Brett Kavanaugh: key Republicans express satisfaction with FBI report

The Guardian – By Lauren Gambino/Washington & Matthew Weaver/London – Thu 04 Oct 2018

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Photo: Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Two key Republicans whose support for Brett Kavanaugh hinges on an FBI report into allegations of sexual misconduct against him have expressed satisfaction with its scope and findings, boosting Kavanaugh’s chances of being confirmed to the US supreme court.

The confidential FBI report about allegations that Kavanaugh sexually abused women three decades ago was made available for senators to view on Thursday morning.

“It appears to be a very thorough investigation,” said Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine.

Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican of Arizona, whose last-minute revolt at a vote last week triggered the supplemental FBI background check into the allegations, said: “We’ve seen no additional corroborating information.”

Both senators are seen as critical swing votes for the hardline conservative judge’s nomination to America’s highest bench. They have not said how they intend to vote.

The limited FBI investigation was triggered after Dr Christine Blasey Ford testified at a Senate hearing last week, detailing her allegation that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when the pair were teenagers in high school. Two other women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault and misconduct. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

On Thursday, the Senate judiciary committee chair, Chuck Grassley, said the FBI report “found no hint of misconduct” but Democrats criticised the investigation, implying that it was narrow in scope to protect Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee.

“Having received a briefing on all of the documents, I disagree with Senator Grassley’s statement that there was no hint of misconduct,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters. He did not elaborate, citing confidentiality constraints.

The committee’s ranking Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein, criticized the report as incomplete.

“The most notable part of this report is what’s not in it,” Feinstein told reporters. She suggested the FBI may have been constrained by the White House.

The conflicting assessments came as Republicans and the White House were increasingly confident that Kavanaugh would be elevated to the nation’s highest court after a tumultuous week that left serious doubt about his confirmation.

On Wednesday night, Senator Mitch McConnell set the stage to move forward with a pair of votes in the polarized chamber. The move sets up a crucial “cloture vote” to end debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday. Should Republicans get the majority of votes they need, a final vote on his confirmation could take place as early as Saturday.

In an angry speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, McConnell said: “We will not be hoodwinked by those who have tried hard to smear this good man, to drag him through the mud.”

The limited FBI investigation report has been placed in a secure basement room where the Senate’s 100 members are being given access.

The report was delivered to Capitol Hill at 2.30am on Thursday morning, with a statement from the White House saying it was “fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the supreme court”.

Grassley was first to review the FBI report, followed by Feinstein, and then other colleagues. No copies will be made of the report, as is standard, and senators are not supposed to disclose its contents to the public.

The report reviewed allegations from Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when both were students at Yale.

Trump ordered the FBI to report within a week. On Wednesday night, he reiterated his support for his nominee. “Wow, such enthusiasm and energy for Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” he tweeted. “He is a fine man and great intellect. The country is with him all the way!”

Trump also claimed Kavanaugh’s embattled confirmation process was having “an incredible upward impact on voters”.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate and a simple majority is needed to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination. A handful of Republican and Democratic senators are undecided on whether to support Kavanaugh and their votes will decide whether he is confirmed.

Read entire article here

PS You know most Americans think of The FBI as the last of the good guys. Guess guys will be guys when it comes to the test–another illusion down the drain…

Posted by Teri Perticone

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