Please tell me that I’m not the only one who is trying to catch their breath after a day like today. Today, we entered the Twilight Zone of politics, and witnessed the full-on borking attempt of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
The gateway to this dimension was flung wide open by one Michael Avenatti, most commonly known as Stormy Daniels’s lawyer and Trump nemesis. As covered by Nina this morning, Avenatti released his grenade this morning, revealing his mystery client as one Julie Swetnick and blasting her name and face all over the internet while demanding her privacy.
Well, let’s just say that the day did not go as planned for Team Avenatti, whose client has some substantial credibility gaps in her story of gang rapes and teenage partying. Among those problems:
1) Swetnick alleges that she attended “at least ten parties” where these gang rapes occurred, and Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge were present.
Please someone help me with this.
Georgetown Prep boys frequently committed gang rape.
Lots of people knew they were committing gang rape.
And despite this common knowledge no one has talked publicly for three decades, until the day before a crucial Senate hearing.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) September 26, 2018
2) Swetnick graduated from Gaithersburg High School in 1980. Kavanaugh graduated from Georgetown Prep in 1983. She alleges these parties happened over the course of two years, from 1981 to 1983, and she herself was a victim of a gang rape at one of these parties in 1982. She does not allege that Kavanaugh or Judge participated in her rape.
To review the Avenatti claim: a woman claims that when she was a college aged adult (graduated high school in 1980), she went to high school parties where high school girls were drugged and raped and she, as the adult present, did nothing but avoid the punch.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 26, 2018
3) Kavanaugh has been subject to SIX PREVIOUS FEDERAL BACKGROUND CHECKS by the FBI and NONE of these claims have ever been made before.
Or talked to the FBI during six previous background checks. https://t.co/aHt35HkHEg
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) September 26, 2018
For all those asking for an FBI investigation, are you really sure about that? If the FBI didn’t find out about this before, how on earth could they investigate it now?
Let’s just say that Avenatti isn’t on firm ground here, and some in the media were willing to call him out on that.
Also, Julie Swetnick has some serious personal issues – including tax liens in her past, and a story of a restraining order that does not sound good.
A Miami-Dade County court docket shows a petition for injunction against Swetnick was filed March 1, 2001, by her former boyfriend, Richard Vinneccy, who told POLITICO Wednesday the two had dated for four years before they broke up.
Thirteen days later, the case was dismissed, not long after an affidavit of non-ability to advance fees was filed.
According to Vinneccy, Swetnick threatened him after they broke up and even after he got married to his current wife and had a child.
“Right after I broke up with her, she was threatening my family, threatening my wife and threatening to do harm to my baby at that time,” Vinneccy said in a telephone interview with POLITICO. “I know a lot about her.”
“She’s not credible at all,” he said. “Not at all.”
I think hiring Michael Avenatti to represent her damages her credibility more than anything else, but that’s just me.
The polygraph exam consisted of only two “relevant” questions: “Is any part of your statement false?” and “Did you make up any part of your statement?” (Ordinarily examiners ask a series of irrelevant questions to establish a baseline physiological response, which helps detect deception when relevant questions are asked, experts tell Fox News. According to Hanafin, Ford was also asked some questions to establish this baseline.)
The test measured “thoracic and abdominal respiration, galvanic skin response, and cardiac activity,” Hanafin wrote in the report.
The former FBI agent then ran the results of Ford’s two “no” responses through three separate scoring algorithms, including one developed by Johns Hopkins University. All three algorithms concluded that Ford’s responses did not indicate apparent deception, with one putting the probability that she was lying at .002 and another putting it at less than .02.
Also, none of Ford’s stories hang together from retelling to retelling.
Dr. Ford's polygraph letter contradicts letter she sent to Feinstein. Polygraph letter says "4 boys and a couple of girls" were at party. Letter to Feinstein says "me and four others." No way to reconcile the two—irrespective of whether she's counting herself in polygraph letter. pic.twitter.com/aWJ10vTDna
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) September 26, 2018
So, Team Ford has not been able to make any of the facts work for them – and she’s due to go under oath tomorrow.
But we’re not done! Kavanaugh was then accused of raping someone on a boat in Rhode Island in 1985!
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) received a call from a man who claimed his “close acquaintance” had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh and pal Mark Judge on a docked boat in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1985.
The anonymous constituent said his friend was assaulted “by two heavily inebriated men she referred to at the time as Brett and Mark,” according to the committee. After she told the caller, he and another man went to the harbor to confront “Brett” and “Mark,” “leaving them with significant injuries.”
The caller said that he identified Kavanaugh after seeing the judge’s high school yearbook photo on TV over the weekend, at which point he called Whitehouse’s office.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations.
“I was not in Newport, haven’t been on a boat in Newport, not with Mark Judge on a boat, nor all those three things combined,” he said during the interview. “This is just completely made up, or at least not me. I don’t know what they’re referring to.”
One itty bitty problem – the guy is a certifiable loon who just retracted his entire claim. How do we know it’s him? The Senate records include his name and his Twitter handle!
The press was more than a little bummed about this one.
Hi, I'm a reporter with BuzzFeed News and we're a bit confused. Could you get in touch to explain? Send me a DM or I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Claudia Koerner (@ClaudiaKoerner) September 26, 2018
But we had one more allegation to go! Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado got an anonymous letter in the mail accusing Brett Kavanaugh of assault in 1998! And when I say “anonymous,” I mean that it looks like the Unabomber addressed the envelope.
Here’s the letter to Cory Gardner that anonymously accuses Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1998. Senate Judiciary Committe spokesperson said they have “no reason to assign the letter credibility.” pic.twitter.com/EZGfOuSk68
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) September 27, 2018
Supposedly, this happened to the letter writer’s daughter’s friend, but they all want to remain anonymous. Well, that was helpful, wasn’t it! What on earth do you do with that???
Fortunately, Judge Kavanaugh had a pretty straightforward response.
Questioner: Just a few more specific questions. At any point while you were involved in the Starr investigation, did you ever shove a woman up against a wall very aggressively or sexually as you left a bar?
Judge Kavanaugh: No.
Q: At any point while you were involved in the Starr investigation, did you ever behave violently toward a woman?
Judge Kavanaugh: No.
Q: All right. Just one moment, please.
[Pause.] Q: When you were involved in the Starr investigation, do you recall ever socializing with a woman from Boulder, Colorado?
Judge Kavanaugh: No.
Q: While you were involved in the Starr investigation, do you recall ever dating a woman who would fairly fit the description in the letter provided to
Q: The anonymous letter.
Judge Kavanaugh: What’s the description?
Q: Just based on what I —
Judge Kavanaugh: Describe her appearance.
Q: No, it’s — all we have is what I read.
Judge Kavanaugh: Well, then I don’t know what I’m responding to then.
And the judge is clearly fed up with it all.
Judge Kavanaugh: I think this is — this is crazy town. It’s a smear campaign. I’ve been in the public eye for 24 years, really public at various points. Certainly 1998, when I was in the Starr investigation, that was a very public year. In the Bush White House, very public, especially in 2003 to 2006. Two notable confirmation hearings in ’04 and ’06. As a judge for 12 years. Named, whether correctly or not, a few times as a possible Supreme Court nominee, very public around those times.
You know, go through this whole process, and the FBI background, six FBI backgrounds, intense scrutiny, and then for something like this and the Avenatti thing are just absurd and outrageous, coordinated perhaps. I don’t know. Twilight zone. And I don’t — you know, it’s just outrageous. It’s trying to take me down, trying to take down my family.
It’s bad — it’s doing damage to the Supreme Court. It’s doing damage to the country. It’s doing damage to this process. It’s become a total feeding frenzy, you know? Every — just unbelievable.
At this point, it does look like the judge has been subjected to a level of borking that we’ve never had before. Maybe we should consider the words of Robert Bork himself, right before his confirmation vote that failed.
The tactics and techniques of national political campaigns have been unleashed on the process of confirming judges. That is not simply disturbing, it is dangerous.
Federal judges are not appointed to decide cases according to the latest opinion polls. They are appointed to decide cases impartially according to law.
But when judicial nominees are assessed and treated like political candidates, the effect will be to chill the climate in which judicial deliberations take place, to erode public confidence in the impartiality of courts and to endanger the independence of the judiciary.
In politics, the opposing candidates exchange contentions in their efforts to sway voters. In the give and take of political debate, the choice will in the end be clear.
A judge, however, cannot engage. Political campaigning and the judge’s functions are flatly incompatible.
In 200 years no nominee for justice has ever campaigned for that high office. None ever should, and I will not.
This is not to say that my public life, the decisions I have rendered, the articles I have written, should be immune from consideration. They should not.
Were the fate of Robert Bork the only matter at stake, I would ask the President to withdraw my nomination.
The most serious and lasting injury in all of this, however, is not to me. Nor is it to all of those who have steadfastly supported my nomination and to whom I am deeply grateful. Rather, it is to the dignity and the integrity of law and of public service in this country.
I therefore wish to end the speculation. There should be a full debate and a final Senate decision. In deciding on this course, I harbor no illusions.
But a crucial principle is at stake. That principle is the way we select the men and women who guard the liberties of all the American people. That should not be done through public campaigns of distortion. If I withdraw now, that campaign would be seen as a success, and it would be mounted against future nominees.
For the sake of the Federal judiciary and the American people, that must not happen. The deliberative process must be restored. In the days remaining, I ask only that voices be lowered, the facts respected and the deliberations conducted in a manner that will be fair to me and to the infinitely larger and more important cause of justice in America.
Borking became a verb because the attack on Robert Bork succeeded. If the Republicans fail to stand firm now, what on earth will we end up calling what has been done to Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his reputation, and his career?
Featured image: Supreme Court Building, Washington D.C. (image via Pixabay)