Senate receives FBI report on Kavanaugh allegations

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WASHINGTON-The White House has found no corroboration of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after examining interview reports from the FBI's latest probe into the judge's background, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York Times reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed nine out of the 10 people it contacted to investigate two sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh-including people who were allegedly at a gathering where Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, as well as a couple of Kavanaugh's high school friends.

Senate Judiciary staff will brief Republican members at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), a source told Reuters, adding there were "no bombshells" in the document.

While these charges may seem to invite the kind of lengthy investigation that would never reach any conclusion, the questions they raise could be fairly addressed without straining the FBI or the Senate. Any combination of two of them, combined with the vice president's tie-breaking vote, would be enough to put Judge Kavanaugh on the high court.

Democrats were in near unanimity against Mr Kavanaugh. McConnell said on Tuesday that the report should not become public.

Shortly after Prof Ford's testimony to the Senate last week, Mr Trump said she was a "very fine woman".

Ford testified before the Senate judiciary committee in Washington on September 27.

The six days that have elapsed since the hearing have only made the confirmation showdown for President Donald Trump's pick more divisive and deepened the cavern of mistrust between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, just five weeks before midterm elections. Four of those interviewed attended a 1 July 1982 event which was listed on a calendar that Mr Kavanaugh has produced to show what he did at the time. That means that if all Democrats vote against confirming Mr Kavanaugh, Republicans can only afford one defection - since in a tie, Vice-President Mike Pence would get the casting vote.

Mr Trump said when he goes to political rallies, which are organised by Republicans, he sees that voters are angry at the "vicious and despicable" way Democrats are treating his nominee.

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The Senate Majority Leader filed a motion for cloture Wednesday night setting up a Friday vote on whether to end debate on Kavanaugh's nomination and move forward with a vote. "I respect her position very much", Trump said to reporters on Monday.

Collins and Murkowski are two moderate members of the Republican caucus, both of whom support abortion rights and have been under pressure to oppose Kavanaugh since he was nominated. "'I don't know, but I had one beer!'"

Sen. Lindsey Graham defended President Donald Trump's mocking of Christine Blasey Ford, arguing that it was less degrading than how some Democrats responded to accusations against Bill Clinton. And Democrats argued that the investigation has been insufficient, lacking interviews with her, with Kavanaugh and others who Kavanaugh's accusers have said could have knowledge about the alleged incidents. "Upstairs, downstairs, where was it?"

He said on Wednesday: "I'm going to read whatever they've got".

There's more: Several people who reached out to investigators to offer information said they were also left hanging.

Washington has been awaiting completion of the investigation since last week, when Flake, Collins and Murkowski pressured a reluctant Trump and GOP leaders to order the FBI to renew its background check of the 53-year-old Kavanaugh.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy, who had been a swing vote on a court now divided between four conservative and four liberal justices. "'I don't remember, '" Trump said.

Julie Swetnick, who implicated Kavanaugh in a pattern of sexual assaults, was also not interviewed.