Senate reviews FBI report on Trump's Supreme Court nominee
Washington : The US Senate on Thursday began reviewing the FBI's report on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as the White House indicated that nothing "sufficient" had been found to corroborate allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Republicans and Democrats were divided over Kavanaugh's nomination. A confirmation vote was expected to be held on Saturday. His appointment would tilt the court in favour of conservatives.
The White House said that it was "fully confident" that the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh, who has been accused by Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor in California, of sexually assaulting her in 1982 when they were teenagers, the Washington Post reported.
Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a drinking game when they were students at Yale University in the 1980s.
A third woman, Julie Swetnick, claimed that Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s. The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not examine her allegations.
On Thursday morning, White House spokesman Raj Shah told CNN that the President and the White House were firmly behind Brett Kavanaugh. "We believe that all the Senate's questions have been addressed through this supplemental FBI investigation."
He said that the FBI agents had reached out to 10 witnesses and that no one had corroborated the account of Ford. But it is the judgments of senators that will determine Kavanaugh's fate.
The report contained summaries of interviews that the FBI conducted and which the White House forwarded to the Senate. It was not meant to have the form of a conclusion or recommendation.
Among those the bureau did not interview were Kavanaugh and Ford. The White House said that was not necessary because they testified under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hours last week.
Even before the material was sent to the Senate, Democrats complained that the FBI investigation had been too narrow and failed to look extensively enough at the allegations lodged against Kavanaugh, the New York Times said.
Republicans, as per reports, have accused Democrats of seeking to delay the confirmation of Kavanaugh in hope that they will make gains in the mid-term elections in November and stop his appointment altogether.
It was the three Republicans - Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona - who earlier injected the uncertainty into Kavanaugh's confirmation. They pushed for the FBI investigation.