This evening we saw a truly unnerving series of events in which Brett Kavanaugh was accused of assaulting a woman at a college party, and then it was revealed that multiple witnesses want to testify that Kavanaugh participated in several gang rapes. Now that several women are accusing Kavanaugh of various sex crimes, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein – who originally blew this wide open by helping Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to come forward – came out firing tonight.
Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a public letter to the committee’s chairman, Chuck Grassley. She started it off in this manner: “I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. I also ask that the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation, and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigate the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims.”
Of course Feinstein and Ford pushed for an FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh this past week, and it didn’t happen. At the time, it was tricky to argue that the FBI had any jurisdiction here, as it was a single incident with a single accuser, and it involved state and local laws, as opposed to federal law. But the legal landscape is clearly different now. Kavanaugh now stands accused of being a serial sexual assaulter and serial rapist, across state lines.
Perhaps more importantly to the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process, the political landscape has shifted as well. Fair or not, in the court of public opinion, several accusers are more likely to be believed than one accuser, no matter how compelling of a case that one accuser might make. Everyone involved in the confirmation process knows this. If the FBI does get involved, Kavanaugh will likely end up in prison for a long time. Is he still willing to take that risk, or will he be smart enough to withdraw the nomination before the FBI decides it has jurisdiction here?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report