Probe or­dered in Ka­vanaugh case

Grass­ley bows to in­tense pres­sure and asks the pres­i­dent to order the new back­ground re­view that ‘must be com­pleted no later than one week from to­day’

The Gulf Today - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, un­der in­tense pres­sure from mod­er­ates in his own party, on Fri­day or­dered an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against his Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh at the re­quest of Se­nate Repub­li­cans.

The move that will de­lay the con­tentious con­fir­ma­tion process by a week.

The key player in a day of dra­matic and un­ex­pected de­vel­op­ments was Se­na­tor Jeff Flake, a mod­er­ate Repub­li­can re­tir­ing from the Se­nate in Jan­uary who pro­vided the de­ci­sive vote to ap­prove Ka­vanaugh’s nom­i­na­tion in the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee and send the mat­ter to the full Se­nate.

But Flake, af­ter ur­gent con­sul­ta­tions with col­leagues in­clud­ing Demo­cratic Se­na­tor Chris Coons, cast the vote only af­ter ask­ing the Repub­li­can-led panel to re­quest that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion pur­sue an FBI probe last­ing up to seven days of the ex­plo­sive al­le­ga­tions against Ka­vanaugh.

Trump, who had pre­vi­ously re­buffed Demo­cratic de­mands for an FBI probe, granted the re­quest, or­der­ing the “sup­ple­men­tal in­ves­ti­ga­tion” to be “lim­ited in scope and com­pleted in less than one week.”

“Just started, tonight, our 7th FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Judge Brett Ka­vanaugh. He will some­day be recog­nised as a truly great Jus­tice of The United States Supreme Court!,” Trump said in a Twit­ter post late on Fri­day.

WASH­ING­TON: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or­dered a new FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against his Supreme Court pick on Fri­day, as the Se­nate de­layed a vote on Brett Ka­vanaugh’s nom­i­na­tion to make way for the probe.

Af­ter a dra­matic day-long hear­ing at which a univer­sity pro­fes­sor ac­cused Ka­vanaugh of pin­ning her down and as­sault­ing her at a party in the 1980s, the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee ear­lier Fri­day ap­proved his nom­i­na­tion in a pre­lim­i­nary vote along party lines.

But com­mit­tee chair Chuck Grass­ley then bowed to in­tense pres­sure from in­side and out­side Congress and an­nounced he was ask­ing Trump to order the new back­ground re­view that “must be com­pleted no later than one week from to­day.”

Trump, who re­peat­edly blasted Demo­cratic op­po­si­tion to Ka­vanaugh as a po­lit­i­cal “con-job,” agreed.

“I’ve or­dered the FBI to con­duct a sup­ple­men­tal in­ves­ti­ga­tion to up­date JUDGE KA­VANAUGH’S ile. As THE SE­NATE has re­quested, this up­date must be lim­ited in scope and com­pleted in less than one week,” the pres­i­dent said in a state­ment.

He later tweeted sup­port for Ka­vanaugh on Fri­day night, say­ing that the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion had “just started.”

Trump’s order and the de­ci­sion to put OFF A inal vote CAME AF­TER A key Repub­li­can se­na­tor, Jeff Flake, threat­ened to break ranks with his party be­cause of the clouds hang­ing over Ka­vanaugh’s head.

At least three women have now ac­cused the 53-year-old con­ser­va­tive judge of sex­ual mis­con­duct while drunk, as a high school and later a univer­sity stu­dent.

Democrats have re­peat­edly de­manded those charges be as­sessed by the FBI to de­ter­mine if he is suit­able for the life­time high court ap­point­ment.

Flake’s stun­ning 11th-hour move played out on na­tional tele­vi­sion amid heated par­ti­san de­bate and rau­cous protests in the halls of the Capi­tol, where sev­eral women cornered the Ari­zona se­na­tor in an el­e­va­tor de­mand­ing he op­pose Ka­vanaugh.

“This coun­try’s be­ing ripped apart,” said Flake. “And we have to en­sure that we do due dili­gence here.”

“There’s lin­ger­ing doubt out there among a lot of peo­ple that we haven’t taken every mea­sure that we should to make sure that these al­le­ga­tions are dealt with, and so that’s what this ef­fort is about,” he said.

His move earned the en­dorse­ment of an­other Repub­li­can seen as wa­ver­ing on the nom­i­na­tion, Lisa Murkowski.

With the Repub­li­cans hold­ing a nar­row 51-49 ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, that placed pres­sure on Trump to order the FBI probe.

Repub­li­cans see Ka­vanaugh as piv­otal to their gain­ing con­trol of the nine-mem­ber Supreme Court bench.

Trump nom­i­nated him to re­place An­thony Kennedy, who for years was a swing vote be­tween four con­ser­va­tive and four lib­eral jus­tices.

Many con­ser­va­tives hope Ka­vanaugh’s ap­point­ment leads to a re­ver­sal of the court’s pro­tec­tion for women’s Abor­tion rights AND For “Afir­ma­tive Ac­tion” pro­grams sup­port­ing mi­nori­ties in schools and jobs.

With the stakes high, the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee’s pre­lim­i­nary vote took place amid ex­tra­or­di­nary ten­sion. Ka­vanaugh’s sup­port­ers and op­po­nents squared off fu­ri­ously in hear­ing rooms and pro­tes­tors crowded the hall­ways of Congress chant­ing “Novem­ber is com­ing!” — a ref­er­ence to the up­com­ing midterm elec­tions.

“Don’t look away from me! Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t mat­ter what hap­pened to me, that you’ll let peo­ple like that go to the high­est court in the land,” one weep­ing woman be­rated Flake, as he made his way to the com­mit­tee room.

Agence France-presse

Demon­stra­tors hold anti-ka­vanaugh march out­side the City Hall in Los An­ge­les on Fri­day.

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