Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are blasting the Republican majority for 'mishandling' confidential background information on Brett Kavanaugh and suggesting there was dirt in his file before Christine Blasey Ford's allegations.
The lawmakers inveighed in an angry letter after a GOP committee tweet said there was never any 'whiff' of information about sexual behavior or alcohol abuse in earlier background investigations of Kavanaugh.
With the FBI preparing to hand over interview documents to the Senate, clearing the way for a vote to advance Kavanaugh as soon as Friday, panel Democrats signed onto a letter that highlighted the tweets – and claiming there was already information about those issue in prior checks, which are six in number.
Republicans have complained that they learned of allegations by Christine Blasey Ford only after Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation hearing, but prior background information on Kavanaugh was made available to lawmakers before then, as is standard practice.
Why hasn't she been asked: Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich wrote to the FBI warning she had not been contacted at all
As partisan tensions on the panel boiled over once again, committee Republicans shot back at 'baseless innuendo and more false smears' contained in the Democrats' letter.
The Democratic lawmakers wrote that they are 'limited in what we can say' about what was in those background packets.
They go on to write that this is 'not the first instance' where the committee Republicans disclosed allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh – suggesting that this is the type of information that was contained in the prior background information.
'It is troubling that the Committee Majority has characterized information from Judge Kavanaugh's confidential background investigation on Twitter, as that information is confidential and not subject to public release,' wrote the Democrats, led by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois.
'If the Committee Majority is going to violate that confidentiality and characterize this background investigation publicly, you must at least be honest about it,' the lawmakers wrote.
'Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of Committee Majority staff mischaracterizing or selectively disclosing information regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct by Judge Kavanaugh. While Republican Senators have falsely claimed without evidence that Committee Minority staff leaked Dr. Ford's letter alleging that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, Committee Majority staff have publicly claimed that you possess evidence undermining the allegations while only selectively disclosing that evidence,' they continued.
They also complained that the majority had not shared information it put out to undermine Ford.
'For example, the Majority has released an 'investigative timeline' that editorializes about information in the Majority's possession in a blatant effort to undermine the credibility of the women who have come forward,' they write.
'Despite Dr. Ford's unequivocal sworn statement that she is '100 percent' certain that it was Judge Kavanaugh who attacked her, the Majority's 'timeline' describes statements from two unidentified men who purportedly claim they, not Judge Kavanaugh, assaulted Dr. Ford; however, the Majority has not shared these alleged anonymous statements with the Minority despite repeated requests. This selective public disclosure sends a clear message from Senate Republicans to sexual assault survivors: if you have the courage to step forward, we will attack your credibility,' they wrote.
The original tweets said: 'As part of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to #SCOTUS, the FBI conducted its SUXTH full-field background investigation of Judge Kavanaugh since 1993. As part of these 6 prior FBI investigations, the FBI interviewed nearly 150 different people who know Judge Kavanaugh personally.'
A follow-on tweet said: 'Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.
Senate Republicans shot back Wednesday night: 'Nothing in the tweet is inaccurate or misleading. The committee stands by its statement, which is completely truthful. More baseless innuendo and more false smears from Senate Democrats.'
The Democrats also sought to get a green light to disclose how many people get interviewed in the latest, additional background check – achieved after Democrats joined with GOP Sen. Jeff Flake to require one.
Top Judiciary Democrat Dianne Feinstein issued her own angry letter Wednesday complaining that the White House was keeping the FBI from interviewing Ford and Kavanaugh.
'We also urge you to meet with Minority members of the Judiciary Committee in advance of that briefing to establish bipartisan ground rules for public discussion of the information provided by the FBI,' they wrote.
'For example, we assume that since the Majority has already tweeted publicly about how many people were interviewed for Kavanaugh's previous background investigations, the Majority also will permit the public disclosure of the number of people interviewed by the FBI for the supplemental background investigation,' they added.
The FBI is quickly wrapping up its investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – and will likely deliver its final product to senators Wednesday afternoon, a senior Republican senator said.
The bureau does not at this time plan to produce any overarching analysis or conclusions of what it finds following an interview process that began Friday after a dramatic compromise hatched in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Instead, GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said, they will simply turn over a stack of '302s,' the forms the bureau produces during background interviews.
Senators will then get the chance to review the materials in a secure facility, Corker told DailyMail.com and a contingent of reporters in the Capitol.
'These are 302s. And they're just going to be a stack of those transmitted. That's going to be it. There never has been expected to be findings,' Corker said.
'What we think is going to happen they're going to transmit a stack of 302s where they went and talked to people. And we'll go through those. It's possible that they have conflicting accounts, I hope that's not the case.'
He added: 'My understanding is they're just going to send this raw data that is those 302s that they collect. I think it's likely to happen this afternoon.'
News of that the investigation is in its final hours comes as attorneys for Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford complain their client has not been contacted for an interview.
Instead, they would contain rough summaries of information provided by the six or more people FBI agents have contacted, under a deal being closely monitored by the White House and GOP senators.
Such 302 documents contain an FBI agent's notes on information a witness provides. They don't contain analysis comparing the statements to what another witness may have said, or otherwise offer a conclusion – meaning if senators are looking for an answer on the key question of who is telling the truth, Kavanaugh or Ford, the documents very well may not provide it.
'My understanding is they're just going to send this raw data that is those 302s that they collect. I think it's likely to happen this afternoon,' said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, signaling that the FBI is wrapping up its background investigation
The official title of the 302 form is 'Form for Reporting Information That May Become Testimony.' But in this case, the hearings, and the key witness testimony, have already occurred.
Democrats demanded further investigation after Ford testified she was '100 per cent' certain Kavanaugh assaulted her at a small party decades ago, and by allying with GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a key vote, were able to force the one-week probe.
Kavanaugh came back at last week's hearing with a defiant performance where he forcefully denied the charge and accused Democrats of a 'calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.'
Ready for a confrontation: Michael Avenatti, the attorney for third accuser Julie Swetnick, said she had not been contacted by the FBI, while Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader made clear Tuesday he wanted to see the FBI's results published in full
There are at present no plans to have the FBI dispatch someone to summarize any conclusions, although Senate Republicans may request one to appear.
Corker made the comments following a closed meeting of the Senate GOP Conference where the status of the FBI's reopened probe into Kavanaugh's background was discussed.
The move keeps Senate Majority Leader on track with his plan to file a motion to cut off debate on the Kavanaugh nomination on Wednesday, which would set up a critical Friday vote.
The fast-moving developments came as attorneys for Kavanaugh accuser Christine Ford revealed the FBI has not spoken to the accuser who claims Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.
The 'background investigation' also came under fire from attorneys from Kavanaugh's other two accusers.
'It is inconceivable that the FBI could conduct a thorough investigation of Dr. Ford's allegations without interviewing her, Judge Kavanaugh, or the witnesses we have identified in our letters to you,' Ford's attorneys Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich wrote to the FBI's director, Christopher Wray.
John Clune, a lawyer for Debbie Ramirez, the second accuser, who was questioned at the weekend, also attacked, telling Bloomberg: 'We have great concern that the FBI is not conducting - or not being permitted to conduct - a serious investigation.'
Concerns: Attorneys for accusers Julie Swetnick and Debbie Ramirez have both said they are unhappy with the Senate Judiciary Committee and the FBI. Ramirez was questioned by agents but her attorney said her list of witnesses has not been acted on. Swetnick has not been contacted by the FBI.
And Michael Avenatti, who represents the third accuser, Julie Swetnick, published emails he had sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee demanding that it 'take all steps to arrange an FBI interview' with her.
Agents have spoken to at least six people involved in the allegations.
One of those is Mark Judge, the high school friend of Kavanaugh who was accused of being in the room when the nominee allegedly tried to rape Ford, while the other is Debbie Ramirez, the second accuser.
The Senate is currently engaged in an unlimited period of debate on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, meaning they have the option to talk about him on the Senate floor should they so choose.
When Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is ready to call for a confirmation vote, he must make a motion to end the debate, a process known as cloture.
Senate rules require an intervening day to pass between when a GOP leader files for cloture and when the Senate votes on the cloture motion.
So if McConnell were to file for cloture on Wednesday evening, the cloture vote would 'ripen' to allow this to happen on Friday.
If he waits until Thursday morning to file for cloture, then that vote would take place Saturday.
For cloture to be invoked for the nomination, 51 votes are required, under the 'nuclear option' rules change pushed through by Senate Republicans before the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch during Trump's first year as president.
Once the cloture is invoked, that starts the clock on the final 30 hours of debate on Kavanaugh.
Senators can only vote sooner if they are able to reach unanimous agreement to do so.
Once those 30 hours are up, Senators will vote on whether or not to confirm Kavanaugh.
It takes a simple majority of 51 senators to confirm a nominee.
But since Republicans only have a 51 seat majority, they can afford to lose only one senator if all Democrats vote no on Kavanaugh.
Should it be a 50-50 vote, Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie to confirm Kavanaugh.
They have also spoken to Patrick 'P.J.' Smyth and Leland Keyser, both of whom Ford said were present, and to Tim Gaudette, whose home Kavanaugh's calendars showed he partied at on July 1, 1982, under the term 'skis'.
And they have spoken to 'Squi' or 'Squee', real name Chris Garrett, who Ford said she dated and who Kavanaugh's calendar put at the July 1 party.
Ford testified at length during an emotional Judiciary Committee hearing last week, where she fielded questions from Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor hired by the all-male Senate Republicans on the panel to ask her questions.
Gaudette, who lives in Denver, Colorado, where he works in healthcare and is a former chairman of the city's Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce confirmed the interview through an attorney who said he did not want to comment further.
Smyth, a PWC managing director who works in Washington D.C. has not commented on the interview and had previously issued a