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Senate GOP to Prof Ford: Take It Or Leave It

I want to flag your attention to something that may have been lost in this afternoon’s rush of events and statements. Yesterday Chairman Grassley, head of the committee that oversees the confirmation process, announced that a quickie hearing would be held Monday with only two witnesses: Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. He also seemed to imply that both would be there, even though he’d only spoken to Kavanaugh and had yet to make contact with Ford.

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No Statutes of Limitations

Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged accomplice, does not want to testify in whatever hearing is slated to take place on Monday. Republicans clearly don’t want him to testify either, for a number of obvious reasons. But a friend, who is a member of the bar in Maryland, tells me that for assault, rape, attempted rape and a wide variety of other crimes there is no statute of limitations in Maryland. This surprised me greatly. But this person has practiced law in the state for 25 years and I think I’ve confirmed this with a bit of research on my own. This would appear to confirm this.

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Rough Horse Play

Interesting and perhaps disturbing moment a short time ago as Carrie Severino, spokesperson of the Judicial Crisis Network, was interviewed on CNN. The JCN is the central campaign arm for Republican judicial nominations. The Federalist Society grooms and chooses the nominees. The JCN runs the campaigns, runs political ads in Senators’ states, as necessary. Here Severino argues that it’s not clear that what Ford describes wasn’t simply “rough horse play” as opposed to attempted rape.

Video after the jump ..

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Dire Development

President Trump orders the politically motivated declassification of investigative materials and the release of texts from targeted top investigators in the Russia probe.

Where Things Stand Now On Kavanaugh

The GOP’s short-lived fallback position that Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser should be heard, but apparently only in private, has quickly been abandoned in favor of a public hearing. CNN is reporting that both Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh will testify next Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Like Clarence Thomas more than a quarter century ago, Kavanaugh will be returning to testify about new sexual misconduct allegations after his initial testimony was complete.

The Senate returned late this afternoon from its recess, and it didn’t take long for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to resign themselves to more committee hearings as the way forward, meaning Thursday’s scheduled committee vote to advance the Kavanaugh nomination to the full Senate will have to be delayed.

The News Doesn't Stop

Another wild news day when I was supposed to be hitting our Prime sign up drive. But we need to keep up this critical momentum for the future of TPM. Quick version: It’s really important. If you’re a regular TPM Reader, please sign up for Prime. Cheap, awesome, important. Click here. It hugely important to the future of this site.

Did The Democrats Really Ambush Kavanaugh?

One of the many emails coming in this morning in response to this post was from TPM Reader MT. He believes it is wrong and unfair that Democrats are bringing these accusations up at the last moment. To be clear, he opposes Kavanaugh and sees it as a sort of righteous and perhaps inevitable payback for Merrick Garland. But still, he sees it as basically wrong.

From what I can tell, this is actually incorrect on the facts, whatever you think of the fairness of the matter. Here’s what I mean.

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Looking Back At The Thomas Era

This comment doesn’t go to the core questions we’re wrestling with today with the Kavanaugh nomination – substantive, ideological or political. But it’s a fascinating glimpse at the big changes that have happened in the process over the last quarter century – and ones that could have a major impact over the coming weeks. I suspect the first President Bush may have been particularly responsive to Senators in the way that is described below. But broadly speaking this is a real change.

From TPM Reader JB, a GOP senate staffer at the time …

As the Kavanaugh confirmation process recalls certain aspects of Clarence Thomas’s during the first Bush administration, I thought I’d offer a recollection about the latter.

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You Never Win By Losing

I’ve gotten a lot of fascinating responses to my comments and question below about the political fallout of the Kavanaugh accusations, many raising dimensions of the question I hadn’t considered. This from TPM Reader PM comes closest to capturing my take both in the particular and as a general theory of politics …

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