Never forget Kamala Harris’ cruel lies in the Kavanaugh confirmation fight

Never forget Kamala Harris’ cruel lies in the Kavanaugh confirmation fight

September 5, 2020

When Joe Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris would be his running mate, The New York Times called her a “pragmatic moderate.” In fact, she’s not at all moderate and is “pragmatic” only in the sense that cynics sometimes ascribe to shameless opportunists.

Considering that Biden, while chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas hearings, helped pioneer the transformation of Supreme Court nominations into hyper-politicized, slander-laden circuses, his running mate’s actual record should come as no surprise.

Harris was a ringleader in the circus surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination two years ago. Remember that? She may prefer you forget.

Two years ago today, during his initial hearing, Harris tried to steal the show with a bizarre series of “gotcha” questions asking if he’d ever had a discussion about Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign with any employees of the law firm Kasowitz, Benson & Torres.

Kavanaugh appeared to have no idea what she was talking about, but he was astute to the Democrats’ tactic of setting perjury traps that would lead him into making inconsistent statements that could later be spun as lies.

Harris’ tactics would not have been permitted in a courtroom. As it turned out, both Kavanaugh and the law firm denied any such conversations, and Harris said nothing more on the subject. A San Francisco Chronicle headline reported: “Kamala Harris’ viral grilling of Kavanaugh ends with a thud.” But she had gotten what she was looking for — a “viral moment” for social media — even though she later would be mocked for pursuing such viral moments indiscriminately.

That was the sideshow before the main circus event. Only two days after Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations were made public, Harris declared, “I believe her.” Others then lobbed seemingly defamatory accusations at Kavanaugh, including an anonymous, undated letter that Harris’ office forwarded to the Judiciary Committee alleging Kavanaugh had raped a woman in a car.

When it came time for the committee to vote, Harris staged a walkout and went to a press conference. Not only had she presumed Kavanaugh guilty, she had concluded it from the outset and would not budge. For her, even a full committee hearing and an extra FBI investigation were not enough to dismiss unsubstantiated sexual-assault allegations against a public figure.

Of course, Harris’ concerns were all politics. She blanketed Facebook with thousands of ads fundraising off the Kavanaugh nomination, surpassing every other senator. She was not up for re-election but looking ahead to a presidential run.

As a presidential candidate, she was willing, briefly, to side with women making allegations against a Democrat — as long as it was a Democrat against whom she was running. When Tara Reade and other women claimed Joe Biden touched them inappropriately in various contexts, she initially said she believed them.

At the time, she was running against Biden. But when Reade’s more serious allegations were revealed a year later, at which time Harris had already become a top vice-presidential contender, she said she believed Biden. And all of a sudden, no more investigation was needed — the polar opposite of her position on Kavanaugh. Harris was one of the first of many Democratic women for whom political interests had overridden a previous insistence on believing all women.

Harris and Biden are now a walking double standard. She hasn’t completed a single term in the Senate, but her fast track to be on the Democratic Party’s national ticket was facilitated by her prioritizing opportunism over principle.

After taking up Biden’s mantle of politicizing the judiciary in the Senate, there is now discussion of Harris playing a prominent role in judicial selection if the two are elected. At least her vicious tactics against political targets while a member of the party out of power in the Senate did not succeed. It’s frightening to think what she might get away with as vice president.

Carrie Campbell Severino is president of the Judicial Crisis Network.

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