Patterico's Pontifications

9/6/2018

Playing Politics At Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings: Kamala Harris And Brett Kavanagh

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:16 am

[guest post by Dana]

Much is being made of an exchange that took place yesterday between presidential-hopeful and “one of the Democratic Party’s newest leading lights,” Sen. Kamala Harris and Judge Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing. An exchange that illustrates why elected officials on both sides of the aisle are regarded with suspicion and an unrelenting cynicism, as well as confirming that none are above manipulative grandstanding to score cheap political points whenever possible. Even Especially during the cross-examination of a nominee for the Supreme Court. All of it making the case that these hearings should not be held in front of cameras because politicians just can’t resist promoting themselves.

In the exchange, Harris asked Kavanaugh about whether he had ever had a conversation about Robert Mueller and his investigation with anyone at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres (founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney). She warned Kavanaugh to be sure about his answer. And Kavanaugh was very sure about his answer: he did not not answer the question directly but instead asked Harris if she had a specific individual in mind, or if she could provide him with a roster of names of those employed at the firm. A reasonable request given that the law firm employs more than 250 attorneys at any given time.

Here is the exchange:

In part:

During one tense exchange, Harris asked Kavanaugh if he had ever discussed the special counsel Robert Mueller or the Russia probe with anyone at the Kasowitz, Benson and Torres law firm. Marc Kasowitz, a partner at the firm, is one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers.

Mueller is leading the inquiry into Russia’s influence in the 2016 US presidential election and the investigation of whether Trump obstructed justice in the matter.

Harris asked Kavanaugh: “Have you had any conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that firm? Yes or no?”

“Is there a person you’re talking about?” Kavanaugh asked.

“I’m asking you a very direct question — yes or no?” Harris said.

“I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm,” Kavanaugh replied.

Harris’ question appeared to puzzle the Supreme Court nominee, who paused for long periods before asking the California senator if she wanted to know whether he spoke with a specific person at the firm about Mueller.

“I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us,” Harris said, before rephrasing her question: “Did you speak with anyone at that law firm about Bob Mueller’s investigation?”

“I’m not remembering anything like that, but I want to know a roster of people, and I want to know more,” Kavanaugh said.

Harris ended up dropping the line of inquiry without providing any documents supporting the insinuation that Kavanaugh had indeed had said conversations.

Politico notes:

The only explanation for the back-and-forth came from a Democratic aide speaking on condition of anonymity, who said Wednesday night that some in the party “have reason to believe that a conversation happened and are continuing to pursue it.”

If tangible evidence of that conversation doesn’t emerge, Harris and fellow Democrats are likely to face serious questions of their own from the GOP about whether their attempt to pin down Kavanaugh was little more than a game of gotcha.

Then again:

Untitled

And this just now:

Kavanaugh said Thursday that he has not discussed or given any hints about his views of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I haven’t had any inappropriate conversations about that investigation with anyone. I’ve never given anyone any hints, forecasts, previews, winks, nothing about my view as a judge or how I would rule as a judge or anything related to that,” he said.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

34 Responses to “Playing Politics At Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings: Kamala Harris And Brett Kavanagh”

  1. “Inappropriate”?

    Dana (023079)

  2. Smearing and mudslinging. Par for the course.

    NJRob (08d91a)

  3. Do you remember receiving a selective and confidential email from a Nigerian Prince ?

    Neo (d1c681)

  4. Ms. Harris will be running for president, and she needed a little political theater. It’s all so cynical.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  5. Mr. Booker has a line of questioning for Justice Cavanaugh. Listen respectfully, because he may be thrown out of the Senate for daring to mention it…..

    Q: Is it not a fact, Justice?

    A:

    Q: That’s a pregnant pause, Justice. Please answer the question.

    A: Um, there was a question?

    Q: Yes, don’t you understand grammar? That was a complete question.

    A: I understand grammar.

    Q: That’s not what I was asking. Please be responsive. Is it not a fact, Justice?

    A: That depends on what it is.

    Q: Ohhh, the meaning of is. How Clintonian…

    A: No, the meaning of it. As is, what is the meaning of it?

    Q: That’s what I was asking you!

    A: Technically, senator, you were asking me if “it” was a fact. As far as I know, all I can tell you is that it is a pronoun.

    Q: Surely you know what “it” is. Surely, you have an opinion.

    A: Stop calling me Shirley…

    Appalled (96665e)

  6. she’s just kind of nasty and stupid

    not much more to say about her really

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. booker’s a Rhodes scholar, right, snorfle:

    https://twitter.com/bennyjohnson/status/1037729224642232326

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. where did they find this stein guy:

    https://twitter.com/davidharsanyi/status/1037705855062429696

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. ‘I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us’

    Mind-reading indeed.

    Kind of ironic that the big scandal that never was is Russian influence and yet Harris and Booker seemed totally influenced by the Russian show trials of the late 30s.

    harkin (7f4688)

  10. Kind of ironic that the big scandal that never was

    hahahahahaha, good one!

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  11. The Late Show:

    Godzilla vs. The Swamp-Creature

    Popcorn time!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  12. R.I.P. Burt Reynolds

    10-4, good buddy. We gone. Bye-bye.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. Kavanaugh really whiffed on her question:

    “Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?”

    Allahpundit points out that “Selective Service” is one clever answer.

    Kavanaugh can’t be blamed for not thinking of that instantly on the spur of the moment.

    But there was no need to be so clever. The government makes the decision that I can’t use my fist to bludgeon an infant to death, or use my hands to strangle them. The government takes away the freedom to crush the skulls of newborns beneath my feet, too.

    Casting abortion as being about what a woman can do with her own body ignores the fact that the whole controversy rests on the fate of another human life besides the mother’s.

    Dave (445e97)

  14. “Official ‘Unofficial’ Trump Death Tweet” [patent-pending]:

    ““My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of [insert name here: Burt Reynolds] Our hearts and prayers are with you.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  15. One would hope he’d put a lot more thought in it, since Smokey was a native son of the land of the Winter White House.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  16. @15. He’s likely put a lot more into Hope than we know.

    Yet.

    But then there’s that safe…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  17. R.I.P. Burt Reynolds

    Icy (bf278a)

  18. If Trump was not so evil, the Democrats might not be so ignorant and vile.

    Bob the Builder (564d53)

  19. Was never much of a Burt Reynolds fan but his performance in Deliverance was one for the ages.

    Also – just thinking of his scenes with Bernadette Peters in The Longest Yard brought a smile to my face.

    RIP

    harkin (c7ccf8)

  20. Burt Reynolds saved his best performances for Johnny Carson, if anyone here is old enough to remember.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  21. Raj Shah
    @RajShah45
    @CoryBooker’s 20 minutes of testimony by the numbers:

    Mentions of @POTUS: 39
    Mentions of Documents: 22
    Interruptions of Judge #Kavanaugh: 18
    Mentions of Russia: 6
    Mentions of impeachment: 1
    Specific Cases References: 0

    harkin (c7ccf8)

  22. A better answer:

    “Since I don’t necessarily know who employs people I talk to, I can’t really answer that. For example, I don’t know if the firm has paid YOU money Senator, so even in this case I cannot answer it.”

    Kevin M (5d3e49)

  23. When Ginsburg passes we will witness real supreme court derangement syndrome. My choice would be Mark Levin as he may not get confirmed, but he would tongue lash the traitorous democrats into tears.

    mg (8cbc69)

  24. Pillows for Ginsburg

    mg (8cbc69)

  25. “An exchange that illustrates why elected officials on both sides of the aisle are regarded with suspicion and an unrelenting cynicism, as well as confirming that none are above manipulative grandstanding to score cheap political points whenever possible”

    The exchange between KamelHairris and Kavanaugh does NOT illustrate “both sides of the aisle” suspicion/cynicism.
    Poor, poor, neverTrump

    jb (a3c1bc)

  26. Kamala Harris, a top recipient of Kasowitz Benson Torres campaign cash, put her experience as an unethical prosecutor to work this week

    “….But hey, why shouldn’t Harris make such claims? This is the very sort of unprofessional behavior that lousy prosecutors who put self-advancement ahead of truth get away with routinely. In short, the former California official who ” repeatedly attempted to keep an innocent man locked up in prison and attempted to defend a falsified confession,” in addition to defending her subordinate prosecutors’ lies on the witness stand, isn’t going to have qualms about claiming that a conversation took place without really knowing whether it did. Just throw it all against the wall and see what sticks.”

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/kamala-harris-a-top-recipient-of-kasowitz-benson-torres-campaign-cash-put-her-experience-as-an-unethical-prosecutor-to-work-this-week?_amp=true&__twitter_impression=true

    This tool is our elected senator.

    harkin (c7ccf8)

  27. Booker’s violation of Senate rules by releasing confidential material is funny because he is calling himself Spartacus in the effort. The mail he released is about racial profiling and sounds on the surface to be something damning. But the funny thing is that Kavanaugh is on the record against racial profiling of people from the Middle East. Apparently Booker was never good at reading comprehension.

    AZ Bob (885937)

  28. But they don’t explicitly point that out, the keep the implication in the air.

    Narciso (4d270a)

  29. #28 — You realize that Booker was mouthing the words of a known Communist, don’t you? (And I am not talking about the Roman guy, here…)

    Appalled (c9622b)

  30. Well the story came from Plutarch, yes howard fast was one who was anti-war between 39-41, and 47-91

    Narciso (4d270a)

  31. narc:

    I was thinking of Dalton Trumbo.

    Appalled (c9622b)

  32. Same menu, John ring Lardner, Irving polonaky

    Narciso (4d270a)

  33. Can you imagine how entertaining the spectacle of Booker and Harris going after each other in the Democrat Presidential Primary could be?

    Having nothing much of real substance to distinguish one from the other, they’d be quick to resort to mud slinging attacks based on personal history and previous political positions, presented as clever distortions and twisted interpretations.

    The fight can’t but split the Democrats into two client blocks: blacks and females/feminists, with both sides playing dirty.

    Harris has an Ace in the hole, sexual abuse allegations will likely keep Booker on the defensive. If she can make it stick, Booker won’t stand a chance.

    ropelight (f8d04a)


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