Why Doesn’t Grassley Get More Grief for Lying Like This?

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
October 5, 2018 10:05 a.m.

For everything that’s happened in this process, in many ways what stuns me most is what Sen. Grassley is doing right now. He is again going back to this claim that the Democrats held the sexual misconduct accusations against Kavanaugh “in reserve” for the last moment to spring on the helpless judge.

We now know quite a bit about the chain of events that brought these accusations to light. Blasey Ford wrote a letter to Dianne Feinstein and asked her not to share it with anyone else. It seems clear that it was Feinstein’s intention to allow the confirmation to go to a vote without these allegations ever being made public. Late in the process some of her colleagues were reportedly getting upset with her because she wasn’t revealing an allegation she knew about.

Fundamentally, Feinstein did not have permission to share Blasey Ford’s story. I would think opponents of Kavanaugh would have some argument that she should have done more to bring these claims to the public. But it seems hard to gainsay her decision to respect Blasey Ford’s wishes. Regardless, the key point is that Feinstein appears to have had every intention of having these charges never made public.

As we know, a leak to The Intercept in mid-September changed everything. From there, everything moved rapidly. Grassley’s clear suggestion, like that of every other Republican making this argument, is that Feinstein brought this forward late. But the author of the story, Ryan Grim, has stated clearly that the information did not come from Feinstein’s office.

We don’t know what happened here. Clearly Rep. Anna Eshoo’s office knew about Blasey Ford’s letter. We’ve also learned, unsurprisingly, that Blasey Ford told various of her friends what she had shared with Eshoo and Feinstein. The leak could have come from anywhere. But there’s no evidence – quite the contrary actually – that there was any sort of plan on the Democratic side to spring these allegations at the last moment.

This gets us to the stupidest part of this claim, again almost totally unremarked. There’s simply no reason this would make any sense to do. No reason. We’re now somehow under a spell where we’re buying into this Republican argument that there’s some advantage to adding these allegations at the last moment. Quite the contrary actually. If your goal was to use these allegations to sink Kavanaugh’s nomination there’s simply no question you’d bring it up as soon as possible, certainly before his nomination hearings. That’s why some of Feinstein’s colleagues who knew she was sitting on some information were apparently miffed. You’d want these accusations to percolate as long as possible. There’s simply no upside to ‘springing them’ at the last moment. It is a completely stupid idea, full stop.

We don’t know this and I think it’s unlikely. But it’s certainly possible that some other Senate office, or a staffer in another office, leaked some details to push things forward. But if that’s true it would have been out of desperation that Feinstein wasn’t going to do it herself and that it was close to too late. Again, if your goal was sinking Kavanaugh’s nomination you bring this out in July, not September. This is just open and shut.

So let’s be clear about what this lie, which makes no sense, is about. When a guy you support faces a serious allegation you need something to say in response. You need some argument that right is on your side. Kavanaugh could innocent but that’s not much of an argument on offense. What you need is a grievance. That is where the ‘late hit’ nonsense comes from, a baseless story that turns Kavanaugh and by extension Republicans into victims of some sort of plot.

There’s simply no evidence for any of this. And it makes no sense in any case. It’s just a straight up lie that Grassley and virtually every Republican in the Senate aren’t being called on.

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