Chairman Grassley Slams Door on Further Delay Tactics in Kavanaugh Brawl

 

Chairman Grassley followed up his scorching letter to the Democrats, with a letter to Ranking Member Senator Feinstein, setting 10 AM, September 21, as the deadline for Dr. Ford to agree to be interviewed or testify on Monday. He was very flexible in how and where the appearance would take place. He was completely firm on not letting the process drag on any longer.

The letter setting the witness response deadline was published with another scathing press release, denouncing Feinstein’s continued concealment of the original, unredacted, letter that made the sexual assault allegations: “Ranking Member Refuses to Disclose Secret Allegations Even After Dr. Ford Goes Public.”

Senator Grassley hammered the point home on Twitter:

Here is the signed letter in PDF, and what follows is the text, copied directly from the press release, above. I bolded passages highlighting the information withholding issue and italicized passages addressing the deadline issue.


September 19, 2018

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Ranking Member, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Feinstein:

I am writing to request that you provide me a copy of the letter dated July 30, 2018, that you received from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford containing allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. My staff has made repeated requests for this document—which has become a significant piece of evidence in Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process—but your staff has so far refused to provide a copy of the letter. You are able to share this unredacted copy with all the members of your caucus and their staff, as well as anyone else you choose. The only version we have of this letter is a redacted version contained in the supplemental FBI background investigation file that only senators and a handful of very select staff are authorized to read.

Sexual assault allegations deserve serious attention, and those who make such allegations must be heard. They should not be deployed strategically for political gain. You received this letter approximately seven weeks ago. But the contents of the letter were leaked only last week when it appeared the Senate was about to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. There were numerous opportunities to raise the serious allegations made in the letter during the course of this nomination process. They could have been raised in your closed-door meeting with Judge Kavanaugh on August 20. Sixty-four other senators also met with Judge Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation hearing. These senators could have asked Judge Kavanaugh about these allegations if you had shared the letter.

Your staff could have raised these allegations during routine background investigation phone calls in late-August. Questions about these allegations could have been asked of Judge Kavanaugh during his more than 32 hours of testimony before the Committee over the course of three days. You could have asked him about these allegations during the closed session of his confirmation hearing, where sensitive material can be discussed. But you did not attend the closed session. Finally, these allegations could have been addressed in one of the nearly 1,300 written questions issued to him after the hearing—more written questions to any Supreme Court nominee than all prior Supreme Court nominees combined.

You have said that you didn’t raise Dr. Ford’s allegations previously because you wanted to protect Dr. Ford’s anonymity. But these allegations could have been raised to me, or to Judge Kavanaugh, while protecting Dr. Ford’s anonymity. Indeed, the only version of her letter that I have is the redacted version from the FBI, which protected Dr. Ford’s anonymity. Had Dr. Ford not made her allegations public via the Washington Post over the weekend, I still would not know her identity. The fact is that these allegations could have been raised both within the last seven weeks and in a way that protected Dr. Ford’s anonymity. Instead, you chose to sit on the allegations until a politically opportune moment. I cannot overstate how disappointed I am in this decision. It has caused me to have to reopen the hearings for the fifth day of testimony, when we easily could have—and should have—raised these issues before or during the first four days of the hearing.

As you know, the Senate Judiciary Committee has extended invitations to Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh to testify on Monday, September 24. They have until this Friday at 10:00 a.m. to let us know whether they are coming. Dr. Ford has asked for the opportunity to be heard in a hearing, and I believe she should have that opportunity. I recognize that testifying publicly about sexual assault allegations may be difficult for Dr. Ford, so I have offered her the opportunity to testify in any of four possible venues: (1) a public hearing; (2) a private hearing; (3) a public staff interview; or (4) a private staff interview. I am even willing to have my staff travel to Dr. Ford in California—or anywhere else—to obtain her testimony.

As you know, the Majority staff spoke with Judge Kavanaugh as part of the background investigation. Judge Kavanaugh immediately agreed to cooperate with Senate investigators. He sat for a transcribed interview on Monday. He understood that he was under penalty of felony, if he was not truthful. He fully, candidly, and unequivocally answered all questions. We have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony. Judge Kavanaugh volunteered to come back to a public hearing.

As is standard practice, we invited the Minority staff to participate and ask Judge Kavanaugh its own questions, but the Minority staff declined. The Majority staff has also sought to set up interviews with Dr. Ford, Mark Judge, and two other alleged witnesses. The Minority staff is welcome to participate in the investigative process as well, but it has thus far declined.

In order to prepare for Monday’s hearing, and any discussions with Dr. Ford that occur before then, I must review the unredacted letter that Dr. Ford sent to you, dated July 30, 2018. I ask that you send me a copy of the original, unredacted letter immediately.


Senator Grassley is comfortable sending this letter, because he has all the Republicans behind him. See the four who have been the biggest concern throughout the confirmation process:

Paul Mirengoff of Power Line sums it up:

I’m told that when Senate Republicans met this week, the entire caucus supported the view that Ford needed to testify on Monday and that, if she didn’t, the process should move forward without her. I’m told that the entire caucus was angry with Feinstein over what it views as a stunt. Skepticism of Ford’s claim was widespread. This didn’t mean she shouldn’t be heard. However, it did mean that if she wants to be heard, she should be heard promptly

And I think it means that if Ford is a no-show on Monday, Kavanaugh will be confirmed more or less on schedule, barring any major surprises.

There are 35 comments.

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  1. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    • #1
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    • #2
  3. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections?  Maybe he wrote it.

    • #3
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Almost certainly, in his boss’s voice. Senators don’t draft such correspondence, any more than GOs. Woe unto the staffer who does not attend to their boss’s voice in writing, if the boss deserves the title. The first draft I ever wrote for my first 2-star boss got thrown back across the table at me. Never happened again.

    • #4
  5. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Corker, Collins, Flake, and Murkowski standing strong?   Wonders will never cease!  (Maybe Feinstein‘s behavior was just too outrageous.)

     But we aren’t out of the woods yet … 

    • #5
  6. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Absolutely positively.  

    • #6
  7. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Almost certainly, in his boss’s voice. Senators don’t draft such correspondence, any more than GOs. Woe unto the staffer who does not attend to their boss’s voice in writing, if the boss deserves the title. The first draft I ever wrote for my first 2-star boss got thrown back across the table at me. Never happened again.

    Believe it or not I also wrote much correspondence of all types for GO/FOs.

    • #7
  8. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Absolutely positively.

    I’m a big believer in the linkage between authority and responsibility.  If that guy is doing the job, he should be the Senator.

    • #8
  9. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Almost certainly, in his boss’s voice. Senators don’t draft such correspondence, any more than GOs. Woe unto the staffer who does not attend to their boss’s voice in writing, if the boss deserves the title. The first draft I ever wrote for my first 2-star boss got thrown back across the table at me. Never happened again.

    Believe it or not I also wrote much correspondence of all types for GO/FOs.

    I used to write for a Mofo.

    • #9
  10. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Almost certainly, in his boss’s voice. Senators don’t draft such correspondence, any more than GOs. Woe unto the staffer who does not attend to their boss’s voice in writing, if the boss deserves the title. The first draft I ever wrote for my first 2-star boss got thrown back across the table at me. Never happened again.

    Believe it or not I also wrote much correspondence of all types for GO/FOs.

    I used to write for a Mofo.

    same – same

    • #10
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Absolutely positively.

    I’m a big believer in the linkage between authority and responsibility. If that guy is doing the job, he should be the Senator.

    Perhaps he’ll run. He assists on a fraction on one of Grassley’s jobs, I’d guess. And if he didn’t prep the boss better for that circus, he ain’t all that.

    • #11
  12. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Absolutely positively.

    I’m a big believer in the linkage between authority and responsibility. If that guy is doing the job, he should be the Senator.

    Perhaps he’ll run. He assists on a fraction on one of Grassley’s jobs, I’d guess. And if he didn’t prep the boss better for that circus, he ain’t all that.

    You can only do so much with the raw material.

    • #12
  13. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    And if he didn’t prep the boss better for that circus, he ain’t all that.

    I wouldn’t bet the farm on that.  Grassley has never impressed me with his brilliance.  Some top members of the Ruling Class just have too much ego to learn from a sharp underling.

    • #13
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I wish he could be that clear and effective in the hearings.

    Different gifts. And yes.

    Do you remember his staffer sitting behind him during the hearing who kept supplying him with details, and corrections? Maybe he wrote it.

    Absolutely positively.

    I’m a big believer in the linkage between authority and responsibility. If that guy is doing the job, he should be the Senator.

    Perhaps he’ll run. He assists on a fraction on one of Grassley’s jobs, I’d guess. And if he didn’t prep the boss better for that circus, he ain’t all that.

    You can only do so much with the raw material.

    And then there are the climbers who don’t have their boss’s best interest in mind. If dude did the intel prep and tried to advise, rehearse, then shame on Grassley. 85 years old now, term up in 2022 (89). He has boatloads of institutional knowledge, hence the passages about 1991. 

    • #14
  15. Matthew Singer Member
    Matthew Singer
    @MatthewSinger

    What’s a MOFO?

     

    • #15
  16. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    The level of deceit and dishonesty by Sen Feinstein in this affair is undeniable. After this debacle is over, she should be censored by the Senate.

    • #16
  17. Simon Templar Inactive
    Simon Templar
    @SimonTemplar

    Matthew Singer (View Comment):

    What’s a MOFO?

     

    It is not a military acronym.  The MO part stands for mother.  I’ll give you three guesses on what the FO means.

    • #17
  18. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I am appalled.  My sources tell me that Feinstein is sitting on new information that the accuser now recalls that  the groping actually took place at a UVA frat party attended by the Duke lacrosse team and Justice Clarence Thomas sometime between 1982 and last April.

    • #18
  19. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    I just heard the pivot from Chuck Todd on Tony Kornheiser’s podcast: That to get rid of this asterisk, Kavanaugh should be demanding an investigation into his own actions

    • #19
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Jeff Hawkins (View Comment):
    Tony Kornheiser 

    I’m not going to tune into Kornheiser for talk about judges, unless we are talking Olympic events pretending to be sports, boxing, or MMA.

    • #20
  21. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    Simon Templar (View Comment):
    I wouldn’t bet the farm on that. Grassley has never impressed me with his brilliance.

    No one would say “brilliance” I agree. But quite some time ago, I cannot remember when or how, I decided to admire him. I still do. I think he has been a force for good in the Senate.

    • #21
  22. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Jeff Hawkins (View Comment):
    Tony Kornheiser

    I’m not going to tune into Kornheiser for talk about judges, unless we are talking Olympic events pretending to be sports, boxing, or MMA.

    No judge talk, Todd’s on there to pick football games and got that for a question

    that said Chris Cillizza co-hosted today…so…it was dreadful (and they did talk a bit and Cillizza of course cheerleaded for Dems)

    • #22
  23. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    An alert blogger captured Ford’s prep school’s yearbooks before they took them off the net:

    https://cultofthe1st.blogspot.com/2018/09/why-christine-blasey-fords-high-school_19.html?m=1

    Sounds like quite the party culture there in the ’80s, and maybe no wonder she can’t remember much…

    • #23
  24. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Paul Mirengoff asks: “What is Dianne Feinstein Hiding?

    What is Feinstein hiding from the Committee and from the public? Weaknesses in the original statement? Contradictions between that statement and other statements and/or facts that have come to light?

    I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure that if Feinstein believed Ford’s allegations and wanted the truth about them to be uncovered, she would not have acted as she has since receiving the letter, and certainly would not be acting as she is now.

    Meanwhile, the case for mistaken identity is growing:

    Whelan’s case relies on two pieces of circumstantial evidence: basic geography (Ford claimed the house where the party took place is close to Columbia Country Club, but Whelan notes that none of the identified party goers have homes anywhere near that location, but Garrett did), and the resemblance of Garrett to Kavanaugh.

    But then the particular case offered was withdrawn, with apologies, by Ed Whelan.

    • #24
  25. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Now Ford is negotiating conditions under which she will appear next week. We shall see if Mitch McConnell and the gang let Grassley snatch midterm defeat from the jaws of defeat, or if the Chairman takes good advice and controls the game, refusing to rig it for the Democrats. 

    • #25
  26. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    Ed Whelan…you’re not helping

    • #26
  27. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Hugh Hewitt interviewed Congresswomen Martha McSally, Republican candidate for the open Senate seat from Arizona. I think she nails it.

    MM: Well, and I do agree. I mean, the allegations are serious, and she does have the right to be heard, and Brett Kavanaugh has the right to also be heard. And all of this, I think, needs to be weighed against the massive amounts of testimonies and background checks and experience of the candidate. So look, again, having been through this, I certainly don’t have a PhD in it, but I will tell you, also having been in the military and my own experiences as a commander and a leader there, dirtbags are usually pattern dirtbags. You know, they usually, you know, these types of things happen over and over and over again until somebody gets caught. And so this just seems to be a partial memory of something 36 years ago that wasn’t told to anyone at the time. Again, I think she’s sincere in her beliefs of what happened to her, and she should be able to tell her story, and that needs to then be weighed against, you know, Judge Kavanaugh’s response and the other weight of the evidence while we move forward to fill this important position with the Supreme Court session starting in early October.
    HH: I love your statement. Dirtbags are usually pattern dirtbags. And there is no such pattern with Judge Kavanaugh, correct?
    MM: Exactly. That’s the point. You look at the number of women from his life and that time in high school, and the character of him in all of his years since then, everything he has been through in background checks and the way he has carried himself as an individual and a judge and a man and a father, and again, doesn’t fit the pattern.

    • #27
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    If the NYT is right, Chairman Grassley is taking the nudge from Senator Collins, and will hire (female) outside counsel to question Ford and Kavanaugh.

    Earlier on Thursday, committee Republicans had decided to hire an outside counsel to lead their questioning of Dr. Blasey, rather than the committee members themselves, according to a Republican Senate official familiar with the decision. Although they have yet to hire someone to fill the role, the Republicans have been eager to avoid the image of 11 male senators questioning Dr. Blasey about her account.

    Instead, they are seeking to enlist the help of an experienced litigator familiar with assault cases.

    • #28
  29. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Hugh Hewitt interviewed Congresswomen Martha McSally, Republican candidate for the open Senate seat from Arizona. I think she nails it.

    MM: Well, and I do agree. I mean, the allegations are serious, and she does have the right to be heard, and Brett Kavanaugh has the right to also be heard. And all of this, I think, needs to be weighed against the massive amounts of testimonies and background checks and experience of the candidate. So look, again, having been through this, I certainly don’t have a PhD in it, but I will tell you, also having been in the military and my own experiences as a commander and a leader there, dirtbags are usually pattern dirtbags. You know, they usually, you know, these types of things happen over and over and over again until somebody gets caught. And so this just seems to be a partial memory of something 36 years ago that wasn’t told to anyone at the time. Again, I think she’s sincere in her beliefs of what happened to her, and she should be able to tell her story, and that needs to then be weighed against, you know, Judge Kavanaugh’s response and the other weight of the evidence while we move forward to fill this important position with the Supreme Court session starting in early October.
    HH: I love your statement. Dirtbags are usually pattern dirtbags. And there is no such pattern with Judge Kavanaugh, correct?
    MM: Exactly. That’s the point. You look at the number of women from his life and that time in high school, and the character of him in all of his years since then, everything he has been through in background checks and the way he has carried himself as an individual and a judge and a man and a father, and again, doesn’t fit the pattern.

    That’s an interesting point about behavior patterns.  I wonder if there is such a pattern of Ford’s making unsubstantiated accusations about people in the past. I wonder if anyone has looked into that. 

    • #29
  30. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    If the NYT is right, Chairman Grassley is taking the nudge from Senator Collins, and will hire (female) outside counsel to question Ford and Kavanaugh.

    Earlier on Thursday, committee Republicans had decided to hire an outside counsel to lead their questioning of Dr. Blasey, rather than the committee members themselves, according to a Republican Senate official familiar with the decision. Although they have yet to hire someone to fill the role, the Republicans have been eager to avoid the image of 11 male senators questioning Dr. Blasey about her account.

    Instead, they are seeking to enlist the help of an experienced litigator familiar with assault cases.

    and now Ford won’t take questions from outside counsel, only the Senators, only if she gets to go second, only if….

    this is a farce to give them talking points about how “uncaring” the GOP is when they’ve done everything possible to service her

    • #30

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