With Arizona Senator Jeff Flake waffling over whether he will ultimately vote to confirm Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh, NBC News - the news organization that Lindsey Graham has accused of colluding with Democrats to sabotage Kavanaugh's nomination - has confirmed that the FBI will not interview Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as part of its expanded background-check probe into Kavanaugh.
Though many suspected this was the case when the bureau neglected to reach out to Ford over the weekend, the way NBC tells it, this fact could become ammunition for Democrats who are seeking a further delay of a confirmation vote.
Using phrasing which suggests that the White House is still working to constrain the Kavanaugh probe despite Trump repeatedly insisting that the opposite is true, NBC reported that the administration believes "Ford's public testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was sufficient and the FBI would be wasting its time speaking to her again about allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, said a source familiar with the Trump administration's thinking."
NBC also cited legal and law enforcement experts saying that interviewing Ford should be a crucial step in "thorough and serious" investigation.
But legal and law enforcement experts say there is much to be learned from interviewing a witness in a private setting by professional investigators who have had the opportunity to ask other witnesses about the allegations.
Critics, including Senate Democrats, have accused the White House of hampering the FBI's probe of the sexual assault allegation and additional sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh in order to push through his confirmation.
"If the FBI is permitted to do a thorough, serious, and professional investigation - as it is certainly capable of doing - and if agents discover additional facts as a result of that investigation, those facts could help confirm or refute statements made by Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh," said Chuck Rosenberg, former FBI legal counsel and an NBC News analyst.
"Those facts would also be helpful if either is interviewed by the FBI, because additional information can help refresh memories or demonstrate inconsistencies. The more facts, the better, because more facts move you closer to the truth."
They also pointed out that prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who questioned Ford in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, said that the five-minute increments for questioning Ford was not ideal.
In summary, expect Democrats to declare that this latest miscarriage of justice is an outrage that justifies another week-long delay of Kavanaugh's confirmation. Or even that lawmakers should revisit the issue after the midterms.