We all know that since the optics of the all male GOP contingent on the Judiciary Committee questioning Dr. Ford would not have been good, the GOP opted instead to have their questioning done by a woman—a prosecutor of sexual crimes, in fact. That was a good ploy from the optics point of view, and worked fine with Dr. Ford herself. The ex-prosecutor’s name is Rachel Mitchell.
We also all know that at one point when the witness was Kavanaugh rather than Ford, Lindsey Graham blew up that procedure entirely with one of the most ridiculously melodramatic rants in recent Congressional history. Maybe it is well known why Graham did that, but just in case it is not, here is the explanation.
The first thing to note: after Graham pre-empted Mitchell from continuing her line of inquiry with Kavanaugh, all of the GOP members followed suit. Mitchell was not merely interrupted by Graham, her questioning was completely terminated by him and his GOP colleagues. That was the whole point. All of the melodrama of Graham’s faux outrage was designed to distract from what he was really doing. Like a good magician, this is how any tinpot demagogue operates: lots of smoke and fire so you don’t pay attention to the little man behind the curtain. Graham could not come out and say that the GOP wanted to silence Mitchell, so he silences her in a way that distracts from that end.
Why did it become necessary to stop Mitchell? Because she had focussed in on the fact that Kavanaugh himself had brought in very, very, very strong evidence of the truth of Ford’s accusation, and as a former military prosecutor Graham could see that Mitchell was setting up perjury traps. So he had to stop her. And the other GOP members could not allow her to return to her line of questions—and they didn’t.
The point is that the July 1 Thursday afternoon get-together recorded in Kavanaugh’s calendar fits Ford’s account like a glove. Here is the key part of the transcript:
MITCHELL: I would like you to look at the July 1st entry.
MITCHELL: The entry says — and I quote — “Go to Timmy’s (ph) for skis (ph) with Judge (ph), Tom (ph), P.J. (ph), Bernie (ph) and Squee (ph)”?
KAVANAUGH: Squee. That’s a nick…
MITCHELL: What does…
KAVANAUGH: … that’s a nickname.
Mitchell gets Kavanaugh to acknowledge that “skis” are “brewskis” AKA beers. So *by Kavanaugh’s own hand*, he admits to planning to go get drunk on July 1 on beers. Where and with whom? Mitchell gets Kavanaugh to identify the people, ending like this:
MITCHELL: And is “P.J.,” P.J. Smith?
KAVANAUGH: It is.
So — all right. It’s Tim Gaudette (ph), Mark Judge, Tom Caine (ph), P.J. Smith, Bernie McCarthy (ph), Chris Garrett (ph).
So *by Kavanaugh’s own admission*, his calendar shows that he went to Tim Gaudette’s house (the calendar does not say Gaudette would be there, just that he was going to that house) to drink beer with Mark Judge, P. J, Smith, Tom Caine, Bernie McCarthy and Chris Garrett.
Mitchell has *already* gotten Kavanaugh to assert the following under oath:
MITCHELL: Dr. Ford described a small gathering of people at a suburban Maryland home in the summer of 1982. She said that Mark Judge, P.J. Smyth and Leland Ingham also were present, as well as an unknown male, and that the people were drinking to varying degrees. Were you ever at a gathering that fits that description?
KAVANAUGH: No, as I’ve said in my opening statements — opening statement.
Graham sees that Kavanaugh has already committed perjury, and that Mitchell is going for more. So he erupts (the best defense is a good offense) and his GOP buddies all conspire to make sure that Mitchell does not get another crack at Kavanaugh.
And that’s why Lindsey went off.
One obvious question: where was Tim Gaudette’s house? If it is in the area that Ford puts the assault, we are done. But even if it is not, Ford already said that Kavanaugh arrived drunk. So he could have gone to Gaudette’s house to put on a buzz, and then later to a new place where he meets and assaults Ford. It all fits.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.