Tuesday Reads: Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings and Woodward’s New Book

Good Morning!!

I had difficulties with my internet connection this morning, so I watched the beginning of the Kavanaugh hearing. The Democrats raised quite a ruckus over the Republicans–and Trump’s–refusal to make documents available from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House. Democrats moved to adjourn the hearing until the documents could be reviewed. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley refused to hold a vote on the motion.

The committee has now begun opening statements by Senators. Awhile ago, Grassley said the committee would adjourn after the opening statements and resume tomorrow. The opening statements are limited to 10 minutes each.

Raw Story: Kavanaugh hearing spirals into chaos as Democrats refuse to let GOP chair read opening statement.

The confirmation hearing for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, began in chaos as several Democratic senators interrupted the opening remarks.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tried to welcome Kavanaugh and was immediately interrupted by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

“Good morning. I welcome everyone to this confirmation hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as associate justice,” Grassley said.

“Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman? I would like to be recognized for a question before we proceed,” Harris said.

“Mr. Chairman I would like to be recognized for a question before we proceed. Mr. Chairman. I would like to be recognized to ask a question before we proceed. The committee received [requested documents] just last night, less than 15 hours ago,” Harris said. “We believe this hearing should be postponed.”

Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) gave a long speech appealing to Grassley to stop the hearing.

“You are taking advantage of my decency and integrity,” Grassley said.

There was much more after that. I have to at least give the Democrats credit for speaking up.

More from NBC News: Fireworks as Kavanaugh confirmation hearings get underway.

Sen Kamala Harris (D-CA)

The Senate confirmation hearing for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh launched with chaotic scenes Tuesday morning as Democrats pushed to adjourn, and protesters repeatedly interrupted the proceedings.

The Senate confirmation hearing for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh launched with chaotic scenes Tuesday morning as Democrats pushed to adjourn, and protesters repeatedly interrupted the proceedings.

The complaints from Democrats on the panel and protester fireworks that lasted through the hearing’s first hour followed the late-night release of tens of thousands of documents related to Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House.

“The committee received just last night, less than 15 hours ago, 42,000 pages of documents that we have not had an opportunity to read, review or analyze,” Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said moments after the hearing opened. “We cannot possibly move forward with this hearing.”

Sen. Amy Kobuchar (D-MN)

Sen. Amy Klobluchar, D-Minn., chimed in, agreeing with Harris and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., then added, “Mr. Chairman, if we cannot be recognized, I move to adjourn…we had been denied real access to the real documents we need” and also said that Republicans have turned the hearing into a “mockery.”

Other Democrats began to add to the chorus of concerns, interrupting Grassley. “What are we trying to hide? Why are we rushing?” asked Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

“This process will be tainted and stained forever” if the proceedings were not delayed, said Blumenthal. Grassley eventually denied Blumenthal’s repeated request for a roll call vote to adjourn the hearing.

As the Democratic pushback stretched into the hearing’s second hour, Grassley expressed mounting frustration. “Do you want to go on all afternoon?” he asked the panel’s Democrats.

Much more with background at the link.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed reports on the withholding of documents on Kavanaugh’s time in the White House: The Justice Department Was Behind The Decision To Keep 100,000 Pages Of Kavanaugh’s Record Secret.

After two days of questions about how it was decided that more than 100,000 pages of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s White House work would be withheld from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s review, the Justice Department took responsibility for the decision on Monday night.

“The Department of Justice, which has advised both Democratic and Republican administrations on the application of the Presidential Records Act and constitutional privileges, was responsible for determining which documents were produced to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said….

The news that the documents were being kept from the public and the committee was reported on Friday night, when the lawyer overseeing the review sent a letter to congressional leaders about the final status of his review. The development was just the latest step in a series of fights over the millions of documents from Kavanaugh’s time working in George W. Bush’s White House from 2001 until when he was confirmed to his seat on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

The office of former president Bush has been producing some of those documents to the committee in advance of the hearing — a decision that went outside of the usual process for congressional requests under the Presidential Records Act, which is handled by the National Archives.

Instead, lawyers for Bush, led by William Burck of Quinn Emanuel, reviewed the documents requested and then provided the presidential records they found to the Justice Department for review.

“[T]he White House and the Department of Justice have identified certain documents of the type traditionally protected by constitutional privilege,” Burck wrote. “The White House, after consultation with the Department of Justice, has directed that we not provide these documents for this reason.”

I don’t know what the basis is for a claim of “constitutional privilege” or “executive privilege” or why a lawyer who is not connected to the government would be able to make such a claim. Maybe someone else can enlighten me. Senator Dick Durbin said he’d never heard of it.

The mysterious and powerful William Burck of Quinn Emanuel.

The Bush lawyers released 42,000 pages of documents last night, too late for Senators to realistically review the material. Chuck Grassley ludicrously claimed that committee staff for the Republican had reviewed every page of the documents by this morning.

So we’ll see what happens. We know the Republicans are probably going to cram this nomination through, despite what the public wants. The biggest issue is that Kavanaugh would likely vote to overturn Roe V. Wade. According to Aída Chávez at The Intercept: There is No Grassroots Energy Rallying for Brett Kavanaugh. None.

LAST SUNDAY, SEVERAL hundred protestors rallied in Civic Center Park in Denver, Colorado, against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. Local reporters were on hand, and the protest earned a two-minute segment on that night’s local CBS broadcast. The “Unite for Justice” rally in Denver was just one of dozens held across the country that same day, and viewers of that evening’s news learned that the rally-goers were taking a stand against confirming a justice who would be the fifth vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.

The network’s attempt at balance, however, was foiled by advocates of Kavanaugh — or, more precisely, the lack of them. The anchor, at the end of the segment, deadpanned to the Denver metro viewership and said, “A pro-life rally was scheduled to run in opposition to the protest, but no one attended.”

Abortion opponents’ inability to gather even a handful of counter protesters in Denver made for an awkward aside, but it also underscored the near total absence of organic grassroots energy from a supposedly rabid anti-choice movement. As the Senate began confirmation hearings Tuesday, the politics of the nomination are being shaped by a myth that has been constructed over decades by a small minority of fervent abortion rights opponents: that the country is evenly divided when it comes to abortion.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

In reality, the politics are lopsided. Voters want Roe protected by more than a 2-1 margin, and even oppose overturning it in states like North Dakota, where Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is up for re-election. The opposition that does exist, meanwhile, is concentrated among a minority of hardcore Republicans who consider it a moral travesty to vote for Democrats — not the kind of voter Heitkamp could win over by supporting Kavanaugh.

All of this has been evident for years, yet the sophisticated political antenna of Democratic leaders in Washington suddenly fail them when it comes to reading polls on the question of abortion. Instead, Democratic leadership is worried about the political consequences for Democrats in red states who vote no. If all Democrats vote no, Republicans would need to win Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, Republicans from Maine and Alaska, respectively, who publicly support abortion rights.

Click on the link to read the rest.

In other news, people are already talking about Bob Woodward’s book on the Trump White House, which is scheduled for release next Tuesday. The Washington Post: Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency.

John Dowd was convinced that President Trump would commit perjury if he talked to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. So, on Jan. 27, the president’s then-personal attorney staged a practice session to try to make his point.

In the White House residence, Dowd peppered Trump with questions about the Russia investigation, provoking stumbles, contradictions and lies until the president eventually lost his cool.

Bob Woodward

“This thing’s a goddamn hoax,” Trump erupted at the start of a 30-minute rant that finished with him saying, “I don’t really want to testify.”

The dramatic and previously untold scene is recounted in “Fear,” a forthcoming book by Bob Woodward that paints a harrowing portrait of the Trump presidency, based on in-depth interviews with administration officials and other principals.

Woodward depicts Trump’s anger and paranoia about the Russia inquiry as unrelenting, at times paralyzing the West Wing for entire days. Learning of the appointment of Mueller in May 2017, Trump groused, “Everybody’s trying to get me”— part of a venting period that shellshocked aides compared to Richard Nixon’s final days as president.

A bit more:

A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.

Woodward describes “an administrative coup d’etat” and a “nervous breakdown” of the executive branch, with senior aides conspiring to pluck official papers from the president’s desk so he couldn’t see or sign them.

Again and again, Woodward recounts at length how Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs and his contempt for the mainstream perspectives of military and intelligence leaders.

At a National Security Council meeting on Jan. 19, Trump disregarded the significance of the massive U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula, including a special intelligence operation that allows the United States to detect a North Korean missile launch in seven seconds vs. 15 minutes from Alaska, according to Woodward. Trump questioned why the government was spending resources in the region at all.

“We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told him.

After Trump left the meeting, Woodward reconts, “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’”

I’d say that’s being generous. a sixth grader would surely be able to understand that explanation. Read more at the WaPo.

What else is happening? What stories are you following today?

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59 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings and Woodward’s New Book”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    More from the Woodward book:

    White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly frequently lost his temper and told colleagues that he thought the president was “unhinged,” Woodward writes. In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”

    It’s a good thing for Kelly that Trump doesn’t read, but he might see this on Fox and Friends.

    • Enheduanna says:

      And yet there Kelly is – standing up for tRump and supporting him in public. Great set of principles ya got dude.

      I was in the sixth grade in 1966/67, during the Cold War. I understood about nukes and I’m 8 years younger than tRump. Imma guess he was as incurious then as now. I wonder if he even knows there was a Korean War.

      • bostonboomer says:

        He knows people died in the Korean war, but he thinks their parents are still alive. Remember when he claimed parents were begging him to get their children’s remains back?

        • Enheduanna says:

          Oh yes – had forgotten about that.

          I have an uncle who is a Korean War vet – and he’s a huge Tea Party tRumper. He was convinced Obama was a huge progressive lefty….{sigh}.

        • jan says:

          my relatives who fought in the Korean war are long gone. 25 years dead is the most recent. I have to tell you all that being a war vet or even a retired military means big chance of illness or death. I think most of the men who fought in Korea are dead. Quite sure their parents are dead too.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    John Kyl has been appointed to fill John McCain’s Senate seat.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    I thought Amy Klobuchar opening statement was wonderful.

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. dakinikat says:

    Thanks for watching this. My TV is on the weather channel. I think we’re getting out of the bad target area so we may be okay. It’s sure windy right now.

    I did read the WAPO article on the Woodward book and I’m interesting in seeing what other people think. I was not shocked but it still rattled me. His paranoia is getting Nixonian for sure.

    The description of the Dowd resignation and the grilling that showed he has no business being anywhere near a position where truth, facts and a level head are required.

    I watched the RBG bio on CNN last night and was heartened by it. Again, I couldn’t face seeing the Kavanaugh crap.

    I did see this and thought wtf?

    Also, does any one have an issue with Kyl being the next Arizona and him being the lobbyist that’s taking Kavanaugh through this process? Dude will now get a fucking vote on him!!!

  6. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      Say what? Saying Dump has no use for reality is a “water is wet” statement, but why in hell would his lawyers be stressing that to Mueller?

      I can only imagine they want Mueller’s help to keep the fiction of the Presidency alive? To not upset the rubes?

      Anybody else here understand their tactics?

      • NW Luna says:

        To get him off as mentally incompetent to testify? In which case he isn’t capable of being POTUS. They can’t have it both ways.

        No, I don’t understand their tactics.

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    I really like Kamala Harris! Hope she runs in 2020.

  9. dakinikat says:

    More NAZIs
    Her name is #ZinaBash flashes white power sign during Senate hearing. She’s on Kavanaugh’s confirmation team and worked on immigration policy for Trump with Stephen Miller and Ian Smith, a Department of Homeland Security analyst who resigned this week after he was confronted about his ties to white nationalist groups.

    nazi

  10. bostonboomer says:

    I don’t know if she was really doing that, but they removed her and replaced her with Condoleeza Rice.

    • dakinikat says:

      it’s sort’ve a morphing type of is it or isn’t it think according to snopes … https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/intern-white-power-hand-gesture/

      • bostonboomer says:

        Her husband was a central figure in the child separation policy.

      • NW Luna says:

        Hmmm. Given that she had her arms crossed, and trying a few different arms-crossed positions myself, I am not at all convinced it’s the white power gesture.

        OTOH, the gesture made with raised arms so that the 3rd – 5th digits are vertical appears to fit the bill for the white power gesture.

        Also OTOH, there are yogic mudras which have the same thumb-to-forefinger, 3rd-5th digits straight position.

        Anyone who would voluntarily work for Kavanaugh is not going to be a compassionate, open-minded person anyway. I was wondering why she was blinking as much as Kavanaugh, but now that I know she works for him, it makes sense. But I don’t think the evidence supports her gesture as a white power sign.

        • NW Luna says:

          Reconsidered, now that I’ve seen this video.

          • Gregory P says:

            That would be a very uncomfortable way to rest ones hand. Her husbands statement speaks volumes to me because they always come out swinging when called on their b.s. How the party of Lincoln morphed into this wretched conglomeration of racists, bigots, xenophobes, liars, crooks and charlatans is simply astounding.

          • NW Luna says:

            I wrote @7:24 before seeing the @7:52 video. She goes into the thumb-to-forefinger gesture immediately. In contrast, I can only naturally get close to that position if I cross my arms first and then act tired so my hand slips down — which is just the opposite of what’s she’s doing.

            That gesture is still a yoga mudra. Damn the racist sadists for taking traditional symbols and perverting them.

            And why is her husband spouting off from his government account? Thought you weren’t supposed to do that, but ethics are for Democrats.

          • NW Luna says:

            Still don’t like anyone working for Trump or Kavanaugh.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Except she did it right after getting a text message and she held her hand in an unnatural position for an extended period. Then after the video went viral, she was replaced by Condaleezza Rice. Really not the same thing.

    • dakinikat says:

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s a better video. Watch the whole thing.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    I think she means Ben Sasse.

    • bostonboomer says:

      • NW Luna says:

        Hysteria, from the Greek for uterus.

        Odd, I would have thought the evidence was clear that men showed hysteria more than women, except it’s called yelling and threatening and power displays instead of emotional breakdowns.

        • quixote says:

          Yes, and smarter people than me have come up with the right word for it: testeria. And testerical.

          Difference is, in men with poor cognitive function, testosterone really does seem to rise to the brain and destroy the ability to think straight.

          Whereas the maligned uterus never did that. And estrogen from the ovaries seems to have a *protective* effect on brain cells.

          So they got it wrong every way possible, as with most everything to do with women.

  13. bostonboomer says:

  14. NW Luna says:

    OT, but wondrous. I’ve been following this artist and her evocative small worlds are a blessed relief.

  15. NW Luna says:

  16. NW Luna says:

  17. NW Luna says:

    Randy Weston, pianist and composer who celebrated jazz’s African roots, dies at 92

    For Randy Weston, Africa was the wellspring of music — the spiritual and rhythmic source of blues, African American spirituals, samba, bossa nova and, above all, jazz.

    Mr. Weston, who was 92 when he died Sept. 1 at his home in Brooklyn, was among the most prominent ambassadors for traditional African music in the United States. A revered jazz pianist and composer, he incorporated that continent’s complicated rhythms, tonalities and call-and-response patterns in records that ushered in a new era of transatlantic fusion.

    “More than any other musician, composer, or bandleader of his generation, Weston is responsible for fusing modern jazz and African music, giving birth to an entirely new musical genre,” said historian Robin D.G. Kelley.

  18. RonStill4Hills says:

    Like so much of what they do the “WP” hand gesture has a built in rat-fucker component. It is intendeded to provoke and then be denied with an accusation of liberal hysteria.

    Triggering is their fave new sport.

    It is an inside joke and act of solidarity for them but they hope they can make us look irrational too.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that it was intentional.