The Current

FBI's Brett Kavanaugh investigation is a 'fishing expedition,' says Federalist Society member

As the FBI investigates sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh has become a symbol in a broader political battle.

'We're in a real risk of blowing the process up,' argues Adam White

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in Washington, Sept. 27, 2018. (Win McNamee/Pool Photo via Associated Press)

Read Story Transcript

A member of the conservative and libertarian Federalist Society argues that the FBI's investigation into allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is not a fair process.

"I do have this lingering fear that what we're embarking on is sort of an open-ended fishing expedition," Adam White told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

White, who is also an assistant professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, argues questions around whether Kavanaugh drank too much at a party, or at a bar in the mid-80s have nothing to do with the allegations Christine Blasey Ford raised in the last week's hearing before the Senate judiciary committee.

"We're in a real risk of blowing the process up when we take allegations that were received before the hearings started and before the original FBI investigation and we begin to investigate them after the hearings in an open-ended, never-ending process," he said.

Sen. Jeff Flake explains why he voted to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination

3 years ago
1:31
Arizona senator makes votes contingent on conducting a new, week-long background investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh 1:31

After Friday's hearing, the White House authorized the FBI to conduct a week-long background investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's favoured pick to fill the Supreme Court's vacancy.

Trump said he wanted the investigation to be comprehensive but quick.

"It's unfair to him at this point. What his wife is going through, what his beautiful children are going through, it's not describable, it's not fair," Trump told reporters Monday.

According to the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg​, the White House can dictate what the FBI does in their investigation.

"It's not a criminal investigation, and because it's a background check, the president actually has the authority to direct it," she said.

The White House instructed the FBI to interview anyone it deems relevant to the inquiry, but required the work to be done by Friday, according to a person familiar with the discussions, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

CNN political commentator Sally Kohn was arrested Sept. 27, 2018, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Submitted by Sally Kohn)

CNN political commentator Sally Kohn does not believe Kavanaugh deserves to be on the Supreme Court at all.

"It is well within the right of the Republicans to appoint a extreme-right, anti-choice, backwards ideologue to the court — that is their right," Kohn said.

"The question is there are a lot of extreme-right, anti-choice ideologues you can appoint to the Supreme Court. Are are you going to appoint this one? And do you care about the allegations against him, and the mounting evidence that he lied under oath?"

She further argued that as a nation — Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives — there is a responsibility to assure women that sexual allegations are taken seriously, not trivialized.

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.


With files from the Associated Press. Produced by Julie Crysler, Ines Colabrese, Samira Mohyeddin and Zena ​Olijnyk.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now