How the FBI Might End the Kavanaugh Deadlock

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A California woman says Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s. He denies it. Could the FBI break the deadlock? “They could assign 100 agents to this and be done in two days,” Tom Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director, tells USA Today. That doesn’t mean there would be a clear winner and loser. For now, the accusation from college professor Christine Blasey Ford that is blocking Kavanaugh from becoming the 114th Supreme Court justice remains a “she said, he said” dispute because the White House hasn’t asked the FBI to reopen its background investigation. “They could have it completed by Monday,” when the committee is scheduled to hear from both the judge and the professor, says Sarah Baker, a White House lawyer under President Obama.

That apparently won’t happen. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), says the decision is for the White House. Even if a new probe was conducted, he said, it likely wouldn’t shed much light on alleged high school misconduct because “the FBI does not make a credibility assessment of any information it receives with respect to a nominee.” If a probe happened, Ford would come under the microscope, Fuentes warned. Investigators might ask her peers at the time about her sex life, use of alcohol and other personal details. “By making an accusation like this, you do leave yourself wide open to what kind of credibility you have as a complainant,” Fuentes said. An interview with Kavanaugh could be over in 30 minutes because “if he has no recollection of any of this, then where is the burden?” he said. In 1987, an FBI check on Judge Douglas Ginsburg failed to turn up evidence he had smoked marijuana. Nine days after President Ronald Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court, he withdrew.

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