FBI to probe Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations after emotional Senate testimony

UPDATE — 9/29, 5:53 p.m. EDT: NBC News is reporting the FBI will not investigate a salacious accusation of sexual misconduct made by Julie Swetnick against Brett Kavanaugh, which include drugging girls and allowing rape to occur at high school parties in the 1980s.

The Washington Post reported earlier Saturday, however, the FBI is investigating another Kavanaugh sexual assault allegation from Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez who says the Supreme Court nominee exposed his pelvic area to her face at a freshman dorm party while intoxicated.

 

Amid a taut political atmosphere Thursday in the Hart Senate Building, the accuser of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Dr. Christina Blasey Ford, offered testimony over an alleged attempted sexual assault 36 years ago, while the two were in high school.

Frequently consulting her attorney, Ford offered a sometimes moving account of her experience in 1982, in which she claims Kavanaugh and an acquaintance attempted to assault her.

In her description of the incident, Ford stated she was forced into a room, thrown onto a bed and groped by two men, Kavanaugh and his acquaintance, Mark Judge, and then forced an escape from their hold.

In detail, Ford accused Kavanaugh of placing his hand over her mouth to prevent her screams from being heard.  She later added she thought Kavanaugh was going to rape her and his hand covering her mouth may “accidentally kill” her.

“They were having fun at my expense.  I was underneath one of them while the two laughed,” Ford testified.

Asked by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) over the reliability of her memory recalling it was indeed Kavanaugh who attacker her,  Ford replied:  “100 percent certain.”

Foregoing questioning from the 11-member majority, the GOP preferred to leave questioning to Phoenix, Ariz., prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who delicately questioned the witness.  During questioning, Ford failed to recall details surrounding the traumatic event, but remained firm Kavanaugh was her assailant.

Returning in the mid-afternoon, an emotional and combative Kavanaugh opened his testimony with a 44-minute statement, angrily denouncing the accusations and imparting the impact of the charges on his family.

Calling the entire nomination hearing a “national disgrace,” Kavanaugh struck a defiant tone, saying he, and his family have been “permanently destroyed” by “vicious and false . . . accusations.”

Kavanaugh went on to claim forces bitter over the 2016 election, fierce partisanship and his role in the 1998 probe of perjury allegations against former President Clinton were placing him in the cross hairs.

Alternatively emotional and pugnacious, Kavanaugh offered details of his personal and professional life affected by the allegations.

Denying the charges, Kavanaugh stated he was willing to bow to any committee recommendation to clear his name and reminded the 21-member panel he had served admirably as a judge and had easily cleared six FBI background investigations to green light government positions.

Clearly agitated with the accusations, Kavanaugh often sourly engaged with Democratic senators on the panel, interrupting them during questioning.

Following the hearing’s conclusion, Mitchell told GOP senators on the panel based on her line of questioning she would not recommend Mr. Kavanaugh for criminal prosecution based on her experience.

On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee called on President Trump to order an FBI investigation regarding “current credible allegations against (Kavanaugh)”, following a panel vote advancing his nomination to the Senate floor.

An action backed by GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and nearly the entire Democratic caucus, Trump later announced the FBI will investigate at the Senate’s behest, with a deadline of Friday, Oct. 5.

 

Editor’s note: The last two paragraphs of this article have been edited and updated.

 

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