Gabe Sherman reports that the Rosenstein leak appears to have been a "smoke bomb" to knock Kavanaugh out of the news. “The strategy was to try and do something really big,” said a source familiar with Trump's thinking. https://t.co/wWRGXJZBHA
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) September 24, 2018
… In public, Trump continues to voice support for his embattled Supreme Court nominee, telling reporters at the United Nations earlier this morning that he stands with Kavanaugh “all the way.” But in private, Trump is growing increasingly frustrated by being mired in a deteriorating political situation beyond his control. On Monday morning, a Republican briefed on Trump’s thinking said the president has been considering pulling Kavanaugh’s nomination.
According to the source, Trump allies are imploring him to cut Kavanaugh loose for the sake of saving Republicans’ electoral chances in the midterms. The argument these advisers are making is that if Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, demoralized Republicans will stay home in November, and Democrats will take the House and the Senate and initiate impeachment proceedings. The end result: Trump will be removed from office. “The stakes are that high,” the source said. Another Republican adviser told me: “Trump is very worried now, and is finally waking up that it’s the end of his presidency if he loses the Senate.” Trump’s outside allies are advising him to nominate Amy Coney Barrett and fast-track her confirmation before the midterms. “Some in the White House think you can only appoint a woman now,” a former administration official told me. An outside adviser added: “Democrats won’t be able to pivot fast enough to attack her, since she’s a woman.”…
As Kavanaugh’s poll numbers plummet, Trump is telling people in private that he was never a fan of Kavanaugh’s selection, sources said. According to two people who’ve spoken with Trump recently, Trump complained that establishment Republicans foisted Kavanaugh on him, because they reasoned Kavanaugh would unite the party in November. According to one former West Wing official, Trump’s first choice was Judge Thomas Hardiman, who served on the federal bench alongside Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry.
Trump is keeping his distance from the nominee. A White House official said he hasn’t spoken with Kavanaugh in recent days. “This is Brett Kavanaugh’s fight,” the White House official said.
He likes SCOTUS nominees who don’t get captured, okay?
Kellyanne Conway just defended Brett Kavanaugh on a call with White House surrogates, urged them to defend his nomination. Compared judge to "elite media figures" like Les Moonves & Harvey Weinstein who have been accused of sexual harassment/assault, per two people on call.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) September 24, 2018
Say what you will about Brett Kavanaugh, but his life trajectory from suburban Maryland to Yale to Yale Law School to DC legal work to the DC Circuit give him an unprecedented connection to ordinary Americans living outside the Beltway. https://t.co/vVjDUoobkc
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 24, 2018
National Review columnist John Fund is offering "sincere apologies" for spreading false information about Kavanaugh accuser Deborah Ramirez.
Last week, a number of false claims spread through RW media about Christine Blasey Ford, misidentifying her w/a women of the same name. pic.twitter.com/UycpC85Muf
— andrew kaczynski? (@KFILE) September 24, 2018
My feeling at the moment is that the brain worms grew that goatee for you. https://t.co/kCR3CwXtyC
— zeddy (@Zeddary) September 24, 2018
"I don’t see how Kavanaugh makes it at this point,” Ed Rollins, co-chairman of the pro-Trump Great America PAC, tells me. Says Dems have become much better than Rs at opposition research and putting together strategies for nominees.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 24, 2018
Senate Republicans argued Kavanaugh shouldn’t testify first, that Ford should since she’s the one who made the allegation. Now Kavanaugh has the chance to tell his story twice — on Fox tonight and again under oath Thursday. Ford says she’s denied multiple interview requests.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) September 24, 2018
Putting the allegations made against him to one side, Kavanaugh’s “I’m not going anywhere” at the end of this clip is the least convincing assertion ever. https://t.co/ZxInf537bw
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) September 24, 2018