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Kavanaugh Has The Votes To Be Confirmed To The Supreme Court


This message comes from NPR sponsor, national cooperative Bank. Choose a Bank that shares your values, national cooperative Bank offers online checking and savings accounts that positively impacts communities more at NC dot coop, slash banking member FDIC. Hey, there. It's the NPR politics. Podcast. Rhett cavenaugh is going to be on the United States Supreme court. We're gonna talk about that and extraordinary Friday at the US capitol. I'm Scott detro- cover congress, Kelsey Snell Elsa cover congress. I'm Sharon, SCO, I covered the White House and I'm too MAC, political reporter. So it's pretty clear by these slimmest of margins, Brad Kavanagh is headed to the supreme court. Kelsey walk us through win that became crystal clear on Friday. It became crystal-clear within a matter of minutes when Susan Collins, the Republican Senator from Maine announced on the Senate floor after more than forty minutes of talking that she was going to be supporting Cavanaugh. And then just a few minutes later, Joe mansion, the democrat from West Virginia announced that he would also be supporting cavenaugh and that brought us to very clearly locked in yes votes. And we're going to circle back to Collins in a moment, but fifty one forty nine is how that key cloture vote had played out earlier fry. Day at the time we thought there was still a chance that people could change their mind, but but Kelsey was that really a clear moment where it was like, okay, this looks like it's probably going to happen. It did look that way. There was a few moments where we were chasing around senators, Tim, and I were standing in different hallways, different parts of the capital trying to find people like Senator Jeff flake of Republican of Arizona and Colin to we mentioned in mansion to see if they were going to stick with their votes flake with a little bit cryptic. We didn't really know what was going to happen. And then Collins went and had lunch with Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. And he came out saying that he felt pretty good about things. And from there it seemed like we were heading in a direction where the fifty one votes were going to quickly come into place. I, you should do the sense if the president ever really wavered in his support Brett Kavanagh through this really tense process. His messages on Cavanaugh had been mixed for to a to a certain extent. It did seem like points. Maybe he was trying to give himself. A bit of an out, you know, he would say, I think that Kavanagh's a great man. He's outstanding, but I could be convinced of anything so, but I think ultimately, what's cavenaugh gave that statement at the hearing at the second hearing and was just so forceful and came out against the Clintons and all that that was Trump's language. So I think with that, I think he really sold himself to President Trump. We were up here on the capital throughout the day. Kind of wondering what was going on in the White House. Were they talking to you as much about it? Did you did you hear much from them about what they were expecting today? I think that most of them were saying that they think they felt like things were going in the right direction, and that's what they had been saying for a while they, they were cautiously optimistic, but they didn't want to get out ahead of this. Things have gone, you know, very the things that have changed very easily with this, but I think they had felt for a while that things were going in the right direction. Tim Friday was a really tense day on capitol. Hill. It's been a really tense week on Capitol Hill seats. Jeff flake negotiated. This delay this one week delay in which the FBI would reopen an investigation into bread, Kavanagh's background. There's been a lot of questions about who could eventually get to. Yes, on Brad Kavanagh. We found the answer on Friday, but the fact is that there's been a lot of uncertainty and a lot of demonstrations here on Capitol Hill and a lot of lobbying on both sides of this issue. Taking a step back, President Trump now has put two picks the supreme court and has replaced a swing vote with a reliable conservative. And this is a big deal for President Trump. He often says, people tell him the supreme court is one of the most important things that a president can do. And so he has been able to deliver a to conservatives strong conservatives to the supreme court and now, and this was a very difficult process for this White House. House helping to get them through the finish line a, but they pulled it off. And for once even though President Trump did insert himself in some ways, especially when it came to some Kavanagh's accusers for the most part, this was really all about the Senate and about Cavanaugh and not about Trump, which is a made this a different type of crisis that the White House had to work through or. And we need to have a long conversation about Susan Collins. The main Republican was the deciding vote on cavenaugh. She gave a floor speech with a run up and with the drama that made LeBron James decision from a while back look like a declarative, straightforward statement. We're gonna talk all about that after a quick break support for NPR in the following message come from w. e. t. a. public television and radio. Now watch your favorite PBS shows on demand from drama and mystery to science and history. Whenever you want with w ETA passport catch up on past episodes or binge watch the new season of poll Dr. The story of a swashbuckling hero returning home to Levin scandal. Following the American revolution go to w. e. t. a. dot org, slash my passport or Google w. e. t. a passport and start streaming. Now. On the latest planet money, especially report inside the business of the silent. We go inside and underground network of professional story writers coaches and scammers gaming the asylum system and how the FBI frackdown that's on the latest planet money. And we're back, let's start by just listening to Susan Collins for a moment. I have begun my floor remarks six, flaming my decision with the recognition of the solemn nature and the importance of the Cajun you listen to the speech forty plus minutes point-by-point sales pitch for Brett Cavanaugh in terms of his background. His judicial philosophy Judge Kevin has received rave reviews for his twelve year, track record as a judge, including for his judicial temperament, really discounting, Christine, Blasi Ford and other accusations. The four win. And since she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the salt occurred, even though Collins said that that she wasn't trying to do that. And she spoke in support of me too hard to listen to this. Speech and think that Susan Collins really ever was undecided. It's hard to disagree with you on that though. I'm told she was talking to constituents and you know she was really was really mulling this over over the past several weeks. And she went out of her way to say how many times she had met with him how many hours she had spent talking to people about this. I think the first part of her speech was a little bit of selling how hard it was for her to make the decision. And then she transitioned to closing argument for cavenaugh as not the partisan he was made out to be. And I think that that was the vast majority of what her speech was was explaining that he and her mind was not the partisan. That Democrats have said he is at the beginning of her speech after she was shouted down by some protesters who had to be removed from the Senate gallery, she went on to say that she was disappointed that this wasn't a solemn on consideration of supreme court nominee, but a gutter level political campaign. And from there it was pretty clear from the start that she was building up. Her reasoning for voting s. a.. Couple things jumped out to me. Firstly, she she said she was really persuaded to support cavenaugh actually after some of the allegations that were brought forward by Julia, sweat, Nick and her lawyer, Michael avenue. She said that those claims were outrageous and could not be corroborated. She also seemed to almost put some salt in the wound of folks would hope that she would oppose cavenaugh by saying the cavenaugh actually, you know, voted a lot with Merrick, garland, you remember America Ireland, the Obama nominee who never got a hearing in the Senate. Those two things really jumped out at me and actually the whole speech. If you read eighty, ninety percent of it on its own, you could almost imagine Mitch McConnell, delivering a speech like that. Isha to me, it was how long the speech was how indepth it was. It didn't seem like this was like, oh, well, I guess I'll vote, yes, but it's I'm very reluctant. This was a full throated endorsement of him, and then. When you talk about the way that she talked about a Christine Blasi Ford, she said that she believed that something happened to her, but nevertheless, she felt like it hadn't been corroborated. And so it was a way that I think that she was trying to thread this needle to say that we believe women, they should be heard, but she's still raise questions. Well, let's step back and talk about what we think that could mean for the midterms because you're right. Collins says me to Israel. It matters. It's long overdue, but then she poked so many holes in what Ford said and says, it's not a criminal trial, but there's a, there's basic fairness. And if you if you wanna take allegations seriously, they should at least meet a threshold of more likely than not indicating Ford's testimony was on the or not side will. I think this kind of land on something that I've been hearing from Republicans for several days, and we even heard Jeff flake, kind of articulate this a little bit as he was doing his tour of bipartisanship with Chris coons of Delaware. Where earlier this week, the fact of the matter is these Republicans are saying that they are conservatives that the judicial philosophy and the, you know, the entire background of Kavanagh fits with their political beliefs. So there's that one bucket of this conversation, but then there's something separate happened here that is not specifically political that has to do with the metoo movement with the allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. And they had to find a way to separate the two and make vote about their political beliefs. Because at the end of the day, they think they're political beliefs are what is going to carry them through future elections. So Collins is getting the most attention here, but there was another swing vote who's an even more precarious political situation. And that's Joe Manchin democrat on the ballot in deep red, West Virginia. He ends up being the only democrat supporting Brett Kavanagh. What do we make of that? Well, he is running for reelection in a state, the president one, right? And the we, we know he is. Vulnerable. But he said in a statement that he promises constituents that he would look seriously Kavanagh's record and cast his vote based on the facts he had before me and what's best for West Virginia. He said that he had serious reservations about the vote, given the accusations against Cavanaugh and his temperament that the, you know, the partisanship that that Democrats have talked about quite a bit in his second appearance, but he found him to be a qualified jurist. And he said he thinks he'll will follow the constitution. Now mansion has a lot to think about here. West Virginia is one of the most conservative most Trump supporting states in the entire country, and he is running against a credible challenger, and he has a very good chance of, you know, being in a very tight race. And this decision may have a lot to do with those politics and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana were in that exact same position of running for re election in a state that Trump won by a lot. They all voted for Neil. Sich last year. So I guess we'll see which one of them took the better track when it comes to the pure politics of it, and the results in the midterms and a few weeks. I can't meet a kind of slightly different argument when she explained her no vote. She said that she worried about the message that it would send to women and girls. And she said that she does worry about a partisanship that she saw in his statements and to be fair. She is facing a really, really tough race. And a lot of reason polls are showing her slipping far behind. And I've talked to a lot of people who know her pretty well who said that this was a gut moment for her, but but mansion one thing that stood out to me is that he didn't confirm that he was going to vote. Yes. On the on. The final vote for confirmation until Collins made her statements right after it was just like he had to make sure that that was gonna go that way because I guess there was a question or you know, outsiders questioning whether he would have wanted to be the the deciding vote. The fifty vote. I, if he didn't have Collins to cover him, but always easier to be the second person over the line. Yes, so, but as so as soon as she did it, he came out with a statement, I, I want to call them it for a second about the national politics of all this. I mean, as you look across the cavenaugh confirmation process, what you saw was a divided conservative movement. There were never Trumpers and their pro Trumpers kind of all rally behind one candidate and one cause for the first time in a long time. And I, you saw a lot of unity amongst folks who were just really glad to get back to their tribe. If you know what I'm saying like that that there were never Trumpers just eager to push forward on this issue. People like Erick Erickson who have historically opposed Donald Trump saying, we have to get cavenaugh confirmed the supreme court that enthusiasm has really in the last week, we saw an NPR pulled at it really translated to some enthusiasm amongst the Republican. Ace, and I'd be really curious to know whether that fades a little bit. Now that Brad Kavanagh looks like he's going to be confirmed the supreme court. Something really remarkable here is that Kavanagh's nomination came almost one year to the day from those initial articles about Harvey Weinstein that really kicked off the metoo movement. And the big question that I have is is what's the lasting impact of this last week this day long gut wrenching testimony. Now I in Christine, Blasi. Ford said that she was reluctant to come forward because she was worried it wouldn't matter in the end. And now Brad Kavanagh still goes to the supreme court anyway. So what does that do? What does that do for for women all across the country who who, who saw her through that who may have had a similar experience in her life and and have seen this as the culmination of a year long national conversation about how we take allegations seriously or not. I don't think that it ends here at all. I don't think that it can, and I think some people who support. Cavenaugh kind have kind of int- Colin seemed to argue he'll get on the court and everyone will kind of come together and everything will be better. And I just, I don't think that we see any evidence of that. I think that the divisions in this country seem to be real and seem to be hardening not. You know, I, I don't see him getting confirmed in all of these. People have been so passionate who've been protesting who've been talking about the sexual assaults that they've been through. I don't see that just fading away. It seems like it would make people even more passionate. If we're talking about the energy that might come off of this event. You can already feel it immediately after Joe Manchin announced his support for Brad Kavanagh. He went outside and was confronted by a number of demonstrators who shouted him down as he tried to explain vote. And then I. I gave my reasons for my decision. Ours went out. So Kelsey, you and I cover congress. This is just been such a weird process. I mean, it started off thinking, wow, this is going to be this epic clash over the key swing vote. Then it became over the summer. It seemed like kind of a dud in terms of political interest in a done deal. And then we spent the last month watching this visceral personal fight play out on national television and radio. I mean, what do you think you're going to take away from all this? I am going to be really watching the way senators recover from this if they recover from this because it's very likely that they're going to leave town fairly shortly here to go finish campaigning for the midterms wit only gosh, just a little bit more than a month away. And once they leave, they're going to go back into an even more partisan environment where they're running for reelection or supporting other people running for re election. And then they have to come back here and keep the government open and have a fight about President Trump's demand. For a wall on the border with Mexico. And I'm just going to be watching to see if the Senate is just a different place now, are they able to recover from fighting so bitterly? And are they able to cut deals that are necessary to do the basics of governing? Or does this continue to be just toxic political environment? And and for me, it's all of that plus, what's the effect on the supreme court? Several senators in their closing speeches pointed out that there's more institutional trust on the supreme court than any other institution and all of that's fading fast as well. So if we're finally formerly viewing, the supreme court has just as partisan and tribal is everything else where does that leave us? Yeah, that's a really good question. And I think that the only way we're going to find an answer is just to wait. All right. That's it for today. Brett cavenaugh likely headed to the supreme court. I'm Scott detro-. I cover congress. I'm Kelsey Snell. I also cover congress Roscoe. I covered the White House and I'm too MAC, political reporter. Thank you for listening to the NPR politics podcast. Support for this podcast and the following message come from internet essentials from Comcast, connecting more than six million low income people to low cost, high speed internet at home. So students are ready for homework class graduation and more now they're ready for anything.

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