After Dr. Christine Blasey Ford figured out that Donald Trump and the Senate Republicans are afraid to move forward with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation without her testimony, she began trying to leverage that into an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh. This has led a number of observers to state that because the alleged crime isn’t a federal crime, the FBI doesn’t have jurisdiction, and therefore cannot investigate unless Trump and/or the GOP gives it permission. But one of the foremost experts on the law is now explaining otherwise.
Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe has offered this explanation on his Twitter page: “The argument that because sexual assault isn’t a federal crime FBI can’t investigate, its only role being to ensure a nominee isn’t a security risk, doesn’t work. A justice confirmed under this cloud could be blackmailed if evidence of perjury were to emerge later.”
Palmer Report’s analysis is that if the FBI were to unilaterally move forward on this, it could potentially create a situation down the road in which Kavanaugh could argue in pre-trial motions that the charges should be thrown out, because the FBI didn’t have the authority to investigate to begin with. But even if that did happen, by that time, the State of Maryland could build a parallel state level case.
If the FBI believes there is a legitimate case here, there is really no reason for it not to immediately move forward with an investigation. Moreover, if it’s revealed before Monday that the FBI is in fact criminally investigating the attempted rape accusation against Brett Kavanaugh, it would make it even harder for Senate Republicans to try to move forward with the nomination process.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report