Chuck Schumer, Democrats want Kavanaugh’s FBI report to become public
The FBI could complete its renewed background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh as early as Wednesday, but Republican leaders said the results will be closely held and available only to senators.
That’s in keeping with past practice for other nominees but Democrats say this time is different, given the stakes involved in the high court battle and the as-yet uncorroborated allegations that have been made against Judge Kavanaugh. They want a summary of the report made public.
Democrats also say they fear the FBI is ignoring anti-Kavanaugh tips rolling in on the bureau’s hotline, and several of Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers questioned whether the investigation is robust enough to get to the bottom of his behavior three decades ago.
Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford, who says the judge sexually assaulted her during a high school party in 1982, said Tuesday they have yet to be contacted by the FBI to schedule an interview. They said it was “inconceivable” a probe could be completed without her input.
In a letter to the FBI, they said they have been trying to reach the agent heading the investigation but haven’t heard back. They also suggested a list of witnesses and evidence the FBI should pursue.
“Despite these efforts, we have received no response from anyone involved in this investigation, and no response to our offer for Dr. Ford to be interviewed,” the lawyers wrote.
The FBI’s investigation has become the fulcrum of the Kavanaugh nomination, with Democrats and some Republicans saying the process cannot move forward until a full and fair investigation is done.
Democrats have submitted a list of two dozen people they want to be interviewed and say the scope should expand beyond the sexual assault allegations to look into whether the judge has been truthful about his fondness for beer and other parts of his past.
“Americans have good reason to doubt this man’s credibility. And that has nothing to do with what he did when he was 15 or 18,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. “We don’t want a Supreme Court whose credibility is in doubt.”
GOP leaders say their patience is running out.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the chamber, said he expects the updated FBI report to be finished soon, and then the information will be put in the judge’s nomination file at the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He said he expects senators to hurry to read it if they believe it will affect their decision when he calls for a vote this week.
“It shouldn’t take long. As interesting as this all is, I can’t imagine that any members who want to read it will not go over there and read it immediately,” Mr. McConnell said.
“That’ll not be used as another reason for delay, I can tell you that,” he added.
Democrats say they want at least 24 hours between the report’s conclusion and the time of a vote.
And they said Tuesday that the public should be clued in on what the FBI finds.
“Why are our Republican colleagues so afraid of making this public?” Mr. Schumer said.
Lawyers for several key figures, including Mark Judge and Leland Keyser, said their clients have met with the FBI. Ms. Blasey Ford says both of them were at the high school party where she says Judge Kavanaugh assaulted her, but they have refuted her claim.
Ms. Keyser’s lawyer told The Washington Times she repeated that rebuttal to the FBI over the weekend.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he was confident the FBI would handle the new probe appropriately.
“The career public servants and professionals at the FBI know what they’re doing and how best to conduct a background investigation,” the Iowa Republican said. “I hope my Democratic colleagues do not attempt to interfere in that process.”
Judge Kavanaugh’s most forceful defender in Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham, said Tuesday that President Trump should be prepared to re-nominate Judge Kavanaugh next year, should Democrats and a few Republicans succeed in defeating his nomination this week.
“I believe Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court very soon. However, if his nomination were to fall short, I would encourage President Trump to renominate Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. It would in effect be appealing the Senate’s verdict directly to the American people,” the South Carolina Republican said.
Asked about that idea, Mr. Trump said he is focused on getting Judge Kavanaugh approved right now.
The president, who has been active in campaigning for Republican candidates, said he sees an intensity of support for Judge Kavanaugh.
“It’s like a rallying cry for the Republicans. They are so in favor of Judge Kavanaugh,” he said.
Alex Swoyer, Rowan Scarborough and Gabriella Munoz contributed to this article.