The Letter from Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

It seems likely that Republicans were aware of the allegations in advance.

New and conflicting information about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s past has been emerging at lightning speed since allegations surfaced of an attempted sexual assault by Kavanaugh and a friend during their high school years.

But one of the more curious parts of the story comes not from the accuser or the controversy surrounding Dianne Feinstein’s actions in the matter, but rather from the Republican response. Just a day after the New Yorker story of the allegation appeared, Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley released a letter purportedly signed by 65 women who knew Kavanaugh since his high school years, testifying to his character and assuring the public that the Kavanaugh they knew would never behave in such a way.

But the letter itself and the circumstances surrounding it are deeply suspicious.

First, Kavanaugh went to an exclusive all-boys high school. How could he possibly have even known 65 women his age as more than passing acquaintances, much less as adequate to testify to his character.

Second, how many of us could find 65 people of any age or gender that we went to high school with, who knew us well enough to insist on our spotless character?

Third, how many of us could network quickly with 65 high school friends in under 24 hours to sign a letter of any kind, much less one attempting to exonerate the reputation of a single individual?

Simply put, the combination of factors here defies belief.

Buzzfeed posted an article claiming to explain how the letter came to be, but it does little to shed light on the key questions:

A group of women who have known Brett Kavanaugh since his high school days decided Thursday to put together the letter of support for him — a day after rumors of allegations against him first became public — one of the organizers of the letter told BuzzFeed News.

“We need to rally around Brett,” Meghan McCaleb, one of the signatories, said she told people of the effort to support President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

In an interview Friday, McCaleb said the letter-writing campaign began after her husband, Scott McCaleb, got a call from a reporter following initial reporting by the Intercept and BuzzFeed News about a secret letter containing an allegation against Kavanaugh.

Travis Lenkner, a former Kavanaugh clerk who has been helping support the judge during the confirmation process, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the letter was started by a group of women who knew Kavanaugh in high school and then approached his team about it. Two other women who signed the letter also said they got it from friends.

Anything is possible and it could all be innocent, but the circumstances here stretch the bounds of credibility. It seems far likelier that this groundwork was laid well in advance, and that Republicans pushing Kavanaugh’s nomination knew about the allegation, anticipated it and came ready. Impossible to prove at this juncture, but the preponderance of the evidence suggests more here than meets the eye.

 

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.