Democrats, media press Kavanaugh sexual assault campaign
1 October 2018
An expanded FBI background check of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has begun under terms laid down by the Trump White House and the Senate Republican leadership, who agreed on Friday to a one-week probe in order to secure a party-line vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve his nomination. The Republicans plan to bring the matter to the Senate floor for a vote some time next week.
After Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona threatened to block the nomination, a bipartisan deal was negotiated in which Senate Democrats agreed to support a limited FBI investigation into 36-year-old allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, now an Appeals Court judge.
The Judiciary Committee then approved Kavanaugh’s nomination by an 11-10 vote, with Flake voting in favor. The FBI will report its findings to the White House, which will forward them to the Senate.
There were objections from the Democratic side to the limits set on the probe, apparently by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other leading Republicans. The FBI will interview Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Judiciary Committee Thursday during the all-day hearing on her claims that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in suburban Maryland when she was 15 years old and he was 17.
The FBI will also interview several others identified as possible witnesses to the assault or to the party, including Mark Judge, the friend of Kavanaugh whom Ford identified as an accomplice in the assault. The FBI will also interview Deborah Ramirez, who claimed Kavanaugh engaged in improper sexual conduct while a student at Yale University in the mid-1980s, but not Julie Swetnick, who made the most sweeping…