Ford's lawyers blast FBI's Kavanaugh probe as 'stain' on justice

Aaron Brown
October 5, 2018

The FBI has completed its supplemental report on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and sent it to the Senate, where senators began to view it Thursday in a secure room at the Capitol.

Congressmen from across the aisle spent Thursday reviewing the Federal Bureau of Investigation report into claims of sexual misconduct against Mr Kavanaugh behind closed doors as the fate of Donald Trump's choice for America's top court hung in the balance.

In a statement Wednesday night after McConnell set the vote in motion, Ford's counsel wrote: "An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford - nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony - can not be called an investigation".

Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault while they were both high school students at a party.

Just a single copy of the report was produced, which was not made public.

"An acclaimed judge", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the report's release. Kavanaugh, 53, now a judge on the powerful District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, has denied the claims.

Republican Chuck Grassley said, "there nothing it in that we didn't already know".

On Wednesday, at the Atlantic Festival, Graham was likewise snippy with the audience after they booed him for saying that Kavanaugh was treated "like crap" by Senate Democrats during Judiciary Committee hearings, telling the people in the crowd "oh boo yourself". Both sides were mindful that their written communications might one day be subject to subpoena, particularly if Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in next month's midterm elections, the people said. And a third women, Julie Swetnick, has said she was raped at a party that Kavanaugh attended with his boyhood friend Mark Judge.

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

Democrats have raised concerns that the investigation has been too narrow in scope, and that key witnesses have been omitted. Hours later, Flake made a decision that forced an FBI investigation into Ford's allegations before moving forward with a Senate vote.

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Thus far, out of 49 senators who caucus with Democrats, only one senator has not announced how he'll vote on Kavanaugh.

Swing Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona - like other Republicans - said it contained "no additional corroborating information".

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have been at the centre of the Kavanaugh maelstrom for months, since they expressed concerns over Kavanaugh's anti-abortion views.

Lawyers for his first accuser, Prof Ford, also said that she had not been contacted by the agency.

Attorneys for Deborah Ramirez, who also has accused the judge of sexual misconduct in the 1980s, wrote a separate letter to Wray saying they were "deeply disappointed" that agents had not followed up on their interview with her by talking to the more than 20 witnesses she identified as being able to corroborate her account of his behavior. Background checks, unlike criminal investigations, are done for the benefit of the White House so that officials might have more information on people its want to nominate for critical government jobs. The chamber is sharply divided so Republicans need as much support as they can get, but it isn't yet clear how many senators will vote for Kavanaugh.

Flake, Collins and Murkowski all have criticized Trump for mocking Ford at a political rally in MS on Tuesday.

Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia also has not declared how he'll vote.

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that "mean and despicable democrats" had treated Mr Kavanaugh harshly and unfairly and that was having an effect on the voters.

"But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that Judge Kavanaugh did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land".

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