FBI con­tacts Ramirez in Ka­vanaugh in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The News-Times (Sunday) - - Obituaries / News -

The FBI has con­tacted Deb­o­rah Ramirez, who has ac­cused Brett Ka­vanaugh of sex­ual mis­con­duct when he was a Yale stu­dent, as part of the bureau’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Supreme Court nom­i­nee, her at­tor­ney said Satur­day.

Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, said agents want to in­ter­view her and she has agreed to co­op­er­ate. Ramirez, who grew up in Shel­ton and at­tended St. Joseph High School in Trum­bull, has said Ka­vanaugh exposed him­self to her at a party in the early 1980s when they were Yale stu­dents.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or­dered the FBI on Fri­day to re­open Ka­vanaugh’s back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter sev­eral women ac­cused Ka­vanaugh of sex­ual mis­con­duct. Ka­vanaugh has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Se­nate lead­ers agreed to de­lay a fi­nal vote on Ka­vanaugh’s nom­i­na­tion to al­low for a one-week FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee has said the probe should be lim­ited to “cur­rent cred­i­ble al­le­ga­tions” against Ka­vanaugh and be fin­ished by next Fri­day.

Leav­ing the hear­ing Fri­day, Sen. Dick Durbin, a Demo­crat from Illi­nois, said it was his un­der­stand­ing there would be an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion of “the out- stand­ing al­le­ga­tions, the three of them,” but Repub­li­cans have not said whether that was their un­der­stand­ing as well.

While the pre­cise scope of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­mained un­clear, Trump told re­porters Satur­day that “the FBI, as you know, is all over talk­ing to ev­ery­body” and said “this could be a bless­ing in dis­guise.”

“They have free rein. They’re go­ing to do what­ever they have to do, what­ever it is they do. They’ll be do­ing things that we have never even thought of,” he said. “And hope­fully at the con­clu­sion ev­ery­thing will be fine.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah said the Se­nate set the scope and du­ra­tion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the White House is let­ting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”

The FBI con­ducts back­ground checks for federal nom­i­nees, but the agency does not make judg­ments on the cred­i­bil­ity or sig­nif­i­cance of al­le­ga­tions. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors will com­pile in­for­ma­tion about Ka­vanaugh’s past and pro­vide their find­ings to the White House and in­clude the in­for­ma­tion in Ka­vanaugh’s back­ground file, which is avail­able to sen­a­tors.

Ka­vanaugh and an­other of his ac­cusers, Chris­tine Blasey Ford, who says Ka­vanaugh sex­u­ally as­saulted her when both were teenagers, tes­ti­fied pub­licly be­fore the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee on Thurs­day.

Ka­vanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, who Ford says was in the room when a drunken Ka­vanaugh sex­u­ally as­saulted her, said he will co­op­er­ate with any law en­force­ment agency that will “con­fi­den­tially in­ves­ti­gate” sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against him and Ka­vanaugh. Judge has also de­nied Ford’s al­le­ga­tions.

Lawyers for P.J. Smyth and Le­land Ing­ham Keyser, two oth­ers who Ford said were in the house when she was at­tacked, have said their clients are will­ing to co­op­er­ate “fully” with the FBI’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A third woman, Julie Swet­nick, ac­cused Ka­vanaugh and Judge of ex­ces­sive drink­ing and in­ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment of women in the early 1980s, among other ac­cu­sa­tions. Ka­vanaugh has called her ac­cu­sa­tions a “joke” and Judge has said he “cat­e­gor­i­cally” de­nies the al­le­ga­tions.

Swet­nick’s at­tor­ney, Michael Ave­natti, said Satur­day af­ter­noon that his client had not been con­tacted by the FBI but is will­ing to fully co­op­er­ate with in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Sen. Shel­don White­house, a Demo­cratic mem­ber of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee from Rhode Is­land, said he ex­pects the FBI would pro­vide ad­e­quate staffing for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, with teams work­ing in par­al­lel to in­ves­ti­gate sep­a­rate al­le­ga­tions. Agents should get sup­port from the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee for rapid im­mu­nity and sub­poena de­ci­sions, he said.

Last week, Trump tweeted that “if the at­tack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been im­me­di­ately filed” with lo­cal po­lice. On Thurs­day night, he at­tacked Democrats, say­ing they have a “search and de­stroy strat­egy” and said “this process has been a to­tal sham and ef­fort to de­lay, ob­struct and re­sist.”

Af­ter Ford ap­peared be­fore the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, Trump said her tes­ti­mony was “very com­pelling” and that she ap­peared to be “cer­tainly a very cred­i­ble wit­ness.”

In the last week, Trump has spo­ken re­peat­edly with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, who has scolded Trump about com­ments that ap­peared to cast doubt on Ford’s claim, ac­cord­ing to two Repub­li­cans fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions but not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly about pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

McCon­nell urged Trump to sup­port Ka­vanaugh but to avoid at­tack­ing his ac­cusers, warn­ing that he was in charge of count­ing votes and those kinds of dis­parag­ing re­marks could cause him to lose Repub­li­can sen­a­tors whose votes could be key to con­firm­ing Ka­vanaugh, in­clud­ing Su­san Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, they said.

McCon­nell also strongly warned Trump against fir­ing Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein fol­low­ing re­ports that Rosen­stein had dis­cussed pos­si­bly se­cretly record­ing the pres­i­dent and us­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion’s 25th Amend­ment to re­move him from of­fice, telling him it could lead to “a blood­bath,” ac­cord­ing to the Repub­li­cans fa­mil­iar with the con­ver­sa­tions. The Ken­tucky sen­a­tor feared it could not only heighten the ten­sion around the del­i­cate Ka­vanaugh pro­ceed­ings but could en­dan­ger Repub­li­can con­trol of the Se­nate.

McCon­nell has re­peat­edly stressed to Trump that he should not act on Rosen­stein or his boss, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, un­til af­ter the midterm elec­tions.

McCon­nell’s of­fice de­clined to dis­cuss the leader’s calls with the pres­i­dent, but spokes­woman An­to­nia Fer­rier said the two “speak reg­u­larly and have had good con­ver­sa­tions.”

Long­time McCon­nell ad­viser Scott Jen­nings said it wouldn’t sur­prise him that the Se­nate leader would be giv­ing the pres­i­dent his best advice on how to be most help­ful, even in di­rect terms.

“I’ve never known McCon­nell to be any­thing other than can­did and hon­est,” said Jen­nings, who did not have di­rect knowl­edge of the con­ver­sa­tions with the White House.

Tak­ing stock of the week, Jen­nings noted that the pres­i­dent, by week’s end, “has been pretty help­ful.” Rosen­stein wasn’t fired. Trump didn’t lash out at Sen. Jeff Flake, the Ari­zona Repub­li­can who forced the de­lay of Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion with the FBI probe. And Trump signed a bill to fund the gov­ern­ment and avoid a federal shut­down with­out “mak­ing a stink” about ex­tra money for his bor­der wall with Mex­ico.

“Look at what hap­pened,” Jen­nings said. “The pres­i­dent was strik­ing the tone.”


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.