Many Democratic candidates for president and others in the Senate have called for Justice Kavanaugh to be impeached, while some have said this shows there should be additional investigation.. However, all that are separate from two related issues that struck me.
The first is the dilemma this causes for Republicans. No doubt all Republican senators are going to dismiss such talk of impeachment. Or even resignation, should it come up. And that's understandable. However -- if Democrats take control of the Senate in the 2020 elections, and hold the House and win the presidency (all of which is very reasonably possible, though hardly certain), then as more evidence comes to the surface, Kavanaugh could conceivably be impeached (or resign) when a Democratic president would be in position to nominate his replacement. On the other hand, if Mr. Kavanaugh is impeached now (or resigns), Trump would still be able to nominate his successor.
So, what to do? Oh, my, what to do?
To be clear, I'm not suggesting what will happen, or won't. I'm just noting the dilemma that has been caused for the Republican Party.
(There's a bit of "whimsy" here, since the new McConnell Rule is to not confirm a Supreme Court nominee during the last year of a presidency, as is what happened with Merrick Garland with President Obama. Though, a few months back, Mitch McConnell laughingly said he'd have no problem confirming a Republican nominee under the same conditions. O the fun of galling anti-Democratic hypocrisy...)
The other thing that struck me is a comment Trump made about all of this, offering the cracker jack advice in a tweet that Brett Kavanaugh should sue for libel. (Since libel is a media matter, as opposed to slander, that can only mean he's suggesting a lawsuit against the New York Times.)
As you know, Trump is always fond of saying he is his own adviser. So, if this is the kind of "advice" he gives himself to make, no wonder things in his administration are so profoundly screwed up.
Sue the New York Times for libel??? (And yes, I know that his original tweet said, "liable," which has caused great ridicule in social media, but if a man can tweet out "kofeve," he can mistype "libel" And even if it wasn't a typo and he thought the word was actually "liable," there are far, far more damaging actions he's taken against society for me to get too bothered by how he spelled a word, funny though it may be.)
Putting the Second Amendment issue aside, the hurdle of proving malicious intent is profoundly high. And it's raised all the higher when all the New York Times did was add details to a story that already existed and investigated by the FBI -- and reported a charge made by a named individual. Even if this latter charge was wrong, then Kavanaugh's complaint would be against the person who made it, not the New York Times for reporting what they honestly and journalistically believed to be his words. And of course, if both stories are true, then that's not only the greatest defense against "libel" -- but suing over something that could be actually proven as true in court is a really, really lamebrain suggestion.
And that's what leads to the worst thing about the Trump "advice." The moment a lawsuit for libel was entered, the defense would be able to dive into the discovery phase of the trial. They could gather records, do more investigating for other information and, worst of all, subpoena witnesses to testify who were never allowed to be called during Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination hearing -- most notably Ms. Ramirez and (even worse) Kavanaugh's high school friend Mark Judge who wrote a memoir 22 years ago that told damning stories about a similarly-named, thinly-disguised person. For that matter, all of Kavanaugh's high school friends could be subpoenaed. And by "could be" I mean "would.be."
Ultimately, the details of all this are meaningless in terms of what might happen if Brett Kavanaugh actually sued for "libel." He won't. Because it was an incredibly idiotic piece of advice by Trump. And in the end, that's the point. This is what Trump thinks is Good Advice. Smart Advice. Wise Advice. And it's as stupid as you could get. And if any one thing (out of all the many hundreds available) defines the total lunk-headedness of the Trump administration, Trump advising Brett Kavanaugh to sue the New York Times for libel is right there at the top.
And that's today's Very Stable Genius Report.