Federal Bureau of Investigation reaches out to second Kavanaugh accuser

Noah Berlatsky

Judge, who California professor Christine Blasey Ford says was in the room when a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, said he will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that will "confidentially investigate" sexual misconduct allegations against them.

Senate leaders agreed to delay a final vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to allow for a one-week FBI investigation. Kavanaugh, in his testimony following Ford's, categorically denied the allegations.

Democrats urged the FBI to investigate Swetnick's claims and voiced concern that the White House may be narrowing the scope of the agency's work.

Christine Blasey Ford's legal team said Sunday they have not yet been contacted by the FBI despite the narrowing time frame for the investigation President Donald Trump ordered Friday.

The FBI has been given a list of four witnesses to interview as part of a background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, The New York Times reported.

Deborah Ramirez's lawyer, John Clune, said Saturday that agents want to interview Ramirez, who has alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s. Two others, Swetnick and Debbie Ramirez, have publicly come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of other sexual misconduct.

The only official description of parameters has come from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who said Friday the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe would be no more than a week long and would be limited exclusively to "current credible allegations" against Kavanaugh. While the scope of the investigation remains unclear, Trump says the FBI "has free rein" and that he wants agents to interview whomever they deem appropriate. "I encourage them to use the next week to gather any additional relevant facts, and then act on this nomination".

Swetnick has claimed, in a sworn statement, that Kavanaugh and Judge engaged in lewd behaviour with young women at high school parties, and alleged the two placed drugs or alcohol in punch in order to inebriate women so they could be "gang raped" by other partygoers. Jeff Flake, a moderate Republican who surprised colleagues by announcing his support for Kavanaugh early Friday only to call for further investigation a few hours later. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also said she had not discussed the matter with McGahn.

"I need to go", Flake said. Why do they insist on muzzling women with information submitted under penalty of perjury?

"Having them do a thorough investigation, I actually think it will be a blessing in disguise", Trump said.

The FBI can not force someone to talk to them as part of the process.

The others include Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh who Ford said witnessed the assault and Leland Keyser and P.J. Smyth, who she said were at the gathering.

"To see his family behind him, as Chris said, it was anger - but if I were unjustly accused, that's how I would feel as well", Flake said. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favour of Kavanaugh along party lines Friday. "I think you give a little leeway there".

"The Senate is dictating the terms", she said. "You're telling me that my assault doesn't matter, that what happened to me doesn't matter and you're going to elect people who do these things into power".

Emma Scott, an 18-year-old University of South Carolina freshman from Charleston, South Carolina, said that, while she doesn't doubt Ford endured a trauma of some kind, she wasn't convinced it could be tied to Kavanaugh. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee said last week they interviewed two men who said they might have had the encounter with Ford that she described, but no Republican senator has lent any credence to those claims.

"Instead of watching, I decided I would be better served by praying for the people who were talking and listening", Conger said.

Another wing of the party was just as convinced that Republicans would trigger Election Day doom should they fail to confirm Trump's Supreme Court pick.



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