Now Democrats Find Fault With Scope of FBI Investigation

By Susan Jones | October 1, 2018 | 6:28am EDT
Christine Blasey Ford is greeted by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., left, during a break in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on September 27, 2018 in Washington. (Photo by Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images)

( - Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) indicated on Sunday she is not confident that the reopened FBI investigation into Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be thorough enough.

"Well, based on some of the reports that we have seen this weekend, I'm very concerned about this, because the White House should not be allowed to micromanage an FBI investigation," Klobuchar told CNN's "State of the Union."

Throughout the confirmation process, Democrats have seized on any opportunity to delay the final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh, and it appears that the one-week limit on the FBI investigation is the latest such opportunity.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Democrats are denouncing "limits" on the FBI probe.


According to the Times, "the F.B.I. was directed by the White House and Senate Republicans to interview just four people: Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth, high school friends of Judge Kavanaugh’s; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of one of Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers, Christine Blasey Ford; and Deborah Ramirez, another of the judge’s accusers."

But way down in that same report is this paragraph:

"It is not unusual for the White House to specify the scope of a request for additional background information on a nominee. No evidence has emerged that the White House has forbidden any investigative steps, and President Trump has said he wants agents 'to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.'"

In two tweets over the weekend, President Donald Trump wrote:

-- 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!

-- Wow! Just starting to hear the Democrats, who are only thinking Obstruct and Delay, are starting to put out the word that the “time” and “scope” of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. Hello! For them, it will never be enough - stay tuned and watch!

Sen. Klobuchar spoke to "State of the Union" immediately after President Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway told CNN that the investigation "will be limited in scope."

"It's meant to last one week, I believe, beginning last Friday. And it will -- it's not meant to be a fishing expedition. The FBI is not tasked with doing that here," Conway said.

Tapper asked Conway if the FBI has been told to ignore Julie Swetnick's allegations of gang-rape parties.

"The White House is not getting involved in the FBI investigation in that way," Conway replied. "The president very much respects the independence of the FBI and feels, as he said last night, that they should be looking at anything that they think is credible within this limited scope."

She said the term "limited scope" is up to the FBI.

"We're not trying to interfere. It's the president who is saying, go ahead," Conway added.

(According to Friday's statement from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee: "The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.")

Sen. Klobuchar told Jake Tapper she agrees with Conway that "the hardworking men and women of the FBI should be able to do their jobs. And on that, I agree. But what we are hearing are reports that they're somehow trying to limit this to a few witnesses or tell them what they should do.

"And while the White House decides who to nominate, and then that person is submitted to a background check, I have never heard that the White House, either under this president or other presidents, is saying, well, you can't interview this person, you can't look at this time period, you can only look at these people from one side of the street from when they were growing up.

"I mean, come on. They can't do this."

Tapper asked Klobuchar, "Beyond the reports, do you know of evidence that that's the case? Because Kellyanne Conway said that's not the case, that she doesn't think the White House is -- is telling the FBI, don't look into this, don't look into that, don't interview these witnesses."

"Exactly. I am basing this on reports, and I'm listening to her interview, which was interesting when she said at the end that victims of sexual assault should be able to come forward and have their stories and their claims investigated," Klobuchar responded.

Asked if she thinks Julie Swetnick's gang-rape allegations are "credible," Klobuchar said, "I don't know, Jake. That's why I think she has to be interviewed by the FBI. I haven't met her. I do believe in due process. And she did sign an affidavit. And I think it needs to be looked into."

The senator said it was a "good moment" when Republicans, at the insistence of Sen. Jeff Flake, reopened the FBI background investigation. "But now it's going to be on him to make sure this is a credible investigation," she added.

Klobuchar said much the same thing on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"Well, I think it's really important that the FBI get to the bottom of the evidence here, because what happened in that hearing was that a number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said that they respected Dr. Ford, that they thought she had dignity, that they found her testimony compelling.

"Well, you don't respect her if you don't try to figure out what actually happened. And so that's why I was so pleased when Senator Flake rose to the occasion and said it was beneath the dignity of the Senate and beneath the dignity of the court, basically, if you don't follow up.

"And that's what this one-week investigation is about. And as long as is conducted in a professional manner, and we give the FBI the ability to do their jobs, instead of having it be micromanaged by the White House, we can at least get to the bottom of the evidence," Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar said the "evidence" includes notes from Ford's therapist. Ford says in 2012, during couples counseling, she mentioned Kavanaugh's name to her husband in the presence of the therapist when she was describing the alleged attack.

"She took a polygraph test and passed with flying colors. And the FBI can look at that," Klobuchar said. "There's all kinds of evidence that they can look at."

Klobuchar also expects the FBI to examine allegations that Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker in high school and college. The argument here is that he drank so much he doesn't remember the alleged improper behavior.

"Well, I think that is relevant, because, when I was asking him about whether or not he had blacked out or maybe partially blacked out in the past because of excessive drinking, he just turned it back on me, instead of really answering that question," Klobuchar said.

"And the reason it's relevant is perhaps he doesn't remember what happened because there were repeated incidences of this excessive drinking. And so I do think it's relevant.

"But, again, I don't think people should be micromanaging the FBI investigation."

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