Democrats and Republicans disagree on the integrity of the FBI's investigation.
The FBI's completed report on the alleged sexual misconduct of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have Democrat and Republican Senators debating over the integrity of the investigation.The full report was delivered to Capitol Hill early Thursday morning.
Contentious points are rooted in major criticisms of how the White House limited the investigation's scope. Namely, people integral to corroborating the allegations were not interviewed by the FBI, including Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a high school party and testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
After an official inquiry into the allegations was approved by the Senate last week, the White House requested interviews with Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth, high school friends of Kavanaugh, a reported attendee of the party where the alleged assault took place, Leland Keyser, and Deborah Ramirez, the second accuser to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. Ford herself and multiple other witnesses claimed to have firsthand knowledge of the alleged events were not interviewed.
Rep. Senator Jeff Flake, whose swing vote helped instigate the FBI's investigation, declared there's "no additional corroborating information" in the report, while Rep. Senator Susan Collins calls the investigation "very thorough." Rep. Senator and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley is more vehement in his endorsement: "This investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh's 25 years of public service." He implored the committee to "wipe away the muck" from the public controversy and "look at this nomination with clear eyes."
In utter disagreement, Dem. Senator Dianne Feinstein criticized, "The most notable part of this report is what's not in it. It looks to be the product of an incomplete investigation that was limited, perhaps by the White House, I don't know." Dem. Senator Cory Booker also expressed frustration with the investigation's limitations: "I heard the chairman of the Committee say there's no hint of misconduct. In plain English what I just read, there are hints of misconduct. So, it's very frustrating that they didn't do a thorough investigation that they didn't interview all the relevant witnesses."
Dem. Senator Chuck Schumer added a protest over the report's secrecy from the American public, stating, "The fact that there's only one document in there for 100 senators is another example of constraining the ability of all senators and the American public to see the whole truth and nothing but."
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Blasey Ford and her attorneys released an open letter on Thursday condemning the shortcomings of the investigation, citing the exclusion of Ford and their eight suggested witnesses seeking to either confirm Ford's testimony or refute Kavanaugh's at last week's judiciary hearing: "None were contacted nor, to our knowledge, were more than a dozen other names we provided to the FBI whose interviews would have challenged the credibility of Judge Kavanaugh's testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on September 27, 2018." The letter laments, "The 'investigation' conducted over the past five days is a stain on the process, on the FBI and on our American ideal of justice."
On Twitter, Donald Trump shared his continued endorsement of the investigation and Kavanaugh, whose "great life" has been subjected to "harsh and unfair treatment" by "mean & despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations."
The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters. The PEOPLE… https://t.co/tz7uynzT5p— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1538655401.0
Senators are scheduled to move forward with Kavanaugh's nomination, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filing for a cloture vote, which sets in motion an expedited voting process that would see an initial vote on Friday and a final vote by the full Senate on Saturday.
Brett Kavanaugh lacks restraint before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Brett Kavanaugh's open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee commenced on Thursday.
Christine Blasey Ford, the first of three women to lodge allegations of sexual assault and/or misconduct against Kavanaugh, began testifying at 10 a.m. Republican Senators called upon prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to lead the questioning, hoping to eschew what would have been an imbalanced dynamic if 11 male Senators were to freely question Ford, a female alleging sexual assault by a man. All senators retained the right to interject their own questioning.
During a testimony that lasted nearly four hours, Ford's answers were consistent with the graphic account she has previously released. Despite being "terrified" to testify, Ford's opening statement contained a detailed description of the assault, for which Mark Judge was allegedly present. "Brett's assault on me drastically altered my life," Ford avowed. In her opening statement, she tearfully recalled the incident at the source of the charges, detailing how Kavanaugh cornered her during a house party that the two attended in their high school years.
"The stairwell, the living room, the bedroom, the bed on the right side of the room — as you walk into the room, there was a bed to the right — the bathroom in close proximity, the laughter, the uproarious laughter, and the multiple attempts to escape and the final ability to do so."
Kavanaugh began testifying late Thursday afternoon. He gave an emotionally charged denial of all allegations, often answering a short, vehement, "No" in response to questioning. Kavanaugh also directed attention to the damaging effects these allegations have had on his life:
He lamented: "I love teaching law, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to teach again...I love coaching more than anything I've ever done in my whole life, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again."
A resolute answer was given on the issue of how the committee plans to interfere with Judge Kavanaugh's appointment as the next Supreme Court Judge. Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, asserted to Kavanaugh that the hearing's purpose is not to suspend the confirmation process, as "This committee is running this hearing, not the White House, not Don McGahn, not even you as a nominee."
Questioning continued late into Thursday evening, with tensions running high as the GOP-appointed prosecutor fell silent as Kavanaugh parried with the GOP and Democratic Senators questioning him.