The FBI hasn’t interviewed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford because it doesn’t have clear authority from the White House to do so, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Instead, the White House has indicated to the FBI that testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford, who has accused him of attempting to rape her when they were in high school, before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week is sufficient, said the people, who asked to not be identified discussing the sensitive matter.
The new evidence of constraints on the FBI probe came as Republican Senator Bob Corker told reporters the FBI is likely to give senators a stack of interview reports, probably later on Wednesday. He said senators were told in a GOP meeting that a vote on cutting off debate is likely on Friday to move toward a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to force the issue and seek explicit approval from the White House to interview Ford and Kavanaugh. And it wasn’t clear why the FBI hasn’t yet talked to other people who have been recommended by lawyers or who have voluntarily come forward -- or if the bureau would need explicit approval to talk with them as well.
Confusion has now beset the investigation, fed by conflicting signals over what constraints have been placed on the bureau despite President Donald Trump’s comment Monday that “the FBI should interview anybody that they want, within reason.”
The FBI declined to comment on the investigation or its timing.
The cloture vote is happening Friday regardless of the investigation, and it will have 50 votes. Mitch still doesn't have enough for the final vote however, and that's the only known thing. Why risk it? Why the dog and pony show? Why draw it out?
Republicans want as much outrage as possible to close the gender gap, and they are counting on white women to once again side with Trump as they did in 2016.
When many conservative women around the country watched Christine Blasey Ford appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, they didn’t find her testimony compelling or convincing, as many liberals did.
They saw a political farce.
“Honestly, I don’t think I have ever been so angry in all of my adult life,” says Ginger Howard, a Republican national committeewoman from Georgia. “It brings me to the point of tears, it makes me so angry.”
In interviews with roughly a dozen female conservative leaders from as many states, this was the overwhelming sentiment: These women are infuriated with the way the sexual-assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been handled. They are not convinced by Ford or any other woman who has come forward. They resent the implication that all women should support the accusers. And they believe that this scandal will ultimately hurt the cause of women who have been sexually assaulted.
Above all, these women, and the women they know, are ready to lash out against Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.
Nearly all the women I spoke with are plugged into state- and local-level conservative politics. Their collective, overwhelming sense is that, like Howard, women voters are angry about what’s happening to Kavanaugh. “I’ve got women in my church who were not politically active at all who were incensed with this,” says Melody Potter, the chairwoman of the West Virginia Republican Party—the first woman to hold that position, she made sure to point out. In her state, the stakes of the Kavanaugh scandal are immense: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is fighting for his seat in a place where more than two-thirds of voters supported Donald Trump in 2016. With voters “energized” to elect people “who are going to support President Trump,” Potter says, West Virginians are closely watching how Manchin acts on Kavanaugh—especially now that the situation has become so politicized.
Organizers in other states say they’ve been hearing the same thing. “People in Indiana are angry. They are mad. They are changing their mind,” says Jodi Smith, the Indianapolis-based state director for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List. When Senator Joe Donnelly, another vulnerable Democrat who is up for reelection in November, declared late last week that he would vote against Kavanaugh, it “started a firestorm of epic proportions,” Smith says. From her perspective on the ground in a highly contested swing state, “this is one of the best things that could happen to us.”
It’s not yet clear whether the Kavanaugh affair will work to the GOP’s advantage; recent polling has not conclusively shown what women, for example, think about these allegations. “If the Republicans don’t get it together and make sure that he gets in there, that’s not going to help us,” says Howard, the Georgia RNC official. “What makes me mad at times about our party is we don’t stand up enough and say, ‘Enough of your shenanigans! We’re not putting up with this!’” And with the full Senate vote delayed and a supplemental FBI investigation under way, it’s not certain that Kavanaugh’s nomination will ultimately be successful.
But if Kavanaugh is confirmed, Howard says, “that will fire up the base even more to say, ‘Look at what a fight we had on our hands.’”
This is what they want. They want white women to forget about losing their health care, to forget about kids in interment camps, to forget that they were wavering on support.for the GOP, to forget that women overall supported Democrats by more than 20 points.
They want angry white women to vote to protect their white men and white boys against those evil liberals, because our white boys don't assault anyone, they are noble and pure and good. Their savage animals of men assault us.
It's working. All of the "concessions" and "concerns" and "uncertainty" over Kavanaugh is there for a reason. Mitch could have had this vote wrapped up by mid-September if he wanted to. Instead, he wanted outrage just in time for the Midterms.
And once again, white women are going to come out in favor of the GOP. All those stories about white women in suburban districts looking like shaky support at best? This fight was engineered to put that to rest. They will sign their reproductive freedom away because it will hurt those women more.
Democrats better treat the last month as the fight of their lives.
Because it is.