Republican Senate leadership has repeatedly dismissed calls for an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, choosing instead to “plow right through” to a confirmation vote, in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s words.
But having the FBI look into the claims of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and now Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Julie Swetnick, would likely help Republicans secure needed votes and raise public opinion.
Of course, those outcomes assume Kavanaugh’s innocence.
Ed Kilgore noted in New York Magazine that both Ford and Ramirez have called for an investigation themselves, but Republicans have consistently scoffed at the notion and insisted they are more than capable of probing Ford’s story.
But at least one Republican senator thinks it could be a good idea to have the FBI conduct a proper investigation into the claims prior to a confirmation vote — and she is still sitting on the fence.
> Lisa Murkowski is one of a few Republican senators thought to be still on the fence about Kavanaugh. And here’s what she had to say today:
> Murkowski’s comment got the attention of National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who made the case that for the price of a few days’ delay, an FBI investigation might bolster Kavanaugh’s credibility.
Goldberg argued that an investigation might be necessary to help Republicans reach the necessary vote threshold — something they have yet to accomplish.
> Viewed from that perspective, if you are inclined to believe Kavanaugh’s denials of wrongdoing, or think the allegations can’t be proven, then going to the FBI for a nod or a shrug is an acceptable compromise with a tough situation. Agreeing to an investigation could also conceivably shore up Kavanaugh’s sagging position in the court of public opinion.
> Even if Republicans don’t follow Goldberg’s advice right away, it could become a plan B for them very soon if (a) Murkowski finds Republican Senate allies for her interest in an investigation, making it very clear Mitch McConnell can’t just “plow through” to a quick Senate vote and expect to win; or (b) Ford looks very credible in her Judiciary Committee hearing later this week.