Stronger than steel, stronger than concrete, and stronger than diamonds is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And he knows he's strong — even stronger than "mule piss."
McConnell chose the unpleasant substance to express to President Trump just how committed he was to pushing Brett Kavanaugh through to Supreme Court confirmation, The New York Times reported this weekend.
Senate Republicans reportedly worried that Kavanaugh might not make it, after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct came to light. But when Trump questioned the GOP's dedication to his nominee, McConnell reassured him that he was absolutely determined. "I'm stronger than mule piss" on this guy, he reportedly said.
The declaration seemed to buoy Trump in the face of Kavanaugh's challenge, though the president was apparently not impressed by Kavanaugh's flat performance denying sexual assault allegations on Fox News. After Christine Blasey Ford testified that Kavanaugh forcibly groped her in the 1980s, Senate Republicans started to worry. "Disaster," one reportedly texted, citing her credibility.
But McConnell rallied Republicans back on Team Kavanaugh in the next few days, with a little help from those who protested his confirmation. "The tactics that were used completely backfired," McConnell said of the protesters. "The effort to humiliate us really helped me unify my conference. So I want to thank these clowns for all the help they provided." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza
Christine Blasey Ford won't be able to go home for 'quite some time' due to 'unending' death threats, her lawyer says
Christine Blasey Ford's testimony about Brett Kavanaugh is over, but her life may never return to normal.
Debra Katz, Ford's attorney, told MSNBC Sunday that her client is not living at home and won't be able to move back for "quite some time." Katz previously told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Ford and her family had been forced to relocate due to the "vicious harassment and even death threats" she received after alleging that Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, groped her and attempted to rape her in high school.
Now, Katz says this harassment is continuing in full force. "The threats have been unending," she told MSNBC. "It's deplorable. It's been very frightening." At the same time, Katz said Ford has also received "extraordinary letters of support."
When Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, she said early on that she was "terrified," and both Republicans and Democrats decried the fact that she had been made to feel that way for coming forward with her story. Watch a portion of MSNBC's interview with Katz below. Brendan Morrow
— Kasie DC (@KasieDC) October 7, 2018
Much of his speech focused on the day's "tremendous victory," the confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Citing protests against the judge, Trump called Democrats an "angry left-wing mob" and "the party of crime."
"The Democrats are willing to cause such destruction in the pursuit of power," Trump said, urging his audience to turn out for Republicans on Election Day. "Imagine the devastation they would cause if they ever obtain the power they so desperately want and crave."
Addressing a possible 2020 rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the president returned to a favorite theme in mocking her inaccurate assertion of Native American ancestry. "I've got more Indian blood in me than 'Pocahontas,' and I have none," Trump said, using his nickname for the senator. "I have high cheekbones too. Hey, maybe I'm an Indian."
Watch Trump's full talk below. Bonnie Kristian
Thank you Kansas - I love you! https://t.co/ymCFNr9WQY
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2018
The Senate voted 50-48 Saturday to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the United States' newest Supreme Court justice.
Kavanaugh's confirmation process has been fraught with scandal, as he was accused by three women of sexual assault and other misconduct in his high school and college years. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Kavanaugh and his primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, last week, and senators on Thursday and Friday reviewed the results of a week-long FBI investigation into the allegations.
The confirmation vote was mostly along party lines, though Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) crossed the aisle to support Kavanaugh, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who opposed the confirmation, voted "present" so Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), a "yes" vote, would not have to skip his daughter's wedding.
President Trump hailed the confirmation on Twitter earlier Saturday:
Women for Kavanaugh, and many others who support this very good man, are gathering all over Capitol Hill in preparation for a 3-5 P.M. VOTE. It is a beautiful thing to see - and they are not paid professional protesters who are handed expensive signs. Big day for America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2018
Kavanaugh is Trump's second Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed; the first was Justice Neil Gorsuch. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest sitting justice and a reliable member of the court's left flank, has long since indicated she does not wish to resign until a like-minded replacement is assured. Bonnie Kristian
Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, does not want him to be impeached should Democrats regain control of Congress, her attorneys said Friday as Kavanaugh's confirmation process neared its close.
"Professor Ford has not asked for anything of the sort," said Ford lawyer Debra Katz. "What she did was to come forward and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and agree to cooperate with any investigation by the FBI, and that's what she sought to do here."
Katz also said Ford does not regret her allegations, but she slammed the Senate Judiciary Committee's handling of what her client had to say. "This was what she wanted to do, which was provide this information to the committee so they could make the best decision possible," Katz said, accusing the committee of constructing "lies" that were "cynically designed to win support for Judge Kavanaugh." Bonnie Kristian
Retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor each served as someone "who found the center or people couldn't predict in that sort of way," Justice Elena Kagan said Friday as nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation looked certain to succeed. She does not expect Kavanaugh to follow in their footsteps as a swing voter.
"It's not so clear that — I think going forward, that sort of middle position — it's not so clear whether we'll have it," she continued. "All of us need to be aware of that — every single one of us — and to realize how precious the court's legitimacy is. It's an incredibly important thing for the court to guard is this reputation of being impartial, being neutral, and not being simply extension of a terribly polarizing process."
Kagan spoke during a conference at Princeton University with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who struck a more hopeful note. "We have to rise above partisanship in our personal relationships," she said of the court. "We have to treat each other with respect and dignity and with a sense of amicability that the rest of the world doesn't often share," Sotomayor added. "If you start from the proposition that there's something good in everyone it's a lot easier to get along with them." Bonnie Kristian
Kavanaugh deserves 'presumption of innocence' despite 'compelling' testimony from Ford, says GOP Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she couldn't abandon "the presumption of innocence and fairness," and that's why she could ultimately support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins announced on Friday that she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, and said that sexual assault allegations against the nominee were likely false, despite "compelling" testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who says that Kavanaugh forcibly groped her when they were in high school.
The senator cast doubt on Ford's recollection of the alleged assault, noting that she couldn't remember how she got home that night and that her friends couldn't recall the party. Ford's testimony was "sincere" and "painful," said Collins, saying that she believes she was assaulted and has been traumatized, but Kavanaugh deserves "fairness" in the face of allegations.
Susan Collins: "The facts presented to not mean that Prof. Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the more likely than not standard." https://t.co/Z1olJowdNy #KavanaughVote pic.twitter.com/suMSlwnXeg
— The Hill (@thehill) October 5, 2018
"Fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of more likely than not," said Collins. "The facts ... lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the 'more likely than not' standard." However, she continued, the "#MeToo movement is real. It matters." She said we "must listen to survivors" of assault. Reaching the end of her comments on the allegations against Kavanaugh, Collins suggested Ford was part of a Democratic conspiracy. "Watching [Ford], I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being," she said.
Collins' support for Kavanaugh has all but secured his confirmation. The Senate will make a final vote on Saturday. Summer Meza
In a lengthy Friday speech announcing her support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) sought to downplay the notion that he would skew particularly conservative on the bench.
"That Judge Kavanaugh is more of a centrist than some of his critics maintain is reflected in the fact that he and Chief Judge Merrick Garland voted the same way in 93 percent of the cases that they heard together," she said, referring to former President Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, whom Senate Republicans refused to hear in 2016.
Collins said she felt certain that Kavanaugh's views were well within the "mainstream" of legal interpretation. She expressed doubt that Kavanaugh would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade and argued that he has a record of supporting same-sex marriage and working to rein in executive power. Kavanaugh has made it clear that he does not believe a president is "above the law," she argued. Critics have pointed to Kavanaugh saying it was "wrongly decided" that presidents should be subject to subpoenas as evidence that he would side with President Trump's argument of presidential immunity.
The senator walked through multiple hot-button issues to argue Kavanaugh actually agreed with Democrats on many of them. "One concern that I frequently heard was that the judge would be likely to eliminate the Affordable Care Act's vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions," she said. "I disagree with this contention." Watch one of the key moments from Collins' centrist argument below, via Fox News. Summer Meza
Senator Collins claims “Judge Kavanaugh is more of a centrist than his critics maintain.”
She's wrong. Kavanaugh has no choice but to seek the embrace of the far right. https://t.co/YmSnCQulUQ pic.twitter.com/1rlHIoBUWn
— Bloomberg Opinion (@bopinion) October 5, 2018