Calling the FBI's investigation a "whitewash" that could also represent a "cover-up" orchestrated by the White House, Democratic lawmakers and Brett Kavanaugh's critics were outraged Thursday as they demanded full transparency regarding how the probe was carried out and denounced Republicans for trying to spin the resulting report as sufficient.
"Initial reports about the brief FBI investigation of sexual assault allegations reek of a whitewash as the Senate scrambles to fill the Supreme Court seat before facing voters in November," said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn in a statement.
"The results of the FBI investigation into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Brett Kavanaugh are for lack of a better word: bullshit," said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet. "Investigations are always stacked against survivors, but this investigation was designed to gaslight America from the start. It was intentionally designed to find nothing."
It’s a Whitehouse Whitewash and the Trump party will set aside decency—and respect for survivors and women everywhere—to install the man the Kochs want on our Court, backed by dark money ads juicing up GOP voters. It’s a very sad day for our country and the Court. #kavanaugh
— Lisa Graves (@thelisagraves) October 4, 2018
Not even a full week for an FBI investigation. A single copy of the report given to the Senate. Less than an hour to review. This is a complete sham. @SenateMajLdr McConnell said he’d plow Brett Kavanaugh through, and that’s exactly what the GOP is doing – no matter the cost.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 4, 2018
"The sham FBI investigation is nothing more than a continuation of the Kavanaugh cover-up that the White House and Senate Republicans have been engaged in throughout the entire confirmation process," said CREDO Action Co-Director Heidi Hess. "It should not come as a surprise to anyone that a Trump-controlled investigation specifically designed to avoid uncovering corroborating evidence reportedly ended up doing just that."
Senate Democrats accused President Donald Trump of tying the hands of the FBI in order to orchestrate an extremely limited investigation that would achieve the result the president wanted: a Senate vote on Kavanaugh as soon as possible.
"We had many fears that this was a very limited process that would constrain the FBI from getting all the facts," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced to reporters after reviewing the FBI's report. "Having received a thorough briefing on the documents, those fears have been realized."
"The White House certainly blocked access to millions of documents from Judge Kavanaugh's record, I know that, and ensured that 90 percent of his emails and memos weren't available to the Senate or the public in the hearings. It now appears that they also blocked the FBI from doing its job," added Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Schumer and Feinstein from the Capitol:
1. They disagree with Grassley that there was no misconduct
2. The documents must be be made public so that all Americans can see the facts
3. The WH directive to the McGhan & the FBI about the investigation limitations must be made public pic.twitter.com/lLxhYynsek
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) October 4, 2018
On MSNBC, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also condemned the hastily-completed investigation.
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The senator said his "very emphatic impression is that this set of interviews is—at best, most charitably—woefully incomplete."
"To put it bluntly, it smacks of a whitewash, even a coverup," he added.
The investigation began last Friday after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was forced to call on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation by a week after being confronted by two assault survivors.
The directive Trump and White House Counsel Don McGahn sent to the FBI detailing what the probe should entail has remained confidential.
"Why shouldn't all of America see the facts?" Schumer said. "We are reiterating our call to make the directive that the White House and Counsel McGahn sent to the FBI public because we believe that it greatly constrained the investigation from the get-go."
The FBI interviewed only nine witnesses as it investigated the claims of just two of the three women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault—Deborah Ramirez and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Neither Ford nor Kavanaugh were among those interviewed, despite Ford's demand that she be able to give her account to the FBI. More than 40 other witnesses who said they could corroborate Ford's and Ramirez's allegations, as well as a third accuser, Julie Swetnick, were ignored by the agency.
"The American people deserve to know the full truth about anyone nominated to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court," said Hobert Flynn. "It's more than apparent that we need to know more, not less, about Judge Kavanaugh's past. A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh under the current circumstances would abandon the high standards that are supposed to accompany the Senate’s constitutional role in the advice and consent process."
Nevertheless, Grassley claimed the prove proved there was "no hint" of sexual assault by Kavanaugh—while Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), indicated that they were satisfied by the FBI's report.
"This is a career-defining vote for Sens. Flake, Collins, Murkowski, Manchin, and Heitkamp," said Hess. "The power to keep an accused sexual predator off the Supreme Court rests entirely with them. All of them should be insulted that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell think they're gullible enough to consider this investigation sufficient. Ultimately, for any senator who actually cares about sexual assault, perjury, judicial temperament, or women's rights to make decisions about their own bodies, a no vote will be a no brainer."
The FBI's investigation, Thomas said, "makes it crystal clear to every single decent person in this country: a vote for Brett Kavanaugh is a vote saying that you do not care about sexual assault survivors, you do not believe them, and you have no interest in pretending anymore that you do. Your daughters—and sons—will know this is who you really are."