The FBI on Wednesday wrapped up its days-long supplemental background investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and senators on Capitol Hill Thursday began to pour over the FBI’s investigation results. President Donald Trump and top Republicans expressed their satisfaction with the report, calling it a “thorough investigation” and a “comprehensive review.”
Two of the five swing-vote senators for Kavanaugh’s nomination — Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — now appear to be satisfied with the FBI background investigation, calling it “very thorough” and saying that they did not see any new corroborating evidence. Top Democrats, however, have called the investigation “incomplete” and “very limited.”
According to The New York Times, the FBI reached out to 10 people during the process of the investigation and interviewed nine of them. The bureau, according to The Huffington Post, spoke with Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who accused the Supreme Court nominee of exposing himself at a college party and thrusting his genitals in her face; Mark Judge, a Georgetown Prep classmate of the Supreme Court nominee who Dr. Christine Blasey Ford says was present in the room when Kavanaugh pinned her to the bed at a high school party and groped her while covering her mouth; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of Ford’s who she said attended that party; Patrick “P.J.” Smyth, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s who Ford said was also present at the party; Chris Garrett, another classmate of Kavanaugh’s; and Tim Gaudette, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s.
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said Republican senators were told during the briefing on the FBI investigation results that the 10th witness refused to be interviewed.
Ramirez’s legal team confirmed that she was interviewed by the FBI for two hours on Sunday, but complained that the bureau did not take her list of 20 additional witnesses seriously, ABC News reports. The White House insists that the FBI reached out to at least one other person, besides Ramirez, related to the Yale party allegation was contacted, but would not confirm the identity.
The FBI did not, however, interview Ford or Kavanaugh. The White House said their public testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, as well as their sworn statements, were sufficient for the investigation.
Ford’s legal team sent a letter Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, questioning why Ford was not called upon and interviewed, as well as other witnesses that would have challenged Kavanaugh’s testimony, including Ford’s husband and her polygraph examiner. The letter also stated that Ford would have provided all medical and phone records.
Allegations of sexual misconduct raised by a third woman, Julie Swetnick, were not in the purview of the FBI investigation since the Senate Judiciary Committee and the White House deemed her testimony to be non-credible.
The White House had requested that the FBI conduct a supplemental background investigation last Friday, ordering the bureau to complete the investigation within a week, a deadline that Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans and Democrats could agree to.
The FBI was later authorized by the White House to interview anyone it deemed necessary, as long as it was within the scope of the allegations made by Ford and Ramirez.
Trump administration officials made it clear to the bureau that this supplemental background investigation was not a criminal probe or a “fishing expedition.” Kavanaugh’s past drinking behavior or whether or not he was truthful during his congressional testimony were not the express purpose of the investigation, as it mainly appeared to have focused on corroborating Ford’s allegations.