The FBI must investigate the Kavanaugh rape allegations

In a brilliant move, that is well-merited to boot, Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, demanded tonight that the FBI investigate her rape allegations before she agrees to testify before the Senate.

Not only is Dr. Ford right to demand an FBI investigation, it’s a brilliant tactical move as well.

1. Why Ford has the right to demand an investigation.

Trump and the Republicans claim that Ford doesn’t have the right to an FBI investigation of her claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her in high school. They claim that the FBI doesn’t investigate such things. In fact, the FBI does.

First, the FBI most certainly investigates rape. Second, the FBI also is tasked to do a background check on any dirt it can find on the judicial nominee. On both accounts, Ford’s allegation merits investigation: A charge of attempted rape is certainly dirt.

Also, it stretches credulity to believe that had the FBI uncovered the attempted-rape allegations during their initial background check of Kavanaugh, they’d have ignored it because “the FBI doesn’t investigate those sort of things.”

And Republicans can spare us their crocodile tears of how unfair it is that we’re finding out about the rape allegations so late in the day. This not uncomment in sexual assault cases. Victims are loathe to come forward, especially in a high-profile political case such as this. And in fact, Dr. Ford only came forward after her identity was outed against her wishes. No one chose tactically to bring these allegations to light late in the process.

2. Why demanding an FBI investigation is a smart move.

First, if you lie to the FBI, you’re in serious trouble.

It’s one thing for Ford to claim, and Kavanaugh and his high school friend Mark Judge to deny, the attempted rape in dueling statements issued to the press. It’s quite another to lie to the FBI, as Trump’s former campaign staff has discovered.

And for those who argue that lying to Congress is also a crime, when is the last time you saw someone prosecuted for lying to Congress? Perjury before a congressional committee follows an entirely different process than lying to the FBI. It’s arcane, bureaucratic, and rarely used. For all intent and purposes, Ford, Kavanaugh and Judge can lie to their heart’s content to Congress, with impunity. The same can’t be said of lying to the FBI.

By involving the FBI, the legal stakes are raised significantly for all involved, and thus we are more likely to get the truth from all of them.

Second, strategically, an FBI investigation would slow down the nomination overall, and that helps Democrats.

Democrats would want the nomination to drag out as much as possible, while Republicans want it to go away — both with eyes towards the impending midterm elections. Having a very public discussion about Donald Trump nominating a suspected rapist to the Supreme Court clearly benefits one party in November, and it’s not the Republicans. This would put more pressure on Republicans, and Kavanaugh himself, to drop out.

3. This doesn’t necessarily hand the seat to the Democrats.

Even if Democrats take back the Senate in November — the odds are slim, but there’s a chance — the new Congress doesn’t get sworn in until November. The Republicans would still have ample time to ram their Supreme Court nomination through before January. And considering Republicans left a Supreme Court seat open for an entire year in 2016, in order to illegally deny President Obama seating Merrick Garland the court, Republican concerns about a delay of a few weeks ring hollow.

4. Republicans should not go ahead with a hearing without Dr. Ford.

If Trump and the Republicans go ahead with a hearing next week, without Dr. Ford, and without an FBI investigation, their worst nightmare comes true. They send the message that they don’t take rape seriously, Kavanaugh’s stench inures┬áto them, and they have a massive MeToo backlash only six weeks before crucial midterm elections in which it’s already expected that Republicans may lose the House. This could put the Senate in play too.

That’s why I think Dr. Ford made a smart move in demanding the FBI investigate before she testifies.


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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