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Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight

Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight

Republican and Democratic senators say they’re ready to move on from the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSenate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees Man charged with sending Feinstein email threatening her life Progressives furious about Senate judicial nominee deal MORE’s confirmation, but lingering tensions from one of the bitterest fights in recent Senate history are proving difficult to soothe.

Senate Republicans have seized on Kavanaugh to energize their base ahead of the midterm elections, blaming a liberal “mob” for going too far in the Supreme Court battle. 

They’ve said that GOP senators were “harassed” and “under assault” during the fight, pointing to incidents at airports, a Washington, D.C. restaurant and the Senate themselves to argue that Democrats are out of control and should not be given power.

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“This body … will not let unhinged tactics replace reasoned judgement. We will not let mob behavior drown out all the Americans who want to legitimately participate in the policy making process, on all sides,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKelly called Warren ‘impolite,’ ‘arrogant:’ report Progressives furious about Senate judicial nominee deal Overnight Energy: Climate skeptic confirmed as DOJ environmental lawyer | EPA to phase out air pollution panel | Ad campaign targets mercury rule proposal MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday from the Senate floor. “And the Senate, I assure you, will not be intimidated.” 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees Saudis ‘obscuring’ journalist disappearance, GOP senator tells Hill.TV GOP chairman: FEMA has enough money for Hurricane Michael MORE (R-Texas), McConnell’s No. 2 and a member of the Judiciary Committee, added that during the November midterm election voters will get to pick between “mob rule” or voting for the “rule of law.” 

The GOP has seized on remarks from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees Man charged with sending Feinstein email threatening her life Florida House race in dead heat in district Clinton won in landslide MORE and former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder doubles down on ‘when they go low, we kick them’ remark: ‘Stop the fake outrage’ Trump Jr. slams Eric Holder: This is the party of ‘tolerance’ Presidential historian Kearns-Godwin: US needs a ‘fiery centrist’ right now MORE to bolster their case. 

Clinton said that “civility” could start again once Democrats win back the House or Senate, while Holder—playing off former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaEric Holder doubles down on ‘when they go low, we kick them’ remark: ‘Stop the fake outrage’ Trump Jr. slams Eric Holder: This is the party of ‘tolerance’ Presidential historian Kearns-Godwin: US needs a ‘fiery centrist’ right now MORE’s “when they go low, we go high” mantra, said that when Republicans “go low, we kick ‘em.” 

The GOP tactics have infuriated Democrats. 

“For them to talk about mob rule—what in the hell was that all about?” said Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSaudis ‘obscuring’ journalist disappearance, GOP senator tells Hill.TV Senate confirms climate skeptic to head DOJ environment office Trump: I’ll overrule Sessions on criminal justice reform MORE (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat and a member of the Judiciary Committee. 

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoChris Cuomo: Presumption of innocence didn’t apply to Kavanaugh because it wasn’t a court case Lindsey Graham hits Dem senator: ‘The Hirono standard is horrific’ This week: Rosenstein set to meet with House GOP MORE (D-Hawaii), another member of the panel, added that McConnell’s rhetoric was “dangerously” underestimating the frustration in the country. 

“It is the richest of ironies that the majority leader has taken to calling those opposed to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh a mob when several nights a month the president whips his supporters into a frenzy to attack his target of choice,” Hirono said. 

Hirono appeared to be referencing a rally in Iowa that Trump held this week, where he appeared to encourage his supporters after they began chanting “lock her up” about Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinMan charged with sending Feinstein email threatening her life Presidential historian Kearns-Godwin: US needs a ‘fiery centrist’ right now Trump rails against Dems at Pennsylvania rally as Hurricane Michael batters Florida MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Feinstein has come under fire from Trump and other Republicans who accuse her or her staff of leaking information about Christine Blasey Ford, who in a confidential letter accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when the two were teenagers.

Ford’s name became public after the leak and she eventually testified at a dramatic hearing, nearly torpedoing Kavanaugh’s nomination. 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats will never win if they condone all this raging hostility Bipartisan bill would block foreign adversaries from owning US election vendors Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (R-Maine), who cast a pivotal vote for Kavanaugh, in her own floor speech last week said that she did not believe Feinstein had leaked the information. 

And Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees Trump: I’ll overrule Sessions on criminal justice reform GOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters MORE (R-Iowa) and Feinstein have signaled a willingness to move on in public.

The two touted their long personal friendship this week, which was struck from decades of Senate service together. 

“I think she is of the same design I am, that we ought to work together. …I have no animosity and I’m just going to just assume that I’m going to look to the future, forget about the past,” Grassley said. 

Feinstein, asked about her personal relationship with Grassley after Kavanaugh, said they were “fine.” 

The committee had a relatively subdued committee meeting on Thursday, where they advanced several judicial nominations and legislation to make lynching a federal crime. 

The bitterness over judicial nominations did not start with Kavanaugh.  

Democrats were furious when Republicans held up President Obama’s nomination of Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandHow do we end the cycle of confirmation wars? Chief justice asks federal appeals court judges to handle ethics complaints against Kavanaugh GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 MORE in 2016. 

In 2013, Democrats nixed the 60-vote filibuster for most nomination. Republicans got rid of the higher-vote threshold for Supreme Court picks last year to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the court. 

Democrats were angered by Trump’s remarks about Feinstein. 

Durbin called Trump’s rhetoric “disgusting.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the remarks were “so ludicrous and false that they’re not worth even addressing.” 

Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are still weighing whether to launch a formal investigation into how Ford’s letter was leaked to the public. 

McConnell has indicated that he believes there will be an investigation and members of the Judiciary Committee, including Cornyn and GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham on punishment for Saudi journalist’s disappearance: ‘Everything would be on the table’ Senators warn Trump that Saudi relationship is on the line Flake on Kavanaugh confirmation: To see GOP ‘spiking the ball in the end zone’ doesn’t seem right MORE, back digging into the matter. 

But Grassley hasn’t taken a position on holding an investigation and told reporters that he wants to have a meeting with committee members before he makes a decision. 

Asked if the Senate Judiciary Committee could investigate the leaking of Ford’s letter without it becoming partisan, Durbin just started laughing. 

“Is that a real question?” he asked. 

Republicans on the committee brushed off questions about if the panel would be able to move past Kavanaugh. 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 GOP senators call for Kavanaugh FBI findings to be made public GOP says they’re moving forward with Friday vote on Kavanaugh MORE (R-N.C.), a member of the committee, said he thought there wasn’t a risk that lingering animosity from the Supreme Court fight would bleed over into members personal relationships. 

He said shortly before the final votes on Kavanaugh he was speaking with Feinstein on the floor about immigration reform and talking with Senator Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDem senators urge Pompeo to reverse visa policy on diplomats’ same-sex partners 15 Saudis identified in disappearance of Washington Post columnist The Senate needs to cool it MORE (D-Del.) about criminal justice reform. 

“It’s interesting with some of the members on the committee, the conservations we were having on the floor before the cloture vote, final confirmation. … I think at least in that way we’ve compartmentalized it,” Tillis said. 

Cornyn argued the panel didn’t have any other option except to keep working together. 

“What’s our choice?” he asked. “I mean, we can’t get a divorce.”

Published at Fri, 12 Oct 2018 10:05:50 +0000