After Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gave credible and compelling testimony yesterday alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her, and Kavanaugh responded by having a mental breakdown during his own subsequent testimony, various entities called for a halt to the nomination so an FBI investigation could be conducted. Not surprisingly, the American Bar Association was among them. Shockingly, so was Donald Trump’s pal Alan Dershowitz.
Not long before midnight eastern time, it was widely reported that the ABA had sent a letter to Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, arguing that the FBI must step in and help determine whether Kavanaugh or Ford is telling the truth. This is a major development, but perhaps not surprising. Kavanaugh is a judge with a law degree, and the ABA is profoundly influential in that realm. When this news was paired with an op-ed published by Alan Dershowitz on the Fox News website calling for the same thing, it set off all the alarms.
Some observers assumed that Alan Dershowitz was merely trying to cover himself in the wake of the American Bar Association letter. But while it’s possible that he knew what was coming, Dershowitz’s op-ed was actually published roughly four hours before the ABA news broke publicly. So it looks like Dershowitz may have simply taken it upon himself to publicly advise Donald Trump to effectively tank the Kavanaugh nomination by bringing in the FBI. So where does this get us?
On the one hand, with the Brett Kavanaugh nomination now rapidly shaping up as a stain on American history, it’s possible that Alan Dershowitz may simply be trying to avoid taking one more reputational hit as he continues to turn into more of a Trump shill. On the other hand, maybe Dershowitz really is trying to talk Trump into moving on from Kavanaugh, for fear that pushing any further forward could backfire. Trump does tend to listen to his unofficial advisers; it appears he decided not to fire Rod Rosenstein based at least partly on a public plea from Sean Hannity.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report