I was on Washington, DC’s WMAL “Mornings on the Mall” radio show to discuss the Kavanaugh hearings:
Rachel Mitchell, who was hired by the Republicans to do the questioning of Dr. Ford, has been criticized a lot for not landing punches on the questioning that she did. It was quite awkward given that Senator Grassley had to interrupt her after five minutes to switch it and give time to the other side. I think people forget that this wasn’t a legal process, it was a committee meeting and those are the rules of the committee meeting, that’s what they had agreed to ahead of time. It’s typical that you give both sides of the party the chance to respond to each other.
So it was the best that they could do under the circumstances. I thought the prosecutor did a good job of showing how many inconsistencies there were in Dr. Ford’s testimony. It was quite a grueling experience for everyone involved but I think the fact that Ms.Mitchell was able to make it very dispassionate and very independent made it a much easier process for Dr. Ford and for those who cared about getting to the truth of the assertion.
I think it was a good move that Republicans chose to start to ask questions on their own. I think you have to also understand that Ms. Mitchell asked hard questions of Judge Kavanaugh too and there was criticism of that as well. They thought that the Republicans should not have essentially empowered someone to ask, from their side, hard question of Judge Kavanaugh. I would say just the opposite from a legal professional that you want to make sure that those questions are asked and that Judge Kavanaugh has the ability to respond and he did he did so supremely well in answering her tough questions and I think that reflects very well on his version of the events.
It’s very difficult to have someone make allegations about you from 36 years ago and essentially have to prove the negative–have to prove that what they are saying about you did not happen. Certainly the Democrats on the Senate did not cover themselves in glory and tried to switch the presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt.
It was very emotionally draining to watch the testimony yesterday and certainly many of the Republican Senators and commentators said that Dr. Ford was a victim of the process that was abused by Senate Democrats. It was certainly painful to watch her testimony.
I think Judge Kavanaugh had to come back and really be able to explain what this has done to him and to categorically deny what he was accused of multiple times. You might remember that interaction where he said several times, “I am innocent, I am innocent.” That’s exactly the opposite of what our legal system is supposed to do. It turns the very notion of the foundation of the American legal system on its head. But he was so confident that he was an innocent man that he subjected himself to legal jeopardy by going out there and and making these assertions.
He explained what this has done to his family as well as and when he talked about his daughter asking for prayers for Dr. Ford, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.
I think most of the people opposing Judge Kavanaugh were set to oppose him, honestly even before his name was released. Certainly Chuck Schumer had said that. Dianne Feinstein said an hour and a half after Judge Kavanaugh’s name was released by The White House that she would do anything she could do to oppose his nomination.
When you get outside of the political people and you think about anyone who looks at their Facebook page yesterday, I can’t say that doing the unscientific polls of my friends who expressed opinion before the hearings and express opinions after the hearing it doesn’t seem like a tremendous amount of minds were changed.
However, I think everyone can agree that the hearings from whatever perspective they had were a national disgrace. This process is so excruciating that what good people would want to put themselves forward for this kind of horrific experience in front of the klieg lights of the national stage?
As you know this is Washington DC so wait five minutes and the temperature and the scuttlebutt will change but I think it will be very very difficult, after Judge Kavanaugh’s amazing defense of himself, his integrity, and his honor yesterday, for those senators from states that went strongly for Trump. I’m talking about Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Senator Donnelly. I think it will be very difficult for them to go back and explain to their constituents if they don’t vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
I think Senator Lindsey Graham’s impassioned defense yesterday will also make it easy for Senator Collins and Senator Murkowski to support Judge Kavanaugh because as Sen. Graham pointed out, there are so many inconsistencies, there’s no corroboration, the allegations are unsubstantiated and discredited, and it will be very difficult for these Senators to do anything but vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.