TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+
  • FLORIDA | TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis Announces Transition Team Chairs. (Photo by Willie David / Florida National News)
    FLORIDA | TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis Announces Transition Team Chairs. (Photo by Willie David / Florida National News)

Senate gets confidential FBI files on Kavanaugh allegations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House has sent the Senate a new FBI background file on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, giving senators a day to digest the confidential material and make a decision on the tottering nomination before a first vote on Friday.

Even before the FBI delivered interview summaries on claims that Kavanaugh sexually abused women, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell set the first vote for his polarized chamber in an election-season battle over power and who to believe that has consumed the nation. A showdown roll call on confirmation seemed likely over the weekend.

With Republicans clinging to a razor-thin 51-49 majority and five senators — including three Republicans — still vacillating, the conservative jurist’s prospects of Senate confirmation remained murky and dependent, in part, on the file’s contents, which are supposed to be kept secret. Kavanaugh staunchly denies the allegations.

“There will be plenty of time for members to review and be briefed on the supplemental material” before Friday’s procedural vote, McConnell said to the nearly empty chamber.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said early Thursday that he had the Kavanaugh FBI report: “Supplemental FBI background file for Judge Kavanaugh has been received,” he tweeted.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announces the FBI would deliver to Senators its report on claims that Kavanaugh sexually abused women, Oct. 4, 2018. (AP video)

The White House said senators had “ample time” to review the report and vote on Kavanaugh.

“With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” spokesman Raj Shah said.

Lawmakers were to begin reading the FBI report Thursday morning, with senators and a small number of top aides permitted to view it in a secure room in the Capitol complex. Senators are not supposed to divulge the contents of the agency’s background reports.

The report arrived at a Capitol palpably tense over the political stakes of the nomination fight and from aggressive anti-Kavanaugh protesters who have rattled and reportedly harassed senators. Feeding the anxiety was an unusually beefy presence of the U.S. Capitol Police, who were keeping demonstrators and frequently reporters at arm’s length by forming wedges around lawmakers walking through corridors.

Amid complaints that some lawmakers were being confronted outside their homes, McConnell claimed on the Senate floor that the protesters were “part of the organized effort” to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“There is no chance in the world that they’re going to scare us out of doing our duty,” he said.

Adding to the uncertainty, the three undecided GOP senators who could decide Kavanaugh’s fate rebuked President Donald Trump for mocking one accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, by mimicking her responses to questions at last week’s dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“I would tell him, knock it off. You’re not helping,” Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said of Trump’s Tuesday night tirade.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump’s insults marked a “new low.”

A look at supplemental F.B.I. background investigation into the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (AP graphic)

Barring leaks, it was unclear how much of the FBI report, if any, would be made public. While senators from both sides have expressed support for revealing at least parts of the findings, FBI background checks on nominees are supposed to remain confidential.

Underscoring rising tensions, Democrats suggested that previous FBI background checks of Kavanaugh may have unearthed misconduct by the nominee.

Democrats wrote to Grassley, R-Iowa, challenging a Tuesday tweet by GOP aides saying prior investigations never found “a whiff of ANY issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.” Democrats wrote that the GOP tweet contained information that is “not accurate.”

Committee Republicans tweeted in response that their prior tweet was “completely truthful” and accused Democrats of “false smears.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters that Trump’s lampooning of Ford at a Tuesday night Mississippi campaign rally was “just plain wrong.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, 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.”

Those senators, along with Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have yet to declare how they will vote.

“All of us need to keep in mind there’s a few people that are on the fence right now. And right now, that’s sort of where our focus needs to be,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who has traded barbs with Trump and will retire at year’s end.

Trump drew laughs Tuesday with his rendition of how Ford answered questions at last week’s hearing. “I had one beer — that’s the only thing I remember,” he stated inaccurately.

As he flew aboard Air Force One to the Mississippi rally, Trump was enraged by New York Times articles about Kavanaugh’s high school and college years and alleging tax avoidance efforts by the president and his family, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday echoed the president’s newly aggressive approach. She said Ford has “been treated like a Fabergé egg by all of us, beginning with me and the president,” and said Trump was merely “pointing out factual inconsistencies.”

Trump himself didn’t respond publicly to the criticism. On Twitter, he hailed Kavanaugh as “a fine man and great intellect” and insisted, “The country is with him all the way!”

The California psychology professor has testified that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually abused her in a locked room at a high school party in the 1980s and has said she believed he was trying to rape her. Kavanaugh has denied her assertions and those of two other women, who have accused him of other instances of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.

Democrats argued that the investigation has been insufficient, lacking interviews with her, with Kavanaugh and others who his accusers have said could know about the alleged incidents.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Tom Williams/Pool Image via AP)

In a statement Wednesday night after McConnell set the vote in motion, Ford’s counsel wrote: “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. 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.”

Corker and Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said senators were expecting the document to contain reports that FBI agents compile on their interviews with subjects, perhaps accompanied by a cover letter. Background checks do not traditionally contain investigators’ conclusions about who they believe is credible.

Washington has been awaiting completion of the investigation since last week, when Flake, Collins and Murkowski pressured a reluctant Trump and GOP leaders to order the FBI to renew its background check of the 53-year-old Kavanaugh.

The FBI interviewed several people, including three who Ford has said attended a 1982 high school gathering in suburban Maryland where she says Kavanaugh’s attack occurred, plus another Kavanaugh friend. The agency has also spoken to a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, who has claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a Yale party when both were freshmen.

Democrats also demanded that the FBI privately brief the Senate about the investigation before the chamber votes. McConnell rejected that request in a letter Wednesday to Schumer, saying Democrats would use it to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, walks on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 in Washington, as reporters ask her questions. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

POLITICS & POWER NEWS

National Politics

U.S. Congressman Darren Soto Statement on Court’s Decision Jeopardizing Hispanic Voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Darren Soto, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair of the Civil and Voting…

Anti-Gillum Monkey Robocalls Return, Lump in Jews

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - The racial tenor hit fever pitch Wednesday in the highly…

President Barack Obama to Campaign for Andrew Gillum in Miami Friday

MIAMI, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Former President Barack Obama is coming to Florida to campaign…

US defense chief: killing of writer is threat to stability

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “undermines regional stability” and the…

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

[OPINION] Orange County Republicans Must Adapt, or They'll Lose Every Time!

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - In the 2018 midterm elections almost none of the Orange…

Gillum for Governor Campaign on Counting Every Vote

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Gillum for Governor communications director Johanna Cervone made the following statement on…

Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis Announces Transition Team Chairs

TALLAHASSEE, FL- Today, Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis announced four Florida leaders to spearhead transition for the new…

Supervisor Daisy Morales Re-Elected with 256,116 Supermajority of Orange County Votes

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - On election night, Orange County voters delivered a landslide victory…

SPORTS NEWS

  • Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic (right) and Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade (left) battle for the ball at Amway Center Wednesday night. Photo: AP.
    ORLANDO (FNN SPORTS) - Orlando Escapes the Heat in Season Home Opener | Photo: AP.

MORE SPORTS NEWS

Nearly 1,200 Athletes Competed in Special Olympics Florida's State Fall Classic

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Special Olympics Florida athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans descended on…

Buccaneers Fall Short Against Redskins

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are currently fourth in…

UCF Knights Throttle Navy Midshipmen on Homecoming Weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - The Knights showed the Navy Midshipmen why the Knights are…

Orlando Survives Washington's Late Run

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - After the Magic's lead was cut to one, D.J. Augustin…

Drummond Too Much for Magic as Detroit Defeats Orlando 103-96

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Andre' Drummond wasn't about to let his team lose a…

Fournier's Clutch Jump Shot Helps the Magic to Second Straight Win

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Evan Fournier had a chance to redeem himself after missing…

BUSINESS NEWS

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

Trade War Escalates as China Announces Tariffs on US Imports

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S.-China trade war escalated further Tuesday, with China announcing retaliatory tax…

Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh Appeals Decision On Disney Property Valuation

Orlando, FL – Orange County Property Appraiser (OCPA), Rick Singh, today announced that an appeal…

Governor Scott Orders Flags at Half-Staff in Remembrance of 9/11

TALLAHASSEE - In honor and remembrance of those who tragically lost their lives in the…

ESSENCE Debuts Lebron James’ Captivating Social Media Campaign “The Strongest” Celebrating 16 Strong Black Women

NEW YORK, NY (FNN NEWS) — Source: ESSENCE // ESSENCE, the leading media, technology and…

Amway Founder and Orlando Magic Owner Richard DeVos Dies at 92

DETROIT (AP) — Billionaire Richard DeVos, co-founder of direct-selling giant Amway, owner of the Orlando…

Nike Unveils Kaepernick Ad to Air During NFL Season Opener

Nike has unveiled its first “Just Do It” ad narrated by Colin Kaepernick, a spot…

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

AG Pam Bondi: Andrew Gillum Must Denounce Rapper T.I.’s Video

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The rapper T.I. recently unveiled an offensive music video which depicted a demeaning and disgusting…

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK (AP) — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer is yes,…

New Kids On The Block Announce The Mixtape Tour With Very Special Guests Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson And Naughty By Nature

NEW YORK  -- Today New Kids On The Block, the multiplatinum selling pop super-group, unveiled an epic lineup for…

Country Music Icon Martina McBride Entertains From The Kitchen On New Food Network Series Martina's Table

NEW YORK, Food Network -- As a music megastar, Martina McBride has entertained fans with her songs for years,…

Academy Presents Careers In Film Summit In Los Angeles, London, Atlanta and New York 

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy will present its 4th annual Careers in Film Summit on Saturday,…

LIFESTYLE NEWS

MORE LIFESTYLE NEWS

Nearly 1,200 Athletes Competed in Special Olympics Florida's State Fall Classic

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Special Olympics Florida athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans descended on…

Athletes, Coaches, Volunteers Made Celebrities at Special Olympics Florida Champions' Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – The red carpet rolled out for Special Olympics Florida’s Annual Champion’s…

Onward to Greatness: Special Olympics Florida President & CEO Sherry Wheelock Envisions Greater Growth, Awareness for Athletes

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Special Olympics Florida will host its annual Champions' Gala at…

Orange County Nursing Home Faces Legal Action, State Investigations After Elected Official's 911 Call

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Nursing home negligence of residents has become a top priority…

Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin Crowned Miss America 2019

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (FNN NEWS) – Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin was crowned Miss…

Walt Disney World Resort to Host Kickoff of ABC’s ‘American Idol’ Nationwide Bus Tour Auditions

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is set to host…