About that FBI report

  • 3 October 2018
  • NormanL

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a vote on Judge Bret Kavanaugh's nomination to the Surpeme Court this week. That's caused all kinds of angst on the left. But even more is likely to come from that FBI report we're all waiting for.

Not that the public will see the details - it's being made available to Senators only. This means the public will have to rely on second hand accounts of what the FBI actually discovered -- if anything. And it's on this point we need to keep a bit of history in mind.

As National Review's Jim Geraghty reminds us about FBI reports and whether Senators and the public should put all their faith in the findings:

...the final report is unlikely to reach a conclusion on whether or not the accusations are true. We all remember our old friend Joe Biden telling everyone in 1991:

The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything, obviously doesn’t understand anything. FBI explicitly does not, in this or any other case, reach a conclusion, period. Period. The reason why we cannot rely on the FBI report [is] you would not like it if we did because it is inconclusive. They say, ‘He said, she said, and they said. Period.’ So when people wave an FBI report before you, understand they do not, they do not reach conclusions.

The FBI report is likely to turn into another Rorschach test, with Democrats saying, “from the information in this report, it is clear Brett Kavanaugh does not belong on the court” and GOP saying “this report completely exonerates him.”

We've tended to think the FBI findings would be inconclusive, and unsatisfying to either side in the confirmation struggle. Which makes Geraghty's point about the report being a Rorschach test all the more important. We've no idea what the report will say, thanks to it being held out of public view. This severely limits the public's ability -- barring a leak of the full report -- to reach its own conclusions, absent the spin, and animus, of the various senatorial factions. But we do know the process we've witnessed so far has been horrific. Future nominees may be forgiven if they say "no thanks" to the prospect of facing scheming Senators, vicious outside groups, and a mob-like media, and remain in private life.