The White House has sent an FBI investigation of sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with a Trump spokesman saying it should lead to his confirmation.
Senators, including a handful of undecided lawmakers who will decide if Kavanaugh becomes the ninth justice and tips the court to the right, soon will be able to review the report as a procedural vote is teed up for Friday.
“With [Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell’s cloture filing, senators have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.
“This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews, over 1,200 questions for the record and over a half million pages of documents,” Shah said. “With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”
Shah told CNN White House officials are not legally able to reveal details of the report, which he said the White House received late Wednesday.
The bureau contacted 10 individuals and “leads were followed up on,” he said. Reiterating his statement, Shah said Trump officials are “very confident” the report will make senators “feel confident” in voting to confirm Kavanaugh.
Asked to address concerns from Democrats and Trump critics that he limited the scope of the FBI investigation, Shah said any probe has limits but the White House attempted to mold the investigation to meet senators’ demands in a bipartisan deal struck Friday by Judiciary Committee members.
“We did not micromanage their process,” Shah said of the FBI.
Just before Shah appeared, the network played a clip from an interview with one of Kavanaugh’s college roommates who said the nominee lied under oath last week about his drinking and behavior as a younger man.
Shah and a CNN anchor tussled about accusations of sexual misconduct made by Deborah Ramirez, with the spokesman saying Ramirez had contacted people in recent weeks unsure of her own accusations.
Shah, as White House officials have said all week, accused Democrats of solely wanting to slow the process to keep the high court seat open long enough to possibly force a less conservative nominee.
“We don’t necessarily know yet” if there are 50 votes to confirm Kavanaugh — with Vice President Mike Pence available to cast the 51st and decisive vote. But he again said the White House is “confident” those votes will be there after senators review the report.
As senators were getting their first look at the report, President Donald Trump again accused “mean and despicable” Democrats of trying to “ruin” Kavanaugh’s life with “totally uncorroborated allegations.”
The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters. The PEOPLE get it far better than the politicians. Most importantly, this great life cannot be ruined by mean & despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2018
As the bureau was wrapping up its probe and crafting the report on Wednesday, senior White House aides were busily calling for votes as soon as possible, while also criticizing Senate Democrats and trying to paint Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, as uncredible and perhaps untruthful.
Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, on Wednesday pressured three vulnerable red-state Democrats, warning they would be “complicit” in a plan to “destroy” the nominee if they vote against his confirmation.
She and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to “inconsistencies” in Ford’s recollection of an alleged sexual assault at a 1982 party that Kavanaugh denies.
As senators process the FBI’s findings, Trump is likely to weigh in on the report — either on Twitter, as he departs the White House just before 1 p.m., or at a campaign rally in Rochester Minnesota.
There are — for now — no plans for the president to speak directly to the Republican and vulnerable red-state Democratic senators who remain undecided about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, Sanders said Wednesday.
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