Earlier today, I wrote that the Democrats would slag the FBI in order to spin the results of their supplemental background check on Brett Kavanaugh. I assumed it would take the form of criticism of their performance, which it has. But I didn’t think that any Senate Democrats would wander into conspiracy-theory territory and attack the FBI’s integrity.
And yet, here we have Richard Blumenthal suggesting that the FBI took part in “a cover up” to get Kavanaugh confirmed. Hoo boy …
I’ve seen the report. I want to re-read parts of it. But my very emphatic impression is that this set of interviews is at best, most charitably, woefully incomplete. To put it bluntly, it smacks of a whitewash, even a cover-up.
There are so many relevant witnesses who have not been contacted, let alone interviewed. Of the 25 witnesses that I told the White House and the FBI were necessary, and my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee on the Democratic side joined me in this letter, only a fraction have been contacted. They have not interviewed again Dr. Blasey Ford or Judge Kavanaugh, among others, but even many of the eyewitnesses who potentially saw what happened to Deborah Ramirez have never been contacted.
Note that Blumenthal never gives the cover-up allegation the veneer of White House interference in this answer. He’s accusing the FBI of participating in a corrupt scheme, from Christopher Wray to the agents in the field who interviewed the subjects. That’s long way to come from last week’s “we can trust the FBI to do a thorough investigation.”
The last part about supposed “eyewitnesses” who “potentially saw” the acts alleged by Ramirez is laughable, however. Not even the New Yorker got anyone who claims to have witnessed it, and Ramirez’ attorneys didn’t produce any eyewitnesses, either. They had 20 character witnesses that they wanted the FBI to interview, but none of them had any connection to the specific incident. The New Yorker’s “corroboration” for its Ramirez story was someone who heard about some incident from someone else, but even the “someone else” has no memory of such an incident.
Blumenthal’s not alone in indulging conspiracy theories. His colleague Ed Markey also accused the FBI report of being a “cover-up,” but was careful to make the FBI’s role in it incidental:
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called it a “cover up,” ripping the White House coordination with Senate Republicans to limit the scope of the investigation.
“It’s obviously a cover up,” Markey told CNN. “The Trump White House, working with the Republican leadership in the Senate, have deliberately circumscribed this investigation.”
Chuck Grassley slapped back at the insinuation:
Grassley says he made no calls to the FBI or to the WH to tell them who should be interviewed as part of supplemental background check on Kavanaugh. “I have confidence in the FBI,” he said. “They go where the facts lead them.” pic.twitter.com/NWDX31x7eY
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 4, 2018
You know what would have kept the White House out of this? Having the Senate Judiciary Committee handle the investigation themselves … which was supposed to be the point of last week’s special hearing. Even better: Dianne Feinstein could have informed the committee of the allegation two months ago and allowed the committee to work quietly to determine whether it was credible or not. If Blumenthal and Markey want to get to the bottom of a cover-up in this process, let’s start with Feinstein and Rep. Anna Eshoo.