FBI dreads new political storm over Brett Kavanaugh inquiry
The FBI has the authority to expand its once-abbreviated inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. The president ordered the expanded inquiry over the weekend but told reporters at the White House Monday that he's already made his judgment, adding, he's guided by the Senate in this process.
The FBI intends to meet its one-week deadline, even with the expanded scope of the inquiry, but it's working under a lot of pressure. There's dread at the FBI that this will be a political storm once again, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues. The agency is not commenting publicly, perhaps because it is a political minefield for them just as the Russia investigation has been.
A former top FBI official, who has been in contact with those involved in the inquiry at the bureau, described a "war room" atmosphere around the case. Agents are talking to the people at the core of the allegations and then working their way out to try to corroborate the information.
One former top FBI official who is familiar with these inquiries says that includes trying to locate records from a grocery store where Mark Judge worked. A lawyer for Judge, who Christine Blasey Ford alleges was in the room when the attack took place, says Judge spoke with the FBI, but his interview has not been completed. Judge previously said
A lawyer for Patrick Smyth, who Ford also alleges was at the party, said in a statement that Smyth has "fully cooperated" with the FBI. But he indicated "he has no knowledge of the small party or gathering" described. Because this is an inquiry and not an investigation, the FBI can't compel anyone to talk and these witnesses do not have to cooperate.
At its conclusion, the FBI will present interview summaries and corroborating materials to the White House, but no conclusions.
Chris Swecker, a former assistant director of the FBI, told Pegues that the agency has its best agents on the case, and just because this involves a Supreme Court nominee, it doesn't change how the FBI does its work.
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