The FBI released its findings on Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh early Thursday morning without interviewing dozens of people who said they could corroborate them or the prime subjects of the investigation itself—Ford and Kavanaugh.
Though the White House agreed earlier this week to expand what top advisers once insisted would be an investigation "limited in scope," the investigation never came to include Ford or Kavanaugh, whose sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee officials reportedly considered sufficient for the FBI's purposes.
The FBI's final report also excluded testimony from several people who were frustrated they couldn't reach the bureau to share information regarding the allegations against Kavanaugh. On Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the report's release, NBC News reported that more than 40 people fell into this category.
Ford's lawyers say the exclusion of these testimonies makes the FBI's investigation illegitimate.
"An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony—cannot be called an investigation,” Ford's legal counsel told the Washington Post in a statement.
“We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”
The White House was the first to receive the FBI's report, and issued a statement saying President Donald Trump continues to stand by Kavanaugh and remains "fully confident" he will be confirmed. The document—which includes summaries of the interviews the FBI did conduct— was then forwarded to the Senate, whose 100 members will review it in one-hour shifts, starting with Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley, who saw the report at 8 AM Thursday morning, and California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's ranking Democrat, at 9 AM.
There is only one copy of the report, and when it's their turn, senators must read it in a special high-security room in the Capitol. Its contents won't be released to the public.
Democratic senators have spoken out to challenge the thoroughness of the FBI's investigation and to criticize the logistics surrounding how they are being asked to review the findings.
"We tried to reserve some time to read it," Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said Thursday. "That is ridiculous,” he said. “One copy?! … Bizarre, it doesn't make any sense."
Feinstein echoed Ford's lawyers' concerns, suggesting Kavanaugh's conduct during his testimony last week made further interview by the FBI necessary.
"Last week’s hearing is no substitute for FBI interviews, especially when you consider the tenor of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony,” Feinstein told the Post. “When he wasn’t yelling and demeaning senators, he was making misleading statements that cast doubt on his overall trustworthiness. I don’t think that would happen with FBI agents seated across the table.”
Grassley, however—who had already scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh before the investigation's conclusion—is eager to get on with confirming the Supreme Court nominee. It looks now that the vote is likely to occur on Saturday.
"There's nothing in it that we didn't already know," Grassley said of the FBI's findings. "It's time to vote. I'll be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh."