FBI Report on Kavanaugh Draws Partisan Reactions

United States President Donald J. Trump speaks with members of the media prior to boarding Marine One for his departure from the White House

United States President Donald J. Trump speaks with members of the media prior to boarding Marine One for his departure from the White House

A new FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh found nothing to corroborate sexual assault allegations against US President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, a top Republican senator said Thursday.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said early Thursday that he had the Kavanaugh FBI report: "Supplemental FBI background file for Judge Kavanaugh has been received", he tweeted.

NPR has confirmed six people whom the FBI interviewed as part of its investigation: Kavanaugh's high school friends P.J. Smyth, Mark Judge, Tim Gaudette and Chris Garrett; Ford's friend Leland Keyser; and a second Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez.

Lisa Murkowski held the keys to the kingdom for Kavanaugh, being three yes-vote holdouts on the Senate Judiciary Committee who might have blocked appointment for the judge accused of lying under oath during his confirmation process, and of sexually assaulting Christine Ford in high school.

The reports are not expected to be made public.

Two of the five swing-vote senators on the Kavanaugh nomination - Susan Collins of ME and Jeff Flake of Arizona - both now appear satisfied with the FBI investigation, calling it "very thorough", and more importantly, saying they've seen no new corroborating information within it, while top Democrats are criticizing the report as "incomplete" and "very limited". Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was confronted in an elevator by women sharing their experiences with sexual assault and asking him to vote against moving Kavanaugh's nomination forward.

The report, sent by the White House to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the middle of the night, was denounced by Democrats as a whitewash that was too narrow in scope and ignored critical witnesses.

Afterward, law professors across the country began discussing "with great distress, the unprecedented and unfathomable demeanor of Judge Kavanaugh", said Bernard Harcourt, a professor at Columbia Law School. "The Trump White House working with the Republican leadership in the Senate deliberately circumscribed this investigation so that only a small handful of people will be questioned".

The investigation was always unlikely to answer definitively whether Kavanaugh was guilty of sexual misconduct decades ago.




Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation depends on Republican senators voting strictly along party lines. The one-hour sessions alternate between political party with Republicans seeing the report first. "It's kind of appalling", he added.

Most Democrats opposed Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh from the outset. Senator Murkowski called Trump's speech "wholly inappropriate" and "unacceptable". "I had one beer - that's the only thing I remember", Trump stated inaccurately. The FBI apparently did not talk speak with any of them.

With Republicans clinging to a 51-49 Senate majority and five senators - including three Republicans - still publicly undeclared, the conservative jurist's prospects of Senate confirmation could hinge largely on the file's contents.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D. Ill., told reporters on Thursday that time slots for reading the Federal Bureau of Investigation file are so full that senators are being told they might have to wait until Friday to read the report.

Prof Ford's lawyer said eight people were not interviewed who could corroborate her claims, while Ms Ramirez's lawyer said more than 20 witnesses were not contacted.

McConnell said the Senate can not become known for destroying the reputations of nominees based on uncorroborated allegations from 40 years ago. "We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI's hands".

Those senators, along with Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have yet to declare how they will vote.

"The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters", Trump said.

Ford, now a California psychology professor, has testified that when the drunken Kavanaugh attacked her, she believed he was trying to rape her.

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