The big Democratic talking point of the moment against moving to a confirmation vote on Judge Kavanaugh is the necessity of an FBI background check to investigate the Democrats’ late hits. Democrats amplify the talking point by dint of repetition among their media adjunct. Against the odds, then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden usefully explained the vacuity of this talking point under somewhat analogous circumstances in 1991. “The next person that refers to an FBI report as being worth anything obviously doesn’t understand anything,” Biden said at the time. “FBI explicitly does not in this or any other case reach a conclusion. Period.”
Biden explained: “The reason why we cannot rely on the FBI report, you wouldn’t like it if we did, because it is inconclusive. They say he said, she said, and they said. Period. So when people wave an FBI report before you, understand, they do not … reach conclusions. They do not make … recommendations.”
Biden added this: “I said from the beginning, this is about whether or not sexual harassment occurred. And lastly, Judge, with me, from the beginning and at this moment, until the end, the presumption is with you. Now we are going to hear more witnesses. They are going to come in and corroborate your position and hers. And we will find out whether they are telling the truth or not, as best as we are capable of doing, just like you as a judge are when you look them in the eye and make a judgment.”
Once more: “Judge, this is less directed at you than it is to my pontificating colleagues, Democrat and Republican alike, so, Judge, I have not made my judgment, based upon this proceeding, because we have not heard all the evidence.”
The committee of course has its own investigative staff to collect statements subject to the federal false statements statute and otherwise to collect evidence. It is necessary to assign the collection of evidence to the FBI.
Biden’s departure from the Democratic talking point of the moment is an accident of history. NR’s Mairead McArdle points out that Biden has now called for the FBI to look into the accusations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh.