STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Sources: Kavanaugh, Ford not yet interviewed

As the investigation continues into allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, sources say the FBI has not yet interviewed Kavanaugh or his accuser Christine Blasey Ford. CNN's Drew Griffin reports.

Posted: Oct 4, 2018 2:39 PM
Updated: Oct 4, 2018 2:39 PM

It's judgment day for Brett Kavanaugh and the three crucial Republicans who could send him to the Supreme Court or doom his hopes of being the swing vote who could change America.

Kavanaugh's fate will be on the line for the second straight Thursday, as senators begin reading the results of the supplemental background check compiled by the FBI a week after Christine Blasey Ford accused the nominee of sexual assault in the most politically charged hearing in decades.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meanwhile set in motion a process designed to lead to a procedural vote on Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday, that would possibly lead to a final vote as early as the following day.

The six days that have elapsed since the hearing have only made the confirmation showdown for President Donald Trump's pick more divisive and deepened the cavern of mistrust between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, just five weeks before midterm elections.

Confirming Kavanaugh under such circumstances could stoke GOP turnout in the elections and reconcile the decades-long goal of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. But it also seems certain to further alienate women voters in the #MeToo era in a way that could have huge implications in November and in Trump's re-election race.

While Kavanaugh has the most to lose, and Ford is waiting to see whether her decision to shatter her own privacy in a hearing watched around the world will have any effect, the next few days promise to be agonizing for three Republicans senators who control the judge's fate.

Fierce pressure is building on Arizona's Jeff Flake, Maine's Susan Collins and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who have all expressed reservations about Kavanaugh, and face a choice with stark implications for their political careers and legacies.

"Everyone has asked 'what's it going to say? How am I going to react?' I have no idea, in truth and fairness. I have no idea, so I'm going" wait," Murkowski told reporters on Wednesday.

The decision for Collins and Flake may have been further complicated Wednesday night when Kavanaugh's former Yale roommate, James Roche, alleged on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that Kavanaugh lied about the extent of his drinking during last week's wrenching hearing. Both senators have drawn a red line on their votes on Kavanaugh, saying they will not vote to confirm him if they believe he lied under oath.

"We were in a room together -- our beds were 10 feet apart for a couple of months," Roche told Cooper. "And what struck me and made me more interested in speaking out about it is not only did I know that he wasn't telling, you know, the truth, I knew that he knew that he wasn't telling the truth."

Sources told CNN that senators will be allowed to start reading the FBI investigation summaries on Kavanaugh Thursday morning.

The probe was re-opened last week after Flake, concerned that the bitter imbroglio of Kavanaugh's confirmation process was tearing America apart, made his vote conditional on further investigations of Ford's allegations, dating from the 1980s when she and Kavanaugh were high schoolers.

Trump, hoping to soon celebrate a second confirmed pick to the Supreme Court that would deliver a consequential legacy, quickly took to Twitter to create momentum behind Kavanaugh.

"Wow, such enthusiasm and energy for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Look at the Energy, look at the Polls. Something very big is happening. He is a fine man and great intellect. The country is with him all the way!" Trump wrote.

Crucial questions

When senators get their first look at the FBI summaries, it will be a critical moment for Kavanaugh.

It is likely to quickly become clear whether they give the three Republicans political cover to vote for, or against Kavanaugh and whether Democrats consider the FBI's efforts, under the direction of committee Republicans and the White House to be a genuine investigation.

The findings could shed light on the credibility of Ford's accusations, the sustainability of Kavanaugh's denial and wider questions about the judge's character that have exploded into the debate over his prospects since his volatile performance during last Thursday's hearing.

The report could also shed some light on Kavanaugh's candor and truthfulness, which have also emerged as a potential challenge to his nomination.

The extent of the Kavanaugh's drinking and partying in the 1980s does not directly touch on whether he is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court decades later after a distinguished career as a jurist.

But if information emerges to contradict his assertions that he never blacked out while drinking it could cast doubt on his denials that he did not assault Ford at a house party in the 1980 since she testified he was heavily drunk at the time.

Kavanaugh could also face questions if there are suggestions in the summaries that he did not tell the truth under oath about his past, since he is auditioning for a job on the highest court in the land that relies on the idea that its members are themselves beyond legal reproach.

Among those interviewed by the FBI was Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh's who Ford said was in the room at the time of the alleged assault. Ford's attorneys said in a statement late Wednesday night the FBI had not contacted Ford for an interview, leaving them "profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth."

It would take something substantial to change in the perception of Kavanaugh's past and character to change the fervent desire of most of the Senate GOP to get him confirmed quickly.

Political polarization deepens

The three key Republican senators all criticized the President on Wednesday after he went on the attack against Ford at a campaign rally.

In a rare appearance in the White House briefing room, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders denied Trump mocked Ford and instead unleashed a barrage against Democrats she said had made the judge and his accuser "victims" of a politicized effort to kill the nomination.

Her anger appeared to reflect real frustration in the White House that the week of limbo since last week's hearing has unfolded as a prolonged examination of Kavanaugh's behavior and past, but has not been accompanied by similar scrutiny of Ford's accusations.

"Every single word that Judge Kavanaugh has said has been looked at, examined, picked apart by most of you in this room. But no one is looking at whether or not the accusations made are corroborated, whether or not there's evidence to support them," Sanders said.

'We will not be intimidated'

McConnell warned that the decisions made by senators would not be influenced by protesters invading their offices on Capitol Hill or confronting them in airports or at home.

Still, Kavanaugh's fate is not entirely in McConnell's hands. Should all the Democrats stick together, he can only afford to lose one Republican senator and still confirm Trump's pick.

That means decision time is now at hand for Collins, Flake and Murkowski.

Collins has been under relentless pressure from liberal groups in Maine to oppose Kavanaugh. But she needs to retain good ties with fellow Republicans to preserve her image as a pragmatist and moderating force in the party.

Trump's attack on Ford put her in an even more difficult position -- one reason why she called the President's approach "just plain wrong."

Like Collins, Murkowski has a political profile that is often independent from the wider GOP, especially after winning a write-in election eight years ago against a Tea Party opponent, meaning that her vote is difficult to predict. She also has a reputation as a senator who prioritizes women's issues and draws supports from some Democrats in her elections.

Flake has been an outspoken critic of Trump. But he has often fallen back into line with party leaders in the end. But he is also retiring after the next election, so may feel more free to take a swipe at one of the President's legacy priorities.

Democratic leaders cannot also feel completely confident that their caucus will stick together.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, seeking re-election in a state overwhelmingly won by Trump in 2016, described the President's comments' on Ford as "wrong."

But he said he remains "completely undecided" as he awaits the FBI report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 71°
Columbus
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Oxford
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather