Trump, who initially handled the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school with care, has since taken a far more aggressive tone as Ford has been joined by Swetnick and Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a college party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations against him.
On Wednesday afternoon, Trump blasted Michael Avenatti, who is representing Swetnick and is also the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, as a “lowlife.” Asked whether he believed Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick are all lying, Trump refused to answer. “What’s your next question,” he said to the assembled reporters.
* The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Kavanaugh and Ford is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, an event that will be broadcast to millions upon millions of people. Democrats are calling on Chuck Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, to postpone the hearing due to the new allegations from Ramirez and Swetnick. He has refused — and has even scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation in committee for Friday.
Meanwhile, there are cracks beginning to appear among Republican senators.
And Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker told reporters that there were more undecideds within the GOP conference in regard to Kavanaugh than were being reported: “I would guess there are 20 people, at least, in our caucus that are going to listen to these hearings,” Corker told CNN’s Kristin Wilson. “I would say that at least half of our caucus is going to be watching the hearing tomorrow and making their own determination.”
* Trump is slated to meet with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein some time on Thursday, a conversation widely expected to determine whether Rosenstein stays on the job through the midterms, is fired by Trump or chooses to resign.
The concern among Democrats is that firing or forcing Rosenstein to remove Mueller is the latest sign of Trump’s attempt to obstruct Mueller’s investigation. The worry among Republicans is that removing Rosenstein sends a signal that Trump is concerned about the probe and is taking out someone who has been a stalwart backer of Mueller and his right to continue investigating until he is satisfied.
And so Trump is dealing with not only a Supreme Court nominee teetering on the brink of failure but also a personnel decision with wide-reaching political — and potentially legal — implications. All at once.
What’s more, all indications are that Trump’s state of mind is not where lots of Republicans would like it to be at the moment. Over the last 24 hours, he has lashed out at the women accusing Kavanaugh and dismissed their allegations as politically motivated smears against a good man.
“President Donald Trump has grown increasingly dissatisfied with the way Brett Kavanaugh has defended himself in wake of sexual assault allegations that have threatened to derail his Supreme Court nomination …
… It has led the President to believe that he must personally take charge of defending his embattled nominee ahead of Thursday’s critical appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Add it all up and you get this: A notoriously mercurial President who hates to lose coming face to face with a series of challenges in which there may be no “winning” option and which also have the potential to define not just the present political moment but Trump’s first four years in office.
In short: Look out. We could be talking about what happens in the next 24 hours for a very long time to come.