GOP says FBI report will be secret; Dems say issue now is Kavanaugh credibility
GOP Senate leaders brushed aside Democrats’ demands for a 24-hour delay between the production of a new FBI background report and the vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer had made the 24-hour demand in a letter to the top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell, saying lawmakers should have a chance to digest and talk about the report before they have to decide on the judge’s fate.
Mr. McConnell said the updated report will only be available to senators, as has been the practice for previous nominees. He said he expects senators to hurry over to the Judiciary Committee to read it once it’s done.
“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.
Mr. McConnell said the report will be done this week, and the Senate will vote this week.
But Democrats said that report isn’t good enough.
They said they want the findings released publicly, and want an in-person briefing for senators with the agent who is leading the new background check.
Mr. Schumer questioned the FBI’s performance, saying he was “getting report after report” of people calling the FBI tip line with complaints about Judge Kavanaugh but never getting calls back.
“Why are our Republican colleagues so afraid of making this public?” he said.
Nearly three weeks after allegations of sexual misconduct were first publicly made against Judge Kavanaugh, the accusations have yet to be corroborated by any witnesses. Indeed those that have come forward have refuted the allegations.
But Democrats said the bigger issue now is that the judge has lied to Congress and shown too much anger at Democrats who are obstructing his nomination.
“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,” Mr. Schumer said. “We don’t want a Supreme Court whose credibility is in doubt.”
Democrats also bristled at Republican blame for delays in getting Judge Kavanaugh to the high court, saying that it was a Republican, Sen. Jeff Flake, who first forced a second round of hearings with Judge Kavanaugh, then forced a delay in the floor vote to give the FBI a chance to investigate.
“All the delays have been caused within the Republican caucus. All of them,” Mr. Schumer told reporters, adding, “We have nothing to do with delay. We can’t delay.”