In case you aren’t following the hearings to appoint Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, here’s my report: The Senate Judiciary Committee (11 Republicans/10 Democrats) was going to vote yesterday (Friday) morning to support Kavanaugh. (The Democrats were all going to vote “no,” and the Republican majority were all going to vote “yes” by saying both that they found Dr Ford’s testimony that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school “credible” and that they think Kavanaugh was “smeared.” No one fully explained how both those facts could be true at the same time, but I’d say that the senators’ certainty is an exercise in “framing.”) The plan was that after the committee voted “yes,” Kavanaugh’s case would go to the full senate in the next few days for a final vote for confirmation.
Senator Flake from Arizona, the Republican senator on the committee who was most ‘on the fence,’ announced before the vote that he was going to vote Yes on Kavanaugh. However, he was then accosted in an elevator by two women who vehemently argued with him about that–one described herself as a survivor of sexual assault—and he talked with his Democratic friend on the committee, Senator Koons. He then had a partial change of heart that surprised everyone: He announced that he would not vote “yes” in the full senate vote unless the FBI was allowed to investigate Kavanaugh. (The Republicans on the committee had been vehemently opposing such an investigation, even though Dr Ford, the accuser of Kavanaugh, as well as all the Democrats, had been calling for it.)
Why did Senator Flake change his mind? This article claims that the protesters really got to him.
So now the FBI has been charged by President Trump to conduct a “limited” investigation. We don’t know how limited it is exactly; the definition of “limited” may well define what happens. The FBI will be interviewing Kavanaugh’s high school and college classmates: some have already spoken publicly to say that he never would have assaulted anyone; others have already spoken publicly to say that based on their experience of Kavanaugh, they do think he would.