Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh is on the U.S. Supreme Court, but a number of land mines still could blow him to smithereens and inflict pain on complicit GOPers

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

Is Brett Kavanaugh safely ensconced on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), where he can conduct dirty work to support Donald Trump and the lifting of sanctions against Russia that would allow a $500 Arctic oil-drilling project to move forward? Not necessarily.

The whole Kavanaugh house of cards could crumble under any number of scenarios. If Democrats win one or both houses of Congress in the November midterms, that could spell major trouble for the newest member of SCOTUS, including possible impeachment. Any cooperation former Trump attorney Michael Cohen provides to the Robert Mueller investigation could lay bare the role of Russian-mafia interests in pushing for Kavanaugh on the court. And there is always the possibility Kavanaugh could face criminal indictment related to allegations raised against him during the confirmation process -- including possible charges for rape, sexual assault, kidnapping, and perjury.

If voters make the GOP pay at the polls in November for the Kavanaugh mess, two words -- "Jerry Nadler" -- could become prominent on the political scene. Reporter Matthew Miller explains in a piece at Politico:

First, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, could make clear that, should he become a subpoena-wielding chairman in January, he will aggressively investigate the FBI’s conduct in the Kavanaugh investigation. Notifying the FBI and DOJ that he will subpoena documents, demand interviews with officials at every level, and ultimately hold a hearing will have a dramatic impact on an agency that rightly worries about its public standing—and where key officials worry about their personal reputations—after several years of GOP attacks.

This comes under the heading of "political hardball," a sport where Democrats tend to consistently lose to Republicans. But Nadler has promised a Kavanaugh investigation if his party gains control of the House. Also, The Washington Post explains how Kavanaugh could be impeached:

“Much of Washington has spent the week focusing on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court,” Lisa Graves wrote in a Slate column on Sept. 7, more than a week before the New Yorker published the then-anonymous sexual assault claims of Christine Blasey Ford. “After the revelations of his confirmation hearings, the better question is whether he should be impeached from the federal judiciary. I do not raise that question lightly, but I am certain it must be raised.”

Graves wrote that Kavanaugh had misled the Judiciary Committee about the stolen documents that Graves had written as chief counsel for nominations for Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) when he was the chairman of the committee.

Kavanaugh, she wrote, “lied. Under oath. And he did so repeatedly.”

Therefore, she concluded, “he should not be confirmed. In fact, by his own standard, he should clearly be impeached.”

Michael Cohen could provide another arrow in the Democrats' quiver. From a January 2018 report by Kevin G. Hall at McClatchy:

The mysterious Russian businessman who went by the name Sergei Millian claimed last year to have long helped Donald Trump pursue Russian investors, a claim the president’s team flatly denied.

The claim is again under scrutiny with the sudden release late Thursday of closed-door congressional testimony.

A Washington intelligence consultant whose reports are at the center of probes into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign told lawmakers that Millian organized a trip for Trump representatives to promote the billionaire’s vodka brand in Russia.

The testimony of Glenn Simpson drew a sharp denial from Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, and only added to the shroud of mystery hanging over Millian, who was a visible figure early in the investigations into Trump’s ties with Russia but since had disappeared from view.

Since that report, Cohen's office and homes have been raided, he has pleaded guilty to making hush payments to women who claimed to have extramarital affairs with Trump, and Cohen has indicated he will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Muller.  The McClatchy report, noting Millian's ties to the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce (based in Atlanta), indicates Cohen's cooperation could prove fruitful for the Mueller team:

Simpson, according to the 165-page transcript, alleged that Millian came to the United States under his real name of Siarhei Kukuts. After becoming Sergei Millian, he helped run a group with little Internet footprint called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. Millian has said on resumes that he is from Belarus and from Russia, Simpson said. . . .

Sergei Millian
Simpson appeared to suggest in his testimony that Millian was working with Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer. Cohen led the Trump Organization’s push into Russia and Kazakhstan.

Cohen acknowledged last year that he and another Trump associate, Russian √©migr√© Felix Sater, had pursued a Moscow hotel deal for the Trump Organization during the presidential campaign. In an email to Cohen made public last year, Sater boasted, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.”

Asked anew about Millian on Thursday night, Cohen steadfastly denied any connection.

“I have never met Mr. Milian (sic). He e-mailed me several times with various issues,” Cohen said in an email response to McClatchy, adding that by November 2016 he’d “demanded (Millian) cease contacting me.”

Perhaps Cohen's seized documents -- and prompting from Mueller investigators -- will help refresh his memory.

As for possible criminal indictments against Kavanaugh, readers might be surprised to see kidnapping on the list. That generally is seen as a crime where bad guys abduct someone, take them to a remote location, and demand a ransom. But the offense has a broader definition than that in many states, including Maryland, and it seems to apply to Dr. Christine Blasey Flord's description of Kavanaugh's attack on her. An attorney, writing at Daily Kos, wonders why kidnapping and related offenses have taken a backseat to "sexual assault" in the Kavanaugh discussion:

I realize there is no statute of limitation on felony sexual assault in Maryland. I assume there may be statutes of limitation on “false imprisonment” and “kidnapping.” I am NOT suggesting Kavanaugh be charged with these crimes, but I don’t understand why the terms “False Imprisonment” and “Kidnapping” are not mentioned as well as “sexual assault”.

I have never done criminal work (I was a civil litigator for twenty years, including three and a half years as a Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Civil Division in the seventies). Yesterday, as I was reviewing the allegations of the Blasey Ford accusation, it struck me — wait a minute — isn’t that false imprisonment and/or kidnapping???

Kavanaugh allegedly grabbed her in the hall as she was on the way to the bathroom and pushed her into another room, where he then locked the door, turned up the music and covered her mouth. (Mark Judge may have helped with some of those actions).

Once in the room, he assaulted her, with Judge looking on and egging him on, including directing him while giggling maniacally. When Judge joined them by jumping on Kavanaugh’s back (wonder what he had in his mind???? I don’t want to go there), she escaped by “unlocking” the door and going out into the hall and escaped.

To me, it appears that Kavanaugh (and Judge’s actions) provide the elements of the crime and or tort of False imprisonment. The issue with kidnapping is a little less clear, because it varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In common law it generally included an aspect of sending the person somewhere else, but I also remember issues where just moving the person from where they are to somewhere else against their will could be kidnapping.. . . 
Again, I’m not suggesting legal charges on these two crimes and torts be brought against Kavanaugh and Judge, but I am suggesting that the discussion needs to include a discussion of these two additional aspects of the attack. Adding the totality of the charges that could have been brought underscores the severity of Kavanaugh's actions.

Our research indicates there is no statute of limitations on kidnapping in Maryland.  It also indicates that Dr. Ford's description of events points to kidnapping under Maryland law. From our legal-affairs analyst, a University of Virginia law graduate we call "Ozark Mountain Lawyer":

Here's quick law in Maryland on kidnapping.

Nutshell: kidnapping in Maryland is considered as false imprisonment with any movement or concealing of the victim.

Dr. Ford testified she walked upstairs and used the restroom and then as she was trying to go back downstairs to the living room, she was pushed from behind and forcefully moved into a BEDROOM and then forcefully moved to lay down on a bed and then was jumped on by Kavanaugh (more physical restraint) and the Kavanaugh also allegedly tried to CONCEAL the kidnapped victim by having closed and locked the bedroom door and turning up the music and Kavanaugh putting his hand over her mouth to conceal their having taken control of the victim and hiding her in the room to have their way with her. This is clearly KIDNAPPING and criminal assault and felony attempted rape. See Johnson v. State, 439 A.2d 542 (Md.App. 1982), at pp. 432-33. See other Maryland kidnapping decisions cited on page 433.

Can you imagine a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice being criminally charged with sexual assault and kidnapping (not to mention perjury and rape.)? It could be right around the corner -- unless, of course, Russians help steal the 2018 election, too.


e.a.f. said...

Loved the title for the article. We can live in hope.

Dr. Ford made allegations. the FBI,. in my opinion failed to conduct an adequate investigation, and the GOPers were in a dam hurry to have Kav. appointed. The committee made it all about Dr. Ford's allegations. by now people ought to have recognized that in the U.S.A. sexually assaulting a woman does not make you ineligible for anything, including President. any one who thought different is still in diapers.

In my opinion, the issue was Kav's behaviour at the Senate hearings. He was partisan to the extreme, attacked Senators especially when asked about black out drinking, he posed as a bully. Total lack of decorum.

Having watch the whole thing, it was appalling. His behaviour wouldn't qualify him for anything, not even as an instructor. The lack of dignity he brings to the position is mind boggling.

It was Kav.'s behaviour at the Senate hearings which ought to have made him ineligible for a position on the high court. Way too political. Once the judiciary is messed with by the politicians, democracy is on its way out. Even in dictatorships some times people can win their cases, because the judiciary has not been "messed" with.

Between Kav., Trump's new "alert" system, the continued disenfranchisement of American voters, the U.S.A. IS WELL on its way to become a dictatorship. As one friend said to me, we better get a wall up, so we're separated by something from those idiots. It will not end well.

Trump and those he represents have done a lot of "test driving" such as separating children from parents, putting those children in detention camps,--where Jews went prior to going to the concentration camps, failed to return children to parents, rolling back EPA standards, His willingness to cause fights with former allies, etc. By the time its all finished and he and his will know exactly how far they can drive the U.S.A. into a dictatorship which will make putin a very happy man. From there, the corporate agenda can be achieved and if it gets really messy, there will be a civil war, hence the need for a wall for Mexico and Canada so we can keep away from a country in decline.

Anonymous said...

I want to see this Nadler guy in charge of the House.

Anonymous said...

I can see U.S. marshals interrupting a Supreme Court sessions:

"Um, Justice Kavanaugh -- yes, you -- you need to come with us."

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. --

Thanks for a great comment. Lots of good points, and I hope other readers will check it out.

Anonymous said...

Reading this post makes me smile -- and I've been in a pretty crappy mood.

Anonymous said...

Cohen is a prick, but wouldn't it be great if one prick brought down a whole house of corrupt pricks?

Anonymous said...

Glad you brought up the name Sergei Millian. He's been lost in all of this lately, but he was head of Russian Am Cham, which means he likely has ties to Jill Simpson's Alabama Gang -- Jeff Sessions, Rob Riley, Bill Canary, etc.

Nailing Millian could help Mueller ties all the Russia sleaze into Alabama sicko politicos.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating stuff about Kavanaugh, Judge, and kidnapping.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:47 --

Agree. Having been kidnapped from my own home, by Alabama cop-thugs, that point certainly resonates with me.

Anonymous said...

If Nadler nails Kavanaugh, he could run for president and get my vote.

Anonymous said...

Before we were made aware of the sexual assault allegations re Kavanaugh, there were other questions being raised that have gotten lost in the noise. Kamala Harris was asking Kav about his debts, his gambling, and how he could afford a mansion worth over a million (not sure of the value of the house, but it was a lot) on a federal judge's salary: that salary isn't too bad, but the house was way out of his league. Those types of allegations are a lot easier to investigate than sexual assault allegations: he said/she said is very hard to prove, especially after so many years. But following the money is what investigators do the best. And money leaves a trail that lasts and lasts.

Anonymous said...

People seem to assume the Dems might take back the House, but I don't hear much about them possibly taking back the Senate. What's up.

legalschnauzer said...

@12:34 --

I've wondered the same thing, and I think it's because the math favors the GOP in the Senate because Dems have to defend 30-something seats, while GOP only has to defend nine or so. There is a good FiveThirtyEight analysis on this, and I will try to find it.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is URL to FiveThirtyEight article I was thinking of:

legalschnauzer said...

Here is today's update from 538:

As of 9:20 a.m. Eastern time, Republicans have a 4 in 5 chance (80 percent) of holding the Senate, according to our Classic forecast. The situation is much more dire for the GOP in the House, where Democrats have a 7 in 9 chance (78 percent) of taking control. They are so dire in some GOP-held districts, in fact, that national Republicans have begun pulling their resources or never invested them in the first place — effectively ceding those seats to Democrats, presumably so that the GOP can bolster more winnable districts.

Why take such a drastic step? Usually, it’s because party elders believe the seat is already lost. But parties don’t always show the best judgment about these things, so we thought we would compare the seats that Republicans have given up on with the seats most likely to flip to Democrats in our model. And what we found was that Republicans are indeed picking their battles wisely, at least based on what we know right now.

Daily Kos Elections is tracking House districts that either party appears to have conceded. According to its data, there are six Republican-held districts that both the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund1 have opted out of: the California 49th, Iowa 1st, New Jersey 2nd, Pennsylvania 5th, Pennsylvania 6th and Pennsylvania 17th.2 (By contrast, national Democrats haven’t abandoned any Democratic-held districts so far, according to the Daily Kos list.) Below are the eight Republican-held districts that our model says are most likely to fall to Democrats, as of 9:20 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Taylor Swift for president!

Anonymous said...

The first 538 post you reference was published before Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed. Will be interesting to see if the presence of Kavanaugh on SCOTUS changes the equation one way or another.

Anonymous said...

Assuming there is not an October surprise.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a 538 post from yesterday about a possible Blue Wave:

Things look good for Republicans in the Senate. According to the Classic version of our forecast,1 the Grand Old Party had a 7 in 9 chance (78 percent) of keeping control; in fact, they might even pick up seats.2 However, in the House of Representatives, the Democrats were in the lead. The Classic model gave them a 3 in 4 chance (74 percent) of winning the House.

If we drill into our House forecast, we expect the national House popular vote to favor Democrats by 7.8 percentage points, which translates to roughly 228 Democratic seats and 207 Republican seats. But what if the House popular vote shifts before Election Day? What if a blue tsunami crashes ashore and Democrats win nationally by 17 points? Or what if Republicans roar back in the polls and win by 1 point? What would happen to forecasted Democratic gains?

legalschnauzer said...

@12:23 --

Very good point. Will be interesting to see if inquiries into financial areas gain traction.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:34 --

Yes, an October surprise, always something to consider.

What kind of October surprise could there be in 2018? Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

@ 1:34 here
Just a feeling. My wife texted me at lunch. She heard a man talking nearby that had worked for Bob Riley's campaign.