Grassley says new FBI report backs Kavanaugh, urges Senate to send him to h

By Brooke Singman | Fox News

Fresh from viewing the much-anticipated FBI supplemental report on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley declared nothing in the document changed his mind and that it was time for the Senate to vote on the jurist's high-court confirmation.

“I’ve now received a committee staff briefing on the FBI’s supplement to Judge Kavanaugh’s background investigation file," the Iowa GOP lawmaker said Thursday. "There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know. These uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations.

“It’s time to vote," Grassley added. "I’ll be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Grassley was the first senator to view the document, which was ordered by the White House after allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct emerged against Kavanaugh after his nomination hearing before Grassley's committee had ended. Other members of the committee and the full Senate will be permitted to view the documents in a secure facility later today.

The FBI interviewed nine potential witnesses in search of possible corroboration of Christine Ford's claim the now 53-year-old Kavanaugh forcibly groped her when they were teenagers. Although the report is not expected to be made public, potential witnesses named by Ford previously said they had no knowledge of the party where she claims the attack occurred.

Ford's claims, put forward in a letter that the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., produced last month, led to an emotional new hearing a week ago. Ford repeated her claims, and Kavanaugh then tearfully denied them and accused members of the Senate of combing through his past and turning the body's "advice and consent" role into one of "search and destroy."

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Scene at the Captiol as senators are making their way into SCIF to view the FBI report on Kavanaugh: Sens. Lee, Rubio, Ernst and Shelby have just gone in. Feinstein walked by reporters, but didn’t comment.

8:58 AM - Oct 4, 2018

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Grassley echoed Kavanaugh's charge in urging his colleagues to take a vote, which could occur as early as Saturday.

“Fundamentally, we senators ought to wipe away the muck from all the mudslinging and politics and look at this nomination with clear eyes," Grassley said. "Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most qualified nominees to ever come before the Senate. He’s served with distinction for twelve years on the nation’s most important circuit court and dedicated himself to serving the American public. We know that he will be an excellent justice because he’s been an excellent judge."

Last week, after bipartisan calls from the Senate, President Trump directed the FBI to re-open the background probe of Kavanaugh to investigate the allegations. The White House requested that the investigation last no more than one week.

“This investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh’s 25 years of public service,” Grassley said. “I trust that the career agents of the FBI have done their work independent of political or partisan considerations. That’s exactly what senators from both sides asked for.”

He added: “Now it’s up to senators to fulfill their constitutional duty and make a judgment."

The White House said Thursday that is “fully confident” that Kavanaugh will eventually be confirmed to the high court.

But attorneys for Ford slammed the investigation for not interviewing the California professor.

“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,” Ford’s legal team said in a statement. “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.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also blasted the report, saying he had "fears" the FBI was "too limited" in the scope and time period for the investigation.

Schumer also slammed the fact that only one copy of the FBI's report was provided to Congress. "This is constraining the ability for all senators and the ability of the American public to see the full truth," Schumer said.

But sources told Fox News on Wednesday that a 2009 memorandum of understanding governed the process that resulted in one report being sent to Congress and kept in a safe. The sources added that all 100 senators were authorized to view the document, upon request from the committee and the designated nine committee staffers.

The original request from the Senate was for the FBI to interview four people who were allegedly at the party described by Ford. The White House on Monday asked the FBI to expand that circle. Sources familiar with the FBI’s investigation told Fox News that the bureau interviewed nine people in total, and received a sworn statement from a 10th person.

The source did not reveal the identities of those interviewed, but other sources confirmed to Fox News that the FBI interviewed Kavanaugh friend Mark Judge, who Ford claims was in the room during the alleged incident and Leland Keyser, Ford’s friend who was allegedly at the party. Both witnesses have denied having knowledge of the alleged incident.

Judge, in a letter to the committee last week, said he did “not recall the events described by Dr. Ford in her testimony” nor did he see “Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”

In a statement to the committee last month, a lawyer for Keyser denied having attended the party.

“Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford,” Keyser’s lawyer told the committee.

Sources told Fox News that after the interviews and reviews of statements received, there was no corroborating evidence to back any accusations leveled by Ford.

Despite concerns from Democrats, after reviewing the report, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he “learned nothing” that he “didn’t already know.”

“He’s probably the most scrutinized guy in America,” Graham told Fox News. “I’m more confident than ever ... that the allegations levied against him were not proven to be more reliable. Quite the opposite.”

Graham added: “Without telling you what the witnesses said, the main thing for me is the FBI did a professional job and were not hindered in time…and were not hindered in any fashion.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed cloture on Wednesday evening, to end debate on the nomination, setting up a key procedural vote for Friday -- and a possible confirmation vote as early as Saturday.

On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell blasted the Kavanaugh confirmation process as having "been ruled by fear and anger and underhanded gamesmanship."

Fox News' Alex Pappas, Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

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