Kavanaugh’s Candor Under Oath

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Kavanaugh has been evasive, belligerent and defiant under questioning during the confirmation process.   It also strongly appears he’s been untruthful under oath, deliberately misleading, or both.  His repeated assertions about drinking only beer, beer and nothing but beer included a frank, but tacit admission that he had been drinking beer illegally before he was allowed to do so legally, during his senior year of high school, when he was eighteen.   The use of the word “beer” dozens of times suggests, at least to this beer drinker, an effort to deny drinking anything stronger than beer, just beer and nothing but beer.  The beer drinker doth say “beer” too much, methinks.  Also, it turns out, the legal drinking age in Maryland, in 1983, when Kavanaugh was an 18 year old beer drinker, was actually 21.

Then there is reframing and refuting a question not asked, a classic lawyerly dodge, as when he claims he never blacked out from beer, which he said was the accusation here, but only fell asleep from it.   There was no accusation that Kavanaugh was a black out drunk, only that he had been stumblingly drunk when he and his equally drunk buddy pushed a fifteen year-old girl into an upstairs bedroom, across from the bathroom, and locked the door. 

An example of a more direct Kavanaugh untruth is his stating, emphatically, and more than once, that witnesses had refuted Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony about his attempted rape of her.  He repeated the word “refuted”, with great emphasis, to hammer home his point that only the alleged victim seems to recall that long ago day when he held her down, his friend turned up the music, he covered her mouth when she tried to call for help, etc.   The other four or five people in the house… well, they say it never happened, according to Kavanaugh.  Not only don’t they recall that particular unremarkable early evening — every witness, according to Kavanaugh, REFUTED the vengeful, well-financed partisan lie against him.  

What the witnesses said was that they have no recollection of an ordinary long ago summer late afternoon or evening gathering of six teenagers that was of no significance to anyone but the fifteen year-old who was traumatized that day.  There is a slight difference between “refute” and “don’t recall”, as even a neophyte judge should be able to easily judge.   Repeated assertions of “refute” in place of  “don’t recall” might well be grounds for a perjury charge, particularly if, as here, the repetition is integral to one’s defense.   The only thing not in dispute is that the misleading statement, whether deliberate or in the heat of the moment under great emotional stress, was made under oath.  

When Brett Kavanuagh was vetting material for the Bush/Cheney White House for hearings about judicial appointees, (prior to his own appointment to the federal bench, obviously) he disclosed the contents of hacked (illegally obtained) emails with classified background memos prepared by Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee.   He denied this charge, denies ever seeing the hacked emails, let alone unethically forwarding them to parties who should not have seen them, but the author of some of the memos improperly obtained and passed on to the nominees (think debate questions obtained before the debate), former Judiciary Committee staffer Lisa Graves,  saw whole paragraphs of her 4,000 word report cut and pasted into emails that Kavanaugh sent and received.   This could easily be resolved by a subpoena for the emails, although the emails Lisa Graves cites are already part of the small percentage of Kavanaugh-related documents the Senate Judiciary Committees has allowed to become part of the record.

There is another answer by Kavanaugh that could be proved or disproved as perjury by a subpoena for related emails.   The truth or falsity of the statement is a question of fact that could easily be determined by seeing some of the disputed emails.   Kavanaugh denied knowledge of the conduct and sexually off-color email listserve of his disgraced friend and former mentor, Alex Kozinsky, the federal judge who resigned recently amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment over a span of many years.  This denial appears to have been another lie, told to keep the shine on his choir boy image.  It’s hard to believe this longtime confidant of Judge Kozinsky’s could be unaware of the well-known reputation of his disgraced friend, a reputation for doing things every one of Kozinsky’s former clerks who has spoken on the issue has confirmed he did.

There is also evidence that team Kavanaugh contacted Yale classmates as soon as he heard that Debbie Ramirez’s claim that he’d drunkenly exposed himself to her when they were freshmen at Yale were going to be published in the New Yorker.  Potential witnesses were contacted by team Kavanaugh before the New Yorker article that broke the story was published.  At the hearing last Thursday Kavanaugh swore to Orin Hatch that the first he learned of the allegations from the New Yorker article, though there is an argument about whether this meant the publication date or when he got advance knowledge that Debbie Rodriguez’s charges were about to be published.  

If this were a criminal trial, these attempts to get witnesses to line up behind him and say things on his behalf so that he could be confirmed to a high appointment would be seen as a clear case of witness tampering.   Since it is not a criminal trial, nothing to see here, yo, except a naughty bit of standard corrupt practice that any powerful person routinely engages in.  The appearance of impropriety is only that, an appearance.  The answer to that is 51-49, suck it.


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