- Several people with information related to the allegations of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, have said the FBI has not been willing to interview them.
- These people include former college classmates of Kavanaugh’s who dispute the judge’s characterizations of his drinking and partying.
- While the White House and Senate Republicans have determined the parameters of the FBI investigation, the president says he is not interfering in the law-enforcement agency’s work on the matter.
The FBI over the weekend launched its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, but several people with information related to the accusations have said the law-enforcement agency has not been willing to speak with them.
This includes former classmates and friends of Kavanaugh’s who have come forward to dispute what the judge has said about his drinking and partying habits in college.
The investigation came after Christine Blasey Ford testified to a Senate committee on Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a small house party in the summer of 1982, when they were in high school.
The FBI is looking into the allegations made by Ford and two other women: Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who says he drunkenly exposed himself to her in college, and Julie Swetnick, who alleges that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were present during “‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes” of teenage girls at high-school parties in the early 1980s.
An attorney for Elizabeth Rasor, a college girlfriend of Judge’s who has alleged he once told her that he and other boys took turns having sex with a drunk woman during high school, told The New Yorker that she had “received no substantive response” from the FBI after making Rasor’s desire to speak with the FBI clear to both the bureau and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“She feels a sense of civic duty to tell what she knows,” the attorney, Roberta Kaplan, told the magazine. “But the only response we’ve gotten are emails saying that our emails have been ‘received.'”
Rasor’s story appears to align with Swetnick’s allegation.
The president has said he has given the FBI “free rein” to investigate the allegations, despite reports that the White House is working in concert with Senate Republicans to determine the parameters of the weeklong investigation.
The FBI reportedly plans to interview four witnesses. In addition to Judge and Ramirez, it is likely to speak with two people Ford says were at the 1982 party: Leland Keyser, a friend of Ford’s, and P.J. Smyth, a friend of Kavanaugh’s. The bureau is not speaking with Swetnick directly about her allegations.
Debra Katz, the lead lawyer for Ford, told The New Yorker over the weekend that her client had not been contacted by the FBI.
“We’ve tried repeatedly to speak with the FBI but heard nothing back,” Katz said.
‘Brett has not told the truth’
If investigators uncover new information over the coming week that they deem appropriate to pursue, the president can order an expansion of the investigation, which is now a limited background check rather than a criminal probe.
A former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who told The New Yorker he was “100% certain” he heard about an incident nearly identical to Ramirez’s allegation described being essentially ignored when he asked to provide his account to the FBI in recent days. The classmate said he ultimately submitted a tip to the agency through an online portal after being told to call an 800-number tip line.
A few other former Yale classmates have come forward since Thursday’s hearing to contradict Kavanaugh’s characterization of his college drinking habits.
Charles Ludington, who played varsity basketball at Yale and regularly socialised with Kavanaugh, said in a statement that he repeatedly saw Kavanaugh “staggering from alcohol consumption” and even witnessed him once throw a beer in a classmate’s face during a dispute. He described Kavanaugh as becoming “belligerent and aggressive” when he drank to excess.
“I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth,” Ludington, now a college professor in North Carolina, said in the statement, adding that he would take his information to the FBI.
Lynne Brookes said last week that during his testimony Kavanaugh “grossly misrepresented and mischaracterized his drinking” in college. And in an interview with CNN, Liz Swisher called Kavanaugh a “sloppy drunk” and said many of his claims about his history of drinking were not credible.
Over the weekend, Democrats expressed concern about the limits of the investigation, suggesting the White House could be improperly interfering.
“We have been concerned from the outset about the so-called limits on scope, not to mention time for this investigation,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who is on the Judiciary Committee, told The New York Times. “It has to be full fair, real, not check-the-box. So any limits should be viewed with serious question.”
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