Grassley Claims FBI Found "No Hint" Of Kavanaugh Misconduct, Democrats Disagree
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, declared Thursday the FBI’s supplemental investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh found “no hint” of misconduct by the federal appeals court judge, but leading Senate Democrats were quick to refute the Republican’s claim.
Grassley said in a statement that a briefing on the FBI’s investigation did not contain anything that was not already known about the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
“These uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations,” Grassley said. “There’s also no contemporaneous evidence.”
He added, “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.”
Grassley argued the FBI agents have done their work and now is the time for Senators to fulfill their constitutional duty and vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters he disagrees with Grassley’s assessment that there was “no hint” of misconduct.
Schumer also criticized the limited scope of the investigation, which he claimed was constrained by a directive White House counsel Donald McGahn sent to the FBI.
The Democratic leader called for a redacted version of the FBI’s documents as well as McGahn’s directive to be made public.
“We had many fears that this was a very limited process that would constrain the FBI from getting all the facts,” Schumer said. “Having received a thorough briefing on the documents, those fears have been realized.”
The Democratic complaints about the investigation have not stopped Republican Senators from citing the FBI report as proof there is zero corroboration for the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has played a key role in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, told reporters he has “seen no additional corroborating information” after being briefed on the report.
Last Friday, Flake called for a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation to be delayed until the FBI conducted an investigation of the sexual misconduct allegations but previously indicated his intent to vote to confirm the Supreme Court nominee.
Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, called the FBI’s investigation “very thorough” but has not publicly revealed how she intends to vote.
Support from Flake, Collins, and Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, will be key to confirming Kavanaugh, as Republicans hold only a slim 51 to 49 majority in the Senate.
The GOP can only afford to lose the support of one Republican and still confirm Kavanaugh with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.
Democratic Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., are also publicly undecided but are seen as unlikely to cast the deciding vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., filed cloture on Kavanaugh’s nomination Wednesday evening, setting up a critical procedural vote on Friday.
If Republicans have the votes to cut off debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination, a final vote on his confirmation to the Supreme Court could be held as early as Saturday.
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