Two Links about Kavanaugh FBI Report

Two Links about Kavanaugh FBI Report October 4, 2018

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Photo by Josh.

I’m just dropping in here to give you a couple of quick links concerning the Kavanaugh FBI report, which was released to day. Then, I have to get back to taking care of my family.

The first link is critical of the report. Since the report has not been released to the public, I can’t say whether this article is accurate or not. I feel strongly that the FBI report should be released to the American people. Let us read it, and decide for ourselves. This is OUR Supreme Court. Failing that, this kind of thing is all we have to go on. It might — or might not — hold up if we could read the report.

In the midst of the FBI’s investigation into the sexual-assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, plenty of potential witnesses made themselves available. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee produced a list of 24 people and entities who could possibly speak to the behavior of Kavanaugh; they could have also spoken to accusers Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, or Julie Swetnick. The SCOTUS nominee’s former roommate at Yale, who claimed Kavanaugh was “belligerent and aggressive when he was very drunk,” repeatedly requested to speak to the FBI, as did many of his former classmates. And Ford, who delivered a blistering testimony about her alleged sexual assault in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, spent the past seven days waiting for the bureau to officially interview her.

But at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, according to a statement from the Committee, the FBI delivered to Capitol Hill a report deemed complete, despite missing numerous testimonies of key sources; the Washington Post has been able to confirm interviews with only six witnesses.

Time is running out: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on Wednesday evening, ending debate over the nomination, and the Senate will vote Friday on whether or not to confirm Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, many of Kavanaugh’s former classmates — many of whom dispute the nominee’s characterization of himself in college, but not all — are still attempting to reach the FBI.

Below, everyone the FBI did not interview over the sexual-assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

Blasey Ford claims that Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to rape her at a high school party in 1982, a traumatic alleged incident that she bravely recounted last week; she didn’t want to come forward, as she felt “terrified,” but she felt it was her “civic duty” to speak out about the Kavanaugh she knew. Apparently, Blasey Ford’s testimony was enough for the FBI, as her lawyers say that the bureau never contacted them — a decision they found to be “profoundly disappointing.”

“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,” lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement released Wednesday night. “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 FBI also failed to interview the person whose fate will be determined by the outcome of the investigation: Kavanaugh, himself.

At a Yale dorm party in the early 1980s, Ramirez claims that Kavanaugh thrust his exposed penis in her face, causing her to touch it against her will. While Ramirez did not testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee like Ford, she confirmed to the New Yorker on Wednesday that the FBI had interviewed her. They had reportedly not, however, spoken to the list of more than 20 people who might have relevant information, and whom her team provided to FBI agents. As of Wednesday, Ramirez’s team said they had no knowledge of the FBI interviewing a single potential witness from the list, which Ramirez found concerning.

“Being told that these people haven’t even been contacted,” Ramirez told the New Yorker, “it’s very troubling to me.”

The day after Ramirez came forward, Kavanaugh’s former freshman roommate at Yale, Jamie Roche, declared his support of and belief in Ramirez. Over the past few weeks, Roche has been relatively vocal about his attempts and failure to contact the FBI, and on Wednesday evening, he published an essay in Slate accusing Kavanaugh of lying under oath about his drinking. Were he to speak to the FBI, he would say:

Brett Kavanaugh stood up under oath and lied about his drinking and about the meaning of words in his yearbook. He did so baldly, without hesitation or reservation. In his words and his behavior, Judge Kavanaugh has shown contempt for the truth, for the process, for the rule of law, and for accountability. His willingness to lie to avoid embarrassment throws doubt on his denials about the larger questions of sexual assault. In contrast, I cannot remember ever having a reason to distrust anything, large or small, that I have heard from Debbie.

The second link is more positive about the report. I’m not in the habit of supporting documents I have not read, so I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude about the report. It sounds as if Kavanaugh will be confirmed, although there is some question about the day of the confirmation vote. Then we’ll see if he overturns Roe. There are enough votes to do that if we have his. The question is, did he lie to Senator Susan Collins when he told her that he believes that Roe is “established law,” which is legal speak for no, I won’t overturn it.

After a months-long debate over Kavanaugh’s credentials, the Senate’s decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court had narrowed to a proxy battle over the credibility of a six-day inquiry. GOP leaders and the White House quickly and triumphantly announced that the investigation had produced “no corroboration” of the claims, while Democrats complained that the inquiry wasn’t thorough enough. Crucially, two key Republicans who had demanded the probe, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona, appeared to side with their leadership and told reporters that they had seen what they needed to see.


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7 responses to “Two Links about Kavanaugh FBI Report”

  1. One key republican vote, has a wedding scheduled for tomorrow.

    I doubt very strongly either the Republicans or the Democrats want us to see the interviews from this investigation.

  2. The debate is now closed—51-49 to do so. I’m afraid he will be confirmed tomorrow. IMO, the FBI was hampered by DT in who they could talk to, and thus the many folks who had observed Bett’s drinking habits etc. weren’t given a chance to tell their experiences. Hope your Mom is doing better.

  3. The question is, did he lie to Senator Susan Collins when he told her that he believes that Roe is “established law,” which is legal speak for no, I won’t overturn it.

    People hear in the phrase “established law” the implication that “no, this law won’t be overturned.” That’s not strictly true, and it never has been strictly true in the United States. The principle of stare decisis, as the SCOTUS has viewed it historically, is that a law once decided shall remain in force unless there is a compelling change in legal reasoning that allows for that law to be overturned. Thus, Plessy v Ferguson was protected by stare decisis until a change in legal reasoning overturned Plessy in Brown v Board of Education. When Judge Kavanaugh says that Roe v Wade is “established law,” he is not saying that Roe is settled forever, but that it is settled until a compelling change in legal reasoning comes around to overturn Roe. The question, then, is this: will a case come before the SCOTUS that is (a) squarely on point with, and (b) in opposition to, the principles enumerated in Roe and (c) containing such compelling legal reasoning that the Court is persuaded to overturn Roe? I don’t know the answer to that, but I have no doubt that Right-to-Life groups around the country are aiming to create such a case once Judge Kavanaugh is on the SCOTUS bench.

    A cursory perusal of the FBI’s website leads me to believe that FBI background checks on living persons are private unless disclosure is authorized explicitly by law. From what I read, I think that Judge Kavanaugh could authorize the release of his background check to the public, provided that it was redacted to avoid disclosing the identities of people interviewed by the FBI. Congress could authorize release of the information with or without redaction. Neither Judge Kavanaugh nor Congress will do this, in my opinion.

  4. blah, blah, blah. He meant “I won’t vote to overturn Roe.” Senator Collins said thats what he meant in a press conference she gave in front of her office.

    But the discussion is academic now. We’ll see if he lied to Senator Collins, or if we’ve been lied to by the pro life leadership. In short, we don’t need to debate if he will overturn Roe. We’re going to find out.

  5. Point is, I don’t think he lied. I think he gave an answer that was intentionally ambiguous given how stare decisis has worked in American jurisprudence. As you said, we will see what happens, but I would not characterize his statement to Susan Collins as a lie. Given the history of stare decisis in this country, it was (perhaps deliberately) an ambiguous statement.