Roy Moore. Bill O’Reilly. Roger Ailes. Rob Porter. Brett Kavanaugh. Donald Trump.
These are all men who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct. They’ve also been defended by the President of the United States.
This week we watched as the Republican Party continued to secure their mantle as the anti-women party. That is not a hyperbolic depiction of the GOP. When you analyze their efforts to limit women’s reproductive rights, the ferocious manner in which they handle allegations of sexual assault, and the man they chose to sit in the Oval Office, it becomes clear they are no allies to women across America.
It appears the Republican Party has finally begun to sip the kool-aid they’ve been handing out to their supporters, clouding their judgment. Now, through their campaign to seat Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, the Republican Party has put themselves in a lose-lose-lose situation.
In 1991, Anita Hill made sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and was grilled on Capitol Hill by the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee. Thomas was confirmed.
In 1992, more women were elected to Congress than ever before, earning that year the title of The Year Of The Woman.
In 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has the President of the United States and all-male Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee casting doubt on her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In 2018, we have already seen a record number of women running for office. The #MeToo movement has empowered millions of women to come forward with their stories of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse.
Times have changed. Unfortunately, the rampant misogyny within the Republican Party has not.
If the GOP succeeds in confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony, they trigger every woman, empathetic man, survivor of sexual assault, and every American who cares about the rights that could potentially be struck down after his confirmation, ensuring the projected blue wave this November becomes a tsunami. And if Roe v. Wade is overturned, capturing state Houses, Senate chambers, and Governor’s mansions becomes a necessity to ensuring women maintain their reproductive rights. The Democrats will have their fire burn even stronger.
If the GOP fails in confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, GOP voters will be infuriated, and their turnout will decrease in the midterms as the base turns on congressional leaders. This would further strengthen the upcoming blue wave.
Whatever the outcome, this confirmation process has placed #MeToo center stage in the homestretch of the midterms. This comes as polling indicates Kavanaugh is the least popular Supreme Court nominee in history and women are becoming disillusioned with the GOP.
Whether or not Brett Kavanaugh becomes a Supreme Court Justice is yet to be determined.
But one thing is for sure: It is already the Year Of The Women.
Day 606: Monday, September 17
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Comes Forward
Last week, Ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Diane Feinstein (D-CA) referred a letter she had received about Brett Kavanaugh to the Justice Department. There was a lot of mystery as to what was contained in the letter. It turned out to be a sexual assault allegation against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Over the weekend, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward as the accuser, revealing the details of the alleged assault as well as the fact she took a lie-detector test administered by a former FBI agent, and passed. I’ll let her speak for herself:
Ford said that on the night of the party, she left the family room to use the bathroom, which was at the top of a narrow stairway. She doesn’t remember whether Kavanaugh and Judge were behind her or already upstairs, but she remembers being pushed into a bedroom and then onto a bed. Rock-and-roll music was playing with the volume turned up high, she said.
She alleges that Kavanaugh — who played football and basketball at Georgetown Prep — held her down with the weight of his body and fumbled with her clothes, seemingly hindered by his intoxication. Judge stood across the room, she said, and both boys were laughing “maniacally.” She said she yelled, hoping that someone downstairs would hear her over the music, and Kavanaugh clapped his hand over her mouth to silence her.
The White House stood by Kavanaugh in defense, and so did the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And they punctuated the statement with bullet points full of women praising Kavanaugh.
Just because some women are claiming Kavanaugh is a great guy, that doesn’t detract from his alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford.
It just means he didn’t assault every woman in his life. https://t.co/2DPGOz8taE
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 16, 2018
Getting 65 women to say nice things is the congressional equivalent of turning up the music to cover up her screams
— Madison Anderson (@madisonm_a) September 17, 2018
This is huge if he stands by it. https://t.co/qDms2VsdPs
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 16, 2018
And the Democrats called for a delay.
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 17, 2018
A public hearing was set for the following Monday, and the vote was postponed, but throughout the week, negotiations would continue, and the situation would change.
In other news…
- President Trump ordered the release of FISA docs, docs related to Bruce Ohr, as well as texts from James Comey. Yet another ploy to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
WH: Trump has “directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.” pic.twitter.com/IdVYLvceYK
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 17, 2018
- The Daily Beast: Trump Tax Law Has Led to Repatriation of Just 3% of the Cash He Promised It Would
- Newsweek: Ted Cruz Campaign Is Mailing Donation Requests Disguised as Legal Summonses
- The New York Times: Bloomberg May Run for President as a Democrat. Some of His Views May Cause Him Trouble.
- Reuters: Exclusive: Pompeo seeks rapprochement with alienated U.S. diplomats
Day 607: Tuesday, September 18
The Call For An Investigation
Wow. Blasey Ford says that Grassley scheduled the public hearing expecting her to testify “at the same table” as Kavanaugh. At the same table as the man she says once tried to rape her. https://t.co/h6eqtkOiRs
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) September 19, 2018
While the GOP apparently sought to revictimize Dr. Blasey Ford, she had other plans. The Washington Post reported:
“A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions,” lawyers for the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, said in a letter to the panel late Tuesday.
Many Republican officials maintained Tuesday that such a hearing would be Kavanaugh’s best chance at preserving his nomination to the high court, since it would give the judge — who seems determined to fight the allegation — an opportunity to respond to the claims. But Democrats, like Ford, argued that the scheduled Monday session should be delayed until the FBI further investigates her allegation.
The letter from Ford’s lawyers described death threats and harassment since The Washington Post published her account Sunday.
“In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country. At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized,” the letter said. “She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked, and she has been impersonated online.”
As this occurred, folks on the right and a few people on the left who echoed their talking points, continued to bash Feinstein and also Ford’s lawyer’s strategy (even though it was Ford’s wishes that the allegation not be made public).
“I think it should have been aired a lot earlier… I think it’s a heck of a risk to hold on to something this explosive for the 11th hour.” Stormy Daniels’ lawyer @MichaelAvenatti jabs Senate Democrats for their handling of the Kavanaugh allegations https://t.co/3MGNpzInL7 pic.twitter.com/EjxQbzWJpE
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) September 18, 2018
Michael Avenatti has done incredible work with the Stormy Daniels case and his representation of migrant families, but I disagreed with him here. I responded, but my fire was directed more at the GOP than Avenatti.
Dr. Blasey Ford is not a political operative
She is a courageous woman who’s come forward with credible allegations of sexual assault
Her lawyer is competent and making choices that look out for Ford’s best interests
Those insensitively questioning her process can kindly stfu
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 19, 2018
In other news…
- Politico: Trump-proof aspects of Manafort deal rankle lawyers
- Politico: Trump administration to slash refugee cap
- South China Morning Post: Donald Trump threatens to slap tariffs on almost all Chinese goods – more than US$500 billion – after Beijing fights back
- The Hill: Senate approves $854B spending bill
- Politico: Records: Chao government flights cost $94K
Day 608: Wednesday, September 19
More Misplaced Migrant Children
In yet another development revealing the incompetence of the Department of Health and Human Services, The New York Times reported:
The Trump administration is unable to account for the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 migrant children who illegally entered the United States alone this year and were placed with sponsors after leaving federal shelters, according to congressional findings released on Tuesday.
The revelation echoes an admission in April by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the government had similarly lost track of an additional 1,475 migrant children it had moved out of shelters last year.
In findings that lawmakers described as troubling, Senate investigators said the department could not determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,488 out of 11,254 children the agency had placed with sponsors in 2018, based on follow-up calls from April 1 to June 30.
This comes after it was revealed the Trump administration has 12,800 children currently in HSS custody and they are preparing for more to come and, in some cases, indefinite internment.
In other news…
- Hill.TV INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: Trump eviscerates Sessions: ‘I don’t have an attorney general’
- Politico: Kavanaugh in 2015: ‘What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep’
- Politico: Trump claim that FBI can’t probe Kavanaugh allegations is wrong, ex-officials say
- CNN: McCaskill’s voting against Kavanaugh – and it has nothing to do with the accusations
- Bloomberg: FBI, DOJ Plan Redactions Despite Trump’s Document Order
- NPR: Supreme Court Orders Disclosure For Dark Money, As New Report Unveils Some Donors
- Reuters: Opposition to Kavanaugh grows, support at historic low: Reuters/Ipsos poll
- The New York Times: North Korea’s New Nuclear Promises Fall Short of U.S. Demands
- Yahoo News: Exclusive: With more immigrant children in detention, HHS cuts funds for other programs — like cancer research
- Reuters: Sessions limits U.S. judges’ ability to dismiss deportation cases
- The Morning Call: Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to ban teachers from talking politics, government in school
- Politico: Trump taps Darrell Issa to lead trade agency
- President Trump told yet another blatant lie and contradicted it by the end of the day.
Trump said he doesn’t like using the term “deep state”
Reality: Trump has sent several tweets using the term “deep state”
Trump said: “I’m really not a conspiratorial person”
Reality: Trump spearheaded birtherism & other conspiracy theories
Verdict: Trump is lying. Surprise! https://t.co/vyvQcOSblQ
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) September 19, 2018
Didn’t he literally just say he doesn’t like the term “Deep State” just hours ago? https://t.co/rbaWvmp8Gg
— Bob Cunningham (@BCunningham215) September 20, 2018
Day 609: Thursday, September 20
The Silver Bullet
The Lede: President Trump’s former personal lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen has gone from saying he would “take a bullet” for Trump to potentially becoming the silver bullet that could bring his presidency to a screeching halt. Michael Cohen is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He’s reportedly sat down with the Special Counsel’s office for hours, on multiple occasions over the last month since his guilty plea to the Southern District of New York. And he’s doing it without guaranteed leniency on his sentence. Cohen’s lawyer confirmed this is the case:
Good for @michaelcohen212 in providing critical information to the #muellerinvestigation without a cooperation agreement. No one should question his honesty, veracity or loyalty to his #family and #country over @potus @realdonaldtrump
— Lanny Davis (@LannyDavis) September 21, 2018
The interviews with Mueller reportedly cover the potential conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign to win the 2016 election, Trump’s business dealings, as well as whether Trump spoke to Cohen about a potential pardon (obstruction of justice evidence). On top of this, Cohen is also reportedly cooperating with the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into the Trump Organization and the New York Attorney General’s investigation into the Trump Foundation.
This comes after Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 felony counts that include bank fraud, tax fraud, and campaign finance violations (2 campaign finance counts implicate President Trump).
Aside from his role as Trump’s counsel, Cohen was the vice-president of the Trump Organization for a decade, the co-president of Trump Entertainment, and was a board member of the Eric Trump Foundation.
Needless to say, if there are any additional crimes to discover, Michael Cohen would know about them.
The Context (What Cohen Knows): Cohen has already implicated Trump in his campaign finance violations. As we know, the National Enquirer paid former Playboy Model Karen McDougal $150,000 to purchase and suppress the story about her 2006 affair with Donald Trump. The payment was made in August 2016. David Pecker, the chairman and CEO of the National Enquirer’s parent company, is a friend of Donald Trump’s…but apparently, not anymore. After Cohen pleaded guilty to coordinating with the National Enquirer, it was revealed that Pecker received immunity from federal investigators.
Cohen recorded a tape in Septemeber 2016 where Donald Trump discussed purchasing the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s affair story from the National Enquirer. It was released by CNN. When Cohen pleaded guilty, he claimed that he was coordinating this criminal conduct at the request of Trump.
Cohen may have knowledge about whether or not then-candidate Trump approved the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting ahead of time. The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was held between Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, then-Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Natalia Veselnitskaya (a Russian lawyer and self-described informant), and Russian operatives. Donald Trump Jr.’s own emails and congressional testimony revealed that he was very eager about the prospect of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton, but his initial story about the meeting was very different.
It would make sense that Candidate Trump was aware, given the fact on June 7th, Candidate Trump said he was going to do a speech about Hillary Clinton’s wrongdoings (the speech never happened). Also, Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed that there was a preparatory meeting that occurred between Trump’s campaign team on June 7th, the same day as the speech announcement.
Another subject Michael Cohen could provide insight on if he cooperates with Special Counsel Robert Mueller are the Trump Tower Moscow deals. Over the last several decades, President Trump has pursued multiple Trump Tower deals in Moscow. One of those pursuits has drawn the attention of Mueller.
According to questions drafted by Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow, Mueller is seeking to ask the following question:
“What communication did you have with Michael D. Cohen, Felix Sater, and others, including foreign nationals, about Russian real estate developments during the campaign?”
While Donald Trump was running for president, the Trump Organization sought to develop a huge Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump signed a letter of intent in October 2015, a few months into his presidential campaign, to pursue this venture. Trump’s longtime mob-connected associate, and at times FBI informant, Felix Sater was working closely with Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen (at the time he played the role of Trump Organization Executive Vice President) towards this deal.
Cohen has publicly stated that the deal fell through in January 2016. Documents obtained by Buzzfeed News indicate that the deal was still actively being pursued well into June of the 2016 campaign. It didn’t stop there. Plans were reportedly being discussed for then-candidate Donald Trump to meet face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir after the Republican Convention:
This is, assuming it’s true, a holy shit story: While Trump was preparing for the Republican convention in spring 2016, Michael Cohen was still negotiating Trump Tower Moscow and was working on a Trump-Putin meeting to take place after the convention to finalize the deal. pic.twitter.com/MheCbmdUor
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) May 17, 2018
Let’s put the timing of this in perspective. This deal was still being pursued while Donald Trump’s family and campaign chairman sought dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russian operatives who were seeking sanctions relief in that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. This deal was still being pursued right as Wikileaks prepared to release DNC emails that were DNC emails obtained through a Russian intelligence operation (leaks that Trump and his family relentlessly helped disseminate through their promotion of the leaks).
Cohen also received over a million dollars from various companies for access to Donald Trump.
Cohen’s role in the Trump Organization would place him in a position that could provide some serious insight into the allegations of money laundering that Donald Trump has faced due to his business with Russian oligarchs. On top of this, through its multiple failures and successes and its alleged frauds and schemes, CFO Allen Weisselberg has seen it all. He has now been granted immunity by the Southern District of New York.
If you want to dive deeper into those business ties, read our five-chapter Trump-Russia saga.
The Analysis: Cohen is one of five Trump associates who pleaded guilty to federal charges. Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty to 1 count of conspiracy against the United States (money laundering, working as an unregistered foreign agent, and lying to investigators) and 1 count of obstruction of justice (witness tampering). Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn, former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, and former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, also pleaded guilty to felony charges. All of them secured cooperating agreements with federal investigators.
Manafort’s recent cooperation agreement made Mueller’s probe significantly more threatening to President Trump. But now, with Michael Cohen openly cooperating with several investigations, Trump’s business empire that brought about his rise, may end up bringing about his downfall.
In other news…
- The New York Times: Christine Blasey Ford Opens Negotiations on Testimony Next Week
- The Washington Post: Senate Republican signal they will forge ahead on embattled nominee Kavanaugh
- The Hill: GOP Senator Dean Heller sees ‘little hiccup’ in Kavanaugh confirmation
- NPR: Kavanaugh Accuser’s Classmate: ‘That It Happened Or Not, I Have No Idea’
- Politico: New racial controversy batters DeSantis
- CNN: ICE arrested undocumented immigrants who came forward to take in undocumented children
Day 610: Friday, September 21
The Targeting Of Rod Rosenstein
A few other things happened today, but I have to spend some time explaining that New York Times Rod Rosenstein story. All hell broke loose on Twitter after the story first surfaced.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 21, 2018
But after the Times reported this, numerous other news organizations reported that their sources claimed Rod Rosenstein was actually sarcastically shooting down former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s suggestion that they wiretap Trump. The intention of the leak was clear.
Whoever leaked this wants Rod Rosenstein to be fired, the Russia probe to end, and the deep state conspiracy theory to be given credence. https://t.co/BHBU4l5N81
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 21, 2018
Hearing Bill Shine rolling out media plan to build public support for Trump to fire Rosenstein
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) September 21, 2018
Yeah, this is a tell.
As I said in the previous tweet, someone (and the motivation seems obvious) is weaponizing the contents of McCabe’s memos to give the President a pretense to fire Rosenstein. https://t.co/gwEP1dgWE8
— Adam (@aalali44) September 21, 2018
It’s pretty clear that Rod Rosenstein’s enemies are speaking to certain publications and his allies are speaking to others, all trying to spin the McCabe memos in their favor.
The most significant difference in reporting being whether or not the wire comment was sarcastic.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 21, 2018
Remember when Nunes was caught on tape revealing how they planned to impeach Rosenstein?
This NYT story doesn’t seem random
Trump poll numbers down. Midterms looking bad. Mueller flipping folks
They want this fight for the base & to undermine the probe https://t.co/u0RBb3TBDN
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 21, 2018
In my opinion, Rod Rosenstein is more likely to be put through hearings in front of the House Intelligence Committee and made a political punching bag ahead of the midterms than to actually be fired.
In other news…
- After Ed Whelan sent out a Twitter thread claiming that Dr. Ford may have mistaken Kavanaugh for a different kid at the high school, it became clear that this may have been coordinated.
important to remember, as Whelan apologizes individually for “appalling and inexcusable mistake,” that he sits at the center of GOP judicial-confirmation apparatus. and that Kavanaugh floated mistaken-identity theory to Orrin Hatch two days before Whelan tweeted details https://t.co/olCnZEBhOt
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) September 21, 2018
— emma brown (@emmersbrown) September 21, 2018
Top Hatch staffer said to keep an eye on he big scoop Whelan had coming 👇(tweet since deleted) https://t.co/Jr1mhxItsT
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 21, 2018
- The Washington Post: Trump walks back his plan to declassify Russia probe documents
- Buzzfeed News: The Planners Of The Trump Tower Meeting Moved Millions, And Mueller Is Now Investigating
- The Wall Street Journal: Ex-Trump Lawyer Tried to Help Pay Legal Fees for Manafort, Gates
- NBC News: New Trump rule would deny green cards to immigrants who took food stamps, Medicaid
- CNN: Trump unleashes on Kavanaugh accuser
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
- ABC News: Before accuser testifies, McConnell predicts Kavanaugh will be confirmed
- By the end of the weekend, the Senate Judiciary Committee and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford reached an agreement.
Just in: hearing will be OPEN Thursday at 10:00. Mark Judge will not be called. Still possible for outside counsel.
— Ariane de Vogue (@Arianedevogue) September 23, 2018
Latest: Senate Judiciary Committee has announced that Christine Blasey Ford will testify Thursday. Ford will go first followed by Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) September 23, 2018