Washington awaits FBI findings on Kavanaugh
by Harvest Prude
Posted 10/02/18, 12:06 pm
WASHINGTON—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is planning for a final vote in the Senate this week on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but the FBI may not complete its expanded investigation of Kavanaugh in time. The White House broadened its instructions to the bureau after Democrats expressed concern over Senate Republicans’ restrictions on the investigation, limiting the list of people to interview.
The FBI interviewed several people over the weekend, including Mark Judge, Leland Keyser, and Patrick J. Smyth. Christine Blasey Ford said the three attended the high school party where Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her. Investigators also interviewed Kavanaugh’s Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez, who claims Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dorm party.
On Monday, President Donald Trump clarified that the FBI could interview anyone deemed necessary, including Julie Swetnick, who also accused Kavanaugh of misconduct in high school, as long as the investigation wrapped up this week. That same day, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, except for Sen. Chris Coons, gave the FBI a list of additional witnesses they wanted interviewed.
McConnell may move to end debate on the nomination midweek and set up a procedural vote as early as Friday. After that, a final confirmation vote could happen as early as Sunday. Senators have agreed not to vote before the completion of the FBI investigation, Politico reported.
With a slim 51-49 Republican majority in the Senate, McConnell can only lose one vote without needing a tiebreaker from Vice President Mike Pence or support from across the aisle. McConnell is courting three GOP senators who are so far undecided: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Flake demanded the FBI investigation Friday as a condition for voting yes to advance Kavanaugh out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile, text messages between former Yale classmates show Kavanaugh’s team knew that more accusations were going to come out, though not exactly what, before Deborah Ramirez went public. Texts between Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage show Kavanaugh or a representative talked with Yarasavage before Ramirez’s report was published in The New Yorker. One text said Kavanaugh asked Yarasavage to deny Ramirez’s allegations. Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he first heard about the accusations after the article came out.
Berchem said in a statement to NBC, “I have no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against him. However, I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations.” Berchem said she sent a memo to the FBI and is waiting to hear back.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.