FBI finishes judge sex probe

Activists demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court and hold a vigil in opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington
Activists demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court and hold a vigil in opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington
Image: Reuters

The Senate Judiciary Committee has received the Federal Bureau of Investigation report on sexual misconduct allegations against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and legislators will review the document before a key procedural vote on Friday.

The administration had also received the FBI’s report and was confident the Senate would approve his nomination, White House spokesperson Raj Shah said on Twitter.

The White House had found no corroboration of the allegations against Kavanaugh in the report, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the head of the Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter that he and the panel’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, had agreed to alternating equal access for senators to study the report.

A source said there were no bombshells in the document.

The FBI report was sent to the White House and Senate just hours after Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell took steps on Wednesday night to force a procedural vote on the nomination one hour after the Senate convenes on Friday.

McConnell filed a petition for a cloture vote, which if successful would limit debate on the nomination and start the clock ticking on a final 30-hour waiting period before a Senate confirmation vote.

After filing a cloture petition, legislators must wait one legislative day before proceeding to a vote, according to Senate rules.

Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor from California, has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her in 1982 when they were high school students.

Her attorneys said she had not been contacted by the FBI for the latest report.

Several people with information related to allegations against Kavanaugh said they had not heard from the FBI, suggesting its report might be narrower than was desired by some lawmakers who demanded it just days ago.

With the report’s conclusions as yet unclear, a partisan struggle over it has been developing.

US President Donald Trump and the Senate Republican leadership are battling to corral enough support for a majority vote for Kavanaugh, who is a conservative federal appeals court judge, while Democrats are in near unanimity against him.

Three Republicans who could be key to whether Kavanaugh is confirmed – senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – criticised Trump for mocking Ford at a political rally in Mississippi on Tuesday.

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