On Wednesday and Thursday Senator Harris kept coming back to a very specific set of questions for Judge Kavanaugh: did you have a conversation with someone at the law firm of Kasowitz, Benson, and Torres and if so, who was that person? Here’s the video from Wednesday evening:
Has Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Trump's personal attorney's law firm?
We don’t know. He refused to answer my question. pic.twitter.com/PAKxDGvEtZ
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 6, 2018
Remember, Marc Kasowitz is the President’s personal attorney and, for a time, was representing him in regard to the Special Counsel’s investigation.
Yesterday when Senator Harris went back to this line of questioning she finally got something more than panicked confusion and flop sweat from Judge Kavanaugh. Specifically:
– Kavanaugh acknowledges close friendship with Kasowitz atty Ed McNally
– White House and Kasowitz firm say McNally neither helped prep Kavaugh nor discussed Mueller probe with him. https://t.co/o41jnTDhoQ
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) September 6, 2018
But what, exactly, is going on here. As silly as it is for Judge Kavanaugh to have tried to brazen out these two questions if there was just regular, social contact, I think there’s a really good reason for his response. I think that Senator Harris keeps coming back to these two questions because she has something that she and her staff have concluded is solid that links Judge Kavanaugh; his friend Ed McNally at Kasowitz, Benson, and Torres; and something inappropriate and/or improper in regard to the Special Counsel and his investigation. And Judge Kavanaugh does not know, or is not completely sure, what it is that Senator Harris has or how she and her staff got it. Which is why he kept trying to flip the dynamic and get her to give him the answer of who she was referring to at Kasowitz, Benson, and Torres and what it might be about. As you can see in the video above, she was prepared for that on Wednesday and she was prepared for it yesterday as well.
So what does Senator Harris and her staff have? I have no idea. And neither does Judge Kavanaugh, White House Counsel Don McGahn, Senator Grassley, or Senator McConnell. It may be that Senator Harris and her staff actually have nothing more than a tip that Judge Kavanaugh is good friends with Ed McNally and they socialize, so she decided to bluff and see if she could trip him up really badly. But given his reactions, as well as the multiple explanations required to get to even the semblance of a reasonable answer from both Judge Kavanaugh and the spokesperson for Kasowitz, Benson, and Torres before finally settling on that yes, Judge Kavanaugh knows Ed McNally and they’ve spoken in the last year, I think she’s engaged in more than just a bluff.
That moment where Kavanaugh mouthed “Kasowitz Benson and Torres” like he was hearing the words for the first time? His good buddy has worked there 9 years. https://t.co/XjcddT9V97 https://t.co/wYaIFD6YNm
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) September 7, 2018
Spox for Kasowitz law firm Mike Geller on Kamala Harris questions:
"There have been no discussions regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation between Judge Kavanaugh and anyone at our firm.”
(per the great @CarolLeonnig)
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) September 6, 2018
If this was just Senator Harris bluffing, then we won’t hear much more about it. But based on her statements during the hearings, doing news media hits after the hearings, and on social media, I don’t think that’s the case.
Kamala Harris just said that she received reliable information that Judge Kavanaugh had a conversation with someone from the Kasowitz firm…which is what led her to ask the question last night.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 6, 2018
Rather, I think she’s got specific information about not just who Judge Kavanaugh spoke with, but what they discussed. And that she and her staff have vetted and validated it enough to weaponize it. The outstanding question is what is the end game of the Kamala Harris gambit? Was it just to spook Judge Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings in the hope he screws up? Or does she intend to actually make it public when it is most strategically advantageous to her and the Democratic caucus’s attempts to defeat his nomination?