This week’s FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh is happening only because of Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake and the two heroic women who pushed him into calling for it.
Flake warned everyone up front that he’s still planning to support Kavanaugh in the full Senate vote unless the FBI probe turns up something disqualifying.
Now he’s defining the parameters of what would be disqualifying and that could be very bad news for Kavanaugh.
Flake went on the CBS show 60 Minutes Sunday night with his friend, Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware to discuss the Kavanaugh nomination.
During the interview, Flake was asked this question: “If Judge Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the Committee, nomination’s over?”
And his answer was very simple, consisting of only two words: “Oh yes.”
“NEW: Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons agree that if Brett Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee his nomination “is over”
NEW: Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons agree that if Brett Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee his nomination "is over" pic.twitter.com/ahVZaT1qhU
— Matt Rogers 🦅 (@Politidope) October 1, 2018
Flake could have answered like a typical politician and not given a direct answer. He could have hedged his bets and been unclear about what he would do. But he didn’t do that — he was very clear and very direct. He said that lying by Kavanaugh will disqualify him from the Supreme Court.
So the FBI doesn’t have to prove that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted anyone, which could be hard to do. All it has to do is show the Senate that Kavanaugh lied about something – anything – during his Senate testimony when he was under oath.
Many people, including Kavanaugh’s former classmates at Yale, are already coming to the media saying that he lied to the Senate about his drinking habits in his youth. There have been other documented lies told by Kavanaugh also.
All of this should make it very easy for the FBI to show that Kavanaugh perjured himself. The evidence for this should be in the FBI report that will be distributed after the investigation has concluded.
If Jeff Flake had said that he would only vote “no” if the FBI could convince him that Brett Kavanaugh was a serial rapist that would be difficult.
But Flake just went on national TV agreeing to the single condition that if Kavanaugh lied to him at all during committee hearings, he’ll vote “no” on the Kavanaugh the nomination.
As to whether or not the other “swing” votes (Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski) agree with him, that is unclear. Also unclear is the exact scope of the FBI probe, and what will happen once it is completed.
Now we have to wait and see if the FBI will do a real investigation, and if Flake will come through on his promise. The future of the Supreme Court — and possibly the entire country — hangs in the balance.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.