The odds of Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed to the Supreme Court continue to drop with each passing day. The Republican Senate leadership knows those odds become zero if Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski aren’t on board. They’ve shown a history of voting against their own Republican Party when it’s suited their interests, and two GOP “no” votes would finish Kavanaugh off. So when either of them calls for something, the GOP leadership more or less has to give it to them.
That’s why it matters greatly that Senator Murkowski has just come out in support of an FBI investigation into the mounting sexual assault accusations being made against Kavanaugh. She did not go so far as to state that her vote hinges on it, but there is no question that she was making a point of hinting at it. When a group of reporters and television cameras were following Murkowski down the hall, one of them asked if the FBI should investigate. After a long pause, she said “It would sure clear up all the questions, wouldn’t it?”
The Resistance learned a long time ago not to trust Collins or Murkowski to do the right thing for its own sake. But they can be counted on to do whatever they think will give them the best shot at reelection in their respective states, even if it means screwing over their party. They’re both shrewd and calculating politicians. Murkowski knows that by coming out in support of an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh, she’s setting the stage such that it would be very difficult for her to get away with turning around and “yes” without an FBI investigation first.
So now we see what the Republican Senate leadership will do with this new implied demand from Lisa Murkowski. If the FBI starts poking around into Brett Kavanaugh, it could end up nailing him for anything from the sexual assault and rape accusations, to lying to the FBI, to lying to Congress, to whatever the story is with his gambling habits and his mysteriously disappearing personal debts. Our guess is that if the GOP tells Kavanaugh that it’s going to have to bring in the FBI, he’ll drop out. In fact this may be Murkowski’s strategy, so she doesn’t have to vote on him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report