Just a few hours ago Donald Trump caved to the GOP Senate leadership, which was in turn caving to Senator Jeff Flake. Trump reluctantly ordered an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Trump was clearly trying to protect Kavanaugh by insisting in his statement that the FBI probe would be “limited in scope.” But that’s already not going in the manner Trump was hoping.
This evening, Maju Raju of CNN posted this tidbit to Twitter: “Emerging from McConnell’s office, GOP senators made clear that the FBI will determine what constitutes ‘credible’ allegations against Kavanaugh – and how many accusers that entails.” So much for Trump’s hope that this would be limited in scope, and perhaps include only the allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Instead, this opens the door for the FBI to chase down every accusation that it thinks might have a chance of going anywhere.
The FBI still only has a seven day window, but it’s hitting the ground running. It already has several hours of testimony from Ford, thanks to yesterday’s testimony. It already has the evidence, such as Kavanaugh’s calendar, that was submitted for the hearings. It already knows that Mark Judge is the key witness in that case. It already has the details that Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick have made public.
When Donald Trump announced the FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, some observers were worried that Trump might try to rig it in his favor. Based on his track record, Trump could certainly be inclined to try. But it’s worth keeping in mind that, despite a year and a half of trying, Trump hasn’t even been able to rig the FBI investigation into his own crimes. And now even the GOP Senate is publicly staking itself to letting the FBI decide what’s relevant in the Kavanaugh probe.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report