Sunday, September 15, 2019


Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly's new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh, will be published on Tuesday. In The New York Times, Pogrebin and Kelly reveal some of what they learned about Kavanaugh, including this:
During the winter of her freshman year ... [Deborah Ramirez] and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it....

We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)
The president of the United States is not taking this well. He's proposing that the Justice Department should treat the work of these reporters as a crime:

But please note what Trump thinks is the purpose of this revelation:
They want to scare him into turning Liberal!

They are trying to influence his opinions.
What's Trump getting at? I think he's arguing that this is an attempt to do what a lot of right-wingers (including Trump?) believe was done to John Roberts. Here's a column that appeared at Glenn Beck's Blaze in 2015:
Has Supreme Court Justice John Roberts been blackmailed or intimidated?

... Justice Roberts and the Supremes upheld Obamacare - again...

Is it impossible to believe that Obama and his socialist cabal that learned from Saul Alinsky that “the ends justify the means” would hold something over a Supreme Court justice’s head?

... I think the Obama Crime Family meets with ... Justice Roberts and they offer both a carrot and stick. They threaten to expose something terrible like an affair, or corruption, or malfeasance, or immorality that would shock the nation, ruin their career, destroy their legacy, cost their marriage, destroy their relationship with their children and leave them unemployable by any respectable law firm or lobbyist. That’s what’s behind door number one.

Or if you see the light and vote Obama's way, they get to continue playing national leader and hero, their legacy is untouched.... That’s what’s behind door number two.

Which would you choose?
The author of that column was Wayne Allyn Root -- a guy who once argued that Barack Obama never attended Columbia University, then argued that he attended after applying as a foreign student. After the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, Root theorized that the killers of counterdemonstrator Heather Heyer were "Probably paid actors & infiltrators hired by Soros." Root was the opening speaker at a 2018 Trump rally, and he was recently thanked by Trump when he wrote that Israelis see Trump as like "the King of Israel" and "the second coming of God."

When Root wrote about Roberts, he didn't propose a specific theory, but others, at sites such as Spookd Blog and Liberty Born, have asserted that Roberts was being blackmailed because there were questions about the process by which he and his wife adopted two children in the early 2000s. I won't bore you with the details, but one news report claimed that the children were adopted in Latin America, though it's now understood that they were adopted in Ireland. It's been claimed that the adoptions were in violation of Irish law. The Drudge Report claimed in 2005 that The New York Times was looking into the adoption.

Oh, and by 2018 the conspiratorialists were "reporting" that John Brennan and James Clapper were in on the blackmail that led to Roberts's decision to side with Obamacare supporters. The sourcing, as you'd expect, is somewhat less than airtight.
Tapes released by Federal Judge G. Murray Snow — preserved on a Whistleblower Soundcloud page — show real estate billionaire Timothy Blixseth explaining Brennan and Clapper’s surveillance program to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and detective Mike Zullo. The existence of this surveillance program has been corroborated by Wikileaks’ “Vault 7” release and by the public comments of former CIA and NSA contractor Dennis Montgomery, who says he worked on the program for Brennan and Clapper....

On the explosive tapes, Blixseth walks Arpaio and Zullo through the details of the program on a computer screen. At one point, the three begin pulling up specific names of targeted individuals....

“John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, was hacked,” Blixseth tells Arpaio and Zullo.
I don't think Trump has a detailed knowledge of right-wing conspiracy lore (I don't think he has a detailed knowledge of anything), but I wouldn't be surprised if he believes at least the outlines of the Roberts blackmail story. It's hard to see how the adoption story could have changed Roberts's vote. Charlie Pierce, in 2015, hinted at a much more believable explanation for why Roberts voted the way he did:
Purely as a political matter, Chief Justice John Roberts did the Republican party great good yesterday when he laughed the absurd King v. Burwell out of the Supreme Court. Now, the various Republican candidates can rouse the fury of The Base without ever having to present an alternative. And, also, by ruling the way he did, Roberts blunted the edge of any Democratic attacks about the future of the Court itself.
I think that's why Roberts voted to uphold Obamacare in 2012 as well. In that year in particular, the hope of getting rid of Obamacare was seen as a great turnout motivator for Republican voters. Roberts, I think, voted to keep the law in place for that reason -- he wanted Republicans, not Democrats, to express their outrage at the polls.

But Trump, I think, believes someone put the arm on Roberts, and is trying to do the same to Kavanaugh. Though if the Kavanaugh story is out already, how can The New York Times and the rest of the Liberal Crime Family blackmail him with it?

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