September 28, 2018

Friends, I want to have something pithy and wise to say. I really do. Tank is near empty from the last couple of days. Couple of years. So here's what I've got. The women on this panel are most of us women.

Stephanie Ruhle, veteran reporter and strong critic of Trump, though occasionally has veered into "both sides" territory of this Kavanaugh debate. Maya Wiley, brilliant legal mind and kick-ass feminist and journalist. Noelle Nikpour - okay, I don't know her that well, but I've seen her before and she seems reasonable even though she's a Republican strategist and has sometimes made me want to scream. All three of these accomplished, strong, outspoken women could not get through a discussion of yesterday's testimony without holding back tears.

Journalistic formalities gone, the three of them basically held each other together (Wiley basically with her mere presence and empathy) until Joel Benenson gave them reprieve by saying what needed to be said about Kavanaugh. He is unfit to serve. If the women on this panel were most of us, you men need to be Joel Benenson. Call your senators. NOW.

(202) 224-3121

Transcript below.

RUHLE: To that point, he's always going to have this hanging over him. Why is it that Brett Kavanaugh wouldn't ask for an investigation? When I watched him -- and his opening statement got to all of us. When he talked about his young daughter and when you think about what this has done to his family and her family. But when he goes on talking about how Leland Keyser, her longtime friend, cleared him, she didn't, she actually said, "I believe my friend, but I have no recollection of that." On Monday, on Fox News, he said, "I wasn't much of a drinker." But yesterday, it was over and over, "I loved beer, I like it now, don't you?" Why wouldn't Brett Kavanaugh want to say, "Let's simply delay this for a week," because his legacy deserves to be cleared and honored.

NIKPOUR: You know, this is very hard for a Republican, you know, seeing both of the testimonies. You have to watch her. It's very hard to watch her. And then you watch him and you see the emotion that he has. This is beyond political. I think this is raw human emotion. And how are we, how are we supposed to sit here and judge which one is telling the truth? She, 100%, said that this happened to her, and you have to believe her. And then you saw him and he said he 100% didn't do this. So who are we to determine what exactly happened on this? This is beyond Republican and Democrat. It's very -- it's hard for me to come on and talk about this and try to be a ball buster

RUHLE: I appreciate it, I don't want you to be, but you know who's not Republican or Democrat? The FBI.

NIKPOUR: Well, the thing of it is, what is the FBI going to get to? Because they have already questioned some of these witnesses on both sides and some of them had said they weren't at the party and the others said that they knew him and he had too much to drink. The thing of it is...

RUHLE: When did the FBI do that?

NIKPOUR: Well, they said that they had had -- he had had background checks. He had six background FBI checks. So you've got to think that somehow wouldn't this have come up somewhere? And the other thing that bothers me is they have this information and they're pushing this at the very Nth degree. Why didn't they do this a lot earlier? There could be some time to give her, you know, time to research all of this. Instead of at the Nth degree here.

RUHLE: It of course would be very hard for this to come up in an FBI investigation. But we have to try so hard to take politics out. And you can judge the timing of Dianne Feinstein and the information, but we learned yesterday from Dr. Ford before he was the nominee, she had come forward, she had written this letter, and she sat there yesterday and bore all of that out. So I want to share what Brett Kavanaugh said specifically in his testimony.

(video from hearing:)

KAVANAUGH: I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford. This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role. In the confirmation process. But you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July, there's been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything, to block my confirmation. (end video)

RUHLE: What do you do with both people being as adamant as they are? We have to note, the frenzy that would exist on the left would also exist on the right, had it been the reverse.

BENENSON: I actually think what you just showed is disqualifying. I think a judge, a sitting federal judge, a nominee for a lifetime appointment for a Supreme Court, has no business to say what he said about that committee, about accusing Democrats of Clinton revenge. I think he's showed a lack of temperament. The way he got aggressive and challenged Senator Amy Klobuchar and had to apologize after she asked a simple, straightforward question. Now, compound that with the point that's been made today. He has told little lies along the way here. And to me, little lies mean we should have the FBI go back with a whole lot more information than they had the last time they did this background check and complete it. And if you've hung your hat, like he did yesterday, on his high ABA rating from the American Bar Association, then he ought to be, as you said Stephanie, listening to them today and saying, you know what, listen to the ABA, go back and do this federal background check. Do it completely. Let's put every question to rest. He's not saying it. He will not say it.

RUHLE: That's what makes no sense to me. I can understand the raw emotion and maybe the rage, considering what he's been through. But the -- all afternoon, the little lies, lying over and over about his yearbook page made absolutely no sense. It was just so many questions unanswered.

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