The Kavanaugh confirmation process has dominated the headlines for a couple of weeks now, and that is precisely why it has not dominated this blog. I prefer to look behind the scenes, to find the news that is hidden by the smoke and mirrors of whatever is front-and-center. But today I am compelled to address a couple of things pertaining to this three-ring-circus, for it has turned into a nightmare for most of us. Kavanaugh must not be confirmed. He has shown that he has neither the temperament nor the integrity to sit on the bench of any court, let alone the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. But this post is not about Kavanaugh, his dishonesty, or his childish temper tantrums. This is about two of the three rings of this circus …
The Measure of a Man
Senator Jeff Flake earned high marks for calling for an FBI investigation into the subject of Kavanaugh’s possible abuse of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and another woman, Debbie Ramirez. He stated that, while he had voted for the Kavanaugh nomination to be moved to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote, he would not vote unless there was an investigation. For this, he received many kudos. My own thoughts were that if he truly felt the Kavanaugh nomination was in doubt, he should not have voted to move it into the full senate, but he did, and therefore I offered no pats on the back, no ‘Attaboy’.
My thoughts were confirmed last night in a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley, where Flake and democratic Senator Chris Coons told about the discussion(s) that led to Flake’s request for an FBI investigation. Pelley asked perhaps the most important question in the 13-minute interview:
Pelley: Senator Flake, you’ve announced that you’re not running for re-election, and I wonder … could you have done this if you were running?
Flake: No, not a chance …
Pelley: Not a chance? Because politics has become too sharp? Too partisan?
Flake: Yeah, there’s no value to reaching across the aisle. There’s no currency for that anymore, and there’s no incentive.
There’s no incentive, no value, to doing the right thing for the nation, for the people who voted him into office and whose hard-earned tax dollars pay his salary. Take a few minutes to think about that one, folks, because your own representatives in Congress feel the same. In fact, Flake is one of the better ones, and that speaks volumes.
So, now that you’ve processed that, do you still want to high-five Mr. Flake? Still want to praise him as a man who followed his conscience?
Once Senators Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski said they could not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court without an FBI investigation, it left Trump with no real choice but to order said investigation. So, on Friday afternoon, he did just that. BUT …
The investigation he ordered is extremely limited in both scope and timing, to the point that it is likely to be a sham of an investigation. First, Trump gave the FBI only until next Friday to complete the investigation. Then, the White House counsel’s office under Don McGahn gave the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview. FBI investigators caution that such a limited scope may make it difficult to pursue additional leads.
There are other constraints as well. Investigators plan to meet with Mark Judge, a high school classmate and friend of Kavanaugh’s whom Ford named as a witness and participant to her alleged assault. But the FBI cannot ask the supermarket that employed Judge for records verifying when he was employed there. The FBI will also not be able to examine why Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking at Yale University differs from those of some former classmates, who have said he was known as a heavy drinker.
And while the investigators will be looking into the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau is not to be permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.
All of these limitations and constraints amount to tying the hands of the FBI, and make it less likely that the truth will be discovered in less than a week. However, Trump claims that the FBI has “free reign” …
“They’re going to do whatever they have to do. Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing — things that we never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”
Such an eloquent speaker, eh? And such a smart man, saying, “Whatever it is they do …”
At this point, there is nothing left to be done, it would seem, but wait and see. We must hope that the FBI agents in charge are wise enough and dedicated enough to dig deeply and work quickly. Then we must hope that there is no monkey business, that the results are clear and not swept under the rug. Bets, anyone?
NOT the man I want on the bench
As I have said to a few friends, if Kavanaugh is confirmed and takes his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, we might as well hang coloured streamers, balloons, paint clown faces on the Supreme Court Building and sell peanuts in the entrance hall, for it will have lost its dignity and turned into a circus where partisanship reigns and justice is not to be found.