We don’t know what will happen next in the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation process. That’s partly because Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has revealed that she’s playing four dimensional chess with the Senate Judiciary Committee, even while keeping her cards close to the vest. But even based on what little we’ve seen from her thus far, we can now draw a straight line from Kavanaugh to prison. I know I’m perhaps the only pundit saying this today, so hear me out.
Dr. Ford keeps asking the FBI to investigate her attempted rape claims against Brett Kavanaugh. It’s not difficult to parse why. If the FBI starts digging deeply into this, Kavanaugh will likely go down for something. Even if the attempted rape charge can’t be proven by court-of-law standards, Kavanaugh would probably end up getting nailed for lying to the FBI, or for the perjury he committed last week, or for whatever is going on with his gambling habit and his mysteriously disappearing personal debts. But what if the FBI doesn’t investigate?
Ford has essentially given Kavanaugh a choice: drop out now, or be criminally investigated. She’s already brought the FBI into this by asking it to investigate the recent death threats against her. We’ll see if the FBI uses this as an excuse to investigate the underlying attempted rape accusation. Even if it doesn’t, Ford has another card to play. She can simply ask local authorities in Maryland to investigate the matter. Yes, it’s harder to get someone convicted for attempted rape than for, let’s say, lying to the FBI. But if Ford makes this move, Kavanaugh would still be risking going to prison by pushing forward with the nomination.
It’s important to keep in mind that Dr. Ford holds the only card that matters here. She can turn this into an active criminal investigation with one phone call. She hasn’t done it yet, because she’s ostensibly hoping the threat of a criminal accusation will prompt Brett Kavanaugh to drop out, and because she’s still hoping to put this in the hands of the FBI, which can nail Kavanaugh more easily than local authorities. Again, we don’t know precisely how Ford will play this. But if she can’t get her FBI investigation, there’s no reason to expect she won’t initiate a local criminal investigation. She plans to stop him from being on the Supreme Court – even if she has to put him in prison to make it happen.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report