Manhattan Institute

Look Until You Find

To the Left, the FBI’s investigation into Brett Kavanaugh could only be legitimate if it proved his guilt.

The executive summary of the FBI’s report on its supplemental investigation into the sexual-assault allegations made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh concludes by affirming the findings of Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell: “There is no corroboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.” Mitchell, who conducted the Republican senators’ questioning of Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, opined that the evidence given during the hearing was not “sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.” That standard, it should be noted, requires only that a claimant establish that the allegation is more likely true than not.

While Kavanaugh supporters view the FBI’s conclusion as vindication of his claims to innocence, the report’s findings will make little difference to the Democrats who vehemently demanded that the FBI weigh in. Indeed, the same politicians who insisted that the FBI expand the scope of its investigation to the allegations lobbed at Kavanaugh at the eleventh hour have spent the last week explaining why federal investigators’ findings ultimately wouldn’t matter.

When word got out that the FBI was nearing the end of its investigation, Senator Diane Feinstein began a preemptive campaign to undermine the pending report, releasing a statement voicing “concerns” that what the FBI did “was not a credible investigation,” essentially accusing the FBI of stacking the deck in Kavanaugh’s favor. Senator Mazie Hirono went further, calling the FBI’s investigation “a sham.”

Left-leaning outlets have implied that the investigation was rigged. The Atlantic ran a story claiming that “The FBI Investigation Didn’t Go Very Far By Design.” Vice warned that “The FBI’s Kavanaugh Investigation Wasn’t Really an Investigation.” The Washington Post claimed that the “FBI background check of Kavanaugh appears to have been highly curtailed.”

While some on the left have tried to undermine the validity of the FBI’s supplemental investigation, others chose to move the goalposts on Kavanaugh, focusing on his “temperament,” rather than his guilt or innocence. Senator Cory Booker pointedly told an interviewer that Kavanaugh’s confirmation should not depend on “whether he’s innocent or guilty,” because “enough questions [have] been raised” about him, in any case. It was Democrats, of course, who raised those questions.

As I wrote last week, the Left has a tendency to minimize or ignore the conclusions of investigatory bodies when their findings conflict with its political agenda. It should have been obvious to anyone listening that the calls for an FBI investigation were about delaying a vote on Kavanaugh, rather than a good-faith effort to get to the bottom of still-uncorroborated allegations about events from more than 30 years ago. So it’s unsurprising that not one of the Senate Democrats who had most insistently demanded that the FBI reopen its background investigation voted “yes” for Kavanuagh in Friday’s cloture vote, which came out 51-49 in favor of moving the nomination to a final reckoning, scheduled for tomorrow.

Given the Left’s attachment to counter-narratives on other issues, it’s not likely that evidence—or, in the Kavanaugh case, a lack of evidence—will convince many liberals that due process is being honored here. Consider ongoing debates about criminal-justice policy and policing. To the Left, the drug war still drives “mass-incarceration,” despite evidence to the contrary; Michael Brown remains a murder victim, despite the DOJ’s investigation finding the opposite; and the mere presence of police still justifiably induces fear for one’s life, despite data showing that, on the whole, cops rarely use force. You can likewise be sure that, despite the plain language of the Constitution’s Advice and Consent Clause, the Left will continue to view Justice Neil Gorsuch’s seat as “stolen,” and Judge (likely soon to be Justice) Kavanaugh will continue to be regarded—at least for a while—as guilty. Yet another investigation by the FBI into Kavanaugh’s past, and the interrogations of a career sex-crimes prosecutor, don’t matter—because they didn’t find the right answer.

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