The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Battle begins over FBI investigation of Kavanaugh

by Harvest Prude
Posted 10/01/18, 12:08 pm

WASHINGTON—The FBI has reopened its background investigation into embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, following a compromise Friday from Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

On Friday, President Donald Trump ordered the FBI to reopen its investigation of Kavanaugh, repeating Flake’s parameters that the probe should be limited in scope and take less than a week. All 51 Republican senators supported a motion to proceed with Kavanaugh’s nomination late Friday, and the vote on his confirmation will be delayed until after the FBI wraps up its investigation.

Senate Democrats are complaining that the FBI investigation may not be effective because of its limited scope, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., requested Sunday that the White House hand over any “written directive[s]” it sent to the FBI. On Saturday, Trump told reporters the FBI would have “free rein” in the investigation. On Sunday he tweeted that Democrats “are starting to put out the word that the ‘time’ and ‘scope’ of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. … For them, it will never be enough!”

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents Julie Swetnick, another woman who accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate behavior during his high school years, complained Monday he had not heard from the FBI. Investigators have already talked to Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party while they were students at Yale University.

Another Yale classmate released a statement to The New York Times Sunday, saying Kavanaugh was dishonest in his testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his drinking habits. Chad Ludington said that while at Yale, Kavanaugh drank heavily and frequently. “I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth,” said Ludington, who added he was willing to talk to the FBI.

Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who questioned professor Christine Blasey Ford for Senate Republicans at Thursday’s hearing, released a follow-up assessment of Ford’s accusations Sunday. In her report, Mitchell emphasized that though the confirmation hearing is not a trial, she does not think “a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence.” Mitchell added, “A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that.” She cited Ford’s inconsistent accounts of when the assault happened, memory gaps about the party or where it was located, and lack of corroboration by other witnesses.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court began its new session Monday. One justice short, the remaining eight heard courtroom arguments on an environmental issue.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • DAD
    Posted: Mon, 10/01/2018 10:39 pm


    Please read using the FBI as a source for discrepancies in the legislative course of action.  It is illegal.  The FBI only investigates criminal action cases.  Thomas Jipping is an authority at the Heritage Foundation, in  Washington, DC as you know.   All the illegality that has come into the Kavanaugh matter!   Even President Trump took on Senators Flake's absurd suggestion to use the FBI.  Now the matter will not be settled at all.      The rabid evil and power to control in Senator Feinstein should not control the level of righteousness anywhere.  More than 80 years of age, she is full of dementia also.  PLUS what about the Prosecute Mitchell evaluation of Dr. Ford's testimony: not nearly enough evidence AND inconsistent response to her questions.   

    Why Another FBI Investigation of Kavanaugh Would Be Pointless

    Thomas Jipping, Heritage Foundation, September 28, 2018

    Campaigns of whatever sort often adopt a mantra, a phrase, or even a single word that’s repeated over and over to advance the campaign’s goals. The campaign against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is no different, and its latest mantra is “FBI investigation.” Let’s look at this mantra’s objectives and its validity.

    The call for another FBI investigation, which dominated the Sept. 27 hearing about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh, appears to have multiple partisan objectives, based on statements made by those opposed to his confirmation.

    First, Kavanaugh’s opponents have expressed hope that the continued controversy will help defeat the nomination. Barring that, they have indicated that they want to drag the process out at least past Election Day. Third, according to Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Democrats would keep this seat open until President Donald Trump leaves office if they win control of the Senate in the upcoming election.

    This demand for another FBI investigation is not valid and is based on a complete misunderstanding of the bureau’s role. First, Kavanaugh’s opponents want people to think that the FBI is on standby, ready to run down all the leads and figure out what really happened.

    That may be what a law enforcement agency does in the criminal justice system—…….—BUT not in the confirmation process.

    The DISTINCTION between the criminal justice system and the confirmation process IS CRITICAL.

    The FBI is in the executive branch, which has authority over the criminal justice system. The confirmation process, however, occurs in the legislative branch. The Constitution gives the Senate sole responsibility for evaluating presidential nominees.

    In the criminal justice system, the FBI investigates by not only gathering information but evaluating it, making judgments about the credibility of witnesses or the truth of what they say, pursuing leads, and offering conclusions or even recommendations. In other words, they figure out what really happened.

    In the confirmation process, the FBI gathers information and stops there. The Senate must do the rest. In fact, as CBS News recently described it, the FBI “conducts a background check at the request of the White House, mainly to determine whether the nominee would pose a risk to national security interests of the United States, according to the Justice Department.”

    That has already been done.

    It’s worth noting that this “full-field” FBI investigation has been conducted every time Kavanaugh was hired or appointed to a significant government position.

    Six times between 1993 and 2018, the FBI went talking to people about Kavanaugh.

    SIX TIMES all after the incident that Ford alleges, the FBI never heard anyone even whisper a word about sexual misconduct.

    Kavanaugh’s opponents not only want people to think that

    the FBI has a criminal justice role in the confirmation process, but they mislead people to think that if the FBI does not jump in, there will be no investigation of Ford’s allegation.



    The people actually responsible for investigating these allegations are the Judiciary Committee’s own investigative staff and they have been hard at work for more than two weeks. The list of steps they have taken is nearly six pages long.