The Kavanaugh smear, why now? [UPDATED]

Not long after President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Chuck Schumer tweeted:

I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have. . . . The stakes are simply too high for anything less.

Today’s stunt — the post-hearing ambush of Kavanaugh with an unspecified, unsourced claim of misconduct dating back to Kavanaugh’s high school days — seemed like the fulfillment of Schumer’s promise.

But Dianne Feinstein reportedly has known about this allegation for a few months. Why didn’t she present it earlier? As the Wall Street Journal asks, if the “information” is worrying enough to send to the FBI, why wait so long? Why not bring it up during the summer in the run-up to the hearings? Why not mention it when she met with Judge Kavanaugh?

The Journal supplies what it calls “the charitable explanation”:

[Feinstein] didn’t think the information was credible enough to warrant investigation, but that now under pressure from her colleagues she felt obliged to surface it. In the current #MeToo frenzy, Democrats may think the story will scare Republican Senators when nothing else has.

This is a plausible theory. To view it a little differently, if the information is a dud, then putting it out there earlier in the process would have been a waste for the Democrats. Better to use it at the tail end, when it can produce delay.

Delay has always been a goal. At a minimum, the Dems would like the vote on Kavanaugh to occur after the election so that vulnerable Senate Democrats can avoid voting on the nomination before they face the voters. Maybe today’s ambush can at least accomplish this limited objective.

I doubt it, though. The FBI reportedly has looked at the information and declined to investigate. Instead, it sent the document to the White House as an update to its background check on Kavanaugh.

Rumor has it that the alleged incident involved Kavanaugh and a male friend locking a woman in a room against her will. She claims she felt threatened, but was able to get out of the room.

If this is what we’re talking about, no wonder the FBI won’t investigate. Such a prank, having allegedly occurred decades ago when Kavanaugh was in high school, almost surely will not derail or meaningfully delay the judge’s confirmation.

UPDATE: The woman’s claim of misconduct from 35 years ago reportedly is more serious than it initially was rumored to be. Apparently, she claims that during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her.

However, the allegation seems to be entirely uncorroborated and the women refuses to make it publicly.

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