Judiciary Committee to investigate Feinstein for leaking confidential Ford letter
The office of California senator Dianne Feinstein will be investigated for leaking a confidential letter from Christine Blasey Ford describing an alleged assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Senator Tom Cotton told Face the Nation that Feinstein "betrayed" Ford by leaking the letter after assuring her that it would remain confidential. Also, Democratic lawyers will be investigated for telling her that committee staffers would not travel to California to interview her about her sexual-assault allegation.
"They have betrayed her," Cotton said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "She has been victimized by Democrats ... on a search-and-destroy mission for Brett Kavanaugh."
He also said Democrats would be at fault if women become less likely to report sexual assaults now because they did not keep Ford's request confidential, as she had asked.
"Any impact that this entire episode has had," Cotton told John Dickerson, "on women's willingness to come forward and report sexual assault, which I encourage them all to do immediately after it happens, is caused by the Democrats, is caused by Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer not respecting her requests for confidentiality."
Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, had received a letter from Ford some months ago describing the incident with Kavanaugh but had kept the material confidential, as requested in the letter. At some point, information about Ford was leaked to the press, though the California Democrat denied that she or her office were responsible.
The FBI investigation into Ford's sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh is unlikely to bring any new evidence to light, Cotton said, adding that the Judiciary Committee had already conducted interviews and/or received letters from people that Ford said attended the gathering at which the alleged assault occurred.
"We already know what everyone at the party has said," he said, adding that the investigation will likely make a few senators more comfortable about voting to confirm Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
That Ford was used by committee Democrats is a given. I'm just wondering why the Ethics Committee isn't involved. This was one the most transparently political gambits in the history of the Senate – everything about it stinks to high heaven. The timing of the leak was planned for maximum damage to the reputation of a sitting judge and maximum embarrassment to the president and committee Republicans. With the #MeToo movement at peak hysteria, Democrats knew full well the power of the bomb they were dropping on Kavanaugh and Republicans.
From a purely partisan political standpoint, you have to admire the way the smear of Kavanaugh was stage-managed. Ziegfeld couldn't have produced a better show. But the question now is how to make the Democrats suffer the consequences for their underhanded, low-down, nauseating political tricksterism.
This is important not only to hold Democrats accountable for their malfeasance, but for the future of the Supreme Court nominating process. That's why the Ethics Committee needs to be involved. They, alone, can impose the kind of penalties – reprimand or censure – that would make the guilty parties pay.
I feel sorry for the next Supreme Court nominee named by a Democratic president. What happens to him when Republicans are through with him will make what happened to Judge Kavanaugh seem like a walk in the park.