If you had the stout constitution to sit through every moment of the Kavanaugh/Ford hearings Thursday, I’m both envious and curious. The envy stems from the fact that you could watch a room of craven politicians preen for the camera and donor-email clips and not lose interest. The curiosity stems from the fact that I get paid to do it, while most of our readership does not.
If you waited until the end, however, you got to glimpse the guiding spirit of the whole affair — or what a certain anonymous Op-Ed writer might have called the “lodestar” that directed the proceedings — in a line from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
After being accused of leaking the letter that set this whole thing rolling, the California senator denied either she or her staff released it. Instead, she blamed the leak on a woman who was now utterly disposable to her — Christine Blasey Ford.
The exchange began after Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz questioned the leaking of the letter, which had been passed on to Sen. Feinstein.
“We also know that the Democrats on this committee engaged in a profoundly unfair process,” Cruz said.
“The ranking member had these allegations on July 30th and for sixty days, that was sixty days ago, the ranking member did not refer it to the FBI for investigation, the ranking member did not refer it to the full committee for an investigation.
“This committee could have investigated those claims in a confidential way that respected Dr. Ford’s privacy,” Cruz continued.
“Dr. Ford told this committee that the only people to whom she gave her letter, were her attorneys, the ranking member, and her member of Congress.
“And she stated that she and her attorneys did not release the letter, which means the only people who could have released the letter were either the ranking member (Sen. Feinstein) and her staff, or the Democratic member of Congress, because Dr. Ford told this committee those are the only people who had it.
“That is not a fair process,” Cruz said.
There were two options for Sen. Feinstein in this situation: a) apologize or b) deny. If she chose option b), however, there wasn’t the obligation to take path c): throw Christine Blasey Ford under an entire Greyhound station of buses.
That’s what she decided to do, however.
“Mr. Chairman, let me be clear, I did not hide Dr. Ford’s allegations. I did not leak her story, she asked me to keep it confidential and I kept if confidential as she asked,” Feinstein said in response.
“She apparently was stalked by the press, felt that what happened, she was forced to come forward, and her greatest fear was realized,”Feinstein continued.
“She’s been harassed, she’s had death threats, and she’s had to flee her home.”
After blaming the Republicans for their investigation, which she called “a partisan practice,” she continued to talk up the possible imperilment Ford was in.
“I was given some information by a woman who was very much afraid, who asked that it be held confidential, and I held it confidential until she decided that she would come forward,” Feinstein said.
She was then asked if her staff had leaked the letter by Sen. John Cornyn, another Texas Republican.
“I have not asked that question directly, but I do not believe — the answer is no,” Feinstein responded. “The staff, they did not.”
“Well, somebody leaked it if wasn’t you,” Cornyn said.
“I did not, I was asked to keep it confidential, and I’m criticized for that too!” she said.
“It’s my understanding that her story was leaked before the letter became public, and she testified that she had spoken to her friends about it and it’s most likely that that’s how the story leaked, and she had been asked by press.
“But it did not leak from us,” Feinstein concluded. “I assure you of that.”
Yes, the letter leaked because this woman, who thought she was in grave jeopardy, leaked the whole thing to the press by telling her friends, who were willing to put her in that grave jeopardy by passing it on.
It had nothing — nothing — to do with the Democrats who would have benefited most from this and would have had the motivation to pass it on.
Every single problem with this entire process can be, in some way, traced back to Dianne Feinstein. She’s the one who sat on the letter, refusing to bring it up when it should have been addressed. She’s the one whose cryptic statements helped stoke the embers of curiosity. She’s the one who would call for an FBI investigation even though the FBI added the letter to Kavanaugh’s background file and moved on. She’s the one who helped oversee the circus we witnessed Thursday.
And, once Christine Blasey Ford was finally disposable to her, she was tossed to the tigers as an encore.