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McConnell Wants FBI Kavanaugh Report for Senators' Eyes Only; Schumer Wants Public Release

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks to reporters following a closed-door GOP policy meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said today that the forthcoming FBI report on their supplemental investigation in sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will only be available for senators to read, while Democrats are arguing for wider distribution.

The FBI has been busy conducting interviews in the bureau’s effort to issue a report this week, when McConnell is determined to hold a full Senate vote on the nomination.

“We’ll get an FBI report soon. It will be made available to each senator. And only senators will be allowed to look at it. And that’s the way these reports are always handled, these background checks from the FBI to the Judiciary Committee. And we’ll be voting this week,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill outside of a closed policy luncheon. “So, the FBI report will be finished. And we will be voting, this week, on the Kavanaugh nomination.”

“It shouldn’t take long. As interesting as this all is, I can’t imagine that any members who want to read it will not go over there and read it immediately,” he said of the imminent report. “They’ll read it as quickly as they can and — but that will not be used as another reason for delay, I can tell you that.”

McConnell added, “This has been the most outrageous, as earlier colleagues put it, search and destroy mission to just literally take out a man’s reputation, to ruin his family situation, threats — the whole’s effort is just despicable, by any objective standard.”

Speaking with reporters after the Democrats’ luncheon, Schumer noted that “McConnell and I get along —  he laughs at my jokes, and we’re very proud we’re doing the appropriations committees together, but sometimes he goes too far.”

“The gall of the man, to complain about a one week delay for an FBI hearing, when he held up a nominee for the Supreme Court and kept the seat vacant for 10 months — is staggering. Staggering,” he said.

Schumer sent a letter to McConnell today “requesting that we have a briefing of all the senators from the agent in charge of the investigation before the vote so we can see what areas they went to and what they didn’t.”

“We are getting report after report of people who call up the FBI hotline, the tips line, and are never called back,” he said. “People who claim — we don’t know the veracity of these claims — but people who claim they have new and compromising information.”

The Dem leader cited “a growing consensus in the Senate that when the FBI’s investigation is complete, the findings should be released publicly with any personal information redacted.”

“Why are our Republican colleagues so afraid of making this public? Why are they so afraid of letting all of the records been sent to the committee? Why are they so afraid of us examining the scope of the FBI investigation?” Schumer asked.”…The FBI must not be handcuffed and their results should be made public.”

At The Atlantic Festival in D.C. today, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has not announced what his final vote will be, said he was “very troubled by the tone of the remarks” Kavanaugh gave in his opening statement at last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing. “The initial defense that Judge Kavanaugh gave, was something like I told my wife, ‘I hope that I would sound that indignant if I were — if I felt that I was unjustly, you know, maligned.'”

“But then it went on. And the interaction with the members was sharp and partisan, and that concerns me,” Flake said. “And I tell myself, ‘You give a little leeway because of what he’s been through.’ But on the other hand, we can’t have this on the court. We — we simply can’t.”