WAS IT ALL PRE-PLANNED?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 8, 2018) — In remarks to reporters on Monday evening, President Trump called the last-minute accusations against then-Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh “a hoax” carried out by “evil” people.
Nominated on July 9, after a protracted confirmation process resulting from unexpected allegations of sexual misconduct, Kavanaugh was narrowly approved by the Senate as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon. Following a razor-sharp 50-48 vote in the deeply-divided body, Kavanaugh was sworn in by the justice he replaced, Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts.
A ceremonial swearing-in took place at the White House on Monday evening, an event which at the time of his remarks Trump said he was anticipating.
Kavanaugh answered questions for more than 30 hours during his initial hearings September 4–7. A confirmation vote was about to take place in the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 17 when the day before, a Sunday, The Washington Post published an article with an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while he was 17 and she 15, approximately 36 years ago.
Ford’s account was vague and did not identify the place, time, nor the person who drove her home that night. During the days-long period in which Ford’s attorneys and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley were negotiating a day for her to testify as to her claims, two other women came forward with claims of sexual misconduct against the longtime public servant.
Having worked as staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House as well as in the Starr investigation into then-President Bill Clinton’s business dealings in the Whitewater land transaction dating back to 1978, Kavanaugh had undergone six FBI background checks.
On September 28, Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is retiring in January, proposed an additional, supplemental FBI background check on Kavanaugh before the full Senate vote, to which Grassley agreed. Kavanaugh’s nomination was then passed out of committee affirmatively on a party-line vote, 11-10, and Grassley requested Trump to ask the FBI to investigate the sexual-misconduct claims.
Democrats were pleased that Republicans had acceded to their request for FBI intervention. Trump approved the request, and the FBI began its work that evening.
The committee performed its own investigation of all claims made against Kavanaugh, Grassley said, including interviewing acquaintances of Swetnick and Ramirez. Neither woman would speak directly to the committee, Grassley’s timeline reports.
Ford and Kavanaugh testified separately but publicly on September 27. Many found Ford’s testimony compelling, including Trump. However, Kavanaugh offered what many Americans saw as an equally vehement denial of her claim that he and his high-school friend, Mark Judge, in 1982 pushed Ford into an upstairs bedroom while drunk and that Kavanaugh attempted to undress her.
The witnesses Ford identified as able to corroborate her account of the house party where the incident allegedly occurred all denied, under penalty of felony, having been there.
On October 5, The Wall Street Journal reported that one of Ford’s witnesses, longtime friend Leland Ingham Keyser, told the FBI that she felt “pressured” to amend her original statement claiming she had no recollection of the event. Another high-school friend, Monica McLean, was reported to have attempted to convince Keyser to modify her statement.
A retired FBI agent, McLean was reported to have attended Ford’s testimony while sitting with Ford’s legal team. The Post & Email has not independently verified the report.
McLean was said by a past boyfriend of Ford’s to have been coached by Ford on how to take a polygraph test, a prospect McLean reportedly faced in an interview for a government job 20+ years ago. Through her attorney, former U.S. Justice Department official David Laufman, McLean denied the boyfriend’s account and having attempted to convince Keyser to alter her statement for Ford’s sake.
According to The Washington Post on February 7, Laufman, who had worked on the Clinton private server investigation and Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, resigned from the Justice Department for “personal reasons.”
Democrats vehemently opposed Kavanaugh due to their perception that he will be the deciding vote in overturning what they see as “abortion rights,” embodied in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. While testifying in early September, Kavanaugh said he considered abortion established precedent, which did not satisfy Senate Democrats.
Having decried the FBI’s last probe as insufficient, some Democrats say that should they take back control of one or both chambers of Congress in next month’s elections, they will pursue a criminal investigation into his background and/or his impeachment.
On Saturday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA49), who is also retiring in January, issued a statement on his website in which he contended that the claims against Kavanaugh constituted “a carefully coordinated political attack that was plotted in secret, coordinated among Senators and staff, and intended to destroy a good man. This did, indeed, replace the doctrine of advice and consent with a mission to search and destroy.”
In a letter dated October 2, 2018 to committee Democrats, Grassley included a step-by-step timeline of the complaints the committee received about Kavanaugh, which included the claim that he and Judge attacked a woman in a boat in Newport, RI three decades ago; that he and Judge looked on as young women were drugged and abused at weekend parties; that Kavanaugh had abused Judge Dabney Friedrich in Colorado in 1998; and that he violated a California woman in the back of a car, the latter having come from an anonymous party.
On September 27, Friedrich issued a statement denying the account allegedly involving her.
The Rhode Islander who reported the alleged boat incident admitted that he perpetrated a hoax, after which Grassley asked the Justice Department to investigate his potential crime of lying to members of Congress.
On September 12, ranking committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) provided a letter Ford sent her with her claim of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. The same day, Grassley’s timeline reads, Atty. Debra Katz “leaves Capitol Hill shortly after the Intercept published an article with vague allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.”
Katz is a declared member of the anti-Trump “Resistance.”
During her testimony, Ford said that Feinstein’s office recommended Katz to her. Attys. Katz, Lisa Banks, and Michael Bromwich, according to the latter, were working for Ford pro bono.
“Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have privately requested to view a Brett Kavanaugh-related document in possession of the panel’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, but the senior California senator has so far refused, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation,” the article begins.
The following day, Grassley wrote in the timeline, the nature of the letter was leaked to the media, and Feinstein finally informed him about it after having it in her possession for six weeks.
During Ford’s testimony on September 27, Feinstein defended her decision to keep the letter and its contents to herself for that length of time, then providing it to the FBI. She additionally denied having leaked Ford’s name to the media.
A website dedicated to convincing the public that Ford was telling the truth and Kavanaugh lying, IBelieveDrChristineBlaaseyFord.com, which was online last week, appears to have been taken down. Similarly, the hashtag #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord has disappeared.
The site was supported by former Clinton aide Brian Fallon and his organization, DemandJustice, which says it “empowers citizens to organize around our nation’s courts and prevent them from devolving into just another tool of economic and social oppression.”
Fallon also worked for former Attorney General Eric Holder and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Trump’s judges are overwhelmingly white men,” the website’s “What’s at Stake” section states. “Many are not at all qualified for their posts. And they consistently hold extreme, right-wing views.”
Like Holder and some House Democrats, Fallon believes Kavanaugh’s place on the high court is illegitimate.
As with many other issues and controversies, the mainstream media did not investigate Ford’s claim or her background, but merely “believed” her.
During his remarks at Monday’s swearing-in, Trump apologized to the Kavanaugh family for their ordeal and claimed the women’s allegations were “based on deception.”
This story was updated at 10:54 p.m. EDT.