Republicans sure don’t act as if Kavanaugh in innocent:
An exasperated President Trump picked up the phone to call the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, last Sunday. Tell the F.B.I. they can investigate anything, he told Mr. McGahn, because we need the critics to stop.
Not so fast, Mr. McGahn said.
Mr. McGahn, according to people familiar with the conversation, told the president that even though the White House was facing a storm of condemnation for limiting the F.B.I. background check into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding — and Mr. Trump was suggesting — would be potentially disastrous for Judge Kavanaugh’s chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court.
It would also go far beyond the F.B.I.’s usual “supplemental background investigation,” which is, by definition, narrow in scope.
The White House could not legally order the F.B.I. to rummage indiscriminately through someone’s life, Mr. McGahn told the president. And without a criminal investigation to pursue, agents could not use search warrants and subpoenas to try to get at the truth.
And, of course, there are broader authoritarian implications to Trump sabotaging the investigation and lying about it:
In narrow Kavanaugh terms that’s just one more log on the bonfire of bad faith, but an FBI that’s subordinate to the White House’s political agenda is a tool that can be used very broadly in years to come — we just got a field test of it and it basically works.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 6, 2018
It will get worse before it gets better.