Of­fi­cials say a week is plenty of time for FBI to in­ves­ti­gate

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin John­son and Aamer Mad­hani

WASH­ING­TON – In FBI par­lance, they are called “spins.”

They are spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the back­grounds of nom­i­nees to the Supreme Court and other high-pro­file jobs in a pres­i­den­tial ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Per­haps never be­fore has such at­ten­tion been fo­cused on the long­shrouded process as in the case of Brett Ka­vanaugh.

And Fri­day brought a new and un­ex­pected wrin­kle: Repub­li­can sen­a­tors and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ac­qui­esced to Democrats’ de­mand for the re­open­ing of Ka­vanaugh’s back­ground in­quiry to vet al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault against the Supreme Court nom­i­nee lev­eled by high school ac­quain­tance Chris­tine Blasey Ford.

And the sec­ond woman who came for­ward with al­le­ga­tions against Ka­vanaugh has been con­tacted by the FBI, her at­tor­ney told USA TO­DAY on Satur­day. Deb­o­rah Ramirez claimed Kava-

naugh forcibly ex­posed him­self to her at a dorm party at Yale Univer­sity.

Ramirez’s at­tor­ney, John Clune, said she is co­op­er­at­ing with the FBI as agents in­ves­ti­gate the batch of al­le­ga­tions in Ka­vanaugh’s re­opened back­ground check.

While an ex­tra­or­di­nary Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee hear­ing did lit­tle to rec­on­cile the du­el­ing ac­counts of­fered by Ford and Ka­vanaugh, law­mak­ers now be­lieve a clearer pic­ture of the nom­i­nee’s cred­i­bil­ity could emerge, and Trump on Fri­day au­tho­rized a “lim­ited,” one-week FBI re­view.

Even in the nar­row amount of time pro­vided, former FBI of­fi­cials said agents could reach a quick res­o­lu­tion.

“They could knock this thing out in a cou­ple of days,” said Jim Davis, a former agent who par­tic­i­pated in at least 50 such back­ground in­quiries. “The great and beau­ti­ful thing about the FBI is that it can ap­ply in­cred­i­ble re­sources to what­ever the is­sue re­quires.”

Phil Mudd, a former CIA and FBI of­fi­cial who has been the sub­ject of a half-dozen back­ground checks, said such rein­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­mon and can be com­pleted fairly quickly.

“You have to let things go where they go, but if it is nar­row in scope, it could take just a few days,” Mudd said.

Apart from Ford, among the first wit­nesses likely to be con­tacted by in­ves­ti­ga­tors is Ka­vanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, who Ford claims was in the room when she was as­saulted at a house party in 1982.

Ford told the Se­nate panel that while she was al­legedly be­ing as­saulted by Ka­vanaugh, she made eye con­tact with Judge, who she had hoped would come to her aid.

Democrats had un­suc­cess­fully sought to have Judge tes­tify at Thurs­day’s hear­ing.

Judge, in a state­ment Fri­day, said that he would “co­op­er­ate with any law en­force­ment agency that is as­signed to con­fi­den­tially in­ves­ti­gate these al­le­ga­tions.”

He had pre­vi­ously told the com­mit­tee in a sworn state­ment that he had “no mem­ory” of the in­ci­dent out­lined by Ford.

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