Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who has accused Democrats of doing everything they can imagine to stall Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court, has sent the FBI a letter demanding to know if the bureau encounters more stall tactics during its upcoming probe of the allegations against Kavanaugh.
Hatch also sounded off about the “deeply troubling” behavior of Debra Katz, an attorney for Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford.
As part of its action Friday in sending Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the FBI to investigate sexual misconduct claims against Kavanaugh that stem from his high school and college days. The panel put a one-week cap on the length of the investigation.
Hatch released a copy of the letter he sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray on his website.
“The President noted that this request should be limited in scope and completed in one week from yesterday,” Hatch wrote.
After noting that Ford and various alleged witnesses have agreed to cooperate, Hatch said he was concerned about the possibility the investigation could be impeded.
“I am writing to request, however, that you notify the White House Counsel’s Office immediately if any witness(es) or their representatives seek to delay or are uncooperative in this process,” he said.
Hatch then revealed that Katz’s apparent conduct triggered his concerns.
“One key reason for my concern regarding possible delay comes from testimony during the hearing this past Thursday. According to Dr. Ford, she would have preferred to have been interviewed in California, away from the spectacle of a public hearing. But her lawyers apparently refused to convey to their client numerous offers by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to conduct a public or private interview in a location of her choosing,” Hatch wrote.
“The lawyers’ refusal led directly to a public hearing, against Dr. Ford’s express wishes. This is deeply troubling,” he added.
Although the probe is limited in duration, the FBI has been given full latitude to take the investigation where it leads, President Donald Trump said Saturday.
NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2018
“NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!” Trump tweeted.
Initial reports suggested the FBI would confine itself to the claims from Ford.
Deborah Ramirez, a Colorado resident, has made an allegation against Kavanaugh from the days when both were students at Yale. Julie Swetnick, a client of lawyer Michael Avenatti, has said Kavanaugh was present at parties where young girls were gang-raped.
White House spokesman Raj Shah added to Trump’s tweet.
“The scope and duration has been set by the Senate,” Shah said, according to Fox News. “The White House is letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”
Hatch had said Friday that he saw no reason for the investigation, but said he supported it because some other senators might feel more assured in supporting Kavanaugh after an investigation of the claims against the judge. Kavanaugh has denied every allegation.
The FBI’s supplemental background investigation will help those with remaining doubts after this week’s hearing.
The limited scope will prevent frivolous accusations like these from creating further unnecessary delay. https://t.co/WvJRux88Xa
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 30, 2018
“While I personally believe it is appropriate to proceed with Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation at this time, I recognize that some members feel that additional investigation could be useful. I support the decision for an investigation limited in length and scope as described today. This will address the concerns raised by Senator Flake and others while also being fair to the Kavanaugh family,” Hatch said Friday in a statement.
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