FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation: Where key people stand

Posted at 3:48 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 17:57:17-04

Questions and criticism have emerged about the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with a focus on the extent of the FBI’s mandate and whom the agency might interview.

President Donald Trump addressed the investigation at a news conference on Monday where he warned of Kavanaugh undergoing “trauma” and called for speedy work, while at the same time saying the FBI should speak to whomever Republican senators want.

Meanwhile, key Republican senators have made clear they want a substantial FBI investigation.

Here are some critical names that have cropped up and how they might relate to the probe:

Brett Kavanaugh

The Supreme Court nominee in question, Kavanaugh faces a series of allegations about sexual assault and misconduct — all of which he has denied. Kavanaugh also disputed accounts of his drinking and behavior in high school and college during his testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Kavanaugh denied allegations against him repeatedly at last week’s hearing and had contentious exchanges with Senate Democrats who called for him to request an FBI investigation. Kavanaugh declined to call for a probe, although he said he would cooperate with any route the Senate pursued. Two sources told CNN after Trump ordered the probe that Kavanaugh’s name was not on the initial list of witnesses given by Senate Republicans to the White House for the FBI to interview.

Christine Blasey Ford

Ford, a California professor, is the first woman to come forward with accusations against Kavanaugh. She has alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in their high school years, and that Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge was a witness to the incident. Judge has said he has no memory of the incident.

Ford had not heard from the FBI as of Monday morning, according to a person on Ford’s team. Ford has called for an FBI review of her allegations since she came forward, and ultimately agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee while still pressing for an FBI review.

Deborah Ramirez

Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker in an article published last month that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while he was a freshman at Yale. Kavanaugh has denied this allegation as well.

A source told CNN that the FBI spoke with Ramirez on Sunday and that she had supplied the FBI with the names of witnesses, which raised the question of whether the FBI would interview those witnesses or whether the scope of the FBI’s mandate would preclude the agency from doing so.

Mark Judge

Judge is a friend of Kavanaugh’s from his high school years. Ford said Judge was with Kavanaugh when she was sexually assaulted. Judge said he had no memory of the incident Ford described. Julie Swetnick, a woman who came forward with extensive allegations against Kavanaugh, said in a statement to the Senate that Judge and Kavanaugh were present at a party where she was gang raped. Judge said through his lawyer that he “vehemently denies” Swetnick’s allegations.

Judge’s attorney, Barbara Van Gelder, said in a statement Monday, “Mr. Judge has been interviewed by the FBI but his interview has not been completed. We request your patience and the FBI completes its investigation.”

Patrick J. Smyth

Ford said others were present at the party where she was assaulted. One of those she has identified is Patrick J. Smyth, referred to in several accounts as PJ. Smyth, in a letter via his attorney to the Senate Judiciary Committee, denied having any “knowledge of the party in question” or “any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”

Smyth’s lawyer Eric Bruce said the FBI interviewed Smyth, and that Smyth “truthfully answered every question the FBI asked him and, consistent with the information he previously provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he indicated that he has no knowledge of the small party or gathering described by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford nor does he have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”

Leland Keyser

As with Smyth, Ford said Leland Keyser was at the gathering when Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. Keyser said in a letter from her lawyer that she did not refute Ford, but did not remember the incident.

The letter said Keyser would “cooperate fully” with an FBI investigation. Two sources told CNN that the FBI has interviewed Keyser.

Chad Ludington

Chad Ludington is a former classmate of Kavanaugh from Yale. He said in a statement that Kavanaugh “has not told the truth” with regard to his drinking.

Ludington said he was going to take his information to the FBI. A source told CNN previously that Kavanaugh’s drinking history was not part of its investigation.

Elizabeth Rasor

According to The New Yorker, Elizabeth Rasor dated Judge for about three years and said after his denials of misconduct with women that she felt the need to come forward. Rasor told the magazine that Judge told her of an incident where he and others took turns having sex with a drunk woman, although she did not say Kavanaugh participated. An attorney for Judge told The New Yorker that Judge “categorically denies” Rasor’s account.

Rasor said in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained by a writer at The Washington Post that she would be willing to speak with the FBI.

Julie Swetnick

Julie Swetnick became the third public accuser against Kavanaugh with a series of allegations, including accusing him of participating in gang rapes and being present at a party where she herself was the victim of a gang rape. Swetnick made her allegation in a declaration released by her attorney Michael Avenatti. Kavanaugh has denied her allegations.

It is not clear that the FBI intends to interview her. Trump, at a news conference Monday, suggested doubts about Swetnick might preclude her from being interviewed.

“I’ve heard that the third one has — I have no idea if this is true — has very little credibility,” Trump said. “If there is any credibility, interview the third one.”