Thorough FBI report bolsters GOP hopes for Brett Kavanaugh

Chuck Grassley

Chuck Grassley

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, decrying what he described as "vicious" attacks against him while admitting he "might have been too emotional" during his hearing on Capitol Hill last week. North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who faces a hard re-election race next month, cited concerns about his "past conduct" and said she felt his heated attacks on Democrats during last week's Judiciary Committee hearing raised questions about his "current temperament, honesty and impartiality". Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested, including actress Amy Schumer.

The FBI's updated background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh reached out to 10 people, compiled 46 pages of notes from interviews - and appears to have made little headway in settling what really happened at high school and college parties more than 30 years ago.

McConnell had said Wednesday morning that senators supporting Kavanaugh would not be deterred from voting this week by protesters in the Senate hallways.

The controversy has unfolded just weeks ahead of the November 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are trying to seize control of Congress from the Republicans. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that before he could vote for Kavanaugh on the floor of the Senate, he would need the FBI to do a further investigation into the allegations. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME, along with Sen.

The FBI conducted their seventh background check into Kavanaugh after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced near the end of his confirmation process. Sen.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had reached out to 10 witnesses - nine of whom were interviewed - and that no one had corroborated the account of Ford, the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh has said stories of bad behavior while drinking are exaggerated.

A spokesman for Hassan declined to comment Wednesday night. In particular, with a record number of women running for office, mostly as Democrats, the controversy over Kavanaugh is likely to continue even if he gets confirmed.

The FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was the judge's seventh FBI background check.

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Trump nominated Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had been a swing vote on a panel now equally divided between four conservative and four liberal justices.

The Judiciary Committee also has held a hearing to hear directly from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at which both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testified under oath. Kavanaugh denied the allegation in testimony following Ford's, painting himself as the victim of a "political hit".

As Trump took the stage, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Kavanaugh in which he sought to assuage the concerns of senators - and many Americans - who anxious that his partisan-infused testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee a week ago suggested that he might not be impartial from the bench.

Richard Oh, who attended Yale at the same time Ramirez and Kavanaugh were students there, wrote in the declaration that he recalled a female student telling him that "what she initially thought was a plastic penis was exhibited, but she later realized it was a male student's exposed penis".

Kavanaugh called the judicial system the "crown jewel of our constitutional republic" and noted that the Supreme Court is "the last line of defense for the separation of powers, and for the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution". Kavanaugh wrote that his testimony "reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused".

Blasey Ford "wasn't raped, I just think they're blindly following a woman who has no evidence", she added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already started a process that will produce a crucial test vote in his polarised chamber on Friday on Mr Kavanaugh's fate.

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