WASHINGTON – Here's the latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and sexual misconduct allegations (all times local):
Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon is asking a federal judge to step in and order the release of more than 100,000 documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The motion is part of a long-shot lawsuit Merkley recently filed in federal court. He is requesting that records from Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House be produced by the Trump administration before the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
The Trump administration cited executive privilege in withholding about 100,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s work as legal counsel. The administration said internal White House deliberations need to remain secret.
But Merkley says the Senate cannot fulfill its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on the Supreme Court nominee without seeing Kavanaugh’s full record.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the “far left” is trying to “bully” Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with a “mudslide” of sexual misconduct allegations.
McConnell in a floor speech Wednesday says the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week. He says senators will not be intimidated by the protesters opposed to Kavanaugh who have been confronting them in the hallways of the Capitol, at airports and at their homes.
McConnell says “there’s no chance in the world they’re going to scare us out of doing our duty.”
The FBI is nearing completion of its expanded investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanagh. Once the Senate receives the FBI’s report, Republicans are expected to move toward a vote.
A handful of senators are undecided on Kavanaugh. Their votes will likely decide whether he is confirmed.
The FBI has finished an interview with Chris Garrett, a high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Garrett’s lawyer, William Sullivan, says Garrett has voluntarily cooperated with the FBI’s reopened background check of Kavanaugh and has finished his interview.
He declined to comment further.
Garrett is at least the fifth person known to have been interviewed by the FBI since last Friday, when the White House directed the FBI to look into allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to Kavanaugh’s high school and college years.
Other people questioned include people who were said to have been present at a high school party where California professor Christine Blasey Ford says she was assaulted as a teenager in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
A second Republican senator wavering on Brett Kavanaugh is criticizing President Donald Trump’s mocking of a woman who’s accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually attacking her in the 1980s.
Susan Collins of Maine tells reporters that Trump’s remarks about Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford were “just plain wrong.”
The president, at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, mimicked Ford’s responses to questions at a Senate hearing last week when she described her allegations about Kavanaugh.
Another undecided GOP senator also has criticized Trump. Arizona’s Jeff Flake tells NBC’s “Today” show that Trump’s remarks were “kind of appalling.”
GOP leaders say an FBI report on Kavanaugh will be completed soon. They plan a Senate vote on him later this week. It is unclear whether he will be confirmed.