White House spokesman Raj Shah defended the limited FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by suggesting that senators considering Kavanaugh’s nomination don’t need to know whether he drank excessively and lied about it under oath.
Shah argued that the issue, which could suggest memory lapses on Kavanaugh’s part, was irrelevant, in part because Kavanaugh already said that “he liked beer.”
“That is not what the Senate is interested in or asking about,” he told CNN on Thursday, responding to reports that the White House ordered limits on the scope of the investigation and that the FBI did not follow up with former Kavanaugh acquaintances who have publicly refuted his claims that he did not drink excessively, one of several lies he may have told during his Senate testimony last week.
Shah insisted the investigation was thorough, adding that Kavanaugh already underwent other FBI background checks — though they did not cover the allegations.
“A lot of people are coming forward with claims about his high school and college drinking, which the Senate hasn’t asked us about,” Shah said. “But also, more importantly, he has already admitted in his testimony that he drank in high school, drank in college, sometimes drank too much, drank underage. He said he liked beer. I don’t really know what folks who are demanding an open-ended fishing expedition into those areas want, other than delay, delay, delay.”
Several former classmates, roommates and acquaintances of Kavanaugh’s have publicly refuted his claims that he did not drink excessively at the time of the allegations. Other reporting about Kavanaugh’s past has also suggested the judge may have lied about his consumption and instead sometimes drank to the extent that he may have had memory lapses about the alleged incidents.
Despite contacting the FBI themselves, many of the people who have spoken out were reportedly not interviewed during the investigation.
Democrats have criticized the FBI’s probe, the results of which senators reviewed early Thursday.
“We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI’s hands,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Senate Republicans have tried to expedite the confirmation process, giving the FBI at most one week to investigate the multiple claims. The Senate could hold a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination as early as Saturday.