Sen. Jeff Flake demanded a potentially week-long pause on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh Friday so the FBI could do a limited investigation in to the sexual assault allegation levied against him by Christine Blasey Ford in searing testimony Thursday.
Other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee had dismissed renewed calls from Democrats for a new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s activities in the summer of 1982 and had planned to vote to approve the judge’s Supreme Court nomination along after his angry refutation of Ford’s accusations.
Flake’s call for a delay and a possible FBI investigation will now be up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House. One line of inquiry for the FBI could be the bubbling theory embraced by some Democrats, that perhaps the key to proving Ford’s claim is in plain sight on the calendar Kavanaugh released to clear his name.
The theory, which is circumstantial at best, was put forward in press reports like one from The Washington Post and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse (it’s also been mentioned by Sens. Dick Durbin and Cory Booker) seized on the idea Friday during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting that resulted in Flake demanding a delay on Kavanaugh’s vote so the FBI could investigate. Flake did not mention the theory specifically in asking for an investigation.
When Republicans and Kavanaugh called an FBI investigation an attempt by Democrats to slow things down, Whitehouse threw up the July 1 theory as one example of something that needs more investigation.
“Let me have one example of where investigation might help,” he said, holding up a blown-up version of Kavanaugh’s July calendar. “Dr. Ford said that Kavanaugh and (Mark) Judge and PJ (Patrick Smyth) and at least one other boy were all at a house.”
“Well,” said Whitehouse, circling names on his blowup with a sharpie, “we know Brett Kavanaugh was there because it’s his schedule, and here’s Judge, and here’s PJ. Here are all those three named boys and others at a house together just as she says.”
“She said Kavanaugh and Judge were drunk and that she had a beer,” said Whitehouse, circling the word “skis” on the calendar entry and suggesting, as Bump did, that it might be short for something like “brewskis.” (This is July, so they likely weren’t snow skiing.)
“They were drinking, just as she said,” Whitehouse said.
“Now I will concede that the two girls aren’t mentioned,” Whitehouse said. “But spot me this. If you had just sexually assaulted one of the two girls, would you add the girls’ names to your calendar? I doubt it.”
“This may, may be powerful corroborating evidence that the assault happened. that it happened that day, and that it happened at that place, but with no FBI investigation we can’t tell,” said Whitehouse.
The way Bump had gotten to seize on July 1 was through Ford’s testimony. She said that after the alleged attack, she had run into Judge at the Safeway in Potomac Village, Maryland, where he was working.
In his memoir “Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk,” which chronicles his time as an alcoholic in high school and after, Judge, who the committee did not cross-examine, mentions working at a grocery store in the weeks before football camp.
We know football camp occurred in August, because it’s on Kavanaugh’s calendar. Ford said her attack happened a number of weeks before she encountered Judge at the store. So that date, July 1, when Kavanaugh went to his friends’ house, is within the time period.
We should mention here that the prosecutor hired by Republicans to question Ford and Kavanaugh touched on this date during her questioning Thursday.
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She specifically asked about the July 1 entry and Kavanaugh identified the people there. She did not, however, ask what “skis” were. And she then pivoted to ask if a party like the one Ford described had occurred, would Kavanaugh have documented it. He said he would have.
Of the people he identified from his calendar as being at the party, several have said they believe Kavanaugh and that no such event as the one Ford describes occurred.
Tom Kane, Kavanaugh’s friend at the time, said on CNN Friday an FBI investigation would simply supply facts and “add layers of nonsense.”
“In our circle those days, I pretty much knew what those five or six guys were doing at every moment, and there was no memory of this. It didn’t happen,” he said. “Plus, our network, our community, the Catholic school kids, we would have known. These things stick.”
He also mentioned the July 1 theory and said the house they would have visited is not in line with Ford’s description.
He said the “Timmy” in the calendar – Tim Gaudette – lived in a townhouse 10 miles from the country club and not a single-family home like the one Ford described in her testimony.
“I saw published today, somebody is floating the notion that there was something on July 1 at Tim’s house, and he lived ten miles away from the Columbia Clubhouse, and it was a townhouse,” Kane said. “You want to go and get Mark Judge’s work schedule from Safeway so you can back into an empty date on Brett’s calendar and someone who doesn’t understand when it happened can pick a day? You know we’re just playing games. This needs to be a finite process.”
None of the others have specifically mentioned the July 1 date.
Judge, the other person identified by Ford as an attacker, through his lawyer, issued a statement denying any of the allegations, although he was not cross-examined by the committee, as Democrats have requested.
PJ Smyth put out a statement last week saying he had no knowledge of the party Ford described.
Three others – “Squi,” whose name is Chris Garrett, Bernie McCarthy and Gaudette have not issued statements or done interviews.
Kavanaugh had earlier said he wouldn’t have been drinking heavily on a weeknight, although Judge, his friend at the time, describes often going to work hungover.
During questioning Thursday, Booker tried to get Kavanaugh to admit that “skis” was indeed “brewskis.” Kavanaugh did not specifically say that, but did allow he may have had something to drink that night after looking at the calendar.
He said nothing on the calendar could remotely fit Ford’s allegations. That was outside counsel Rachel Mitchell’s final line of questioning before Republican senators on the committee took over Kavanaugh’s questioning.