Yesterday, while Florence and Donald were making headlines, another story was picking up steam that could derail the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the morning we reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said she has referred Kavanaugh to federal authorities for investigation.
Feinstein issued a statement saying:
“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”
That the FBI was looking into Kavanaugh’s past sexual misconduct was disclosed just before the Senate Judiciary Committee was prepared to vote on his nomination.
During the day more information came out about the sexual misconduct charges. We know that the allegations relate to sexual misconduct between Kavanaugh and an unidentified woman when they were both in high school.
There is no actual criminal investigation, but according to the Washington Post:
“The FBI passed the material to the White House as an update to Kavanaugh‘s background check, which already has been completed, the person said. The move is similar to what the bureau did when allegations were leveled against former White House aide Rob Porter, who resigned earlier this year after the emergence of domestic abuse accusations from two former wives.”
“Once the White House received the material from the FBI, which it did early Thursday afternoon, it sent the information to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to an administration official.
“Upon receipt of the information on the night of Sept. 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process,” an FBI spokesperson said. The Justice Department declined to comment.”
If two Republicans announce that they won’t vote for Kavanaugh it will kill his nomination. The two Republicans are likely to be Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, both of whom claim to be pro-choice, and neither of whom has announced that they will vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
Democrats hope that Collins, who is up for reelection in two years in Maine, will realize that she needs to vote “no” on Kavanaugh in order to save her political career. Moderates in her state won’t forget if she helps put the swing vote on the Supreme Court who overturns Roe v Wade.
Murkowski is also pro-choice and faces the additional complication of Kavanaugh not believing in indigenous rights. Alaska Natives are one of Murkowski’s strongest constituencies, and they have publicly called on her to reject Kavanaugh.
But now Collins and Murkowski are facing the prospect of having to vote for a Supreme Court nominee who’s just been accused of sexual assault. (We are assuming the sexual misconduct outlined in the letter is very serious and probably describes some form of sexual assault or the FBI would not have given it any credence.)
Even though there is no FBI investigation they thought it was serious enough to include in his official background file.
It means the FBI views this sexual assault allegation as a credible matter, and not as some kind of hoax.
All that Collins and Murkowski have to do is announce that they can’t vote for a guy who appears to have been credibly charged with sexual assault. At that point the Brett Kavanaugh nomination would die. It is still not too late for Senators Collins and Murkowski to do the right thing and reject Brett Kavanaugh.