ABC Hammers Kavanaugh as ‘Not a Slam Dunk’ Who Will Trigger ‘A Battle Royale’

Moments after Monday night’s White House event concluded in which President Trump announced D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee, ABC News ripped into Kavanaugh and sought to cast doubt on his confirmation as “not a slam dunk” that’ll trigger “a battle royale in the Senate.” 

Chief anchor and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos dipped back in as the President, Kavanaugh, and his family left the East Room by noting that “the President looks proud” and rattling off Kavanaugh’s resume. Stephanopoulos then went to Supreme Court correspondent Terry Moran outside the Court. 

 

 

“Terry, that pedigree made Kavanaugh a favorite of the President’s top advisers, including his White House counsel Don McGahn, but this is not a slam dunk for confirmation,” Stephanopoulos proclaimed. In contrast, both CBS and NBC pointed out that there’s little that can be done to block his appointment.

Moran agreed, declaring that he was speaking live “[f]rom a rowdy Supreme Court” with liberal protesters in “a sign of the stakes that people sense in this moment.”

After mentioning that Kavanaugh is the “classic Washington establishment candidate” with degrees from Yale and posts in the Bush White House, Moran also tried to fire bullets into Kavanaugh’s boat by warning:

Nevertheless, the battle lines are drawn and his opinions in particular, perhaps, on the collection of surveillance information on U.S. citizens and others could lose him a Republican vote or two, which he can't afford. In general though, this is seen as the smart play by President Trump, despite the fact that there is going to be a battle royale in the Senate.

Like a good liberal, Stephanopoulos agreed by warning that it’ll be a battle royale “on both sides” and, for Republicans, there won’t be “a vote to spare.”

Of course, this spin came from ABC hours after Nightline’s Twitter account tweeted that the late-night newsmagazine will highlight “the controversial Supreme Court pick.” The problem? It was hours before any reports (official or unofficial) about Kavanaugh being the pick were publicized.

To see the relevant transcript from ABC’s coverage of the Kavanaugh announcement on July 9, click “expand.”

ABC News: President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee
July 9, 2018
9:19 p.m. Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There you see him, President Trump's nominee, for justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, along with his family, wife and daughters, Ashley, Margaret and Liza. Saw a little bit of his life story. Right there, the President looks proud, clerked for Anthony Kennedy, federal court of appeals as well. Served in the Bush White House as you heard. Also served with independent counsel Ken Starr who investigated President Clinton of course. I want to bring in our Supreme Court correspondent Terry Moran and, Terry, that pedigree made Kavanaugh a favorite of the President’s top advisers, including his White House counsel Don McGahn, but this is not a slam dunk for confirmation? 

TERRY MORAN: It’s not, George. From a rowdy Supreme Court, a sign of the stakes that people sense in this moment. Brett Kavanaugh, as you say, is classic Washington establishment candidate. He went to the same prep school that Neil Gorsuch did. Yale College, Yale law school. All those posts in the government, but he fought in the trenches with conservatives against Clinton, on the Florida recount, for the Bush White House in staffing the courts. They love him. Nevertheless, the battle lines are drawn and his opinions in particular, perhaps, on the collection of surveillance information on U.S. citizens and others could lose him a Republican vote or two, which he can't afford. In general though, this is seen as the smart play by President Trump, despite the fact that there is going to be a battle royale in the Senate. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: On both sides and not a vote to spare.


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