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Top House Democrat vows to investigate perjury, sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh

Rep. Nadler will become the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats win back the House in November.

Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, says he'll investigate Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, dismissing a "whitewash" FBI probe. CREDIT: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, says he'll investigate Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, dismissing a "whitewash" FBI probe. CREDIT: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee says he will investigate alleged perjury and sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and slammed a “whitewash” probe completed by the FBI earlier this week.

The New York Times reported that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who will head the Judiciary Committee if Democrats take over the House after November’s elections, said that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is at stake, as the Senate prepared Saturday to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Nadler made his remarks to The Times after a procedural vote that allowed Kavanaugh’s nomination to advance to the vote in the full Senate on Saturday.

“It is not something we are eager to do,” Mr. Nadler told The Times on Friday. “But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05:  An activist sits next to a "NOPE" poster of Judge Brett Kavanaugh October 5, 2018 on the ground of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The Senate is scheduled for a cloture vote for the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become an associate justice at the U.S. Supreme Court.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: An activist sits next to a "NOPE" poster of Judge Brett Kavanaugh October 5, 2018 on the ground of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The Senate is scheduled for a cloture vote for the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become an associate justice at the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Kavanaugh, a conservative federal court judge, looks all-but-certain to be confirmed to the U.S. high court, despite a raft of sexual misconduct allegations.

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Democrats also say Kavanaugh committed perjury in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee when asked about his past drinking and aggressive behavior with women, which they say should also disqualify him from sitting on the nation’s highest court.

“We have to assure the American people either that it was a fair process and that the new justice did not commit perjury, did not do these terrible things, or reveal that we just don’t know because the investigation was a whitewash,” Nadler said.

The Times reported in a separate story on Saturday that an FBI probe of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was limited by design, overlooking numerous key witnesses who might have shown light allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The Times wrote that White House Counsel Don McGahn — who has shepherded the Kavanaugh nomination through the US Senate — vetoed efforts to launch a more exhaustive probe.

Throughout the night Friday and into Saturday, lawmakers held a marathon debate in order to meet the 30 hours of debate required by Senate rules before voting on the nomination.

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But Kavanaugh’s expected confirmation is not the end of the story. Protesters pledged to continue to fight his nomination until the last vote is cast, with legions of demonstrators expected to turn out in Washington and across the country Saturday.

Then they vowed to turn their fury to ousting the senators who turned a deaf ear to calls that the nomination be scrapped after a bitter nomination battle that turned even more contentious over the past two weeks, after allegations about a sexual assault surfaced dating back to Kavanaugh’s high school days.

A flurry of additional reports of out-of-control drinking and aggressive behavior followed, lodged for the most part by people who knew Kavanaugh in high school and college. A cursory, confidential FBI probe into some of the allegations was completed this week, however, and Republican lawmakers said it found nothing to warrant yanking Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party in the 1980s when both were teenagers.

Senate Democrats demanded that the FBI re-interview Ford, and listen to corroborating accounts from witnesses familiar with details of the accounts of two other accusers Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, but investigators failed to do so.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced on the Senate floor on Friday that she would support Kavanaugh’s nomination, becoming the 50th vote in his favor.

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She also instantly became the target of a multimillion dollar campaign drive to oust her when her seat comes up in 2020.

The search for a viable challenger for Collins also ramped into gear. Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s UN ambassador and national security adviser, dangled the prospect on Twitter that she might be interested in challenging Collins.

In a bitter disappointment for Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) quickly followed Collins in announcing his support for Kavanaugh, the only Democrat to break ranks. He also quickly found himself targeted by Democratic activists who withdrew funding for his reelection race next month.

Meanwhile Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday after being heavily lobbied by women sex assault survivors and representatives from Native groups in her state. The only Republican to vote against Kavanaugh on Friday, she has said she will vote “present” during Satuday’s confirmation vote.