In response to Senator Jeff Flake’s request that the FBI conduct an investigation into accusations against Brett Kavanaugh before going to a final Senate vote, President Trump has released a statement:
“I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file … As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
In an unusual turn of events, Flake – who had earlier in the day stated that he would be voting for Kavanaugh – gave a proviso when it came to actually casting his lot in with Trump’s favored nominee. He suggested that in the best interests of the country, especially with the deep amount of division between political positions, he would choose to nominate Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court only after the FBI had completed an investigation that was limited in both length and scope.
President Trump has agreed that the investigation go ahead, echoing the decision during Justice Clarence Thomas’ hearing in which President George H.W. Bush allowed the FBI to look into the claims of Anita Hill – delaying the vote for almost a week. Quite what the press will make of this is unclear. Will it be spun as a mark of strength or a sign of weakness?
This was not, however, an entirely unexpected move by the president who had earlier said, “Whatever they think is necessary. I’m going to the let the Senate handle that. They’ve been doing a good job. Very professional.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed the outline of the investigation in a statement:
“The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.”
If the investigation comes back clean for Kavanaugh, it is unlikely that any on the Democrat side will change their minds and opt to vote for his confirmation. Yet it is still good for the nation. At the very least, all involved will be able to say that all due diligence was done and every effort was made to ensure a man of good character was nominated (or not) to the Supreme Court.
With only one week until a vote will be held that shapes the future of American jurisprudence for the next generation, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will be watching the investigation with sharp, calculating eyes. It is not just a man on trial here, it is the future of America’s conscience.