Does that mean any lie or only a big lie? Lying about what he did to Ford would obviously be disqualifying. What about lying about the extent of his youthful drinking, though, or what terms like “boof” or “Devil’s Triangle” or “Renate alumnius” in his yearbook really meant?
And how would you prove that he was lying? Even if his school chums tell the FBI that they remember different, more salacious meanings for those terms, good luck getting Collins or Murkowski to tank a Supreme Court nomination over a dispute about teenage slang.
I think there’s one lie that might be provable that could sink him. None of the yearbook slang bears directly on what happened with Ford, but his claim about never having drunk to the point of blacking out obviously does. Ford claims he was blitzed when he assaulted her; Kavanaugh claims no memory of it and ruled out the possibility of a blackout on grounds that he’s simply never blacked out — ever. If friends in high school or college remember him telling them that he blacked out, then he has two problems. It raises the possibility that he lied to the Committee about something germane to Ford’s testimony, and it also gives the Committee a relatively easy way to reconcile Ford’s and Kavanaugh’s otherwise contradictory accounts. She says he did it, he says no way. If suddenly there’s new reason to believe he might have done it while blacked out, Collins or Flake or whoever might conclude that there’s no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt in the Ford incident anymore. And down he goes.
Even Trump, who doesn’t drink, was surprised by how willing Kavanaugh was to admit his fondness for beer:
Trump, who does not like drinking, says about Kavanaugh: “I was surprised by how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer”
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) October 1, 2018
Kavanaugh had to admit that, though. There are too many reports of him drinking heavily in college for him to have gotten away with claiming he rarely imbibed, and he knew it. So he acknowledged during his hearing that “Sometimes I had too many beers.” The question is whether that was the whole truth or a sort of limited hangout with respect to the more salient questions of whether he ever drank to the point of blacking out or of becoming belligerent, which he denies despite accusations to the contrary. If the FBI comes back with a bunch of statements that challenge his truthfulness on those points, what do Flake et al. do with it?
The Times has a story out this morning arguing that Flake may have done both Kavanaugh and the GOP a favor by demanding a delay. Righties don’t want to hear that but Trump himself allowed over the weekend that “it could be a blessing in disguise.” He’s right! Partisan Democrats won’t accept the findings of any investigation that doesn’t end up damning Kavanaugh, but not all Americans are partisans. There are people in the middle who’ll be more likely to support confirmation or at least regard Kavanaugh as a legitimate addition to the Court if he gets a clean bill of health from the FBI than if he hadn’t. That’s worth something to his future rulings. Especially ones on abortion.
Exit question: What if the feds somehow cross paths with an old girlfriend who tells them that Kavanaugh assuredly lied when he said he was a virgin throughout high school? I can’t wait for the national debate over whether false professions of chastity under oath are disqualifying or not.