Trump Requests Supplemental FBI Probe for Kavanaugh


by Sharon Rondeau

(Sep. 28, 2018) — At a morning business meeting on Friday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley gaveled in the 21 members and, after objections were raised and two Democrats walked out, scheduled a vote for 1:30 PM on the nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Kamala Harris (CA) left the meeting to much scrambling by reporters attempting to snap photos and held their own press conference to protest the imminent nomination vote.

The 1:30 p.m. meeting did not immediately come to order, and once gaveled in, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asked to speak. Grassley granted the request, at which time Flake proposed that the committee take a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination but also request a one-week delay in a full Senate vote.  Flake said he and others believe it important for the FBI to perform an updated background check given Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party.

On Thursday, both Ford and Kavanaugh testified publicly about the allegation. During her testimony nearly-four-hour testimony, Ford readily admitted she could not recall all of the details of her allegation and wants the FBI to investigate so that she could “be more helpful.”

In a fiery rebuttal to the allegation, Kavanaugh testified from approximately 3:05 PM EDT two 6:45 PM on Thursday, having supplied handwritten calendars from 1982, the year Ford appears to have identified for the incident. Kavanaugh said he maintained and retained the calendars because his father, also an attorney, commenced the practice in 1978.

Democrats were consistently sympathetic to Ford and adversarial to Kavanaugh, who sometimes answered their questions with a question or indirectly.  All Democrats asked Kavanaugh to request an extended FBI investigation into Ford’s claim.

Kavanaugh said at the beginning of his testimony that he would cooperate with any decisions or additional requests the committee might make.

Grassley scheduled the committee vote on the nomination on Tuesday because of a rule stating that all votes must be scheduled with three days’ notice.  Democrats were unhappy with that move, stating that no vote should be scheduled prior to hearing what Ford had to say.

On Thursday evening, Flake said he would vote “yes” on Kavanaugh in the committee.

On Friday afternoon, Flake and a number of Democrat senators met privately in a small room adjoining the committee’s meeting room, delaying the commencement of the nomination vote until close to 2:00 PM. Once convened, Grassley recognized Flake, who argued that some Democrats and most likely Republicans would feel more secure about Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the high court if the FBI were to conduct a one-week, “limited in scope” update on the nominee.

After Flake voiced his proposal and Grassley agreed to advance it, a nomination vote was taken in Kavanaugh’s favor, 11-10, along party lines.

Shortly before 5:00 PM Friday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that President Trump agreed to the request.  “This update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week,” Sanders tweeted.

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