Feinstein's gambit against Kavanaugh

  • 19 September 2018
  • NormanL

Prof. Christine Blasey Ford says she might be willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her bombshell allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. But she is demanding the FBI investgate the matter first:

“A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions,” lawyers for the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, said in a letter to the panel late Tuesday.

The committee had invited Kavanaugh and Ford to testify at a public hearing Monday, but Ford’s response raises questions about whether the GOP will proceed with the session and ultimately the vote on Kavanaugh, who was nominated in July to replace the retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The two-page letter does not explicitly say she will not attend if there is no FBI probe.

This strikes us as moving the goal posts. The invitation, made both to Judge Kavanaugh and Prof. Ford, to appear -- under oath -- before the Committee Monday has been made. Kavanaugh, who strongly and thoroughly denies anything happened, let alone even knowing who Ford is, has said he is eager to clear his name.

Ford, who initially made her complaint anonymously, and did not want to come forward at all, is now seeking to change the rules of the game. To be fair, no one who has a loved one who has ever experienced a sexual asault can blame a victim for being reluctant to speak publicly about what happened. 

But the allegations were made public, and inserted into an already high charged political atmosphere. Ford can speak, and be questioned, under oath, about specifics, as Kavanaugh has already agreed to do. She can do so on Monday. Seeking further delay only ensures the entire process grinds to a halt.

Our cynical side increasingly tugs us in the direction of believing all of this is may be a deliberate, and deliberately nasty, political hit. The reason? California Sen. Diane Feinstein's role in this mess. According to reports, Ford sent her letter to Feinstein in July, but the Senator did not make it public until the hearings were finished:

Feinstein has been a lightning rod for loud criticism from President Trump and quieter frustration from some fellow Democrats after she disclosed she received a letter in July from the woman that she did not share with Senate colleagues and federal law enforcement until last week.

The episode has put the 85-year-old senator from California, who is seeking a sixth term in Nov­ember, in the middle of a fast-moving and explosive cultural, political and social firestorm charged by forces of the #MeToo movement and Trump’s divisive presidency.

As Kavanaugh forges ahead and denies the allegation, Feinstein is under some of the most intense scrutiny of her career, with Trump bluntly accusing her Tuesday of timing her bombshell revelation to sink his nominee.

“When Senator Feinstein sat with Judge Kavanaugh for a long period of time — a long, long meeting — she had this letter. Why didn’t she bring it up?” Trump said. “Why didn’t the Democrats bring it up then? Because they obstruct and because they resist. That’s the name of their campaign against me.”

As we've noted before, politics isn't for the squeamish, and when the stakes get high, the dirt will fly. Even if it's dirt of uncertain, and doubtful origin:

Feinstein has admitted that she “can’t say” if everything Ford wrote in a letter about the sexual assault she allegedly suffered years ago is truthful.

Feinstein admitted the uncertainty in interviews with Fox reporters.

Fox’s Chad Pergram reported the incident.

“From colleague Connor Marley. Feinstein on Ford. Says Ford ‘is a woman that has been, I think, profoundly impacted, on this. I can’t say that everything is truthful. I don’t know,'” he tweeted.

However, Feinstein — the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee — quickly clarified that even though she doesn’t know if everything is true, she still finds Ford to be credible.

And that's how politics works. Hit first, ask questions later, and nevermind the consequences.