Looking back on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, it is remarkable to see its similarities with the other story that has dominated our national conversation for the last two years: the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
The narrative arcs of the Kavanaugh confirmation and the Russia collusion investigation are stunningly similar.
1. Democrats experience a catastrophic political setback.
2. Democrats’ reaction builds to a hysterical crescendo.
3. Democrats demand and receive investigations into alleged Republican malfeasance.
4. The investigations produce no evidence to support Democrats’ allegations.
5. Continued investigations reveal Democratic skullduggery and abuse of process.
Democrats have complained since Donald Trump was elected that Republicans demonstrate no respect for facts and the truth. In fact, Congressional Republicans’ search for the truth of the Russia collusion and Kavanaugh confirmation allegations has in many ways been their finest hour.
Rather than succumb to Democrats’ hysteria, congressional Republicans investigating these matters calmly and doggedly pursued the truth. As a result, they uncovered facts providing Americans dramatic insight into extremely troubling behavior of the Justice Department, the intelligence community, and the Democratic Party in the 2016 election, and of elected senators in the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
Congressional Republicans weren’t cowed by the Democrats and their allies in the media in exercising their oversight duties. Republicans haven’t allowed Democrats to limit investigations only to the things Democrats want investigated. When Democrats complained, Congressional Republicans didn’t back down. Republicans instead went wherever investigative leads took them. And oh, where these leads have taken them.
Democrats demanded an investigation into Russia collusion. Republican Rep. Devin Nunes instead launched a comprehensive investigation into the entirety of the Russia allegations.
Thanks to Nunes, we know about the Christopher Steele dossier. We know that Democrats paid for the Steele dossier through their law firm, Perkins Coie. We know about Fusion GPS and its close relationships with Democrats in the Justice Department. We know about Bruce and Nellie Ohr. About Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. And we are starting to learn about back-channel communications between FBI general counsel James Baker and the Democrats’ attorneys at Perkins Coie.
Most critically for American justice, we know about the Obama Administration’s potentially serious abuse of the FISA process. We’ve learned the FISA court may have issued wiretap authorizations solely based on the Steele dossier. We’ve learned the FISA court did not know the Steele dossier was opposition research paid for by the Democrats.
It’s almost amusing to watch Democrats, who demanded transparency throughout the Russia investigation, suddenly start yelping about “protecting sources and methods” and Republican attacks on the hallowed DOJ and FBI as soon as Republicans got closer to the truth about what was going on behind the scenes during the 2016 election.
Supposedly truth-seeking Democrats stood by silently as the DOJ and FBI brazenly refused to turn over documents to Congress or unjustifiably redacted them. Why? Probably because they didn’t expect their efforts to market the Steele dossier and launch the Russia collusion narrative to see the light of day. The closer Nunes got to the truth, the more the Democrats dug in their heels.
Nevertheless, to coin a phrase, Nunes persisted.
Had Nunes been scared off or limited into investigating only those aspects of the 2016 election Democrats wanted investigated, we never would have known about the provenance of the Steele dossier, its use before the FISA courts, who paid for the dossier, or the intertwined relationships between Fusion GPS, the purveyors of the dossier, the DOJ, and the Democratic Party. Nunes’s persistence has been a textbook example of vigorous congressional oversight over executive branch agencies.
By not allowing Democrats to control the scope of the investigation, Nunes uncovered Democratic misbehavior that powered the Russia collusion allegations in the first place.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley handled the investigation of Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh in the same manner. He held hearings. He hired an experienced prosecutor to ask questions to elucidate information and facts. Democrats bloviated and demanded Ford be believed without producing any corroborating evidence.
Grassley’s investigation elucidated key facts essential to assessing the credibility of Ford’s allegations. His investigation, and the additional background investigation he requested from the FBI, established Ford flies regularly, contrary to her representation to the committee; that Ford was not aware of the invitation to testify in California; that Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office had recommended Ford hire Debra Katz as her attorney; and that Ford’s friend Monica McLean, a former FBI agent who used to work for former Chuck Schumer staffer Preet Bharara, had encouraged Leland Keyser, a witness Ford identified, to clarify her testimony to the committee. Grassley also established Ford’s unwillingness to produce her therapist’s notes and her polygraph records, despite her reliance on them as critical pieces of evidence.
Worse for the Democrats, the investigation appears to have identified potential communications (one might even call it “collusion”) between Sens. Feinstein and Mazie Hirono and Ford’s representation. Grassley’s letter last week demanding Ford’s communications with both offices certainly suggested this.
Grassley pursued this investigation in the face of extraordinary pressure to simply believe Ford because, as Democrats would have it, all survivors must be believed. Democrats tried to recast Republicans’ investigation as attacking the victim, trying to prevent the Republicans from investigating in any meaningful way. Grassley proceeded anyway.
Republicans not only were able to demonstrate the allegations against Kavanaugh were wholly unsupported by any evidence, but they began to reveal Democratic skullduggery that may have been the proximate cause of the circus the hearings became. I am not sure I’d recommend the committee continue to investigate, but I’d be very interested in seeing the communications between the offices of Feinstein and Hirono and Ford’s attorneys. I’d wager there’s a lot more to that story.
In both the Russia and Kavanaugh cases, Democrats demanded investigations, thinking their misbehavior would not be revealed. But Republican persistence has instead exposed the Democrats’ misbehavior and bad faith.
Now the Democrats are on notice. Gin up an investigation and the Republicans will find out. Sow the wind, and Republicans will be sure you reap the whirlwind.