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October 17, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh: Senate to get FBI report within hours
World News

Brett Kavanaugh: Senate to get FBI report within hours


Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary committee on September 27, 2018Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Senators will shortly receive the FBI’s report on Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The US Senate is expected to receive the FBI’s report on allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, in the next few hours.

Its conclusions will not be made public, but Senators will be able to review the report on Thursday.

Republicans and Democrats remain bitterly divided on whether to approve Mr Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court judge.

The judge has vehemently denied all allegations against him.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a final Senate vote on the nomination on Saturday, after an earlier procedural vote on Friday.

The FBI reopened its background check into Judge Kavanaugh last week, after Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

If he joins the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh, 53, would be expected to tilt its ideological balance in favour of conservatives.

The court’s nine justices are appointed for life and have the final say on some of the most contentious issues in US public life, from abortion, to gun control, to voting laws.

What’s in the report?

Senators are not meant to reveal what the FBI says, but it remains to be seen whether that secrecy will hold.

The FBI has interviewed Mr Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who says he exposed himself to her at a college party.

Reuters reported that investigators spoke to Ms Ramirez for more than two hours on Sunday, and that she provided a list of more than 20 possible witnesses.

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Media captionChristine Blasey Ford said she was “100%” sure Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her

However, lawyers for his first accuser, Prof Ford, said that she had not been contacted by the agency.

Democrats have raised concerns that the investigation has been too narrow in scope, and that key witnesses have been omitted.

Will Kavanaugh be confirmed?

Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation depends on Republican Senators voting strictly along party lines.

The party has only a 51-49 Senate majority. That means that if all Democrats vote against confirming Mr Kavanaugh, Republicans can only afford one defection – since in a tie, Vice-President Mike Pence would get the casting vote.

Three Republican Senators – Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – are being closely watched, as they have not yet said how they will vote.

Two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, are yet to declare their intentions.

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Media captionMr Trump cast doubt on Prof Ford’s credibility

President Donald Trump has consistently backed Mr Kavanaugh, tweeting late on Wednesday that he was a “fine man”.

In contrast to the president’s enthusiasm, a coalition of US Christian churches with 40 million worshippers has urged Mr Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination.

The National Council of Churches said in a statement that he had shown “extreme partisan bias” during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and lacked the temperament to be a Supreme Court judge.



Source BBC News

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