The report, sent by the White House to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the middle of the night, was denounced by Senate Democrats as a whitewash.
Republicans control the Senate by a razor-thin margin, meaning the votes of two moderates could be crucial in securing Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the lifetime post on the country’s highest court.
Democrats have opposed Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh from the outset. If confirmed, he would deepen conservative control of the court. The sharply partisan battle became an intense political drama when three women emerged to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s when he was in high school and college. Kavanaugh has denied the accusations.
Even before the FBI report was given to lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took steps to hold a key procedural vote as early as Friday (October 5), which could pave the way for a final vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation over the weekend.
The battle over Kavanaugh has riveted Americans weeks before Nov. 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress from the Republicans.
Democrats complained that the FBI probe, ordered by Trump last week was too narrow in scope and left out critical witnesses.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein noted that the FBI did not interview Kavanaugh himself or Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982.
The report was not released to the public. Senators were allowed to read it behind closed doors in a secure location in the Capitol, without taking notes or making copies.