Judge Brett Kavanaugh responded to questions about whether he’d welcome an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against him with deflections and silence.
During his hearing Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the allegations by three women, Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, urged Kavanaugh to suspend his confirmation process and pursue an FBI investigation. Durbin then repeatedly asked Kavanaugh if he, personally, would agree to an FBI investigation, but the Supreme Court nominee wouldn’t respond.
“Judge Kavanaugh, will you support an FBI investigation right now?” Durbin asked.
When Kavanaugh tried to deflect, Durbin responded: “Personally, do you think that’s the best thing for us to do?”
Kavanaugh sat in silence for almost 10 seconds, in an apparent refusal, until Durbin again pressed him.
“I said I wanted a hearing, and I would welcome anything,” Kavanaugh responded before once again deferring to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Three women have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. On Thursday, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was questioned by a GOP-appointed prosecutor about her accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were teenagers. Ford has encouraged a full FBI investigation, and the Democrats on the committee have repeatedly called for it.
Only the president can order the FBI to conduct an investigation, or the agency could be compelled to reopen a background check upon the presentation of certain kinds of new information.
Kavanaugh is a conservative whose appointment to the high court would swing it right. The court's next session begins Tuesday.