Why does Sheldon Whitehouse want to relive his infamous “boof” moment from 2018? The Senate Democrat may have more in mind than just a walk down Memory Lane. In a letter to newly confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland, Whitehouse accused the FBI of conducting a “fake” investigation into now-Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh. He wants Garland to order a review of the FBI’s actions at the time — and perhaps for a specific goal:
The FBI is facing new scrutiny for its 2018 background check of Brett Kavanaugh, the supreme court justice, after a lawmaker suggested that the investigation may have been “fake”.
Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator and former prosecutor who serves on the judiciary committee, is calling on the newly-confirmed attorney general, Merrick Garland, to help facilitate “proper oversight” by the Senate into questions about how thoroughly the FBI investigated Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. …
Among the concerns listed in Whitehouse’s letter to Garland are allegations that some witnesses who wanted to share their accounts with the FBI could not find anyone at the bureau who would accept their testimony and that it had not assigned any individual to accept or gather evidence.
“This was unique behavior in my experience, as the Bureau is usually amenable to information and evidence; but in this matter the shutters were closed, the drawbridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI,” Whitehouse said.
He added that, once the FBI decided to create a “tip line”, senators were not given any information on how or whether new allegations were processed and evaluated. While senators’ brief review of the allegations gathered by the tip line showed a “stack” of information had come in, there was no further explanation on the steps that had been taken to review the information, Whitehouse said.
Just as a reminder, Whitehouse had an opportunity to review this directly with Kavanaugh at the time. Instead, Whitehouse decided to delve into the deep implications of … early 1980s teen-age slang about sex, drinking, and/or flatulence. It quickly became the nadir of a process that had hit bottom several times before, only to discover that Senate Democrats and their allies were intent on digging even deeper:
At the time, Whitehouse offered this amazing insight into Kavanaugh’s legal qualifications:
"I don't believe 'boof' is flatulence." — Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 28, 2018
My colleague and pal Guy Benson recalls it very clearly:
Sen. Devil's Triangle "Boof" Whitehouse strikes again. What the FBI found was that Dr. Ford's prime witness, her close friend, had been pressured to lie to hurt Kavanaugh. Leland Keyser has since stated that she does not believe Ford's story, which is supported by zero evidence. https://t.co/AAbVrzi4SI
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 16, 2021
As I wrote at the time, Whitehouse’s entire approach was a non-sequitur:
Whitehouse’s entire line of questioning about the yearbook was designed to suggest that Kavanaugh was a blackout drunk whose lack of memory might account for his inability to recall a sexual assault, despite on-the-record denials from the other three people Ford named that they don’t have any recollection of it either or deny it happened altogether. At best, it’s indirect speculation centering on irrelevancies in order to build a legal hypothesis that’s already contradicted by sworn statements.
So why bring this up now? Perhaps Whitehouse just wants to take a gamble on getting vindicated for his idiotic performance in September and October 2018, especially in this insane Q&A. However, this looks like an attempt to re-inflate the Kavanaugh issue in order to push forward with a potential impeachment and removal by Congress. If Garland says the background check was cooked, that might give Nancy Pelosi an opening to impeach Kavanaugh … even though there will be no evidence supporting the allegations against Kavanaugh and sworn affidavits contradicting Christine Blasey Ford’s ambiguous allegations.
Would Pelosi take that bait, though? There wouldn’t be much point in pushing an impeachment against Kavanaugh that would have zero chance of moving in the Senate, and the backlash could add to the traditional first-midterm woes for the party in the White House. Besides, Pelosi’s party is trying its best to dance around much more recent and credible allegations of sexual misconduct against New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a point that Whitehouse himself appears to be avoiding, too. How do Democrats start building another believe all women campaign right in the middle of their wait for the evidence campaign for Cuomo?
The best outcome for Pelosi will be to have Garland write a letter affirming that the FBI handled the background checks appropriately. Given that Christopher Wray has been in front of Whitehouse’s committee numerous times since then, one has to wonder why Whitehouse waited until now to ask.