The drawback to having no Plan B for the nomination is that it leaves the White House (almost) completely at Flake’s mercy. So long as he has at least one other Senate Republican backing him up, he can make any demand he likes and Trump has no choice but to comply. Until Flake is satisfied that there’s no “there” there with Kavanaugh and sexual assault, he’s a no. So if he wants a broader investigation, he’ll get a broader investigation.
Which means this thing isn’t ending today.
Here he is earlier:
Sen. Flake on Kavanaugh FBI investigation:
"It does no good to have an investigation that just gives us more cover … We actually need to find out what we can find out." pic.twitter.com/ONUTAAPezl
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 1, 2018
As I say, Trump has no choice but to comply:
The White House has authorized the F.B.I. to expand its abbreviated investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long the review is finished by the end of the week, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday…
“I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation, whatever that means, according to the senators and the Republicans and the Republican majority,” Mr. Trump said. “I want them to do that. I want it to be comprehensive. I think it’s actually a good thing for Judge Kavanaugh.”
Asked if the F.B.I. should question Judge Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump said, “I think so. I think it’s fine if they do. That’s up to them.”
When reporters asked if that should include Michael Avenatti’s client, Julie Swetnick, Trump said, “It wouldn’t bother me at all.” Given how many people the Bureau might need to talk to in order to run down her claims, this may stretch all the way to Friday. It’s going to be loads of fun when Flake, momentarily the “good Republican” to the left, decides on Friday that it’s time to vote even though the feds are still running down friends of Swetnick’s to talk to. Avenatti will howl, liberals will realize that Kavanaugh’s about to be confirmed with Flake’s help, and the soon-to-be ex-senator from Arizona will realize just how much Democrats “respect” him.
Question: If the feds come back on, say, Wednesday with interviews related to the assault allegations and there’s nothing to substantiate any of them, would Flake and Collins send them back out into the field on Thursday and Friday to see if Kavanaugh perjured himself? I can’t quite believe they’d torpedo a nomination over Kavanaugh misleading them about some slang in his yearbook, but lying under oath is lying under oath. Look at it this way: Why would Flake and Collins want to risk putting themselves in a position where they might have to decide whether to sink him based on a “small lie” or not? Flake may want the most serious allegations against the nominee thoroughly investigated — but probably not the less serious ones.
For what it’s worth, new numbers from Quinnipiac on Flake’s last-second demand for the FBI to start digging:
Every demographic group except Republicans is strongly in favor, and even among GOPers the share who approves of an FBI prove is up over 40 percent.
Here’s Dem Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the odds-on favorite to chair the House Judiciary Committee next year, warning that if Kavanaugh isn’t thoroughly investigated now, his committee will do it. (Spoiler: No amount of investigating now would satisfy Nadler.)
Rep. Nadler on Kavanaugh: "If he is on the Supreme Court, and the Senate hasn't investigated, then the House will have to."
— ABC News (@ABC) October 1, 2018