Brett Kavanaugh: Parties and Perjury

Brett Kavanaugh: Parties and Perjury

Brett Kavanaugh: Parties and Perjury

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee spent several hours questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh about a sexual assault that Dr. Ford alleged took place in 1982. Ford’s painful testimony of a “stumbling drunk,” hysterically laughing Brett Kavanaugh pushing her onto a bed, groping her, and putting his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t scream came across as deeply moving and highly credible to any objective observer. Kavanaugh responded fiercely with a pained testimony of his own, portraying himself as a victim of a Democratic smear campaign seeking to avenge Hillary Clinton.

At the last minute on Friday, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) called for what Senate Democrats had been urging throughout the hearing: an FBI investigation into Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh, rather than needlessly forcing the situation to remain merely a “he said/she said.” President Trump, lacking the Senate votes to push Kavanaugh through, relented and called for a brief FBI investigation that would be “limited in scope.” Close to the same time, an alleged witness to the drunken sexual assault – Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge – agreed to be interviewed privately by law enforcement.

Kavanaugh now faces the possibility of multiple criminal charges.

First, there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault in Maryland, meaning that Christine Blasey Ford could potentially bring criminal charges against Kavanaugh if she wishes. Realistically, after 36 years, it would be very difficult to successfully prosecute such a case in a court of law, even after the completed FBI investigation. Those present at the party (other than Kavanaugh, Judge and Ford) likely have no recollection of what for these other party-goers was just another small, run-of-the-mill teenage party of many that happened regularly in the area. And Judge, being a potential accomplice to the crime, and who also has admitted in his book to having engaged in drinking to excess, is unlikely to provide any valuable corroborating testimony beyond “I don’t remember anything.” The same dynamic would likely be the case for any investigations of pubic allegations against Kavanaugh by two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.

However, far more recently and with millions of television viewers as witnesses, Kavanaugh may well have committed the federal crime of perjury numerous times before Congress in his testimony on Thursday. Beyond the possibility of lying under oath about the assault on Ford, he made several far more easily provable or disprovable statements.

Kavanaugh was asked several times if he ever drank to the point that he couldn’t remember the next day what he had done. He said that he had not. Several people who knew him at the time have disputed that. Among them:

Lynn Brookes:
(Yale classmate of Kavanaugh and college roommate of Deborah Ramirez)
“There is no doubt in my mind that while at Yale, he was a big partier, often drank to excess, and there had to be a number of nights where he does not remember. In fact, I was witness to the night that he got tapped into that fraternity, and he was stumbling drunk, in a ridiculous costume, saying really dumb things, and I can almost guarantee that there’s no way that he remembers that night … drinking to excess was a big thing on Saturday night, so it wasn’t every night…there were a lot of e-mails and a lot of texts flying around about how he was lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
(CNN interview – 9/27/18)

Liz Swisher:
(Yale classmate of Kavanaugh)
“I’ve known Brett since the very beginning of freshman year. He was always one of the beer drinking boys, and I drank beer with him. I liked beer. There’s no problem with drinking beer in college. The problem is lying about it. He drank heavily. He was a partier. He liked to do beer bongs. He played drinking games. He was a sloppy drunk … I don’t think many of his answers were credible … I would have stayed on the sidelines if he had said ‘I drank to excess in high school, I drank to excess in college, I did some stupid things, but I never sexually assaulted anybody.’ That I would have stayed on the sidelines for – I didn’t have any credible evidence to the contrary. But to lie under oath, to lie about that, then what else is true?”
(CNN interview – 9/28/28)

An unnamed Yale classmate of Kavanaugh who spoke with the New Yorker also recalled that Kavanaugh belonged to a social group that often drank to excess, and that while Kavanaugh was normally “relatively shy,” he would become “aggressive and even belligerent” when he was drunk.

KavanaughHighSchool-pics2
High school era photos: Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey ((Ford)

Then there are the references on Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook page – the relevance of which has been laughed off by Republicans, despite the fact that they give insight into Kavanaugh’s mindset, lifestyle and behavior at the time of the alleged assault on Ford. Kavanaugh was not asked about being part of the “Keg City Club (Treasurer) – 100 Kegs or Bust” (“100 Kegs or Bust” was listed on Mark Judge’s yearbook page as well – an apparent pledge by the high school seniors to drink 100 kegs of beer that year) or Kavanaugh’s unattributed quote: “He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows, nor JUDGE all he sees,” which one could interpret as an allusion to things that he and Mark Judge may have done together.

However, Kavanaugh was asked under oath about several other references on his yearbook page, to which he gave misleading answers:

Renate Alumnius:
This was listed on a number of yearbook pages of boys at Kavanaugh’s high school, Georgetown Prep. Kavanaugh admits that this is a reference to a girl at a neighboring Catholic girl’s high school. High school classmates of Kavanaugh told the New York Times that it was a disrespectful, boasting reference to (unsubstantiated) sexual conquests of some of the football players. Kavanaugh asserted under oath that it was meant to be a sign of respect to communicate that she was “one of us.” He said that he regrets that a “media circus” has portrayed it as anything else. The woman in question, when informed of the yearbook references, described them as “hurtful.”

Ralphing:
Kavanaugh mentioned in his yearbook that he was part of the “Beach Week Ralph Club – Biggest Contributor.” According to the Chicago Tribune, Mark Judge describes Beach Week as “an annual drunken vacation of private school pals convened as soon as school ended, a week earlier than public schools.” The week-long party involved male and female students. Urban Dictionary describes ralphing as throwing up, so it is reasonable to interpret Kavanaugh’s yearbook entry to mean that his degree of alcohol consumption resulted in him throwing up more than anyone else at Beach Week. Kavanaugh told the Senate under oath that this was not due to excessive drinking, but rather due to his sensitive stomach.

Devil’s Triangle:
The Urban Dictionary describes a “Devil’s Triangle” as a threesome with two males and one female – the exact scenario that Christine Blasey Ford describes Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge having tried to force her into against her will. Kavanaugh stated under oath that it was a reference to a drinking game, like “quarters.” It should be noted that, immediately after Kavanaugh’s testimony, this “drinking game” definition also began appearing on Urban Dictionary, which accepts public input to stay current. This definition had not been there before that.

Boofing:
Kavanaugh wrote on his high school yearbook page “Judge – Have You Boofed Yet?” Mark Judge similarly wrote on his yearbook page “Bart, have you boofed yet?” (Bart appears to have been a nickname that Kavanaugh was referred to due to a teacher’s mispronunciation of his name.) When I was in high school in the 1980s, around the same time as Kavanaugh, “boofing” referred to anal sex. This is also one of the definitions provided by Urban Dictionary, although it can also apparently refer to putting illicit substances in one’s anus. It should be noted that Kavanaugh is a Catholic, and many Catholics believe that one can have anal sex and still consider themselves a “virgin.” Kavanaugh stated under oath that “boofing” was another word for farting – a definition that I had never heard until his testimony.

Whether or not the horrific act against Christine Blasey Ford or any of the other women can be proven, all of these other minor but important inconsistencies in Kavanaugh’s testimony are likely to be revealed in the course of the FBI’s investigation this week. As Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Liz Swisher said, “there’s no problem with drinking beer in college: the problem is lying about it.” Lying under oath to Congress is a federal crime, and numerous parts of Kavanaugh’s testimony to Congress appear to have been deliberately misleading, regardless of his guilt or innocence in the alleged sexual assaults. Kavanaugh may or may not be prosecuted, but at the very least, he should not be rewarded for perjury by being appointed to the Supreme Court.

– rob rünt

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

 


 The major Trump news this week was:

  • There will be protests in cities nationwide on Friday and Saturday – to find one near you, click here
  • The public release of a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer about incriminating material that Russia has allegedly collected on Mr. Trump
  • FBI Director James Comey reveals a possible double standard in his pre-election handling of incriminating evidence against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
  • Trump’s first press conference in over five months, announcing plans to eliminate his conflicts of interest
  • The confirmation hearings for Trump’s Cabinet picks, many of whom are controversial
  • Washington DC prepares for protests

Articles and Editorials


Russia’s “Kompromat” on Trump

On Tuesday, CNN reported that the CIA’s briefing to Donald Trump and President Obama on Russian hacking included a two-page summary of a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer about incriminating financial and personal material that Russia had gathered on Donald Trump over the past five years– material which, if it does exist, Russia could presumably use to blackmail Donald Trump as President (Full Article – CNN). Online news source Buzzfeed later published what they asserted to be the entire contents of the dossier (Full Article and Alleged Dossier), which they admitted that they could not verify as factual.

The former British intelligence officer was initially hired by one of Trump’s Republican primary opponents, and was later paid to continue his work by an anonymous Democrat (Full Article – BBC). The former British spy has since gone into hiding, which MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow speculated Friday was out of fear of experiencing the same kind of high-profile London assassination as other individuals who have angered the Kremlin like Georgi Markov and Alexander Litvinenko.


Comey’s Double Standard?

Shortly before the election, FBI Director James Comey took the unprecedented step of notifying Congress shortly before the election that he had reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Although he informed Congress immediately before the election that he had again closed the investigation, many Democrats consider his earlier announcement to be a factor in Trump winning the election.

On Friday, January 13, members of Congress were given a classified briefing by Comey and other intelligence officials regarding Russia’s influence on the Presidential election. Although the members of Congress could not elaborate afterward due to the classified nature of what they had been told, many Democrats left the meeting enraged, stating that Comey had lost credibility (Full Article – Huffington Post).


Trump’s Press Conference

On Wednesday, January 11, Donald Trump held his first press conference since July, 2016 (Full Transcript and Video – New York Times). After weeks of vehement denial, Trump admitted during the conference that Russia probably did interfere with the US election which has resulted in his impending Presidency. However, when questioned about the dossier, he angrily denied any truth it, pointing out that the Kremlin had just offered reassurance that they do not have such information (Full Article – Washington Post). It should be noted that such documents and videotapes would be of far more use to Russia after Mr. Trump has been officially sworn into office on Friday, January 20.

At the press conference, Mr. Trump also announced his plans for ensuring that he will put the interests of the American people above those of his businesses. His plan consists largely of turning his businesses over to his sons while he is President, along with an assurance that he and his sons will not discuss the businesses for the duration of his Presidency. Many ethicists believe that this plan does not address conflict of interest issues (Full Article – Tha Atlantic). A true resolution to his conflicts of interests would involve Trump selling his businesses and putting the cash in a blind trust, to be invested in a way that he has no knowledge of during his Presidency.


Confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet Picks

With vetting of most Cabinet members still unfinished, the Senate packed numerous Cabinet confirmation hearings into a very short time period – unusual particularly given how controversial many of Trump’s Cabinet selections are (Schedule and Links to Coverage – Politico). Also unprecedented was the decision by three African American Congressmen to present testimony against their colleague, Senator Jeff Sessions, who has a questionable record on civil rights, but whom Trump has chosen as Attorney General (Full Article – Politico).

Many of Trump’s selections expressed differences of opinion with him on significant issues – building the wall, the Muslim registry, etc. (Full Article – NPR). While this may be reassuring to some, it should also be noted that Trump’s Cabinet picks could simply have made these statements to ensure that they could get through the hearings, fully aware that they can always “change their opinion based on new information” later.


DC Prepares for Conflict

What do you get when put Donald Trump’s most passionate supporters and most passionate protesters together in the same city – in adjacent hotel rooms, eating at the same restaurants, overhearing each other’s conversations, and finally turning out in force in the streets to express themselves? We’re about to find out. Tens of thousands of supporters and protesters are expected to arrive in Washington DC for Trump’s Friday Inauguration Ceremony (Full Article – Politico), with another 1,200 busloads of protesters expected to come to the city for a Women’s March on Washington scheduled for Saturday. (Many cities around the country will also be having local protests on Friday and Women’s Marches on Saturday).


Cartoons, Images & Videos


Cartoon originally published by Norwegian news outlet VG, and falsely rumored to have been banned from Twitter and Facebook:

160115-002


Video of Donald Trump playing the accordion posted by Inga Love Belfast:

160115-003


Events & Actions


Resources & Organizations