Grassley: FBI report has ‘nothing new’ on Kavanaugh
by Harvest Prude
Posted 10/04/18, 12:10 pm
WASHINGTON—The extended FBI background check on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh contains nothing “that we didn’t already know,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Thursday morning. As senators gathered in a secure room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol to read the FBI report investigating accusations of sexual abuse during Kavanaugh’s high school and college years—accusations Kavanaugh denies—Grassley said it contained “no hint of misconduct.” Some senators requested that a summary of the highly anticipated findings be released publicly to cut down on leaks. Leadership vetoed the suggestion and created time slots for senators and select staffers to review the report’s contents throughout the day.
The White House reportedly received the bureau’s findings around 3 a.m. Thursday. White House spokesman Raj Shah wrote that the Trump administration was “fully confident” the Senate would confirm Kavanaugh. Investigators contacted 10 people for the investigation and were able to speak to nine, according to a White House official who talked to The New York Times.
Lawyers for accuser Christine Blasey Ford complained that investigators did not interview her or other witnesses they suggested. Republican lawmakers countered that given Ford’s testimony last week, they already had what they needed. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said if investigators didn’t speak with Ford or witnesses suggested by second accuser Deborah Ramirez, then “this isn’t the investigation I was hoping for.” But he added that he wouldn’t pre-judge the report.
On Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., scheduled a process vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday, setting the stage for a confirmation vote over the weekend. So far, five senators have not announced how they will vote: on the Republican side, Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska remain undecided, while Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have also declined to disclose their votes. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in an emotional speech on the Senate floor Wednesday night about sexual assault, revealed he had advised President Donald Trump this summer to nominate a woman to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, saying, “Part of my argument then was that the very important #MeToo movement was also very new and that this Senate is not at all well prepared to handle potential allegations of sexual harassment and assault.”
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.