House Democrats are still holding out hope that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh isn’t confirmed, but if he is and they win the majority in November, they’ll launch investigations of their own.
House Democrats want to interview witnesses who could provide more insight into multiple allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, and investigate whether the judge perjured himself during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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Senate Republicans, facing pressure from one of their own, Sen. Jeff Flake, urged President Trump last week to reopen an FBI background check into Kavanaugh after long saying it couldn’t be done. Now, the scope of the investigation is coming under scrutiny. And former classmates of Kavanaugh’s have come forward to say he lied to the Judiciary committee about his drinking.
If Kavanaugh committed perjury, Democrats warn, they’ll investigate. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who would be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats control the House, told ABC News on Sunday that the lower chamber would likely investigate.
"If he is on the Supreme Court, and the Senate hasn't investigated, then the House will have to," said Nadler. "We would have to investigate any credible allegations of perjury and other things that haven't been properly looked into before."
The current FBI investigation, which is set to last one week, so far does not include interviews with the former classmates who have disputed Kavanaugh's testimony about his partying, according to the New York Times.
Before the House left for the campaign trail last week, the Washington Examiner spoke to a number of Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees about the possibility of launching investigations into the allegations against Kavanaugh and whether they think he should be impeached.
Democrats were hesitant to say they'd pursue impeachment for Kavanaugh. It would be a heavy lift and likely defeated in the Senate, which is expected to remain in Republican hands. But many said the case is far from closed.
“This is a disgrace what’s happened in United States Senate,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who sits on the Judiciary Committee. “And obviously we have to find ways to make sure the truth is eventually brought to light, whether Kavanaugh is confirmed or not.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who sits on both Judiciary and Oversight, said Kavanaugh should submit to a polygraph test. Raskin represents the district that is home to Georgetown Preparatory School, which Kavanaugh attended, and Christine Blasey Ford’s alma mater, the Holton-Arms School.
“One has to believe this is not end of the matter,” said Raskin. “If facts emerge that indicate that there was perjury in this process, how could the House of Representatives ignore that?”
Raskin also left the door open to Impeaching Kavanaugh, whether he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court or remains a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court.
“Impeachment may be indicated if there is evidence there was perjury or obstruction of justice used in this process,” he said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told the Washington Post Friday that he’d like to drag Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, who Blasey Ford says was in the room when the alleged assault took place, before the Oversight Committee. Cummings made the comment before Sen. Flake forced Republican leadership into calling for an FBI investigation.
“We’re going to have to get to the bottom of this and have accountability,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., who sits on Oversight. “I pray he’s not confirmed. He should not be serving on the Supreme Court, and if he is, I think we should continue our investigation.”
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said he supports conducting oversight of Kavanaugh, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said Cummings’ desire to have Judge testify was a “great idea.”
“There’s just a cloud hanging over Judge Kavanaugh right now that’s going to follow him to Supreme Court,” said Krishnamoorthi. “Litigates are going to come before him and I would not be surprised if people repeatedly asked for recusal motions or repeatedly move to recuse him because of what they saw.”
Krishnamoorthi added that Kavanaugh’s testimony was “one of the most partisan appearances by a federal judge.”
If Democrats decide not to pursue an investigation on the allegations against Kavanaugh, they appear ready to investigate his fitness. After watching Kavanaugh raise his voice, accuse the Clintons of revenge, and ask Democratic senators if they like beer or have blacked out, a number of Democrats don’t think he has the disposition to serve on the Supreme Court for life.
Kavanaugh’s performance before the Judiciary Committee, said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., “raises very difficult question about his temperament and fitness for office.”
“We saw an entitled, defensive, angry, partisan, paranoid, angry guy. It was very unnerving just to watch it. And you want to put him on the court for life?
Whether Kavanaugh is confirmed or not, Connelly said, his qualifications and fitness to be a federal judge “are worthy of further examination.”