6:45 PM: The hearing is adjourned. I didn’t think Cory Booker or Kamala Harris really laid a glove on Judge Kavanaugh. In fact, his response to the last question by Harris was one of his stronger moments this evening. Trump weighs in:
Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2018
I do want to include the questioning by Ted Cruz who did a nice job summing up what has happened over the past two months and who then set off a back-and-forth between Feinstein and Grassley. Here’s a portion of that:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): "Judge Kavanaugh you and your family have been treated incredibly poorly by Senate Democrats and the media. … This has been sadly one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the United States Senate." https://t.co/U4cYcp1SS1 pic.twitter.com/VjlpzQfU8D
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 27, 2018
6:11 PM: Sen. Hirono asks Kavanaugh whether his temperament is important in judging his fitness for the Supreme Court. I’m not sure where she’s going with this but I suspect she’s creating an angle for some of the complaints I posted earlier, i.e. a guy who gets upset at being called a gang-rapist doesn’t have the temperament for SCOTUS. Let’s see if another Democrat follows up on this now that Hirono has raised it.
6:01 PM: And we’re taking another break. I’m going to probably sign off for now. I’ll try to jump back in if there are fireworks.
5:50 PM: Sen. Blumenthal is again talking about Kavanaugh’s yearbook, saying that he suggested he had sex with someone mentioned there. Kavanaugh denies the implication of the question and tells Blumenthal to stop insinuating otherwise.
Kavanaugh turns a question about "Renate alum" back on Blumenthal, saying it's offensive for him to keep bringing her name up.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 27, 2018
Blumenthal also accuses Kavanaugh of forgetting what happened on a trip to see a baseball game. Kavanaugh denies this and says he remembers the whole night fondly.
5:43 PM: I’m really getting to this point with this hearing:
Republicans are all making the point that the Democrats held onto the accusation until it was most politically advantageous. Democrats are all making the point that there hasn't been an FBI investigation. Republicans all counter that it wouldn't reach a conclusion. And so on.
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) September 27, 2018
5:31 PM: We’re starting up again with an apology.
And Kavanaugh now apologizes for doing so https://t.co/aUTyEzCYzm
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) September 27, 2018
5:12 PM: Chairman Grassley once again quoting Joe Biden on the FBI. And now we’re taking another break…
5:05 PM: Sen. Whitehouse just devoted his 5 minutes to asking questions about Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook. In case you were wondering, “Devil’s Triangle” was a reference to a drinking game. Also this:
Sheldon Whitehouse asked about flatulence.
— Marc Thiessen (@marcthiessen) September 27, 2018
5:01 PM: Here’s the video of Lindsey Graham:
.@LindseyGrahamSC: "You have nothing to apologize for. When you see Sotomayor and Kagan that Lindsey said hello. I voted for them. I would never do to this what you have done to this guy. In is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics." pic.twitter.com/gNC5TJCdGK
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 27, 2018
4:47 PM: Sen. Graham did not donate his time to Rachel Miller. He is laying into the Democrats hard and is clearly angry. “If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us,” Graham says, looking at the Democratic member of the committee. He continues, “What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that. Not me.”
Turning to Kavanaugh he added, “You’ve got nothing to apologize for. When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello, cause I voted for them.”
“I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.”
Graham then asked Kavanaugh, “Are you a gang rapist?”
Kavanaugh responded, “No.”
4:41 PM: Sen Durbin asks Kavanaugh to turn to Don McGahn and ask him to ask President Trump to suspend the hearing until the FBI investigates. Chairman Grassley interrupts and says he is setting the hearing schedule, not Don McGahn or even Brett Kavanaugh. [I’m adding the video of this exchange.]
In a heated exchange, Sen. Dick Durbin calls on Kavanaugh to request White House counsel Don McGahn "suspend this hearing" pic.twitter.com/5wJIF0mmvB
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 27, 2018
4:37 PM: Rachel Miller asks Kavanaugh about his activity on July 1, 1982.
Kavanaugh currently being asked about July 1 entry https://t.co/IiOJlL2BPs
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 27, 2018
4:34 PM: Kavanaugh refuses to be talked over by Sen. Leahy and won’t say whether or not the character in Mark Judge’s book (who allegedly threw up in a car) is based on him.
4:27 PM: After a break, Kavanaugh is back and being questioned by Sen. Leahy.
4: 16 PM: Martha MacCallum on Fox News about her interview of Kavanaugh: “It’s almost like when I interviewed him there was a cork in.” She suggests what we saw this morning was Kavanaugh uncorked.
4:10 PM: The questioning by Rachel Mitchell is calm and not hostile but it’s interesting to have Democrats questioning Kavanaugh and then have Mitchell, on behalf of the GOP, also questioning Kavanaugh. It’s quite a difference from the first half of this hearing this morning where you had Mitchell asking Dr. Ford questions interrupted by testimonials from Democrats to her courage. Kavanaugh spoke forcefully for himself but, so far, no one else is speaking for him.
4:05 PM: Kavanaugh questioned by Feinstein about the need for an FBI investigation. He points out the FBI would not help the Committee reach a conclusion and adds that she is questioning him now.
4:01 PM: Why is this guy being publicly accused of rape and assault so angry?
Kavanaugh smash pic.twitter.com/R4n3yNLsuK
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 27, 2018
3:58 PM: Rachel Mitchell is also questioning Judge Kavanaugh for the GOP.
3:56 PM: Kavanaugh closes with this:
Kavanaugh: "I swear now before my family … the nation … and God … I am innocent of this charge."
— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) September 27, 2018
3:54 PM: Another example of the claim Kavanaugh’s anger is disqualifying:
It is hard to imagine this person being objective and fair on the Supreme Court.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) September 27, 2018
3:44 PM: Kavanaugh apologizes to Renate over a yearbook reference which he says was never a reference to sex but to friendship with her. You can read more about that in this NY Times story. Also, check this Federalist story on the same topic. Here’s the key graph:
The article reveals inside jokes about a friend of Kavanaugh and his classmates named Renate Schroeder Dolphin. The classmates are featured in a picture with a caption “Renate Alumnius,” which the Times’ named and anonymous sources argue is bragging about sex. The classmates strenuously insist that the reference was nothing of the kind and that none of the men had sexual relations with the friend. They say that they attended each other’s dances and prep school functions and maintained the friendship throughout the next several decades.
3:42 PM: Of course…
By seeing Ford's claim as a coordinated Democratic smear and not a serious allegation that, even if he believes it wrong, others needed to take seriously, Kavanaugh has built a fury at Democrats that makes it hard to believe he could do the job of Supreme Court Justice fairly.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 27, 2018
3:34 PM: People on Twitter suggesting Kavanaugh— who has been accused of gang rape, sexual assault, and is receiving death threats— is disqualifying himself because he’s angry about this:
Again, if you guys don't think judges demonstrate anger, that they are fully-realized human beings, you've never appeared in front of a federal judge.
This is pathetic heads I win, tails you lose stuff, suggested by people who don't even practice in federal courts. https://t.co/7bukozai0A
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) September 27, 2018
After Kavanaugh’s opening statement, I hope most of us can agree that even if he didn’t assault Ford, he has just shown us that he lacks the temperament to serve on the Supreme Court.
— Will Saletan (@saletan) September 27, 2018
3:29 PM: “Let’s turn to specifics…” He denies the allegation by Dr. Ford and attending the party as he’s done before.
3:24 PM: “This onslaught of last-minute allegations does not ring true.”
Kavanaugh breaks into tears describing how his 10-year-old daughter suggested they pray for Dr. Ford last night. This is powerful stuff.
3:20 PM: “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process…Your coordinated effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”
3:15 PM: “This confirmation process has become a national disgrace…You have replaced advise and consent with search and destroy.”
3:10 PM: Kavanaugh is sworn in and begins his opening statement. He says he wrote it himself and no one has seen it and it appears it’s different from what was published yesterday.
Kavanaugh seems very upset. Says “my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed…”
3 PM ET: While we’re waiting for this to start, this interview with Lindsey Graham is circulating on Twitter. Graham warns that we’re setting new norms, and not good ones:
BEST INTERVIEW TODAY:
Graham's message to GOP & Dems.
To GOP: "If this becomes the new standard, 35 year old claim that’s uncertain of time, place, date no corroboration – God help us as Republicans."
To Dems: "If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.” pic.twitter.com/X5kUAeMegg
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 27, 2018
Original post below…
Ed did a live-blog of the first half of the hearing earlier today, so if you missed some of that you can check it out here. I’ll be doing the same thing for the second half featuring Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony.
Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee published Judge Kavanaugh’s prepared opening remarks and I wrote about those here. Briefy, his opening seems to very similar to the statements he made during his Fox News interview earlier this week. He admits to occasionally drinking too many beers but denies any sexual assault against Ford or anyone else.
Dr. Ford’s allegation dates back more than 36 years, to a party that she says occurred during our time in high school. I spent most of my time in high school focused on academics, sports, church, and service. But I was not perfect in those days, just as I am not perfect today. I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many. In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now. But that’s not why we are here today. What I’ve been accused of is far more serious than juvenile misbehavior. I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.
The second half of the hearing is about to start. Here’s the live feed from the Washington Post: