Brett Kavanaugh Accusations, Again

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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83 Responses

  1. Avatar InMD
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    says:

    This is profoundly unserious. NYT’s own review of the book concludes the following:

    ‘In the end they turn up no smoking gun, no secret confession, no friend who comes forth to say Kavanaugh was lying all this time.’

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/14/books/review/the-education-of-brett-kavanaugh-robin-pogrebin-kate-kelly.html

    I have no idea if Justice K is a womanizer or something much worse but neither do these dumbass ‘reporters.’ Whatever it is going on up there, it isn’t journalism.Report

    • Avatar KenB in reply to InMD
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      says:

      The authors have a book to sell, the editors have a paper to sell, and partisanship sells. Probably best to avoid the temptation to rehash it all here again — hard to see how anyone’s mind would be changed at this point.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    1619 not taking off the way they hoped?Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    As with Epstein, eventually all these people will come forward one by one and tell their stories.

    And I’m happy to see the leading Dems are not shy about impeaching the creep.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      Out of the 5 big accusations, four of the accusers now admit that their stories were made up or should be applied to someone other than Brett, and the fifth’s was fact free.

      At the moment we have somewhere between one and zero people who have stepped forward legit problems, and the “story” can be summed up as “witch hunt”.

      It’s possible this is the turning point were we actually get people with problems and not partisan axes to bury. However judging those odds from the size of the witch hunt from our current list of accusations, my expectation is we’re going to find out there’s nothing here and the word “creep” should be applied to the people making accusations.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter
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        says:

        Also I see my Icon has changed to something more thoughtful.

        THANK YOU to whoever did that.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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        says:

        It’s a rehash of the Ramirez allegation. Absent someone turning up with pictures or something like that from this party nothing will be substantiated.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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        says:

        “Fact free” is a hell of a way to spell “eyewitness testimony”.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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          says:

          Chip, no one here can prove a negative, but did you even read these articles? Look at the editors note that came in yesterday:

          ‘Editors’ Note: Sept. 15, 2019

          An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.’

          It’s not about whether you like Trump, Brett K, or subscribe to any political philosophy. It’s about whether you think getting the facts right matters, and whether that ought to matter to the paper of record. It isn’t even clear that there’s an allegation from an alleged victim or what the allegation would actually be from these vague, decades old memories of drunken third party penis handling by mostly unnamed people who may or may not have attended a party that may or may not have actually happened.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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            says:

            Yes and one fact is that both Deborah Ramirez and Max Stier have said Kavanaugh exposed himself.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              Say what you will about the people attacking Al Franken, but at least they had photographic evidence of him harassing a passed-out woman.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Presidents have been impeached with less evidence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Ahem: Monica Lewinsky was fully consensual.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                To be fair to conservatives, Clinton was not impeached for a blowjob. He was impeached for lying.

                Which brings us right back to Kavanaugh.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                From my perspective, I think that if the journalistic class/caste thought that stories on the homeless crisis would lead to Trump losing in 2020, we’d see nothing but stories about San Francisco having poop all over its sidewalks.

                So this particular story strikes me as being the thing that the journalistic class/caste thinks will bring down Trump.

                (And, let’s face it, if RBG, God forbid, happens to pass away, Amy Coney Barrett will make Cavanaugh look like Kennedy.)

                So I look at this not as an important matter of principle but just as a tactic.

                Given the new editor’s notes coming out and being appended to stories, I’m not seeing this as being a particularly good tactic (we’re already seeing stories about how Republicans are pouncing on various things).

                Given those editor’s notes, I tend to see this as another E. Jean Carroll (remember her?) kinda situation rather than something that will actually strike true.

                When you come at the king, you best not miss. And Russia Russia Russia ended up being a bust. The 1619 Project ended up being a bust. #MeToo ended up hitting more Democrats than Republicans.

                Time to try this. And hope that this one works. (And if there are more editor’s notes as damning to the story as the last one, they’re going to have to switch to something else. Maybe the homeless crisis?)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Why do you insist on seeing this through the lens of sophistry, a battle where truth is irrelevant?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                If you’re asking me why I insist on telling the truth about what I see when I look at things, I think it has to do with me being on the spectrum.

                I think if I were better at social navigation, I’d do better at picking up signals about group membership and repeating them in such a way that I would tell everybody that I was a group member in good standing.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You are saying that the “truth” here, is that whether any of these allegations actually happened or not is irrelevant?

                Am I getting that right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                No. That’s not what I am saying.

                You asked me why I insisted (you used that word. “Insist”) to see things as I saw them instead of seeing them the way you saw them.

                I am telling you what I am seeing. I suppose you might ask if I “really” see things the way I say I see them but I’m not sure where that gets us.

                As for whether or not any of these allegations actually happened being relevant, I’d just point to the editor’s note and ask whether the note sufficiently communicates the relevancy of what actually happened.

                I mean, do you see why someone might look at that note and say “huh… this totally looks like something that Republicans would pounce on”?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You only see this as partisan gamesmanship, then, not as grave matters of truth of falsehood?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I answered your question. Please answer mine. Then I will answer your new one.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Sure, the Republicans would pounce on anything to exonerate him.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Thinking about this, there are mostly only two answers to my question so I will answer your question twice, once with each potential answer in mind.

                “No, I don’t see how the editor’s note would bring up a red flag in the minds of skeptics.”

                Okay, well, please understand that I am coming from a position where I can see that sort of thing. Given that I am in a place where I can imagine something that you can’t imagine, then, yes. I can easily imagine that this new Kavanaugh coverage is partisan gamesmanship (though, perhaps, a grave matter of partisan gamesmanship).

                “Yes, I do see how the editor’s note would bring up a red flag in the minds of skeptics.”

                Oh, good. Then you should be able to imagine why someone looking at this whole thing would see red flags instead of merely suspecting that new information has come to light.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Are you only skeptical of the accusation, or also skeptical of the claims of innocence?

                For instance when Kavanaugh gave answers that were easily refuted, does that raise red flags?

                Can you see how a reasonable person would remain skeptical of his fitness for such a high office?

                When the FBI found Ramirez credible but refused to interview anyone else does that raise red flags about their investigation ?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I am skeptical of both the accusation as well as the claims of innocence.

                Yes, not only Kavanaugh’s answers but Kavanaugh’s anger struck me as being one hell of a red flag.

                Yes, I can see how a reasonable person could be skeptical of his fitness for such a high office.

                Oh, you don’t have to point out FBI red flags to me. I don’t trust anything associated with the FBI.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Why do you insist on seeing this through the lens of sophistry, a battle where truth is irrelevant?

                How many false allegations do we need before we can conclude the people making/promoting them don’t care about the truth?Report

              • Avatar Dead Agent in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Jones, Willey, and Broaddrick were not.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                To me this also kind of misses the mark. What Franken did or didn’t do has no bearing on what Kavanaugh (or Clinton) did or didn’t do or vice versa.

                What this does show though is that a lot of these people such as the NYT and its activist staff who constantly write about the need to take sexism and sexual violence seriously don’t actually believe that themselves.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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                says:

                One dynamic that shows up a lot is the whole “I don’t argue this because I believe it. I argue this because *YOU* believe it.” kinda thing.

                You see it when atheists tell Christians that Jesus was a Socialist (but there is no shortage of examples for you to use).Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              I don’t believe Ramirez has actually said that but I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong. Everything I read says she’s refused to be interviewed and unnamed friends of hers say she doesn’t remember the incident.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                From ABC:
                “Ramirez told the New Yorker that during a dorm party sometime in the 1983-1984 academic year, Kavanaugh “thrust his penis in her face” causing her “to touch it without her consent.”

                The book authors now claim that FBI investigation wasn’t sufficiently thorough, saying that Ramirez’s legal team gave the FBI a list of at least 25 individuals who they said might have been able to confirm her allegations, but that none of them were interviewed as part of the bureau’s supplemental investigation, even after some of them tried to contract the FBI on their own accord. The Times also reports that two FBI agents interviewed Ramirez and said that they found her “credible,” but that the Senate “had imposed strict limits on the investigation.”

                There was an obvious and successful effort to prevent the FBI from conducting an investigation, and to silence any possible corroborating testimony.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Editors’ Note: Sept. 15, 2019
                An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.

                The Yale student who claims he witnessed the act happened to be one of Hillary Clinton’s lawyers.

                Go figure.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                And Brett Kavanaugh was one of Kenneth Starr’s lawyers.

                Go figure.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The problem there is that it’s wildly unlikely that the Democrat nominee happened to rape Karl Rove’s sister in college, as personally witnessed by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.Report

              • Avatar Dead Agent in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Which makes any testimony coming from Stier after all these years high;y suspect.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
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                says:

                The NYT article is written for max implication and minimal clarity.

                After a couple of readings, it seems that Stier isn’t corroborating Ramirez’s recollection; instead he is corroborating the recollection of another woman who doesn’t recollect a [different] incident, and refuses to comment further.

                The Ramirez statement isn’t new and remains unchanged… the piece as Chip notes above does two things with regards Ramirez (not the other incident) 1) talk about the process and whether more might have spoken to the FBI –I’m wondering if their names and comments are recorded elsewhere in the book? – if so, would have made a much better article than the entirety of: 2) talk about various theoretical reasons why people like Kavanaugh were sociologically compelled to do things like what Ramirez states to people like Ramirez at Princeton in the 1980s.

                So its difficult to parse what, if anything is new. It seems nothing is new, but maybe there are 25 witnesses? If so, there should be a story where the NYT interviewed 25 witnesses… it isn’t that story.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                No it really isn’t that story. That would require investigation, and, you know, journalism.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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                says:

                If only we had some federal bureau, which was able to conduct investigations.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                They’re to busy rigging elections to investigate every set of ludicrous claims that wouldn’t even pass the National Enquirer’s confirmation standards.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                No objection from me. Maybe this is the one where they nail him. If it is I guess I owe you and a bunch of other people a cold one.

                But more likely than not the results will again be at absolute best inconclusive. That’s just the reality of investigations into unrecorded events 30 years in the past, no matter what they are.

                And if that’s the case, will all these guardians of the republic retract, correct the record and admit they didn’t really know what they were talking about? Or will it be groundhog day every time someone with some half remembered gossip about drunken shenanigans comes out of the woodwork? Then we can recount all the other allegations and discuss the cloud of sexual impropriety hanging over the court, nevermind that no one ever seems able to get the who what where and when straight, much less produce actual evidence.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I’m hopeful that the result will be to clarify the Trump administrations blatant corruption of the rule of law and the politicizing of the Court.

                Because at some point the Dems are going to have to admit that the old norms are destroyed, and employ some strong arm tactics to right the ship.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                How is any of this Trump’s fault? He took office with a very short leash on nominations, even to the point of needing to publish a list before hand.

                My assumption is he had no clue who any of these nominees were before he took office and largely still doesn’t. That’s why they’re of such high quality, they don’t come from his circles.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Exactly.
                Refusing to faithfully execute the duties of the office is precisely the sort of corruption “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” refers to.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Refusing to faithfully execute the duties of the office is precisely the sort of corruption “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” refers to.

                Still not following you.

                Trump’s reflex would be to put his daughter on the court or some scumbag low functioning lawyer. His nominations are, AFAICT, him doing a good job, not him doing a bad job.

                It’s perfectly acceptable for the President to have advisors which tell him the right choice. It’s even fine for him to claim the choice is actually his.Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Ramirez is not the one refusing to be interviewed and doesn’t remember- it’s an unnamed woman that Stier mentions. Two similar but separate incidents.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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          says:

          “Fact free” is a hell of a way to spell “eyewitness testimony”.

          Subtract what she can talk about because she’s a subject matter expert and we’ve got less than nothing.

          To the extent her claims can be verified they’re disproven. Her soul-crushing heart-wringing claustrophobia isn’t a thing when she’s not on the stand. The house she described can’t be located by the FBI. The supporters she says will back up her story don’t. She won’t release the journal which would back date her claims. We can’t pin down the time of the claimed event because any specific year runs into contradictions. Her story has evolved (meaning there are “stories”) and it self conflicts.

          “Fact free” is exactly the term to describe this, and all four of the others openly admit it was a witch hunt so the other accusers are actually worse.

          This new story is either someone we missed when we had the entire country looking into him, or it’s something that’s didn’t make it to prime time because the Dems and their supporters realized introducing ever less credible stories was subtracting from Ford’s.

          To be clear I’m fine investigating this 6th story, I’m even fine impeaching him if we find out he’s guilty of something heinous. However we have four or (more likely) five false accusations against him on the table, increasing that by one is the way to bet.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            You are treating a job interview for the highest most important legal position in America, with a lower standard than a night manager at Arby’s.

            Imagine if we applied this same standard to all workers, everywhere: Unless the charges against the applicant can be proven in a court of law, the employer must hire him.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              Imagine if we applied this same standard to all workers, everywhere: Unless the charges against the applicant can be proven in a court of law, the employer must hire him.

              Imagine that we openly said what his real crime is, i.e. that he’s not a Democrat.

              Imagine that the Dems did for him what the GOP did for Garland, i.e. tried to stop him without trying to smear his honor. Imagine that I didn’t predict what the Dems tried months before they did.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Someone should have warned Mitch McConnell that smashing the border walls of norms means that anyone can transgress them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Why?

                Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Lots of things that are good for the country are bad politics.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Because now the idea of court packing and jurisdiction stripping is becoming part of the mainstream dialogue.

                I can see a real possibility of President Warren appointing 3 new Justices, and reorganizing the appellate courts with a hundred or so additional justices.

                Because again, what was unthinkable only 2 years ago is now the norm.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                When I was a kid, mom did the thing where she gave us a candy bar and had one of us cut it in half *BUT* let the other one pick the half first.

                The only advice I’d have for the person proposing that we cut the candy bar in a way so that we get the bigger half is that they be really, really sure that they get to pick first.

                Because what was unthinkable in 2016 became reality. And what you think is unthinkable in 2020 might not be as unrealistic as you think it is.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                At this point, I really don’t consider anything to be off the table or unthinkable.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Trump’s re-election?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I put his odds at about 40%.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Will more events such as the one of the NYT pushing this story then retracting it make that 40% get closer to 30% or closer to 50%?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I think just keeping alive the issue of “Kavanaugh The Rapey Creep” and “Trump Stifled The FBI Probe” is good for us.

                Ordinary people don’t pay attention to the details buried below the lede.

                Exhibit A: You and I and all the blogs are still talking about Kavanaugh.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Well, then I hope for your sake that more stuff like this comes up for the next 12 months.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I think just keeping alive the issue of “Kavanaugh The Rapey Creep” and “Trump Stifled The FBI Probe” is good for us.

                I don’t. I think every time the NYT comes out with fake news they hurt themselves way more than they hurt Trump. The press is (accidentally or deliberately) manufacturing this by ignoring even minimal journalistic standards. That’s why these stories keep popping up and why they’re shut down.

                Further, MeToo was thrown under the bus here. Republishing an already-known-false accusation makes it harder to “believe the woman”.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Someone should have warned Mitch McConnell that smashing the border walls of norms means that anyone can transgress them.

                That was pointed out during/after Bork.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Remember all the slurs against the personal character of Robert Bork? I didn’t think so. There was a great deal of discussion — some of it rather heated and more rhetorically purple that some would like, but little of it actually false — about his record and stated judicial philosophy. How dare anyone criticize the record and stated judicial philosophy of a Supreme Court candidate.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Refusing to fill a SCOTUS seat for a year so as to gain advantage?
                Good old fashioned bare knuckle politics!

                Honestly discussing a nominees legal theories?

                OUT OF BOUNDS!Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                some of it rather heated and more rhetorically purple that some would like…

                That’s rather clever spin on accusations that Bork opposes Blacks voting and supports Segregation.

                How dare anyone criticize the record and stated judicial philosophy of a Supreme Court candidate.

                Translation: Bork wasn’t a Democrat.

                If memory serves even if it is normal now, at the time it wasn’t.

                However this approach wouldn’t have worked against Kavanaugh (how many Supremes are to the Right of Bork?), which is why I was saying months before Ford that the Dems would try to paint him as a monster. “Nazi” was my suggested approach but “Rapist” works too.

                And now we have somewhere between four and six false allegations against him, with people still insisting that the remaining allegation(s) (made by Dem activists and/or Dem players) should weigh against his character and not theirs.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Remember all the horrible slurs against Neil Gorsuch?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Remember all the horrible slurs against Neil Gorsuch?

                So because the Dems didn’t play that specific card that time, they should get a pass on all the false allegations against Kavanaugh?

                Keep in mind I’m still counting Ford as “technically unknown even if fact free”, it’s all the others where even the accuser admits it was false which I’m treating as “known false”.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Scott Lemieux of more left LGM admits that the chances of actually impeaching Kavanaugh are slim. However, pressing this and other issues can do other things:

    1. It can help win Senate elections that are up for grabs like Susan Collins and Cory Gardener;

    2. It can help press for more court/judiciary reform.

    There is a school of thought that thinks Democrats should not do anything that is DOA in the Senate or Trump’s desk but I am not sure whether this is true or not. What is wrong with taking a stand out of higher value or showing that you have ideals? The answer seems to indicate how much people dislike Democrats or not in general.

    Another school of thought states that the Kavanaugh hearing got GOPers to the poll in 2018. This is true but even more people voted Democratic which is why we have Speaker Pelosi and not Speaker McCarthy.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      What is wrong with taking a stand out of higher value or showing that you have ideals?

      It depends on whether or not there’s something to these claims other than “witch hunt”.

      We’ve seen this game played five times already. If the five highest value accusations have already been played, then this sixth will probably also fall apart on exposure to daylight and your team’s “higher values” will look remarkably grubby. That’s over and above whether harassing a sitting Supreme Court Justice (because he’s not a Democrat) is a good idea.

      Based on no evidence or evaluation: My expectation is we had 50k reporters search for something like this because it’s gotta be there. With those numbers someone found someone willing to say something. The flaw with paranormal science is the better the scientist, the worse the results, so the headline grabbing work tends to be really bad on review. A similar dynamic seems to be in play here.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Politico is now talking about how the Times handled the story.

    The story evolving to be about The New York Times rather than being about Kavanaugh is not a good indicator. If anything, it seems to be an indicator that this is another E. Jean Carroll kinda situation.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    It seems that the reporters are blaming the editors for the sensationalism of this story.

    And so they did some more shoe leather reporting and found out who was likely to have sent the tweet in the first place and it was the lady who has a book coming out on this.

    It’s not becoming more difficult to see this through a lens of partisan gamesmanship.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    And Vanity Fair has an article about how the New York Times messed this story up.

    I wonder how much this is harming Trump’s chances at re-election. I wonder if it’s actually helping them.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Hrm. It’s reached the point where not only Republicans are pouncing, but CBS is pouncing.

    Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    And it has come to this:

    Report

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