What to expect from the FBI: Not much

Frank CagleFeature, Frank Talk

If you believe that when the FBI finishes the Brett Kavanaugh investigation that Senate Democrats will be satisfied, raise your hand. Really? Setting aside for a moment who is telling the truth in testimony before the Judiciary Committee, what is painfully obvious is that the Senate’s “advise and consent” process is broken.

It began when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to even hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. But at least Garland remains a distinguished appeals court judge, his family has not received death threats and his reputation has not been ruined.

What the FBI ought to be investigating is Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s role in this current fiasco. Withholding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s letter until the last minute. Finding pro bono lawyers for her; lawyers who would pay for a polygraph test.

Find out who outed Dr. Ford despite her asking for confidentiality. The whole matter could have been investigated confidentially months ago rather than degenerating into a public spectacle.

We are supposed to care which political party controls the Senate, but I am beginning to wonder why. Despite the Republican majority the Democrats are running the Kavanaugh investigation, thanks to Republicans like Sen. Jeff Flake who, trembling from being accosted in an elevator, helped get the Democrats more time to stall the appointment and get closer to the midterms.

The minority Democrats have out-maneuvered and out-smarted the Republicans at every turn.

I would call it a circus, but the Senate is beginning to give circuses a bad name. Did you note aspiring presidential candidate Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker who boldly released memos already in the public record?

Every Democrat joined the obviously choreographed question: Why not have an FBI investigation, it will only take three or four days, then we will have the “facts.” Now that Sen. Flake has arranged for them to get one we will see if they are satisfied. Flake admitted on “60 Minutes” that he could not have leveraged the additional investigation if he were not retiring from the Senate. Would he have done what he did if he were running for re-election? “Not a chance,” he said. That’s a profile in courage.

Sen. Lindsey Graham put Republican senators on notice that they need to confirm Kavanaugh in response to the terrible way he has been treated by the Democrats. He noted that he voted for both Obama nominees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor and would never consider doing to them what the Democrats are doing to Kavanaugh.

If McConnell can’t find enough votes to confirm, what will happen next?

A new nominee will have to be named and the process will start over. This will push the naming of a Supreme Court justice well past the midterms. The Senate will be unlikely to confirm a nominee during a lame duck session. The new senators elected in November will thus be voting on the next justice. And from Tennessee that may well be Phil Bredesen. And if the Democrats take control of the Senate in the mid-term there won’t be a Supreme Court Justice confirmed until after 2020 or until after Trump is impeached.

You can bet the farm that the next Trump nominee will be a woman. Likely it will be Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was on the short list that produced Kavanaugh. She is from the Midwest and a Notre Dame grad. This shows that the process is all about power. Fear of overturning Roe v Wade is the big issue for Democrats. But Judge Barrett is much more likely to vote to overturn it than Kavanaugh; she is the favorite of religious conservatives. She has not been on the bench very long and does not have the depth of experience that Kavanaugh has and is likely less qualified as a legal scholar. That’s the state of our politics these days.

Who do you believe after hearing the testimony? I believe they both believe themselves to be telling the truth. I believe that Kavanaugh and his buddies regularly got stinking drunk and I think it likely he has no memory of assaulting a girl when at the time he considered it just horsing around. Maybe it was the kind of thing they did often enough to think nothing of it. You have to remember that Christine Blasey was only 15 years old and what the boys may have considered harmless horseplay could have traumatized her. But I don’t know what happened and I don’t think any of us do. And I don’t believe that this vaunted FBI investigation will settle the matter.

Short takes

Make the case: U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn needs to give a full explanation of her role in the legislation that hampered the DEA investigation of drug companies, as outlined on “60 Minutes” and the subject of a hard-hitting ad on behalf of her opponent Phil Bredesen. She also needs to get a response ad on air to counter what is a serious charge and is likely hurting her campaign.

I get letters: Got a letter from Melania Trump this week. I didn’t even know she knew my address. But I don’t think she was very sincere. She kept talking about her husband needing money and maybe I could send him some. Sorry, First Lady, but all my money goes to doctors, hospitals, clinics and drug stores.

It’s rank deception: Are you tired of hearing about the “ranking member” referred to with some regularity in congressional hearings? Especially the Judiciary Committee last week? The “ranking member” sounds better than “minority member,” the member of the party out of power. The ranking member would be the committee chair if the ranking member’s party gets control.

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