zerohedge September 30, 2018

After the FBI was instructed by the White House to interview two of the women who claim Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them – ignoring a third accuser represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti, The Wall Street Journal attempted to independently corroborate the 3rd accuser’s story. 

Julie Swetnick – whose checkered past has called her character into question, alleges that Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, ran a date-rape “gang bang” operation at 10 high school parties she attended as an adult (yet never reported to the authorities). 

The allegations were posted by Avenatti over Twitter, which assert that Kavanaugh and Judge made efforts to cause girls “to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be “gang raped” in a side room or bedroom by a “train” of numerous boys.” 

To try and corroborate the story, the Wall Street Journal contacted “dozens of former classmates and colleagues,” yet couldn’t find anyone who knew about the rape parties. 

The Wall Street Journal has attempted to corroborate Ms. Swetnick’s account, contacting dozens of former classmates and colleagues, but couldn’t reach anyone with knowledge of her allegations. No friends have come forward to publicly support her claims. –WSJ

Soon after Swetnick’s story went public, her character immediately fell under scrutiny – after Politico reports that Swetnick’s ex-boyfriend, Richard Vinneccy – a registered Democrat, took out a restraining order against her, and says he has evidence that she’s lying. 

“Right after I broke up with her, she was threatening my family, threatening my wife and threatening to do harm to my baby at that time,” Vinneccy said in a telephone interview with POLITICO. “I know a lot about her.” –Politico

I have a lot of facts, evidence, that what she’s saying is not true at all,” he said. “I would rather speak to my attorney first before saying more.” Avenatti called the claims “outrageous” and hilariously accused the press of “digging into the past” of a woman levying a claim against Kavanaugh from over 35 years ago. 

Swetnick will appear Sunday night in a TV interview with Showtime’s The Circus – the first woman to levy claims against the Supreme Court nominee to do so. NBC’s Morning Joe teased a clip of the interview Thursday, in which Swetnick calls for an investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh. 

On Saturday, Mr. Avenatti, Ms. Swetnick’s lawyer, said on Twitter that he and his client hadn’t yet heard from the FBI, despite their repeated requests for an interview. Ms. Swetnick alleged earlier this week that Judge Kavanaugh attended a party in the early 1980s where she was gang-raped and that he tried to get women drunk at several gatherings so they could be targeted for sexual assault. –WSJ

“It is critically important that the public be informed of any hidden effort to limit the scope of the FBI investigation,” said Avenatti. “The scope should be unlimited and the FBI should be tasked with determining whether an allegation is credible—as they do every day in this country.”

Kavanaugh’s first two accusers, Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, have accused Kavanugh of groping and exposing himself respectively. 

On Friday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake attempted to stall a Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh pending an FBI investigation, only to have Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) cut him off and call a snap vote, advancing the nomination to the full Senate floor. Flake then vowed to vote no on the full floor decision, and was joined by GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, just one day after Dianne Feinstein cornered her in a hallway for an apparent “talking to.” 

While walking into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a key vote, said “yes,” when asked if she supports Sen. Jeff Flake’s proposal for a delay.

CNN asked: And do you think it should be limited to Ford’s accusations or should it include an investigation into other allegations?

Murkowski responded: “I support the FBI having an opportunity to bring some closure to this.” –CNN

An official with the Trump administration said the reopening of Kavanaugh’s FBI background check was being handled “as any update to a background investigation would be handled if new, derogatory information is introduced.” 

“The FBI field agents will investigate this as they typically do under the constraints of there being new, derogatory information,” the official said. “They’re not going to go on a fishing expedition.”

Trump told reporders on Saturday that the White House gave the FBI “free reign” in the Kavanaugh inquiry to “do whatever they had to do, whatever it is that they do.” 

“Having them do a thorough investigation, I actually think it will be a blessing in disguise,” Trump said. “It will be a good thing.”

“The White House is not micromanaging this process,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an interview with Fox News Sunday

That said, the Journal notes that just because the FBI wasn’t granted the authority to interview Swetnick doesn’t mean they can’t ask other witnesses about her allegations. 

Former FBI officials say they are confident an investgation can be conducted by next Friday, according to the Journal, which adds that background checks for presidential appointees or judicial nominees often need to be done within a matter of weeks. That said, “background investigations are different from criminal investigations in that they are done at the request of a “client”—in this case the White House—and investigators are unable to deploy search warrants or grand jury subpoenas. Potential witnesses are allowed to decline requests to be interviewed,” the Journal adds. 

The limitations on what the FBI will be able to investigate differed from what former officials said would be the best approach, given the level of public scrutiny and likelihood that the bureau could be accused of not chasing down every lead. –WSJ

“If I was in charge of this, I would tell [FBI] Director [Chris] Wray, we need to call up every single person on this,” Mr. Danik said. “You don’t want anyone out there who can say in a week or two, ‘They never talked to us, they never heard from us.’”