WEATHER AUTHORITY : Dense Fog Advisory View Alerts

The Kavanaugh investigation was a charade

The country just witnessed a charade in the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court....

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 11:16 AM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 11:16 AM

The country just witnessed a charade in the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

I'm not talking about the dramatic hearings nor the stream of serious allegations and full-throated defense to rebut them. Instead, I'm referring to efforts by the White House to manipulate the American people into believing the FBI's supplemental background investigation of Kavanaugh was comprehensive in nature and free from outside influence. The administration's convenient, newfound confidence in the FBI was also a sight to behold.

Brett Kavanaugh

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal investigations

Criminal law

Donald Trump

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Investigations

Law and legal system

Political Figures - US

Politics

US Congress

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US Senate

White House

The remarkable orchestration was successful in two key areas: The puppet masters overseeing the FBI's work were able to convince a large segment of society that the bureau had "free rein" in digging into the judge's past, while also benefiting from the often blurred distinction between an FBI criminal investigation and a background investigation of a White House nominee.

In criminal cases, the bureau has wide latitude to utilize an array of investigative tools in order to ferret out violations of federal law. These investigations are conducted independent of meddling politicians and go wherever the facts lead.

By contrast, in background investigations, the FBI merely acts as the investigative arm of the White House and can only operate within strict parameters set by the administration. The goal is not to gather facts for a criminal case, but instead to collect information the White House can then use to determine whether a potential nominee is suitable for high office.

A problem with the Kavanaugh nomination is the story from elected leaders kept changing. We were first told the FBI was being enlisted to conduct a limited scope review of recent allegations of sexual assault. Then, President Trump insisted the FBI was not being hindered, stating the bureau had "free rein to do whatever they have to do."

Removing the initial guardrails placed on the FBI would have been a welcome development for those who were concerned that a primary issue surrounding Judge Kavanaugh stemmed not only from the serious allegations of sexual assault, but also from the possibility that he lied about his past drinking habits when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh, without question, has the experience to sit on the nation's highest court, but is he trustworthy?

Unfortunately, Trump's claim that the FBI could do whatever it wanted was untrue. Indeed, reporting from CNN and other outlets indicated the FBI's mandate from the White House was always narrow in scope and did not include the full litany of allegations surfacing from the jurist's past.

To complicate matters, the White House and Senate could not even get their stories straight when asked by journalists about what direction was given to the FBI. Senate Republicans insisted they had not provided the FBI with a specific list of people to interview, but left that up to the bureau. White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said something totally opposite, indicating the White House had received the names of four people from the Senate.

For its part, the FBI remained in a familiar position -- thrust into the middle of a political storm and attempting to do its work while politicians prepared to spin its eventual findings.

In speaking with former colleagues on the inside, one prevailing frustration centers on how little the public actually understands the difference between a criminal investigation and a background investigation. This misunderstanding is not merely limited to the lay reader -- remarkably, some former law enforcement officials who now comprise the cottage industry of professional partisan prognosticators do not realize just how handcuffed the FBI was in its review of Judge Kavanaugh.

Perhaps the richest aspect of the White House's approach to the FBI in the Kavanaugh affair involved the sheer hypocrisy of it all, considering how this administration has treated the bureau for the past year and a half.

With the Supreme Court nomination, Trump basked in the glory of the FBI and attempted to profit from the bureau's strong brand and stamp of approval. This stands in stark contrast with his endless effort to destroy the FBI's credibility in order to undermine the ongoing investigation into his campaign by special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump's fair-weather friendship with the bureau underscores the destructive nature of politics on law enforcement; he praises the agency when it benefits him and tries to bring it to heel when an area of investigation becomes personally uncomfortable.

Of course, the real proof of the charade will come the next time Mueller pulls out his pen to sign off on a new subpoena involving someone close to Trump. Will the FBI remain the great, unvarnished institution the White House held in high regard in the Kavanaugh affair? Or will it return to the all too familiar role of presidential punching bag?

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848137

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164052005
Mobile743681384
Madison53497738
Shelby38435371
Baldwin38195589
Tuscaloosa36152644
Montgomery34562782
Lee25655264
Calhoun22630520
Morgan22530411
Etowah20069520
Marshall18846318
Houston17777426
St. Clair16958359
Limestone16195220
Cullman16157306
Elmore15940295
Lauderdale15069307
Talladega14260302
DeKalb13083271
Walker12168380
Blount10779193
Autauga10560157
Jackson10214196
Coffee9435192
Colbert9366210
Dale9044192
Tallapoosa7285202
Russell710065
Chilton7090170
Covington6969197
Escambia6967144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5801142
Marion5437132
Dallas5302210
Pike5129109
Clarke485786
Lawrence4850130
Winston4793110
Geneva4655136
Bibb435795
Barbour370680
Butler3444101
Marengo342993
Monroe338366
Randolph337867
Pickens334890
Fayette331785
Henry321166
Cherokee320364
Hale319189
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252969
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130545
Choctaw94428
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 63°
Oxford
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: °
Starkville
Mostly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 62°
A few thunderstorms will likely spring up on Sunday ahead of an incoming cold front that will arrive Monday and bring widespread rain and lower temperatures.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather