Who was questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Kavanaugh probe?

Geraldine Edwards
October 5, 2018

"There were four of us in a corner", said Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee, reading sections of the report while other senators listened to the report being read in full by staffers with the proper security clearances.

Brett Kavanaugh declared, "I am an independent, impartial judge" in an opinion column published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority, could vote as early as Saturday and all eyes are on three key Republican senators who could make or break the nomination - Flake, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

President Donald Trump's mockery of Christine Blasey Ford sparked an immediate backlash Wednesday among two critical Republican swing votes on the nomination of Supreme Court hopeful Brett Kavanaugh, with Sens.

Moderate Republican Susan Collins of ME, who also has not announced how she will vote, said it "appears very thorough".

As Senate Republicans moved quickly for a vote, Democrats and one key Republican, Jeff Flake, insisted that the FBI be allowed to reopen its background investigation of Kavanaugh.

The Senate Judicial Committee's top Democrat Dianne Feinstein said she not yet had access to the entire report - but that from what she had seen it appeared insufficient to lay to rest concerns about Kavanaugh.

Chris Quick, a retired FBI special agent with experience in background investigations, said the White House and the FBI may be reluctant to have them rehash things they both already stated under oath to the committee - especially given the one-week time constraint.

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Democrats not only oppose Kavanaugh; but they also remain deeply embittered by the experience that closed out the tenure of President Barack Obama, when McConnell refused to schedule a vote on Obama's nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy that Trump eventually got to fill.

"Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most qualified nominees to ever come before the Senate".

Three women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct decades ago, allegations he has strongly and emotionally denied. "It is time to vote".

He urged his colleagues to confirm the judge.

The Senate majority leader also said, since there was no corroboration of the allegations, Democrats are now focusing on how Kavanaugh defended himself in his testimony.

However, the debate seems to be coming to an end as the Senate plans to vote on Friday for Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, with a final vote expected to be on Saturday.

"We had many fears that this was a very limited process", added Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

Federal judges are at the heart of the political strategy pursued for years by McConnell and President Trump, and the stakes are never higher than when they involve a vacancy on the Supreme Court. John Kennedy, R-La., said several witnesses were questioned about allegations by Deborah Ramirez, who knew Kavanaugh when they were students at Yale University.

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Trump weighed in hours later in a tweet in which he denounced what he called "the harsh and unfair treatment" of Kavanaugh. "The PEOPLE get it far better than the politicians".

But Democrats in a letter Wednesday to Chairman Chuck Grassley said information in the GOP's social media posting "is not accurate".

Senators were duty-bound not to divulge details of the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, a single copy of which was made available for them to read behind closed doors in a secure room of the Capitol.

Besides Flake and Collins, Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have yet to declare their positions on Kavanaugh.

"The Judiciary staff went through all of the witnesses' testimony and talked about it", he said.

With Mr Kavanaugh's uncertain prospects for approval depending in part on the decisions of five wavering senators, politicians began viewing the document in a secure room in the Capitol complex.

Trump on Tuesday inflamed tensions over Kavanaugh's nomination by mocking Blasey Ford at a Republican rally in Mississippi.

Still undecided on backing the conservative judge, Senator Collins denounced the president's comments ridiculing Ford as "just plain wrong". "It's kind of appalling", Flake said.

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