Sen. Orrin Hatch has requested that the FBI make it known immediately if any witness in its one-week investigation into sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is uncooperative.
His fear is that these witnesses or people advising them will delay, stretching out when the Senate may get to a final vote in this highly charged confirmation process.
Hatch, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made his request in a letter sent Saturday to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The Republican senator from Utah wrote that Christine Blasey Ford — the woman who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a party they attended in high school — as well as others who attended the gathering have agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
But if anyone tries to delay the process, Hatch asked that White House lawyers be notified.
The Utah senator said one “key reason” that has caused him concern over potential delays was learning during last Thursday’s committee hearing that Ford would have preferred to have been interviewed privately in California, rather than at a televised committee hearing. He wrote that Ford’s attorneys did not inform her of numerous offers by the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman to conduct a public or private interview wherever she preferred.
“The lawyers’ refusal led directly to a public hearing, against Dr. Ford’s express wishes,” Hatch wrote. “This is deeply troubling.”
Hatch last week initially was opposed to any further delay of a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. He later said he backed the short delay, even though he’d like to vote sooner.
Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee both voted to advance the nomination to the full Senate last Friday as another GOP colleague, Jeff Flake of Arizona, successfully pushed for a one-week delay before a final vote while the FBI investigates the allegations.
Senate leaders agreed to Flake’s demand and asked President Donald Trump to initiate the FBI probe into accusations of three women who say Kavanaugh either assaulted them or acted inappropriately.
While Hatch’s letter focuses only on those allegations involving Ford, the FBI has been in contact with at least one other woman — Deborah Ramirez — who also alleges the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her.
Hatch has said that he believes Kavanaugh over the accusers, saying initially Ford must be “mistaken” about her memory of Kavanaugh pinning her down and assaulting her nearly four decades ago.
After hearing Ford’s testimony, Hatch said the women did not have evidence to corroborate her claim, and said he believed the Senate should confirm the nomination.
Kavanaugh angrily denied the allegations against him during last Thursday’s committee hearing.