I’ve been following the Kavanaugh story very closely over the last couple of weeks. (What sports are to some folks, politics is to me.)
Some news broke last night by CNN that is very interesting and extremely important just as Professor Ford is still trying to negotiate her testimony by her terms only. CNN reports that the third witness Ford offered as a corroborator, who admits she’s been a life-long friend of Ford’s, says she has no recollection of the event Ford is alleging. This means not one of the three people she offered as witnesses have supported her story.
I have not found an article that lists out in one place many very key turns in this whole story. So I wanted to write something up myself that lists them out so we can see the larger picture. If you believe I have gotten anything wrong here, please let me know.
With that, here are some extremely critical central points that one would have do some digging through news reports to find explained so directly:
1) Senator Grassely, the Judiciary Chair in charge of the hearings, has granted Professor Ford 7 concessions in their negotiations of the terms of her testimony, including the offer for her to testify behind closed doors and be interviewed by a woman.
2) Ford has rejected each of these, save for Grassely’s concession this morning that she could testify this Thursday because of her claim that she has a fear of flying.
3) Thus, the charge by Ford’s lawyer and Sen. Feinstein that Grassely is trying to rush this testimony with no consideration to Ford’s well-being is ridiculous by any reasonable measure. No one can name one turn at which she has been forced to do anything.
4) Professor Ford said she cannot recall the time or place the alleged attack happened. That is not inconceivable.
5) But this also makes it difficult for any witness to say, “Yes, this did or did not happen on this night at that” They best they can say is that they do or do not remember such an incident or even if they were at the location it happened.
6) Ford gave investigators the names of three students who she remembers being there. These are Mark Judge. Patrick J. Smyth, and Leland Ingham Keyser. Government officials have questioned each.
7) Judge and Smyth say they have no recollection of such a party, evening or any troubling behavior on Kavanaugh’s part. Both report that the behavior Ford alleges would have been totally against Kavanaugh’s character. Mark Judge however, said he doesn’t remember much from those years due to of his fondness for intoxicating beverages.
8) The third person Ford gave investigators as a corroborator, Leland Ingham Keyser, has been a “life-long friend of Ford’s” according to CNN.
9) CNN reported last night (Saturday, Sept 22) that Keyser, through her lawyer, responded to investigating officials with the following simple statement:
“Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”
10) Each of the witnesses Ford provided to officials as being able to confirm what happened that night have said they have no recollection of such a party, much less the alleged attack itself.
11) Ford, as Charles Cooke explains, is the only one of the five named attendees at the party that evening (Kavanaugh and Ford being the final two) that has not made an official statement about that evening under the force of oath and thus severely punishable under law if false. Until today – assuming she really does intend to testify on Thursday – she has made every effort to avoid doing so.
12) Ford has made the stunning request that Kavanaugh testify first before the Judiciary Committee, and she will follow him. Seriously, have the accused defend himself before the official accusations have been presented? This raises serious questions about Ford and her attorney’s clarity of mind.
13) Even Senator Feinstein didn’t take Ford’s charges seriously when she received them months ago. They were obviously not convincing enough to compel her to bring them up to officials when she received them, nor during the Committee’s official questioning of Kavanaugh.
14) Earlier this month, 65 women came forward, officially attesting through a letter addressed to both Senators Grassely and Feinstein, that they knew Kavanaugh in his high school years and that such an accusation was diametrically at odds with the young man they knew then and today. These 65 women state:
“Many of us have remained close friends with [Kavanaugh] and his family over the years. Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day. The signers of this letter hold a broad range of political views.”
This letter has been put into the official record of these Senate Judiciary proceedings.
Charges of sexual abuse of any kind are tremendously serious and consequential, obviously for the accuser, but also for the accused. We should all remember that any accused is presumed innocent until people are questioned and facts are gathered that establish the accused’s guiltiness beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Ms. Ford should receive a hearing and Judge Kavanaugh the opportunity to defend himself. But it must be treasured as a fundamental part of our law, that as an accused, Kavanaugh is presently innocent. And very few of the developments in the time-line and the testimony of others thus far seem to either support or speak positively of Ford’s charges.
I can’t help but think that if Ford were making the same charges with the same evidence against a Democratic president’s appointee, we would all know, in great detail, repeated ad nausea through the non-stop, 24-hour cable news cycle, how flimsy this accusation is and how questionable an accuser Ford is.
No honest person familiar with today’s political reporting can disagree with a straight face. That should be concerning to all of us as a non-partisan press is essential to a vibrant democracy and an informed citizenry. For as the Washington Post tagline heroically claims, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
The media should just not be so selective about where they shine that light.