Close Brett Kavanaugh friend "Ethics and Public Policy Center" president Ed Whelan was roundly condemned last week for a series of tweets in which he suggested that the attempted rape Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford may instead have been perpetrated by another student at Kavanaugh's private boys' school, one that looked similar to him and who also lived in the area. Whelan went so far as to publicly name the other student and publish a floorplan of his childhood home.
In the face of widespread outrage, Whelan deleted the tweets and publicly apologized for accusing an apparently random Kavanaugh classmate of attempted rape. He also offered up his resignation at the "Ethics and Publich Policy Center." In a statement, the conservative think tank announced that their board has declined that resignation, instead placing him on a temporary "leave of absence."
After deliberation, the board declined to accept Mr. Whelan’s resignation, but determined that he will take a leave of absence from the organization during which time Yuval Levin, EPPC’s Vice President and Hertog Fellow, will be in charge. The board will meet in a month to review the situation.
This is hardly the end of the episode. In asserting that Dr. Ford had mistakenly identified Kavanaugh for an assault committed by one of his classmates, Whelan was fleshing out a claim of mistaken identity that was first offered, according to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, by Kavanaugh himself. Whelan was assisted in his would-be "investigation" by a public relations firm that had itself provided a top Senate Judiciary staffer to Sen. Grassley; that same staffer resigned Saturday after it was revealed that he had been fired from a previous job for sexual harassment.
Most importantly, Whelan appears to have learned both of Dr. Ford's name and the names of those she identified as potential witnesses before that information became public–meaning somebody, either among Kavanaugh's associates, the White House, or the Senate Judiciary offices was sharing that information with him even before the Washington Post published their initial story naming Ford. (Whelan further suggested in his thread that Kavanaugh and the other named student were confused frequently by classmates; as Whelan did not go to school with Kavanaugh, he could not have known this unless Kavanaugh or one of Kavanaugh's own schoolmates specifically suggested it to him.)
If Kavanaugh or a schoolmate of Kavanaugh provided those names to Whelan, it would demonstrate that Kavanaugh or those around him knew precisely what "party" Dr. Ford was referring to and who was present–contrary to Kavanaugh's assertion to the contrary. If either the White House or Senate Judiciary Republicans were sharing witness information with Whelan, they did so in an environment in which both Dr. Ford and individual Senate offices were being inundated with threatening phone calls over her allegations–raising serious questions as to whether the leak was intended to expose those other witnesses to similar intimidation.
This is transparently an issue that needs further investigation, and given that Senate Judiciary Republicans are the most likely source of the leak it is transparently an issue that should be investigated by anyone in the government aside from them. An FBI investigation would likely resolve the matter within days–as of yet, however, Senate Republicans and the White House are blocking any further investigation of Kavanaugh from taking place, and seem even less eager to investigate just how it is a close Kavanaugh friend got insider information so as to better conduct an egregious public smear of a seemingly randomly chosen Kavanaugh classmate.