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The Kavanaugh hearings were indecent

Charles McKay, Staff Columnist

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Let’s assume the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are true. For the sake of examining the political debacle which has fractured our nation and polarized millions of Americans, let’s throw Kavanaugh’s presumption of innocence out the window.

Even if he is guilty, the hearings and public circus that accompanied them have been an entirely unnecessary national disgrace.

At the expense of Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh and general public decency, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is responsible for a televised spectacle that made everyone who had the misfortune of watching blush.

Well before the Senate began the turbulent process to confirm Kavanaugh, Feinstein received a letter from Ford on July 30 describing her alleged sexual assault.

While the Senate Judiciary Committee and the FBI went about the task of vetting Kavanaugh, Feinstein did not mention the letter to any committee members or federal authorities. Only after her committee, on Sept. 13, passed a measure setting a date for Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote did Feinstein publicly announce that she had just passed information over to federal investigators pertaining to Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

The same day, The New York Times cited two anonymous officials who revealed that the information detailed sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. Just like that, a scandal erupted.

By all accounts, Ford desired to remain anonymous and avoid being the center of a controversy.  As the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein could have respected Ford’s wishes and pursued the serious accusation against Kavanaugh by using the legal channels available to her.

For instance, Feinstein had a private meeting with Kavanaugh on Aug. 20 in which she could have addressed Ford’s letter with him face-to-face. She chose not to.

In fact, she proceeded to allow Kavanaugh to be subjected to 32 hours of public testimony without ever raising what is now the most important question concerning his nomination.

For 35 days, she had the opportunity to pass along information to other committee members and initiate an FBI investigation without putting Ford or Kavanaugh through national humiliation.

During closed and open hearings pertaining to Kavanaugh’s nomination, Feinstein deliberately chose to conceal the letter until it became politically expedient to do otherwise.

This prompted Sen. Lindsey Graham – a widely acknowledged bipartisan figure in Washington – to denounce Feinstein’s tactics. Addressing Democrats, Graham said: “If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020.”

According to a recent Politico article, Feinstein’s office now faces investigation for its role in the conveniently timed leaks of the information Ford expressly stated she wanted to remain private.

Graham is right. Democratic antics this past week weren’t about securing a proper investigation of a sexual assault. They weren’t about standing up for Christine Blasey Ford. They were intended to gain political capital at her expense, and we, as voters, should not reward Democrats for it.

 

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The Kavanaugh hearings were indecent