Thursday, September 13, 2018

Do Senate Democrats Want to Block Kavanaugh? Feinstein Withholds Damaging #MeToo Document from Fellow Democrats


Subtract Anthony Kennedy from the image above and add Brett Kavanaugh. Thanks to Senate Democrats, he's as good as confirmed. This is your Supreme Court for the next generation (source; click to enlarge)

by Gaius Publius

Updated below.

In years to come, when Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, smart as a whip and Koch brothers–ideologue to the core, spearheads destructive 5-4 decision after tragic 5-4 decision, blame Senate Democrats for what the nation will suffer under. Our constitution-as-practiced is about to change radically, starting as soon as October, thanks to Senate Democrats.

They should be playing the strongest card in their hand, which is a full, immediate and open release of all documents in their possession to the public. Instead, they're acting as enablers.

First, it's clear that Senate Democrats are all aligned to protect their pro-Kavanaugh, certain-to-confirm-him colleagues like Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly:
Liberal critics say Schumer is giving Kavanaugh a pass, and Republicans are trying to hitch vulnerable red-state Democrats to the New Yorker. But no matter: Schumer is expected to have broad support heading into 2019. Even a loss of Senate seats this fall is unlikely to significantly shake Schumer’s level of support.

“There is universal confidence in the Democratic Caucus for Sen. Schumer, whether they’re the progressives or the more conservative members of our caucus. There’s strong respect and admiration for how he handles diversity in our caucus,” said Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin.
"Universal confidence" in Schumer, even among self-styled progressives like Sheldon Whitehouse who "praised Schumer for 'holding a very wide ranging caucus together in a way that has made strong points in the hearing without causing problems for our 2018 candidates.'" Whitehouse added, "There is what I call Democrat disease, which is to waste our time fighting with each other and quarreling over purity contests."

So much for our heroes of the resistance.

Feinstein Withholds Damaging Kavanaugh Letter

Now, and even worse, Judiciary committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein appears to be protecting Kavanaugh by withholding a damaging document, not just from the public, but from the rest of the Democrats on the committee.

The Intercept's Ryan Grim with the story:
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 specific content of the document, which is a letter from a California constituent, is unclear, but Feinstein’s refusal to share the letter has created tension on the committee, particularly after Feinstein largely took a back seat to her more junior colleagues last week, as they took over Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings with protests around access to documents.
So Feinstein is protecting Brett Kavanaugh. Ultimately this goes back to Chuck Schumer, who as noted has taken a hands-off position on the Kavanaugh nomination. Contrast that with how Republicans handle their caucus on matters they care about.

Which leads to the question, just what do Senate Democrats care about, blocking Kavanaugh or appearing to block Kavanaugh?

Kavanaugh's #MeToo Moment?

What's in the letter? Here's a tantalizing glimpse:
Different sources provided different accounts of the contents of the letter, and some of the sources said they themselves had heard different versions, but the one consistent theme was that it describes an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school. Kept hidden, the letter is beginning to take on a life of its own. ...

The woman who is the subject of the letter is now being represented by Debra Katz, a whistleblower attorney who works with #MeToo survivors.
No one is commenting further, not the law firm, not the Democratic House member who passed the letter to Feinstein, and not Feinstein herself.

Are Democrats Enabling Kavanaugh's Confirmation?

I think we can draw two fair conclusions from this. First, if the letter weren't damaging, it would have been released by now. So, it's damaging, and my headline reflects that. All indicators point to a #MeToo revelation about Kavanaugh, at precisely the time when #MeToo moments are powerful.

Second, how can anyone believe that Senate Democrats want to block Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation? They're acting to enable it

The only real question is: Are they doing it on purpose, Schumer and Whitehouse and Feinstein and all the rest? Sure looks like it from the cheap seats.

Update 1: According to Buzzfeed, Feinstein has not released the letter because "[t]hat individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities."

If so, that seems fair enough. I still question, however, the lack of full release of the 200,000 pages of Kavanaugh documents in Democratic hands, and am more than concerned that Democratic "resistance" to Kavanaugh (which seems more brave-but-futile than let's-go-get-him) is less than what is needed, and less than they could do.

I'm convinced there will be at least three Democratic votes for Kavanaugh on the Senate floor, which will put Kavanaugh on the Court and save the jobs of Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — all because Schumer, with the full backing of his caucus, allowed this.

Update 2: And then there's this. Feinstein has had the accusatory letter since July and seems to have kept it secret, even from other Democrats on the committee. That is, she not only kept its contents secret; she kept its existence secret as well.

More (emphasis added):
Feinstein’s decision to handle the matter in her own office, without notifying other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stirred concern among her Democratic colleagues. For several days [after other senators learned of the existence of the letter], Feinstein declined requests from other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to share the woman’s letter and other relevant communications. A source familiar with the committee’s activities said that Feinstein’s staff initially conveyed to other Democratic members’ offices that the incident was too distant in the past to merit public discussion, and that Feinstein had “taken care of it.” On Wednesday, after media inquiries to the Democratic members multiplied, and concern among congressional colleagues increased, Feinstein agreed to brief the other Democrats on the committee, with no staff present. [...]

Sources familiar with Feinstein’s decision suggested that she was acting out of concern for the privacy of the accuser, knowing that the woman would be subject to fierce partisan attacks if she came forward. Feinstein also acted out of a sense that Democrats would be better off focussing on legal, rather than personal, issues in their questioning of Kavanaugh. Sources who worked for other members of the Judiciary Committee said that they respected the need to protect the woman’s privacy, but that they didn’t understand why Feinstein had resisted answering legitimate questions about the allegation. “We couldn’t understand what their rationale is for not briefing members on this. This is all very weird,” one of the congressional sources said. Another added, “She’s had the letter since late July. And we all just found out about it.”
So, Dianne Feinstein had this letter since July and sat on it, even to the extent that she didn't alert other committee senators of its existence, acting "out of a sense that Democrats would be better off focussing on legal, rather than personal, issues".

And she made this decision alone, in the same way that she decided by herself to "take care of" the matter by herself.

I think we're back to a question of motive. Why she did she taking it on herself to manipulate other senators in her caucus by unilaterally controlling the ground on which the Kavanaugh battle was fought on?

Was she protecting Kavanaugh, or in some weird way, the Party? Or both?


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At 9:52 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

He'll be confirmed no matter what & then we'll look at bad decisions by this court for generations sad to say.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the democruplicans do not want to stop anything, other than Bernie or progressive candidates?

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you give your recent history even a cursory look, you'll see that the democraps never impede what the Nazis do because every evil they do makes the marginally less evil of the democraps look golden in comparison.

They stood aside during the entirety of the cheney admin (wars, torture, terrorism abetting, bill of rights eviscerating, finance fraud enabling, anthrax, arrogation of executive power...) just so they could get Pelosi the gavel in 2006 and obamanation (though they thought it would be $hillbillary) elected in 2008.

They're standing aside now (they're irrelevant; even if they kept the caucus united, they'd still allow the Nazis to do whatever they want) allowing trumpism to flourish just so they can enjoy their windfall anti-red wave and maybe 2 of them.

Ask yourself whether Pelosi or scummer or anyone on the D side in the senate give one flying fuck about preventing what kavanaugh wants to do. If you are truly objective about that, you'll have to admit that they do not. They WANT an omnipotent exec (in case the 'craps ever get another one), empowered corporations, powerless labor, women, kids, minorities... and so forth. They WANT these because the corporations and billionaires that pay them, and with whom they are 110% sympatico, want them.

Go ahead DWT. Refute it.

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feinstein serves the donor class while on her knees. OF COURSE the "democrats" want KKKavanaugh KKKonfirmed! Their owners insist!

The excuse DiFi offers is a bunch of KKKrap! Why is this letter even being revealed if the informant doesn't want to out herself by making it public? Does the informant have the misconception that the "democrats" can actually DO anything about KKKavanaugh and still keep her admission quiet? Or is this yet another stupid DxCC ploy to attempt to frighten Republicans into flinching and showing their hand?

There is no bravery within the "democrats". Nor is there any intellect nor wisdom. There is so much showboating going on right now that I am already watching to see what alternative to both of these lying and useless corporate parties shows up, for the "democrats" are losing any hope of my supporting them as a party in 2020.

DISCLAIMER: Does not apply to certain real progressives who continue to show promise by then.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If multiple sources say that kkkavanaugh's victim doesn't want to be ID'd, I understand.

Remember what the Nazis on the committee did to Anita Hill? Sorry, I forgot that Americans' sunset on remembering shit is limited to 140 characters or 2 weeks, whichever comes first.

Did difi refer this to sessions? It's already officially forgotten.

Look folks, we already have a serial abuser on the court (hint: the black guy). One more won't mean much.

As for the upcoming stream of 5-4 erosions of the constitution... what's different than with kennedy... or from the past 20 years no matter which party is in the WH or in the majority in congress.

What we need is another democrap majority so our constitution can be shredded by nicer people. It sucks when your rights are abrogated by real mean poopyheads, ain't it? Better when they're nicer about it.


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