Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) decision to sit for a little more than a month on an allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, contradicted by a witness, from more than 30 years ago when he was in high school was a dirty trick not designed to get to the truth — but to prevent any vetting of the allegation during the lengthy process when Kavanaugh could have responded directly.
Now, with the Kavanaugh Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation vote set for Sept. 20, Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford has come forward, setting up a “me too” moment akin to Anita Hill testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 in an attempt to torpedo Clarence Thomas’ nomination.
Mark Judge, a writer in Washington, D.C., who was accused of being in the room with Kavanaugh and appears as the attack’s sole witness besides Ford and is accused of turning up the music to hide the attack, told the Weekly Standard, “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way.”
It is telling that Feinstein never shared the letter she received in July with her Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), nor did she bring the allegations forward during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing when he would have had an opportunity to respond directly.
Instead, she waited until after the confirmation hearing as the committee is now preparing to vote, in what can only be described as a desperate, last-ditch effort to derail the nomination with an uncorroborated rumor.
Feinstein had explained her rationale for not coming forward with the information, but instead passing it off to the FBI: “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further. I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”
Since Ford has come forward, the Senate Judiciary Committee has issued a statement: “If Ranking Member Feinstein and other Committee Democrats took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the full Committee’s attention much earlier. Instead, they said nothing during two joint phone calls with the nominee in August, four days of lengthy public hearings, a closed session for all committee members with the nominee where sensitive topics can be discussed and in more than 1,300 written questions.”
The FBI for its part has passed on an investigation, according to the Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim and Elise Viebeck: “Several officials confirmed that the letter was referred to the FBI. But the bureau does not plan to launch a criminal investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter – a probe that would normally be handled by local authorities if it were within the statute of limitations.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) blasted the last-minute move by Feinstein in a statement, saying, “I do not intend to allow Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to be stalled because of an 11th hour accusation that Democrats did not see fit to raise for over a month. The Senator in the best position to determine the credibility of these accusations made the conscious decision not to take action on them, and the authorities to whom the accusations have been referred have decided not to take action either. Judge Kavanaugh has denied these accusations categorically, the only other potential witness has no recollection of the alleged event, and now 65 women who knew Brett in high school have come forward as witnesses of his strong character.”
Hatch was referring to a letter released by Grassley of 65 women who knew Kavanaugh and attested to his character: “We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983. For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”
With the Kavanaugh vote still set for Sept. 20, Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have called for the hearing to be delayed so the committee can hear the allegations. If these allegations are to be vetted, both Ford and Judge must be invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee immediately under oath.
For Kavanaugh’s part, he has issued a statement via the White House that he is willing to testify on his behalf: “This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes – to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.