Senate Republicans appear to be headed toward forcing a Saturday vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over the opposition of Senate Democrats who want a broader FBI investigation into allegations of his abusive behavior as a high school and college student.
Republicans, however, were satisfied with the review conducted by the FBI that they say provided no additional corroboration to charges made by Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh.
After reviewing the report, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the investigation found “no hint of misconduct” against Judge Kavanaugh.
Democrats said the FBI investigation was too narrow in scope, noting that agents did not interview Ford as part of this week’s review.
“Interviewing the accuser & accused is Investigation 101,” Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said on Twitter. “It is absolutely necessary to follow up on leads & corroborate details. The fact the FBI has not been authorized to take basic steps demonstrates the WH is turning this investigation into a sham & charade.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy turned to Twitter to criticize Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the process: “One copy of the FBI report. No more than an hour to review it. No ability for any follow up. Then a rushed vote. For 2 years, McConnell has been carefully and purposefully breaking the Senate. This is the final blow. No comity or tradition left. It’s just about power politics.”
Murphy returned later Thursday with added complaints on Twitter: After I spend my 5 min today with the single copy of the FBI report I will be thinking of how Kavanaugh calls Democrats “embarrassments”, thinks we are engaged in conspiracy against him on behalf of the Clintons, and promises when he’s on the Court “what goes around comes around.”
On a call with reporters Thursday, Blumenthal reiterated his disappointment with the scope of the latest FBI investigation calling their confidential report “woefully incomplete and inadequate” and blamed President Trump and Senate Republicans for limiting who the FBI could interview over the last week.
In particular, he pointed to a failure to pursue interviews with a number of people that Deborah Ramirez suggested could help corroborate her accusation that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while they were students at Yale University in the early 1980s.
Blumenthal had said he would not vote to confirm Kavanaugh based on his conservative judicial record before hearing the allegations from either Ford or Ramirez. He says he would also oppose him based on temperament — saying he appeared at last week’s hearing to be a man “filled with revenge and hatred” who would be unable to be an objective and impartial justice sitting on the nation’s highest court.
Murphy spoke on the Kavanaugh nomination on the Senate floor Thursday saying that he had also decided before the sexual assault allegations were made that he would vote against his confirmation due to his judicial record. In particular, he was concerned Kavanaugh would rule against protecting access to affordable health care insurance to individuals with pre-existing conditions and that he would rule to overturn Roe v. Wade.