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“If there is no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that. Are you afraid that they might not?”

During Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Thursday testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against him, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) repeatedly tried to pin down the judge by asking if he thought an FBI investigation would help clear his name.

Durbin also asked if Kavanaugh thought the testimony of his friend Mark Judge would help exonerate him. Ford alleges that Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her when they were high school students.

Kavanaugh repeatedly dodged both questions, saying he was innocent and that he welcomed the opportunity for a Senate hearing. He would not commit to submitting to an FBI investigation.

“Judge, if there is no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that,” Durbin said. “Are you afraid that they might not?”

When sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh first began to emerge from Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick, Senate Democrats began to call loudly for an FBI investigation, which was also a request of Ford and her legal team.

Senate Republicans refused to refer the case back to the FBI, eager to speedily confirm Kavanaugh before the November midterms. They insisted the nominee had been thoroughly vetted, and said they only wanted to hear from Ford and Kavanaugh. A committee vote on Kavanaugh has already been scheduled for Friday morning.

What Durbin asked Kavanaugh at the hearing

Kavanaugh repeatedly said he was willing to do whatever the Senate Judiciary Committee wanted to do (remember, Republican members of the committee do not want an investigation), and complained that the allegations were “sprung” on him at the last minute.

Durbin continued to press him.

“Why would you resist that kind of investigation?” he prodded. A few seconds later, he followed up: “Judge Kavanaugh, will you support an FBI investigation right now?”

Ultimately, Kavanaugh did not answer the question. Furthermore, it is unlikely that Republicans will change their minds and call for an FBI investigation at the last minute, even with multiple other women coming forward with separate sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.

Below is a transcript of the exchange between Kavanaugh and Durbin.

Dick Durbin

I’ll just say this, if you, Judge Kavanaugh, turned to Don McGahn and to this committee and say for the sake of my reputation, my family name, and to get to the bottom of the truth of this, I am not going to be obstacle to an FBI investigation, I would hope that all the members of the committee would join me in saying, we’re going to abide by your wishes and we will have that investigation.

Brett Kavanaugh

I welcome whatever the committee wants to do because I’m telling the truth.

Dick Durbin

I want to know what you want to do.

Brett Kavanaugh

I’m telling the truth.

Dick Durbin

I want to know what you want to do, Judge.

Brett Kavanaugh

I’m innocent. I’m innocent of this charge.

Dick Durbin

You’re prepared for an FBI investigation?

Brett Kavanaugh

They don’t reach conclusions. You reach the conclusion, Senator.

Dick Durbin

No, but they do investigate questions.

Brett Kavanaugh

I’m innocent.

Dick Durbin

You can’t have it both ways, Judge. You can’t say here at the beginning —

Brett Kavanaugh

I wanted a hearing.

Dick Durbin

— that “I welcome any kind of investigation” and then walk away from this!

Brett Kavanaugh

This thing was sprung on me. This thing was sprung at the last minute after being held by staff. You know — I called for a hearing immediately.

Dick Durbin

Judge, if there is no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that. Are you afraid that they might not?

Brett Kavanaugh

The FBI does not reach — you know, you know this — you know that’s a phony question because the FBI doesn’t reach conclusions. They just provide the 302s. 302s, so I can explain to people who don’t know what that is, they just go and do what you’re doing. Ask questions and then type up a report. They don’t reach the bottom line —

Dick Durbin

This morning, I asked Dr. Ford, I asked her about this incident where she ran into Mark Judge in Safeway, and she said, sure, I remember. Six or eight weeks after this well, someone at the “Washington Post” went in and took a look at Mr. Judge’s book. And has been able to — the run that he wrote about his addiction and his alcoholism. They have narrowed it down what they think was a period of time, six or eight weeks after the event. And he would have been working at the Safeway at that point. So the point I’m getting to is we at least can connect some dots here and get some information. Why would you resist that kind of investigation?

Brett Kavanaugh

Senator, I welcome, I wanted the hearing last week.

Dick Durbin

I’m asking about the FBI investigation.

Brett Kavanaugh

The committee figures out how to ask the questions. I’ll do whatever, I’ve been on the phone multiple times with committee counsel. I’ll talk to —

Dick Durbin

Judge Kavanaugh, will you support an FBI investigation right now?

Brett Kavanaugh

I will do whatever the committee wants to —

Dick Durbin

Personally, do you think that’s the best thing for us to do?

Brett Kavanaugh

[silent]

Dick Durbin

You won’t answer?

Brett Kavanaugh

Look, Senator, I’ve — I have said I wanted a hearing and I said I would welcome anything. I’m innocent. This thing was held, held when it could have been presented in the ordinary way. It could have been held and handled confidently at first, which was what Dr. Ford’s wishes were, as I understand it. It wouldn’t have caused this, like, destroyed my family like this effort has.

Dick Durbin

I think an FBI investigation will help all of us on both sides of the issue.

Author: Ella Nilsen


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