After spending two weeks demanding an FBI investigation in the hope/belief that the GOP would never allow one, only to have Jeff Flake force the issue at the last moment, the minority party suddenly shifts to Plan B. Time now to start downplaying the value of the forthcoming FBI investigation that’s likely to find nothing incriminating against Kavanaugh.
Which feels familiar. It’s a bit like, say, demanding that Christine Blasey Ford be given a hearing and then, when one was offered, switching instantly to denouncing any hearing she might be offered as a sham.
A cynic might conclude that the goal is simply to delegitimize Kavanaugh and that any path to that destination will be followed, no matter how circuitous the route might end up being. Good thing I’m not a cynic.
Yes, of course there should be an FBI investigation. But whatever they find doesn’t change the fact that Kavanaugh, especially after his performance yesterday, is the most dangerous Supreme Court pick of our lifetime.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) September 28, 2018
I can’t tell if “dangerous” there merely means politically dangerous, i.e. a risk to overturn Roe (which any Republican nominee would be), or if he’s suggesting that Kavanaugh is not only presumed guilty of sexual misconduct but that the presumption is irrebuttable. Even the FBI can’t clear him.
Dismissing the results of the FBI probe before it’s begun will be S.O.P. among progressives before the weekend’s out. A truly next-level left-wing demagogue, though, will not only preemptively dismiss the results (unless they blow Kavanaugh up, of course), he’ll insist that preemptively dismissing them should be a 2020 litmus test.
Do we know any next-level left-wing demagogues?
Potential 2020 presidential candidate Michael Avenatti is calling for a “full and complete FBI investigation” into Brett Kavanaugh, with impeachment on the line, to become a 2020 litmus test for Democrats…
“I did take the lead on my belief that the court should be expanded” to 11 justices, “and if he’s confirmed I absolutely believe that should be a litmus test” for 2020 Democratic Party candidates for president…
“I think the expansion to 11 should be a litmus test and I think the other litmus test should be a full and complete FBI investigation, and if it is shown that Brett Kavanaugh perjured himself or committed any of these acts, he absolutely should be removed from the Supreme Court.”
Any FBI investigation that fails to completely vindicate Avenatti’s client, Julie Swetnick, will of course be deemed “incomplete.” What he’s trying to do here is get potential 2020 rivals like Booker and Harris and Gillibrand to make Swetnick their cause celebre if/when the FBI turns up nothing dispositive on the Ford allegations. And they know it, which is why Senate Democrats have been conspicuously reticent about Swetnick’s claims. Partly, I’m sure, it’s a matter of being as suspicious about them as everyone else is — rape parties, really? — but partly too they understand that any damage done to Kavanaugh by the Swetnick allegations will be credited entirely to Avenatti by Democratic voters. They’d essentially be doing PR for a presidential rival by hyping them. They’ll have no choice but to do so if the FBI finds something credible there, against all odds, but for now they’re going to let Avenatti carry his own water.
And if all of that sounds highly selfish and politicized to you amid a matter that’s supposed to be gravely serious, involving assault victims and their right to be heard, well, that’s politics 2018. As tends to happen with “outsider” candidates, Avenatti’s merely bringing the subtext to the surface.
If the FBI finds no corroborating evidence for Swetnick’s claims, he’ll still have a card to play. It’s not going to stop the confirmation vote, though:
NEW: Montgomery County (Md) police chief and prosecutor release letter ".. stand ready to investigate any sexual assault allegation from any victim where the incident occurred in our jurisdiction" #Kavanaugh pic.twitter.com/OQwu9hle5t
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) September 28, 2018
Swetnick (and Ford) could go to local PD and demand a criminal investigation, in contrast to the FBI’s background investigation. Ford’s claim is likely too thin to lead anywhere, though. And if there’s anything at all to Swetnick’s claim, chances are that the FBI probe will turn up something and Kavanaugh will be borked long before Maryland police got around to looking at it.
Here’s Avenatti today trying again to answer the question everyone had about Swetnick’s affidavit, namely, why she didn’t tell the cops about multiple parties she attended where women were allegedly being drugged and gang-raped. Avenatti’s theory: She was young ‘n stuff. No wonder Senate Democrats are keeping their distance.
Here’s @MichaelAvenatti explaining why his client Julie Swetnick didn’t tell anyone about the drug- & booze-fueled gang rape parties she alleges Kavanaugh attended in high school. #TribFest18 pic.twitter.com/WYcfme2S2l
— John Daniel Davidson (@johnddavidson) September 28, 2018