The Legacy of Senators Who Vote to Confirm Kavanaugh

The FBI has concluded its so-called “investigation” of the sexual assault allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh, and senators are now in the process of reviewing their report. A procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation is scheduled for Friday, which will initiate up to 30 hours of debate, followed by a final confirmation vote as soon as Saturday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House “has found no corroboration of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after examining interview reports from the FBI’s latest probe into the judge’s background.” Senate Republicans aren’t merely ignoring all of Kavanaugh’s lies; they’re adopting Trump’s strategy of attacking the alleged victims.

Republicans are aggressively challenging the credibility of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s initial accuser, a turnabout from days of treating Christine Blasey Ford gingerly after her emotional testimony alleging sexual assault decades ago.

Spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the blistering campaign to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court includes personal attacks on the women who have leveled claims against the judge, including the release Tuesday of a salacious statement that purports to describe the sex life of another accuser, Julie Swetnick.

The effort is shattering Senate norms at a critical moment for Kavanaugh, and it signals that the GOP is embracing the tactics of President Trump, who mocked Ford at a political rally Tuesday night days after calling her credible.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Churches has called for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn, and over 1,000 lawyers have signed a letter urging Senators to vote against his confirmation. Never in modern history has the country been so divided about a Supreme Court nominee.

All of that is happening as it becomes clear that the FBI investigation was nothing more than a sham to cover up the truth.

Frustrated potential witnesses who have been unable to speak with the F.B.I agents conducting the investigation into sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, have been resorting to sending statements, unsolicited, to the Bureau and to senators, in hopes that they would be seen before the inquiry concluded. On Monday, President Trump said that the Bureau should be able to interview “anybody they want within reason,” but the extent of the constraints placed on the investigating agents by the White House remained unclear. Late Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the F.B.I. probe was over and cleared the way for an important procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to take place on Friday. NBC News reported that dozens of people who said that they had information about Kavanaugh had contacted F.B.I. field offices, but agents had not been permitted to talk to many of them. Several people interested in speaking to the F.B.I. expressed exasperation in interviews with The New Yorker at what they perceived to be a lack of interest in their accounts.

Our friend Ed Kilgore wonders whether the rush to vote is a sign that Republicans have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh, or if it’s a bluff.

The new, peremptory tone of Senate Republicans also suggests that they believe they have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh. That would be quite the turnaround from the jitters they were expressing this morning after Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, and Lisa Murkowski each expressed unhappiness over the president’s mocking references to Christine Blasey Ford at a Mississippi rally last night.

Or it could all be a bluff. This strange and outrageous confirmation has taken enough twists and turns now that anything’s possible.

My guess is that when it looks like Democrat Joe Manchin is leaning towards voting “yes,” the Republicans are pretty confident that they have the votes.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court, we will begin to see a realization of all of the concerns articulated previously when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, civil rights, and Trump’s potential abuse of his executive privileges. But the big picture was articulated by Greg Sargent.

When President Trump attacked Ford at a rally on Tuesday night, he did more than merely showcase his typically depraved and hateful nature. What Trump really did was inform the country in no uncertain terms that he will do all he can to ensure that the country does not — and cannot — heal its searing divisions over the Kavanaugh matter, after it is resolved…

Big, career-defining votes occur in a complicated context, involving all kinds of considerations of how they will impact the country. Trump has made it inescapable that confirming Kavanaugh means “ripping the country apart,” as Flake put it. Trump has now confirmed to the nation that he will do all he can to make this so, deliberately.

The legacy of any senator who joins in the rush to confirm Brett Kavanaugh will be that they collaborated with Trump to tear the country apart.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.