Senate Democratic leaders in the United States have rejected assertions by Republican leadership that the FBI found no hint of misconduct by Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The FBI investigation into charges that the nominee sexually abused women three decades ago was handed to the White House and made available to Senators.
Democrats have maintained that the FBI’s reopening of the Kavanaugh background check had been limited because it excluded potential witnesses to the judge’s behaviour at time of the allegations.
Democrats are continuing to voice their concern that the latest FBI probe was limited in scope because it didn’t interview the two main individuals in this case – Dr Christine Blasey Ford who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982 – nor did they interview Judge Kavanaugh himself or other potential witnesses who have since come forward with corroborating claims to the judge’s conduct.
The ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein says it appeared the White House blocked the FBI from doing its job.
“The most notable part of this report is what’s not in it. As we noted by the White House the FBI did not interview Brett K nor did the FBI interview DR Blasey Ford – what we’ve heard from numerous people over the last few days seeking to provide information to the FBI – we have seen even more press reports of witnesses who wanted to speak with the FBI but were not interviewed. Deborah Ramirez’ lawyer said he was unaware of any corroborating witnesses who were interviewed. Candidly what we reviewed today in a very limited time, I was there, I had to leave, the report is in parts and I had the opportunity to read some but not all of it. It looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation,” Feinstein argued.
A statement from Dr Blasey-Ford’s attorneys expressed profound disappointment that the FBI had not interviewed their client or witnesses who have corroborated her testimony.
Earlier the committee’s chair Senator Chuck Grassley said he found no hint of sexual misconduct by the nominee while the Republican Senate Majority leader has set the stage for a vote on confirmation as early as this Friday, despite protests on Capitol Hill.
“There is no chance in the world they are going to scare us out of doing our duty. I don’t care how many members they chase, how many people they harass here in the halls, I want to make one thing perfectly clear, we will not be intimidated by these people. This is all part of the organized effort to delay, obstruct, and intimidate…including those of us who will be voting this week.”
President Donald Trump on twitter called the treatment of Kavanaugh unfair, referring to him as a fine man with great intellect. He also ridiculed his accuser’s senate testimony as a rally earlier this week.
Trump says: “This shouldn’t happen to him. What he’s going through…. Thirty six years ago this happened, I had one beer, right I had one beer. Well you think it was….no it was one beer. Oh good. How did you get home? I don’t remember. How did you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where I was. I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember. And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered, his daughters a beautiful incredible young kids. They destroy people they want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”
And while the full senate vote could come as early as Friday, the Republican majority is razor thin in the Senate at 51-49.
If Democrats all vote no on this nomination, Republicans can afford to lose just one Senator to push Kavanaugh through with Vice President Mike Pence voting to break any Senate deadlock.
For now it seems highly unlikely that those wavering Republicans will break ranks, but that too, for now, is mere speculation.