On Saturday night I posted this comment in a reply to smintheus who was expressing concerns over the reported constraints on the reopened Kavanaugh background investigation.
1) This, like every other one of these too cute by half maneuvers they pull, is going to blow up in their faces. This actually increases the pressure on Flake, not reduces it. Flake made it clear that the only limit on the investigation was a week, which isn’t actually a problem for the FBI when conducting a priority Special Presidential (Directed Background) Investigation (SPIN). Basically they’re humiliating Flake. That didn’t work out so well for them last week. Flake and Coons are appearing together on 60 Minutes tomorrow night and I guarantee they’ll be asked about this.
2) You wan’t to make Avenatti go away or, at least, chill him out as much as possible. This has just pissed him off more. He’s already scheduled to appear with his client on at least one Sunday show tomorrow. I realize that McGahn has gotten used to dealing with the walking dead that have been the President’s legal team over the past 19 months or so, but Avenatti is in a whole different league than past their primes Dowd and Giuliani and a never was like Sekulow. All they’ve done is waved a big red flag in front of an already angry bull. They seem to have forgotten that he already set the conditions that ended with Michael Cohen pleading guilty in Federal court in an allocution that inames the President as his unindicted co-conspirator.
Just as they completely misplayed their hand over and over and over again last week, they’ve decided to get a head start on doing so next week.
As I’ve written here several times, there is a lot of time between now and next Friday. And then there will be a lot of time between the initial procedural vote by the whole Senate and when they hold the final vote 72 hours later. Every time these morons have a chance to actually help themselves by not making things worse, their instinct is to make things worse.
NBC News has now confirmed earlier reporting by The New York Times that while the one week time constraint remains, the other parameters that limited who the FBI may interview, as well as the overall scope of the background investigation,
Sources confirm to NBC News that the White House has authorized the FBI to expand its investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary by the end of the week. Great reporting by @PeterAlexander @GeoffRBennett
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) October 1, 2018
The real reason for this is that Senator Jeff Flake made it public in a televised interview this morning that a pro-forma, limited reopened background would not serve the needs of the country.
Jeff Flake says he wants the FBI to do a "real investigation" on Kavanaugh: "It does no good to have an investigation that just gives us more cover, for example. We actually need to find out what we can find out." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/RuYjXZeCyM
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 1, 2018
The removal of the constraints on the scope of the investigation are all about trying to ensure that Senator Flake can get to yes in his support for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. And because Senator Flake is providing top cover for Senators Murkowski and Collins, and possibly Senators Manchin and Heitkamp, the White House and Senator McConnell are going to do everything possible to get him to move to yes.
This is also why Senator McConnell just concluded a Majority Leader’s floor speech excoriating the Democratic senators, and specifically Senator Feinstein, over how Dr. Blasey’s accusations against Judge Kavanaugh were handled. Senator McConnell has now publicly staked out that his official position is that this whole thing is a conspiracy among and between Senator Feinstein, the other Democratic Senators, including Senator Schumer the minority leader, Dr. Blasey’s attorney who was recommended by someone on Senator Feinstein’s staff. And why he’s asserting that there will be a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination this week.
The top Republican in the US Senate says there will be a vote this week on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh https://t.co/AHV8sHWp4c
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 1, 2018
With the constraints on the scope of the FBI’s reopened background investigation, the only vote the Senate may be able to take this week would be the initial procedural vote sometime on Friday to move to the final vote 72 hours laters, which would be Monday.
Time is not Judge Kavanaugh’s friend right now. Nor Senator McConnell’s or the President’s. With the removal of the constraints on the scope lifted, and former classmates of Judge Kavanaugh’s coming out of the woodwork about his drinking problems in college, pressure is going to grow on Senator Flake in regard to the statement he made on 60 Minutes last night that if Judge Kavanaugh lied during his confirmation hearings, including the hearing last week, that his nomination must be voted down.
@JeffFlake Isn't the nomination already over by your definition on 60 Minutes? A few #LiesUnderOath #JudgeKavanuagh told in the hearing were about blacking out, yearbook entries, & his not being a legacy @Yale pic.twitter.com/N6B1DNiFno
— Linus Wilson (@linuswilson) October 1, 2018
One final, important point: the FBI does not want to be left holding the bag on this! Regardless of the actual partisan political registrations/affiliations and/or ideological preferences of the leadership at the FBI, right now the FBI is hoping that the Democrats take at least the House, if not also the Senate, in the midterm elections next month. They are hoping this happens so that they can get some institutional top cover from Congress to both remove and check the political pressure that the President and his surrogates in Congress have been placing on the FBI because of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. The last thing the FBI’s leadership wants right now is to replace angry, conspiratorial Republicans running the House and/or the Senate with angry Democrats that are going to shred them over a White House and Senate majority GOP leadership constrained and therefore botched background investigation into Judge Kavanaugh. That’s why there were repeated leaks about this over the weekend. As I’ve written here repeatedly: the US Intelligence Community will leak when it is in its strategic interest to do so. These leaks were in the FBI’s strategic interest and they accomplished the objective. They got the constraints on the scope removed.