Flake Flakes Out [Updated]

Earlier this morning, Senator Jeff Flake said he would vote Yes on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. But when the Judiciary Committee met and voted, he threw a curve ball: Flake voted Yes and the nomination went to the Senate floor on an 11-10 party line vote. But Flake said he will ultimately vote for the nomination only if there is a brief delay to permit another FBI investigation. Lisa Murkowski followed up by telling an interviewer she supports Flake’s call for a delay.

So it seems doubtful that the final vote can be held tomorrow as planned. That isn’t good, but an FBI investigation isn’t problematic in itself. The Agency will interview the people who have already been interviewed and report that they said the things they already have said. It will add nothing to our knowledge, particularly if, as Flake suggested, “It would be short and limited in scope to the current allegations here.” Which means, I take it, the Christine Ford allegations.

If there is a delay, it needn’t be long. The FBI could probably re-interview the small number of relevant witnesses in the next 24 hours if it wanted to. (If the Agency wanted to add to our knowledge, it could ask Ford’s parents and siblings why they didn’t sign the letter in support of Christine. But I don’t suppose that will happen.) If the FBI investigates over the weekend, the vote could be held on Monday.

Delay poses two risks: more lunatics could come out of the weeds, like Julie what’s-her-name. How soon we forget. Or pressure could continue to build on any senators who are still wavering. Neither risk can be entirely discounted, but the Democrats have been frantically searching for women willing to tell tall tales for weeks now. And I don’t know why any senator would change his or her mind between now and next week. But let’s not take any chances: if the FBI is to be called in (and it will be if both Flake and Murkowski so demand), let’s require its investigation to be completed and its report submitted by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, and hold the vote on Monday morning.

UPDATE: They’ve agreed to a one-week delay. Too bad, but it won’t do any harm as long as Republican senators pay no attention to the hysteria to which they will be subjected for the next seven days.

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