The White House Has the FBI Report and Is ‘Fully Confident’ It Clears Kavanaugh’s Nomination. Here’s What Happens Now
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has handed over a report on its brief investigation into sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s latest pick for the Supreme Court.
As far as the White House is concerned, the report should end the firestorm around Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which is set to go to a procedural Senate vote Friday—a so-called “cloture” vote designed to limit debate. However, the woman at the center of the allegations suggested that the investigation was deliberately meaningless.
The FBI did not interview Kavanaugh’s primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, nor did it interview anyone who could have backed up her version of events in the early 1980s, when she claims Kavanaugh assaulted her.
“The White House has received the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s supplemental background investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, and it is being transmitted to the Senate,” said White House spokesman Raj Shah on Twitter in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“With Leader McConnell’s cloture filing, senators have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation,” Shah continued. “With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”
In fact, senators had no opportunity to see the FBI report at the time of Shah’s tweets. They—and only the senators, not their staff—can see the report from 8 a.m. Thursday morning. There is only one copy, in paper format. It can only be read in a secure facility or after being brought to a senator by a designated staffer, and 100 senators need to read it before the Friday vote.
The FBI did not include any conclusions as to whether Ford or Kavanaugh was telling the truth. The report is not supposed to be leaked or even publicly described by those who read it.
Bloomberg reported that the agency lacked White House approval to speak to Kavanaugh or Ford.
“An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony—cannot be called an investigation,” Ford’s lawyers said in a statement. “We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”
The FBI did interview Deborah Ramirez, another woman who accuses Kavanaugh of sexual assault. However, Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, expressed skepticism that the agency would follow up by contacting witnesses that she identified. “Though we appreciated the agents who responded on Sunday, we have great concern that the FBI is not conducting—or not being permitted to conduct—a serious investigation,” Clune said Tuesday.
This FBI investigation probably wouldn’t have taken place but for the last-minute interventions of Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski—swing votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation—who demanded it following last week’s testimonies by Ford and Kavanaugh.
Since then, the president mocked Ford at a public rally, impersonating her and exaggerating the gaps in her memory regarding the 36-year-old alleged assault. Flake and Susan Collins, another Republican whose vote is undecided, expressed outrage at Trump’s comments. The White House subsequently claimed that Trump was not mocking Ford.