Sullivan retreats to weasel words on Kavanaugh investigation

Sen. Dan Sullivan released a statement Friday saying “allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously,” and he respects and supports the “desire of my colleagues for additional information” about Brett Kavanaugh. Therefore, he supports an additional FBI investigation of the Supreme Court nominee.

That is not the same as saying he has a desire for more information. He said his colleagues desire more information. There is a difference.

If he really believed that “any allegation of sexual assault needs to be taken seriously,” he would desire more information instead of retreating to weasel words. This language was not an “inspired choice,” to borrow the term that Sullivan uses to describe Kavanaugh.

Sullivan helped Kavanaugh practice for his original Senate testimony in a mock hearing room and has said that the judge has the “values, temperament and humility” that Alaskans would like on the Supreme Court.

That temperament and humility was on full display Thursday when Kavanaugh couldn’t stop shouting.

“He’s a really humble guy,” Sullivan told the Washington Post in mid-summer. “I mean, you don’t have a lot of guys like that in Washington. You don’t. It’s not fake humility.”

On Friday, Sullivan said:

“As I’ve stated repeatedly, any allegation of sexual assault needs be taken seriously. While the Senate Judiciary Committee and its staff have been investigating such allegations diligently, I respect and support the desire of my colleagues for additional information and the decision of the Senate majority and president for a supplemental FBI investigation, which will hopefully allow this process to move forward in a timely and fair fashion.”

Along with other Senate Republicans and Trump, Sullivan had no choice but to say the FBI investigation should proceed because Kavanaugh’s nomination would not proceed in any fashion without one, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post.

They didn’t have the votes. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake opted to advance the nomination in committee, but told senators he wanted an FBI investigation before he would back Kavanaugh on the floor.

The Times said Flake had a conference call with Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins “to ensure that he still had their support and that they agreed to a one-week delay. They did.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t like the idea at all, the Times said.

“In a meeting Friday afternoon with members of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. McConnell vented. Make no mistake about it, he said, more accusations, false ones, will emerge while we wait on this. But in the end, he had to accept the delay,” the Times reported.

The Washington Post said that Murkowski and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin were quick to endorse Flake’s position, followed by Senate leaders.

Murkowski said to “fairly complete our due diligence,” the FBI should be given a week to investigate.

The FBI deadline is arbitrary and there will be more unanswered questions next week than there are today.

Dermot Cole3 Comments