It didn’t take long for it to become clear that the FBI investigation into claims against Brett M. Kavanaugh was going to be a whitewash. You can describe it as The Post’s reporters gently put it — “curtailed in its scope” — or as one blog headline said, “Investigation that didn’t investigate anything doesn’t find what it wasn’t looking for.”
Which isn’t surprising given who the investigators were getting their marching orders from. The White House, whose primary goal was to protect its nominee, mandated the most restrictive parameters possible for the investigation to protect their nominee.
No wonder Democrats were disgusted once they got a look at the results of the investigation. On CNN just now, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) called this a “horrific coverup.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), speaking to MSNBC, said: “This set of interviews, is at best, most charitably, woefully incomplete. To put it bluntly, it smacks of a whitewash.” Blumenthal pointed out: “There are so many relevant witnesses who have not been contacted, let alone interviewed.” That includes Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh.
The best any Democrat could offer was a kind of resigned defeat from Sen. Christopher A. Coons (Del.), who said, “the materials are what they are, and it’s now left to senators to reach their conclusions.”
So allow me to offer a pessimistic prediction. Now that this sham of an inquiry is done — with votes scheduled for the next few days — every Republican in the Senate will vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
That will include Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said that since Kavanaugh assured her that Roe v. Wade is “settled law,” she was confident that he won’t be a vote to destroy abortion rights. (Collins also believes that when her hamster was gone when she came back from school one day, her parents had sent it to live a better life on a farm upstate.) Upon emerging from the room where she got her first look at the FBI’s report, Collins said, “It appears to be a very thorough investigation.”
The vote to confirm Kavanaugh will include Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who demanded the investigation and will now say that his concerns have been answered. Indeed, after viewing the FBI report, Flake said “we’ve seen no additional corroborating information.”
This is of course true, given that the FBI didn’t interview people who were ready to offer corroborating information. Indeed, Ford’s legal team just put out a list of more people that the FBI did not interview, who could have testified (among other things) to her claim that she has discussed the sexual assault in the past.
The vote to confirm Kavanaugh will include Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who took to the Senate floor Wednesday to proclaim the value of the #MeToo movement and reveal that he urged Trump to pick another nominee. It will include them all.
And it will also probably include Joe Manchin III and Heidi Heitkamp, two Democrats running for reelection in states Trump won easily. Neither may have wanted to be the decisive vote to ensure Kavanaugh’s confirmation or his defeat, but once their votes don’t matter, they’ll take what they think is the easy way out so as not to anger their Republican constituents.
As the vote approaches, it has become apparent that pretty much everyone involved acted true to form. The White House rigged the process while pretending it wanted a thorough search for truth. Senators such as Collins and Flake performed their usual ritual of acting very concerned, then coming through for Trump in the end.
Trump himself heaped contempt on a sexual assault victim, plainly hoping to stoke an angry male backlash. Much of the rest of his party, after approaching Ford gingerly for a few days, quickly lined up behind Trump to call her a liar. Having relieved themselves of the uncomfortable charade of treating a victim respectfully, Republicans found their voices in thunderous, angry denunciations of the unjust spectacle of a wealthy, privileged white man who went to the right schools and has all the right friends possibly not getting a job he wants. The party decided that men’s horror at women who would presume to question their behavior is their last best hope to avert electoral disaster.
Perhaps all that makes you angry. And it should. While I would never tell anyone to stop calling their senators, trooping to Capitol Hill, or taking any and every other opportunity to make their opinions known before the confirmation vote is done, if you’re really mad, you have a chance to do something about it just 33 days from now. You might even consider finding some young people who might otherwise stay home and dragging their butts to the polls.
Who knows, Republicans might even be forced to pay a price for everything that has happened since this Supreme Court seat opened up — and everything that is going to happen once Kavanaugh would take his place there. Kavanaugh offered a threat during his last public testimony, that what goes around comes around, the clear implication being that he will exact revenge on the Democrats he thinks have wronged him. But comeuppance can happen at the ballot box, too — if enough people vote.