Editorial: Feinstein’s disgrace

Even if Feinstein did not deliberately leak the allegation to the media against Ford’s express wishes, she kept knowledge of it from the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee for six weeks. That the controversy over Ford’s allegations didn’t begin until after the nominee’s hearings had concluded conveniently fit into the Democratic strategy since the moment of Kavanaugh’s nomination—to delay the confirmation vote until after the November election.

Feinstein claimed during the September 27 hearing that she kept Ford’s allegation confidential because Ford asked her to. What Kavanaugh’s accuser said in her letter, however, was this: “I expect that you will maintain this as confidential until we have further opportunity to speak” (italics added). Feinstein had a month and a half to speak with her constituent and determine a reasonable course of action. That shouldn’t have been hard. Allegations, anonymous and otherwise, are made against nominees with some regularity, and there is a process for dealing with them. The ordinary course of action is for the chairman and ranking member of the committee, together with their staff directors, to hold a confidential meeting and determine if the matter merits further probing by the FBI.

Of course, taking that course would almost certainly have resulted in the FBI finding no corroboration for Ford’s claims, in which case the matter would have ended quietly. That wouldn’t have furthered Democrats’ goal of delaying the confirmation, so Feinstein kept it secret until after the hearings. California’s senior senator threw the nation into an acrimonious melee from which we will not soon emerge.