Federal Bureau of Investigation probe does not support Kavanaugh assault claims: Top Republican

Federal Bureau of Investigation probe does not support Kavanaugh assault claims: Top Republican

The FBI did not interview Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault during a 1980s high school party.

Jeff Flake of Arizona last week after Ms. Blasey Ford and the judge both testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation is expected on Saturday after the FBI completed a supplemental background investigation of Kavanaugh and the new claims against him.

"An acclaimed judge", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the report's release.

"These uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations", Grassley said.

Allegations of sexual misconduct raised by a third woman, Julie Swetnick, were not in the purview of the FBI background investigation because the White House and Senate Judiciary Republicans deemed her testimony non-credible, sources said. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a conservative member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with chants of "We believe survivors!" among other things.

The FBI was authorized by the White House to interview anyone it wanted to, but with a limited focus on two claims of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh: one by Dr. Ford, the other by Deborah Ramirez, sources familiar with the investigation said.

Within hours of the findings being made available on Capitol Hill some leading Republican and White House figures declared that the probe had failed to find any information which corroborated the allegations.

"This investigation found no hint of misconduct", Grassley said in a statement.

Once Kavanaugh's confirmation goes to a full Senate vote, Republicans will need to vote nearly unanimously to secure his appointment, as the party holds a razor-thin 51-49 majority in the upper house.

Democrats wrote to Grassley challenging a Tuesday tweet by Republican aides saying prior investigations never found "a whiff of ANY issue - at all - related in any way to inappropriate sexual behaviour or alcohol abuse". 'I think the extent to which people view this confirmation proceeding for Kavanaugh as being hijacked by partisan operatives, I think that's going to energize independents and Republicans'.

Democrats were already fired up about November but the Kavanaugh confirmation fight has rallied the GOP base.

"All those mentioned above, and more, could easily have been interviewed in the time allotted" but were not, read the letter, sent by attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich, which was cc'd to top senators from both parties. Mimicking Ford, he said, "I had one beer!" The chamber is sharply divided so Republicans need as much support as they can get, but it isn't yet clear how many senators will vote for Kavanaugh. "We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI's hands". Heitkamp's decision left Senator Joe Manchin as the only undecided Democrat.

In an interview, No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of IL said McConnell was "hell-bent on getting this done" this week. The FBI also talked to two other friends of Kavanaugh's who were listed as attending a gathering during the same summer that Ford alleged she was assaulted: Chris Garrett, who went out with Ford for a time, and Tim Gaudette.

Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin.

Senators were set to individually review the report throughout the day Thursday.

Flake, Collins and Murkowski all have criticized Trump for mocking Ford at a political rally in MS on Tuesday.

"The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters", Trump said.

"But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that Judge Kavanaugh did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land".

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