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Tag: supreme court

White House Is ‘Fully Confident’ of Kavanugh’s Confirmation After FBI Finishes Brief Review

Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate confirmation hearings.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The White House said it is “fully confident” the Senate will confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after the FBI completed its investigation following at least three sexual assault allegations against the judge.

The Judiciary Committee said it received the bureau’s report early Thursday, setting the stage for what could be a contentious day on Capitol Hill.

Senators are being given access to the report at a secure facility at the Capitol. 

An official briefed on the FBI investigation told the New York Times that nine of the 10 people whom the FBI had contacted agreed to interviews. The identities of those people were not immediately clear.

Democrats said the FBI did not conduct a thorough investigation into three allegations that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women in high school and college.

FBI to Wrap Up Kavanaugh Investigation As Early As Today

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his Senate confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanugh may wrap up as early as today, even though the accusers have not been interviewed as of this morning.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the report will be finished in time for the Senate to vote this week on Kavanugh’s nomination to the highest court.

“We’ll have an FBI report this week, and we’ll have a vote this week,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.

An unnamed Trump administration official told the USA Today that the report will be in the hands of lawmakers soon, if not today. 

Trump also expressed confidence that the vote will be this week.

“And I think the process – I must say, I think – hopefully, as Mitch said, they’ll have a vote by the end of the week, and it will be a positive vote. But it will be dependent on what comes back from the FBI,” Trump said Tuesday. “The FBI – the FBI is working. They’re working very hard. And let’s see what happens.”

The FBI investigation was aimed at instilling confidence in the confirmation process, but Democrats are not happy with how quickly the bureau plans to wrap up the investigation.

Senators called for a one-week investigation on Friday.

“A Supreme Court nominee must, whatever their politics, be a shining example of someone who tells the truth,” Schumer tweeted. “Every Senator now must assess these serious allegations, and consider whether Judge Kavanaugh has the temperament, independence, and credibility to serve.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged his colleagues not to rush a vote.

“A Supreme Court nominee must, whatever their politics, be a shining example of someone who tells the truth,” Schumer tweeted. “Every Senator now must assess these serious allegations, and consider whether Judge Kavanaugh has the temperament, independence, and credibility to serve.”

What to Expect from Weeklong FBI Probe into Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh makes it to the nation’s highest court may come down to a one-week FBI investigation.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called for an FBI investigation on Friday following an intense and emotional nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think that we ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important,” Flake said just hours after he said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

So what would a week-long FBI investigation entail?

The Republican-led committee called for the probe to be “limited to current credible allegations against the nominee.”

Three women have come forward to claim Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them.

But one of those women’s accusations aren’t being treated seriously, said Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Julie Swetnick, who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her and that she was gang-raped at a party decades ago.

“This investigation is only as good as the scope,” Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Swetnick, told USA TODAY. “If the scope doesn’t include my client and the others who have accused Mr. Kavanaugh, how can it be a credible investigation?” 

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted that the “FBI’s hands must not be tied in this investigation.”

“We need the facts,” she wrote.

But on Friday, President Trump said the investigation “must be limited in scope.”

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said the FBI must determine what “limited scope” means but indicated the probe cannot “be a fishing expedition.”

Following a rally in West Virginia on Saturday, Trump said the FBI has “free rein.”

“Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing things that we’ve never even thought of,” the president said.

The FBI declined to comment.

Most likely, FBI agents will try to determine the veracity of the claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh pulled her into a room, held her down, fondled her and cupped his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. That means interviewing everyone who attended the party, including Mark Judge, whom Ford said stood watch outside the locked room while Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

According to the USA Today, the FBI has contacted Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, who said he exposed himself during a drunken party.

The FBI has the resources to handle special investigations, former bureau officials said.

“They could knock this thing out in a couple of days,” said Jim Davis, a former agent who participated in at least 50 such background inquiries.

The investigation’s findings will be turned over to the White House, which then must share them with the Senate committee.

A full Senate vote could happen later this week or next week.

With a 51-seat majority, all but one Republican must approve the nomination if every Democrat opposes it, as long as Vice President Mike Pence casts the tie-breaking vote in Kavanaugh’s favor.

Dem Senator Says Confirmation Vote on Kavanaugh Should Be Delayed Pending Outcome of FBI Probe Into Sexual Assault Allegations

Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate confirmation hearings.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Senate should wait on voting for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court until the FBI conducts an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

That’s according to Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein’s statement follows a Washington Post report that detailed a first-hand account of sexual abuse by California professor Christine Blasey Ford. 

In a written statement, Feinstein said the professor’s allegations, which include being pinned down, groped and forced into silence at a high school party, were “extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character.”

Whether Feinstein gets his way is another story. At least three Democrats said Sunday that the confirmation hearings should continue, despite the allegations.

FBI Reviews Sexual Assault Allegations Against Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his Senate confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been forwarded to the FBI by the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

The accusations, which the FBI had not known previously, involved “a vague sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh dating back to his high school days,” two sources familiar with the allegations told NBC News

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

Sources said the allegation was “sexual in nature” and came in a letter, but details were murky.

The FBI has not opened an investigation.

Supreme Court Will Hear Data Privacy Issue Between DOJ and Microsoft

depositphotos_61179679_m-2015

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department continues to do battle  over privacy.

Kate Conger of GIZMODO writes:

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a critical case over data privacy, the outcome of which will likely determine how easily law enforcement can gain access to information stored in tech companies’ overseas data centers. Microsoft will go head-to-head with the Justice Department, arguing that the agency cannot use a warrant to collect emails held in Microsoft’s Ireland data center.

In 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Microsoft, asserting that a 1986 law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), was not intended to grant law enforcement access to internationally-stored data. The Justice Department says that this ruling has hampered its investigative abilities in the digital age. In asking the Supreme Court to consider the case, the Justice Department argued that “hundreds if not thousands” of investigations into terrorism and child pornography “are being or will be hampered by the government’s inability to obtain electronic evidence.”

Other Stories of Interest 

 

Significant Portion of Trump’s Travel Ban Set to Expire Before Reaching Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is appealing an injunction on President Trump’s travel ban, even though a significant portion of the ban is set to expire by the Oct. 10 court date.

Even more, the entire ban is likely to expire by the time the justices rule on the case, the Washington Post’s Editorial Board wrote

The Justice Department is appealing a federal court’s ruling against the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban of refugees and residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

The Post wrote:

Mr. Trump’s order halts entry into the United States by citizens of the six banned countries for 90days and suspends refugee admissions for 120days. After courts blocked the ban, Mr. Trump clarified that these clocks would begin ticking as soon as the policy was allowed to go into effect. Because the Supreme Court lifted in part the lower-court injunctions against the order on June26, the refugee ban will expire in late October, and the entry ban at the end of September.

As a matter of law, the Supreme Court can’t rule on a case that no longer presents an ongoing issue. Yet the Justice Department hasn’t given any indication of awareness that the court might well dismiss the case without deciding whether the ban is legal. Not only is the department now battling over an injunction on a policy that likely expires in two weeks, but its opening brief before the Supreme Court didn’t even address the issue.

If the White House wants to keep the case alive, Mr. Trump could declare that the clock has yet to start with respect to those immigrants and refugees with “bona fide” connections to the United States, for whom the ban has remained on pause. Or he might extend the order on the grounds that the government has been unable to conduct reviews of vetting procedures — ostensibly what the halt in travel was meant to allow — without the ban fully in place. He could even issue a new ban or make the existing order permanent.

Trump Blasts His Own Justice Department Over ‘Watered Down’ Travel Ban

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump blasted his own Justice Department in a series of tweets Monday morning, saying his travel ban has been “watered down” in order pass legal muster.

Trump urged the Justice Department to seek a “much tougher version” of the executive order that he signed to block individuals from six-majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S.

Courts have blocked two versions of his travel ban, largely because it targets a religion.

“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Trump tweeted early Monday morning. “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.”

Trump also lashed out at the courts, calling them “slow and political.”

The JusticeDepartment formally asked the Supreme Court last week to declare his executive order is constitutional.

The order before the Supreme Court is a narrower version of Trump’s controversial directive, which he signed during his first week in office.