Senate Receives FBI Report on Kavanaugh Allegations
WASHINGTON, DC — October 4, 2018
All 100 senators and a handful of Senate staff will be able to read the FBI’s new report on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but it’s unclear if the public will see it.
Background checks are a routine part of any nominee’s vetting process and are generally delivered to the Senate without much fanfare. This background check, requested by a trio of senators who are undecided on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, will be different.
However, it is still not clear why the conclusions of the case, which was opened only due to public pressure, will be hidden from the public.
“None of that stuff’s public,” Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters on Wednesday. “If you want people to be candid when they talk to the FBI, you ain’t going to make that public.”
The rules for keeping investigations confidential and closely held were laid out in an agreement with the governing background checks dating from the Obama administration. But since the senators have decided that Kavanaugh’s case is exceptional, why don’t they follow it to the end and publish the FBI report?
Anyway, it’s expected that many senators will want to read or be briefed on the supplemental background check this time around.
To accommodate the senators, and to guard the sensitive information, the FBI’s report is expected to be held in a secure room normally reserved only for classified matters. There are several of these rooms in the Capitol complex, but senators usually use one in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center just off the Senate side. The rooms are called SKIFs, or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is expected to read the report first, followed by his colleagues either individually or possibly in groups.
According to a preliminary schedule, Republicans will read the first hour, starting Thursday morning, and Democrats will read the hour after that, according to a person who was briefed on the plan but was not authorized to release the information and requested anonymity.
There are nine staff members—both Republicans and Democrats—who have access to the report and can brief members who don’t want to read it in detail.
No copies will be made of the report, as is standard, so senators will have to go to the room to read it in full. And because the report is confidential, they will be expected not to repeat what they learn.
Nevertheless, I would really like to look at the FBI report and report on how they were able (or failed) to investigate a complex case from 36 years ago. I am also interested in what data our legislators take as evidence of guilt and how much of such “evidence” is needed to find a person guilty. But I’m afraid we’ll never see that data, because this whole story has nothing to do with law and justice. As always, when it comes to power and big money, morality, principles, and law become very flexible.