The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that it is “time to vote” after he was briefed on the FBI probe into claims of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa echoed others in his party who said no new corroborating information came to light during the most recent investigation into Kavanaugh’s background.
“I’ve now received a committee staff briefing on the FBI’s supplement to Judge Kavanaugh’s background investigation file,” Grassley said. “There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know.”
He reiterated the fact that Kavanaugh has “unequivocally and repeatedly rejected” the claims against him.
“It’s time to vote,” Grassley said, confirming that he will cast a vote for confirming President Donald Trump’s nominee.
While some Democrats complained that the probe was unjustly limited in scope, many in the GOP found no reason to further delay a vote.
Even Sen. Jeff Flake, who was instrumental in launching the new federal background probe, described the report as sufficiently broad.
“I think Susan Collins was quoted as saying it was very thorough but no new corroborative information came out of it,” the Arizona Republican said. “That’s accurate.”
Collins, a Republican senator from Maine, has also expressed concern about Kavanaugh’s confirmation amid the allegations of the past several weeks.
Flake said he felt an FBI probe was necessary to clear up uncertainty surrounding Kavanaugh’s testimony.
“I wanted this pause, we’ve had this pause,” he said. “We’ve had the professionals, the FBI, determine — given the scope that we gave them, current credible allegations — to go and do their review, which they’ve done.”
Grassley sought to reconcile disparate factions on the committee and within the Senate as a whole ahead of the contentious confirmation vote.
“Fundamentally, we senators ought to wipe away the muck from all the mudslinging and politics and look at this nomination with clear eyes,” he said. “Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most qualified nominees to ever come before the Senate. He’s served with distinction for 12 years on the nation’s most important circuit court and dedicated himself to serving the American public.”
Citing the most recent FBI probe and six previous background checks, Grassley said the bureau found “no hint of misconduct” by Kavanaugh.
“I trust that the career agents of the FBI have done their work independent of political or partisan considerations,” he said. “That’s exactly what senators from both sides asked for.”
Following the release of the report, which senators were taking turns reading throughout the day Thursday, Grassley said it was time to act.
“Now it’s up to senators to fulfill their constitutional duty and make a judgment,” he said.
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