What we know is that a letter written by a woman regarding something that happened when she and Kavanaugh were in high school has been forwarded to the FBI for investigation. This is serious enough the judiciary committee postponed the vote.
Given the complete disregard for normal procedures, or anything approaching due diligence, this postponement is remarkable. The closer we get to midterms the more problematic this becomes.
Before continuing, there is one additional fact that is worth noting. McConnell specifically tried to discourage this pick from the beginning and warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that Kavanaugh’s extensive paper trail would make things more difficult for the Senate compared to other potential selections.
Again, given the Republican’s complete disregard for due diligence or normal procedure and their curious dedication to doing this as fast as possible, it doesn’t make sense McConnell was worried about Kavanaugh’s writings. His positions are well known. Besides, look at how much impact his perjury has had on the process. No need to look, it hasn’t had any impact. That’s why I now think the paper trail McConnell was concerned about was not judicial or even legal. To be really damaging it would have to be something that could sink the nomination of a conservative, pro-life, Catholic Republican intent on overturning Roe v. Wade.
Sending something to the FBI regarding something that happened in the early 1980s is odd. Most every crime you can think of, short of murder, is going to be outside any statute of limitations that justifies a federal investigation.
However, a recent crime involving the structuring of financial transactions to avoid bank reporting regulations is a federal crime. We have seen this before. That is what Denny Hastert went to prison for.
Under federal law, whenever someone deposits or withdraws $10,000 or more from a bank account, the bank has to report the transaction to the government. This is a tool the government developed to help investigators track large criminal enterprises — say, drug rings or groups supporting terrorists — by being able to tell when people were coming up with mysteriously big amounts of money.
Putting in or taking out $10,000 or more at a time isn’t illegal — it just triggers a report to the government. But trying to keep the government from finding out about the transaction, by using multiple deposits or withdrawals of $9,999 or less? That is a crime. That’s structuring.
This brings us back to what I think happened here. I think Kavanaugh might have gone into crazy credit card debt so he could avoid triggering bank reporting of a large transaction. Sen. Whitehouse’s pointed questions about gambling may have been prompted by his experience with organized crime and his suspicion that the baseball ticket story was really a cover for structuring. He may have additional information about separate activities that would also require large covert cash payments. Given this latest development, it is reasonable to speculate this might be a payoff to keep something quiet from his high school days.
The fact that this matter was brought by a woman who wants to keep things private suggests this may have been something like an unwanted pregnancy. Whether the child was delivered and Kavanaugh was paying support, or whether the pregnancy was terminated and Kavanaugh wanted to keep that from getting out is completely unknown and speculative. This wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened — in this administration. (Broidy — I’m looking at you)
Regardless, this brings us back to the FBI. If Kavanaugh, for whatever reason, was structuring payoffs to avoid detection, that would be a recent federal crime and well within the purview of the FBI.
The fact the Republicans are holding up the nomination gives me confidence this is real and they know he could go down in flames. The only reason they would be so skittish is they know this has happened before.
My two cents.