Published 7:55 PM EDT Oct 1, 2018
Getting to the truth ought to be the driving force behind the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who, if confirmed, would gain a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
But in the three days since the investigation was sought by senators and ordered by the White House, the inquiry has already been sullied by shifting directives from the White House about the scope of the FBI’s work.
After an outcry by Democrats over news reports that the White House had limited the investigation to a handful of witnesses, President Donald Trump provided a welcome change of course on Monday, saying at a news conference that the inquiry should be “comprehensive,” as long as it remains brief.
OPPOSING VIEW: Democrats will never be satisfied with FBI results
The FBI has plenty to look into. Among the key issues:
►Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kaganaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party tops the list. Mark Judge, whom she said was an accomplice and a witness, has said that he doesn’t recall any such incident. Interviews with Judge, other party guests and their friends could shed light on the alleged incident.
►The allegation by Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drinking game in a dorm deserves thorough investigation by talking to as many classmates as possible.
►A third woman, Julie Swetnick, says that in the 1980s she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh and Judge at parties to get teenage girls “inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom.” Evidence debunking Swetnick’s unsubstantiated story would bolster Kavanaugh’s case. At the same time, one of Judge’s high school friends, Elizabeth Rasor, told The New Yorker that Judge once told her of an incident involving numerous boys having sex with a drunken woman. Rasor is said to be eager to speak with the FBI. Agents should take her up on it.
►Kavanaugh, both in a TV appearance and in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, portrayed himself as a young man dedicated to school work, basketball and church, who occasionally drank beer, sometimes “too many beers” with friends at parties but never to the point of blackout. But numerous Yale classmates recall him as a heavy and frequent drinker who could become belligerent when he drank. Whether Kavanaugh drank too much in high school or college is not the issue. However, if he misled senators under oath, it goes to his fitness to be on the Supreme Court.
It would, of course, have been far better to investigate all of this before Kavanaugh’s initial hearings several weeks ago. Democrats get the blame for that delay because they withheld Ford’s allegations until later in the month.
Now that the FBI has plunged into this fraught nomination battle, it deserves the running room to gather relevant facts, and those facts should be made available before the Senate votes.
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