WASHINGTON, DC – Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford and her attorney, Debra Katz, demand that the FBI investigate before Ford will speak to senators, which the FBI will not do because it has no jurisdiction, setting the stage for Ford to back out. Republicans are becoming skeptical, with one commenting, “It is almost as if the accuser does not want to state her accusations under oath.”
Republicans treated the allegations against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee seriously, suspending their planned Senate Judiciary Committee vote on his nomination to investigate the matter fully, including setting a time on Monday for both the judge and the woman who accused him of misconduct in 1982 – when he was a teenager – to provide sworn testimony to senators.
Ford’s attorney Katz suggested that senators had planned to put Kavanaugh and Ford side-by-side at the same table to testify and rejected that idea as traumatizing to Ford, forcing her to relive the alleged incident.
“Contrary to suggestions by Dr. Ford’s attorneys, the committee had no plans to place Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh on a panel together, and never indicated plans to do so,” the Senate Judiciary Committee responded in a statement. “Grassley’s staff offered Dr. Ford multiple dates as well as a choice of providing information in a public or private setting.”
Now Katz says that Ford has a new condition before testifying: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) must investigate this matter first; then Ford would testify afterward.
That is a non-starter, the FBI responded. It is a federal law enforcement agency and, therefore, has jurisdiction to investigate only federal crimes. The conduct Ford describes – personal sexual misconduct, whether groping or the more serious crime of attempted rape – are crimes under state law, not federal law, and, thus, are properly referred to county prosecutors and local police departments, not to the FBI.
“It is important to remember that an FBI background investigation is entirely different from an FBI criminal investigation,” a former federal prosecutor told Breitbart News. “The letter referred by Feinstein has already been added to Kavanaugh’s file, so the normal background element is complete.”
“What Ford is now asking for with a full investigation would be a criminal investigation,” the prosecutor continued. “The FBI does not do that when there is no federal crime being alleged.”
Another source explains that the purpose of an FBI background investigation is to allow people to provide information in a strictly confidential manner, including secret accusations. Because Ford is making her accusations publicly, there is no role whatsoever for the FBI to play in collecting anonymous or confidential information.
The only way the FBI would get involved is if President Trump took the extraordinary action of ordering the FBI to do so. But that creates a no-win situation because then the president’s opponents who are currently attacking Kavanaugh could accuse the White House of political interference with a law enforcement investigation, directing an agency to act outside its jurisdiction. Some could even call a presidential order for the FBI to investigate a state-law matter to be an abuse of power.
Several federal agencies are “buzz words” in American society, whose very name carries a “Jack Bauer” connotation of serious federal action. Those agencies include the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. Secret Service, and the FBI.
Saying the FBI is investigating a matter lends immediate gravitas to the situation and, with it, adds political weight to the accusation. Some people are beginning to wonder if Katz or Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wants the political headline of saying the FBI is investigating Kavanaugh, fully aware that there is nothing for the FBI to investigate within its law enforcement mission.
It would also be very difficult to investigate this allegation in any event, as U.S. attorney Joe diGenova said on Fox News on Tuesday, as Ford is now saying she cannot be sure when the event happened, where it happened, or who else was present. The only other individual she named as being present – journalist Mark Judge – has publicly stated he never saw such a thing, emphatically denying the allegation.
“Republicans are bending over backwards to defer to the politically powerful #MeToo movement,” Fox News’s Britt Hume – one of the most seasoned political veterans in journalism – said on-air Tuesday night.
But despite Republicans doing so, some observers believe Ford and Katz are now moving the goalposts in a direction that would delay Kavanaugh’s joining the Supreme Court while rejecting the opportunity offered by senators to provide testimony that could get to the bottom of the situation.
Senate Republicans are beginning to ask new questions regarding the allegations now that their repeated attempts to get Ford to give sworn testimony are being rejected unless the FBI first takes actions that are outside the agency’s lawful mandate.
“I’ve said from the beginning that these are very serious allegations, and she deserves to be heard,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a moderate Republican who is a crucial swing vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “I really hope she doesn’t pass up that opportunity”:
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine: I’ve said from the beginning that these are very serious allegations, and she deserves to be heard *** I really hope that she doesn’t pass up that opportunity."
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 19, 2018
One Senate staffer – though not one affiliated with the Senate Judiciary Committee – said in an off-the-record conversation, “It is almost as if the accuser does not want to state her accusations under oath.”
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.