News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Claire McCaskill, Kavanaugh, and Much More More

The Morning Briefing: Claire McCaskill, Kavanaugh, and Much More More
President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Happy Thursday Morning!

TGI … wait a second.

All told, it’s going to be a rather good day.

Claire McCaskill.

Missouri’s embattled Democrat senator broke the news last night that she’s not voting for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Yes, she’s a Democrat — but she’s running in a state that voted for Trump over Hillary by 18 points.

This political move is remarkable, but McCaskill’s reasoning proved even more remarkable. You see, this embattled Democrat senator swears — she swears, mind you — that this decision has nothing — nothing — to do with the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Uh huh.

If it’s not about the assault allegations, what is it about? Try not to laugh: dark money.

Yes, Claire McCaskill announced — now, in the heat of the sexual assault scandal — that she’s not backing Kavanaugh, and that it has nothing to do with the scandal. Here’s Politico‘s Burgess Everett on the subject:

The Missouri senator, who is up for reelection this fall in a conservative state, cited Kavanaugh’s views on “dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy.” She said that the “troubling” allegation of sexual assault leveled against Kavanaugh did not influence her decision.

“He has revealed his bias against limits on campaign donations which places him completely out of the mainstream of this nation. He wrote, ‘And I have heard very few people say that limits on contributions to candidates are unconstitutional although I for one tend to think those limits have some constitutional problems,’” McCaskill said. “Judge Kavanaugh will give free rein to anonymous donors and foreign governments through their citizens to spend money to interfere and influence our elections with so-called ‘issue ads.’”

McCaskill also said she was “uncomfortable” with his views on executive power but said that her fear that Kavanaugh’s place on the bench would loosen political spending restrictions was the “determining factor.” Outside groups have spent more than $16 million against McCaskill and nearly $14 million against her opponent, Josh Hawley, this year.

McCaskill is betting that Kavanaugh is so unpopular in Missouri that she will gain votes by opposing him. She’s hedging this bet by referencing an obscure issue involving limits on free political speech, which is hard for people to understand. “Dark money” isn’t exactly popular, but restrictions on it involve restricting free speech in politics, which is even more unpopular.

While we’re on the subject…

Democrats are getting so desperate in attempting to stop Brett Kavanaugh, even Mika Brzezinski, the liberal co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” admitted they were overplaying their hand.

On Monday, Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, asked for a hearing. Republicans agreed to delay the vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination and scheduled a hearing for next Monday. On Tuesday, Ford demanded an FBI investigation before she’d testify.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) explained that the FBI had already updated its background check on Kavanaugh, and that it’s not the FBI’s job to determine whether or not the allegations are true. The Senate cannot outsource its “advice and consent” role to the FBI.

Ford’s new demand was so outrageous, Mika Brzezinski defended Republicans. (Which means hell basically froze over.) NTK Network:

“I guess some could argue, and some Republicans could argue, this is moving the goal post and it’s moving the goal post in an impossible direction,” Brzezinski said. “There are statutes of limitations for a reason. So we need to hear from her. That’s why everybody is open to hearing from a woman.”

“But if she doesn’t want to speak, if she doesn’t want to testify, you have to wonder what the Republicans are supposed to do except demand a vote,” Brzezinski added. “This is something that happened in high school. This is going to need her voice. There’s no other way around it. No one can do it for her.”

Here’s the video evidence.

In other news, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Republicans were “bullying” Ford into testifying. Kavanaugh’s former classmate denied any knowledge of the alleged assault or the party at which it supposedly happened. Oh, and about 200 women have testified to Kavanaugh’s character.

Sorry, Claire McCaskill, but I think you’ve chosen the wrong side of this.

Picture of the day.

The United States is a comparatively young country, but we’re quite a bit older than many European countries. Ironically, the modern state of Germany is extremely young. East and West Germany did not ratify reunification until September 20, 1990 — 28 years ago. Germany has a long cultural history, fraught with political turmoil. But the most powerful country in the European Union is new.

Map of East and West Germany, public domain. Created on Wikipedia, edited by Alphathon, StalwartUK, NordNordWest

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