Christine Blasey Ford listens to her attorney Michael Bromwich as she testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Like a rather bad crime melodrama, all the pieces of the Brett Kavanaugh saga are beginning to slide into place and make sense.
Just a couple of days ago, Christine Ford’s former boyfriend (did this guy ever dodge the bullet, amirite?) sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee declaring that not only was Ford familiar with polygraphs, she had actually given advice to a longtime friend who was applying for a job with the FBI on how to beat a polygraph. As I noted in this post, the questions by Rachel Mitchell are so precise that one is left with the feeling that the letter was available to the committee before the hearing last Thursday:
MITCHELL: Have you ever had discussions with anyone, beside your attorneys, on how to take a polygraph?
MITCHELL: And I don’t just mean countermeasures, but I mean just any sort of tips, or anything like that.
FORD: No. I was scared of the test itself, but was comfortable that I could tell the information, and the test would reveal whatever it was going to reveal. I didn’t expect it to be as long as it was going to be, so it was a little bit stressful.
MITCHELL: Had — have you ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test?
Now we have some more interesting data points.
The friend is a woman named Monica McLean and she did go on to work for the FBI.
According to her LinkedIn background, Ms. Monica Lee McLean, was a 24-year employee of the Department of Justice and FBI from 1992 to 2016. According to public records Ms. McLean worked in both Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY.
In a 2000 Los Angeles FBI declaration Ms. McLean describes herself as a Special Agent of the FBI, Associate Division Counsel, in the Los Angeles Division Legal Unit.
Sometime between 2000 and 2003, McLean transferred to the Southern District of New York (SDNY), FBI New York Field Office; where she shows up on various reports, including media reports, as a spokesperson for the FBI.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. McLean retired from the FBI in 2016, after 24 years of work.
While in the SDNY she worked as a public information officer. The US Attorney there was long time Chuck Schumer ally and frothing anti-Trumper, Preet Bharara, who was unceremoniously kicked to the curb and relative obscurity by the unexpected election of Donald Trump.
But there is even a more curious exchange in Ford’s testimony that lays out the sequence of events that led to her contacting her member of Congress:
MITCHELL: OK. Prior to July 6th, had you spoken to any member of Congress? And when I say Congress, I mean the Senate or the House of Representatives or any congressional staff members about your allegations?
MITCHELL: Why did you contact the Washington Post, then, on July 6th?
FORD: So, I was panicking because I knew the timeline was short for the decision and people were giving me advice on the beach. People who don’t know about the processes, but they were giving me advice.
And many people told me, “You need to hire a lawyer,” and I didn’t do that. I didn’t understand why I would need a lawyer. Somebody said, “Call the New York Times, call the Washington Post, put in an anonymous tip, go to your congressperson.”
And when I weighed those options, I felt like the best option was to try to do the civic route which is to go to my congressperson, who happens to be Anna Eshoo. So I called her office and I also put in the anonymous tip to The Washington Post. And neither — unfortunately, neither got back to me in — before the selection of the nominee.
MITCHELL: You testified that Congresswoman Eshoo’s office contacted you on July 9th, is that right?
FORD: They contacted me the date that the nominee was announced, so that seems likely what…
MITCHELL: Had you talked to — about your allegations with anyone in her office before the date of July 9th?
FORD: I told the receptionist on the phone.
MITCHELL: OK. On July 10th, you texted The Washington Post again, which was really the third time, is that right? Second date, third time.
FORD: Let’s see.
(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE) One moment.
MITCHELL: And you texted — been advised to contact senators or New York Times, haven’t heard back from Washington Post. Who…
MITCHELL: … advised you to contact senators or The New York Times?
FORD: Beach friends…
MITCHELL: The second is the letter that you wrote to Senator Feinstein, dated the—July 30th of this year.
MITCHELL: Did you write the letter yourself?
FORD: I did.
MITCHELL: And I—since it’s dated July 30th, did you write it on that date?
FORD: I believe so. I—it sounds right. I was in Rehoboth, Delaware, at the time. I could look into my calendar and try to figure that out. It seemed…
MITCHELL: Was it written on or about that date?
FORD: Yes, yes. I traveled, I think, the 26th of July to Rehoboth, Delaware. So that makes sense, because I wrote it from there.
As it turns out, Monica McLean lives in Rehoboth Beach.
And this is Monica McLean’s lawyer.
David Laufman, chief of the counterintelligence section at the Justice Department's National Security Division, has stepped down, per @nakashimae. He played a leading role in the Clinton email server and Russian hacking investigations. https://t.co/nOthRGqnnC
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) February 8, 2018
And one of the attorneys for Ford is Michael Bromwich who was, at one time, the DOJ IG and who represents Andrew McCabe. (At this point I feel like I’m about to go full-metal Glenn Beck and roll out the whiteboard.)
Making this all the more interesting is a report in today’s Wall Street Journal:
A friend of Christine Blasey Ford told FBI investigators that she felt pressured by Dr. Ford’s allies to revisit her initial statement that she knew nothing about an alleged sexual assault by a teenage Brett Kavanaugh, which she later updated to say that she believed but couldn’t corroborate Dr. Ford’s account, according to people familiar with the matter.
Leland Keyser, who Dr. Ford has said was present at the gathering where she was allegedly assaulted in the 1980s, told investigators that Monica McLean, a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and a friend of Dr. Ford’s, had urged her to clarify her statement, the people said.
At first glance, that seems like McLean was perilously close to suborning perjury.
While I never bought Ford’s story, for a while I believed that she had been involuntarily groped at some point in her life, perhaps in a manner that she described to the nation, but that the perpetrator was not Brett Kavanaugh. Now I’m convinced that this was a vaguely plausible lie from the start, that the execution was timed, that the gaps in Ford’s memory were calculated, and that there was pressure behind the scenes to create corroborating witnesses.
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