If you’re taking an accusation of a serious criminal offense seriously and you really, truly want the FBI to take it seriously too, you should give them every bit of information you have. And Feinstein surely has the name of the accuser or could easily get it. The accuser’s alleged attorney, Debra Katz, is publicly known. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer reported this morning that they’d somehow reached out to the accuser for comment but were rebuffed, although they didn’t make clear whether they’d done so directly or had gone through Katz. BuzzFeed noted yesterday, however, that they had the name of the accuser last week — and they did approach her directly. “BuzzFeed News contacted the woman believed to be the subject of the letter at her home last week. She declined to comment.”
If Feinstein wanted the FBI to get on the case urgently, why not pass the name along? Did she simply refer the Bureau to Katz instead?
There is no indication the woman reported the incident to law enforcement at the time, but she said she has received medical treatment regarding the alleged assault. The woman also declined to come forward publicly after sending the letter to Feinstein. The accuser’s name was redacted before Feinstein forwarded it to the FBI.
An interesting detail from the same piece:
[Susan] Collins held an hour-long phone call with Kavanaugh on Friday — a call that had been scheduled before the letter and allegations were made public. Her office declined to comment on details of the call.
Hmmmm. Orrin Hatch called out Feinstein and her Democratic colleagues in a statement about the accusation/smear earlier this afternoon:
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…
Every accuser deserves to be heard. But a process of verification is also necessary. In this case, the accusations were made in a private letter, which has been misrepresented in a number of media stories, from an accuser who has declined to go public and has asked for privacy. The letter sent to investigators has had her name redacted, meaning no further investigation could take place. The claims are wholly unverifiable, and come at the tail-end of a process that was already marred by ugly innuendo, dishonesty, and the nastiest form of our politics. The American people deserve much better from the Senate as an institution.
There are two theories of Feinstein’s behavior in all of this. One is the sinister theory, which we’ve already kicked around: It’s an eleventh-hour smear by design. Democrats got the letter in July, dug around, realized they couldn’t substantiate it, realized that other women who’ve interacted with Kavanaugh don’t have any stories like this, and concluded that the letter’s only utility was as a last-second hatchet job just before the confirmation vote. Make the bastard deny it even if there’s no evidence that it’s true. If they can’t stop him from joining the Court, they can at least throw a cloud of suspicion over him to maximize the Republicans’ political pain in confirming him. It’s a completely orchestrated bit of ratf*cking, one of the sleaziest political hits you’ll ever see.
Are there enough garbage people in the Democratic Party to pull something like that together? You betcha.
But there’s another theory to explain Feinstein’s actions, which we’ll call the virtuous theory. She gets the letter in July, looks into it a bit, realizes that the accuser doesn’t want to pursue it, and concludes that it’s very likely to be a smear. And Feinstein, who’s not a bombthrower by instinct, doesn’t want to drop that on Kavanaugh. He’s a decent guy by all accounts, a husband and father, and he’s almost certainly going to be confirmed; nuking him with a paper-thin accusation of sexual assault will not only hurt his reputation and his family unfairly but will hurt the Court’s institutional reputation when he’s confirmed. So she puts the letter in a drawer. She doesn’t ask Kavanaugh about it, not even in closed session. But word gets around among lefties that there’s a letter, that Feinstein has it, and that she’s refusing to act on it even though it’s potentially their silver bullet in blocking this confirmation. Feinstein, facing a serious challenge from the left in her Senate election this fall, starts to panic. If she doesn’t do something with the letter, she’s going to get creamed for it by progressives, maybe even blamed after the fact for singlehandedly enabling Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
So she scrambles for a compromise. What can she do to placate lefties without knifing Kavanaugh with the flimsiest of weapons? She decides to confirm the existence of the letter — and then promptly punt it to the FBI. See, liberals? She’s taking it seriously! The feds are on the case, even though what Kavanaugh’s accused of wouldn’t be a federal offense. But she’s not even going to include the accuser’s name in what she gives them. She’s washing her hands of the whole damned thing, privately convinced that there’s no “there” there. That’s the virtuous (or maybe “less sinister”) theory.
Feinstein issued her own statement this afternoon to explain her actions:
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) September 14, 2018
That’s super but that doesn’t explain withholding the name from the FBI. It does, however, do a nifty job of deflecting the blame being thrown at her by progressives. Basic sensitivity to an alleged victim of sexual assault requires keeping her identity private until she feels comfortable revealing it, right? Even the media, which will normally name any key player in a news story unless it risks compromising national security, will withhold the name of an alleged rape victim. If Kavanaugh’s accuser doesn’t want to be identified and doesn’t want to provide any evidence to substantiate her claim, what do you want Feinstein to do? Out her? Force the issue? It’d be a crime against feminism.
What she might have added (but didn’t, for obvious reasons) is that it’s passing strange that this woman came forward months ago, in July, to make her accusation and then steadfastly refused to provide anything else that might let Democrats weaponize it. She handed them a cannon capable of taking Kavanaugh out and then declined to supply them with the cannonballs. That would be understandable if Dems had somehow uncovered the alleged incident with Kavanaugh and approached her to speak up, only to find her unwilling. But per Farrow and Mayer, “The woman, who has asked not to be identified, first approached Democratic lawmakers in July…” She came to them — and then didn’t want to go any further, even as his confirmation hearings approached. I can’t understand that. What did she think was going to happen with a barebones accusation?
The woman may be anonymous but, as of this afternoon, the identity of the second man who allegedly assaulted her with Kavanaugh is not. The Weekly Standard has it:
The Kavanaugh classmate quoted in the New Yorker is Mark Judge, a writer in Washington, D.C. Judge spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD Friday afternoon, strongly denying that any such incident ever occurred. “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge told TWS…
I asked Judge if he could recall any sort of rough-housing with a female student back in high school (an incident that might have been interpreted differently by parties involved). “I can’t. I can recall a lot of rough-housing with guys. It was an all-boys school, we would rough-house with each other,” he said said. “I don’t remember any of that stuff going on with girls.”
Judge apparently found out he was named in the letter when Ronan Farrow called to ask about it. Farrow offered no details about when the incident supposedly happened or where, or even the name of the woman. Judge has been accused of participating in an attempted rape with a would-be Supreme Court justice, in other words, and can’t even get the basic facts of the allegation provided to him. It’s Kafkaesque. And it raises another question. If Democrats knew all along that Judge was the second man and they’re taking this seriously, why is he only hearing about it now, from Farrow? Why not in July from Feinstein’s office or Rep. Anna Eshoo’s office? She was the first person contacted about the charge, remember.
Oh, one more thing. Lefties frustrated by the thinness of the accusation and grasping for corroborating evidence have latched on to the fact that Chuck Grassley’s office seemed to come up with a letter signed by 65 female friends of a teenaged Brett Kavanaugh awfully quickly. The GOP must have known about these allegations for months (years?) and been quietly preparing all along to rebut them. But that’s stupid; in an age of email, getting a few dozen signatures in a few hours isn’t difficult. BuzzFeed explains how a network of Kavanaugh chums put the letter together yesterday. Virginia Hume, a signatory, didn’t receive it until last night, after the news about the Feinstein letter had broken big.
Update: And right on cue, here comes Feinstein’s left-wing Senate challenger.
My statement after learning that Senator Feinstein withheld a sexual assault allegation from the Senate Judiciary Committee. pic.twitter.com/qPEYgnhoip
— Kevin de Leόn (@kdeleon) September 14, 2018