Posted by Curt on 4 October, 2018 at 10:46 am. 1 comment.


Let us count the ways.

When Arizona Republican senator Jeff Flake insisted on an additional one-week delay of the Kavanaugh confirmation vote in order to allow the FBI to conduct a supplemental background-check investigation into allegations of sexual assault, many Republicans feared that it would accomplish nothing other than provide time for more people to smear Kavanaugh with new false allegations.

In fact, the delay has actually helped clear Kavanaugh’s name.

FBI investigation turns up no groundbreaking information?

Shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 4, Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer spoke to the press following a confidential briefing about the FBI’s supplemental background check. While the senators were limited about what they could say, Feinstein focused first on the fact that neither Kavanaugh nor Ford, who testified publicly for hours last week, were interviewed by the FBI.

If the FBI investigation had turned up some groundbreaking new information, that is not the kind of thing you’d expect the Democratic senators to focus on.

The FBI interviewed all the alleged party attendees—Ford’s lifelong female friend Leland Ingham Keyser, Kavanaugh friend P.J. Smyth, and alleged accomplice Mark Judge. Keyser had previously said she recalls no party at which Kavanaugh was present and does not know Kavanaugh. Schumer and Feinstein gave no indication Keyser has changed her story.

The FBI also interviewed Chris Garrett, a person Ford went out with around the time of the alleged assault in 1982 and Ford’s only known social connection to Kavanaugh and Judge. The FBI also interviewed Tim Gaudette, who hosted a July 1, 1982, party that has been the focus of much speculation. Schumer and Feinstein gave no indication those interviews turned up groundbreaking information.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said in a statement: “This investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh’s 25 years of public service.”

Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine, a key undecided vote, said this morning: “It appears to be a very thorough investigation.”

Senator Flake told reporters: “We’ve seen no additional corroborating information.”

By all indications, the additional FBI investigation has been good for Kavanaugh.

Let’s also consider the other ways in which the week-long delay helped Kavanaugh clear his name.

Wild Avenatti-Swetnick claims collapse

The day before the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings, lawyer Michael Avenatti released a sworn declaration from Julie Swetnick claiming that Kavanaugh was part of a gang of serial gang-rapists.

The wild accusation of gang rape was implausible from the beginning but was taken seriously by Senate Democrats and many in the mainstream media. As we noted hours after Swetnick’s claim first appeared on September 26: “If what Swetnick alleges is true—that there were ‘many’ parties at which ‘boys lined up’ outside of rooms to commit ‘gang rape’—then there must exist many victims, many perpetrators, and many witnesses.” The Wall Street Journal reported on September 29: “The Wall Street Journal has attempted to corroborate Ms. Swetnick’s account, contacting dozens of former classmates and colleagues, but could not reach anyone with knowledge of her allegations.” Swetnick told NBC on October 1, that “everybody in the county remembers those parties,” and she gave the names of four people to NBC: One was deceased, one said he didn’t know a Julie Swetnick, and two did not reply.

In that same interview Swetnick backtracked on several key allegations in her sworn declaration. You really have to watch Swetnick’s entire October 1 NBC interview to see how Swetnick’s already implausible claims against Kavanaugh have totally collapsed.

The New Yorker’s “corroborating” source for Deborah Ramirez undermined

Deborah Ramirez is the Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who now claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself as a college freshman at a party. Ramirez’s claim was already dubious because (1) named eyewitnesses deny the allegation and (2) Ramirez herself wasn’t sure in recent weeks if Kavanaugh had done what she now alleges. “Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself,” the New York Times reported. Ramirez was only willing to make the allegation, the New Yorker reported, after “six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.”

The “corroborating” source for Ramirez’s claim was anonymous and said he heard it second-hand, but he was “one-hundred-percent-sure” he heard about it from an eyewitness. From the New Yorker’s September 23 story:

A classmate of Ramirez’s, who declined to be identified because of the partisan battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two. The classmate said that he is “one-hundred-per-cent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez.

On Wednesday night, the New Yorker published a new story revealing the anonymous source’s name–Kenneth Appold–and also reported:

Appold said that he initially asked to remain anonymous because he hoped to make contact first with the classmate who, to the best of his recollection, told him about the party and was an eyewitness to the incident. He said that he had not been able to get any response from that person, despite multiple attempts to do so. The New Yorker reached the classmate, but he said that he had no memory of the incident.

Read that last sentence again (emphasis added). The first-hand source for the second-hand source says he has no recollection of the incident. It’s remarkable the New Yorkerpublished the story of Ramirez’s allegation in the first place.

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