Grassley schedules 'potential' vote on Kavanaugh nomination for Friday, Feinstein is outraged

This afternoon the Judiciary Committee announced it was scheduling a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday morning, one day after it hears from accuser Christine Blasey Ford. NBC’s Frank Thorp published the announcement and also pointed out that rules require the committee “to give three days notice before a vote.” So if they want a vote this week, they need to announce it today.

Chairman Grassley (or his staff) was quick to clarify that this is a “POTENTIAL” meeting and that it doesn’t require Senators to vote. “If we aren’t ready, we won’t,” he says.

But that’s apparently not good enough for Sen. Dianne Feinstein who says she is outraged:

Does Feinstein have a point here? Is one day enough to consider the allegations?

At this point, there are three accusers. The one talking to Michael Avenatti hasn’t come forward yet though he has said she will do so this week. For the moment, Democrats are keeping their distance from Avenatti, at least in public. Deborah Ramirez, the second accuser who was featured in the Ronan Farrow story, says she’s not planning to testify. That leaves only Christine Blasey Ford, though her attorneys were still attempting to wrangle control of the hearing as recently as yesterday. So there’s still at least a slight chance she will balk at some decision made by the committee and refuse to appear.

If Blasey Ford fails to show up, this is over and Grassley will have made a good choice to get the vote on the schedule for the next day. If Blasey Ford does show up and testify then Kavanaugh will also testify and it will be time for the committee to make a decision about what they’ve heard. They could vote not to proceed to a floor vote if Blasey Ford’s testimony is both damning and convincing. But whatever they decide, they can decide it Friday.

I suspect this will be the first of many similar complaints from Democrats who know about the 3-day scheduling rule. Looking back at the history of this process, it’s clear that what Democrats have wanted all along is to create more delay. So I would not be at all surprised to see some combination of events that serve to prevent a Friday vote. What could that be? Here are a few options off the top of my head:

  1. Blasey Ford refuses to testify because the scheduling of a hearing Friday is not a “fair process.”
  2. Perhaps Ford shows up and simply refuses to respond to questions from the counsel hired by the GOP. Republicans scramble, Democrats call for the hearing to be rescheduled.
  3. Deborah Ramirez has a last minute change of heart. She announces Wednesday night that she wants to talk but can’t possibly be prepared for Thursday. Democrats call for an additional day of hearings for her accusations, possibly next week or maybe later. The Friday vote gets scrapped and we repeat the negotiating process with a new set of Democratic lawyers.
  4. Avenatti’s accuser appears on TV Wednesday and announces she might consider testifying. Again, she can’t possibly be ready this week. Democrats call for a new day of hearings in the future making a Friday vote unlikely.

All of that to say, it’s very possible this vote will be postponed yet again by Democrats working behind the scenes. I hope I’m wrong about that, but that seems to be what Democrats have been pushing for all along. Why would they stop now?