This is the fourth editorial in what has inadvertently become a series of editorials concerning the Kavanaugh issue. The previous articles can be found at these links:
People can have different opinions and reasonable thoughts on how to process the information we have about the accusations made against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. What really annoys me, however, is when they do it disingenuously and without any intellectual honesty. In fact, this is what annoys me the most with just about all political debates nowadays…but let’s stick with this one.
CNN ran an opinion piece this morning on their main page attacking the Democrats and Christine Blasey Ford’s story. Yes, CNN…that bastion of FAKE NEWS Trump Hate, Enemy of the People media outlet…ran a story defending President Trump’s nominee. Weird, huh?
The article was written by Scott Jennings, who is a CNN contributor and former special assistant to President George W. Bush and former campaign adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnell. I don’t know if he personally knows Judge Kavanaugh, but since they both worked for the Bush Administration, I’m guessing that it is likely, or at least probable. I only mention that in order to set the scene, acknowledging his apparently partisan, biased position.
The article is titled, “Let’s be honest about Dems’ Kavanaugh objections”. I don’t know about you, but when I see the words, “Let’s be honest…” I am immediately prepared to apply extra scrutiny to the forthcoming arguments as to their own honesty.
And for good reason.
Let’s take a look at some of Jennings’ assertions:
The lawyer’s letter, bizarrely, stated that “crucial facts and witnesses in the matter” must be assessed “in a non-partisan manner.”CNN
I was stunned that the lawyer for Ford, a research psychologist, left open the question as to whether the allegation—that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Ford when they were in high school—is true. That’s an odd position for a lawyer with a client to take. Ford is the only person who has offered “crucial facts,” so why is her attorney asking for the FBI to assess the reliability of her own client?
Seriously? Interpreting the attorney’s statement that the FBI should investigate in order to obtain “crucial facts and witnesses in the matter” that it is tantamount to questioning whether her client’s allegations are true is asinine…and not an honest depiction of what was said.
The accuser, through her attorney, has presented her version of events and is asking that the FBI investigate. I don’t know about Jennings’ experiences in life, but it hasn’t been mine that I have seen too many (never) people make up a story, lie about someone sexually assaulting her, and then demand that the FBI investigate the story. To me, that makes no sense.
I asked retired FBI agent and CNN Contributor James Gagliano how the bureau might tackle an investigation like this. He told me: “She doesn’t know what party and she isn’t sure about the time period. If she’s not sure when and where, and who was there, then it makes it really difficult to determine the veracity of these allegations.”CNN
Which means we are left with the stories of three people Ford says were in the room, and two of them say this allegation is false and the event described did not happen. Only one of them—Kavanaugh himself—is willing to testify under oath at this point.
I agree with the retired FBI agent in that it would be “really difficult to determine the veracity of these allegations”. But that doesn’t mean you don’t attempt it. At the very least, the named people involved should be interviewed by the FBI.
Simply accepting their written statements is not good enough. They need to be questioned in order to elaborate on those statements, and done so under oath. Of the two others in the room, one of them (Mark Judge) has actually written a book describing his activities of black-out drunkenness during this time period. Ford claims that the two were extremely drunk. Therefore, accepting Judge’s statement of not recalling such an event ever happening is laughable.
Jennings then states that only Kavanaugh is willing to testify under oath and that is simply not true. Ford, through her attorney, has made it perfectly clear that she is willing to work with the FBI in any way they’d like and then is willing to testify under oath to the committee.
That’s actually a step beyond what Kavanaugh has stated, as I am not aware of his offer to work with an FBI investigation in any way. Nor have the friends of Kavanaugh.
Let’s be honest about this FBI request—it has little to do with the truth and everything to do with the Democrats’ end game to keep this Supreme Court seat open through the midterm election.CNN
There’s the “Let’s be honest…” phrase again. It’s no secret that the Democrats would like to delay and thwart this appointment. Duh. I also have no doubt that many Democrats do not care about Ford, but are only using her to those ends. However, to suggest that “Democrats” (implying all Democrats) do not care about Ford and the event she is alleging, is absurd and only plays to tribal politics. Just stop it.
And let’s be honest, the only reason that the Republicans are intent on rushing this nomination through is so that they can use it as another “accomplishment” they can tout for the midterm elections (and they are afraid that if they delay, the Democrats might take over the Senate which would completely thwart the nomination).
Democrats couldn’t care less about Ford or her story because they are consumed with politics.CNN
Yep, there’s a lot of that going around.
Jennings then targets Feinstein, suggesting that she delayed the release of the letter for one of only two possible reasons.
Either Feinstein didn’t take Ford’s letter seriously or was holding it until the 11th hour for political purposes. Despicable.CNN
That’s very possible. I’ve seen plenty of political dirty tricks from the Democrats over the years to warrant suspicion of that. Likewise, I’ve seen plenty of Republican dirty tricks, so I have no faith in the honesty and sincere actions of either side at this point. However, there is a third option for Feinstein’s delay…that Ford actually asked that her story not be used until and unless it was absolutely needed to stop Kavanaugh from becoming a Supreme Court Justice. I explained this in a previous editorial:
If the allegations are true, it’s understandable that she would not want Kavanaugh confirmed under any circumstances. It’s also understandable that she would prefer that he not be confirmed for other reasons so she would not have to become embroiled in it.TheNewsBlender
Therefore, it may very well have been a case where she said, “only use my letter if and when it appears that nothing else will stop his confirmation.”
And to me, that seems very reasonable and there would be nothing nefarious in dropping the letter at the “11th Hour” in that case.
Again, I understand that reasonable people can disagree with my take. But argue that her story and memory are lacking important details. Argue that there are no witnesses to corroborate her story or even that there is no one that can even attest that she told them about it when it happened so many years ago. Argue that there are not other women that have come forth with similar stories. Argue that there are no other people at all that have come forth to really say much of anything negative about Kavanaugh.
But when you argue nonsense…when you are not intellectually honest about things…it destroys your own argument and makes you look like a partisan hack who is only worried about political gain on the Supreme Court.
As I have stated from the beginning, if there are no other women that come forth with similar stories and if there are no other details of Ford’s story that can be verified or corroborated, her allegations are not enough (or should not be enough) to stop his appointment.
But the Republicans are going to lose the public opinion battle if they play this wrong. If Kavanaugh is telling the truth, then he should welcome an FBI investigation to at least interview some people. This will put it to rest, once and for all.
It might even find that Ford and Feinstein are lying and further actions should then be taken against them. But if he is telling the truth, the FBI will be unlikely to find any more than we already know, which is nothing beyond Ford’s story.
The Republicans would then be able to say, “We treated this seriously, we investigated it to the extent possible, we allowed each to provide testimony under oath (including the other people named) and we allowed time for others to come forward with similar or corroborating evidence. In the end, there is not enough evidence to tarnish Kavanaugh’s good reputation or to stop his nomination consideration.”
And they would be right.
Instead, let’s be honest, they are giving the Democrats a hammer to bash them over the head with.