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FBI's Kavanaugh Investigation May End Wednesday: Here's Where We're At

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After last week's news cycle, I imagine many of you would welcome a break from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and talk of his privileged prep school past. The hours spent watching him menace the Senate Judiciary Committee certainly left me with memories—specifically, of his mouth shrinking smaller and smaller until it became a tiny pinprick sphincter, telegraphing rage—I would love to forget. But unfortunately I can't, because just as that image remains lasered on the insides of my eyelids, Kavanaugh's name remains (at least for now) indelibly etched on news chirons across the networks. With so much information thrown at all of us in the course of a 100-year week, maybe you are wondering: Where are we with all that?

Well! As you will recall, Christine Blasey Ford—the first of three women to accuse Kavanaugh of drunken, sexually aggressive, traumatizing behavior—testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, offering a measured, credible account of the night she says Kavanaugh tried to rape her. The judge followed her appearance with a bloviating, belligerent, and deeply partisan display of hysterics in which he dodged most questions and shouted about his own entitlement. It was all very exhausting, really just excruciatingly gutting, but it did give us one remarkable piece of content. Maybe you have seen it?

Seeming to find themselves backed into a corner, Senate Republicans asked President Trump for a weeklong FBI investigation into the nominee's teenage party habits, which he granted on Friday.

According to the NY Times, the FBI first set out with specific instructions to speak only with four witnesses: Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's high school BFF and alleged co-conspirator in what Dr. Ford described as a forcible sexual assault; P.J. Smyth, an alleged guest at the party in question, whose name you will doubtless recall from Kavanaugh's beloved calendars; Deborah Ramirez, who told the New Yorker that an 18-year-old Kavanaugh drunkenly shoved his penis in her face at a party when they were both students at Yale; and Leland Keyser, whom Dr. Ford says attended the party with her. Kavanaugh repeatedly trotted out Keyser's example to support his assertion that Dr. Ford's claim was not credible; Keyser, however, has stated that, although she has no memory of meeting Kavanaugh and does not recall the party itself, she believes Dr. Ford.

Because those four names do not comprise a particularly extensive witness list, though, the White House gave the FBI the green light to broaden its investigation, provided it wrapped everything up by Friday. That means Julie Swetnick, who catalogued especially damning claims against the nominee in a sworn affidavit released last week, could be called upon for questioning. Swetnick said that Kavanaugh, Judge, and other boys routinely tried to inebriate girls at parties, slipping alcohol or drugs into their drinks in the course or orchestrating group rapes. Swetnick came forward as the victim of one such assault, without specifically naming Kavanaugh or Judge as perpetrators. Still, she also said she'd witnessed Kavanaugh verbally abuse and physically harass girls, becoming enraged when they told him "no."

Sexual assault allegations aside, though, Kavanaugh peppered his combative testimony with misleading statements and alarming vitriol for Democrats that should give any reasonable person cause to doubt his temperament. The apparent inaccuracies open up the possibility that Kavanaugh may have lied under oath, and open up new investigative avenues to the FBI. Unrelated to the FBI investigation, but incriminating in light of the nominee's demonstrated aggression under scrutiny, the NY Times reported Monday that New Haven police questioned (but did not arrest) Kavanaugh and four other men in 1985, after they involved themselves in a bar brawl. According to a police report the Times obtained, Kavanaugh and his sports friends attacked a fellow patron, one of the cohort hitting the man in the head with a glass and Kavanaugh throwing ice at the victim "for some unknown reason."

Still, Senate Republicans reportedly expect that the inquiry will conclude Wednesday (without any new input from Dr. Ford). They plan to vote this week, although it's not presently clear whether that will be a vote to allow the Senate to debate Kavanaugh's nomination, or the actual confirmation vote.

Five Senators—three Republicans and two Democrats—reportedly remain undecided. One is Republican Jeff Flake, who issued his party's call for the FBI investigation on Friday. Flake said Tuesday that Kavanaugh's "sharp and partisan" rebuke of the Judiciary Committee represents the kind of attitude "we can't have ... on the Court," and has said he won't vote yes if the FBI probe shows the nominee lied. It does not seem that many Republicans or the White House care too much about its outcome, though, so if I were you, I would not hold my breath.

On Monday night, New York City protesters convened in Madison Square Park and marched on the Yale Club, vehemently opposing the possibility that a man they viewed as a sexual predator might ascend to the highest court in the land. Anti-Kavanaugh demonstrations have been widespread, and in Washington, D.C., sustained. If you are interested in taking part in one of those, organizers are currently seeking volunteers to descend upon the capitol for demonstrations on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

As for Kavanaugh himself, who knows what he's up to: Drunkenly rattling around his Man Cave, sweaty and bathrobed and raving about how he got into YALE, goddamnit; crumpled over a box of his calendars, his father's calendars, weeping at the memory of PJ and Squi until his face is smeared with decades-old ink; watching and rewatching Saturday Night Live's uncanny portrayal of Thursday's trashfire, his face reddened to the color of uncooked burger meat and a beer can crushed in his fist? Personally I have no idea, and zero doubts that we'll all be hearing from him again soon.

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