The FBI report is done and being reviewed by Senators as we speak. The White House has already weighed in, confident that there is nothing in the report that will stop Senators from voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
Sen. Durbin (D IL) was already complaining that the investigation wasn’t broad enough…even before seeing the report, presumably stemming from reports on who was and was not interviewed.
Since the report will not be released to the public, it will be yet another thing to be hotly debated and divide the country, while nobody on either side really knows the whole truth.
We’ll get bits and pieces that are leaked from both sides, based on whatever bit of information supports each side’s assertions. But again, we’ll never really know.
We will just have to trust them. Trust the White House, which continually and routinely lies to us. Trust the Republican Senators, who continually and routinely lie to us. Trust the Democrat Senators, who continually and routinely lie to us.
This ought to go well.
In the past couple of days, we had the President of the United States standing up at a MAGA rally and openly mocking (or as the White House insists, simply stating the facts) Christine Blasey Ford, the woman alleging she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh…with the crowd laughing and cheering while he did it.
And on the other hand, we have protesters on the left screaming in a way that the right will love to point fingers and laugh at.
Does any of this help? Where will it end?
First, I want to stick specifically to the initial allegation from Ford.
With the FBI report, I would guess that there is no damning information in it concerning Kavanaugh and Ford’s allegations of sexual assault. I always thought it was unlikely to produce any corroborating evidence…the passage of time and fading memories made that the likely result. As I’ve stated, having been to many such parties in the exact time period, I would also have to say “I don’t recall” about the vast majority of them. It doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, but it does mean that the accusations likely can’t be proven to an acceptable level needed to destroy a man’s reputation.
If the assault did happen, that is unfortunate. However, as much as I understand why any woman would remain quiet, and in particular a 15 year old girl who is very worried about how an accusation and/or rumors would be treated in high school, there are consequences of not speaking out until 36 years later and I think we all need to understand and accept that.
We simply cannot take Ford at her word without any corroborating evidence to the specific accusation of the sexual assault. Whether Kavanaugh was evasive, misleading, or outright lying about his amount of drinking or the meaning of entries in his yearbook are secondary and separate from the main issue. Even if we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did lie about those things, it has no direct bearing on whether he committed sexual assault. For me, those issues were only used in my reasoning to determine whether the accusation was at all plausible, but should not be used to determine that it was probable…for that, we need direct, corroborating evidence.
From the beginning, I stated that because the accusation was possible and plausible, it needed to be competently investigated by the FBI. For that, I suggested that the investigation should not require much. Concerning the specific allegation, Ford identified a few names that might possibly be able to provide information directly related to the accusation.
Those names include Mark Judge, PJ Smyth, Ford’s friend Leland Keyser, and another boy whose name she could not remember. Having stated that she told nobody about the incident at that time, those are the only people that could possibly have any relevant information.
Therefore, I have continually stated that the investigation wouldn’t take long as they would really only need to interview those few people to see if they could shed any light on the story.
I also stated that I believed it was unlikely that they’d provide any additional information, but we had to take a possible and plausible accusation seriously and at least take the steps available to us to check it out. This is where the Republicans screwed up and made the whole situation worse. They should have simply had the FBI do that investigation to begin with and they would have been on better standing to claim they did all they could.
Part of me believes they are just stupid that way, and a more cynical part believes it was by design in order to gin up outrage on the right to bolster voter turnout. Make your own judgement on that. Either way is not good.
Anyway, so it seems that the FBI conducted it’s investigation, and from reporting, they pretty much stuck with those few people for interviews. The left is up in arms about it not being enough. The right, meanwhile, is making it clear that they thought the investigation was totally unnecessary and are in a rush to push Kavanaugh through. I think they are both wrong.
I think it is reasonable to limit the FBI investigation to only very specific people that can provide information about the alleged assault. Nothing about the side issues of his drinking or yearbook entries can directly corroborate the allegation. So, if those key people add no more direct information to Ford’s accusation, then there really is nothing to corroborate it, and we must accept that as being all we can do in this case.
And I do accept that. If the reports about the FBI investigation are accurate and they definitively show that none of those key people said anything to corroborate the story in any way, than I am comfortable in saying that Ford’s allegation should have no bearing on proclaiming Kavanaugh a sexual predator or whether or not he should be confirmed.
But again, I guess we just have to trust one side or the other on that, as we won’t see the report ourselves. Who you trust depends on what team you are on. In the end, I think that if there was something specific in the report that contradicts the Republicans, it will definitely be leaked, so I guess we can depend on the dishonesty of them in order to find some level of truth?
Yeah, what a complete mess we are in.
Now, to the other issues surrounding Kavanaugh. Unfortunately, there are other allegations that have surfaced since Ford’s story came out. Two, in particular.
The first one was from a woman, Deborah Ramirez, that claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a college party. From reports, it seems that the FBI may have included her in the people that they interviewed. However, other reports indicate that none of the people she claimed as witnesses were questioned, even though some of them independently attempted to contact the FBI to provide information. I honestly don’t know what to make of that. We received conflicting information on how the FBI was instructed to proceed by the White House. It seems they were limited to interviewing only specific people provided in a list, but then President Trump has stated that they have free rein. What actually happened, I guess we will never know, although I have absolutely no faith in Trump’s word.
It seems to me that the FBI should be able to interview anyone and everyone they deem pertinent to the situation. If they interviewed Ramirez, that tells me that they decided her story was credible enough to follow-up on, and if she provided names as witnesses, it seems to me that they would have questioned those witnesses as well, unless they were told not to. That seems wrong to me. But not knowing all of the details, it’s difficult to form a good judgement on it. Maybe the FBI interviewed Ramirez and came away with the conclusion that she simply was not credible and further investigation was not warranted. I just don’t know. Of course, we’ve been told over and over that it’s not the job of the FBI to form conclusions.
The second other allegation was from a woman named Julie Swetnick , who has claimed that Kavanaugh and Judge were actually involved in drugging girls and gang raping them. She claims to have been a victim of this herself.
This one seems extremely dubious to me, to say the least. I fall in line with the argument that it just doesn’t seem plausible that this girl would have witnessed such activity multiple times and still continue to attend such parties until she, herself, was victim.
Applying my test of possibility and plausibility, although it could be in the realm of possibility, I just don’t think it meets the plausibility standard with the information that we have. That said, one thing does have me curious. While the Republicans deemed yet another accusation as a lie and referred it to the DOJ and FBI for investigation and prosecution (this one concerned a guy who stated Kavanaugh and Judge raped a girl on a boat or something like that and then totally rescinded his claim), I wonder why they have not done the same thing with the Swetnick accusation if it so clearly is a lie? I absolutely believe they should seek prosecution if they believe it to be a salacious lie.
In the end, this all boils down to extreme partisan politics, no matter how you look at it. For McConnell to get up on the Senate floor and proclaim how unfair it is for the Democrats to play politics and not give Kavanaugh a fair hearing, even though he is fully qualified, flies in the face of honesty after what he did with the Merrick Garland nomination. Make no mistake, I believe that the Republicans had every right to stop the Garland nomination, Constitutionally speaking, but don’t pretend it wasn’t all about politics and that your side is somehow more righteous where that’s concerned.
For the Democrats part, it’s obvious that they will do everything they can to stop this appointment. Nothing will be good enough as far as the investigation goes. They might be right that the Republicans conducted a “for show” investigation and tied the FBI’s hands…but even if they didn’t, the Democrats would claim they did. It doesn’t help their case that Sen. Feinstein (D CA) came out and gave a statement admitting that she hadn’t even read all of the report because she “had to leave”, but still says it was not enough. That’s just stupid.
Prior to the Trump Era, I would have always given the benefit of the doubt to the Republicans. However, over the past couple of years, I’ve seen how completely shady they are with the truth and I’ve also witnessed their lack of honesty during this confirmation process. So nothing is clear, and anyone who claims otherwise is blind with partisan tribalism.
I believe that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. I still believe he probably should not be, solely based on his partisan, evasive behavior and what I believe were obvious lies during his testimony…but not because of the allegations of sexual assault from Ford. If the assault did happen, I sincerely hope that Ford can understand how difficult proving it after all of this time is, that she is content in at least telling her story for it to be considered, and that she is able to move on from it with some peace knowing that she tried.
For the rest of us…buckle up. The way that President Trump and the Republicans have handled this whole thing and how they are about to push this through with an “in your face”, spiking the football, “we’re winning and your liberal tears are tasty” attitude, will increase the divisions and create a more radical and forceful blow-back when the Democrats regain control.
We can’t continue operating this Republic with such stark division. Treating everything as an ends justify the means war may gain temporary satisfaction by the winning side, but it’s not sustainable and there will be a breaking point.
Both sides need to change their mindsets.