FBI’s Kavanaugh Report: No Evidence to Support Allegations
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman confirms no 'contemporaneous evidence' to back claims
As Senators take turns to review the FBI's report on the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, those who analyzed the report on Thursday morning have confirmed the probe found "no evidence" to support the accusations.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation completed the review one day ahead of the deadline set by the Senate Judiciary Committee and President Trump following demands for additional examinations of the allegations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford.
The Senate Judiciary Committee received the report shortly after White House early on Thursday morning.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley confirmed the report hasn't revealed anything the committee didn't already know and reveals no "contemporaneous evidence" to support the accusations leveled against Judge Kavanaugh.
According to CBS News, senators will only have one copy of the report to review in a secure room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.
The White House says that senators have "ample time" to review the seventh background inquiry into Kavanaugh's record.
Senators on both sides are expected to view with the report in one-hour increments in an effort to limit the possibility of potential leaks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a motion Wednesday for a cloture vote on Kavanaugh for Friday.
Those close to the situation now anticipate a confirmation vote to come sometime Saturday.
Precise scheduling will come from Leader McConnell.
McConnell: Kavanaugh allegations "have not been corroborated"
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, taking to the Senate floor, blasted how Democrats have handled the process and claimed the allegations against the nominee "have not been corroborated."
This is America, McConnell said, lamenting how a nominee's reputation could be destroyed by mere allegations.
McConnell called this a "shameful" spectacle that has been an "embarrassment" to the Senate.
Republicans are still on track to begin voting Friday, with final votes Saturday.
Schumer: I disagree with Grassley's statement that there was no hint of misconduct
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he disagrees with Grassley's statement that there was no hint of misconduct found in the FBI report.
But Schumer refused to take any questions from reporters to expound on that statement.
Feinstein, too, refused to take any questions.
Feinstein: Most important part of the report is what's not in it
Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the most important part of the report is what's not in it, citing people the FBI did not interview.
Feinstein said she could not talk about the report in detail, "But what I can say is the most notable part of this report is what's not in it."
Feinstein, however, said she had read "some" but "not all" of the report.
Few details on how Trump was briefed
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did not go into details about how the president was briefed on the report, who briefed him, or how many pages the report was.
Senators enter SCIF to review report
CBS News' John Nolen reports that the following Republican members have entered the secure room in the Capitol to review the FBI's findings as of 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning:
- Sen. Roger Wicker
- Sen. John Cornyn
- Sen. Mike Lee
- Sen. John Rounds
- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
- Sen. Jon Kyl
- Sen. David Perdue
- Sen. Mitch McConnell
- Sen. Orrin Hatch
- Sen. Chuck Grassley
- Sen. Deb Fischer
- Sen. Jim Inhofe
- Sen. John Barrasso
- Sen. Susan Collins
- Sen. Bob Corker
Grassley on FBI report: "There's nothing in it that we didn't already know"
In a statement from Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, the senator said after receiving a staff briefing on the FBI's report, "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.
"There's also no contemporaneous evidence.
"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," he added.
"It's time to vote. I'll be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh," Grassley urged.
White House's Raj Shah warns of "lasting impact" of Kavanaugh allegations
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said that the allegations against Kavanaugh could have a "lasting impact" on his reputation.
"I'm also concerned about the impact on the court.
"I'm concerned about the impact on future potential nominees.
"So yeah it's going to have a lasting impact, it's very unfortunate," he said.
He added that the process has "ruined people's lives," slamming Senate Democrats for pursuing a "scorched-earth" strategy.
Shah meanwhile said that the White House remains "fully confident" that the Senate will be comfortable with voting to support Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
He said that as part of their investigation, the FBI reached out to 10 people and interviewed 9.
Trump tweets Kavanaugh allegations have impact on voters
"The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters," tweeted President Trump in his first official comment following the FBI's report release.
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
He added, "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!"
The president followed up his tweet by urging "due process" throughout the final confirmation process.
"This is a very important time in our country. Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!"
What are Senators reviewing?
Fran Townsend, the former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush and CBS News national security analyst tells CBS This Morning that senators on Thursday will be looking at a record of their interviews with witnesses known as a 302 form.
Townsend explains that the record is more of a summary than an official transcript of the interview which will include the list of questions they asked and the answers they received from witnesses.
This report is then collated into the overall background report, creating a narrative that pulls other reports together into Kavanaugh's background.
The FBI's latest investigation dealt purely with the allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh and not his history of excessive drinking.
Townsend said that while she doesn't personally believe the investigation can be credible and complete without an interview of Dr. Ford, it shows just how constrained the bureau was with regards to the scope of their investigation.
She contends that the FBI could have asked Ford for her therapist notes and official polygraph test results to better corroborate her testimony.
She said without Ford's interview, it could potentially further impact the FBI's credibility in the process.
As Senate reviews report, White House says ball is in their court
CBS News' Cheif White House Correspondent Major Garrett reports according to two sources familiar with the process, the White House is now deferring to Leader McConnell on final timing and process but is now telling Republican senators that the ball is in their court regarding a final vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.
McConnell filed a motion Wednesday for a cloture vote on Kavanaugh, setting in motion the procedure that would usher in the first vote sometime Friday and the vote on the full Senate floor on Saturday.
If Senators stick to the current timeline a procedural vote would come early Friday morning and a final confirmation vote Saturday morning, approximately 30 hours after the procedural vote is gaveled out.
Ford's attorneys "disappointed" in cloture filing
In a statement from Kavanaugh accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's attorney's, the legal team admonished the FBI's investigation for failing to include an interview with Ford or other witnesses who could corroborate her Senate testimony.
"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," the statement added.
What is a cloture vote?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday filed a motion for a cloture vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, essentially setting in motion the procedure and process that would jump-start the voting process to confirm the next Supreme Court justice.
By invoking cloture, McConnell is ending the debate over changing the Senate Rules in order to hold a vote sometime on Friday and a vote by the full Senate on Saturday.
Senate rules require one intervening day between filing cloture and taking a procedural vote on cloture. Thursday would be that intervening day.
The final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh would occur 30 hours after the cloture vote.
There are up to 30 hours of debate if Senators want to use it. It is not assigned to either party.
If Republicans choose not to speak on the floor, Democrats can use all 30 hours if they choose.
Both sides would have to agree to yield back a certain amount of time to shorten the debate from 30 hours.