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Kavanaugh Confirmation Increasingly Likely As Flake, Collins Endorse FBI 'Investigation'

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives to view the FBI report, have his mind unchanged.
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Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives to view the FBI report, have his mind unchanged. Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock

Friday's forecast holds extreme anxiety as we anxiously await a promised Senate vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's contested confirmation. The FBI returned its extra "in-depth" background report on the embattled judge early Thursday morning: According to NPR, Senators will be allowed to comb over the findings in one-hour shifts, cloistered in a special reviewing room as they consider the info.

The results of the investigation will not be made available to us plebes; we just get to bite our nails as the Senate deliberates on whether or not to stop deliberating about Kavanaugh (a decision anticipated to arrive on Friday morning), and then again as they decide whether or not he's fit to sit on the Supreme Court (at some point this weekend).

After Trump gave a limited FBI investigation the green light on Friday, the agency set out to speak with four people: Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's alleged co-conspirator in the sexual assault of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and in what some have called the engineering of multiple group rapes; Leland Keyser, Dr. Ford's friend; Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh; and P.J. Smyth, of Kavanaugh calendar fame. The final report includes information from nine people, six of whom NPR confirmed. In addition to those first four witnesses, investigators also interviewed two more of Kavanaugh's high school buddies: Tim "Timmy" Gaudette, whose house served as a party spot and 'ski-drinking venue for teen Kavanaugh; and Chris Garrett, i.e., your boy Squi. Neither Dr. Ford nor Kavanaugh gave another round of testimony.

Again, we don't (and likely won't) know what subjects discussed in their conversations with the FBI, but we do know that Judge denied allegations from Kavanaugh's third accuser, Julie Swetnick, that the pair worked together to incapacitate women at parties, making them more pliable targets in "train" rapes. And whatever Sen. Susan Collins may say, we also know—or have reason to believe—that the FBI seems to have left quite a few stones unturned in its investigation.

According to Ramirez's attorney, she provided a list of 20 witnesses for investigators to contact, yet investigators declined to follow those leads. "We can only conclude that the FBI—or those controlling its investigation—did not want to learn the truth behind Ms. Ramirez's allegations," the lawyer wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The FBI can control whose input factors into their report, but its agents cannot control who takes the stand in the court of public opinion. Kavanaugh's former classmates and acquaintances keep coming out of the woodwork to refute his claims to a chaste high school existence.

On Tuesday, attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted a sworn affidavit from a woman who said she knew Kavanaugh and Judge well in high school, and regularly saw them engage in sexually abusive and coercive behavior of precisely the type Swetnick described. (Covertly slipping drugs and/or alcohol into women's drinks.) And on Wednesday night, James Roche—Kavanaugh's freshman year roommate at Yale, who has previously called out the candidate's collegiate habit of getting "incoherently" plastered—appeared on CNN to accuse Kavanaugh of lying during his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony.

Kavanaugh infamously insisted that the reference to a "Devil's Triangle" inscribed in his high school yearbook (now a public document) did not invoke a threesome, as the slang term's popularly accepted definition suggests. Rather, he said, Devil's Triangle is a drinking game, similar to quarters. That assertion "shocked" Roche, he told Anderson Cooper.

"Those words were commonly used, and they were references to sexual activities," he said. "If you think about the context in which you might hear those words, the way that he described them and the way that they are defined, they are not interchangeable. I heard them talk about it regularly."

Roche added that the FBI never contacted him about Kavanaugh, and that, as the former roommate, he finds himself "in a singular position ... to say, 'Look, I saw him do this stuff that he said, under oath, that he didn't do.'" Kavanaugh's third freshman year roommate, Kit Winter, has also attested to "loud, obnoxious frat boy-like" drinking behavior on the part of Kavanaugh and his bros (a characterization with which Kavanaugh himself agreed, at least in 1983), as well as a bathroom routinely full of the nominee's vomit.

A number of people who'd previously endorsed Kavanaugh have lately revoked their support, arguing that the bullying, hysterical nature of his Judiciary Committee testimony should automatically disqualify him as a Supreme Court contender. More than 1,000 law professors from across the country have also joined an op-ed, published Wednesday in the NY Times, urging Senators not to confirm Kavanaugh because he plainy failed to "display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land."

Yet the confirmation seems to have become less a question of the nominee's fitness, and more a matter of Republican refusal to cede even an inch of ground—even though any other name from Trump's Supreme Court list would check exactly the same boxes as Kavanaugh did.

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