Brian Fallon, the head of Demand Justice, a new progressive activist group established to play a vital role in opposing President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, spelled out the group’s battle plan against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.
Fallon, who served as press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, took to CNN last night, where he gave Chris Cuomo a preview of his organization’s likely attacks on Kavanaugh.
Fallon spelled out two tactics that he claimed were potential “wild card” issues in the nomination.
One is to attempt to stall Kavanaugh’s confirmation pending the release and full review of the thousands of pages of the Starr Report, which documented the case to impeach President Clinton and which was drafted in part by Kavanaugh.
The second tactic is to raise questions, despite any current evidence, about whether Kavanaugh knew about sexual harassment allegations related to former Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski for which Kavanaugh clerked in 1991.
Kozinski announced his retirement in December 2017 after numerous women claimed in Washington Post interviews that they were subjected to inappropriate sexual behavior. Kavanaugh was one of many lawyers who clerked for Kozinski, and Fallon presented no evidence that Kavanaugh would have known about any of those charges. Indeed, Cuomo took issue with Fallon’s strategy, and the activist made clear he had no actual evidence but still planned to raise questions.
Two other issues that could be wild cards in this confirmation, number one, his work – there is a lot of papers related to his work on the Starr committee that have not been out yet. There is going to be a big effort to try to get the National Archives to release all those documents. They are going to have to go through them, peruse them, see what has to be redacted and then his e-mails from the time in the Bush White House.
When it was Elena Kagan that was put forward, I think there was 170,000 some pages that required 6,000 man hours to go through all of that. So, Mitch McConnell himself indicated in a leaked story that came out in the “New York Times” that he was privately urging the Trump White House to look away from Brett Kavanaugh because he worried that the document production alone with would delay a hearing and potentially throw the schedule off.
Cuomo interjected, pointing out, “But Grassley is in charge of what they are allowed to do and how long they can take.”
Fallon replied, “But Grassley has been as aggressive as anybody in forcing past nominees to produce everything. So, he would be a hypocrite now if he didn’t insist on the same standard for Kavanaugh.”
He then pointed to Kavanaugh’s clerkship with Kozinsky:
One other thing that I think is going to be relevant, one of Brett Kavanaugh’s mentors in life and in his career as a judge is a guy by the name of Alex Kozinski who is a judge on the Ninth Circuit who had to resign in disgrace last year because of the #MeToo Movement.
He was accused publicly on the record by a number of female clerks for having behaved inappropriately in chambers, and he had to resign in disgrace. Brett Kavanaugh is somebody that is friends and was a mentor and personally clerked for Alex Kozinski. I think there’s going to be a lot of senators in this hearing that want to know what he knew and when he knew it about Alex Kozinski’s behavior.
Cuomo, however, took issue with some of this strategy. “What he knew if it were happening when he was there, fair line of questioning. Him being responsible for somebody else’s actions, not fair,” the host said.
Fallon replied, again clearly relying on speculation:
Not only was he a clerk for Alex Kozinski, I think in 1990, but Brett Kavanaugh was who was considered in the judicial world as a feeder judge for Anthony Kennedy, who he clerked for in the Supreme Court, as is Kozinski. And oftentimes, Kavanaugh would interview prospective clerks that Anthony Kennedy might have clerked for him on the Supreme Court. And Kozinski would send a lot of clerks to Brett Kavanaugh to interview for clerkships with Anthony Kennedy.
So, the likelihood that Brett Kavanaugh knew what was an open secret in the Ninth Circuit about Alex Kozinski’s misbehavior is very high. I think he’s going to have to answer questions about that.
“I agree there are legitimate questions, but we cannot impugn Kavanaugh with what Kozinski did unless we have knowledge of fact of what he knew at the time,” interjected Cuomo.
Fallon relented, essentially conceding that he has no evidence, stating, “We will only know that if we ask the questions.”
Cuomo told the activist that “You’ve got to give him the benefit of the doubt until he answers them.”
Fallon spoke without a trace of irony after serving as the spokesperson for a presidential candidate who was accused of not only enabling Bill Clinton’s alleged predatory behavior against women, but was accused of attempting to silence her husband’s female sexual assault victims.
Demand Justice, meanwhile, was founded by former members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Besides Fallon, the group’s digital team is headed by Gabrielle McCaffrey, who was a digital organizer for Clinton’s campaign.
Breitbart News reported that within less than one hour of Trump’s announcement last night revealing his pick to be Kavanough, Fallon’s Demand Justice already put up the website stopkavanaugh.com, exclaiming: “We need to demand that the Senate defeat the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.”
The Demand Justice organization aims to focus on the federal court system, arguing that “our courts should be the place that we can trust to safeguard our rights and promote justice.”
“But in Donald Trump’s America,” continues the group’s website, “our justice system is being corrupted to serve corporate interests and impose a far-right, social agenda on our everyday lives.”
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Fallon would not comment on the source of the group’s financing, but the newspaper noted that he was a featured speaker recently at the conference of the Democracy Alliance, a grouping of progressive donors.
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