Senate Set to Begin Reviewing FBI Report on Kavanaugh
Members of the Senate are set Thursday to begin reviewing the supplemental FBI background file for Brett Kavanaugh as the White House says the additional interviews from the FBI show no corroboration of allegations against the embattled Supreme Court nominee.
The results of the investigation could have a critical effect on whether key swing votes in the Senate decide to advance Kavanaugh to the high court after a protracted confirmation process following allegations of sexual assault.
A White House official told CNN on Thursday that they found the report shows no corroboration of the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Kavanaugh in recent weeks. According to the official, nine people were interviewed by the FBI for the investigation.
The FBI, however, is not tasked with drawing conclusions, and only provided the White House with summaries of the interviews they conducted. The most consequential conclusions will be made by four key swing votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination: Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The file was delivered to the committee in a sealed box at 2:30 a.m. ET, according to a committee source, who also told CNN that it was placed in a vault that already holds Kavanaugh’s six other background investigation reports.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted early Thursday morning that the committee had received the report and that members of the committee would have equal access to it.
“Supplemental background file for Judge Kavanaugh has been received by @senjudiciary Ranking Member Feinstein & I have agreed to alternating EQUAL access for senators to study content from additional background info gathered by non-partisan FBI agents,” Grassley tweeted.
The White House also said earlier Thursday that they received the FBI’s file, which they subsequently sent to the Senate. In a statement, White House spokesman Raj Shah said: “With Leader McConnell’s cloture filing, Senators have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation.”
“This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews, over 1,200 questions for the record and over a half million pages of documents,” the statement read. “With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”
Senators will review the FBI’s report Thursday before a procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday that would possibly lead to a final vote as early as the following day. The report will only be available to the senators and a small number of aides.
Grassley and Feinstein agreed Wednesday that Republican and Democratic senators would be allotted equal time slots for briefings, according to a committee source. The first briefing is scheduled for Republican senators at 10 a.m. ET.
Kavanaugh’s nomination hangs in the balance a week after Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. Both Kavanaugh and the White House have repeatedly denied the allegation.
A further FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s background was put into motion last week when Flake voted to move Kavanaugh’s nomination out of the committee but called for the FBI to further investigate Ford’s claims.