Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is so blatantly biased in favor of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, even Saturday Night Live felt compelled last night to lampoon his one-sided attempts at throwing the confirmation hearings in Kavanaugh’s favor. Now Grassley seems intent on taking things to a whole new low.
The Grassley-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee has announced on Twitter that it is seeking a criminal investigation into one or more individuals who may have falsely reported sexual assault accusations against Brett Kavanaugh to the committee. That’s all well and good. If someone did make up a phony felony accusation just to try to interfere with the confirmation process, then that person certainly wasn’t helping things, and should be held liable. But there are two problems here.
First, the letter posted by the committee specifically refers to an allegation that Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge sexually assaulted a woman on a boat in Rhode Island. The committee is claiming that “the individual recanted the claims on a social media post.” This is sketchy at best. Someone did post a semi-coherent tweet claiming to be the Rhode Island accuser, and claiming to recant it. However, the Twitter account in question is not verified, and thus the tweet itself could easily have been illegitimate. CNN reported that it tried to reach the owner of the Twitter account to determine whether it truly was the same guy who made the Rhode Island accusation, but it couldn’t get anywhere.
So now the Senate Judiciary Committee is seeking a criminal investigation into a guy who claimed that his female friend was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, simply because some Twitter account out there claimed to be him, and claimed to recant the story. His life is about to be turned upside down, and perhaps baselessly. But even if there is evidence beyond the dubious tweet that Rhode Island accuser did make false accusations, and Chuck Grassley is doing the right thing by seeking criminal prosecution for it, he’s still off the mark.
Chuck Grassley has clearly decided that anyone who lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee, in an effort at sabotaging the confirmation hearings, should be criminally prosecuted. Fair enough. Yet Grassley watched Brett Kavanaugh tell more than a dozen distinct lies while under oath during his testimony, all of which were aimed at sabotaging the committee’s ability to evaluate him as a nominee. If Grassley were attempting to do the right thing here, he would also have asked prosecutors to criminally pursue Kavanaugh for perjury.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report