Either there’s a very dark secret in Kavanaugh’s closet or the left is unrolling one of the dirtiest dirty tricks to damage a nominee in recent history. Democrats had better have the goods here or they’re guilty of an outrageous smear.

The mystery started with a story at the Intercept alleging that Dem Rep. Anna Eshoo had received some sort of correspondence about Kavanaugh and passed it along to Feinstein, and that it had attracted interest among other Dems on the Judiciary Committee. Feinstein refused to share it, though. What could be so incendiary that she wouldn’t disclose the contents even as liberals ran to the media to chatter about it? The Intercept … doesn’t know. But there are rumors. So very many rumors.

Different sources provided different accounts of the contents of the letter, and some of the sources said they themselves had heard different versions, but the one consistent theme was that it describes an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school. Kept hidden, the letter is beginning to take on a life of its own…

The woman who is the subject of the letter is now being represented by Debra Katz, a whistleblower attorney who works with #MeToo survivors.

Well then. High school plus #MeToo plus a mysterious woman plus Feinstein treating the letter very sensitively, to the point where she wouldn’t even show it to Democratic colleagues? That sounds a little … rape-y, doesn’t it?

BuzzFeed, whom you’ll remember from the time they published the Steele dossier, caught wind of the mysterious letter yesterday and began sniffing around to see what they could find out. What does it say? Does it even exist? Two hours ago came word from Feinstein: Yes, it exists, and although she won’t reveal what it alleges, she’s decided to refer it to the FBI.

“This matter has been referred to the FBI for investigation,” Sen. Dick Durbin told BuzzFeed News when asked about the letter on Thursday.

In a statement later Thursday, Feinstein confirmed that she had referred the letter to “federal investigative authorities.”

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Feinstein said. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

BuzzFeed apparently knows the name of the woman mentioned in the letter and contacted her for comment — but she declined. If this is all part of a devious plan to produce an Anita Hill at the eleventh hour to try to give Kavanaugh the Clarence Thomas treatment, it’s strange that the woman would refuse to come forward. Unless, of course, she suddenly “changes her mind” and emerges a few days before the confirmation vote to formally accuse Kavanaugh of something.

Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller asks a good question:

If some sort of sexual misconduct occurred, it would be a matter for state cops, not the feds. Unless … the letter can’t possibly be this lame, can it?

Speculation like we’re engaged in right now is precisely what the smear would be designed to achieve. They can’t stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation but they can certainly try to delegitimize him, whether to call his decisions on the Court into question among liberals or to goose turnout for their party this fall or both. The sensational detail about referring the matter to the FBI is a master stroke of ratf*cking: No matter where this goes now, even if it completely disappears off the national radar screen, it’ll pass into progressive lore that Kavanaugh is some sort of sex criminal who not only doesn’t deserve to be on the bench but should actually be doing time somewhere. In the meantime, as Stephen “redsteeze” Miller says, Senate Dems will turn around and howl that a vote simply can’t be held on the nomination so long as the nominee is being investigated by the FBI — assuming he’s being investigated at all. It’s a delay tactic.

It will stay on the national radar for awhile, though, as either Feinstein or Eshoo or one of their staffers is destined to leak something. Maybe liberals will end up spinning it out into their very own version of QAnon. “Breadcrumbs” about the secret Feinstein letter all the way to Election Day.

Exit question via John McCormack: How long have Eshoo and Feinstein had the document? Kavanaugh was nominated more than two months ago. We just had three days of hearings last week. If Dems had the letter before then, why didn’t they confront Kavanaugh about it — or at least refer it to the FBI sooner? If they only received the letter recently, how does this not reek of a last-ditch smear designed to block a nomination that’s otherwise primed for confirmation?

Update: The NYT is reporting on it now. Quote:

Two officials familiar with the matter say the incident involved possible sexual misconduct between Judge Kavanaugh and a woman when they were both in high school.

Update: Another key detail from the NYT: “Ms. Feinstein … received the letter from Ms. Eshoo’s office this summer.” This summer? And only now is she referring it to the FBI, huh? The charitable read on that is that something happened only very recently to make her take the allegations seriously; maybe that’s why Debra Katz was on the Hill yesterday. The less charitable read is that she held the letter deliberately, to smear Kavanaugh at the last minute if Democrats failed to land a glove on him at the hearings. Which they did.

Speaking of the hearings, they included at least one closed session. If Feinstein was reluctant to confront him about this publicly, why didn’t she confront him about it then? Or did she?