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