What is utterly crazy here

So this is the sitch: Republicans say the [drastically constricted] FBI investigation exonerates Kavanaugh; Democrats say it does no such thing; we can’t consider the evidence because the Republicans are keeping the whole farking thing Secret.

What is utterly crazy here is that we have no way of evaluating any of this either way, because we are not allowed to see the FBI’s findings, even in summary form. Republicans and Democrats are telling vastly different stories about what those findings show: Republicans are claiming there was no corroboration of any of the charges against Kavanaugh and that there’s nothing new in them. Democrats are claiming not just that the investigation was a sham but also that it doesn’t exonerate Kavanaugh at all.

But on that latter point, Democrats have been confined to only the vaguest of hints. For instance, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) put out a statement saying that “to say that this investigation exonerates Judge Kavanaugh,” or to say that “there is no hint of misconduct in these documents,” is “just not true.” Warren went further than this — which seems significant — but both their statements are maddeningly vague.

Because the Republicans are forcing them to be vague.

To justify keeping the FBI’s findings secret, Republicans have pointed to a 2009 memorandum of understanding between the Judiciary Committee and the White House counsel concerning FBI background checks into nominees, which says such investigations are to remain confidential.

But Robert Bauer, a White House counsel under President Barack Obama, told me today that there are ways around this — that is, if senators and the White House wanted to find them. For instance, senators could simply renegotiate this agreement with the White House counsel, Bauer said.

“The Memorandum of Understanding is just that — it is an understanding that can be amended to address exceptional circumstances,” Bauer told me. Bauer pointed out that this is only the latest in a long line of things that Republicans and the White House have done to limit the public’s ability to weigh the testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh, emailing me this:

First, the Senate structured the peculiar one-day hearing which featured a sharply limited witness list and an outside counsel relieved of her responsibilities in the middle of the proceeding. Then the White House and the Senate majority set exceptional limits on the scope and timing of the subsequent FBI review. Then came this last step of rejecting calls from Republican as well as Democratic committee [members] for a public accounting of the results.

“The refusal of the Senate majority to provide even a summary of the review,” Bauer concluded, is only the last in a series of steps that are “undermining the credibility of the Supreme Court confirmation process.”

Not to mention the arbitrary tyrannical stonewalling of Merrick Garland.

What a nightmare.

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