As FBI delivers its report on Kavanaugh, Trump decries ‘totally uncorroborated allegations’
President Trump on Thursday expressed fresh support for Brett Kavanaugh, saying the sexual misconduct allegations against his Supreme Court nominee are “totally uncorroborated” and suggesting the fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination is galvanizing Republican voters.
“The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters,” Trump tweeted. “The PEOPLE get it far better than the politicians. Most importantly, this great life cannot be ruined by mean & despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!”
“This is a very important time in our country,” the president continued. “Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!”
“This is now the 7th. time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh,” he added. “If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats.”
On Wednesday night, Trump marveled at what he sees as a groundswell of support for Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“Wow, such enthusiasm and energy for Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Look at the Energy, look at the Polls. Something very big is happening. He is a fine man and great intellect. The country is with him all the way!”
Recent polls, though, suggest a more partisan divide. According to polling data compiled by Reuters, opposition to Kavanaugh has increased in the wake of his defiant testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, with 41 percent of respondents now opposing his confirmation to the high court (up 4 percent since Sept. 27), compared to just 33 percent who support it. A Politico poll conducted after the Thursday hearing showed a similar spike in opposition to Kavanaugh, with 40 percent now opposed to his confirmation — compared to 29 percent before the confirmation hearings began.
It’s unclear what effect the partisan battle over Kavanaugh will have on the upcoming midterm elections. While Democrats were “already fired up for this election,” a recent Marist poll found the fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination appears to have “awakened” the dormant Republican base.
Trump’s tweets come amid heightened anticipation for Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, which could happen as early as Saturday. Overnight, the FBI delivered its report on the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh to the White House, which sent it to the Senate for review. The Wall Street Journal reportedthat administration officials “found no corroboration of the allegations” in the report. In a separate statement, deputy press secretary Raj Shah said that the White House is “fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”
Senate Democrats are already expressing concern over reports that the FBI did not interview many “primary” witnesses, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.
In a statement, Ford’s lawyers said “those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that not interviewing Ford “raises serious concerns.”
“The most notable part of this report is what’s not it,” Feinstein told reporters. “The FBI did not interview Brett Kavanaugh, nor did the FBI interview Dr. Blasey Ford.”
The bureau also did not interview corroborating witnesses named by Deborah Ramirez, who alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a drunken party in a dorm when they were students at Yale.
On CNN, Shah suggested “claims about his high school and college drinking” are irrelevant.
“That is not what the Senate is interested in or asking about,” Shah said.
In a statement Thursday morning, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the FBI report included “no hint of misconduct.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer disagreed.
“I disagree with Sen. Grassley’s statement that there was no hint of misconduct,” Schumer said. He refused to elaborate.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decried the process.
“For goodness sake, this is the United States of America!” McConnell shouted. “Nobody is supposed to be guilty until proven innocent!”
McConnell also vowed that Senate Republicans would not be “intimidated” by protesters.
“We will not be hoodwinked by those who have tried to smear this good man,” he said.
At a campaign rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, Trump openly mocked Ford’s testimony. The display was condemned by three Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Jeff Flake (Arizona) — who are seen as swing votes.
“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” Flake said on NBC’s “Today” show. “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t done it. I just say it’s kind of appalling.”
“The president’s comments were just plain wrong,” Collins said.
After an initial review of the FBI report, Collins told reporters that it appeared “to be a very thorough investigation.” Flake said the same, adding that he saw no additional corroborating evidence to substantiate the allegations against the nominee.
Meanwhile, more than 1,200 law professors have signed a letter opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation, arguing that during last week’s hearings he “displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court.”