GOP agrees to weeklong delay on Kavanaugh
The Senate Judiciary Committee said Friday it will ask for the FBI to reopen its background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, giving investigators one week to report back on any “credible allegations” that have been made against him.
The decision amounted to a retreat for GOP leaders, who had planned to have Judge Kavanaugh installed on the high court early next week.
Instead, they now will wait to see whether the FBI turns up anything that substantiates Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee will request that the administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court,” the Judiciary Committee said in a statement. “The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.”
Hours earlier the committee had voted to advance Judge Kavanaugh through the panel on a party-line vote but only after Sen. Jeff Flake, a pivotal Republican, threw a wrench in the works.
Mr. Flake announced support for Judge Kavanaugh earlier in the morning but as committee debate dragged on Friday, the Arizona Republican began to rethink his decision. He said he feared the country was being torn apart over the allegations against the judge, and he said the FBI may be able to provide some certainty.
“I do think we can have a short pause and make sure the FBI can investigate,” Mr. Flake said.