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One Question About Ed Whelan People Really Wanted the FBI and Senate to Ask Brett Kavanaugh


Supreme Court Nominee

Remember Ed Whelan — the Washington, D.C. think tank president who hinted at and then uncorked on Twitter the “mistaken identity” theory that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had Brett Kavanaugh confused for someone else? The same Ed Whelan who later offered his complete resignation to the board of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, but was turned down and told to take a leave of absence?

People already dissatisfied with the scope of the FBI’s supplemental investigation, especially about the fact that neither Kavanaugh nor Ford was interviewed further, are now asking what happened with Whelan? Particularly, they want to know whether Kavanaugh had anything to do with launching the conspiracy theory.

Whelan said that he expected evidence to exonerate Kavanaugh, then he went public with his “evidence,” only to then apologize for the ghastly error and fade into the background.

Now people are suggesting that Kavanaugh should have been asked about his involvement in the Whelan gaffe, either at the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee or in an interview with the FBI.

“Did anyone bother to ask if he was involved in something that also would have been *instant* disqualification?” U.S. Naval War College Professor Tom Nichols asked.

“It’s hard to understand why none of the Senators asked Kavanaugh what his involvement was with the Ed Whelan smear job,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti added.

Others have suggested that Whelan should have been subpoenaed about the LinkedIn searches of Ford before her name was released.

Alas, the FBI investigation is over.

Kavanaugh did prove that he had in it him to promote conspiracy when he suggested in his angry opening statement last Thursday that the accusations of sexual misconduct against him amounts to “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” Kavanaugh suggested that his work with independent counsel Kenneth Starr investigating then-president Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair was a motive.

Kavanaugh and Whelan have also known each other for a long time, as Whelan himself has written.

“I’ll add here that I am grateful to count Brett Kavanaugh as a friend. I’ve known him for some 25 years and have worked with him both in the private sector and in government, including in the early years of the George W. Bush administration, when I was principal deputy in DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and Kavanaugh worked in the White House,” he once wrote in a defense of Kavanaugh. “My high regard for him gives me additional motivation to refute the smears against him. But as you will see, my arguments stand on their own and do not depend on my personally attesting to his character.”

Indeed, Whelan was one of Kavanaugh’s most zealous supporters. This support reached a place few anticipated, when Whelan identified by name and face a man from Kavanaugh’s high school years on Twitter to suggest the possibility that Ford had actually been sexually assaulted by him, not Kavanaugh.

That man’s name has since come up multiple times again over the course of the testimony. It’s Chris Garrett, the one called “Squi” back when Kavanaugh was in high school. He was one of the names logged in the diary-like calendar Kavanaugh kept in high school. Garrett has reportedly “voluntarily cooperated with the FBI inquiry, and has completed his interview.”

[Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.