There are plenty of reasons California Sen. Kamala Harris is unfit to be Joe Biden’s running mate — a position that carries the real possibility of her becoming president sooner rather than later if the presumptive Democratic nominee is elected. One of them is how she tried to destroy Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2018.
Given the fact that the Democrats’ treatment of Kavanaugh during the process briefly energized Republicans in the period before the 2018 midterms, it’s something the White House is eager to revisit. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump told reporters Harris had been “extraordinarily nasty” to the nominee.
“I thought she was the meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful of anyone in the Senate,” Trump said, according to the New York Post.
“It was just a horrible thing the way she treated now-Justice Kavanaugh, and I won’t forget that soon.”
It’s worth pointing out that there wasn’t any shortage of Democrats willing to do this, but Harris distinguished herself not only in the strenuousness of her attack on the nominee but also the fact it began well before Christine Blasey Ford alleged Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school.
Take this infamous question on abortion, where Harris asked the nominee, “Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?”
From Judge Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, Sen. Kamala Harris asks Judge Kavanaugh: “Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?” pic.twitter.com/HbmkmIzuJg
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 11, 2020
This won Harris a lot of plaudits from the “Daily Show” crowd. Of course, it would have been refreshing had Kavanaugh asked if a pregnant woman should have the power to make the decision to abort a male body in the second or third trimester, but that’s not how these things go.
The senator also questioned Kavanaugh about whether he’d had contact with anyone who worked for a law firm run by one of Trump’s lawyers regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s then-ongoing Russia investigation.
“Well, is there a person you’re talking about?” Kavanaugh responded.
“I’m asking you a very direct question. Yes or no?” she shot back.
Kavanaugh continued to ask who Harris was talking about, which is something she was unwilling to let on.
“I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us,” Harris said.
Even though this made things sound very sinister, Kavanaugh was being circumspect — as a good judge or lawyer would do. He would eventually answer no.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 6, 2018
Meanwhile, during Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris provided uncritical support for her account.
“Dr. Ford, you know you are not on trial,” Harris said, according to ABC News. “You are not on trial. You are sitting here before members of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee because you had the courage to come forward because as you said, you believe it’s your civic duty.”
“You have passed a polygraph and submitted the results to this committee. Judge Kavanaugh has not. You have called for outside witnesses to testify and for expert witnesses to testify. Judge Kavanaugh has not. But most importantly, you have called for an independent FBI investigation into the facts. Judge Kavanaugh has not,” she continued.
Harris didn’t mention Ford’s answers on the polygraph test were inconsistent with the original letter she sent to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault. (Ford also testified she didn’t know who paid for the polygraph test, although it wasn’t her.)
Nor did Harris mention that the “outside witnesses,” The New York Times reported, included “two trauma experts and the former F.B.I. agent who administered a polygraph examination to Dr. Blasey,” individuals who would have been extraneous to the truth but would have been good tools at drumming up sympathy for Ford.
Her story was and remains uncorroborated.
As for the FBI investigation, lest we forget, that was another tool aimed at trying to run out the clock before the 2018 midterms in the hope the Democrats would retake the Senate. (They didn’t.)
When Kavanaugh testified shortly thereafter, he emphasized the human toll of how the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had politicized a sexual abuse allegation.
“This has destroyed my family and my good name,” Kavanaugh said in his prepared statement at the hearing. “There has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.”
“I understand the passions of the moment. But I would say to those senators, your words have meaning,” he continued. “Millions of Americans listened carefully to you. Given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything, to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent email to my wife, to make any kind of allegation against me and against my friends, to blow me up and take me down?”
Harris was at the forefront of this frenzy — and she continued to be even after Kavanaugh was on the bench.
In September 2019, after The New York Times published an article by the authors of a forthcoming book that contained another hazily sourced allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, Harris sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging them to take up impeachment hearings against the Supreme Court justice.
In that letter, however, National Review’s Mairead McArdle noted Harris managed to get the details wrong, looking to connect the new accusation with an allegation by one of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates, Deborah Ramirez.
“It was also reported that one of Ms. Ramirez’s former classmates alleged that he saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into Ms. Ramirez’s hand,” Harris’ letter read.
However, it was a different classmate — and for the record, the alleged “victim” didn’t remember the incident ever happening.
I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice.
He must be impeached.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 15, 2019
At the time, Harris disregarded the fact that the evidence was flimsy and the allegation not just unproven but almost certainly unprovable.
“Someone should investigate this because the fact that something has not been proven, it doesn’t mean it didn’t occur, right?” Harris said at the time.
I’m certain Harris will be applying this logic to Biden’s sexual assault accuser, Tara Reade, any day now.
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