Sen. Kamala Harris is facing backlash after several fact-checkers questioned a heavily edited video from her office that depicts Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as anti-women.
Harris, a California Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- which will decide if Kavanaugh gets a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court -- tweeted out the clip, which shows Kavanaugh mentioning the term “abortion-inducing drugs,” a term that Harris slammed as “a dog whistle for going after birth control.”
The tweet suggests that Kavanaugh seeks to take away “a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions.”
The now-viral post has been retweeted more than 15,000 times and “liked” more than 30,000 times. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton parroted Harris on Wednesday, days after her claims were debunked.
Crucial facts ommitted
But the fact checkers didn’t find Harris’ commentary or the edited video even remotely accurate. The Washington Post gave the senator four Pinocchios, its most egregious rating, saying the post ommitted crucial facts such as that Kavanaugh was actually quoting the terminology used by the plaintiff in a 2013 court case rather than stating his actual views.
“Harris’s decision to snip those crucial words from her first post on the video is certainly troubling.”
“The issue at hand is Kavanaugh’s reference to ‘abortion-inducing drugs,’” the Post wrote. “A plain reading of his sentence, with its reference to 'they said,' suggests that he is merely reflecting the plaintiffs’ argument.”
“Harris’s decision to snip those crucial words from her first post on the video is certainly troubling,” the report added.
Harris later tweeted out Kavanaugh’s answer, but didn’t acknowledge the falsehood in her previous tweets.
"In fact, [Kavanaugh] was citing the definition of the religious group Priests for Life. He has not expressed his personal view."
“But there was no acknowledgment by Harris that the original tweet was misleading,” the Post fact checker wrote. “She earns Four Pinocchios -- and her fellow Democrats should drop this talking point.”
Even more partisan fact-checkers such like PolitiFact also found Harris’ attack wasn’t based on truth.
“In Harris’ tweet, Kavanaugh appears to define contraception as abortion-inducing. But the video failed to include a crucial qualifier: ‘They said.’ In fact, he was citing the definition of the religious group Priests for Life. He has not expressed his personal view,” PolitiFact’s check said.
It remained unclear why PolitiFact deemed Harris’ posted clip as merely “false” rather giving the famous “pants on fire” verdict.
Harris, considered a likely presidential contender for 2020, has been criticized for using the Kavanaugh hearings to create made-for-TV moments rather than question the nominee on his suitability for the high court.
During the first day of the hearings last week, Harris immediately interrupted committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, as he tried to deliver his opening remarks, saying “We cannot possibly move forward” because some documents on Kavanaugh had been released just hours earlier.
She also pursued a cryptic line of questing, asking the nominee if he had ever spoken with anyone from the law firm of Kasowitz Benson Torres, whose head for a brief moment was President Trump’s personal lawyer, concerning the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“Be sure about your answer, sir,” Harris warned Kavanaugh as he struggled to recall whether he had spoken with someone from the law firm, which has hundreds of attorneys on staff and nine offices across the U.S. Kavanaugh later directly answered that there were no “inappropriate” conversations with anyone from the firm, a statement the firm confirmed as well.
Still, Harris’ odd questions appeared to have made an impact. U.S, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Monday that she will be voting against Kavanaugh's confirmation. As part of her reason, she referred to Harris’ questioning.
“Judge Kavanaugh’s inability to remember if he has discussed the Special Counsel’s investigation with President Trump’s defense team is extremely alarming,” Shaheen said in a statement, despite Kavanaugh’s remarks to the contrary.