What was Feinstein expecting before releasing Ford's letter?

This is probably open only to speculation, so maybe this is more of an IMHO than a Great Debate, but one thing that I have not seen addressed about the Kavanaugh debacle is:

We know that Diane Feinstein had been sitting on the Ford letter and released it only very late into the Kavanaugh hearings process. I can understand that she was reluctant to do so due to the fact that Professor Ford requested it be kept secret. In the end, when it seemed that Kavanaugh’s nomination proceeding to the Senate floor was inevitable, she felt she had no choice. I can respect that.

What I’m wondering about is as follows: the Judiciary Committee had a Republican majority all along. They weren’t likely to find disqualifying fault in his judicial philosophy, or his work for Ken Starr or his work for George W Bush. His performance on the Circuit Court does not seem to have been particularly controversial, especially given the Republican majority. So…what was she thinking might happen before that point to stop the nomination from going forward before she felt she had to resort to blowing Prof. Ford’s secret? Was she hoping that someone more willing to reveal would have a similar allegation? Did she think that he had made rulings that are unpopular enough with Republicans to get some of the majority to reject him? Basically, why did she not think until the likely end of the hearings that the Ford bombshell would be necessary to potentially derail Kavanaugh’s path to the Supreme Court?

First, she adamantly denies her or her office leaking the letter to the media. Although as you point out above that she had plenty of motivation. It is my understanding that only Feinstein, Representative Eshoo, and Dr. Ford herself, were the only ones that had copies of the letter. But assuming that it was Feinstein that did leak it as you suggest, she clearly was hoping to de-rail the nomination. A long shot, but worth her attempt.

Nothing had worked. I have no idea what else she thought might derail the nomination, but there wasn’t anything.

It might have been the triumph of hope over expectation - “maybe I won’t have to out Dr. Ford, and some other mud will stick”. It didn’t - all the stuff about how he lied had been hashed over years earlier, the notion that he was neck-deep in gambling debts was a wet squib, Kavanaugh did the by-now-standard “I am not going to talk about possible future cases” so she couldn’t paint him as an anti-abortion extremist (not that they didn’t try), but she was playing mostly to her base. Nothing stuck, so it was “fuck your privacy, honey, we’re desperate” and things happened as they happened.

And their respective staffs. Dr. Ford said she only went public after she had been outed against her will, which kind of narrows down the list of possible leakers.


Feinstein’s office didn’t leak the letter. Feinstein denies it AND the Intercept (the website that first publicized the allegations) denies it. It was only after the Intercept published the allegations that Feinstein released the letter.

My understanding is that whoever leaked “it” did not actually leak the letter. Or, if they did, they redacted Ford’s name. Reporters started snooping around, and Ford feared that they would figure her out in short order, so she decided to get control of the narrative before that happened.

Ford had also talked to the Washington Post, so it’s possible someone there was the source of the leak.

The thing Feinstein was hoping for was that the situation would magically resolve itself without her having to do anything herself. She sat on the letter until it was apparent it was going to come out with or without her, not because it was some diabolical plot, but because lacked the will to act until her hand was forced.

What part of “She didn’t release it” isn’t being understood here?

I didn’t use the word release.

I thought Intercept stated that they had the letter received from an anonymous source. Did Ford give the Washington Post the letter? Given her desire for anonymity that doesn’t sound like she would have given them a letter she sent to Senator Feinstein.

My mistake in fingering Feinstein. I had gotten the impression from the overall story - including posts on this board - that unfolded that it was she who had done so.

If it was some other party, then it’s entirely possible they never knew about Ford until that time.

Politico - McConnell calls for investigation into leak of Ford letter

Maybe we’ll eventually find out who leaked it.

Three people can keep a secret if two are dead, and I believe more than three people knew from whom came that letter. And staff DO go rogue/mole and will boldly and calmly look the boss right in the eye and say “not me” when asked.

I don’t know if she gave them the letter. But she spoke with them early on about the letter and its contents, so they knew. Needless to say, they were eager to get her permission to publish.

We know of 3 sources the leak could have come from, and there could very have been more. I don’t think Feinstein would lie about leaking it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone on her staff did. Or on Eshoo’s staff. Not saying they did, but a denial isn’t firm evidence that it didn’t happen.

As food for thought, I’m not certain Feinstein is the most credible source on what her staff has or has not done.

I just love when Republicans pretend they care about the life and reputation of someone they spent several weeks disparaging and minimizing, both for political purposes. DARVO, motherfuckers. It’s the GOP way.

I don’t know who you’re calling “motherfuckers” here, but my post certainly wasn’t an attempt to claim that I “care about” Ford. I’m unclear on how it could even be read / interpreted as such. My concern is that Feinstein may be a liar and a leaker, or may have one on her staff with access to confidential information.

I wasn’t calling you, personally, that. And I wasn’t commenting on you posting that, I was commenting on McTurtle’s idiot attempt to pretend that the Senate GOP is actually concerned for how the “Democrat party” used and abused Dr. Blasey Ford. As if.

Let them investigate. But you can’t talk to anyone but Feinstein and Eshoo, and only have a week to do it.

As far as I can tell, Feinstein seems to have come to the conclusion that the claims were not a useful line of attack by late August. It seems most likely that it was released by someone on her staff with more idealism than sense.
Certainly the way it was released was not optimal for her or Prof Ford.

My question is, what did Dr. Ford expect to happen when she wrote the letter? What good is a letter accusing someone of disqualifying conduct if it is a secret? IMHO it was written to be used exactly as it was used. As a last second bombshell.