Senators get Federal Bureau of Investigation report on Kavanaugh, Republicans push vote

Donald Trump casts doubt on Christine Blasey Ford's allegations at a campaign rally in Mississippi

Donald Trump casts doubt on Christine Blasey Ford's allegations at a campaign rally in Mississippi Credit AP

"It smacks of a whitewash", Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal told reporters, saying the report should not give political cover for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh because "it is blatantly incomplete". "There's nothing in it that we didn't already know". He voted to confirm Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. It followed the FBI's early morning release of its investigation, which Trump reluctantly ordered under pressure from a handful of wavering Republican senators.

Top Democrats fired back at Grassley after getting their own briefing.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chewed the most scenery, calling the process a "shameful spectacle that has embarrassed the senate".

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and with Vice President Mike Pence playing the role of tie-breaker if necessary, they would need a minimum of 50 votes to confirm Kavanaugh.

"The White House confirmation that it will not allow the FBI to interview Dr. Blasey Ford, Judge Kavanaugh or witnesses identified by Deborah Ramirez raises serious concerns that this is not a credible investigation", she said in a statement.

In her congressional hearing last week, Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when he was drunk at a small social gathering during summer vacation when they were in high school. And a third women, Julie Swetnick, has said she was raped at a party that Kavanaugh attended with his boyhood friend Mark Judge. He provided no specifics.

Democrats, meanwhile, assailed the FBI investigation as being too limited in scope.

The court's nine justices are appointed for life and have the final say on some of the most contentious issues in USA public life, from abortion to gun control and voting laws.

Earlier, White House spokesman Raj Shah rebuffed Democrats' complaints, saying, "What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking". No Republicans have said they will vote against Kavanaugh.

Accordingly, the war over Kavanaugh was always going to be caustic and protracted even before allegations surfaced against him involving sexual assault.

The White House Counsel's office believes that the sworn testimony from both in front of the Senate committee last week is sufficient, CNN reported.

Trump weighed in hours later.

Corker and Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said senators were expecting the document to contain reports that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents compile on their interviews with subjects, perhaps accompanied by a cover letter. She said she was never interviewed, and she vented her frustrations in an email to an agent. 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.

Just a single copy of the report was produced, which was not made public.

Democrats also demanded that the FBI privately brief the Senate about the investigation before the chamber votes.

"This is making a mockery of the constitutional responsibility of the Senate", Markey added later. "I had one beer - that's the only thing I remember", he stated inaccurately.

US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) walks to a room to read the report on the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 4, 2018. Jeff Flake said on NBC's Today show that the remarks were "kind of appalling".

Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia also has not declared how he'll vote.

Plus there's the surprise strength of Democrat Beto O'Rourke against incumbent Republican Sen.

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

Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down, trying to remove his clothing and covering her mouth when she screamed.

Prof Ford's lawyer said eight people were not interviewed who could corroborate her claims, while Ms Ramirez's lawyer said more than 20 witnesses were not contacted.

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