BAILEY T. STEEN | FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
As Washington partisans continue the firing squads of “believe all women” and [citations needed], Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were trying to avoid an FBI investigation into the rape scandal surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford. Throughout recent hearings, committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) brought up the words of former Vice President Joe Biden when Anita Hill testified on her assault allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.
“The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything obviously doesn’t understand anything,” Biden shouted at the top of his lungs. “The FBI explicitly does not, in this case or any other case, reach a conclusion, period. Period… The reason we cannot rely on the FBI report, you would not like it if we did, is because it’s inconclusive,” Biden said to Thomas, stoic as the man once sat across from the all-male Senate committee panel.
“All they could say is ‘he said, she said and they said’, period. So when people wave an FBI report before you,” Biden continued, waving his stack of papers before the committee, “understand they do not, they do not, they do not, reach conclusions. They do not make, as my friend points out more accurately, they do not make recommendations.”
(Oct. 12, 1991, then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) declares the FBI into SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill unreliable — C-SPAN)
At that time, Thomas, nominated to the Supreme Court by former Republican President George H.W. Bush, was facing sexual harassment allegations from Anita Hill, who served as the former law professor of University of Oklahoma. The FBI, doing what hindsight shows to be the bare minimum in over the span of just three days, received testimony from Thomas, Hill and other witnesses under the penalty of perjury, reported NPR. Despite the case showing no sign of searches into non-spoken evidence, this gave Sen. Grassley the perfect opportunity to shoot down the investigative calls from Democrats.
“Contrary to what the public has been led to believe, the FBI doesn’t perform any credibility assessment or verify the truth of any event in these background investigations,” Grassley said prior to Ford’s testimony Thursday morning, according to BuzzFeed News. He was also joined by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), among other GOP colleagues and supporters citing Biden’s recorded rant.
Within just a few hours, President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the FBI to conduct a “supplemental investigation" his second SCOTUS nominee, ordering a repeat of the past in instructing it “must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week”, according to a White House statement released by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Twitter.
Her tweet came just a few hours after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was being mauled over social media and the floor of Capitol Hill for his week-long flip flopping between calling Ford’s allegations “credible”, stating he would likely vote in support of Kavanaugh’s final confirmation and openly supporting a through process before reaching his own conclusion. “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation,” he wrote, “limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there, limited in time to no more than one week. And I will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding.”
The rationale behind preventing an investigation, looking from the situation from a Republican lens, is extremely curious. Yes, on a moral and truth-seeking level, there’s nothing wrong in allowing an agency to help our knowledge of the situation. When the FBI originally vetted Kavanaugh as a potential SCOTUS nominee months ago, its main task was investigating national security risks that could pose a potential threat to the integrity of America’s highest court. It’s extremely unlikely prior evidence points to his questionable relationships with women during his beer-loving years in college.
With that said, Trump has already indicated to the FBI they’re restricted to repeat the same ‘he said, she said’ scope that, if found inconclusive, grants Kavanuagh the same kind of plausible deniability that saw Thomas ascend to be the far-right’s representative for over two decades. If you’re of a more conservative mind — seeking little truth and big political wins — this is a basic, pointless venture that only helps your preferred right-wing nominee in appearing the good guy with little to lose. Of course, there are countless argument that will say rigging the game this way is downright immoral, unethical, deceptive, perhaps even a sexist attempt at gaining political power, but it’s a gamble that just might work for the GOP if the FBI’s institutional flaws, which previously failed Hill, prove a reality once more.
Right now, the case is purely in the court of public opinion. With the left citing Ford’s interview with The Washington Post, her case amounts to accusations that occurred roughly 35 years ago, claiming Kavanaugh and his former class mates and drinking buddies, such as Mark Judge, held her down in a bedroom at a small high school house party and as Kavanaugh attempted to rape her, covering her mouth to quiet her protests before she ran away. The 1982 calendar, cited by Kavanaugh himself, places three of the accused (Judge, PJ Smyth and himself) at the scene of a small gathering on July 1st. The entry reads “go to Timmy’s for Skis [drinks] w/ Judge, Tom, PJ, Bernie, Squi.”
Kavanaugh’s denial, however, amounts to a series of informal statements, question dodging and partisan political testimony (sprinkled with lite conspiracy theories about “the friends of the Clintons”) that appear awful, even despite Ford’s witnesses, such as Cristina King Miranda and her reported best friend Leland Ingham Keyser, giving inconsistent accounts. Simply put, if Kavanaugh was his own defence lawyer, he’d be fired within 48 hours.
His only defence for avoiding such an FBI investigation is also weak. Once again, the former Lewinsky investigator would be forced to give an honest account of his college years under the penalty of perjury, meaning he’d have less wiggle room to issues lies and misspeaks that are allowed when giving comments to the media. That said, wouldn’t you want a straight story to help clear your name?
From an optics view, an official FBI report is a better display of ones defence than some article published by the likes of either Breitbart, or InfoWars citing recent belligerent testimony. It’s made Thomas a respected name among the political scene, more than any conservative blogger or multi-billion cable news hawks could dream. In the era of Trump, where the narrative matter more than facts, why not let the FBI write the limited story for you?
Ultimately, the Democrats needs either Sens. Flake, Susan Collins (R-ME) and/or Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to flip in order to oppose a Kavanaugh nomination. The appearance of non-compliance with the agency, even one limited in its scope to simple he said and she said accounts, will hurt their support of Kavanaugh’s nomination more than the result likely to prove inconclusive. As Sen. Dick Durbin said to the potential justice earlier this week: “Judge, if there is no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that. “Are you afraid that they might not?”
Thanks for reading! Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, designer and film critic residing in the heart of Victoria, Australia. He’s also a proud Putin Puppet™ on occasion. His articles have been published on TrigTent, Medium, Steemit and Janks Reviews. For updates, follow @atheist_cvnt on either Twitter, Instagram or Gab.Ai, while you can contact him for personal or business reasons directly at email@example.com. Cheers, darlings!! 💋