At 2:30 AM ET, the White House officially announced that the FBI investigation into allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was complete. At this moment, the report generated by the FBI in their five day effort is sealed in a box. And the box is locked in a vault. On Thursday morning, senators will be allowed a brief one-at-a-time peek into the contents of that box … so long as they don’t tell anyone, ever, what they saw inside. Or “characterize” the contents in any way. Because the White House has already done that for them. If this sounds more like the set up for a carnival sideshow, or a massive practical joke, than a justice system, that’s because joke or sham or travesty or simply bullsh#t seems like the best way to describe the effort that was put into looking at the truth of Brett Kavanaugh’s actions.
Last night, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow were back with another New Yorker article to spell out what everyone already knows: Even describing this as a “cursory” investigation isn’t accurate. It’s more like a curse.
Frustrated potential witnesses who have been unable to speak with the F.B.I agents conducting the investigation into sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, have been resorting to sending statements, unsolicited, to the Bureau and to senators, in hopes that they would be seen before the inquiry concluded.
Of the more than 20 witnesses to her assault named by Deborah Ramirez, it appears that the FBI has spoken to exactly none. For Ramirez, it doesn’t feel like she’s being heard, but as if “she’s being silenced.” To avoid following up on this crime, the FBI had to evade attempts of contact from Kavanaugh’s college roommate, who was ready to testify to Kavanaugh’s drinking and belligerence. They also had to ignore the outreach of a man whose dorm room connected to that of Kavanaugh—and whose testimony directly corroborates Ramierz.
Appold, who is the James Hastings Nichols Professor of Reformation History at Princeton Theological Seminary, said that he first heard about the alleged incident involving Kavanaugh and Ramirez either the night it occurred or a day or two later. Appold said that he was “one-hundred-per-cent certain” that he was told that Kavanaugh was the male student who exposed himself to Ramirez.
What’s 100 percent certain now, is that the FBI did not talk to Appold.
What would make someone an ideal witness? Someone in a position of respect. Someone who had no incentive to speak out either way. Someone who had direct knowledge of events. And maybe someone who won a pair of Fulbright Scholarships on his way to a PhD in theology.
“I can corroborate Debbie’s account,” he said in an interview. “I believe her, because it matches the same story I heard thirty-five years ago, although the two of us have never talked.”
But Appold never heard from the FBI, despite his attempts to contact them. None of the people who could comment on what happened at Yale were contacted. It’s almost as if someone told the FBI they were not allowed to follow up on any results from Ramirez’s testimony. In fact, it’s exactly as the FBI was told they were allowed to talk to Ramirez, but not verify any of her statements.
Ramirez reports that the the FBI agents who interviewed her worked “in a comprehensive and sensitive manner.” She also reported that they asked her a number of questions that seemed less concerned with the details of her assault, and more concerned with whether or not her testimony was fueled by political animus. Among the questions asked by the FBI there’s one where the response was particularly interesting. Ramirez was asked “how reporters got her name” and reported that she “began receiving calls from reporters unbidden.”
That’s interesting because—no Democratic senator had her name. There was no handwritten letter to blame for her name reaching the press. No possibility that it was spilled by a Democratic staffer.
The only people who knew about the incident between Deborah Ramirez and Brett Kavanaugh were those who witnessed it at Yale … and possibly people who were informed by Kavanaugh. If there was some leak that brought Ramirez into the limelight, it came from the Republican side. And considering that more than one potential witness reported Kavanaugh attempting to contact them before Ramirez had stepped forward, it seems very likely that it was Kavanaugh himself who triggered those reporters’ phone calls to Ramirez.
For her part, Ramirez said that after her interview, she was just hoping that the same agents who talked to her would talk to the witnesses she named, so there would be some continuity between the interviews. She didn’t anticipate that this would not be a problem because there would be no more interviews.
Multiple other witnesses came forward to declare they had sent statements speaking to Kavanaugh’s drinking, his aggressiveness, his lying about the sexual terms he had used on his calendar and in his yearbook statement. Several of them issued their own statements, including statements made under oath.
Included in one of the sworn statements:
Brett Kavanaugh never did anything to stop this physical and verbal abuse, but stood by and laughed at the victims.
It may not be the most damning statement against Kavanaugh—but it’s one that certainly defines exactly the sort of person who should not be on the Supreme Court.