After Kavanaugh confirmation, Pelosi vows to unearth FBI docs as Dems demand impeachment inquiry
Before and immediately after the Senate narrowly voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, top Democrats vowed that they would continue to fight — not only at the ballot box in November’s midterm elections, but also through further investigations and potentially even impeachment proceedings afterwards.
On Saturday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced she planned to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain documents related to the FBI’s supplemental probe of Kavanaugh, which senators said showed no corroboration of the decades-old sexual misconduct allegations against him. FBI background checks on judicial nominees have traditionally been kept confidential so that only senators, White House officials, and certain aides can view them.
“In purposefully limiting the FBI investigation, it is clear the Republicans were not seeking the truth,” Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in a statement. “They were seeking cover to do what they wanted to do anyway. To add insult to injury, they blocked the public’s access to the report.”
Pelosi also requested any communications from Senate Republicans to the FBI concerning the scope of the investigation. Congress is legally exempt from FOIA requirements, and it was not immediately clear to what extent the FBI would respond to Pelosi’s request.
Meanwhile, an online petition to impeach Kavanaugh reached more than 125,000 signatures in wake of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The petition claims as grounds for impeachment, among other grievances, that Kavanaugh lied under oath about not having “legacy” connections to Yale Law School because his grandfather attended Yale as an undergraduate.
However, Yale Law School admissions officials have said that Kavanaugh would have received no boost from his grandfather’s attendance at the university as an undergraduate.
The petition also accuses Kavanaugh of lying under oath about when he learned of Deborah Ramirez’s uncorroborated allegation that he exposed himself to her at a college party. Kavanaugh testified that he had heard generally that Ramirez was asking former classmates over the summer about the party to try to find someone to support her story; his denial appeared in The New Yorker’s piece describing her allegations.
“There is no room for an accused sexual predator and liar on the Supreme Court,” the petition, organized by the progressive CREDO Action group, continues. “Brett Kavanaugh faces credible accusations of sexual assault and perjury and should be impeached. Initiate impeachment proceedings to remove him from the federal bench.”
Republicans had warned in recent days that liberal groups would rachet up their impeachment rhetoric. “You better believe that Democrats are going to do everything in their power to impeach Kavanuagh from the Supreme Court if they take control of Congress in November,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter Friday.
Trump supporters – The fight isn’t over. You better believe that Democrats are going to do everything in their power to impeach Kavanuagh from the Supreme Court if they take control of Congress in November.
This is war. Time to fight. Vote on Nov 6 to protect the Supreme Court!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 5, 2018
Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus Harvard Law School professor, told reporters that it would be more appropriate for the Department of Justice, not Congress, to probe any viable legal violations by Kavanaugh. Partisan impeachment proceedings, he said, “would really undercut the process of confirmation and introduce a new level of McCarthyism into the process.”
Nevertheless, Democratic politicians have seemingly embraced calls to continue to go after Kavanaugh. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y, who is poised to become the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats prevail in the lower chamber in November, promised this weekend that the FBI’s recently completed supplemental review of Kavanaugh’s background wouldn’t be the final word.
“The Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent — we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions,” Nadler told The New York Times on Friday.
“We would have to investigate any credible allegations certainly of perjury and other things that haven’t properly been looked into before,” the ranking Judiciary Committee Democrat said in a separate interview.
That investigation, Democrats have said, could well lead to impeachment proceedings. Federal judges can be impeached by a simple majority of the House, but actually removing Justice Kavanaugh from the bench would then require a two-thirds vote of the Senate — an extraordinarily unlikely scenario. No sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice has ever been removed from the bench using this mechanism.
“If we find lies about assault against women, then we should proceed to impeach,” Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., said in an interview last week.
And far-left Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter in September that Congress should being investigating to see if Kavanaugh “should be impeached” based on the “new criminal allegations by Julie Swetnick.”
Swetnick’s credibility has taken a beating in recent days, with one ex-boyfriend telling Fox News she “exaggerated everything” and had threatened to kill his unborn child. Another ex-boyfriend similarly cast doubt on her credibility, as reports surfaced that she had previously been sued for allegedly concocting false sexual harassment claims. Swetnick is represented by anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti.
And Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, has faced questions of her own. One of her ex-boyfriends, in a sworn declaration obtained by Fox News, directly contradicted her testimony on a variety of issues, including her experience with polygraph exams and her purported fear of enclosed spaces in the wake of her alleged assault.
Based on the numerous allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, including these new criminal allegations by Julie Swetnick, the @HouseJudiciary Committee must immediately start an investigation into Judge Kavanaugh to see if he should be impeached. https://t.co/IqkeZMcoXl
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 26, 2018
Republicans have defended the supplemental FBI probe into Kavanaugh’s background as fair and thorough. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans last week released an executive summary of the FBI’s report, outlining each of the witnesses who were interviewed about the decades-old, uncorroborated accounts of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.
The full confidential report was only available to senators on a confidential basis in a secure room of the Capitol complex. While Republicans, including key swing-vote moderates like Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, said they were satisfied with the report, Democrats in the Senate were openly critical.
“The fight over Judge Kavanaugh is increasing base intensity for both parties.”
“Well, that report — if that’s an investigation, it’s a bull—- investigation,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., told a man as he walked through the Capitol complex on Thursday. “The reality is, that was not a full and thorough investigation.”
There were signs that, even though Democrats face long odds in their effort to have Kavanaugh impeached, they will be successful in rallying their base to the polls in key House races in November.
“Our guys are taking a beating,” GOP consultant Rob Simms told The Washington Examiner on Tuesday, saying that House Republican candidates are being badly outspent by well-funded Democratic groups.