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Kavanaugh Column, News

The Purloined Letter

As the date of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s expected Senate Judiciary Committee vote next Thursday approaches, a whiff of whispered scandal now infects his nomination process. The story broke yesterday that Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has referred a letter regarding Kavanaugh from a constituent in California to the FBI. Feinstein has refused to show the letter to fellow Judiciary Committee members, citing the complainant’s request for anonymity.

There are several versions of this story floating around, one of which involves a middleman at Stanford who allegedly conveyed the letter to a House member, Anna Eshoo of California, who conveyed it to Feinstein. Another version omits the Stanford individual and simply reports the individual sent the letter to Eshoo, who sent it to Feinstein. Details of the story contained in the letter emerged in the media today, whether leaked by someone who saw the letter or provided to the media by its author, no one can say. The woman reportedly maintains that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in high school. Judge Kavanaugh’s fired back with an emphatic statement: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” And the White House’s response was swift and hard also. A spokesperson from the Office of Public Liaison issued this statement Thursday:

Unfortunately, one member of the Senate Judiciary Committee has now resorted to smear tactics in an attempt to take away from the positivity that has followed Judge Kavanaugh’s hearings. You’re probably aware of recent news coverage of false allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, and we know how important it is to address these unwarranted claims.

White House Spokesperson Kerri Kupec, one of Kavanaugh’s principal handlers in the Senate, said “Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him. Throughout 25 years of public service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has thoroughly and repeatedly vetted Judge Kavanaugh, dating back to 1993, for some of the most highly sensitive roles.”

Recall that Anita Hill “stepped forward” to accuse Justice Clarence Thomas after his initial nomination hearing was closed and he appeared headed to confirmation. That story is related in the August 20th Kavanaugh Column. We make no claim to prescience, since the opposition is so predictable its methods are frequently obvious, but we ended that column by warning that “there are those, including perhaps on the Judiciary Committee staff, who would go to any lengths to derail his confirmation – even to the point of entertaining scurrilous and unsubstantiated accusations against the character of a good man.”