Even after the Republican leadership announced last night that it was agreeing to delay the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it was clear the GOP was still playing games. This was set up as a rush job in which Kavanaugh and his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would each quickly testify on Monday before any real investigating could be done. Now Republican Senator Susan Collins has thrown a big monkey wrench into that plan.
Here’s what Susan Collins tweeted this afternoon: “I’m writing to the Chairman & RM of Judiciary Cmte respectfully recommending that at Monday’s hearing, counsel for Prof. Ford be allocated time to question Judge Kavanaugh & counsel for the Judge be granted equal time to question Prof. Ford, followed by questions from Senators. Such an approach would provide more continuity, elicit the most information & allow an in-depth examination of the allegations.” Wait, so what is she up to?
We still don’t know which way Senator Collins might be planning to vote. And her history of doing the right thing on Obamacare, then doing the wrong thing on the tax scam, means that she can’t be trusted to do the right thing for its own sake. But she has clearly decided that she wants Monday’s testimony to be something of substance, where Kavanaugh can be grilled by a legal professional in front of the cameras. Collins has to know that Kavanaugh, who has already proven himself to be an inept and self-contradictory witness on various matters, would fare poorly in such a scenario.
Because Susan Collins can help kill the Brett Kavanaugh nomination in an eventual full Senate vote, the Republicans who control the Senate Judiciary Committee may have to let her have her way on this. It appears she’s trying to help make Kavanaugh as radioactive as possible in the eyes of the public, which would suggest she’s looking for a way to vote against him. But as is always the case with Collins when she’s a swing vote, she’ll wait as long as possible before fully revealing her hand. In any case, the move she’s making today is not what her party’s leadership was hoping for.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report