With the exchange of letters today between the key players in the Kavanaugh controversy, we are finally getting a degree of clarity about where this is going, albeit a clarity of a tendentious variety.
Senate Republicans have managed to unite themselves behind a simple proposition: try to corner Blasey Ford into appearing in a stacked hearing, hoping that she’ll back out and allow them to move quickly to a vote. As I noted below, there’s really no reason they can’t ask the FBI to do a simple review which would likely take only a few days. Nor is there much reason not to call other witnesses. Two of the key witnesses support Kavanaugh, his two friends who were allegedly there that night, one of whom is an alleged accomplice. The simple aim here is to face her with a take it or leave it choice – “her one chance”, as Senator Cornyn put it yesterday – in the hopes that she’ll back down and allow them to vote.
It’s a fairly brazen and thus far effectively executed power play.
Unfortunately, I think there’s a good chance that this will work.
I also think it’s a bluff. What I mean by that is that, despite the intentionally one-sided hearing they’ve planned, I doubt Senate Republicans have a good plan for what they’ll do if Blasey Ford shows up. But that of course places a great deal on her shoulders. Will she agree to a one-sided quickie hearing with no review of the facts of the case or other witnesses who can shed light on the facts of the case?
It’s not clear to me that Senate Democrats have thought of another card to play to give Blasey Ford other options besides the ultimatum she’s presented with. Senate Republicans control the gavel and make the decisions.
Remember too that Grassley has said that if Blasey Ford wants to testify on her behalf on Monday that he has to receive her written testimony by Friday morning. So she has about 36 hours to decide whether she’ll accept their take it or leave it offer.