It is the evening of Sunday September 24th as I write this op-ed for publishing tomorrow morning. I came up with its title on Tuesday September 18th. In it I’m predicting what will take place in the Senate Judiciary Committee later this week. I will not be able to be completely accurate on some details because despite supposedly diligent and exhausting negotiation as of this writing they are simply unresolved and therefore unknown. All that said I am confident that the title will be the final outcome in committee. Let’s explore.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her back when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh denies the accusation. Obviously one of them is at least inaccurate. The Committee’s job should be a search for the truth. I have every reason to believe that it is not.
This entire last week – including the time during which I am writing this article – has been taken up with negotiating the terms and circumstances of Dr. Ford’s testimony. They are still not completely resolved but I’ll tell you what we know to date.
Dr. Ford is to testify before the Committee on Thursday. Time, exact place (other than Capitol Hill) and exact terms are still up in the air. Dr. Ford asked to make her statement after Judge Kavanaugh made his. I think she will and should lose on that point. How does Kavanaugh defend himself from charges before they are brought?
Both have received death and other threats. Dr. Ford is asking that her safety be insured. I think that the safety of a witness being insured is an implied obligation of the Committee and should not even be a term subject to negotiation. I also think anyone caught threatening either should be arrested and prosecuted.
Dr. Ford has asked that the FBI investigate her allegations. President Trump and Republican Committee Chair Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa have blocked that investigation. Grassley says his Committee staffers will investigate. I wonder if that includes the guy who tweeted full steam ahead on the nomination or the guy who had to resign due to his own sexual harassment issues. Professor Ford is asking for an FBI investigation; that is not the usual act of a liar. Kavanaugh’s nominator, President Trump, spends countless hours avoiding talking to Robert Mueller and any of his FBI people. It appears that we have seen Kavanaugh lie to this Committee, there is reason to believe he has lied in past hearings. Trump and the Republicans suppressed more evidence than they presented during this hearing. Trump has set the equivalent of a land speed record for presidential lies. At this point I have to give the edge in credibility to Ford. The problem is the Republicans have never been and are not seeking the truth; they just want their man confirmed.
In addition to Grassley ten Republicans sit on the Committee, they are: Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana. Grassley is the Chair of one of the Senate’s most powerful committees. Hatch currently sits fourth in line to the Presidency. Cornyn is the number two Republican in Senate leadership. Graham and Cruz have run for president. I expect Flake and Sasse to run in 2020. Despite all that they want to hire a female outside council to question Dr. Ford. Is it lack of cerebral power or simply lack of courage? We have at least four men who feel qualified to be President of the United States but they are afraid to ask questions of a committee witness.
According to Dr. Ford there was a third person in the room where Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. His name is Mark Judge. She requests that he be subpoenaed to testify. To date Grassley and the Republicans have refused because Judge has stated he does not remember the incident and does not want to testify. I for one would like to get him to make that claim under oath. Oath is not a truth serum but it is interesting how sometimes the threat of perjury changes tunes.
One of the excuses many on the right are coming up with is that even if the charges are correct Kavanaugh was only 17. At least they are consistent. Trump was given “A mulligan” for his action up to the age of 70 including his admission of sexual assault in the Access Hollywood tape. My only question is if they are hypocrites or just plain fools.
One of the right wing criticisms of Dr. Ford is that she didn’t immediately report the rape attempt. She was 15 at the time; Donald Trump was 59 when he bragged about committing sexual assault. You draw your own conclusions from that juxtaposition of facts.
The only Republican I can possibly envision wavering is Flake and based on his track record that is extremely unlikely. The Republicans received their marching orders this weekend when Trump, Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell all addressed the Values Voter Summit (talk about not judging a book by the cover) and declared that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Grassley and his crew will give Professor Ford her say, question her in such a way as to intimidate any other women from coming forward with the audacity to try and disrupt their plots, tell her an insincere but requisite thank you and then quickly move Kavanaugh out of Committee with an 11-10 party line vote.
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