Kelly Tells Off Dem Senator: Kavanaugh ‘Does Not Need to Shut Up,’ ‘Needs to Defend Himself’

During a lengthy panel discussion on her 9:00 a.m. ET hour show on Monday, NBC anchor Megyn Kelly hammered Democrats for politicizing the accusations against Supreme Court nominee and using the #MeToo movement to try to convict him before a Senate hearing has even taken place. She went on to specifically call out one liberal lawmaker who told men to “shut up and stand up” on the issue.

After pointing out some of the credibility problems with the allegations against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford and college classmate Deborah Ramirez, namely that there were no corroborating witnesses to back up their claims, Kelly noted: “The Republicans actually are investigating the Christine Blasey Ford allegations and the Democrats have refused to do so. They’re standing there in protest saying the FBI needs to do it. Which doesn’t really help us.”

 

 

The host also blasted Ford’s partisan legal team: “...she’s represented by Democrat operatives, these Democratic operatives, these lawyers are very political that she chose.” PBS host Amy Holmes chimed in: “A former lawyer who helped advise Anita Hill, for example.” Kelly continued: “One of her lawyers denied that it was sexual harassment when Bill Clinton allegedly exposed himself to Paula Jones. That woman saw sexual harassment very differently when the accused was a Democrat.”

Kelly first mentioned that detail about Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, when discussing the topic on September 17, something her NBC colleagues and the other broadcast networks have ignored.

On Monday, Kelly concluded: “Christine Blasey Ford did herself no favors by aligning with these partisan operatives, in my view. She should have found apolitical lawyers who could have helped her navigate this.”

Later in the segment, Kelly warned the left against convicting Kavanaugh without solid evidence:

We don’t know whether Christine Blasey Ford is such a victim. Okay? That must be stated. In my view, the #MeToo movement does not mean all women must be believed. All women must get a fair hearing. They must be listened to with an open mind....But some lie. We’ve seen that. So let’s have an open, fair hearing and let people make up their minds after they hear her testify and hear him too. He too is entitled to due process.

Holmes agreed: “And Megyn, I do want to back up your point there, that I think that is also a test of the #MeToo movement. Can it be fair to all parties involved?”

Kelly asked: “And if we go too far and deny due process – deny due process in a case like this, where you have a Supreme Court seat at issue and politics clearly are at play....what does that do to the #MeToo movement?” Holmes replied: “It politicizes it and it diminishes, you know, claims coming forward. I think that is a real risk, what we’re seeing in the next week.”

Wrapping up the discussion, Kelly took both sides of the aisle to task for rushing to judgment on Kavanaugh:

But this rush to judgment on both sides. Grassley, the head of the committee, saying, “She’s mixed up.” And then Gillibrand, Senator from New York, saying, “I believe her. I believe her.” And then, you’ve got the woman from Hawaii, Senator Mazie Hirono, saying, “Women need to be believed. Men need to shut up and step up.” Look, if he’s been wrongly accused of attempted rape, he does not need to shut up. He needs to defend himself. And we need to be – at least if you’re a U.S. Senator – please, give us a least the semblance of fairness, okay? Just at least the appearance of fairness, to both sides, will be really appreciated.

Kelly mistakenly attributed the “mixed up” remark about Ford to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. The comment actually came from committee member Orrin Hatch, Republican senator from Utah.

Unlike many of her colleagues in the news media, Kelly is trying to be fair to both the accuser and the accused, making sure that her coverage of Kavanaugh reflects that balance.

Here is a full transcript of the September 24 panel discussion on Megyn Kelly Today:

9:04 AM ET

MEGYN KELLY: What a – I mean – what a mess, yeah. What a mess, thank you, that’s a clean version of what I was thinking in my head. President Trump just weighed in on this, over at the U.N., called these latest allegations, quote, “totally political.” And that is what this whole debate has become, whether you believe these women or you don’t, it’s become completely political because it’s a Supreme Court confirmation hearing. It’s not like a regular #MeToo allegation. These have come up in the context of a Supreme Court confirmation proceeding. And so, the same way when Roy Moore was accused, those women accused of being political operatives. That’s what’s happening to these women.

I don’t know, the latest report in The New Yorker, the woman, Deborah Ramirez, admits she hesitated to come forward because she had such large gaps in her memory. She said she took six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney and then decided to talk. She said two male students who she named, were present, would back her up. They contacted them and they say they have no memory of it.

And this, as Blasey Ford, she identified four people who were at her alleged party with Brett Kavanaugh, not one – no one has backed her up, all have denied it. Including this woman, Leland Keyser, I think it’s a woman, who is a friend of Christine Ford’s, and a Democrat, who said, “Didn’t – I have no recollection of that, whatsoever.” So where does that leave us now? Because we’re talking about the U.S. Supreme Court.

AMY HOLMES [CO-HOST, PBS IN PRINCIPLE]: Right. And you know, we talk about this being politicized, in part, because it hasn’t followed normal process, normal procedure. Which would be to take these allegations to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where they have bipartisan investigators that do this for all judicial nominees to look into their background.

We’re getting this as 11th-hour accusations. I think they need to be investigated. I think that all of the people involved need to be asked very careful questions. We’ve heard enough from pundits and politicians now, I think we need to hear from the people involved. I say, move forward, hear from them, so all of us as Americans – this is our Supreme Court, these are our nominees, this is our law of the land – that we can assess and judge for ourselves Brett Kavanaugh.

JOE LEVY [CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, ROLLING STONE]: But should we just – should we just hear from them or should we have an independent investigation? And I think that is a question that is with us right now. We’re looking forward to a hearing on Thursday that is shaping up to be a he said/she said, With no investigation into these claims. Now, a second set of claims. Should we have an independent investigation of some kind?

HOLMES: Well, here’s the thing, Joe. And I really want viewers in our audience to understand this, in terms of “investigation.” What the FBI does is they go into someone’s background and ask people around them, from their elementary school teacher to their babysitter everything about – they have this very thick file of top – what should be top-secret information in terms of background.

KELLY: Is this person a national security threat, is what they’re trying to figure out.

HOLMES: Right. And then they – right.

KELLY: They’re not trying to figure out all you’re bad deeds.

HOLMES: Right, and the FBI –

KELLY: They’re not a super-secret special police force to investigate super-secret really bad things the nominee may have done. That’s why we have congressional investigators.

HOLMES: And they deliver that information to the senators.

KELLY: The Republicans actually are investigating the Christine Blasey Ford allegations and the Democrats have refused to do so. They’re standing there in protest saying the FBI needs to do it. Which doesn’t really help us. She’s gonna show up and testify, maybe. She says she – it looks like she may. It’s not guaranteed. But the Republicans, now, are suggesting this was all a head fake, that she’s actually not gonna be there on Thursday, that the Democrats – she’s represented by Democrat operatives, these Democratic operatives, these lawyers are very political that she chose.

HOLMES: A former lawyer who helped advise Anita Hill, for example.

KELLY: One of her lawyers denied that it was sexual harassment when Bill Clinton allegedly exposed himself to Paula Jones. That woman saw sexual harassment very differently when the accused was a Democrat. Alright, so Christine Blasey Ford did herself no favors by aligning with these partisan operatives, in my view. She should have found apolitical lawyers who could have helped her navigate this.

LEVY: In all fairness, Brett Kavanaugh also saw things differently in the Clinton investigation. I mean, his positions have changed, as well. So –

KELLY: What do you mean? What are you saying?

LEVY: Kavanaugh thought these were impeachable offenses. He was very clear about the Ken Starr investigation –

KELLY: He’s saying he didn’t do it, Joe. He’s not saying that those allegations against him amount to nothing if he did.

LEVY: I’m just saying, I’m just saying –

KELLY: He’s saying he didn’t do it.

LEVY: I’m just saying the positions on both sides have changed over time.

KELLY: No, absolutely not. You have no evidence for that, none whatsoever. What he’s saying is he didn’t do the thing he’s being accused of. He’s not trying to justify it, if it’s proven. Go ahead, Hallie.

HALLIE JACKSON: Well, I think what you might be referring to is some of the memos he wrote back when he was with Kenneth Starr investigation...

LEVY: Correct.

JACKSON: ...specifically about Bill Clinton. Which he has then distanced himself from and said his views have evolved over time. Not speaking at all to this direct allegation.

But Megyn, you started the show talking about politics in this, and let me tell you, based on my reporting from the other job that I do over at the White House, the President you are seeing, you will see this week, a different tone from this White House than you have seen before. Remember, for five days after the Christine Blasey Ford allegation came out – what, a week ago now – the President, the White House largely stayed out of it.

KELLY: He held his fire.

JACKSON: They let the Senate Judiciary Committee deal with it. Everything was referred to Chuck [Grassley] –

KELLY: And the Trump aides though it was a miracle he held his fire.

JACKSON: This is a change overnight. We have seen the White House now come out more aggressively against both these accusers. The President is already talking about it. By the way, he’s here for an event that has nothing to do with domestic politics.

KELLY: No, he’s getting ready to fight. And look, he can fight because it’s his nominee. But the way in which he chose to fight was completely Trumpian last week and utterly diminishing of all victims of sexual assault.

We don’t know whether Christine Blasey Ford is such a victim. Okay? That must be stated. In my view, the #MeToo movement does not mean all women must be believed. All women must get a fair hearing. They must be listened to with an open mind. But it is also true that, I believe, this is my own belief, that the vast majority of women who come forward with these allegations are telling the truth because they have such skin in the game if they do this and it’s not true. But some lie. We’ve seen that. So let’s have an open, fair hearing and let people make up their minds after they hear her testify and hear him too. He too is entitled to due process.

HOLMES: And Megyn, I do want to back up your point there, that I think that is also a test of the #MeToo movement. Can it be fair to all parties involved?

KELLY: And if we go too far and deny due process – deny due process in a case like this, where you have a Supreme Court seat at issue and politics clearly are at play because people feel so strongly about issues like abortion and so on that the Supreme Court will weigh in on – what does that do to the #MeToo movement?

HOLMES: It politicizes it and it diminishes, you know, claims coming forward. I think that is a real risk, what we’re seeing in the next week.  

JACKSON: Kellyanne Conway said this morning, an adviser to the President, a senior adviser in the White House, she said, “I don’t know,” and I’m paraphrasing her remarks, she said, “I don’t know that one man’s shoulders should bear the weight of the #MeToo movement.” And that gives you a prism, I think, into the thinking inside the West Wing as to how they view that as it relates to this sort of broader societal, cultural moment that we’re in.

HOLMES: And we also don’t do collective punishment. We don’t make one man bear the sins of everyone else.

KELLY: Absolutely right. And I think the movement changed America, in that we finally started to listen to these alleged victims come forward and people get to make up their minds about whether they believe the women in any given case, or they don’t. Or they don’t. I mean, Les Moonves was actually doing okay after the first Ronan Farrow report. It wasn’t until the second one dropped that things changed for Les Moonves. The American people are open-minded, they wait. One of the key things is assessing somebody’s credibility when they listen to the testimonials and see for themselves the body language, the tone, how they answer questions. And we’ll now have that, I hope, on Thursday.

But this rush to judgment on both sides. Grassley, the head of the committee, saying, “She’s mixed up.” And then Gillibrand, Senator from New York, saying, “I believe her. I believe her.” And then, you’ve got the woman from Hawaii, Senator Mazie Hirono, saying, “Women need to be believed. Men need to shut up and step up.” Look, if he’s been wrongly accused of attempted rape, he does not need to shut up. He needs to defend himself. And we need to be – at least if you’re a U.S. Senator – please, give us a least the semblance of fairness, okay? Just at least the appearance of fairness, to both sides, will be really appreciated.


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