New F.B.I. Kavanaugh Report Hits The Senate This Morning

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, at Senate hearing last week


But Even Before Senators Have A Chance Look At It, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Starts The Clock On A Vote


The White House and Senate Republicans are so worried about the report leaking in its entirety, they plan to make just a single copy available today, at a single location, to Senators and a few staffers only, and nobody will be able to copy or leave the room with it.

Of course, that could make the situation even worse. Certainly more confusing, because Democrats and Republicans will of course supply the media with dribs and drabs of details; cherry picking what they feel is any pertinent new info that helps them prove whatever they’ve been contending already.

The Washington Post also says that despite Trump refuting claims the White House was severely limiting the scope of the new F.B.I. investigation, the report is in fact very limited.

Once the Senators’ review is complete—McConnell Tweets they’ll have “plenty of time”—it’s off to the races, with a vote scheduled for tomorrow. That won’t be the final vote to approve Kavananaugh or not, rather a vote to limit debate so that final vote can be held, as promised, by the end of the week, which in this case looks like Saturday.

Very often Senators will vote yes to limiting debate in order to prevent a filibuster even if they haven’t made up their mind or even ultimately plan to vote no. The late Senator John McCain did just that with the failed Obamacare repeal: voting to limit debate, but then voting no to the actual repeal.

In the meantime, many politicians already seem to be looking beyond the Kavananaugh  vote to see how they can use the controversy to their best advantage in the upcoming midterm elections. And on that, Trump seems to be leading the way, Tweeting (all caps): “VOTERS ARE REALLY ANGRY AT THE VICIOUS AND DESPICABLE WAY DEMOCRATS ARE TREATING BRETT KAVANAUGH!”, following up on his all-out attacks on Democrats and Kavananaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford that we told you about yesterday. Including what appears to be his conviction that he can even use his attacks to energize women and get them on his side, and the side of Republican candidates.

Trump clearly thinks he’s got a winner in his approach, so expect a lot more.

Meanwhile, 1,000 law professors signed on to a letter published in the New York Times, and they’ll also deliver to the Senate today. It urges the Senate not to approve Brett Kavanaugh, quoting Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers #78 on the need for “the integrity and moderation of the judiciary.”

Meanwhile, it occurred to us today that everyone’s been so preoccupied with Kavananaugh, the ongoing Mueller investigation seems all but forgotten. (Unless we missed something, the last time Trump Tweeted about his “witch hunt” was way back on September 17th!) The pressure could also be off because Trump doesn’t expect Mueller to make any big moves before Election Day. If we were the Mueller team, we’d take this little respite from Trump’s constant furious attacks (even though they never react much at all, it’s hard to imagine it doesn’t affect them), and hunker down and get some good work done.

Getting back to the Kavananaugh vote, Fivethirtyeight’s Nate Silver suggests that any outcome will be flecked with more than a little irony in terms of the impact on the midterms: “There’s a good chance that if Kavanaugh is confirmed, it will do more to boost Democratic turnout, and that if Kavanaugh is voted down or withdrawn, it will do more to boost Republican turnout”, he Tweets. But who the hell really knows?

The key is to get out and vote, in great numbers, no matter what. Remember, not voting is and will always be the most effective form of voter suppression.