The Senate Judiciary Committee announced a couple of hours ago that it would ask the FBI to conduct a “supplemental background investigation” on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
This move is presumably in response to the stipulation put on his “yes” vote in committee by Senator Jeff Flake.
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) September 28, 2018
Throughout the process of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation so far, a key problem for the activist left has been that each of the allegations against him was coming through a highly impeachable pipeline.
The Ford allegation came through Dianne Feinstein, with a detour through the Washington Post, and both of those way stations sat on it for weeks before making it public after the scheduled confirmation hearings concluded. Ford was also taken under the wing of a laughably apparent activist-left group, with ties not only to Feinstein but to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
The Ramirez allegation came through the New Yorker. The New York Times, within hours of its publication, disclosed that the Times had questioned dozens of people about Ramirez’s story and could find no one to corroborate it. Quite a few left-wing journalists, who themselves oppose the Kavanaugh nomination, criticized the New Yorker and its authors for publishing such a piece.
The Swetnick allegation came through Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti, and was mind-bogglingly free of details or evidence (but festooned with unbelievable aspects, such as the implication that the accuser, as a college student, had gone well out of her way to party with high school students who were running “rape trains” on drunken girls). It began taking on water immediately.
The fourth “allegation” came in an anonymous letter to a senator from Colorado, and named no one except Kavanaugh in the tale it recounted. It gave only one “detail” with any forensic utility: the year 1998. It sank with barely a ripple within hours.
A fifth allegation about an incident on a boat in Rhode Island was recanted so quickly that many observers don’t even know about it.
In each case, the Democrats have repeated a mantra that the FBI must be asked to “investigate.” Moreover, the accusers have also all brought up having the FBI investigate, although that’s not normally something an accuser would make a specific priority – especially since the allegations are all from decades ago.
I saw one commentator ask if there was information in Christine Blasey Ford’s brain that could only come out if the FBI questioned her. (I would post a link to that if I could find it again.) The demand for FBI involvement has been so insistent as to seem deranged.
The accepted wisdom is that this is about slow-rolling an FBI investigation to delay the Kavanaugh confirmation, and probably make use of the extra time to lob new allegations into the mix through the media or politicians.
But it’s quite possible the emphasis in that analysis is misdirected. Instead of “delay,” we should be focusing on “FBI.”
Because if you want to introduce evidence-free allegations and have them taken seriously, you want to get them into an FBI case file. Tell people an “FBI investigation” turned something up – even if it’s a wholly uncorroborated and uncorroborable statement in a Form 302 – and it sounds more like something is there. More, at least, than uncorroborated statements filtered through media outlets, ambulance-chasing lawyers, and politicized delays by a senator’s office.
That was the whole premise of the Russiagate method, which used Christopher Steele and his dossier to inject “information” into an “FBI investigation.”
I previewed that analogy in my post on the bizarre “FBI” mantra on 26 September.
So what is this passion for an FBI investigation about? …
One possibility does present itself, mere months after learning that Fusion GPS, being paid first by Hillary Clinton and the DNC and then by dark-money donors, pumped opposition research into the FBI through Christopher Steele and DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
Worth considering the implications, although we can’t know. We don’t know if media reporters might play a similar role, as they apparently did in feeding the FBI information about Paul Manafort’s storage locker. (The media seem to have been pretty active already in seeding the anti-Kavanaugh narrative.)
The Steele-to-Ohr-to-FBI triple play has been busted up now, so I’m not suggesting the organized activist left is eyeing that particular method (much less that route).
But consider that the maneuvers of the Russiagate infrastructure have kept the public square politically immobilized for nearly two years now – even though they have led to few concrete political outcomes. That, for the folks orchestrating it, has been the payoff: the paralysis.
In that regard, it’s very true that if the FBI finds no basis, even with new “information,” for building or referring any kind of case against Kavanaugh, the Bureau probably won’t do anything that would launch a proceeding against him.
But the Senate Democrats don’t need a formal proceeding. They just need the contents of any new 302s leaked to the media, and attributed to an FBI investigation. The Democrats, the media, and organized activist groups will do the rest.
That has been the hallmark of Russiagate: keeping the narrative going through leaks, because “FBI-washing” it convinces enough people that what’s going on is due process of law.
The target audience for this isn’t really even the American people, at this point. It’s the swing votes in the Senate: the weak links of Flake, Murkowski, and Collins. Red-state Democrats like Manchin and Donnelly, who are reportedly ready to vote for Kavanaugh right now, are also likely to be peeled off by adverse “information” purporting to come from the FBI.
Remember, the Russiagate method didn’t achieve what it has by convincing you of anything. It targeted actors in Washington, from gun-decking the FISA court to orchestrating the moment for Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel in May 2017.
An FBI-involved “investigation” of allegations against Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t have to convince you either. It just has to alarm a handful of wavering senators.
Will there be mental resistance out there in reader-land to the real potential for this scenario? I don’t know. I think a lot of people are keeping up enough now to realize it is perfectly feasible, and not unlikely. I’m not the only writer thinking along these lines. (Although I urge you not to ascribe any analytical enormities you find in my treatment to Lee Smith.)
Interesting look for Dems going into mid-terms: Party of no due process, guilty until proven innocent, and if we have no evidence showing your guilt, we’ll stick the FBI on you and manufacture some. It’s the Party of the Dossier.
— Lee Smith (@LeeSmithDC) September 28, 2018
In closing, I’m reminded of a story recounted by late historian Barbara Tuchman in her book about the beginning of World War I, The Guns of August. At a military conference before the war started, a British general asked his French counterpart what size of British force the French needed, if war came, to make their initial defense viable. The French general responded: “One British soldier – and we will make sure he is killed.”
As the Kavanaugh confirmation remains just out of reach, due to Republicans’ dithering, the Democrats may well have found their French-general’s formula for the size of delaying action they need. One accuser against Kavanaugh – if they can make sure he or she is interviewed by the FBI.