NBC Preemptively Declares Kavanaugh Likely Sunk, Speculates on Replacement Pick

Halfway through Thursday’s dramatic Supreme Court hearings, NBC seemed to decide that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination was done, speculating about pulling the pick and even who might be the replacement. After Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony (but before Kavanaugh's), reporter Hallie Jackson said that White House officials “are not sitting in meetings, huddling about what they would do, should Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination ultimately fail. But that calculus should change in a matter of hours.” 

Today co-host Savannah Guthrie offered a mind reading of senators, speculating about what senators are thinking: “If I vote no against Judge Kavanaugh, then what's the next plan?” She offered more hypotheticals: “We talked about whether it was even feasible to try to get somebody confirmed before the midterms? What about the lame duck session?” 

 

 

Chuck Todd imagined what Mitch McConnell might be thinking: “If he doesn't have the votes, I think the President will want to pull him.” Todd proceeded to even muse on a replacement for Kavanaugh: 

The crass political move, you pull it. You name Judge Amy Coney Barrett. She probably can’t get confirmed. It wouldn't matter because you aren’t fighting the confirmation before the election. See if her nomination fires the base, and you sort of use the new nominee as a way to fire up the Trump base. 

All of this was BEFORE Kavanaugh spoke. Apparently, NBC journalists had already made up their minds. 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” for more: 

NBC Live coverage 
9/27/18


2:49:41

HALLIE JACKSON: I've been told all week long, the White House is not actively coming up with a back up plan. They are not sitting in meetings, huddling about what they should do should Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination ultimately fail. But that calculus should change in a matter of hours. 


2:50

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: As we think about the key senators who might be on the fence, who might be persuadable, could be a yes, could be a no. They're not deciding this in a vacuum. They have to think, all right, “if I vote no against Judge Kavanaugh, then what's the next plan?” We talked about whether it was even feasible to try to get somebody confirmed before the midterms? What about the lame duck session?

...

2:52:47

MEGYN KELLY: Then what happens, he [McConnell] goes to President Trump and says you've got to pull him? 

CHUCK TODD: Oh, I think that's -- is it if he doesn't have the votes, I think the president will want to pull him. 

GUTHRIE: The mechanics, what would happen next? Let's say McConnell does a head count tonight after all this testimony is in, and says “All right, everybody, we have a vote scheduled for tomorrow, what are we going to do?” if he doesn't have the votes, then what? 

TODD: The crass political move, you pull it. You name Judge Amy Coney Barrett. She probably can’t get confirmed. It wouldn't matter because you aren’t fighting the confirmation before the election. See if her nomination fires the base, and you sort of use the new nominee as a way to fire up the Trump base, and do that. 

GUTHRIE: By the way, she is regarded as far more conservative than Judge Kavanaugh. They’re not going to like her better. 

TODD:  And she probably can't get the votes of either Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, but in this case, you wouldn't care. I'm just making a crass political argument. 

LESTER HOLT: — An artificial deadline. 

TODD: You could make an argument, you name her, and almost let the Democrats beat her up, have this fight about abortion, because guess what, the single most important voter for Republican base voters are those pro life advocates. 
 

NB Daily Judiciary Kavanaugh Nomination NBC Video Chuck Todd Brett Kavanaugh Christine Blasey Ford
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