Wow: CBS Panelists Concede Kavanaugh Will Probably Make It Through

After having spent their entire Thursday listening to testimonies from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the mood on CBS’s panel seemed to be one of resignation and even admission by some of them that Kavanaugh appears headed for confirmation.

Right after the hearing ended, chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford observed that “[p]eople saying that she looked credible on both sides” and while it seemed grim for Kavanaugh’s chances this morning, Kavanaugh’s came through, thus leading to a “shift in the room.” 

 

 

Crawford then gave away the store when she admitted that, concerning Kavanaugh’s portion, “Democrats were never able to kind of get the kind of traction, I think, that we expected” after they seemingly had an advantage following Ford’s portion.

CBS and CNN contributor Bianna Golodryga opined that “[i]t was really a tale of two hearings” with Ford appearing credible then Kavanaugh doing the same as he fought back against the allegations.

Later, Crawford explicitly predicted Kavanaugh will go through, just like Clarence Thomas (click “expand”):

You saw Senator Leahy saying it brought back memories of Clarence Thomas. That's something I think both sides could agree on. Justice Thomas in the 1991 hearings, equally outraged, in much the way we saw Kavanaugh today, lashing out at Democrats, and ultimately, Justice Thomas, of course, is on the Supreme Court. I thought from what we saw from Republicans today, that Kavanaugh will be voted out of this committee. I thought that — we weren't really sure where Senator Flake might be. His comments suggested that he probably is a yes. 

When CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor inquired about comparing and contrasting the Kavanaugh hearings with the Thomas ones, Crawford pointed to the difference in the country when it came to how sexual assault is viewed but both nominees responded the same with claims that they were set up by Democrats.

Right before CBS went off the air, Crawford, Golodryga, and legal analyst Rikki Klieman offered closing thoughts with each, in their own ways, admitting that Democrats had lost (click “expand”):

GLOR: Rikki, a tale of two hearings. 

KLIEMAN: A tale of two hearings, and the advantage to going last. The last memory that goes into the public, if they'd been watching, is watching the emotional testimony of Brett Kavanaugh, who really does seem to be so authentic and so congruent and his anger and his sadness are all appropriate for what has gone on in his life and then the result of that, just by laws of rhetoric, what you hear last is what remains with you. The whole point of primacy and recency, and recency will always win the day that we will take away from this a bit of forgetfulness for many people of victimhood for Dr. Ford and move it to Brett Kavanaugh. 

GOLODRYGA: You really saw a strategy with the Republicans not wanting to copy what had happened in 1991 by seemingly attacking Anita Hill. They, for the most part, were respectful of Dr. Ford, and took their anger and took their hostilities and aimed it towards the Democrats and said: “You have politicized this. You have been sitting on this information for so long. You could have taken this to the FBI,” to the point where Senator Feinstein, at the end, had to come out and once again defend her actions, once again defend it was not her staffer who had leaked the initial letter. So from that perspective, it seems as if, especially given Dr. — Kavanaugh's performance today versus what we even saw a few days ago on Fox, I think the strategy may have worked for the Republicans. 

GLOR: Well, in the morning session they didn't ask questions. They all deferred to the prosecutor who was brought in, Rachel Mitchell. 

CRAWFORD: Yeah, and I mean, in the morning, there was, obviously, some confusion, where she's asking kind of laying — trying to lay out the facts and kind of methodically taking Ford through what happened that day the best she could remember. You saw from the senators saying: “I'm not really sure where she's going with this.” But what she was doing and what I think was very helpful for the Republicans this afternoon was talking and asking her in a fair and proper way, which then gave Republicans this opportunity to kind of go at it with the Republicans — with the Democrats. 

To see the relevant transcript from CBS’s coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings on September 27, click “expand.”

CBS Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing

September 27, 2018

6:45 p.m. Eastern

JAN CRAWFORD: And, I mean, he of course said no. I mean, it ended very strongly. I — starting, I think, if we want to think back about the whole day, as they’e now gaveled this closed. You know, the hearing this morning with Ford, starting out with her emotional testimony, her voice almost shaking, saying how she was terrified and I think that was apparent. Tremendous sympathy as she testified. People saying that she looked credible on both sides and so, there was a moment, as we talked about during the breaks, where it looks like this was a real uphill time for Kavanaugh this afternoon and that he had to go in and speak from the heart and so, I thought when Kavanaugh began to give his opening statement — when he walked in the room, he looked angry. He looked like a man who has been sitting there wanting to say something, and he said it and so you could really feel kind of the shift in the room as he began to give his opening statement and then as the senators on both sides started their questionings, Democrats were never able to kind of get the kind of traction, I think, that we expected and people were saying at the end of the morning that the prosecutor, that the Republicans had asked to do their questions, that she never really was able to lay a glove, as some people were saying, on Ford. This afternoon, it was the same I thought for Kavanaugh. 

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: It was really a tale of two hearings. I mean, I think that after seeing Dr. Ford's testimony, I think that a lot of — a lot of Republicans were nervous going into Judge Kavanaugh’s. I think he came in doing what they had hoped that he would, show emotion. You saw what his family had gone through. He talked about his daughter saying a prayer for Dr. Ford last night. I thought that was a moving point as well. You did see some push-back, and some frustration, and a bit of anger when his — his youth came up and his drinking days and even whether or not he would be willing for the FBI to come in for an investigation. You really saw politization of the FBI, and that seemed to be a key pivotal player here. 

GLOR: That was the point that some Democratic senators kept returning to, asking whether or not he would endorse an FBI Investigation, and he never really — he never really bit on that, Rikki. 

RIKKI KLIEMAN: No, he did not and he also was not going to get involved in any of their questions or directives to ask the President to talk to Don McGahn. I mean, he was not going to get involved in anything that was going to prolong his confirmation process. 

(....)

6:50 p.m. Eastern

CRAWFORD: You saw Senator Leahy saying it brought back memories of Clarence Thomas. That's something I think both sides could agree on. Justice Thomas in the 1991 hearings, equally outraged, in much the way we saw Kavanaugh today, lashing out at Democrats, and ultimately, Justice Thomas, of course, is on the Supreme Court. I thought from what we saw from Republicans today, that Kavanaugh will be voted out of this committee. I thought that — we weren't really sure where Senator Flake might be. His comments suggested that he probably is a yes. 

GLOR: You've spent so much time with so many different Supreme Court justices, Jan, and talked to them, including Clarence Thomas, about that process. When you watched today versus what happened in 1991, how do you compare them? In terms of the hearing itself? 

CRAWFORD: Well, setting aside the time — and we all agree the time is different now, and people saying that they — the woman must be heard, that you didn't hear as much of that in 1991, of course. It was a different era, but the searing anger, the outrage that these allegation by a man who had built a life and tried to do the right thing. I mean you heard a lot about Kavanaugh talking about how he studied and wanted to get good grades and all that, kind of that indignation. That was very much on display in the hearings of Justice Thomas. There was more of a race question with Justice Thomas. He believed he was being singled out at that time in 1991 because he was a black man and he thought differently. He was a conservative, so he must be punished. I think with Kavanaugh today, I believe he believes he’s being signaled out because the Supreme Court is in the balance and as he said, Democrats will basically stop at nothing. 

(....)

6:55 p.m. Eastern

GLOR: Rikki, a tale of two hearings. 

KLIEMAN: A tale of two hearings, and the advantage to going last. The last memory that goes into the public, if they'd been watching, is watching the emotional testimony of Brett Kavanaugh, who really does seem to be so authentic and so congruent and his anger and his sadness are all appropriate for what has gone on in his life and then the result of that, just by laws of rhetoric, what you hear last is what remains with you. The whole point of primacy and recency, and recency will always win the day that we will take away from this a bit of forgetfulness for many people of victimhood for Dr. Ford and move it to Brett Kavanaugh. 

GOLODRYGA: You really saw a strategy with the Republicans not wanting to copy what had happened in 1991 by seemingly attacking Anita Hill. They, for the most part, were respectful of Dr. Ford, and took their anger and took their hostilities and aimed it towards the Democrats and said: “You have politicized this. You have been sitting on this information for so long. You could have taken this to the FBI,” to the point where Senator Feinstein, at the end, had to come out and once again defend her actions, once again defend it was not her staffer who had leaked the initial letter. So from that perspective, it seems as if, especially given Dr. — Kavanaugh's performance today versus what we even saw a few days ago on Fox, I think the strategy may have worked for the Republicans. 

GLOR: Well, in the morning session they didn't ask questions. They all deferred to the prosecutor who was brought in, Rachel Mitchell. 

CRAWFORD: Yeah, and I mean, in the morning, there was, obviously, some confusion, where she's asking kind of laying — trying to lay out the facts and kind of methodically taking Ford through what happened that day the best she could remember. You saw from the senators saying: “I'm not really sure where she's going with this.” But what she was doing and what I think was very helpful for the Republicans this afternoon was talking and asking her in a fair and proper way, which then gave Republicans this opportunity to kind of go at it with the Republicans — with the Democrats. 


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NBDaily Judiciary Kavanaugh Nomination Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Sex Scandals Jan Crawford Jeff Glor Bianna Golodryga Brett Kavanaugh Clarence Thomas
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