With the report summarizing the FBI’s less-than-a-week-long probe into sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh now in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his accusers as well as witnesses to the events—not to mention outraged lawmakers and public citizens — are speaking out forcefully Thursday morning to decry the entire process as a “sham” and a “charade” in which those with the most to offer investigators were clearly ignored and the constraints set by the White House more obvious than ever.
Calling into question the entire probe, lawyers for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford issued a statement late Wednesday confirming their client, who herself offered credible testimony about Kavanaugh assaulting her while in high school, was never contacted or interviewed by the FBI nor were numerous witnesses who might have corroborated her claims.
“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,” said the 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.”
Interviewing the accuser & accused is Investigation 101. It is absolutely necessary to follow up on leads & corroborate details. The fact the FBI has not been authorized to take basic steps demonstrates the WH is turning this investigation into a sham & charade. https://t.co/OhviDS02OC
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) October 3, 2018
While Kavanaugh’s freshman-year roommate James Roach came forth Wednesday night, both in an op-ed in Slate and with an interview on CNN, to say unequivocally that Kavanaugh lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee while under oath, he says the FBI refused to interview him.
“I saw him do the stuff that he said under oath that he didn’t do. I saw him use words in a different way than he said under oath they were used.”
Brett Kavanaugh’s Yale roommate, Jamie Roche, says he is in a “singular position” to speak to the integrity of his Senate testimony pic.twitter.com/asylQikkjM
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) October 4, 2018
Offering a widely-shared reaction, Joe Lockhart, a political commentator for CNN, said in response: “Kavanaugh’s college roommate tells CNN tonight that the FBI, over 6 separate background checks, never interviewed him. This is all a sham.”
In the dead of night, the White House announces that the FBI has completed its investigation. Dozens of people who could provide additional information weren’t contacted. Investigators weren’t even allowed to interview Kavanaugh or Ford. If this isn’t a sham I don’t know what is. https://t.co/l9k11vNZE7
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) October 4, 2018
Relatedly, in a follow-up reporting by The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow published just before midnight on Wednesday, Debbie Ramirez — the Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who claimed that the nominee thrust his penis into her face while at a drunken party — said that while she was interviewed by federal agents, very few of the corroborating witnesses she provided, or that otherwise came forward, were contacted or deposed.
“I am very alarmed, first, that I was denied an F.B.I. investigation for five days, and then, when one was granted, that it was given on a short timeline and that the people who were key to corroborating my story have not been contacted,” Ramirez told The New Yorker. “I feel like I’m being silenced.”
According to Mayer and Farrow:
President Trump said that the Bureau should be able to interview “anybody they want within reason,” but the extent of the constraints placed on the investigating agents by the White House remained unclear. Late Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the F.B.I. probe was over and cleared the way for an important procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to take place on Friday. NBC News reported that dozens of people who said that they had information about Kavanaugh had contacted F.B.I. field offices, but agents had not been permitted to talk to many of them. Several people interested in speaking to the F.B.I. expressed exasperation in interviews with The New Yorker at what they perceived to be a lack of interest in their accounts.
While the White House has already begun leaking its assessment of the FBI report, leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, will be the first members of the Senate to review it on Thursday morning followed by Republicans on the committee, then Democrats on the committee, and finally all Senate members. Despite their ability to read and review the documents, however, lawmakers are forbidden from releasing its contents to the public.
More troubling for critics is that even before Grassley received the report he went ahead and scheduled a procedural cloture vote for Kavanaugh, that is now set for Friday.
BREAKING: @SenateMajLdr McConnell just filed cloture on Kavanaugh’s #SCOTUS nomination before senators have had a chance to read and assess the FBI report. This power play demonstrates McConnell is more interested in hiding the truth than protecting the Supreme Court’s integrity.
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) October 4, 2018
Amid all this, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving member from either party on the committee, issued an epic mega-thread on Wednesday evening that lays out all the ways in which Kavanaugh has a serious and documented “veracity problem” that cannot simply be swept under the rug.
After laying out his case in great detail, Leahy concluded:
BOTTOM LINE: It’s not just “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” or minimizing his contemporaneous drinking or misogyny in his yearbook. On issues big and small, anytime Judge Kavanaugh is faced with an incriminating or difficult question under oath, he cannot be trusted to tell the truth.
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) October 3, 2018
As Gowri Ramachandran and James Sample, law professors at Southwestern Law School and Hofstra Law School respectively, wrote in an op-ed for NBC News, “For a nominee to the nation’s highest court, an arms-length relationship with truth ought to be disqualifying in itself. Period.”