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We do not know what was in the FBI’s most recent background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The report was locked away in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center, where Democratic and Republican senators read it over in alternating shifts, applying or ignoring the evidence contained therein to a decision that will affect millions and millions of lives.
The only thing less democratic about the process here is basically everything else about the Supreme Court.
But we do know how this profound deficit of the old democratic spirit could be remedied: Senators, just tell me what was in the report. FBI, leak it to me.
Here’s what some Democratic senators have said about the report, which contained summaries of the FBI’s interviews and of which we American citizens are not allowed to know the actual contents.
From Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.):
“One: This was not a full and fair investigation. It was sharply limited in scope and did not explore the relevant confirming facts.
Two: The available documents do not exonerate Mr. Kavanaugh.
And three: The available documents contradict statements Mr. Kavanaugh made under oath.”
From Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) :
“It is simply impossible after seeing the results of the FBI supplemental work — and I hesitate to call it an investigation — that anybody could think that it was in any way shape or form the comprehensive investigation the president promised.”
From Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.):
“The most notable part of this report is what’s not in it.”
And here’s what the Republicans said about the report.
From Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):
“What we know for sure is the FBI report did not corroborate any of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.”
From Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.):
“We’ve seen no additional corroborating information.”
There’s no actual way of knowing who’s telling the truth. Democrats will assume Democrats are telling the truth; Republicans will assume the same of other Republicans. The dozen centrists in the country will believe The New York Times opinion section.
Meanwhile, a president whom the majority of the country did not vote for is installing a justice on a Supreme Court that already had a seat hijacked and stolen by Senate Republicans, who were only ever in a position to do so because of decades of gerrymandering and voter suppression.
This is not how a healthy democracy functions. But there is a way to start to correct these profound injustices: What if you just told me what was in the FBI report? You’ll all feel much better! I know I will.
So, are you a senator? An FBI employee who helped with the investigation? Do you want to do me and the country — nay, democracy itself — a solid? Email email@example.com. It’s the least you could do.