Republican lawmakers have made up their minds — and Democrats slammed the FBI’s report into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a sham.
The controversial five-day FBI investigation “found no hint of misconduct,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday as Senators scoured the supplementary report sent to Capitol Hill.
“I’ve now received a committee staff briefing on the FBI’s supplement to Judge Kavanaugh’s background investigation file. There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know,” Grassley said in a statement.
“This investigation found no hint of misconduct,” he said. “I’ll be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
Democrats held a brief press conference after a handful of lawmakers got the first look at the document.
“The most notable part of this report is what’s not in it,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said. “Candidly, what we reviewed today, in a very limited time… looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation that was limited, perhaps by the White House.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) flat out said he disagreed with Grassley’s account that there was nothing new, but did not provide further details.
The report was delivered to the secure basement room where lawmakers can view it in groups of 10 just hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went ahead and scheduled a first vote for the embattled jurist’s confirmation for Friday.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement overnight that the White House is “fully confident” the Senate will approve Kavanaugh, despite contentious partisan battle that has erupted in recent weeks over allegations that he sexually assaulted several women while in high school and college.
Shah said that the FBI reached out to 10 people and interviewed 9.
The President took to Twitter Thursday to blast the “totally uncorroborated allegations!”
The file was delivered to the judiciary panel in a sealed box at 2:30 a.m. and placed in a vault that already holds Kavanaugh’s six other background investigation reports, a source told CNN.
Democrats have railed against the limited scope of the supplemental investigation, criticizing the White House and Republicans for not allow the bureau to fully probe Kavanaugh’s past.
The FBI interviews focused on allegations made by California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teens, and from Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who says he exposed himself to her at a party.
Critics have also questioned Kavanaugh’s drinking habits during high school and college.
Kavanaugh strongly denies the accusations and accused Democrats of playing politics to torpedo his confirmation in a fiery appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
The 53-year-old conservative jurist’s fate remains in the air as the GOP maintains a razor thin 51-49 majority in the Senate. As the contentious confirmation process has ground on, a trio of Republicans have refused to say whether they will support Kavanaugh.
All three spoke out Wednesday after Trump openly mocked Ford, who told lawmakers last week how she believes Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, covered her mouth and tried to undress her at a Maryland house party in the early 1980s.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) told reporters that Trump’s lampooning of Ford at a Tuesday night Mississippi campaign rally was “just plain wrong.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) called it “wholly inappropriate and in my view unacceptable,” and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said on NBC’s “Today” show that the remarks were “kind of appalling.”
However, Collins indicated she was pleased with the thoroughness of the FBI probe.
“It appears to be a very thorough investigation,” she said Thursday.