Friday, September 28, 2018

▷ Sen. Grassley rebuffs Democrat calls for additional FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh ✅

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pushed back Thursday against calls from Democrats for more FBI investigations into an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Presiding over a dramatic Senate hearing where Christine Blasey Ford testified about the alleged assault by Kavanaugh when they were both teenagers, Grassley said that there wasn’t a hint of sexual misconduct complaints in any of six previous FBI background checks throughout the federal judge’s career since 1993.

“Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which committee investigators have reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of any issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior,” Grassley said.

Grassley: Kav’s FBI reports clear

Grassley didn’t shy from deflecting calls for further FBI involvement in his opening statement and throughout the dramatic hearing as proceedings got underway. The chairman pointed out that the FBI does not reach conclusions on nominees — the Senate does.

“Contrary to what the public has been led to believe, the FBI doesn’t perform any credibility assessment or verify the truth of any event in these background investigations,” Grassley said.

“The FBI provided us with the allegations. Now it’s up to the Senate to assess their credibility. Which brings us to today,” he added.

Grassley cited none other than Joe Biden, who chaired the committee during Senate hearings in 1991 to confirm Clarence Thomas amid allegations of misconduct from Anita Hill. Biden had then said “they [the FBI] do not, they do not, they do not reach conclusions. They do not make recommendations.”

“The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything obviously doesn’t understand anything. The FBI explicitly does not in this or any other case reach a conclusion. Period,” Grassley read, quoting Biden. “They say he said, she said, and they said, period. So when people wave an FBI report before you, understand they do not, they do not, they do not reach conclusions. They do not make recommendations.”

Delay tactics

The Democrats called early and often throughout the hearing for an additional FBI investigation, something they have demanded ever since Ford came forward with the allegations. Republicans have criticized the Democrats’ calls for more investigations as a delay tactic.

Grassley attacked the Democrats, especially Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), in his opening statement for not referring the allegations to the FBI sooner.

“Only at an 11th hour, on the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, did the ranking member refer the allegations to the FBI. And then the allegations were leaked to the press. That’s where Dr. [Blasey] Ford was mistreated.”

The chairman questioned why the Democrats didn’t follow up with Kavanaugh about the allegations after speaking with him in private interviews and listening to him testify for hours before the committee in previous hearings.

“If they’re really concerned with getting to the truth, why wouldn’t you want to talk to the accused?” he said.

Kavanaugh rebuffs FBI probe

Senators on the committee pressured Kavanaugh to accept more FBI investigations, with Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) at one point calling on the nominee to ask White House counsel Don McGahn to suspend the hearing and request a probe. Kavanaugh insisted upon his innocence and declined to seek further investigation.

“I’ve got a suggestion for you. Right now, turn to your left, in the front row, to [White House Counsel] Don McGahn,” Durbin said. “Ask him to suspend this hearing and nomination process until the FBI completes its investigation of the charges made by Dr. Ford and others.”

“I am innocent of this charge,” Kavanaugh replied, adding, “they [the FBI] don’t reach conclusions, you reach the conclusions.”

Demands for a delay continued on Friday as the committee prepared to vote. The American Bar Association called for an FBI investigation as the hashtag #DelayTheVote was trending on Twitter.

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