How Dianne Feinstein’s Antics Over Kavanaugh Sexual Abuse Allegations Are Harming The #MeToo Movement


If you were to craft a narrative by which to undercut the #MeToo movement, it would be hard to do it better than Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The #MeToo movement is built on the credibility of the stories told by women who allege sexual abuse and misconduct. That credibility rests hand-in-hand with an eagerness to probe into such allegations – which is why we’ve spent so much time lauding Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker for doing just that.

But the #MeToo movement cannot survive if it is just a series of allegations designed to shield the truth from scrutiny. And that’s precisely what Dianne Feinstein has done here, and continues to do.

According to The Washington Post, Christine Blasey Ford sent a letter to Senator Feinstein on July 30, 2018. She requested in the letter that she be kept anonymous. But Feinstein didn’t forward the letter to the FBI; she didn’t show it to her Democratic Senate colleagues; she didn’t raise the question with Kavanaugh, even in closed session. She did nothing with the letter until after Kavanaugh’s testimony, at which point she dumped news of it in public, forcing Ford to come forward with the actual letter.

All of which doesn’t speak to the credibility of the accuser. It looks like a partisan smear. And today, that partisan smear got even more partisan when Feinstein refused to help set up calls between senators and Ford. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) explained:

Anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has deserves to be heard, so I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner. The standard procedure for updates to any nominee’s background investigation file is to conduct separate follow-up calls with relevant parties. In this case, that would entail phone calls with at least Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. Consistent with that practice, I asked Senator Feinstein’s office yesterday to join me in scheduling these follow-ups. Thus far, they have refused… Unfortunately, committee Republicans have only known this person’s identity from news reports for less than 24 hours and known about her allegations for less than a week. Senator Feinstein, on the other hand, has had this information for many weeks and deprived her colleagues of the information necessary to do our jobs. The Minority withheld even the anonymous allegations for six weeks, only to later decide that they were serious enough to investigate on the eve of the committee vote, after the vetting process had been completed. It’s deeply disturbing that the existence of these allegations were leaked in a way that seemed to preclude Dr. Ford’s confidentiality. Over my nearly four decades in the Senate I have worked diligently to protect whistleblowers and get to the bottom of any issue. Dr. Ford’s attorney could have approached my office, while keeping her client confidential and anonymous, so that these allegations could be thoroughly investigated. Nevertheless, we are working diligently to get to the bottom of these claims.

This is amazing stuff. It essentially argues that Feinstein is a political show horse, and is trotting out an alleged victim in order to stop Kavanaugh’s ascension. That’s disgusting, and what’s worse, it utterly undermines the credibility of women telling their stories. False allegations undermine #MeToo; so do deliberately-timed, unverifiable allegations carefully protected from scrutiny. Feinstein knows that. But presumably, she doesn’t care, because she would prefer to be popular with her left-wing base – which includes many members of the #MeToo movement too shortsighted to see the impact of such antics.