I told you Friday night that the attempt to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination with a post-hearing accusation was not over.
I expected a cameo appearance by Gloria Allred at a press conference this week with the accuser, but it didn’t take that long and it wasn’t Allred.
The Washington Post broke the story, which it has had since July:
Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones version of her story became public without her name or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that just days ago seemed all but certain to succeed.
Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.
While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.
For someone being portrayed as a very reluctant accuser, Ford contacted both the Post and her Congresswoman in July, though sought to get confidentiality commitments from them:
She contacted The Post through a tip line in early July, when it had become clear that Kavanaugh was on the shortlist of possible nominees to replace retiring justice Anthony M. Kennedy but before Trump announced his name publicly. A registered Democrat who has made small contributions to political organizations, she contacted her congresswoman, Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, around the same time. In late July, she sent a letter via Eshoo’s office to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
It may be that she didn’t want to come forward, or it may be (and more likely to me) that if she came forward she needed to be portrayed as doing so reluctantly. Hence, the leak strategy of Feinstein and Democrats to make it seem as if she was compelled to come forward not of her own choosing. Leak to The Intercept and Buzzfeed that Feinstein forwarded a secret letter to the FBI, then let the DC leak system do it’s magic. Only step forward when you must, and then use that reluctance to build credibility for the story you didn’t tell for 30 years.
Here’s the key problem with the story — when she told it for the first time in 2012 during couples therapy there were four attackers, and she didn’t name Kavanaugh. This reluctant witness had the planning to get the therapists’ notes to explain the discrepancy when she came forward as to number of attackers:
Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.
There will be enormous pressure on a small group of Republicans (Colling, Murkowski, Flake, Corker) to insist on a delay in the confirmation vote. That is, of course, the reason for the delayed leak of the accusations. It’s the Clarence Thomas strategy precisely, waiting until the hearings are over to reveal the accusation.
It’s worth noting that in addition to Kavanaugh, the other person allegedly present, Mike Judge, specifically denies this took place, as The Weekly Standard reported Friday:
The Kavanaugh classmate quoted in the New Yorker is Mark Judge, a writer in Washington, D.C. Judge spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD Friday afternoon, strongly denying that any such incident ever occurred. “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge told TWS.
Judge says he first learned he was named in the letter during an interview with the New Yorker. “[Ronan Farrow] said: As you know, you’re named in the letter. And I did not know,” he said.
The Kavanaugh classmate told TWS that the New Yorker did not provide him the name of the woman alleging wrongdoing, a specific date of the alleged incident, or the location where the incident is alleged to have occurred. The woman alleging misconduct has requested that her identity be protected, according to media reports.
After Judge categorically denied ever witnessing an attempted assault by Kavanaugh, I asked him if he could recall any sort of rough-housing with a female student back in high school (an incident that might have been interpreted differently by parties involved). “I can’t. I can recall a lot of rough-housing with guys. It was an all-boys school, we would rough-house with each other,” he said said. “I don’t remember any of that stuff going on with girls.”
Judge says he still does not know the name of the woman who made the allegations.
Judge repeated his denial after the WaPo story revealed the accuser’s name and more details:
“Now that the anonymous person has been identified and has spoken to the press, I repeat my earlier statement that I have no recollection of any of the events described in today’s Post article or attributed to her letter”
Here’s a round up of reaction, which obviously is developing. We’ll keep updating, and I won’t have a more detailed discussion until some later point when I have time and the initial burst has settled into place. Keep checking back for updates.
Grassley statement: "The committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination will proceed as scheduled, next Thurs. Here’s what we know: Judge Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI full-field investigations from 1993 to 2018. No such allegation resembling the anonymous claims ever surfaced"
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) September 16, 2018
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 16, 2018
Sen. Graham says he will hear Kavanaugh accuser out if she wishes: “I would gladly listen to what she has to say and compare that against all other information … If the committee is to hear from Ms. Ford it should be done immediately so the process can continue as scheduled.”
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) September 16, 2018
Hit job on #BrettKavanuagh by #ChristineBlaseyFord who cannot remember what year or where the supposed misdeed happened, didn’t mention it for decades& who was not hurt or raped. This should not derail confirmation
— Liz Peek (@lizpeek) September 16, 2018
The truth about the allegations against Kavanaugh are irrelevant for one very basic reason…after 35 years there's no way to determine one way or the other (short of a confession on either side).
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) September 16, 2018
This alleged incident caused her long-term problems, but she never told anyone about this for 30 years and only then during couples therapy: https://t.co/haTALCIasP
— Ashe Short (@AsheSchow) September 16, 2018
Looks like a unified Democratic message — now echoed by Jones, who hasn't taken a position on Kavanaugh. https://t.co/h6KsiGekge
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 16, 2018
I believe Judge Kavanaugh's categorical denial. Senator Feinstein learned of these allegations weeks ago, didn't think them worth pursuing, didn't work through committee process. No reason to change course at 11th hour. https://t.co/ju163PXp4M
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) September 16, 2018
And Republicans lose Jeff Flake
NEWS: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tells me in an intv he that doesn’t think the Judiciary Cmte should move ahead with its Thursday vote on Kavanaugh until they hear more from Christine Blasey Ford. “For me, we can’t vote until we hear more.”
— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) September 16, 2018
And Bob Corker
More news: Sen. Bob Corker tells me that the Senate Judiciary panel shouldn't vote on Kavanaugh until Ford is heard out. "I think that would be best for all involved, including the nominee. If she does want to be heard, she should do so promptly." https://t.co/QgOpMKAtRn
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) September 17, 2018
I hadn’t focused on this sentence in the WaPo story until I heard someone on TV refer to the woman claiming she repressed the memory and it only came out under psychotherapy. If this is a “repressed memory” case, then it changes everything against the accuser’s veracity — repressed memory is of highly questionable admissibility and credibility. It also would explain why she could “pass” a lie detector test, she may believe it but she may be wrong:
“Years later, after going through psychotherapy, Ford said, she came to understand the incident as a trauma with lasting impact on her life.”
And, Dems are rejecting gathering more information quickly.
Dems reject Chuck Grassley's idea of having staff interview Kavanaugh and his accuser
`There’s a lot of information we don’t know and the FBI should have the time it needs to investigate this new material,' Feinstein says. `Staff calls aren’t the appropriate way to handle this'
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) September 17, 2018
And Murkowski drops
Key GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski tells CNN tonight she is open to delay in Kavanaugh vote, saying “if there are more questions that need to be asked and answered, then I think it would be appropriate for that time.”
— Steve Brusk (@stevebruskNews) September 17, 2018
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.