Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington earlier this month. AP/Alex Brandon
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

The Jolt: Kavanaugh, Accuser No. 2, and a ‘vast left-wing conspiracy’

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight was already a smoldering affair. Last night, it become a full-fledged dumpster fire with a New Yorker magazine piece accusing the U.S. Supreme Court nominee of naked doings as a Yale college freshman.

Hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that Accuser No. 1, research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford, would testify on Thursday, New Yorker authors Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer reported that Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale classmate of Kavanaught, had a story to tell, too.

Ford alleges that Kavanaugh, as a 17-year-old in high school, pinned her down in an attempted sexual assault at a teen drinking party. She was 15.
Accuser No. 2 said a drunk Kavanaugh exposed himself at a dorm party in the 1980s and thrust his manhood in her face.

Kavanaugh denies both allegations. But wait, there’s more.

Also on Sunday, lawyer Michael Avenatti of Stormy Daniels fame tweeted that he is representing a third woman “with credible information” regarding Kavanaugh. “We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the (Senate Judiciary) committee and will likewise be demanding that Judge and others be subpoenaed to testify. The nomination must be withdrawn,” he said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat is asking that Kavanaugh’s nomination at least be slowed down. From the Washington Post:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called late Sunday for a delay in further consideration of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

There’s been no response yet from Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But early today, on CBS’ "This Morning," White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said the multiplying allegations against Kavanaugh sound like a "vast left-wing conspiracy."

Conway said: "Are we going to put decades of pent-up demand for women to feel whole on one man's shoulders?" 

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How fast is the Kavanaugh story moving? The Sunday appearance by U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., on NBC’s “Meet the Press” was outdated almost as soon as he finished it.

Operating in a single-accuser scenario, Perdue told host Chuck Todd there is “no rush” to confirm Kavanaugh. “We're following this very similar timetable that we did in earlier situations, where similar allegations were made,” he said. “If we don't get all the information this week, I have total confidence that (Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck) Grassley will take his time and make sure we get all the information we need.”

Perdue himself won’t be at Thursday’s hearing – he gave up his spot on the Judiciary committee in early 2017 so he could sit on the Agriculture and Armed Services panels.

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Conservative groups, meanwhile, are heaping pressure on Senate Republicans to keep the Kavanaugh confirmation process moving. We told you of Ralph Reed’s comments on Friday. On Saturday, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin of Cherokee County tweeted that “it’s time to bring this circus to a close.”

Ford’s lawyers, she said, “continue to contradict themselves as part of the Democrats’ game of delay, delay, delay and enough is enough.”

“The committee needs to either hold a hearing as soon as possible, or just call a vote to send his nomination to the Senate floor,” she said.

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Late Saturday, longtime Democratic activist and attorney David Worley sent word that he had been polled. By a GOP outfit, he was sure – though he didn’t know which one. The only head-to-head question centered on the gubernatorial contest between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams.

More interesting were the “issue’ questions, which could be harbingers of attacks likely to be levied at Abrams over the next few weeks. As Worley recorded:

“Do you favor or oppose abolishing cash bail so that criminals go free before their conviction?

And:

“Do you favor or oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to receive all government benefits and vote in elections?”

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Here’s all the evidence you need that our AJC colleague Alan Judd’s investigative story on Brian Kemp will be a recurring theme through November: The Democratic Party of Georgia crafted this little GIF recounting the 91 times Kemp said he didn’t know or couldn’t recall details about the $500,000 loan he obtained from a Toccoa financier. 

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Brian Kemp still hasn’t released a detailed health care plan - a fact Democrats are quick to note with glee. But his pseudo running-mate’s policy could be a template for how Kemp will design his forthcoming initiative. Duncan would pursue new federal grants for telehealth and an expansion of the rural hospital tax credit program that is now in jeopardy. He also wants to boost the network of nonprofit and community healthcare clinics - though he doesn’t outline how he would do so - and calls for the state to examine high-risk and association health insurance plans.

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When it comes to policy, no member of the Trump cabinet is scrutinized as closely as Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Agriculture journalists – and there are such things – keep the former Georgia governor under a perpetual magnifying glass.

The following lines have appeared in Hoosier Ag Today, an Indiana publication:

Now, with the tariffs against China causing major problems for U.S. agriculture, Sec of Ag Sonny Perdue told reporters last week in Maine that rejoining TPP may be an idea worth considering, “I am going to suggest to the President that we regain our partners in the TPP and present a united front against China.” He gave no indication when that conversation might take place….

Perdue stated that becoming so dependent on ag trade with China may have been a mistake, “It was a big market, it was easy, but perhaps it was a mistake to become more dependent on them than they are on us.”

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Where some see progress, others see a renaming opportunity. The Savannah Morning News last week reported on the annual address given by Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. The article included this paragraph:

A portion of GPA’s plans include a goal of doubling the container capacity of the Garden City Terminal and the possible replacement of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge that spans the Savannah River.

The bridge was named by the state DOT board in the mid-1950s for Eugene Talmadge, a hardcore segregationist governor who dominated Georgia’s politics for decades. City officials and local legislators have been attempting to have the name removed for several years now.
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