Do the Kavanaugh Accusations Warrant an FBI Investigation?
Republicans and Democrats are battling over how to handle the accusations of sexual assault levied at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The GOP has shown itself amenable to hearing testimony on the issue from both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, but they do not want to delay the confirmation for an FBI investigation. Democrats are demanding a full and impartial FBI investigation, but the stakes are high. With midterms less than seven weeks away, a delay could make Kavanaugh’s path to the Supreme Court even more fraught than before. More at CBS.
Victims can often recall vivid details about an assault but forget other things — especially because they are riven with guilt, shame, and embarrassment, and don’t want to talk about it with anyone, as was apparently the case with Ford. But Kavanaugh insists that he was not even at the party that Ford is talking about. An FBI investigation might well help to pin down some of these details and get past “he said, she said.” This would be as much in Kavanaugh’s interest as hers, which is why it is surprising that Republicans are resisting her request for an FBI inquiry.
Because she called their bluff, the G.O.P. has been forced into an untenable position. Lawmakers can’t ignore her without looking like heartless rape apologists, a perilous image in the middle of a midterm election that will be largely determined by women. Nor can they bow to her demands without running into serious political landmines, and potentially jeopardizing their best shot at securing a Supreme Court seat. Limiting their investigation to a simple case of “he said, she said” will, they hope, narrow the window of their inquiry. But while Ford’s lawyers await Grassley’s official response to their request for an F.B.I. probe, Republicans’ maneuvering is increasingly transparent.
Select a neutral investigative body with experience in sexual misconduct cases that will investigate the incident in question and present its findings to the committee. Outcomes in such investigations are more reliable and less likely to be perceived as tainted by partisanship… Do not rush these hearings. Doing so would not only signal that sexual assault accusations are not important — hastily appraising this situation would very likely lead to facts being overlooked that are necessary for the Senate and the public to evaluate. That the committee plans to hold a hearing this coming Monday is discouraging. Simply put, a week’s preparation is not enough time for meaningful inquiry into very serious charges.