Brett Kavanaugh: Dr Christine Ford not on list of interview subjects for FBI sexual assault investigation

'We have not heard from the FBI, despite repeated efforts to speak with them,' California professor's lawyer says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 01 October 2018 11:57
Donald Trump responds to Brett Kavanaugh-

A woman who accuses Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault is reportedly not on a White House-approved list of people the FBI will interview in its investigation into allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.

Christine Blasey Ford‘s lawyer said the FBI had failed to respond to multiple requests for an interview, despite the California professor’s senate testimony last week alleging the 53-year-old judge abused her when they were teenagers at a house party.

“We have not heard from the FBI, despite repeated efforts to speak with them,” Debra Katz told The New York Times.

Four witnesses are being interviewed over the coming days, according to the newspaper, including Mark Judge, a high school friend of Mr Kavanaugh’s; Leland Keyser, a school friend of Dr Ford who claims she was at the party in question 36 years ago; PJ Smyth, another partygoer, and Deborah Ramirez, the second of three women with allegations against Mr Kavanaugh.

It is understood Ms Ramirez spoke to FBI agents on Sunday, where she provided details about her allegation Mr Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s when they were students at Yale.

A source said Ms Ramirez also provided investigators with the names of others who she said could corroborate her account.

Senate Judiciary Committee votes 11-10 to progress Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination

On Saturday, a lawyer for Julie Swetnick, who says she witnessed a drunken Mr Kavanaugh mistreat women at parties during their school years, said they were “yet to hear from the FBI”.

“When and if we do, we will promptly disclose to them all information and witnesses in our possession,” Michael Avenatti said on Twitter. “We continue to request this opportunity as we have been doing for days. My client is telling the truth and deserves to be heard and not shammed.”

Mr Kavanaugh has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.

It comes as Donald Trump insists the FBI will have “free rein” to investigate the matter, adding on Twitter he wanted the organisation to interview “whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion”.

On Sunday, the US president upped his attack on Senate Democrats, who he accuses of attempting to “destroy a fine person” by demanding the investigation into Mr Kavanaugh.

“Just starting to hear the Democrats, who are only thinking Obstruct and Delay, are starting to put out the word that the ‘time’ and ‘scope’ of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough,” he said. “Hello! For them, it will never be enough – stay tuned and watch!”

The White House has reportedly asked the FBI to share its findings after investigators complete their interviews, at which point Mr Trump will decide whether to further investigate the allegations.

Republicans and Democrats have quarrelled over whether the FBI would have enough time and freedom to conduct a thorough investigation before a high-stakes vote on Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination to America’s highest court.

The White House insisted it is not “micro-managing” the new one-week review of Mr Kavanaugh’s background, but some Democratic members of congress have claimed the White House is keeping investigators from interviewing certain witnesses.

Speaking to the issue of the scope of the FBI’s investigation, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House counsel Don McGahn, who is managing Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination, “has allowed the senate to dictate what these terms look like, and what the scope of the investigation is”.

Ms Sanders added: “The White House isn’t intervening. We’re not micro-managing this process. It’s a senate process. It has been from the beginning, and we’re letting the senate continue to dictate what the terms look like.”

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway said the investigation will be “limited in scope” and “will not be a fishing expedition. The FBI is not tasked to do that”.

Senate judiciary committee member Jeff Flake requested an investigation last Friday – after he and other Republicans on the panel voted along strict party lines in favour of Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation – as a condition for his own subsequent vote to put Mr Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

Another committee member, senator Lindsey Graham, said testimony would be taken from Ms Ramirez and Mr Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, who has been named by two of three women accusing Mr Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

“I think that will be the scope of it. And that should be the scope of it,” Mr Graham said.

The White House has been contacted for comment. The FBI could not be reached for comment.

Additional reporting by PA

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