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Durbin Challenges Kavanaugh to Turn to Don McGahn and Demand FBI Investigation: ‘Why Would You Resist?’

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) used his time questioning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday to challenge him to demand an FBI investigation, to the irritation of committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (D-IA).

Durbin referred to Kavanaugh’s opening statement as impassioned, and said to the Judge, “in the course of [that statement] you said ‘I welcome any kind of investigation’. I quote you. ‘I welcome any kind of investigation.'”

Kavanaugh confirmed, and Durbin continued, suggesting that the nominee take action.

“I’ve got a suggestion for you. Right now. Turn to your left in the front row, to Don McGahn, counsel to President Donald Trump. Ask him to suspend this hearing and nomination process until the FBI completes its investigation of the charges made by Dr. Ford and others and goes to bring the witnesses forward, and provides that information to this hearing,” he said.

“I am sure that the chairman at that point will understand that that is a reasonable request to finally put to rest these charges if they are false or to prove them if they are not,” he continued. “You spent two years in the White House office that approved judicial nominees. You turned to the FBI over and over and over again for their work. Let’s bring them in here and now. Turn to Don McGahn and tell him it’s time to get this done. An FBI investigation is the only way to answer some of these questions.”

At that point, Grassley interrupoted.

“Stop the clock,” he said. “This committee is running the hearing. Not the White House. Not Don McHahn. Not even you as a nominee. We are here today because Dr. Ford asked for an opportunity here, I know you did too, as well, in fact maybe even before she did. We’re here today because people wanted to be heard from charges that they all thought were unfair, or activities, like sexual assault, was unfair. So I want to assure Senator Durbin, regardless of what you say to Senator– Don McGahn, we’re not suspending this hearing. Proceed to answer the question or whatever.”

At that point, Durbin repeated his challenge to Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh replied, “I welcome whatever the committee wants to do because I’m telling the truth.”

Durbin interrupted, saying “I want to know what you want to do.”

Kavanaugh said, “I’m telling the truth.”

Durbin said, “I want to know what you want to do, Judge.’

Kavanaugh said, “I’m innocent. I’m innocent of this charge.”

Then Durbin asked, “Then you’re prepared for an FBI investigation?”

The judge replied, “They don’t reach conclusions, you reach the conclusions, Senator.”

“No, but they do investigate questions, and you can’t have it both ways, Judge,” said Durbin, as Kavanaugh protested again that he’s innocent. “You can’t say here at the beginning — ‘I welcome any kind of investigation’ and then walk away from this.”

“Judge, if there is no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that,” said Kavanaugh. “Are you afraid that they might not?”

You could hear Grassley exclaim “come on.”

“The FBI does not reach — you know — you know — you know that’s a phony question because the FBI doesn’t reach conclusions,” said Kavanaugh, who has, as Durbin noted, been the recipient of the work product from FBI investigations regarding nominees many times in the past. “They just provide the 302s. Three-oh-twos, so I can explain to people who don’t know what that is. They just go and do what you’re doing. Ask questions and then type up a report. They don’t reach the bottom line conclusion.”

The bottom line conclusion means the determination regarding which of them is truthful and which isn’t. Kavanaugh, who has overseen the results of such investigations in the past, was explaining that Durbin’s assessment that the FBI might conclude there is no merit to the accusation is incorrect, because the FBI investigation would not make such a determination.

In response, Durbin related to the judge that investigation by the Washington Post narrowed down the time of one of the events in Ford’s testimony. “The point I’m getting to is, we at least can connect some dots here and get some information. Why would you resist that kind of investigation? Why would you resist that kind of investigation?”

As Kavanaugh said that he would, in fact, do whatever the committee asked of him, presumably including an investigation by the FBI, Durbin rephrased the question to make it a matter of Kavanaugh’s preference.

“Judge Kavanaugh will you support an FBI investigation right now?” he asked.

The Judge sat quietly not answering for several seconds, and then Durbin said “you won’t answer?”

“Look, Senator,” Kavanaugh replied. “I’ve said I wanted a hearing and I said I was welcome anything. I’m innocent. This thing was held when it could have been presented in the ordinary way. It could have been held and handled confidentially at first, which was what Dr. Ford’s wishes were as I understand it and it wouldn’t have caused this, like destroyed my family like this effort has.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.

[Featured image via screengrab]

Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

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