FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, for the third day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers has come forward to The Washington Post. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The Latest: DOJ: It's not the FBI's job to judge allegations

September 17, 2018 - 11:18 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

The Justice Department says the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "does not involve any potential federal crime" for the FBI to investigate.

The department said in a statement Monday night that the FBI's role during background investigations is to evaluate whether the nominee could pose a national security risk and then provide that information "for the use of the decision makers."

The department says it's not the job of the FBI to judge the significance or the credibility of an accusation.

In the case of Kavanaugh, the FBI received a letter Sept. 12 with allegations of misconduct in the 1980s, when both Kavanaugh and his accuser were teenagers.

The Justice Department says the FBI forwarded the letter to the White House counsel's office.

___

6:35 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing next Monday with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were teens.

That's according to the GOP chairman, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who announced the hearing Monday "to give these recent allegations a full airing."

Grassley had tried to have the panel's staff conduct phone interviews with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. But Democrats rejected the private interviews and want the FBI to investigate the allegations as part of the nominee's background investigation.

Grassley says "anyone who comes forward" as Ford has done "deserves to be heard."

Kavanaugh denies assaulting the woman. The White House says he "looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name."

___

6:10 p.m.

The White House says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is ready to testify in the Senate as soon as Tuesday so "he can clear his name of this false allegation" about a sexual assault while in high school.

Republicans say plans are in the works for a public session for both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the college professor who is accusing him of sexual assault when they were high-school age. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.

White House spokesman Raj Shah says Kavanaugh "looks forward to a hearing" and "stands ready to testify."

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told reporters the public session would be a "full opportunity" for both to be heard.

A Senate aide says the hearing will likely be held next week.

___

5:25 p.m.

A person familiar with the Senate's effort to confirm Brett Kavanaugh says Republican aides on a Senate panel were planning to talk to the Supreme Court nominee Monday to discuss the allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman when both were in high school in the 1980s.

The source says GOP aides on the Senate Judiciary Committee were hoping to arrange a similar phone call on Tuesday with his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Democrats say they won't participate in the call because the accusations merit more attention. They want Republicans to delay Thursday's planned Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination so the FBI can investigate the charge.

Senate Republicans are showing no willingness to postpone the meeting, though President Donald Trump has said there might be a "little delay."

The source spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal information they weren't authorized to discuss publicly.

____

By Mary Clare Jalonick

___

4:35 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's top Democrat says her party's aides won't participate in a phone call the staff of majority Republicans have planned with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The private interview via phone follows accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein says Republicans gave Democrats just a few hours notice. She says a staff-only call is unacceptable because of the allegations' "enormity and seriousness," and violates how the panel has worked in the past.

Feinstein said the FBI should conduct the interview and let the Judiciary panel decide whether to seek additional information.

Feinstein's statement came as Republicans deflected offers by Kavanaugh and Ford to testify before the committee. Republicans have planned for a committee confirmation vote Thursday, with a full Senate vote later this month.

___

4:30 p.m.

A key Republican senator says it would be "disqualifying" if Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied about a sexual assault allegation from high school.

Susan Collins of Maine tells reporter that she asked about the accusation when she spoke with Kavanaugh on Friday. She says Kavanaugh was "absolutely emphatic" that the allegation was not true.

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were both high-school age. He calls the accusation "completely false."

Collins said the conflicting accounts are why it's important that both Ford and Kavanaugh testify under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Collins is considered a potential swing vote on Kavanaugh. If both oppose him, his nomination could stall.

___

4:25 p.m.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says Republicans on the Judiciary Committee can't be trusted to conduct an impartial review of the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Schumer says voting on Kavanaugh scheduled for this week must be delayed so these "serious and credible" allegations can be investigated by the FBI.

He said from the Senate floor, "This has to be done by an independent outside body."

The New York Democrat says he believes Christine Blasey Ford, the college professor accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault while the two were at a party in high school. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

The Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, wants the panel's top staff to interview Ford and Kavanaugh. Democrats reject that and want a full investigation.

___

4:10 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the GOP will review the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "by the book" with bipartisan interviews on the Judiciary Committee.

The Republican leader criticized Democrats for sitting on the information during weeks of debate on Kavanaugh's nomination. During all that time, "they did not raise it," he said in a Senate floor speech.

McConnell says he has "great confidence" in the Senate Judiciary Committee's GOP chairman, Chuck Grassley, who has said he will seek interviews with both Ford and Kavanaugh.

He says Grassley is following standard practice of private interviews when new information is added to the background file of a nominee.

Christine Blasey Ford accuses Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party in high school. Kavanaugh calls the accusation "completely false."

___

3:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says "a little delay" may be needed on an upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. But the president is predicting that it will "work out very well."

The president is facing questions about Kavanaugh amid scrutiny of a woman's claim that the judge sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both in high school.

Trump says he wants a "full process" to investigate the allegations. But the president says Kavanaugh's nomination is "on track. I think he's very much on track."

Trump is praising Kavanaugh as one of the finest people he's known. And he called a question about whether Kavanaugh should withdraw "ridiculous."

___

3:30 p.m.

Sen. Orrin Hatch says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh told him he wasn't at the party where a woman has accused him of sexually assaulting her.

The Utah Republican tells CNN, "Somebody's mixed up."

College professor Christine Blasey Ford is accusing Kavanaugh of assault at a party when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

Hatch says he talked to Kavanaugh for about 10 minutes by phone Monday and says the judge is "naturally very upset about it."

Hatch says Kavanaugh told him, "This did not happen."

The senator, who is on the Judiciary Committee vetting Kavanaugh, tells reporters it would be hard for senators not to consider "who the judge is today. Because that's the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is."

___

3:10 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill wants a review of the sexual misconduct allegations made against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The Missouri senator says she's "deeply troubled" by the allegations raised by Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies the claims.

McCaskill is among 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won. She hasn't said how she will vote on Kavanaugh.

A spokeswoman for her challenger, Republican Josh Hawley, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Hawley has said he supports Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Missouri's other senator, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, also said the Judiciary Committee should examine Ford's claims before further action is taken.

___

2:55 p.m.

Three Senate Democrats up for re-election say the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct should testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Professor Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school more than three decades ago. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who is up for re-election in a state where President Donald Trump is popular, says the Senate needs to listen to Ford and hear her story. Her election opponent, Republican Kevin Cramer, questioned the timing of the allegation and says the confirmation process should proceed.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, another Democrat facing a tough re-election race, says Ford and Kavanaugh should testify "as quickly as possible."

Manchin says Ford "deserves to be heard" and Kavanaugh "deserves a chance to clear his name."

Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, another vulnerable Democrat, says that the allegations are "serious" and merit further review.

___

2:50 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is suggesting the Senate Judiciary Committee postpone its vote on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brent Kavanaugh, and that the committee investigate the decades-old allegations of sexual assault against him.

In a statement from spokesman Bill Russo, Biden says Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, "deserves a fair and respectful hearing of her allegations, and that the Committee should undertake a thorough and non-partisan effort to get to the truth, wherever it leads."

Biden, a Democrat, was a longtime member of the committee during his 36 years in the Senate from Delaware before becoming vice president in 2009. Biden is weighing a 2020 campaign for president.

Biden was the committee's chairman during the contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Robert Bork in 1987 and presided over Clarence Thomas' hearing in 1991 when Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment, allegations he denied.

___

11:50 a.m.

A key Republican senator, Susan Collins, says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual misconduct should both testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Collins tweeted Monday that Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh "should both testify."

The Maine Republican is a key swing vote on Kavanaugh's nomination. If she were to vote against Kavanaugh, the opposition of another Republican could block his nomination.

The Judiciary panel's chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, wants Kavanaugh and Ford to be interviewed by phone by bipartisan staff. But Democrats say staff calls are insufficient and want the proceedings postponed so the FBI can investigate.

Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh denies the claim, calling it "completely false."

___

11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump's eldest son is appearing to mock a woman's sexual assault allegations against his father's nominee for the Supreme Court.

Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor, has come forth with an allegation that Brett Kavanaugh, the president's nominee, assaulted her at a party more than 30 years ago.

Donald Trump Jr. posted an image on Instagram Monday with the caption "Judge Kavanaugh sexual assault letter found by Dems..."

The photo attached shows a crumpled-up piece of notebook paper with a scribbled message: "Hi Cindy will you be my girlfriend, Love Bret."

The note has boxes to check for "yes" or "no" and seems to compares Kavanaugh's accuser to a school yard crush.

Trump Jr. also "liked" a tweet from conservative actor James Woods that compared the accusation to a #MeToo "lynching."

___

11:20 a.m.

All 10 Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats want that panel's Republican chairman to postpone this week's planned committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

The Democrats have written Iowa GOP Sen. Charles Grassley saying delaying Thursday's hearing would give the FBI time to investigate allegations by a woman who says a drunk Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when both were in high school in the early 1980s.

The letter says there are serious questions about Kavanaugh's "record, truthfulness and character."

The White House and Kavanaugh deny any assault took place.

Grassley hasn't indicated he'd delay the committee vote.

Christine Blasey Ford described the alleged assault in an interview with The Washington Post published Sunday, complicating what had seemed to be a smooth path to Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation.

___

10:55 a.m.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has arrived at the White House amid scrutiny of a woman's claim he sexually assaulted her at a party when they were in high school.

Kavanaugh went to the West Wing on Monday shortly after issuing a strongly worded statement denying the woman's allegation and stressing his willingness to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee to "refute" it. It's unclear with whom he's meeting.

The White House is standing behind Kavanaugh as the allegation threatens his nomination.

The woman, Christine Blasey Ford, came forward Sunday in an interview with The Washington Post to say a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers.

___

10:30 a.m.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is again denying a woman's allegation he sexually assaulted her at a party three decades ago.

The White House released a new statement Monday from the nominee in which he calls the claim "completely false." Kavanaugh says he never did what the accuser describes "to her or anyone."

The woman, Christine Blasey Ford, came forward Sunday in an interview with The Washington Post to say a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers.

Kavanaugh says in the statement he "had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself."

Kavanaugh had been on a smooth confirmation track, but the new allegations have roiled that process.

___

8:20 a.m.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says a woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school "should testify under oath and she should do it on Capitol Hill."

She says that's up to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Conway told reporters Monday accuser Christine Blasey Ford should "not be ignored or insulted." Conway says Kavanaugh also should testify to the allegations, noting he has already provided testimony and has undergone FBI background checks.

Ford tells The Washington Post a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has "categorically" denied the allegations.

The White House says "Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement."

___

7:30 a.m.

A lawyer for a woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school says her client is willing to tell her story publicly to the Senate panel considering his nomination. She says the woman considers Kavanaugh's actions "attempted rape."

Debra Katz represents Christine Blasey Ford, who tells The Washington Post a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

Katz told NBC's "Today" show she "clearly considers this an attempted rape."

Kavanaugh has "categorically" denied those allegations, a denial repeated Monday by the White House.

Katz tells ABC's "Good Morning America" the accuser is "willing to cooperate" with investigators and the Senate Judiciary Committee. She says Ford, a Democrat, isn't politically motivated.

The Republican-controlled Senate panel appears committed to a vote on Kavanaugh this week.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()