by Sharon Rondeau

Democrat strategist Ricki Seidman in 1993 (C-Span)

(Sep. 21, 2018) — A video published by the “GOP War Room” is said to be a recording of former Bill Clinton White House spokesman Ricki Seidman during which she discussed building a strategy to “challenge” Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The interview is here:

A 12-year veteran of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Washington, DC, Kavanaugh was nominated July 9 by President Donald Trump to fill the seat of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who announced his retirement at the end of June.

Trump and congressional Republicans were hoping to complete the vetting and confirmation process prior to October 1, when the new high court calendar begins.

Seidman began the interview by telling the interviewer that as of that date, said to be sometime in July, the U.S. Senate was likely to confirm Kavanaugh.  She did not attempt to impugn Kavanaugh’s character nor say that he lacked the requisite experience to serve. Rather, her argument against his confirmation was more ideological, as might be expected.

On Thursday it was reported by mainstream outlets that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of attempted sexual assault some 36 years ago when both were attending separate, private high schools in the suburban Washington, DC area, hired Seidman to “advise” her during what increasingly appears to be an effort to draw out Kavanaugh’s final confirmation vote.

An entry at the Harvard Kennedy School/Institute of Politics for Ricki Seidman bears no photograph but states:

Ricki L Seidman is the Executive Director of Rock the Vote. Previously, Ms. Seidman worked in the Clinton White House as Assistant tot he President, Director of Scheduling and Advance and as Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy Communications Director. She was Deputy Communications Director for the Transition and of the “War Room” for the Clinton-Gore Presidential Campaign Transition. Before joining President Clinton’s team, Ms. Seidman was chief investigator for the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, a senior investigator for The Investigative Group, and worked on five political campaign, including the Dukakis-Bentsen campaign in 1988 and Mondale for President in 1984.

Her Wikipedia page likewise contains no photo but states that she is involved in the Kavanaugh confirmation process.  Also from Wikipedia, Seidman appeared in a 1993 video titled “Surviving a Campaign Crisis.”

Kavanaugh and a classmate who Ford identified as having been present during the alleged assault have both denied that the incident ever occurred.

After Ford’s identity became known on Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley invited her to attend a hearing on Monday, September 24, in either public or private, to relate her allegations. Through a back-and-forth with Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, this week, Ford first said she would not testify until the FBI conducted an investigation of her claim.  However, on Thursday, Katz said that Ford was considering testifying next week but not on Monday. No reason was given for why Monday presents a conflict.

Ford reportedly did not tell her parents of the alleged incident, nor did she report it to the police.

Grassley had set a 10:00 AM Friday deadline for each party to respond to his invitation to testify Monday. Kavanaugh reportedly confirmed he will attend the hearing, whether it be held publicly or in private, and, according to Grassley, has already given a sworn statement under penalty of felony perjury if he were found to be untruthful.

On Thursday night, major media reported that Ford was making several demands on the committee: that Kavanaugh testify first; that her “safety” be provided for and the hearing be “fair”; and that no attorneys be allowed to question her, but only members of the committee.

Many senators on the Judiciary Committee are already attorneys, including Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse, Dick Durbin, Kamala Harris, Patrick Leahy and Amy Klobuchar; all have been prosecutors in their home states.

Seidman advised Anita Hill for her Senate testimony after Hill accused then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment while they were employed at the EEOC.  Thomas vehemently denied the claim and called the questioning which took place centered on Hill’s claims “a high-tech lynching.”

Ford’s accusation became public only after Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) reportedly provided a letter from Ford, requesting confidentiality, to the FBI, with Feinstein then requesting an investigation.  Grassley has since expressed frustration with Feinstein for having possession of the letter, dated July 30, 2018, but failing to divulge it during private meetings with the nominee or during his public four days of testimony earlier this month.

In a letter issued Wednesday evening to Feinstein, Grassley asked her to provide him an “unredacted” copy of Ford’s letter in order to prepare for Monday’s hearing. It is unclear whether or not Feinstein has complied with that request.

Women who have known Kavanaugh and his family for years have publicly vouched for his integrity and role model as a citizen, husband, public servant and father, while a number of Ford’s acquaintances, many of whom hold posts in the fields of education and government, have signed a letter vouching for her honesty and character.

As of this writing, Grassley does not appear to have issued a decision as to whether or not the Monday hearing will take place without Ford; whether he will reschedule it to accommodate her; whether investigators will travel to her to obtain her statement;or whether there will be no hearing at all given her refusal to attend on the date he set one week prior.

In his letter to Feinstein on Wednesday, Grassley said he was willing to send staff to California, where Ford resides, if for some reason she is unable to travel to Washington to testify, a gesture Katz reportedly said on Thursday her client “appreciates.”

Many on the political right are urging no further delays in Kavanaugh’s confirmation votes in both the Judiciary Committee and the Senate floor, while Democrats claim that Grassley is attempting to rush the process and circumvent a thorough investigation of Ford’s claim by the FBI.

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