This week I’ve heard more than one political operative say that the Chuck Grassley they’re now seeing in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings is not the same Chuck Grassley they knew in years past. It’s not that he was ever a good guy; it’s that he used to have his limits. It reminded me of an incident this past January, when Grassley went from supporting the Trump-Russia investigation to, almost overnight, cartoonishly trying to derail the investigation.
Here’s what Palmer Report wrote back in January of this year: “Just days after Donald Trump was sworn in, Grassley was seated with a member of the Russian parliament during the National Prayer Breakfast. We know this because Grassley posted about it on his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Who arranged for a Russian MP to sit with Grassley, and why? What was discussed? Did this ultimately lead Grassley to do a complete one-eighty with regard to the Trump-Russia investigation later in the year?”
At the time the question was obvious, if not necessarily the answer: do Trump and Russia have dirt on Chuck Grassley, and have they been using it as needed in order to get him to do their bidding? Don’t get me wrong. Grassley was a sexist prick during the Anita Hill testimony, and he’s a sexist prick now; it’s his nature. But these past few days he’s been frantic, almost desperate, to push Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court.
Keep in mind that there are any number of conservative judges out there who would meet the Republican Party’s definition of a viable Supreme Court nominee. If the GOP dumped Kavanaugh right now, it might have a slim chance of having enough time to ram someone else through in his place. It’s frankly stupid for Grassley to keep sticking with Kavanaugh. Keep in mind that the only person in America who thinks the nominee has to be Kavanaugh is Donald Trump, and that’s because Kavanaugh would use the Supreme Court to try to help keep Trump out of prison. So why is Grassley doing Trump’s bidding at the potential expense of the GOP’s bidding? That blackmail question is at least worth revisiting.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report