Thursday, October 4, 2018


A couple of weeks ago, after the release of the famous 65-woman letter in defense of the teenage character of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, when folks were wondering how a kid in an all-boy Catholic school managed to be acquainted with that many girls, I thought I knew something about it—not from any personal experience, right, but probably from reading too much fiction set among the upper classes—and let the Twitter know. Upon which I got a response:
Cool of Twitter to send me confirmation so quickly! So I filed that in my memory, and when it turned out the following week that Christine Blasey's school was Holton Arms, I said to myself, well, there you go.

And there she did go, indeed, in Thursday morning's testimony:

FORD: During my time at this school, girls at Holton-Arms frequently met and became friendly with boys from all-boys schools in the area, including the Landon School, Georgetown Prep, Gonzaga High School, as well as our country clubs and other places where kids and families socialized. This is how I met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who sexually assaulted me.
During my freshman and sophomore school years, when I was 14 and 15 years old, my group of friends intersected with Brett and his friends for a short period of time. I had been friendly with a classmate of Brett’s for a short time during my freshman and sophomore year, and it was through that connection that I attended a number of parties that Brett also attended. We did not know each other well, but I knew him and he knew me.
Which made it all the more surprising to notice this nugget in the Thursday hearing transcript:

Dr. Ford’s allegation stems from a party that she alleges occurred during the summer of 1982, 36 years ago. I was 17 years old, between my junior and senior years of high school at Georgetown Prep, a rigorous all-boys Catholic Jesuit High School in Rockville, Maryland. When my friends and I spent time together at parties on weekends, it was usually the — with friends from nearby Catholic all-girls high schools, Stone Ridge, Holy Child, Visitation, Immaculata, Holy Cross.
Dr. Ford did not attend one of those schools. She attended an independent private school named Holton-Arms and she was a year behind me. She and I did not travel in the same social circles. It is possible that we met at some point at some events, although I do not recall that. To repeat, all of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening.
That's another deliberate falsification (or as The Times calls it, "At Times, Kavanaugh’s Defense Misleads or Veers Off Point"). And it's a particularly important one, because it's an attempt to mask the fact that the connection between him and her was at very precisely one degree of separation, through one of the closest friends in his circle, Chris Garrett or "Squi", who was the boy who was "friendly with" Christine Blasey at some point in 1981 or 1982, and who was at or meant to be at that brewski session on Thursday night (Kavanaugh was clear with the Senate that he never drank on weeknights as a high schooler, but this exception is from his calendar), 1 July 1982, at Timmy's house.

I want to fill in novelistically or narratologically the unspoken part of this, because I Am Not A Lawyer and nobody else is going to say it for now: that we've imagined that Garrett is the one who brought Blasey to Timmy's house that night, sat around in the living room drinking and unaware while Kavanaugh and Judge attacked her at the top of the stairs, and perhaps drove her home afterwards, and it's an element in her trauma that this boy she trusted had failed to protect her.

The other point is that this is what the Doppelgänger theory presented by Republican operative Ed Whelan—that Blasey was assaulted by somebody who looked like Kavanaugh—was originally about: Chris Garrett was the person Whelan identified in his tweetstorm as the assaulter. And the way we understand Whelan came up with his theory—
Whelan wasn’t working alone. His posts cited as fact information that was either fabricated or not yet public, such as the location of the home of a female partygoer whose name hadn’t been published and other details only knowable to someone who had been inside the D.C. prep school social scene. Whelan also visited Ford’s LinkedIn profile last Sunday, hours before she came forward publicly in her Washington Post op-ed. When Ford noticed Whelan had visited her page she alerted an associate (LinkedIn allows you to see who looks at your profile, unless the visitor has a premium account), which suggests it’s possible that Whelan, who is far from being a household name, had already been on her radar. (Paste)
—suggests to me that he knew the story as I've sketched it out about: at the minimum, through somebody who had worked with Kavanaugh personally, that Kavanaugh was worried he might be accused of assault by Christine Blasey Ford on the basis of this very 1 July gathering at which Squi was present, and that somebody, perhaps from Don McGahn's office or maybe Senator Hatch's—
Whelan was in communication with at least one Republican member of the committee this week, and that member told associates he was aware Whelan’s theory involved the home of a Kavanaugh classmate near the Chevy Chase Country Club.
Matt Whitlock, deputy chief of staff to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), directed people to Whelan’s Twitter feed on Wednesday in a tweet of his own and later deleted his tweet.
“Keep an eye on Ed’s tweets the next few days,” Whitlock wrote.
After Whelan unveiled his theory Thursday evening, Whitlock deleted the tweet, explaining that he “didn’t want to promote” anything that “dragged an unrelated private citizen into this unfortunate situation.” (Politico)
—helped him put together the accusation against Squi, only he handled it so badly it had to be dropped. Why was Kavanaugh expecting this to come up, with these particular details? I can think of one really simple reason.

BooMan was up late this morning examining the 1 July event in much greater detail—among other things, 1 July 1982 was the day the Maryland drinking age was raised, though there was a grandfather clause allowing those who were already 18 to continue buying alcohol (Kavanaugh wasn't 18 yet anyway).

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