The Senate will ask the FBI to investigate sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. They want the investigation done in one week so they will have time to vote for confirmation before the midterm elections.
Publicly, most Republican lawmakers and their supporters will react in a negative way, ranging from annoyed to outraged. With the elections coming up, this is actually a very good thing for Republicans, assuming the FBI investigation does not yield fruit against Kavanaugh.
Friday’s developments unfolded a day after Kavanaugh and an accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, testified in an emotional, hours-long hearing that was televised nationwide. Kavanaugh angrily denied the allegation that he assaulted Ford while they were both in high school, but she said she was “100 percent” certain he was her attacker.
Flake, a key moderate Republican, was at the center of Friday’s drama and uncertainty. In the morning, he announced that he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination. Shortly after, he was confronted in an elevator by two women who, through tears, implored him to change his mind. The stunning confrontation was captured by television cameras.
Bad optics have plagued both sides of the fence as Republicans and Democrats took turns looking like bigger fools than their adversaries. Holding the vote without an FBI investigation would have tainted the confirmation, giving Democrats the ability to cry foul all the way to election day.
By forcing an investigation, they’ve now put all their hopes that the FBI will somehow uncover damaging evidence against Kavanaugh that corroborates Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation. After 36 years, it will be difficult, especially considering all who were allegedly present at the party where the incident allegedly happened have given sworn statements contradicting Ford’s claims.
Had there been no investigation, Democrats would have claimed to be victims of a GOP majority. They would have parlayed this towards rallying their base to get out and vote on election day.
Democrats got what they wanted. Assuming nothing of substance comes from the investigation, Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be less tainted and Democrats will have lost one of the victim cards they intended to use for the elections.