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Senate Judiciary Hearings

Rich Galen

Thursday September 6, 2018

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  • Turns out not everyone in Our Nation's Capital was entranced by the funeral services for Sen. John McCain over last weekend.

  • Some, like Donald Trump, played golf which is about as good a distraction as he could have found inasmuch as coverage of the service at the National Cathedral was live on all three cable networks.

  • Others, were busy sorting out which kid needed what kind of notebook for the new school term which (a) just began or (b) will begin this week. (If you missed the Back-to-School edition you can read it HERE.)

  • Still others, notably the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee spent much of the weekend on conference calls organized by the office of the Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York plotting ways to so disrupt the Brett Kavanaugh hearing that the process of confirming a Supreme Court Associate Justice would grind to a halt.

  • Many, if not most, of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are running for President. Even I don't spend my days watching one of the CSPAN channels but I was going to watch at least some of the Senate hearing, so this was an opportunity to get some face time.

  • The moment committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa turned on his microphone to begin the hearing, the Democratic primary contestants sprung into action.

  • They talked over Grassley (and each other) demanding more time to review documents, demanding a vote on an adjournment motion, demanding all the things the minority party (been there, done that) demands when they know they are missing the one essential element that will make their argument valid: Enough votes to prevail.

  • While all that was going on, there was a constant stream of protesters, standing, shouting, and being hustled out of the hearing room. One after another after another. One Tweeter pointed out that the protesters were dressed like staffers - ties and jackets for the males, dresses for the women - so as not to draw attention to themselves while waiting in line to get in.

  • And, get in they did. It was like a clown car in the circus. I thought they were being thrown out through one door, then running around to a door on the other side and coming back in.

  • I don't know whether Schumer's operation coordinated the protesters, but someone did. It became so unnerving that Kavanaugh's daughters (ages 10 and 13) had to be led out of the hearing room.

  • At one point, in a break, the father of a victim of the Parkland shootings made his way to Judge Kavanaugh, and stuck out his hand. Kavanaugh appears to glare at him, then turn away.

  • The man was the guest of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) the senior Democrat on the committee. The man said he had been introduced by Feinstein so Kavanaugh should have known who he was. With all the commotion, Kavanaugh was not sitting at the witness table building a photo-op list of Democrats' guests so, it's not hard to believe he had no idea.

  • It was a setup. Pure and simple. Another product of the weekend conference calls.

  • After about an hour, Grassley tried again and, in spite of regular interruptions by the protestor parade, got through it and handed the proceedings to Feinstein to make her remarks.

  • On the matter of documents that were generated by Kavanaugh during his years (2001-2006) in the George W. Bush White House that had the Democrats pretending to be so offended.

  • Some 415,000 pages of documents had previously been turned over to the committee. An additional 101,000 were withheld at the request of lawyers for the Bush Administration on the grounds they were protected by "Executive Privilege."

  • On the night before the hearing, 43,000 pages (assumedly out of the stack of 101,000 previously withheld) were dropped off on the committee's doorstep leaving about 60,000 pages (out of a half-million) still protected.

    SIDEBAR

    This is called, in Washington, a "document dump." Both sides do it. Both sides have raised to an artform. The Clinton White House made a religion of it.

    They would dump large numbers of documents on a Friday afternoon knowing (a) reporters would have to spend the weekend poring over them to extract newsworthy bits and (b) by the time reporters completed that task, the White House press operation would declare it was "old news" and wave off questions.

    END SIDEBAR

  • The unasked (and therefore unanswered) question is: What could these half million pages of documents possibly contain that would cause any - ANY - of the 10 Democrats on the committee to change their vote and approve the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh?

  • The answer is: Nothing

  • Exactly what, for all its sound and fury, the Senate Judiciary Hearings signify: Nothing.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to "How to Attend the Kavanaugh Hearings," everything you ever wanted to know about "Executive Privilege," Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Macbeth's speech that includes that "signifying nothing" line.

    The Mullfoto is a screen shot of The Lad (@ReedGalen) on CNN last week.

-- END --

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