WASHINGTON (AP) — A high-stakes partisan row broke out Thursday over a confidential FBI report about allegations that Brett Kavanaugh sexually abused women three decades ago, with Republicans claiming investigators found “no hint of misconduct” but Democrats accusing the White House of slapping crippling constraints on the probe.
At the same time, Republican leaders seemed to show increasing confidence. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he now expects the Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed in a Senate roll call on Saturday.
In a hardening of battle lines, one of two vacillating Democrats — North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp — said she’d oppose the Supreme Court nominee. Heitkamp, facing a tough re-election fight next month, said she was concerned about his past conduct and felt that his angry attacks on Democrats during last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing raised questions about his “current temperament, honesty and impartiality.”
However, in a potential sign of momentum for Kavanaugh, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told CNN that “we’ve seen no additional corroborating information” for the accusations and that the investigation had been comprehensive. Flake, who’s not stated his position on the nomination, was among three Republicans who had pressed President Donald Trump to order the renewed FBI background check.