But Kavanaugh grew frustrated when it came to questions that dug into his private life, particularly his drinking habits and his sexual proclivities, according to three people familiar with the preparations, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. He declined to answer some questions altogether, saying they were too personal
“I’m not going to answer that,” Kavanaugh said at one point according to a senior White House official, who said that the questions were designed to go over the line and that he struck the right tone.
.. “The Republicans need women voters, but all hell will break loose (or it will be chaos) if this nomination unravels,” Dan Eberhart, an Arizona-based GOP donor, wrote in an email. “If we can’t get the nomination done, why vote Republican?”
.. Kavanaugh was calling Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and other key allies, urging them to publicly support him
.. In one key call, Kavanaugh told Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) that Ford had the wrong guy in mind, saying he had not attended a party like the one she described to The Washington Post. He and his allies also privately discussed a defense that would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, rather than try to dispute that an incident involving Ford had happened.
.. Yet McGahn was originally opposed to a public hearing — as were many within the orbit of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — but it became clear one would have to happen
.. Ford, through her attorneys, said she would be willing to testify publicly, and several potential pivotal votes, such as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), signaled that his confirmation could not move forward unless Ford was given a public airing.
.. McGahn has kept other key aides out of the process, afraid they would leak damaging material, relying on special counsel Annie Donaldson and spokesman Raj Shah. He has also talked on several occasions with McConnell, who is fond of McGahn.
.. His tweet on Friday morning in which he directly targeted Ford was not seen as helpful by White House aides, but Trump told senior officials that it was becoming a political issue that could affect the midterms. Republicans did not believe the woman’s claims, Trump added privately.
.. Republicans have also talked about enlisting female lawyers on the committee, who Grassley said would be “sensitive to the particulars of Dr. Ford’s allegations and are experienced investigators,” to the lead the questioning. They might also help the GOP avoid an optics problem of 11 men grilling a woman about her sexual assault allegation.
The hearing could end “without new conclusive evidence either way,” one senior Republican official said. “Members have to determine their threshold for credibility. And that will be the challenge.”
Senate Republican officials had repeatedly vented in private that it seemed, at least to them, Ford’s lawyers were doing more press than responding to their emails or requests for calls. Her attorneys would return that sentiment in kind, complaining in a late Friday letter to top Grassley aides that they would learn of the Republican hearing counteroffer “through the media” and got it officially through the committee “hours after those media accounts first appeared.” On Saturday they accused GOP senators of “bullying.”
.. Democrats are also plotting their own strategy for the hearing. Furious about Grassley’s decision to limit testimony to just Kavanaugh and Ford, Democratic aides planned to find other potential witnesses — such as a trauma expert — who could help bolster their case.
.. If they couldn’t be heard under oath, Democrats discussed holding news conferences where those other experts would speak, aides said. A top priority, according to Democratic officials, was ensuring Ford felt supported, whether it was having enough friends and family in the hearing room with her or finding people who can speak publicly about Ford’s character.
“We’re not accepting the premise that it’s going to be a he-said, she-said hearing,” one senior Senate Democratic aide said.
.. As for questions for Kavanaugh, Democrats planned to hold nothing back. Democratic staff have been researching the broader culture of the prep academy world in which Kavanaugh lived while reading the writings of Mark Judge
.. Judge, who has said he doesn’t want to testify, has written about how much alcohol he and his classmates consumed while in high school and details about other debaucherous behavior.
.. Democrats also planned to grill Kavanaugh on what he knew about a controversial Twitter thread from Ed Whelan
.. Ford’s July 30 letter outlining the allegations sent to Feinstein and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.). Republican senators, initially cut off from accessing the unredacted version of the letter, prodded Feinstein repeatedly to hand over her copy so they could conduct their investigation.
.. “They want her to publicly testify . . . but the infamous letter is still not public. They won’t allow it to be.”
An educated woman from the corporate world asked me recently: “What is wrong with your profession?” The answer: nothing that isn’t wrong with every other profession. Indeed, the problem is worse for women in low-wage, low-skill jobs
.. 60 percent of American women voters say they’ve experienced sexual harassment, the vast majority in the workplace.
.. 1 in 5 women said they had been raped or experienced attempted rape, 1 in 4 said they had been beaten by an intimate partner, and 1 in 6 women said they had been stalked.
.. industries that generate most sexual-harassment charges. Some of the leaders:
- hospitality and food services (14 percent of complaints),
- retail (13 percent),
- manufacturing (12 percent),
- health care (11 percent), and
- administrative and support (7 percent). The
- “information” (3 percent) and
- arts and entertainment (2 percent) sectors are well down the list.
Farmworkers, janitors and restaurant workers (as The Post’s Maura Judkis and Emily Heil powerfully described) are particularly vulnerable, as are women in any position where they are isolated or work at night.
.. Almost exactly a year ago, Conway participated in a Women Rule Summit, where she preached about the importance of sisterly solidarity. “It’s great to ask how we’re making opportunities for women, but do we even have each other’s support, frankly, on our way there?” she asked.
.. This is not a he-said/she-said case. It’s a he-said/she-said-she-said-she-said-she-said-she-said-she-said-she-said-and-others-corroboratecase.
.. As a practical matter, there’s little doubt Moore sexually exploited girls
He can’t quite bring himself to deny having dated underage girls.
.. Roy Moore’s reputation depends on denying that he dated teenage girls as a grown man, and yet he can’t quite bring himself to do it. The Alabama Republican’s campaign for the Senate has been rocked by allegations of sexual improprieties with underage girls. While he’s denied the worst of the allegations, he turned in a rocky performance in an interview with radio talk-show host Sean Hannity that lent credence to the charges against him rather than dispelled them.
The alleged conduct dates back 40 years, and absent some difficult-to-imagine documentary proof, it will always be Moore’s word against that of his accusers. In this contest, Moore’s word is clearly the loser.
.. Moore hasn’t done himself any favors. In the Hannity interview, he first said, referring to Leigh Corfman and the other women in the Post report, “I’ve never known this woman or anything with regard to the other girls.” Then, in almost the same breath, he conceded, “I do recognize however the names of two these young ladies.” Oh.
.. Of one of the girls, he said: “I don’t remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go on dates then we did.” How many men in their 30s are “friends” with teenage girls who they may or may not have dated? Then Moore said of these two girls, “neither of them have ever stated any inappropriate behavior” — even though both of them said he dated and kissed them.
.. Asked point-blank if he dated girls in their teens, he replied with the less than Shermanesque “Not generally, no.”
.. Either several different women who don’t know one another have decided to take the enormous personal risk of making up stories about Roy Moore in a vast political conspiracy, or a politician caught up in a scandal with every incentive to dissemble is doing it — and not very well.
What made it extraordinary was the way the Times covered it.
.. Traditionally, when a political candidate assembles facts so as to aggrandize himself and belittle his opponent, “objective” journalists like those at the Times respond with a “he said, she said” story.
.. “Bush and Cheney Talk Strongly of Qaeda Links With Hussein,” noted a Timesheadline on June 18, 2004. Why were Bush and Cheney raising the subject? Because the day before, the 9/11 Commission had reported that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda did not have a “collaborative relationship.” Nonetheless, the Times reported Bush’s claims and Kerry’s response as equally valid. Bush himself had helped create the Commission to provide an authoritative, nonpartisan account of the events leading up to 9/11. Yet the Times refused to grant its view any more weight than Bush’s own. It refused to render any judgment about what was true.
.. But the Times, once a champion practitioner of the “he said, she said” campaign story, discarded it with astonishing bluntness. The Times responded to Trump’s press conference by running a “News Analysis,” a genre that gives reporters more freedom to explain a story’s significance.
.. Its headline read, “Trump Gives Up a Lie But Refuses to Repent.” Not “falsehood,” which leaves open the possibility that Trump was merely mistaken, but “lie,” which suggests, accurately, that Trump had every reason to know that what he was saying about Obama’s citizenship was false.
.. A certain etiquette has long governed the relationship between presidential candidates and the elite media. Candidates stretch the truth, but try not to be too blatant about it. Candidates appeal to bigotry, but subtly. In turn, journalists respond with a delicacy of their own. They quote partisans rather than saying things in their own words. They use euphemisms like “polarizing” and “incendiary,” instead of “racist” and “demagogic.”
.. He has so brazenly lied, so nakedly appealed to bigotry, and so frontally challenged the rule of law that he has made the elite media’s decorum absurd. He’s turned highbrow journalists into referees in a World Wrestling Entertainment match.
.. Since Trump has largely stopped giving interviews to anyone except campaign sycophants and celebrity lightweights, the debates may serve as his last encounter with actual journalists. Those journalists—Lester Holt, Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace—must be prepared to confront Trump in ways they’ve never confronted a candidate before. The more audaciously he lies, the more audaciously they must tell the truth.