Renewing his vow to hold a vote this week on Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefly reviewed the histrionics and thuggish intimidation tactics from the hard Left in recent days. As Lauretta mentioned earlier, we've seen agitators hound Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife out of a restaurant, bust through a door of a Congressional office, and send vile death and rape threats and messages to Chairman Grassley and Sen. Collins. McConnell has seen enough (the relevant portion of his remarks starts around the two minute mark):
If facts and evidence couldn’t get the job done then intimidation tactics and bullying would have to do. Sometimes, this intimidation campaign has been aimed at the nominee...The far-left tried to bully and intimidate members of this body -- Republican United States Senators. One of our colleagues and his family were effectively run out of a restaurant in recent days. Another reported having protestors physically block his car door. And some have seen organized far-left protestors camp out at their homes. I’m not suggesting we’re the victims here. But I want to make it clear to these people who are chasing my members around the hall here, or harassing them at the airports, or going to their homes. We will not be intimidated by these people. There is no chance in the world that they’re going to scare us out of doing our duty. I don’t care how many members they chase, how many people they harass here in the halls. I want to make one thing perfectly clear: we will not be intimidated by these people. This is all part of the organized effort to delay, obstruct, and intimidate those of us who will be voting this week.
Reports are rampant that the follow-up FBI background investigation is wrapping today, setting up an inevitable argument over whether it was thorough enough. Republicans are correctly pointing out that the existence of the probe is a concession, especially considering how Democrats' cynical and appalling handling of the allegations from day one. They're also highlighting Democrats' previous demands for a brief investigation, including multiple favorable references to the Bureau's work on the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill issue, which lasted just three days. Nevertheless, NBC's sources -- gee, I wonder if they're Democrats? -- are now complaining that the investigation is ignoring dozens of potential witnesses. But Ed Morrissey makes the key catch:
Sources close to the investigation, as well as a number of people who know those involved, say the FBI has not contacted dozens of potential corroborators or character witnesses...More than 20 individuals who know either Kavanaugh or Ramirez, who has accused the nominee of exposing himself to her while the two attended Yale University, have not heard from the FBI despite attempts to contact investigators, including Kavanaugh’s roommate at the time and a former close Ramirez friend...[Ford's legal] team also submitted a list of nearly 20 people to the FBI to turn to, including the polygraph examiner who interviewed Ford, her therapist and friends she confided in about the allegation.
In other words, the FBI has apparently declined to interview people who could merely offer opinions about an accuser's character, or perhaps confirm what they were told decades after an alleged incident. This would suggest that federal agents have been focusing on the areas of contemporaneous corroboration and actual fact witnesses (ahem), which would make sense. It's also interesting that "nearly 20" of these witnesses were put forward by Ford's lawyers, who appear to have been hand-picked for her by Senate Democrats. Critics wonder if these attorneys, by potentially withholding information from their client, have effectively been working on behalf of partisans in Washington.
Regardless, after beating the drum for an FBI investigation for days on end, will it soon become an Official Talking Point Of The Left that the FBI actually doesn't know how to conduct a proper background investigation? What are the remedies for whiplash? Remember, they were given a time limit of one full week (and apparently have exhausted their relevant leads much sooner), but they were not restricted in the scope of what or who to pursue. What about the gripe that the FBI hasn't interviewed Dr. Ford? The obvious reply:
Dr. Ford shared her story with the world in 3 hours of public testimony just last week.— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) October 3, 2018
Are her lawyers suggesting she has more to share? That would contradict her testimony that she had told the committee everything. https://t.co/7jI5Tkdg6Shttps://t.co/JUdY5CLb8F
Breaking News: The FBI is avoiding pointless, redundant work. In case you're concerned that key undecided Senators are buying the claim that the Bureau's work on this front is an incomplete "sham," or whatever, here's Susan Collins:
Asked Susan Collins if she is satisfied by what she has seen so far of the FBI probe on Kavanaugh. She said:— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) October 2, 2018
“Yes. I’ve had conversations with the White House Counsel and I believe that the FBI is following leads, which is what we wanted done, and conducting interviews.”
I'll leave you with a few stray thoughts on all of this: (1) We've now seen claims from a longtime ex-boyfriend of Dr. Ford, offered under penalty of perjury, that raise some concerns about her credibility (beyond her own shifting details, the trajectory of which don't necessarily appear to be coincidental). But haven't many conservatives just spent quite a lot of time stressing the importance of corroborating evidence? We should not simply believe this new information because it fits a narrative; we should demand corroboration, or consider it to be dubious or inconclusive. (2) This detail -- that the home renovation that allegedly triggered Ford's initial therapy disclosure in 2012 was completed two years earlier -- may be interesting, but it doesn't appear to be "proof" that she's lied or fabricated an element of her story. She never specifically testified when the project occurred, only that the subject came up in a counseling session in 2012. Like this unfair accusation of "perjury" against Kavanaugh, this 'gotcha' against Ford strikes me as circumstantial and plausibly explained through other means.
(3) Vulnerable Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly is doubling down against Kavanaugh, restating his opposition to the nominee, regardless of what the FBI finds. His new excuse is the "temperament" canard. So the only undecided Democrats remain Manchin and Heitkamp, whose constituents are dramatically tilted in favor of confirmation. Reuters reviews the latter's quandary:
The partisan war over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court presents a seemingly intractable dilemma. Five weeks before the Nov. 6 elections, her decision on Trump’s pick could come at her peril - whether she votes yes or no. If Heitkamp, one of the most vulnerable Democrats in this year’s congressional midterm elections, rejects Kavanaugh, as she has hinted, she risks alienating conservative voters including independent and Democratic-leaning women who support Kavanaugh in a state Trump carried by 36 points in the 2016 presidential election. A “yes” vote, however, might provoke a backlash among her core supporters that could depress Democratic turnout in her bid for a second term.
Recent polls show overwhelming support for Kavanaugh in both North Dakota and West Virginia. Other red state Democrats like Donnelley, McCaskill and Tester have thrown in their lot with Chuck Schumer and the Resistance. Soon, Manchin and Heitkamp will have to decide whether they're more afraid of their party's base, or the large majorities of their own constituents.