Highly credible source and amateur gumshoe Ed Whelan insists on the lone gunman theory for his deranged tweetstorm:
A conservative legal commentator on Friday denied communicating with the White House or Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh about his theory that the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault was mistaking him for someone else.
“I have not communicated at all with [White House counsel] Donald McGahn or anyone at the White House, or Judge Kavanaugh, about the topic of the Twitter thread,” Ed Whelan said in a brief interview with The Washington Post.
Funny thing about that, though:
Whelan has been involved in helping to advise Kavanaugh’s confirmation effort and is close friends with Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society, who has been helping to spearhead the nomination.
On Sunday, Ford noticed that — even before her name became public — Whelan appeared to be seeking information about her.
That morning, Ford alerted an associate via email that Whelan had looked at her LinkedIn page, according to the email, which was reviewed by The Post. LinkedIn allows some subscribers to see who views their pages. Ford sent the email about 90 minutes after The Post shared her name with a White House spokesman and hours before her identity was revealed in a story posted on its website.
A White House spokesman said Friday that neither Kavanaugh nor anyone in the White House gave Ford’s name to Whelan before it was disclosed by The Post. Whelan did not respond to a request for comment on how he first learned of Ford’s identity.
Kavanaugh and his allies have privately discussed mounting a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, The Post reported Thursday.
Clearly, Whelan determined her identity through careful Zillow searches!
As Paul and Shakezula have both alluded to, Whelan — although this proto-Trumpianism is nothing new — is deeply wired into the conservative establishment, and this line of defense was plainly a collective effort:
Whelan’s mistake was certainly appalling. But whether he deserves “full responsibility” for it remains unclear. Whelan isn’t some random, right-wing Twitter personality. He’s a former clerk to Antonin Scalia, current close friend of Kavanaugh, and an adviser to the judge’s confirmation effort. What’s more, he is far from the only prominent Republican who has floated the “mistaken identity” theory in recent days (even if he is the only one to render it in such defamatory detail). Earlier this week, Yahoo News reported that Kavanaugh himself had told Republican senator Orrin Hatch that “he was not at a party like the one Christine Blasey Ford described and that Dr. Ford ‘may be mistaking him for someone else.’” One day before sharing the findings of his “investigation” with the world, Whelan tweeted the Yahoo News scoop.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that “Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the discussions.”
And a wide array of conservative commentators and publications discussed such a defense publicly over the past week. On Monday, a Wall Street Journal editorial suggested that Ford’s allegation might be a case of “[m]istaken identity.” The conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker devoted an entire op-ed to that premise. Then, on Wednesday, one of Hatch’s top aides, Matt Whitlock, quoted a tweet from Whelan, and instructed his followers to “Keep an eye Ed’s tweets the next few days.” On Thursday night, after Whelan’s sleuthing was met with bipartisan condemnation, Whitlock deleted the tweet.
And consider Ross Douthat’s astounding reaction after Whelan had gone the full Alex Jones:
“Ed is such a mensch that maybe he led with a theory so abjectly stupid the Party of Trump wouldn’t touch it, and just accidentally forgot to include the real evidence.” I see no flaws in this theory!
Anyway, I’m sure Inspector Whelan had every expectation that his party would back him up with the same combination of affirmative support, nudge-wink curiosity, and non-disavowal disavowals it used for birtherism. This was entirely reasonable! But when it was clear that the thing was going to go over like reading selected texts from Alex Kozinski’s listserv at a bat mitzvah, he’s now taking one for the team. But this was obviously a group effort, and we definitely haven’t heard the last of it.