The FBI will now conduct a week-long investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a Friday afternoon announcement by Senate Republicans.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had been asking repeatedly for an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh, and ramped up their demands for such an investigation following Thursday’s testimony by both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh — the latter whom is accused of sexually assaulting the former at a high school party in the summer of 1982.

In addition to Senate Democrats, Dr. Ford, as well as fellow Kavanaugh accusers Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, have been asking the FBI to investigate their accusations. Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when the two attended Yale University, and Swetnick said Kavanaugh was present at a high school party where she was gang raped by multiple boys. Swetnick is a federal employee with an active security clearance who made her allegation in a sworn affidavit, given under penalty of perjury.

Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), a Judiciary Committee Republican, voted to send Kavanaugh’s nomination from the committee to the full senate, on the condition that he would only support Kavanaugh during the floor vote after a full investigation had been conducted. Republicans ultimately decided to call for the investigation, likely due to the fact that they currently don’t have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh, as Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) — the third-highest ranking Republican member of the Senate — admitted Friday.

Flake’s call for an investigation came just hours after he committed to voting “yes” to Kavanaugh’s nomination and was subsequently confronted by sexual assault survivors in a senate elevator.

The subject of a potential FBI investigation was a touchy topic for both Kavanaugh and legal experts around the country. The American Bar Association on Thursday asked for the confirmation vote to be postponed until a meaningful investigation into the accusations could be completed. Yale Law School dean Heather Gerken joined that call Friday morning.

“Proceeding with the confirmation process without further investigation is not in the best interest of the Court or our profession,” Gerken stated.

While being questioned by Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) on Thursday, Kavanaugh noticeably dodged her multiple attempts to say whether or not he would personally support the FBI conducting a background check investigation into the sexual assault accusations against him.

Mark Judge — whom Dr. Ford named as an eyewitness during the alleged assault — is among some of the people likely to be interviewed by the FBI during the investigation. BuzzFeed News reported that Judge previously indicated he would be willing to speak with the FBI “confidentially,” and his attorney said he would cooperate with any law enforcement agency looking into the incident.

Currently, four senators remain undecided on Kavanaugh — Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Republicans can only afford one defection if they want to confirm Kavanaugh.


Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.

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