The woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school has not been questioned by the FBI despite the bureau's urgent investigation into her claims.
A source close to Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team told the Washington Examiner Tuesday afternoon that they have “repeatedly” reached out to the FBI, but had not been contacted since Friday.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FBI General Counsel Dana Boente, Ford’s attorney’s Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich say they are concerned that the FBI isn’t talking to their client.
"It is inconceivable that the FBI could conduct a thorough investigation of Dr. Ford’s allegations without interviewing her, Judge Kavanaugh, or the witnesses we have identified in our letters to you," they wrote in the letter, sent Tuesday and made public early Tuesday night.
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Katz and Boente said they talked with Boente via telephone on Friday night, and then sent an email offering Ford’s “full cooperation, including her willingness to be interviewed by agents.”
Ford’s legal team says they have “repeatedly” asked who the special agent would be so they could contact him or her “directly.”
“We also sent you a series of emails and letters in which we identified witnesses and evidence that would likely assist the FBI in its investigation,” they wrote.
Katz and Bromwich added: ”This afternoon, we learned of media reports that the FBI does not intend to interview either Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh. We hope that this reporting is inaccurate.” The two have asked to speak with Wray or Boente on Wednesday afternoon.
The FBI’s window to finish its investigation is closing rapidly because President Trump ordered that it should be completed by Friday. The New York Times has reported that the FBI told them expected to wrap up its probe “very soon, well ahead of the end-of-week deadline.”
Republicans argue that Ford’s claims are uncorroborated and hoped the FBI would press her for more details and to explain some inconsistencies in her accounts. Democrats wanted potential leads she could provide to be hunted down so that the alleged attack by Kavanaugh could be substantiated.
Ford testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party at a Maryland house in the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and he was 17. Kavanaugh, who testified after Ford, categorically denied the allegations.
[Opinion: Democrats move the goalposts on FBI investigation]
Senators will get the report soon after it is completed but it is not currently due to be released to the public.
“We’ll have an FBI report this week, and we’ll have a vote this week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters after the Republicans’ weekly policy lunch on Tuesday, before explaining that “only senators” would be allowed to look at the report.
But McConnell would not be drawn on whether that meant a procedural vote allowing the Senate to begin debate, or a final 100-member vote on confirmation.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said "there does need to be some sort of public statement, if not the reports themselves.”
“[S]ince the accusations have been made public, it seems to me that people are not going to be satisfied until some public statement about what the FBI supplemental background investigation showed is made,” the Senate’s No. 2 Republican said Tuesday.
So far, the FBI has interviewed Mark Judge, the high school friend of Kavanaugh whom Ford said was in the room as she was assaulted. Judge has already said he has no recollection of the incident described by Ford.
Barbara Van Gelder, his lawyer, said in a statement, “Mr. Judge completed his F.B.I. interview. We are not commenting on the questions the F.B.I. asked Mr. Judge.” Ford also named P.J. Smyth, a friend of Kavanaugh’s, and Leland Keyser, a friend of Ford’s.
Ford said both were at the party in question, but do not recall the alleged incident. Both have already been interviewed by the FBI as well, their respective lawyers have said.
Debora Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh has also been interviewed by the FBI. Ramirez, the second woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, said he exposed himself to her at a dorm room party in his early college days.
Senate Democrats have urged the White House to order the FBI to interview dozens of other people, including Ford and Kavanaugh.
That list of 24 people and entities includes Julie Swetnick, the third accuser. Through her attorney Michael Avenatti, Swetnick claimed she saw Kavanaugh and Judge at parties in high school where women were “gang raped.”
Kavanaugh blasted Swetnick's claims as "ridiculous and from the twilight zone.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that the FBI should brief the Senate on its findings at least 24 hours before the full floor takes a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination.
"It is essential that Senators not only have access to the completed background investigation file, but that FBI officials be made available 24 hours before the Senate votes on cloture in order to answer Senators’ questions about what specific investigative steps were taken, what evidence was collected, and which witnesses were interviewed," Schumer wrote in a letter to McConnell.