- Conservative groups and allies of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were invigorated and defiant after a second sexual misconduct allegation surfaced against him Sunday night.
- Republicans and activists found Deborah Ramirez’s accusation thin, and believe Kavanaugh is being subjected to a coordinated smear effort.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a confirmation vote would be held in the near future.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s conservative allies were increasingly bullish about his confirmation prospects Monday, showing no signs of faltering as a second woman accused the judge of sexual misconduct.
Far from depressing conservative resolve, The New Yorker’s Sunday story alleging that Kavanaugh exposed himself to a female student named Deborah Ramirez during a dorm room party convicted the right in the view that the judge is under a well-coordinated assault from Democratic elements which ought to be defeated. There was little sign that Kavanaugh would withdraw to protect the longterm interests of the conservative legal movement, as some commentators have suggested.
“The Blasey Ford allegations, the way that unfolded, is highly suspect,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This removes any doubt that there is a coordinated effort afoot here.”
New Yorker writers Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer vigorously defended their reporting Monday morning, after a story appeared in The New York Times Monday revealing that Times reporters had pursued Ramirez’s story but ultimately could not find someone to corroborate her allegations after dozens of interviews.
Farrow replied that Ramirez “declined to participate because she was talking exclusively to the New Yorker.” An unnamed student told Farrow and Mayer that he remembered hearing that Kavanaugh had exposed himself at the time, adding that the judge’s conduct as an undergraduate at Yale was much discussed among alumni after his nomination.
The New Yorker’s story concedes that they could not confirm Kavanaugh was present at the party Ramirez described, while witnesses she identified and other of her contemporaries denied any knowledge of the event.
Republican leaders did not appear disturbed by the story on Monday. Describing earlier calls with other conservative leaders, Perkins said there is growing dissatisfaction with the manner in which the GOP has treated the accusations, while cautioning that in his own view McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley have handled the situation as best they could.
“There’s a sense that the Republicans have bent over backwards to accommodate only to be kicked in the process,” he told TheDCNF.
Elsewhere in the interview, Perkins warned that Republican lawmakers would pay an electoral price in the November election should Kavanaugh’s nomination fail. (RELATED: Kavanaugh Addresses His Encounter With Parkland Dad In Written Supplement To Testimony)
“Conservatives want the Republicans to fight for this,” he said. “This is what the election in 2016 was about and that’s what I believe the midterm election will be about as well.”
Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, detected similar enthusiasm in her own conversations with conservative groups and Kavanaugh allies following the appearance of the Ramirez allegations.
“Conservatives have been galvanized by the coordinated smears of the Democrats and especially outraged at the publication of discredited allegations,” Severino told TheDCNF.
Severino saw significance in the timing of Ramirez’s account, noting it appeared after Kavanaugh produced calendars tracking his movements throughout the summer of 1982 which suggest — though not definitively — that his attendance at a party of the sort Blasey Ford alleges is unlikely. What’s more, every individual Blasey Ford named as present at the party has disclaimed knowledge of the events she alleges.
“I think as they saw those allegations unraveling the Democrats became desperate, they were in a frenzy, and what we’re seeing here is just more outrageous and disgusting allegations that frankly aren’t even worth discussing,” Severino told TheDCNF.
The entrance of lawyer Michael Avenatti into the process is also seen as beneficial from the Republican perspective, as Avenatti has happily branded as an intractable foe of the president and leading man of the anti-Trump resistance. The manner in which he handled the supposed allegations in his possession, as far as conservatives are concerned, further confirms his bent towards sensationalism. (RELATED: Journalists Trash Porn Star Attorney For His Dubious Kavanaugh Allegations)
Moments before a story appeared in The New Yorker detailing the Ramirez allegations, Avenatti announced on Twitter that he is representing an unnamed woman with credible information about Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s erstwhile high school friend who Blasey Ford said was present during the sexual assault she alleges.
I represent a woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge. We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the committee and will likewise be demanding that Judge and others be subpoenaed to testify. The nomination must be withdrawn.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 23, 2018
Avenatti subsequently posted screenshots of email traffic with Senate Republican aides, which included questions he asked be submitted to Kavanaugh. He has not yet been specific as to the information he obtained, or revealed the identity of his clients.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that Avenatti’s involvement was itself proof that Kavanaugh has been subjected to a “baseless smear,” while Severino noted that he has refused to back up his claims with evidence.
Top Senate Republicans shared the steadfastness of conservative organizers. A source who spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office early Monday morning told TheDCNF that McConnell was resolute on confirming Kavanaugh to the high court. McConnell himself spoke on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, chastising Judiciary Committee Democrats while striking a more strident note as compared to past statements.
“This fine nominee to the Supreme Court will receive a vote in this Senate in the near future,” McConnell said.
GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, put out a lengthy statement Monday accusing Democrats of base-politicking and bad faith, while urging a prompt vote following Blasey Ford’s testimony on Thursday.
Kavanaugh himself submitted a letter forcefully asserting his innocence to the Judiciary Committee early Monday afternoon.
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