Sens. Coons, Durbin Already Skeptical About 'Very Narrow Scope' of FBI Report

By Susan Jones | October 4, 2018 | 8:16am EDT
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) sits on the Judiciary Committee. (Photo: Screen capture)

(Update: At an 11 a.m. news conference, Senate Democrats complained about the limited scope of the latest FBI investigation into Judge Brett Kavanaugh and to argue againt Chairman Grassley's statement that there was no hint of misconduct  in this latest report. Democrats are now demanding to see the directive the White House counsel sent to the FBI when the 7th background investigation commenced last week.)

( - Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told CNN on Thursday he wouldn't "prejudge" the supplemental FBI report until he sees it, but -- he's worried about what he's hearing.

Likewise, Sen. Dick Durbin told CNN he will find it "unacceptable" if only a "handful" of witnesses were interviewed.

Coons and Durbin both expressed concern about recent press reports that said the White House "had a very narrow scope" for the investigation.

"I think we should have, as President Trump said we would, an open week long investigation by the FBI where they would be allowed to follow all investigatory leads on the credible allegations against Judge Kavanaugh," Coons told CNN's "New Day."

"I'm concerned that if they never interviewed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford or her corroborating witnesses -- if they never interviewed many of Judge Kavanaugh's classmates from Yale who came forward to be heard about the alleged incident with Debbie Ramirez -- that this isn't the investigation I was hoping for. But I won't prejudge it. I haven't see the report yet. That'll be in just a few hours."

Host John Berman said he understands that nine people were interviewed by the FBI, but Ford was not among them.

Coons said a thorough investigation would have included a follow-up interview with Ford.

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"Most importantly, Dr. Ford offered corroborating evidence -- witnesses who she said could come forward and testify to the FBI that she had shared with them her story, her side of this alleged high school assault, months or years before Judge Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court," Coons said.

"I think that would have been important for us to hear in the Senate," he added.

Coons said the White House set the scope of the investigation, acting on the instructions of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But Coons said it sounds like "a number of vital witnesses" were not questioned.

It's because of Coons and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake that the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the White House to reopen the FBI background check into Kavanaugh.

Durbin and other Democrats on the committee also are challenging the accuracy of a tweet from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee that said previous FBI background checks on Judge Kavanaugh did not show any impropriety: "Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issue – at all – related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse," the committee tweeted on Oct. 2.

Durbin said that "not a whiff" statement is "inaccurate."

He refused to get into specifics because of confidentiality issues, "and when I read it, I thought that is just plain inaccurate and wrong."

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has noted, Democrats keep moving the goalposts in an effort to delay, prevent a vote, or otherwise torpedo Kavanaugh's nomination.

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