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Senate committee chair: No misconduct found in FBI’s Kavanaugh report

No misconduct found in FBI’s Kavanaugh report.png
Posted at 11:26 AM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 11:26:00-04

WASHINGTON, DC (RNN) – The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that the FBI found “no hint of misconduct” in its investigation into accusations of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa made his statement based on a briefing by his staff, which looked over the report the FBI submitted early in the morning. He said the investigators didn’t find anything the committee didn’t already know, including anyone who could attest to the allegations.

No Democratic senators have yet given a public statement on the findings.

The FBI first gave its results to the White House, which transmitted it to the committee overseeing the nomination process. The lone copy has been made available to members of the committee and staff, and it is being kept IN a secure room reserved for confidential matters.

No copying of the report is allowed, and Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois said a lack of time slots to view the material may prevent some from seeing it until Friday, the Associated Press reported.

Senate Majority Leader filed for cloture early Thursday, shortly after the FBI report was delivered. This paves the way for a procedural vote Friday to move Kavanaugh’s nomination up for a full vote in the Senate.

In a statement released early Thursday morning, the White House said nothing in the report should prevent Kavanaugh from joining the Supreme Court.

"With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” the White House statement said in part.

White House spokesperson Raj Shah told CNN the FBI reached out to 10 people and interviewed nine of them as part of its investigation. Those didn’t include Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Grassley said that members will have “alternating EQUAL access ... to study content from additional background info gathered by non-partisan FBI agents.”

All 100 senators will get to see the report.

President Donald Trump ordered the supplemental background check into Kavanaugh after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 10 along party lines Friday to send his nomination to the full Senate, despite questions of sexual misconduct.

FBI agents spent the last week interviewing witnesses about Kavanaugh’s alleged misconduct in high school and college in the 1980s.

They’ve reportedly interviewed Mark Judge, a high school friend of Kavanaugh’s, who allegedly witnessed Kavanaugh sexually assaulting Ford, the first woman to accuse the nominee of sexual misconduct.

Other witnesses in the probe included Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, along with other high school friends of Kavanaugh and Ford.

Agents reportedly didn’t interview Kavanaugh, Ford or Julie Swetnick, who said she sawKavanaugh behave inappropriately at parties in the early ’80s.

Some of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates who said they had pertinent information said they’ve had differing degrees of success reaching the FBI as they raced to complete the investigation, they told CNN.

One of the classmates questioned Kavanaugh’s truthfulness when he discussed his drinking during his Senate testimony. Some had reached out to senators and FBI and had limited success in getting the FBI their information.

A classmate remembered the Supreme Court nominee as frequently drunk.

“My recollection of my experience with him was that he was drunk frequently and that it wasn’t a drunk to the point of having trouble getting up every month or two. It was frequently, I would say with some confidence. It was at least once maybe twice on the weekends and may have even been out during the week,” said Jamie Roche, Kavanaugh’s roommate at Yale.

Kavanaugh had been cleared in six previous FBI background checks. Trump ordered the latest probe to be limited in scope, focused on current credible allegations, and to last no longer than a week.

Many have highly anticipated the FBI’s results. However, they likely won’t be released to the public.

McConnell implied to reporters Tuesday that the FBI findings would be kept within the Senate.

“We will get an FBI report soon,” McConnell said. “It will be made available to each senator, and only senators will be allowed to look at it. That’s the way these reports are always handled.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, seemed to agree with McConnell’s stance on the report, saying the “investigation ought to be closely held.”

Other senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John Cornyn, said they’d like to see parts or all of the FBI findings released publicly.

On Wednesday night, before the FBI report reached the Senate, McConnell filed a motion to set up a procedural vote Friday that could move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate by Saturday.

The report - which the Senate was able to see by Thursday - stemmed from a Friday Judiciary Committee meeting, when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, voted for Kavanaugh’s nomination to move forward with the caveat that he would not be comfortable voting for Kavanaugh unless there was an additional FBI investigation.

"I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI ... do an investigation,” Flake said.

The GOP leadership soon agreed, and President Trump ordered the probe.

Flake said before the Judiciary Committee meeting Friday that he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination, but was confronted by two sexual assault survivors on his way to the hearing.

Flake looked down as one of the women said to him: “Tell me, I’m standing right here in front of you, do you think he’s telling the truth to the country?”

He stood there with the women for a couple of minutes before the elevator doors closed.

Thursday’s testimony riveted a nation as Ford said she was “100 percent” certain she was sexually assaulted by the Supreme Court nominee.

Kavanaugh, 53, decried the process as a “national disgrace” and reiterated his denial that he never sexually assaulted Ford or anyone else.

His nomination came under fire after three women, including Ford, came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.

Ford said in an interview with The Washington Post on Sept. 16 that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15.

She alleged that at some time in 1982, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to take her clothes off during a party.

Kavanaugh allegedly covered her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream, according to The Washington Post.

Ford said the incident occurred at a friend’s house and included Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge.

Trump came under fire Tuesday night after mocking Ford during a campaign rally in Southaven, MS, to the laughter of some rally participants as he was urging his Supreme Court nominee to be approved by the Senate.

“Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right. I had one beer. Well you think I was not. There was one girl. Oh good. How did you get home? I don’t remember. How did you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was that? I don’t know, I don’t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house either upstairs downstairs where was it? But I had one beer. That’s the one thing I remember. And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered. His daughters, who are beautiful incredible young kids. They destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people,” he said.

His press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, defended his statements as “facts.”

“I’d dispute that it wasn’t anything other than the president stating facts and fact facts that were laid out in the prosecutors memo that she put forward to the Senate,” she said. “Each of the things that he called out were things that were laid out in that memo.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the high court earlier this year, making way for President Donald Trump to appoint a second justice. In 2017, Neil Gorsuch was appointed to replace Antonin Scalia.

Kavanaugh is a former clerk of Kennedy and has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for the last 10 years.

A President George W. Bush appointee to his current position, Kavanaugh had worked as counsel and staff secretary in the White House before his nomination.

A graduate of Yale and Yale Law, he also was a member of Kenneth Starr's independent counsel team that investigated President Bill Clinton.

Kavanaugh was born in Washington, DC, and attended Georgetown Preparatory School.

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