Republican Senator Jeff Flake, of all people, somehow managed to back Donald Trump into a corner today, leaving Trump with no choice but to order an FBI investigation into his own handpicked Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Suffice it to say that Trump and his people did not see today’s events coming. In fact, word from inside his White House is that it’s pure pandemonium.
Things are unraveling for Trump and Kavanaugh remarkably quickly tonight. For instance, despite Donald Trump’s insistence in a statement that the FBI investigation will be “limited in scope,” Mitch McConnell’s office quickly acknowledged that the FBI will be allowed to pursue all of the sexual assault allegations that it finds credible, and not just the allegations made by the one accuser who was allowed to testify yesterday. Then came word from the Washington Post that the FBI is now free to criminally pursue Kavanaugh for his perjury before Congress. Even before these revelations, Trump and his people were taking things rather poorly.
The White House is “shellshocked” over the fact that Trump was forced to order the FBI investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal. The administration is reportedly blaming the American Bar Association for having given Jeff Flake cover when it announced last night that it wanted an FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh. Remarkably, the WSJ’s White House source says that Trump isn’t even bothering to pursue a replacement nominee, because it would be too difficult to pull off before the midterms.
So what happens next? For the moment at least, that’s up to Brett Kavanaugh. Is he crazy enough to remain the nominee, even as the FBI begins seeking to nail him for perjury? He can go to federal prison for that. If he drops out ASAP, perhaps he can short circuit that. But if he decides to remain the nominee, look for the FBI to swiftly and decisively rip his life wide open in order to get to the bottom of the myriad criminal accusations against him. All that Donald Trump can do is fume.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report