Senate Republicans Make Ridiculous Late Effort to Muddy the Waters for Kavanaugh Confirmation

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (left) meeting with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in late July.

The news today will be dominated by two things: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s planned meeting with President Trump at the White House, which may end with Rosenstein out of a job (postponed), and the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The Kavanaugh hearings got underway at 8:00 this morning, with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifying about her accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh when both were in high school. Kavanaugh will give his testimony on these accusations once Ford’s hearing has concluded. As the Washington Post reports today, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee unveiled some ridiculous surprises on the eve of the hearings:

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee disclosed late Wednesday that they had questioned two men who say they, not Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Christine Blasey Ford that led to her sexual assault allegations, but offered no evidence to back up either claim…[Pols emphasis]

…The disclosure of potentially exculpatory material was included in a larger timeline of the committee staff’s investigative work released by Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

Neither man claiming responsibility is identified by name, and there is no indication that either intends to come forward publicly.

The committee declined to comment further than what was outlined in the news release when asked why Grassley’s staff interviewed the two men who separately say they might have had the alleged encounter with Ford, how they found the men and whether the committee found them credible.


If you believe Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, at least two different men have come forward to declare that they — and not Brett Kavanaugh — were responsible for sexually assaulting Ford. On the same date. At the same time.


TIME magazine has more details on these ridiculous claims:

According to the timeline, committee staff interviewed the first man who said he believes he attacked Ford on Sept. 24. They spoke to him again on Sept. 25 and said in the timeline that he “described his recollection of their interaction in some detail.”

The man on Sept. 26 sent a “more in-depth written statement” to the committee. That same day, the committee’s investigative staff spoke on the phone with another man who said he had attacked Ford in 1982.

This is patently and transparently absurd. The implication is that Kavanaugh could not have committed the assault on Ford because two anonymous men separately claim that they were in fact responsible for the attack in question.

Kavanaugh supporters will jump in here and say that these anonymous accounts should be treated with the same seriousness as accusations against Kavanaugh have been portrayed, but that’s a stupid argument that ignores basic common sense. It would be hard enough to believe that one man would suddenly admit to a sexual assault for which he had not been implicated, but two separate men? Did both men commit the same assault at the same time? They can’t both be telling the truth. 

As far as we know, Ford has never wavered in her account of the allegations that two men — Kavanaugh and a friend (identified as Mark Judge) — were present at the time of the alleged assault. That doesn’t mean that Ford’s recollection must be accurate, but it is incredibly insulting to Ford to even speculate that she might be misremembering that it was in fact two other people who assaulted her at the same time.

The obvious point of including these other two anonymous men is for Senate Republicans to be able to say, Oh, this is all too complicated and mysterious, so we’re voting for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. All this really shows is that Senate Republicans aren’t in the least bit serious about listening to allegations of sexual assault if it means that they might have to consider voting against a Supreme Court nominee put forward by a Republican President.

46 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:

    If you are not watching, you should tune in. All the Republicans can do is defend their tactics. Grassley is pissed.


  2. Duke Cox says:

    The optics of this are terrible for Republicans. Jeff Glor pointed out the name of Mark Judge keeps coming up.

    Where is Mark Judge? 

    The question now is…will Kavanaugh have the brass to actually testify? How thoroughly is he willing to be humiliated?

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    Were the two dudes who came forward wearing MAGA hats?

  4. Davie says:

    Dr. Ford came across as extremely credible and honest.

    When Kavanaugh's turn comes, his credibility will be topic #1

    “We are here for one reason, to determine whether Judge Kavanaugh should be elevated to one of the most powerful positions in our country,” she said. “This is not a trial of Dr. Ford. It’s a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh. Is Brett Kavanaugh who we want on the most prestigious court in our country? Is he the best we can do?”

    Even before Dr. Blasey had come forward, Democrats had attacked Judge Kavanaugh’s credibility, arguing that Bush White House emails had shown that he had misled the Senate when he came before it as an appeals court nominee in 2004 and 2006, in distancing himself from various Bush-era controversies including work on other disputed appeals court nominees and Senate Republican staffers’ then-secret infiltration of internal Democratic computer files to learn which nominees they were likely to try to block and with what tactics.

    [Feinstein] noted that in recent days, Judge Kavanaugh has not just denied attacking Dr. Blasey, but has also denied that he ever drank so much as a young man that he could not remember what happened and that as a teenager he was mainly focused on school, basketball, service projects and going to church. She contrasted that with various accounts by his former associates and classmates that he was a heavy drinker as a young man and that his defensive portrayal of himself had gone too far and was not credible.

    I don't think the Senate committee will be willing to pay the excess baggage fees that come with Kavanaugh.

  5. All of the Trump-heads are Kavanaugh now. Or are willing to admit to sexual assault in order to get other simple-minded idiots to look past what increasingly looks like a nasty background.

    Why is Kavanaugh so important? They have a half-dozen other candidates ready to go…

    • unnamed says:

      I think Kavanaugh was picked by Dump, because Kavanaugh believes that executive power should be virtually unlimited.  That is what separates him from the other potential candidates for Trump.  At least it was.  Now, I'm betting that for Trump, it's all about WINNING!!! 

  6. Duke Cox says:

    Lindsay Graham is crying like a baby who has had his candy taken away…

  7. Genghis says:

    Good God Almighty. Kavanaugh is whining like a three-year-old with a skinned knee. The ease with which trash rises to the top here in the good ol' U.S. of A. never ceases to amaze.

  8. Davie says:

    Kavanaugh's opening statement sounded like a Tea Party rant — highly partisan "Democrats out to destroy me", "This is the Clintons’ revenge".

    The questioning from the GOP prosecutor didn't seem to help his case — especially when all he could answer about the drinking was a stuttering, repeated "I like beer, I still do".

    He's as spoiled and oblivious as Trump.  Judicial demeanor and impartiality?  I don't think so.


  9. Voyageur says:

    Among other things, Kavanaugh repeatedly said drinking beer was both legal and accepted at his high school — because alcohol was then legal atv18 in Maryland.

    But he was false to declare that drinking was legal"at least for the seniors. "

    Wrong.  Most seniors, especially during the fall football season, were just 17.

    Additionally, the incidents involving Kavanaugh occurred when he was 17, 16 and even younger.

    He claims to have been a defensive tackle on the football team.  So was I. But I was also chairman of the training committe e.  We would suspend an athlete for smoking or drinking.  

    Did we have kids who drank illegally?  Of course.  I was never one of them and the few who did were mostly regarded as juvenile delinquents.  I was never drunk in high school and suspect my Holyoke Dragons would have crushed Kavanaugh's preppie boozers had we ever met on a gridiron!

  10. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Saw this on a Yahoo News thread. The Federalist Society included Kavanaugh on their short list of potential SCOTUS nominees that they gave to Trump. How come no one is holding the Society accountable for not properly vetting their suggestions? 

  11. Davie says:

    Senator Tillis is indignant, outraged that the Democrats in the committee refused to participate in our charade of an investigation!  Why didn't they play along with our sham investigations?????

  12. Davie says:

    I'm surprised Ted Cruz hasn't called for an FBI investigation into why Diane Feinstein didn't break confidentiality

  13. Davie says:

    Bluster, filibuster and evasion — Ladies and Gentlemen, your future could be the hands of this, your next supreme court justice!

    • mamajama55 says:

      I wouldn't  trust Kavanaugh to fairly judge me on a 2 pt traffic violation.

      Today's circus reminded me of when Oswald Cobblepott was being groomed for Mayor in "Batman Returns".


      I saw a lot of faculty wearing black today in silent protest and affirmation of believing the survivors.


  14. Powerful Pear says:

    Congratulations to Judge Kavanaugh, the next justice on SCOUS. The American people will see through the shameful tactics of Democrats and rightly repudiate their hate for the principles that have held the nation together since our founding. Each of these Democrat members of the committee will have their names remembered in an unkind way for the rest of history. The threads of decency that bind the nation remain intact, at least for today.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Decency? Did you see Trump's SCOTUS pick in action yesterday? Whining, babbling, interrupting female senators, alleging a vast left wing conspiracy, unable to explain why the FBI should not investigate these claims, as every woman who has accused him has asked them to do.

      Only if you assume that every woman that alleges sexual assault is lying and that Kavanaugh is telling the truth (in contradiction to his friends, roommates, and probably the FBI report that we're not allowed to see) does Kavanaugh come off as even competent to sit on traffic court – and probably not that.

      I suppose that you do assume that every woman who alleges any sexual assault or mistreatment (at least if it implicates a Republican male) is lying. That makes your world view possible.

      But…..what if you're wrong? Why the big rush to confirm this clown? Does your side really have nothing better to offer than this incoherent, morally compromised, lying clown?

      • Powerful Pear says:

        I watched the whole thing. I believe that Ford was assaulted, not by Kavanaugh but maybe by a family member or her friends brother, or a school teacher, or who knows. I set on a rape trial. The young man was up for 20 years in prison if convicted. The majority of women on the jury knew the women’s story was a lie. The man was acquitted. The Judge’s actions were totally consistent with that of the terrified young man on trial. Women are capable of lying, and other women are capable of judging.

        It is not lost on reasonable people that the Democrats held this to the last minute to delay a confirmation. It is not lost on reasonable people that both Ford and Kavanaugh were used as tools of the Democrats to advance Trump hatred by any means available. The fact that two other women came forward was to be expected, especially the charge of a rape train.

        When Trump puts forth a women nominee for SCOTUS, the Democrats actions will be 10 times worse. No person is safe from the mob.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          It looks like a couple of the people in your party (specifically, Flake and Murkowski) want to pause before jumping off the Kavanaugh Cliff. You people will never realize what a favor he did for the GOP.

        • MADCO says:


          There is politics in our political system?

          i am saddened

          thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers, you whiney cry baby.

          Hey, good thing Dr Ford wasnt armed.

    • Republican 36 says:

      Shameful tactics? Lets look at what really happened yesterday and the days leading up to the hearing. All of Kavanaugh's accusers and the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee asked for an FBI investigation which for judicial nominees is standard practice, including follow-up investigations when additional issues arise. Why didn't Judge Kavanaugh and the Republicans want an FBI investigation? It appears they were fearful what it might bring to light.

      The Republican staff did not do an in-depth investigation of these allegations. In the first place, they aren't trained to do so and in the past, they have always relied on the FBI. That was obvious from the questioning by Ms. Mitchell and no blame should be placed on her. As a former prosecutor, she would formulate her questions based on a police investigation of the facts of a given case. In this case, an FBI report but there wasn't one. Yesterday, in essence, she had to conduct the investigation during the hearing which meant she had to pursue many dead ends.

      Where was Mr. Mark Judge yesterday? The Republicans took his word for it that he wasn't there? Why? Why didn't they take Dr. Ford's word for it? The committee should have issued subpoenas to all those identified as witnesses and had them testify under oath. That way, each senator could judge the credibility and veracity of each witness.

      What did we have at the end of the day? An incomplete picture of what happened. And who was in control of crafting that picture – the Republicans.

      Judge Kavanaugh's jousting with Senator Kloubacher and the prosecutor from Phoenix was unseemly and silly. When he's in a corner he doesn't seem to be able to control himself very well which is an absolute requirement for a justice of the United States Supreme Court.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        MSNBC just reported that Jeff Flake issued a statement saying he is voting yes. I think Murkowski and Collins end up voting yes as well when it reaches the floor.

        This guy was really angry yesterday and I don't think will subside for a long time, if ever. It's probably going to come through in some of his decisions on the bench.

        Yes, M.J. I cannot pass up the opportunity to say it again, "Thank you, Jill Stein and your moronic followers." (And thank you, Russia, as well.)

    • Davie says:

      Pear — you have it exactly  backwards:

      Perhaps the most maddening part of Thursday’s hearing was the cowardice of the committee’s 11 Republicans, all of them men, and none of them, apparently, capable of asking Dr. Blasey a single question. They farmed that task out to a sex-crimes prosecutor named Rachel Mitchell, who tried unsuccessfully in five-minute increments to poke holes in Dr. Blasey’s story.

      Eventually, as Judge Kavanaugh testified, the Republican senators ventured out from behind their shield. Doubtless seeking to ape President’s Trump style and win his approval, they began competing with each other to make the most ferocious denunciation of their Democratic colleagues and the most heartfelt declaration of sympathy for Judge Kavanaugh, in a show of empathy far keener than they managed to muster for Dr. Blasey.

      Pressed over and over by Democratic senators, Judge Kavanaugh never could come up with a clear answer for why he wouldn’t also want a fair, neutral F.B.I. investigation into the allegations against him — the kind of investigation the agency routinely performs, and that Dr. Blasey has called for. At one point, though, he acknowledged that it was common sense to put some questions to other potential witnesses besides him.

      When Senator Patrick Leahy asked whether the judge was the inspiration for a hard-drinking character named Bart O’Kavanaugh in a memoir about teenage alcoholism by Mr. Judge, Judge Kavanaugh replied, “You'd have to ask him.”

      Asking Mr. Judge would be a great idea. Unfortunately he’s hiding out in a Delaware beach town and Senate Republicans are refusing to subpoena him.

      The most shameful performances came from the GOP senators, but as you and I know, they are incapable of shame.

  15. Voyageur says:

    Apparently, it has been at least ten years since Kavanaugh tried to rape a woman.  Can't we let bygones be bygones?

  16. MADCO says:

    perjury sux.

    Clinton was impeached for it. disbarred too, I think.


    So these lying supporters are open.

    How's it going to work Kavanaugh? He is accused of perjury from both of the prior hearings.



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