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Conservative Take On Kavanaugh Hearing And Investigation


Now the aftermath of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings. Many American conservatives are lauding Brett Kavanaugh's vigorous defense, not least among them, President Trump. For his reaction, we're joined now by Rich Lowry, editor of National Review. Good morning, and thanks for joining us.

RICH LOWRY: Thanks for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I'd like to start with Jeff Flake. Do you think he did the right thing in demanding a week's delay for the FBI to investigate further?

LOWRY: I don't. I think this process has been delayed enough. I think the Democrats have always had an interest in delay. It's one reason that it emerged from the hearings that Ford's lawyers had exaggerated her fear of flying to buy more time, probably so the Yale accuser could be coaxed to coming out. She, as we know, didn't fully believe that it was Brett Kavanaugh that had exposed herself - himself to her. But then after days of people working on her, she changed her mind and decided to come forward. So I really think there is a deep lack of good faith on the other side, and it's very unlikely that this FBI investigation is going to come to anything.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What is the feeling among Republicans right now on Jeff Flake? I mean, there is some thought that giving this time for the FBI to actually do some investigation allows this to be less of a fight when people have to come for a vote.

LOWRY: Well, it's still going to be an enormous fight. And you already see Democrats basically alleging now that the FBI investigation is part of the cover-up because it's not as extensive or won't be as long as they would like. So, clearly, they want an FBI investigation that would push this beyond the election, hope to take the Senate, hope to convince Republicans not to try to do anything in the lame-duck session and then prevent Donald Trump from holding seat - going to seat.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, you know, elsewhere in the show, we've heard from people who oppose Brett Kavanaugh's nomination after his performance, saying that it wasn't just about the anger and partisanship that he showed in his defense but also that he seemed to mislead the Senate committee on stuff that has been reported on - his yearbook entries, for example, and what they mean. What is your response to that?

LOWRY: Well, one, I think his anger was justified. And this - when you're a judge, you're hearing other people's cases and arguments. In this instance, he's the defendant. He's being accused, including of being part of a game - gang rape ring in a suburban Maryland county, so that would be - cause anyone who's being falsely accused of that to be outraged. And I think that things that the Democrats are saying he's lying about he was minimizing. You know, it's often said that he denied drinking to excess. That's not what he did. He says explicitly in his testimony that he did occasionally drink to excess. He just says he didn't black out. So I think he could have been more frank about these kinds of things and just said, yes, I drank. I occasionally threw up after drinking. But he's operating in an environment where any confession like that will be used by the other side to suggest he's guilty of sexual assault.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But to say that some of his yearbook entries meant one thing when reporting has showed that they meant something very different, doesn't that sort of make people wonder whether this should be a man who is sitting on the highest court in the land?

LOWRY: Well, I think, one, the suggestion that we know exactly what various slang terms meant in 1982, given that slang, the nature of slang is that it changes over time, I think is a little ridiculous. He obviously is regretful, too, about the reference to the woman named Renata. He said that they were clumsily referring to being friends with her. I think it depends on what you - how you interpret the meaning of the word clumsily.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Or friendship.

LOWRY: Yes. But the idea that we're going to hang him based on his yearbook entries when - prevent him going to Supreme Court on that, when this is supposed to be about sexual assault, just goes to my point that the deep, bad faith (ph), that Democrats have wanted to sink this nominee by any means, fair or foul, from the beginning, and this is just part and parcel of that effort.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: One last question, Rich. You know, if you were to put money on where this goes, what do you bet happens next? We got about 15 seconds.

LOWRY: I think he'll probably be confirmed, but, obviously, there's very little margin for error.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. Thank you very much for joining us.

LOWRY: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.