something that is distinct from the substance of these charges but also very important with less than two months till Election Day.

More later.

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