'He Took a Page Out of the Donald Trump Playbook': MSNBC Legal Analyst Explains the Huge Mistake Kavanaugh Made in His Testimony

'He Took a Page Out of the Donald Trump Playbook': MSNBC Legal Analyst Explains the Huge Mistake Kavanaugh Made in His Testimony

Judge Brett Kavanaugh surprised many observers Thursday in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about claims that he committed sexual assault by displaying wild swings of emotion, from full-on rage to weeping with grief. At different points during his testimony and his question periods, he shouted, engaged with hostility toward Democrats, and denounced the proceedings in fiery language.


Maya Wiley, an MSNBC legal analyst, noted that Kavanaugh's decision to display so much open anger was a startling choice — and one that would be considered a huge mistake in a criminal trial.

But she noted that this surprising reaction may not be much of a shock considering who nominated Kavanaugh for a Supreme Court seat.

"Watching it as an attorney, I was cringing," Wiley said. "Because if you have a client who is accused of a violent crime — and fundamentally, sexual assault is a crime of violence — the last thing you want is your client to go on a witness stand and show anger and belligerence and aggression. You want the Judge Kavanaugh that actually showed up at the previous hearings who was much more measured, much more judicial. And I think what that indicated is: Who was his audience?"

She continued: "It feels like he took a page out of the Donald Trump playbook in terms of responding to allegations of sexual assault, rather than a page out of a book of empathy and a book of balance."

"That's something you want from a judge. And it's certainly something you want from a justice of the Supreme Court who is going to have decisions about how women — or to what extent they're able to make decision governing their own lives and bodies," she concluded.

Watch the clip below:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close