Patterico's Pontifications

9/24/2018

Brett Kavanaugh: I’m Not Going Anywhere

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:28 pm



[guest by Dana]

Just one day after a second accusation was made against him, Brett Kavanaugh sat down for an interview with Martha MacCallum of Fox News. His wife Ashley joined him . He reiterated his denial of the allegations. Here are a few highlights:

On whether he has ever sexually assaulted anyone, he said:

“The truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise. I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone at some place, but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

Asked whether he was in attendance at the party referenced by Blasey Ford, he said:

“I was never at any such party. The other people who alleged to be present have said they do not remember any such party. A woman who was present, another woman who was present who was Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend has said she doesn’t know me and never remembers being at a party with me at any time in her life.”

About drinking to the point of memory loss, there was this exchange:

MacCallum: Sir, you are going to be pressed on something that you just said about people do things in high school, and you were all drinking, were there times when perhaps you drank so much – was there ever a time that you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened the night before?

B. Kavanaugh: No, that never happened.

MacCallum: You never said to anyone, “I don’t remember anything about last night.”

B. Kavanaugh: No, that did not happen.

He also expressed his determination to stay in the ring and fight back against the accusations made against him:

“I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity and I know I’m telling the truth I know my lifelong record and I’m not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. I have faith in God and I have faith in the fairness of the American people.”

This exchange was rather interesting since there seems to be a pretty wide range of debate about it:

MacCallum: Right. Let me ask you this. Separately from these allegations, is it fair to judge someone on something they did before they were 18 years old? When they were 17 years old, should anything they did then follow them later in life or should it enter into any decisions made about them later in life?

B. Kavanaugh: What I’m here to do is tell you the truth, and this allegation from 36 years ago is not –

MacCallum: But separately from what you’re being accused of just as a judge, if you were looking at this case as a part of what you’re going through and someone said, “This person did that at 17 years old,” is it fair to judge them on something that when they’re in their 50s, 60s year old?

B. Kavanaugh: I think everyone is judged on their whole life. I’m a good person. I’ve led a good life. I’ve tried to a lot of good for a lot of people. I am not perfect, I know that. None of us is perfect. I’m not perfect, but I’ve never, never done anything like this.

David French believes that Kavanaugh took a bold move in going specific with his denials:

In tonight’s interview with Martha MacCallum, it would have been easy for Brett Kavanaugh to play the legal equivalent of a prevent defense. He’s a smart enough lawyer to understand the state of the evidence. None of his accusers have been able to come forward with a single witness who can offer first-hand corroboration of their stories. Indeed, they can’t even come forward with a single witness placing him at the scene of either alleged crime. In circumstances like that, the safest course is to simply repeat a blanket denial and repeat all the different ways the accusers’ cases are deficient — to vary some version of “Martha, I didn’t do this, not a single witness can put me at any of these parties, and even Dr. Ford’s friend says she doesn’t know me” throughout the interview.

Like I said, that’s safe. It doesn’t put a single additional fact in the record, and — done correctly — it can imprint in the viewer’s brain that there is zero corroborating evidence substantiating the accusers’ claims.

But, instead, with his opponent facing the evidentiary equivalent of 4th and 20, he blitzed. He extended his denials into three very specific areas that were specifically designed to counter the elitist party-bro narrative that’s dominating the left side of Twitter. Each of these specific denials is subject to fact-checking (though it could get quite personal), and if any of these denials fails that fact check, he may face real issues with wavering Republicans.

It’s to Kavanaugh’s credit that he’s not just trying to run out the clock. It’s obvious that he’s aggressively trying to clear his name — at least with anyone who still has an open mind. The next few days will be critical. Kavanaugh is a smart man. He’s smart enough to know that he’s created three immense targets for investigative reporters and hostile witnesses. But he’s also smart enough to know that when juries, judges, senators, and the public are determining a witness’s credibility, they don’t just look to demeanor and apparent sincerity, they also look for specifics. And Kavanaugh is getting very specific indeed.

–Dana

A Second Woman Accuses Brett Kavanaugh

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:29 am



[guest post by Dana]

Another woman has made an accusation against Brett Kavanaugh. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer’s piece in the New Yorker came out last night, and it fairly ensures that this will be an even uglier week than last week.

The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.

…“We were sitting in a circle,” she said. “People would pick who drank.” Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words, as that male student and another stood nearby.

A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic, in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.”

Regarding Kavanaugh:

She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’

NOTE: The New Yorker admits in the article that they do not know if Kavanaugh was even at the party to begin with:

The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party.

And yet here we are..

Ramirez admits that there are “significant gaps” in her memory regarding the event, which would seem to make sense, given that we’re talking 35 years ago and she was admittedly inebriated. So much so that she was slurring her words. Curiously, though, after 35 years and just a few days of therapy with a miracle-working attorney, it appears her memory seems to have cleared up enough to make the accusation. Right before a critical vote is due to happen.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know if the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford or Deborah Ramirez are true or not. They don’t seem at all out of the realm of possibility to me as there is a familiarity to them. That the women didn’t speak about them or confront them for decades isn’t that unusual for women of a certain age. You didn’t say anything, you just locked that horrible moment away in the vault, and moved on with life. That’s just how it was. And this is the painful aftermath for many who lacked maturity to make sound judgments during high school and/or college. The recklessness that comes with such immaturity does not recognize gender. It is an equal-opportunity ravager of the individual. But certainly there is a gender-unique harm done when one looks at the outcomes of heavy alcohol-fueled behaviors. This is how these things have always gone. So while I don’t know if the claims are true, I certainly understand the long silence and the fear of going public with one’s story. However, the timing of the allegations and the stories themselves become suspect when one considers the midterm elections and what is at stake, whose vacancy on the Court is being filled, the rank theatrics we witnessed during the hearings, the brazen lies told and repeated by Democrats and the brazen lies spouted by a “Chief Washington correspondent” who knows better, etc.

Along with that, both Blasey Ford’s and Ramirez’s accounts share a familiar lack of eye-witnesses, corroboration of their allegations, denials by individuals that the events in question took place, as well as some individuals under oath saying that they have no knowledge or memory about the alleged incidents. Even the women’s best friends claimed that they had never heard about these alleged events. There are just so many holes of doubt and disbelief with their stories in which to fall:

The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate her story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.

Here is Brett Kavanaugh’s response to the second accusation:

“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so,” Kavanaugh responded. “This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name–and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building–against these last-minute allegations.”

As it stands, Blasey Ford is scheduled to testify at 10:00 a.m. this Thursday in a small hearing room that can accommodate only six reporters.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

She’s Gone

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am



We dropped our daughter off at college yesterday.

It was a hectic day, filled with moving in, getting supplies, setting things up in her room, and meeting people. The final goodbye was rushed; she had a floor meeting to get to. But we had a good weekend, and she’s just up the road a couple of hours. We’ll see her often in Facetime and reasonably often in person. And she’ll be in the house again, for breaks and (hopefully!) for summer.

But the house is a lot emptier today.

She’s one of the best people I know in the world, and today I can’t just walk into another room and give her a hug.

But it’s exciting to watch her grow as a person. It’s a new adventure — but for this one, her parents will be spectators and not participants.

I hope some day you look
Into my eyes and see
The love that held you back
But finally set you free

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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