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Associate Rapey Justice Kavanaugh?

So, even though we’ve been properly busy dealing with the fact the Carolinas are washing out to sea and Manafort is doing his best canary impression, there has been yet more news out there that needs some appellate Jackal review.

Brett Kavanaugh, it seems, has some “boys will be boys” ‘splaining to do:

A secretive letter shared with senators and federal investigators by the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee charges that a teenage Brett M. Kavanaugh and a male friend trapped a teenage girl in a bedroom during a party and tried to assault her, according to three people familiar with the contents of the letter.

The letter says that Mr. Kavanaugh, then a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in suburban Washington and now President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, had been drinking at a social gathering when he and the male friend took the teenage girl into a bedroom. The door was locked, and she was thrown onto the bed. Mr. Kavanaugh then got on top of the teenager and put a hand over her mouth, as the music was turned up, according to the account.

This would have been roughly thirty five years ago (Kavanaugh is 53), and it would seem a hard charge to substantiate. And yet Kavanaugh and his GOP allies are clearly running scared.  There is a letter signed by sixty five women who were high school contemporaries with Kavanaugh (not “classmates” as GOPsters have said, and some outlets report — Kavanaugh went to an all-male school).  The letter basically says that the young right-wing thug-to-be was a prince of a young fellow.

Here’s the odd bit, though:  how do you find sixty five women who knew Kavanaugh as a kid back in the eighties and would be willing to vouch for him? Grassley’s office says this was all organized by the nominees former clerks, starting at five last night. You weigh the odds that this is bullshit.  For me, it seems very clear that the GOP has known this might drop and has been prepping for it for some time.  Recall that Senator Hirono asked Kavanaugh about any sexual harassment claims made against him as a legal adult — as in out of high school. The framing of that question looks interesting now.  It also suggests that some noise around this potential obstacle to Kavanaugh’s nomination was already buzzing. The GOP knew; can’t prove it (yet) but I’d be stunned if they didn’t.

Similarly, the “male friend” referenced above and has tried to give his wing man some cover. Steve M. over at No More Mister Nice Guy gives the necessary background on this mook:

Judge is identified as “a writer in Washington, D.C.” But Judge is not just any writer. As Elon Green notes on Twitter, he wrote a notorious (and implausible) 2012 Daily Caller piece titled “The End of My White Guilt.” In it, he says his bicycle was stolen in a predominantly black D.C. neighborhood, after which he was infuriated when “a liberal friend” told him not to pursue the thief. “That person needs our prayers and help,” the friend said, according to Judge. “They haven’t had the advantages we have.” Result: “My white guilt died.” [all links in the original]

Judge doesn’t write about sex on a regular basis, but when he does, it’s clear he’s part of the “Help! Help! I’m Being Repressed!” school of conservative punditry.

[Go read the whole thing; the good stuff — as in the repulsive bits — are all there.]

So here’s the deal: there is an uncorroborated accusation against Judge Kavanaugh that claims he was a high school attempted-rapist. There is a very rapid circling of the wagons. Senator Collins is getting increasingly testy about people who harsh her mellow about voting for a perjurious goniff who has made it clear in all kinds of ways he’s going to vote down Roe v. Wade.  Most of his paper record is still chucked down the memory hole. There may be, and I certainly hope there will be more shoes to drop.  And Grassley’s determined to hold a committee vote next Thursday.

All of which allows me to begin to think there’s a non-zero chance Kavanaugh might crash and burn.  It’s not odds-on yet, not by any means, but this confirmation process has been a shitstorm from day one.  I’m even just starting to believe that even if Kavanaugh gets onto the court he might not last long there.  That paper trail is not going to stay hidden forever — and if this attempted rape account proves to be true (and I have no reason to doubt it), well…one thing’s become clear over the last several years.  When a guy twists this way, most often, it’s never just one woman to be treated as prey.

We live in waaaaaay too interesting times.  And the Republicans are, once again, shown to be waaaaaay more interested in power, and the immediate win, than doing even the minimally right thing (which in this case would be swapping out a non-rapey reliable right wing vote for the rapey one).

Have at it, fellow jackals!

Image: Giuseppe Crespi, Tarquin and Lucretiac. 1695-1700








Manafort pleading

As Josh Marshall notes, a plea right now is a favor to Trump as it keeps the FARA for the Pro-Russian plutocrats out of the October news cycle.

Open thread.



Russiagate Open Thread: Late Friday News Drop…

Judge Ellis let the Manafort jurors go home at 5pm, because one of them had an evening engagement…


 
Meanwhile, looks like this is the next guy up:

The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars, according to three people familiar with the probe.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors are scrutinizing a plan that Broidy allegedly developed to try to persuade the Trump government to extradite a Chinese dissident back to his home country, a move sought by Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two of the people.

They are also investigating claims that Broidy sought $75 million from a Malaysian business official if the Justice Department ended its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government. The Malaysian probe has examined the role of the former prime minister in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the fund…

As part of their efforts, prosecutors have subpoenaed casino magnate Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chairman and longtime Trump friend, for copies of records and communications related to Broidy.

An attorney for Wynn, Reid Weingarten, declined to comment, saying only that Wynn is cooperating with the Justice Department.

“Steve Wynn is completely cooperating with the investigation and he certainly has no reason to believe that anyone acted improperly in anything he knew about or was involved in,” Weingarten said in a statement…

Yes, these links have been reported before (read the whole thing!), but if the Justice Department is officially looking into the details of transactions between high-ranking Chinese officials, Malaysian businessmen with grift-friendly reputations, and big-time American casino operators looking to set up business in Hong Kong / Singapore / Shanghai… things are about to get UUUUUUGHHLY.

(And that’s not even considering the Saudi finance connection, FWIW.)








Repub Venality Open Thread: Willing Patsies for Putin

Once-proud Republican, hardcore conservative Nichols:

If we can’t prevent these GOP traitors from selling us all out to the highest bidder, we can at least point out exactly how cheaply they can be bought…

Republican lawmakers who went to Russia seeking a thaw in relations received an icy reception from Democrats and Kremlin watchers for spending the Fourth of July in a country that interfered in the U.S. presidential election and continues to deny it.

“Cannot believe GOP, once the party that stood strong against Soviets & only a decade ago sought to democratize the Middle East, is now surrendering so foolishly to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Kremlin’s kleptocracy — only two years ­after Russia interfered in U.S. election,” tweeted Clint Watts, an information warfare specialist at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and frequent featured expert before congressional panels examining Russian influence operations…

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) led the eight-member delegation on a multiday tour of St. Petersburg and Moscow, a trip that included meetings with Russia’s foreign minister and parliamentarians. It did not include a session that senators had been hoping for: a meeting with Putin, whom President Trump is scheduled to meet at a summit this month.

Joining Shelby were Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.).

Members of the delegation set off on their trip late last week promising to be tough with Russian officials ahead of the president’s visit, especially on matters of election interference. But they struck a conciliatory tone once there: The point of their visit, Shelby stressed to the Duma leader, was to “strive for a better relationship” with Moscow, not “accuse Russia of this or that or so forth.”…

“We heard things we’d heard before, and I think our guests heard rather clearly and distinctly an answer that they already knew — we don’t interfere in American elections,” said Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States and now a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament.

On Russian state television, presenters and guests mocked the U.S. congressional delegation for appearing to put a weak foot forward, noting how the message of tough talk they promised in Washington “changed a bit” by the time they got to Moscow.

“We need to look down at them and say: You came because you needed to, not because we did,” Igor Korotchenko, a Russian military expert, said on a talk show on state-run television.

The congressional GOP’s prominent foreign policy voices have remained quiet about the trip, declining to comment about the visit’s significance….


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GOP Stupid Venality / Venal Stupidity Open Thread: As Above, So Below

Both Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King and Louie ‘Dumbest Dude in Congress’ Gohmert are quite silly enough to have called this hearing out of genuine confusion about Facebook’s filtering protocols, or in sympathy with the “rights” of a couple of African-American Trump supporters to monetize the How-Can-He-Be-A-Racist-When-He-Has-Black-Friends market, if only they’d been able to keep a straight face…

(Spoiler: Diamond & Silk were not “censored”, although it’s an open question whether or not they understand that.)
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