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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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(THREAD) Tonight's revelation that Kavanaugh knew of allegations of sexual assault against him by Deborah Ramirez months before they became public is a game-changer—but *only* if journalists realize its astounding implications. I discuss them here. I hope you'll read and retweet.
1/ See if you can spot the problem:

TIMELINE
6/27: Kennedy announces retirement
7/?: Kavanaugh seeks narrative to discredit Ramirez (NBC)
7/7: McConnell warns Trump against nominating Kavanaugh (NYT)
7/9: Trump nominates Kavanaugh
9/23: Ramirez allegations first published (NYer)
2/ *No one* is claiming—not the White House, not Senate Republicans, not Kavanaugh's camp—that Kavanaugh (whether in conjunction with his high school friends or not) *lied to or concealed from the President* potential nominating-ending negative information about Kavanaugh's past.
3/ Hiding potential allegations of a sex crime from your handlers at the White House would be unheard of for a Supreme Court nominee, as the first thing a nominee is told is that the White House can't shepherd a nomination through until it knows everything that *could* come out.
4/ The White House and FBI also investigate, of course—and part of those investigations is finding out from the nominee if they have skeletons from the past. Sex-related "mistakes" are the most common sort of issue for a background check and background questions to inquire into.
5/ What this means is that the chances Kavanaugh and his Yale buddies were discussing a sexual assault allegation from Yale and *not telling anyone at the White House counsel's office* are nearly zero. One even wonders what the chances are that the FBI didn't uncover this issue.
6/ So now we come to QUESTION 1: If Trump and the White House counsel's office found out about Deborah Ramirez in July—as, again, it'd be a scandal if Kavanaugh lied to the FBI, White House counsel and the President—when did McConnell find out? Is this why he tried to warn Trump?
7/ Here's the NYT story on McConnell warning Trump that Kavanaugh might not be able to be confirmed. At the time, everyone wondered *why* a DC Circuit Court judge who *topped his class at Yale* would be a *tough* confirmation. Was there a secret lurking? nytimes.com/2018/07/07/us/…
8/ Trump is right about one thing: Kavanaugh's pedigree is great. And Kavanaugh wasn't as conservative as certain others Trump could've picked—though he's *very* conservative. So McConnell knowing some of the baggage Kavanaugh had would explain his extraordinary warning to Trump.
9/ This puts in a totally new light McConnell's quietly hysterical comments from tonight, in which he forecasts some major blow-up over the next few days that seeks to block Kavanaugh. Well—if McConnell knew of Ramirez in *July*, that'd do it, wouldn't it. nbcnews.com/politics/supre…
10/ Here's QUESTION 2: If Trump knew of Ramirez before he picked Kavanaugh, doesn't that underscore how sure he was—from speaking with Kavanaugh—that Kavanaugh would block the Russia investigation once on SCOTUS, if possible? That'd be worth covering up a sexual assault to Trump.
11/ Keep in mind that if Trump, McConnell, McGahn, and others in the GOP found out about Ramirez after July 9, 2018 but still in July—which is nearly certain, unless Kavanaugh lied to everyone—it *isn't much better for the GOP*. Why? Because it then explains their *insane* rush.
12/ America wondered why Kavanaugh's nomination was so rushed (e.g., 94% of his career documents were withheld). Why not *withdraw* the nom once Kavanaugh disclosed a sex-crime allegation? Why rush forward, instead, thereby making it inevitable it'd look like a cover-up later on?
13/ This underscores that Trump was *either* so callous about sex crimes or so *confident* of McGahn's ability to cover one up that he didn't care about the allegation. *Or* he was—like we now know, via NBC, Kavanaugh was—*very* worried but he *needed* Kavanaugh's help on Russia.
14/ So either:

(1) The GOP knew of a sex-crime allegation and didn't care;
(2) They knew of a sex-crime allegation and planned to cover it up;
(3) They knew of a sex-crime allegation and weren't sure they could cover it up, but wanted Kavanaugh on SCOTUS badly enough to risk it.
15/ This begs QUESTION 3: Did Kavanaugh—who we now know is a nakedly political GOP operative—make any promises to the White House in July to ensure his nomination and/or the White House's continued support? And what role did the "Trump-Kennedy pact" play?
16/ QUESTION 3 leads to *so* many more questions: what did the White House know, and when did it know it? Did it turn up the Ramirez allegation in its vetting of Kavanaugh *when Kennedy put him on his secret list*, which was *many months before* the FBI conducted its own vetting?
17/ According to NBC (below), Kavanaugh was plotting how to conceal or discredit Deborah Ramirez with Yale friends in July. That *does not mean* he first learned of her claim—or that the White House did—in July. *Please* don't make that error of reasoning. nbcnews.com/politics/supre…
18/ Kavanaugh—like any one of us—would've waited as *long as possible* to seek others' assistance with a sex-crime allegation—so that July date might *merely* indicate Kavanaugh sought help once nominated. But he and the White House might have known of the problem *much* earlier.
19/ As indicated in the "Trump-Kennedy Pact" thread—see Tweet #15—the White House had to start vetting Kennedy's list of "acceptable replacements" *way* before July 2018, because Kennedy would only agree to retire and give Trump SCOTUS' swing seat *if* Trump picked from his list.
20/ With that in mind, the chances that Trump, McConnell, and others in the GOP knew of Ramirez on some date in the months *before* July 9, 2018—as opposed to the *only* other option, which is that they learned of it sometime in the final 3 weeks of July—goes up *exponentially*.
21/ I hope you can see that we're getting into some pretty sick stuff here—as all this raises the specter of GOP power-brokers weighing the chance of Kavanaugh helping end the Russia probe against the MeToo movement in the context of a secret, unethical pact with Justice Kennedy.
22/ But I want to pull back from that line of inquiry, as so much of it is murky—there are too many answers we don't or can't know yet. So let's focus on what we *do* know: that tonight's NBC News story confirms that Kavanaugh committed perjury and can't sit on the Supreme Court.
23/ On 60 MINUTES, Sen. Flake said *one perjury* would disqualify Kavanaugh from the Court.

On January 23, 1999, Lindsey Graham likewise told the U.S. Senate that *one* perjury not only keeps someone from SCOTUS but *requires impeachment* from the bench:
24/ Kavanaugh told Congress he heard of the Ramirez allegation *after September 23*—when according to NBC, we now have *text messages proving* that that was a lie. I *understand* that Republicans have made America think perjury is impossible to charge. Guess what: this one isn't.
25/ Barring a full FBI investigation—which was just greenlit tonight, per NBC and others—there was never going to be an easy way of determining if Kavanaugh lied about "Ralph Club," "Renate Alumnius," "boofing," "FFFFFFFourth of July," "Devil's Triangle," &c. *This is different*.
26/ Tonight NBC tells us investigators have or are about to have *documentary evidence* Kavanaugh lied—and *not* on any ancillary point, but on a sex-crime allegation he was so scared about that he was secretly plotting with Yale friends and possibly the White House to block it.
27/ That last point matters—as perjury requires a "purposeful" mental state. How do you show such a mental state in proving a perjury? Well, *text messages showing the perjurer plotting about how to conceal a fact from Congress and others* will do it...like, 100 times out of 100.
28/ This is why Sen. Grassley's staff came out tonight with the insane statement that Kavanaugh's testimony *wasn't* contradicted by these text messages. That is to say, Grassley *knows* the messages prove a perjury but he and his staff are trying to set a false narrative *fast*.
29/ But let's pull back for a moment to the big picture. Remember how Brett Kavanaugh expressed *shock* (*shock* I say!) at the allegations of sexual assault against him in testifying before Congress? Remember how he gave the impression he was just learning of them? *All an act*.
30/ In the digital age, "big claims" like "Kavanaugh's demeanor before Congress, which Trump and Flake and others said proved he was credible, has now been proven to be an act" tend to be dismissed as unlikely because grandiose. But read the NBC story—this reading is *confirmed*.
31/ If Kavanaugh was plotting with Yale friends how to deal with allegations of sexual assault in July 2018, he *could not have been shocked and surprised* when he testified at the end of September, which means the *basis* for Flake and others finding him credible is—well—*gone*.
32/ But let's really jump into the weeds, as this NBC News story tracks with *so much else that has happened* that it acts as a shibboleth of sorts to many things that were mystifying the media. So, QUESTION 4: why was Trump so calm about the FBI investigating the Ramirez claims?
33/ Remember how—across the GOP—there was a common reaction to the Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick allegations? That is, "We're okay responding to Ford because we have no choice, we could live with investigating Ramirez, but Swetnick is out-of-bounds entirely for ever and all time?"
34/ The GOP's sanguine approach to the Ramirez allegations now makes sense—first, because they knew they were coming; second, because they prepared for them; third, because they knew that if they fought investigating them, it would come out sooner or later that they knew of them.
35/ I'd add a fourth point: it's possible either the FBI had previously come across the Ramirez allegations or the White House in some fashion *knew* what the FBI would say about them, so they offered no threat to Kavanaugh by late September. Meanwhile, Swetnick was a wild card.
36/ This helps explain the *obscene* reaction the GOP had to Swetnick's allegations of sexual assault: to discredit her as a sexual assault victim because *they didn't like her lawyer* (mind you, the lawyer for the president's ex-girlfriend). I've *never* seen anything like that.
37/ You don't discredit a rape victim because you don't like her counsel—that's sick. The fact is, *many* people don't like *many* defense attorneys, and that's just the way the cookie crumbles—you ignore your distaste and you wrestle with the facts. That's how rule of law works.
38/ So I always found the GOP response to Swetnick particularly bizarre—incredibly risky, as America has no history whatsoever of ignoring rape claims because someone doesn't like the lawyer. But if the White House had prepared for Ramirez but not Swetnick, that explains a *lot*.
39/ It'd also explain why the GOP recklessly started leaking sex-crime allegations against Kavanaugh (see "the Rhode Island allegation"). They did that partly because they knew what was coming.

But here's the bigger thing—it *also* explains why Kavanaugh lied about *everything*.
40/ We all wondered why a judge with a *great reputation and pedigree* and no publicized history of intemperance or perjury would go before Congress and... well... *perjure himself silly*. And shout. And heckle his questioners. And evade even simple questions.

*Now we know why*.
41/ But you might say, "What if he's innocent? What if he *knew* she was going to accuse him of this in July, but he hadn't done anything?" Well, it's simple: you wouldn't be plotting how to discredit her in July if you'd never come across her, let alone *texting mutual friends*.
42/ Moreover—if you knew you'd done nothing wrong—you'd see no reason to *perjure yourself repeatedly* as to your drinking. But as I said in my Ford thread from yesterday, he lied about drinking not because of the drinking but to evade discovery for *what he did while drinking*.
43/ So his demeanor while testifying? Fake. His lies about drinking? Deliberate. His status as a perjurer? Confirmed. The complicity of the White House and Republicans in the Senate somewhere along the way—but starting, at the latest—in July? Almost 100% certain. So what happens?
44/ What happens is Kavanaugh withdraws his nomination or is voted down. There's no way that Kavanaugh can be confirmed, now, without publicly ignoring proven perjuries, going back on public statements about "one perjury ends it," and opening up a scandal over who knew what when.
45/ Because here's the main point: Brett Kavanaugh found out Ramirez was going to accuse him, in July or (more likely) *well before*, and the reason he needed to send the plotting texts that will soon be in the FBI's hands is because *he did it and he refused to admit doing it*.
46/ And I'm going to go further, as I've sat in rooms speaking confidentially with thousands of criminal defendants, including many men accused of what Kavanaugh is accused of now: if Ramirez was the *only* legitimate Kavanaugh accuser, he would've come clean. And I can prove it.
47/ The statute of limitations for Ramirez's allegation has run; there's no criminal danger to Kavanaugh; he was drunk and a teen at the time; he could've easily sold Congress a redemption narrative by taking responsibility for what he did.

He refused. Why? There are more women.
48/ Any investigator who's ever investigated in the criminal justice system will agree with me—*every decision* Kavanaugh made *confirms* that he *knew* he was going to have to fight off allegations like this, that they'd be *true*, and that there'd potentially be *many* of them.
49/ And here—as I wrap up—is the scary part: if Kavanaugh knew there'd be many allegations surrounding drinking and women, Georgetown Prep and Yale, groping and assaulting, and many (*many*) opportunities to perjure himself to save himself.... so did the White House. They *knew*.
50/ If Trump could've forgotten the Russia probe for a *moment* and *nominated someone else*, none of this would've happened. *Trump* did this—and did it *because he colluded with Russia* and needed Kavanaugh's help. What happens now is what the GOP *deserves* for this sham. /end
PS/ I feel compelled to add: it's OK to say Trump deserves to be able to nominate conservative judges; it's *gravely wrong*, but just within bounds, to defend what was done to Garland; but if you defend *Kavanaugh*—*specifically*—*now*, you're outside the bounds of moral thought.
PS2/ We *do not allow judges to perjure themselves*. *Ever*. This is *inviolate*. And there's no longer *any* argument that Kavanaugh isn't a *perjurer*. Even if you think Dr. Ford—and Ramirez, Swetnick, and others—are crazy and/or liars, you *can't escape* Kavanaugh's perjuries.
PS3/ And for the premise that SCOTUS Justices get *zero free perjuries* I quote GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. I quote GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. I quote every Republican who's bent over backwards—to the point of *comedy*—denying Kavanaugh's perjuries, as they *know* this rule is inviolate.
PS4/ Remember when I and many others asked how/why Grassley had 65 women ready *immediately* with a letter attesting to Kavanaugh's character? Remember how we questioned how/why the letter was ready *overnight*? We were called paranoid. Nope—we were looking at facts and behavior.
CORRECTION/ Kavanaugh "topped his class" at Georgetown Prep, not (as far as I know) Yale, though he is correct that Yale Law tops the annual law school rankings most if not every year (as far as I've seen, which is not to say I follow them annually). Sorry for any confusion.
PS5/ A reader asked whether McConnell wasn't concerned about Kavanaugh due to his work for Starr and Bush. Yes and no—the GOP controls the Senate, and my tweet was about McConnell not being able to hold *his* caucus for Kavanaugh. Of *course* had Democrats had other objections.
PS6/ I'm sure there's someone out there who thinks Kavanaugh was going to lose *GOP* votes due to his work for Starr and Bush—but it's not me. I think that's a misreading of the current Senate GOP and what issues would've animated/may still animate them to vote against Kavanaugh.
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