The word is "confidentially," and it largely has been ignored in news reports about claims from Judge and his attorney that he will openly answer questions from FBI investigators. At least three news outlets have reported on Judge's use of the "C word" (see The Hill, CNBC, and USA Today), but we are not aware of any that have spelled out what it likely means.
The FBI interviewed Judge on Tuesday, according to a report at The New York Times. Was Judge forthcoming? We've seen no reports on that issue. From The Times:
The bureau appears to be moving quickly; on Tuesday, investigators wrapped up an interview with a crucial witness, Mark Judge, a friend and high school drinking buddy of Judge Kavanaugh who has been identified as the only witness to the alleged sexual assault of Dr. Blasey. Mr. Judge’s name came up frequently last week when the judge and Dr. Blasey testified before the Judiciary Committee.
We do have this quote from Judge's attorney, Barbara Van Gelder, from a piece at The Hill:
“Mr. Judge completed his FBI interview,” Barbara Van Gelder, Judge’s attorney, told The Hill in an email. “We are not commenting on the questions the FBI asked Mr. Judge.”
Before the interview took place, Van Gelder told USA Today: "Mr. Judge will answer any and all questions the FBI wants to ask him." But that's not what Judge himself said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here are his words, per The Hill:
I will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that is assigned to confidentially investigate these allegations.
Was Judge expecting to have a confidential encounter with the FBI? Our expert -- we call him Ozark Mountain Lawyer (OML) -- wrote a Sept. 28 email to Legal Schnauzer, saying Judge's use of the "C Word" is both glaring and bizarre. And it suggests Judge will invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself:
Mark Judge claims that he will cooperate with the F.B.I.'s investigation so long as the investigation can be done "confidentially." See? Mark Judge is already setting this up to refuse to answer questions. Whoever heard of an ordinary citizen saying that he or she will cooperate and answer questions posed by the F.B.I. so long as the F.B.I. promises the interview will be treated confidentially? Is Mark Judge out of his mind? Or does he think he is an entitled white guy who can demand conditions from the F.B.I.? Plus, it's an absurd condition, because the F.B.I. submits all of its reports to the Senate and other government agencies and, ultimately, those records will be subject to review by the public under the United States Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA).
Also, if you have a woman who has alleged that two men pushed her into a bedroom and sexually assaulted her, whoever heard of the right or the chutzpah of one of those suspects saying to the F.B.I., "Yeah, I'll talk with you and cooperate, as long as you promise that my cooperation will be treated 'confidentially.'" Do these privileged and affluent white boys, who grew up in the D.C. North Land of Maryland, think that they're members of some sort of privileged rich white boys' club? This is absolutely nutty for Mark Judge to even make the suggestion that he will cooperate if the F.B.I. assures him that his statements will be treated confidentially?
So, what is ahead? OML says Judge appears to be creating false headlines that suggest he plans to cooperate with the FBI, when he actually has no intention of doing so:
Mark Judge is saying he will cooperate with the F.B.I. but then adds the proviso that he will require that his cooperation be treated confidentially. He is fencing with the F.B.I. Not real smart. I think he's playing with fire here too, because it's like he's spoofing Christine Blasey Ford for her initial request that her information be treated confidentially. Victims have some good reasons to want confidentiality, but the alleged criminal perpetrator has no reasonable right to expect any confidentiality from law enforcement, unless, apparently, you're a rich and affluent white male from north D.C. land.
Bottom line is that Mark Judge and his tribe are creating this highly misleading headline on the Web that Mark Judge will cooperate with the F.B.I., which I predict, will be a sham impression as we move forward, when Mark Judge starts waffling and saying that he's not going to talk to the F.B.I. unless they promise it will be treated confidentially, which is a promise and condition the F.B.I. will not make or give to him.
For right now, I'm assuming that Mark Judge and his crowd are only creating a headline to make it appear that Mark Judge has nothing to hide, when he will go on to blame the F.B.I. for not giving him confidentiality, thus in his pretense warranting his decision not to speak at all. It's all a tactical set up for Mark Judge not to talk.