Republicans are pillorying Christine Basley Ford, the woman accusing Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault, for demanding an independent FBI probe before shetestifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are accusing her of chickening out and suggesting that this in some way discredits her.
But that does not follow.
Since she reluctantly went public, her e-mail has been hacked and she has faced a barrage of harassment including death threats. She has had to hire private security and move to another house along with her two daughters. No less than Don Jr., President Trump's son, mocked her on Instagram, posting a note scribbled in red crayon in a toddler's handwriting, asking her if she'd be his girlfriend, signed, "love, Bret (sic)." As if, attempted rape is just an innocent declaration of love!
Under the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that she is concerned that the senators will do to her what they did to Anita Hill when she accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. They turned the hearing into an inquisition on national TV, grilling her on every minor inconsistency, questioning every trivial lapse of memory, and impugning her motives.
None of this is to suggest that Ford's accusations deserve no further corroboration, I note at The Week. The problem is that she has provided enough details to be credible but hasn't met the burden of proof to be convincing. An independent probe is one way to get past the "he said, she said." Judge Kavanaugh has denied that he was even at the party where she says the incident occurred. If the FBI can confirm that, that'll clear him pronto.
That's why Republicans are doing neither her – nor him – any favors by opposing the probe. It makes it seem like they are worried about what it might reveal. If they confirm Kavanaugh under such circumstances, they will consign him to serve with a shadow over his head.
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