A New York Democrat in line to take up the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said he is planning to open an investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh if his party wins back the House after midterms.
There is evidence that Senate Republicans and the FBI oversaw a “whitewash” probe into sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh, New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler told The New York Times Friday evening. He sidestepped the possibility of impeachment, but said the GOP should expect a reckoning for moving forward with the vote.
“It is not something we are eager to do,” Nadler said. “But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advice and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”
Senate Democrats pushed for an FBI probe into allegations by three women — Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick — that Kavanaugh had engaged in sexual assault or misconduct. Democrats said they believe the ensuing investigation was not exhaustive enough, even though Kavanaugh underwent multiple FBI background checks prior to September’s confirmation hearing.
Nadler said such an investigation would be part of broader Democratic concerns that President Donald Trump is degrading U.S. institutions.
“We have to assure the American people either that it was a fair process and that the new justice did not commit perjury, did not do these terrible things, or reveal that we just don’t know because the investigation was a whitewash,” he said.
The Senate voted Friday morning to end debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination. The motion passed on a 51-49 vote, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined in opposition Friday, while Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted with the Republicans. Murkowski, however, will “pair” with Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines and vote “present” Saturday so he can attend his daughter’s wedding.
Two other lawmakers who hold the decisive vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona, joined their Republican colleagues and voted in favor of cloture.
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