A common political tactic when under siege is to muddy the waters and throw confusion on everything. This is a tactic that is being employed now in Washington, D.C.; there are two major situations brewing and both need our action and attention.
While Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein managed to not get fired on Monday, the meeting he has on Thursday with Trump could be when his luck runs out. The reason why we should care what happens with Rosenstein, who remains an avowed Republican, is he is Robert Mueller’s boss and if Rosenstein goes, Trump will probably replace him with Noel Francisco. Francisco should scare us all; he is a hardline conservative who is a strong proponent of executive power who has already made statements supporting the president’s ability to remove Mueller and end the probe into Trump’s activities.
There is currently legislation ready to be brought to the floor of the Senate which has language that would protect Robert Mueller’s investigation, but has not been introduced for a vote because of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Regardless of how Rosenstein’s meeting with Trump goes, we should all be calling our Senators asking them to put pressure on McConnell to allow a vote on the legislation protecting the investigation of Robert Mueller and his team which has already led to indictments against several of Trump’s surrogates.
Another situation is the status of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for the U.S. Supreme Court. There is a hearing also scheduled for Thursday to hear Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while in high school. Since the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are all men, they have chosen to avoid the optics of having men question Ford by hiring a “female assistant” (McConnell’s words) to handle the questioning of Ford. More alarming is the Republicans are scheduling a vote on Kavanaugh in the Senate early Friday morning; apparently the Republicans don’t feel they need much time to reflect on what comes out at the hearing, or perhaps they are afraid yet more accusers will come forward (so far it’s three known accusers). To date, the Republicans in the Senate and the White House have resisted allowing the F.B.I. to investigate the allegations.
The action item here is to contact all of your elected officials but particularly our Senators asking them to pressure McConnell for a delay in the vote until the F.B.I. has been allowed to do their job and provide an investigation of a candidate up for a lifetime appointment. Considering the Republicans’ successful stonewalling of Merrick Garland in the last year of President Obama’s term where the Republican Senate Judiciary members refused to even meet with Garland let alone hold hearings to consent, it seems incredibly hypocritical for them now to blame Democrats who are asking for a normal investigation of a candidate. Kavanaugh worked in the George W. Bush White House and had several thousand pages of documents withheld from scrutiny of the Senate panel. Kavanaugh also worked with Kenneth Starr during the Clinton impeachment process and said, “The idea of going easy on him at the questioning is thus abhorrent to me.” If this is the standard he holds others to, is it not right that he is subjected to normal levels of investigation and refusing to answer questions because they are too personal; interesting considering it was Kavanaugh who added questions to be put to President Clinton that allowed everyone to know how he used a cigar.
The fact that both of these events are scheduled to overlap is not an accident; while we as Democrats should not abandon the principles that we feel put us above the tactics used by the Republicans in Washington, we should not waver from demanding a just process and equal disclosure on a consistent basis from the people who are supposed to be representing our best interests. When the Republican Senate leadership heard there were more accusers of Kavanaugh, their initial reactions were focused on political expediency and trying to rush the vote, not on what those allegations might say about the candidate they were trying push through or whether that candidate was suited for the position. We are right, they are wrong, and we need to make the American people see that.