Editorial: Brett Kavanaugh: Just another festering wound

Last week, the nation’s attention was focused almost wholly on the allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when in high school. The allegations came about because Kavanaugh had presented himself as a “choir boy” while in high school and college — a statement that drew howls of refute from classmates and others who knew him as a heavy drinker and far less than the saint he portrayed himself to be.

It was the lie he told that has caused Kavanaugh’s initial problems, but it also wasn’t his first. Reports have now documented several lies the Supreme Court nominee has made in various positions of power.

A habit of lying is not an honorable trait for a judge, but neither are the character traits he has shown under fire. Hence the uproar over his nomination, and the partisan battle it has become. With Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., moving the nomination forward in committee with the caveat that the FBI have a week to pursue an investigation in the sexual assault claims, the reckoning day has been postponed until Friday. 

Much has been written on the subject, so we won’t belabor the issue, but rather point to two recent essays we encourage you to read: One was written by Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri, on Sept. 28, in a piece called: “It is very difficult to get the train to stop.” It’s a woman’s perspective, certainly, but it speaks of truth in a unique way that is more personal than political and right on target.

Another interesting piece was written this weekend by former FBI Director James Comey, who had once been praised by Trump, then later fired. Comey writes deftly of what now faces the FBI with its latest charge to look into the allegations against Kavanaugh, but it’s his first three paragraphs, about the nation as it is under Trump, that is so damning.

“The F.B.I. is back in the middle of it,” Comey writes. “President Trump’s decision to order a one-week investigation into sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, comes in a time of almost indescribable pain and anger, lies and attacks.

“We live in a world where the president routinely attacks the F.B.I. because he fears its work. He calls for his enemies to be prosecuted and his friends freed. ... We live in a world where the president is an accused serial abuser of women, who was caught on tape bragging about his ability to assault women and now likens the accusations against his nominee to the many ‘false’ accusations against him.

“Most disturbingly, we live in a world where millions of Republicans and their representatives think nearly everything in the previous paragraph is O.K….

“If truth were the only goal, there would be no clock... Instead, it seems that the Republican goal is to be able to say there was an investigation and it didn’t change their view, while the Democrats hope for incriminating evidence to derail the nominee.

“Although the process is deeply flawed... the F.B.I. is up for this. It’s not as hard as Republicans hope it will be… Yes, the alleged incident occurred 36 years ago. But F.B.I. agents know time has very little to do with memory. They know every married person remembers the weather on their wedding day, no matter how long ago. Significance drives memory. They also know that little lies point to bigger lies. They know that obvious lies by the nominee about the meaning of words in a yearbook are a flashing signal to dig deeper….

“Although the F.B.I. won’t reach conclusions, their granular factual presentation will spotlight the areas of conflict and allow decision makers to reach their own conclusions… It is idiotic to put a shot clock on the F.B.I. But it is better to give professionals seven days to find facts than have no professional investigation at all….”

There’s much more to ponder as the week progresses, and we urge you to find the time to read the full essays of Ms. Petri and Mr. Comey. 

But beyond Kavanaugh’s nomination, what’s disheartening is that in Trump’s White House issues are like wounds festering in the muck, void of truth and integrity. It’s the way of his world, and he seems to delight in it.


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