WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House received the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report on sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and is “fully confident” the Senate will approve his nomination, a spokesman said.
The chamber was expected to receive the report early on Thursday, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Senators were to be granted access to review it during the day before a procedural vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday.
Senators had been given ample time to review the background investigation and the White House was “fully confident” they would endorse Kavanaugh, the administration’s Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in a tweet early on Thursday.
Several people with information related to allegations against Kavanaugh told Reuters they had not heard from the FBI, suggesting its report may be narrower than was desired by some of the lawmakers who demanded it just days ago.
With the report’s conclusions as yet unclear, a partisan struggle over it has been developing.
U.S. President Donald Trump and the Senate Republican leadership are battling to corral enough support for a majority vote for Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge, while Democrats are in near unanimity against him.
McConnell, a Republican, filed a petition for a cloture vote, which if successful would limit debate on the nomination and start the clock ticking on a final 30-hour waiting period before a Senate confirmation vote.
After filing a cloture petition, lawmakers must wait one legislative day before proceeding to a vote, according to Senate rules. That means a cloture vote could come on Friday morning at the soonest.
Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor from California who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her in 1982 when they were high school students, has not been contacted by the FBI, her attorneys said.
As Senate Republican leaders marched toward a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, the three Republicans who could be key to whether Kavanaugh is confirmed – Senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – criticized Trump for mocking Ford at a political rally in Mississippi on Tuesday.
Ford, who testified last week at an extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, said she could not remember the precise date or location of the alleged assault or how she got home later, but offered a detailed account of the incident.
Reporting by Brendan O’Brien, Amanda Becker and Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Nathan Layne, Sarah N. Lynch, Lisa Lambert, Lawrence Hurley and David Alexander; editing by John Stonestreet