And now, as of Sunday night, a second woman comes forward to The New Yorker with allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Again, it’s a long time ago, dating not to high school but to his undergraduate years at Yale immediately thereafter. Again, he says it’s all a scurrilous lie.
We can’t yet gauge what the impact of this will be, and it’s another matter on which we may never learn the whole truth.
But let’s be clear about the reason we may never learn the whole truth. It’s not because things like this are inherently murky and Rashomon-esque. Rather, it’s because one side doesn’t want to know the truth, and there is no clearer proof of this than the way the Republicans have dealt with Mark Judge.
It’s simple. If Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and his fellow Republicans were interested in getting to the truth of the assault matter, they would make Mark Judge testify. Judge was, by Christine Blasey Ford’s account, in the room. By his and Kavanaugh’s account, the attack never happened, so there was no room to be in.
Either she is lying, or they are. In the new New Yorker account, a woman who dated Judge as an undergraduate at Catholic University told reporters Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer that Judge “told me a very different story” about the Georgetown Prep incident and said, “I can’t stand by and watch him lie.”
There is perhaps no definitive way to find out. But it’s obvious that the closest we can come is to make all three testify under oath. It’s Ford’s word against Kavanaugh’s—except that Kavanaugh has a witness! Supporting his version of events. And the Republicans don’t want him.
That they don’t is instant, self-evident proof of their bad faith. The stated reasons are laughable. Lindsey Graham said last week: “No reason to. He’s already said what he’s going to say. I want to hear from her, if she wants to speak, and I want to hear from [Kavanaugh].”
What? That’s so plainly dishonest that it’s hardly worth explaining. Mark Judge said what he’s said publicly. But saying something under oath to Congress, under penalty of perjury and the possibility of jail time, is quite a different thing.
Grassley, Graham, and the others don’t want Judge to testify under oath for two obvious reasons. The first is that they fear that Ford’s story is true, and that under oath, Judge will buckle and tell the truth. And the second reason is that, with his record of written and spoken paeans to his long career in drink, he’ll be about as good a character witness for Kavanaugh as Steve Bannon would be for a white supremacist at a hate-crime trial. The Democrats would slice him to ribbons, and the Republicans don’t want him strolling into those propellers. Not because they care about him, but because he might potentially derail the nomination.
That’s all this is about, and it’s obvious to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. It’s a disgrace.
So let’s review. Donald Trump nominated the one guy who we know from jump street will be controversial—because he lied to the Senate previously and because he was involved in controversial projects as a staffer in the Bush White House. Senate Republicans covered for this by hiding documents from his White House years. Still, Americans saw plainly that he lied about five matters. But the same people who wouldn’t even do so much as shake Merrick Garland’s hand in 2016 kept insisting that Kavanaugh had to be confirmed immediately.
Then Ford came forward. I can understand Kavanaugh partisans complaining that it was all so last minute and 36 years ago. I can even understand the argument that what a 54-year-old man did as a 16-year-old boy doesn’t necessarily define his current character.
The response is this. First, it’s a very serious charge, no matter how old he was. Second, if he’s lying, he’s lying about it now, as a 54-year-old. He didn’t have to lie. He could simply have said he didn’t remember. The Republican senators would have still had his back. In fact, “I don’t remember that” would have made conservatives’ defenses of Kavanaugh easier, not harder because it would have fed into the “too long ago to matter” defense in a way Kavanaugh’s actual blanket denial does not. But Kavanaugh chose not to go that route. He chose to deny; that is, possibly to state an outright lie.
There is one human being on this planet who supports that denial and who can say to the world, “No! This man is not lying.” It’s Mark Judge. And yet, he doesn’t want to testify to support his old friend’s story. And Republicans on the Judiciary Committee don’t want him to testify either.
What does that tell you? Republicans would say, if they ever had an honest moment, that it just tells us that Judge has lived a less than exemplary life in some ways and that they’re doing what any good defense counsel would do and keeping a weak character witness off the stand.
And it may well tell us that. But it tells us something more. It tells us that they don’t want the truth here. They have zero interest in it.
This week, Americans will watch both Kavanaugh and Ford testify, and who know, perhaps also Deborah Ramirez, the new accuser. And they will decide who looks most credible. But Democrats need to spend the week also reminding Americans of the person they didn’t see—and why they didn’t see him.