Despite her not-so-surprising efforts to toe the party line as it relates to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court (and, for that matter, most other issues), Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has broken ranks with some of her fellow Democrats on the question of impeachment. The Kanas City Star reports:
Despite her opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. Claire McCaskill said Monday she “would never consider” impeaching him.
Already, progressive groups and some Democratic members of Congress have floated the idea of impeaching the newly-minted justice. McCaskill said she would oppose any such efforts despite her concerns over Kavanaugh’s record on money in politics.
Other Democrats appear intent on running on the issue:
Based on the numerous allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, including these new criminal allegations by Julie Swetnick, the @HouseJudiciary Committee must immediately start an investigation into Judge Kavanaugh to see if he should be impeached. https://t.co/IqkeZMcoXl
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 26, 2018
Lieu is joined in this sentiment by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez:
Gutiérrez told Newsweek on Friday that his first move, assuming Democrats regain control of the House in November’s midterms and get the power to open a House Judiciary Committee investigation, would be to subpoena Mark Judge. Ford alleges Judge was also in the bedroom when Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to remove her clothes during a high school party in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has continued to “categorically and unequivocally” deny Ford’s allegations, in addition to Ramirez’s and Swetnick’s.
“Let’s do the job that the Senate refused to do,” said Gutiérrez, alluding to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s refusal to subpoena Judge to testify under oath. Judge denied Ford’s allegations in a prior six-sentence sworn statement sent to the committee. Judge, in anticipation of being interviewed as part of the FBI’s renewed investigation, said in a statement released through his attorney Friday that he would “answer any and all questions posed to him.”
“If we find lies about assault against women, then we should proceed to impeach,” Gutiérrez said.
McCaskill’s decision (and announcement) is interesting — but savvy, in my opinion. Given the fire the Kavanaugh fight has lit under the GOP base, rumblings of plans to impeach him should the Democrats gain control of the House (and possibly the Senate) will only serve to stoke that fire. Apparently, I’m not alone in that view:
Sen. Lindsey Graham says he’s never campaigned against a colleague.
“That’s about to change,” he said Sunday.
The South Carolina Republican told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace he is ready to carry the fight “to the streets” and “the ballot box” after leading House Democrats called for further investigations into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s background if they regain the majority in the November election.
Graham, who made several fiery denouncements of Senate Democrats for their handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, vowed to “go throughout this country and let people in these purple states, red states where Trump won, know what I think about this process.”
“I hope everybody running for the House in these purple districts will be asked the question: ‘Do you support impeaching Judge Kavanaugh based on five allegations, none of which could be corroborated? Do you want an outcome so badly that you would basically turn the law upside down?” Graham said.
One thing I’ve observed about Claire McCaskill over the years is that she’s quite shrewd — and she’s certainly no slouch at politics. She’s already fighting an uphill battle to hold onto her seat in a state which went to Trump in 2016 by almost 20 points. (The RCP average presently shows her trailing Republican challenger Josh Hawley by .4%.)
Clearly, McCaskill recognizes that voters in Missouri aren’t likely to support an ugly impeachment fight over the newly seated Justice. So she’s attempting to thread the needle here and position herself as the “reasonable” Democrat. Will it work for her? We’ll find out in four weeks!
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