Mitch McConnell is grasping at straws

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Another day, another bluff from Mitch McConnell in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation saga – and once again, far too many people on both sides are falling for it. Last month McConnell claimed that he had the votes to confirm Kavanaugh, and most of the media reported it as if it were fact. Then we quickly saw it wasn’t true, as the swing voters forced him to sign off on an FBI probe. Now McConnell is trying a bluff of a different kind, and it’s frankly a weird one.

Mitch McConnell’s latest attempt at maintaining the appearance of control over the unraveling Brett Kavanaugh nomination involves the FBI report itself. McConnell now says that the report will only be made available to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Numerous people in the media, and in the Resistance, have interpreted this as the report never seeing the light of day. But that’s not how anything works.

If McConnell tries to keep the FBI report from becoming public, the Democrats on the committee will immediately begin leaking the most damning details in it, in order to make it far more difficult for the GOP swing voters to stand behind Kavanaugh. What’s McConnell going to do to them for leaking it? None of it will be classified information, so there’s no criminal liability here. We’ve already seen Cory Booker releasing Kavanaugh’s secret emails, under the threat of being expelled (spoiler alert: he wasn’t expelled). We’ve seen Dianne Feinstein go public with her letter from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a politically strategic time, and all the GOP can do is whine about having gotten outfoxed by her.

The notion that Mitch McConnell can keep this report private is laughable. Moreover, he knows it. He’s continuing to make one scary bluff after another, either because he’s trying to convince people he’s still in charge here, or because he’s trying to demotivate those who are working to defeat the nomination. In any case, even though we’re far from knowing how this will play out, anyone still taking McConnell at his word should know better.

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