Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) wants the FBI to include allegations of sexual misconduct brought by Julie Swetnick, Brett Kavanaugh’s third accuser, in its investigation into the Supreme Court nominee’s past behavior, according to the Portland Press Herald.
> Collins and Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska “advocated for the additional background investigation because she believed that it could help the senators evaluate the claims that have been brought to the Judiciary Committee,” Collins’ spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a statement to the Press Herald on Monday. “That would include the allegations that were brought by Julie Swetnick.”
> Clark said FBI investigators “can determine whom they need to speak with and should follow appropriate leads. Senator Collins was encouraged by the President’s statements that he would give the FBI agents the latitude they need to do their work. It makes sense to start with the four named witnesses from the hearing and then the FBI can follow any leads that it believes need to be pursued, as Senators Flake, Murkowski, and Collins indicated at the time this agreement was made.”
Swetnick has alleged that Kavanaugh, along with his friend Mark Ford, attended parties during high school where girls were plied with alcohol or drugs in order to be gang raped.
Swetnick also claims she saw both men — then teenagers — waiting outside the door of a room for “their turn” with the girl inside.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Swetnick was not listed among the initial four witnesses to be interviewed by the FBI, and Collins said she thinks the investigators should determine with whom they will speak.
> Clark would not say whether including Swetnick’s allegations in the investigation meant that the FBI should interview her. She said Collins thinks the FBI should decide who it wants to interview.
> Collins’ vote is critical, as the Senate is divided near evenly with 51 Republicans and 47 Democrats, and two independents who largely vote with Democrats. A majority vote would be needed to confirm Kavanaugh to the post, so if Collins and either Flake or Murkowski vote against the nominee Republicans would be unable to advance him to the high court, provided all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh. A tie vote in the Senate of 50-50 would be broken by Vice President Mike Pence, who could be expected to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.