This was never going to trial. Thursday September 27, 2018 was the only chance to ask Christine Blasey Ford questions about her accusation against Brett Kavanaugh. And Republicans punted.
There is no “other time.” It is over. Democrats seized the opportunity with her. Asking her softball questions, and she treated them like a home run derby. Undoubtedly, she knew exactly what Democrats would ask her. Undoubtedly, she was trained on how to answer those questions.
Republicans punted. Let a Prosecutor question her. No cross examination. No hard questions. In fact, it started out with the Prosecutor ensuring Christine Blasey Ford that she, the prosecutor, would not present questions regarding her actual accusation. Then. What. In. The. Hell. Are. We. Doing. Here.
Let’s talk about it.
I do not fully blame the Prosecutor for the awful performance today. What could be expected when every 5 minutes you must stop questioning and allow someone else to question for 5 minutes? By the time she could start questioning again, she needed to build momentum. She needed to refocus the questions. When you are the questioner, in this situation, you ask question A to get to question B to get to question C, etc, etc. She never had this opportunity.
With that being said, there is no reason that there were no hard questions asked. If you thought Democrats were going to help us get more information, you were foolish. Why would they? How would that help them in this situation? If you thought Kavanaugh would answer your questions, you must have forgot that he is denying all claims. He is saying he wasn’t there. If he wasn’t there, how can he provide more information? He can’t. The only way we were going to be able to dig deeper into this allegation would be if Republicans – or their representatives – would have asked the questions and dug deeper. But #MeToo scared them. The Prosecutor ensured Ford at the beginning that she would not pry into her allegations of Kavanaugh. Instead she wanted to test her memory surrounding the events. While testing the memory is important, with all due respect, we do not have time for that. If this were a criminal trial, then go for it, but this is a hearing where you have 5 minutes to make a point. And the people listening just want information. There needed to be more of testing facts and statements against her memory. Instead of, do you remember A? Do you remember B?
Here is what I still want to know, and questions I want followed up on, after this hearing:
What were Ford’s drinking habits surrounding this time?
If she was the type of drinker that the people were that she was with that day, are we to believe that she was sober during this event? Alcohol could lead to her memory issues, considering the amount that she cannot remember at this point. Not to mention, there are plenty of reports that students from Ford’s school were big into drinking alcohol.
Sticking to memory – why can she not remember, when she took her polygraph, who paid for it or whether she paid for it, whether it was video recorded, or even who was in the room?
This is an extraordinary memory issue considering this is just days/weeks ago. But we are to believe that she can remember something 36 years ago.
She claimed she could not remember if she shared her notes from therapy with the Washington Post when she discussed this story with them. Why?
This is also just days/weeks ago. She cannot remember if she showed private, medical records to a major news outlet during a meeting that just happened – but she can remember what happened 36 years ago?
What types of interactions did she have with Kavanaugh prior to this alleged assault?
This would shine light on her familiarity with Kavanaugh prior to this event. If these interactions were limited, or this is the first extended interaction, there is a much higher chance that she is mistaken. Especially considering that she had not seen Kavanaugh since.
She said that, when she was able to escape, she ran out of the room and across the hallway, into a bathroom and locked herself in. She also said that during the attack, the music was so loud that nobody could hear her scream. However, after she locked herself in the bathroom, she says she heard Kavanaugh and Judge walk down the stairs, laughing about the attack, and she heard them begin having conversations with other people.
My question: If the music was so loud nobody could hear you scream; how could you hear all of that when locked in the bathroom? You can’t have it both ways. The music was either so loud, not a scream could be heard, or quiet enough you could hear a typical conversation through a door, down a hallway, and down stairs.
Ford says that when the incident was over, she came out of the bathroom, walked downstairs, through the living room, and out onto the street. When she made it to the street, what did she see? What did other houses look like? Were there other people outside? Or was this a summer party where people only stayed inside of the house? What did she do? Where did she go?
This is important because this could help us understand where this happened. This could help us get an idea of how many people were at this party when she left.
She says that when she left the party, she did not talk to her friend Kiser prior to leaving. How long after that did she talk to Kiser? What was the reason to give to Kiser for leaving the party unexpectedly?
This could be used to help gauge the veracity of her claim. Kiser has said she does not remember any party she was at with Kavanaugh – but maybe she can remember what Ford told her all those years back.
Ford said she saw Judge about 6-8 weeks later. She said she entered a store and Judge was there working. Ford said when she saw Judge, she said “hello.” Ford said Judge turned pale. This led to two major follow up questions: (1) you saw someone who was involved in allegedly sexually assaulting you, in such a violent matter that you thought they might inadvertently kill you, and the first time you see them – albeit unexpectedly – you say “hello” and choose to start up a conversation? This is the same event that you claim you avoided talking about for about 30 years. The same event that has caused you severe emotional distress. But the first time you face one of your assaulters, in a time and place you did not know you would, you invite a friendly conversation? In describing this event, Ford gave great detail. She said that she went to the store with her mother, but “wanted to enter a different door than her.” So, Ford used a different door. When she entered, she saw Judge working. She knew the store. She knew exactly what Judge was doing. She described Judge flawlessly. She knew how she got there. She knew how she left. Why does she remember all of this detail, but so little about the actual assault? To compound all of this: Ford remembers exactly why she entered a door to a store 36 years ago, but does not remember the following: how she arrived at a party weeks before that where she was almost killed, how she left such party, how many people were there, when this party took place, where this party took place, what day she took a polygraph a few weeks ago, if that polygraph was video recorded, if she even paid for that polygraph.
None of these should be treated as ‘gotcha moments.’ Instead these are fact finding, record creating questions that test Ford’s accusation. Which was the entire purpose of the hearing.
This foolishness was a product of the #MeToo movement. Republicans are scared of it. To that I say, be more fearful of unemployment. You are there to do the job we want you to do. We want answers. There is no sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or whatever that should be treated differently when making these types of accusations – except maybe children. But the fact that Ford is a female, should make no difference. To say that you should believe her no matter what, means you should not believe him no matter what – and that is flat out disgusting and terrifying. Belief is evidence based. If you want to be believed, show us why we should believe you. That goes for everyone. Male. Female. Black. White. Hispanic. Nobody life is allowed to be destroyed simply because you say it should.
In my internship at the Public Defender’s Office, the female attorneys that I was shadowing were representing a young man in a rape trial. The ‘victim’ was cross examined by the attorney I was shadowing. In that cross examination, the attorney flushed out everything. She was tough on the ‘victim’ but in a respectful way. All the questions that were needed to be asked, were asked. The verdict was not guilty. Why? Because reasonable people who understand the value of information, just want the information. Reasonable people expect that, if you make a claim that can permanently alter someone’s life, you need to answer tough questions about it. To be clear, these questions would not have made a difference for people already on the right or left. It would have made a difference for those in the middle. If you don’t think those people exist, refer to the 2016 election.
This #MeToo gloves were a questionable strategy. If you do not believe me, ask yourself what new information you know now that you did not know Tuesday night? What claims of Ford’s have been flushed out?
Ask yourself, what came from this hearing? More division. More opportunity for grandstanding. The committee scheduled this hearing because the thought it was the right thing to do, not to get answers. We did not get those. If Kavanaugh would not have come out guns a’ blazin’ than this would have been the end of his career. His reputation is already gone, and it is never coming back.
At the end of the day, if Republican Committee members wanted answers, they missed their chance. And because of that, this will hang over Kavanaugh for the rest of his life. If he becomes a SCOTUS Justice, Democrats will run campaigns about his impeachment.
Ford may have been a victim in her past, but Kavanaugh was the victim on Thursday.