On Friday afternoon, in a shock reversal, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who had stated earlier in the morning that he would vote in favor of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, shifted his position and stated that he would not vote for Kavanaugh on the Senate floor without a one-week FBI investigation into sexual abuse charges against him. Flake explained:
I'm simply stating the discussion that we had between us all is that I would hope and I think we had some agreement before that the Democrats who have been -- I think -- justifiably uncomfortable moving ahead, could publicly, in an effort to bring this country together, say that we would feel better.... I'm not expecting them to vote yes... but not to complain that an FBI investigation has not occurred. This is what I'm trying to do. This country is being ripped apart here. We've got to make sure that we do due diligence.
Flake did vote to move the nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but his explanation that he will vote against Kavanaugh without such an investigation means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is likely short the votes he needs in order for Kavanaugh to be confirmed. In all likelihood, Flake’s position will quickly become the position of Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
President Trump has already expressed his willingness to call for such an FBI investigation. He has called Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford a “very fine woman” who gave “very compelling” testimony, and added that the Senate should do “whatever they think is necessary.”
So, what does all this mean? It means that Trump will likely have to order an FBI investigation. It means time for polling to come out about Kavanaugh, allowing for additional pressure to be brought against wavering Republican senators. It means that the FBI investigation’s parameters will have to be set in advance, to prevent mission creep. It means that the FBI will, in all likelihood, come up with no new information, to the wails of Democrats and the media. Most of all, it means that Democrats will now have a week to promote whatever other allegations they can throw against the wall, all the while stating that a true FBI investigation would not be limited to one week, and that the only reason Republicans are moving forward is because they don’t care about women.
So, we’ll see you back here next week, after a week of recrimination and abuse. Exactly the same bat-time, exactly the same bat-channel. Thanks, Senator Flake!