It’s another Pleasant Valley Sunday at the White House as Donald Trump dispatches his surrogates to the Sunday morning news programs to assure America’s Deplorables that everything is fine despite the political fires raging all around them.
The topic of the day is undoubtedly the pending confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. His recent testimony regarding allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford did nothing to exonerate him. But he did reveal himself to be a hot headed, ultra-partisan who traffics in preposterous conspiracy theories and has no aversion to lying about himself or others.
As a result of that hearing, rogue Republican Sen. Jeff Flake concluded that he could not vote to confirm Kavanaugh unless there was an FBI investigation into the charges. So Trump was reluctantly forced to comply and instructed the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background check. Unfortunately, our relentlessly deceitful president sought to game the system by putting harsh restrictions on what the FBI could look into. After this underhanded tactic was exposed, Trump whined on Twitter that it wasn’t true. He accused NBC News of having “incorrectly reported” the story, even though it was also reported by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
On the Sunday Circus of news shows, Trump’s surrogates are now making the rounds to reinforce his false claims. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News that “The White House is not micromanaging this process,” and that “the Senate is dictating the terms.” And Senior White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway had this exchange with Jake Tapper of CNN:
Conway: The White House is not getting involved in the FBI investigation in that way. The president very much respects the independence of the FBI and feels, as he said last night, that they should be looking at anything they feel is credible within this limited scope.
Tapper: What does that mean, ‘within this limited scope’?
Conway: That’s up to the FBI. In other words, I’m not involved in those specific conversations.
Of course none of those protestations were true. NBC’s follow up reporting on the matter reiterated that:
“The FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with its weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a senior U.S. official and another source familiar with the matter tell NBC News.
“According to the sources, the president’s Saturday night tweet saying he wants the FBI to interview whoever agents deem appropriate has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI investigation — including a specific witness list that does not include Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school.”
“A White House official made clear that the White House is the client in this process. This is not an FBI criminal investigation — it is a background investigation in which the FBI is acting on behalf of the White House. Procedurally, the White House does not allow the FBI to investigate as it sees fit, the official acknowledged; the White House sets the parameters.”
The conservative, Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal affirmed NBC’s reporting that:
“it was unlikely that the shape of the investigation would change without official communication from the White House that it wanted the bureau to interview other people beyond the list already provided.”
So that’s confirmation that the White House is calling the shots and that they did provide a list of approved witnesses. Clearly Trump is determined to insure that whatever investigation is conducted will not be thorough or impartial. He’s deliberately stacking the deck against Dr. Ford to protect his tainted nominee. That raises the question of whether this process will satisfy Sen. Flake who initiated it. If it doesn’t, he may vote against confirming Kavanaugh, which could sink the nomination.
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There is also the possibility that the FBI will consider itself empowered to explore any matter that is raised during their investigation, which could include the other witnesses as well as Kavanaugh’s truthfulness during his congressional testimony. There’s abundant evidence that Kavanaugh did perjure himself. So there are significant speed bumps on the road to Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court. And with any luck this nomination will crash and burn.