Confirmation Confusing

The confusion over Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination continues. Late last night Dr. For, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault requested an FBI investigation be conducted prior to her testifying. Ford had previously agreed to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to share her story. Ford’s attorney, Lisa Banks, claims that "a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions." Ford’s attorney sent a letter to the committee; "In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country.At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized. She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked, and she has been impersonated online.While Dr. Ford's life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident. The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is 'mistaken' and 'mixed up.' While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the Committee and with law enforcement officials."

Ford's attorney Lisa Banks told Cooper that Ford will talk with the committee but added, "She is not prepared to talk with them at a hearing on Monday...Asking her to come forward in four or five days and sit before the Judiciary Committee on national TV is not a fair process. If they care about doing the right thing here and treating this seriously as they have said, then they will do the right thing and they will properly investigate this, and she will work with them in that investigation and also to share her story with the committee," Banks said last night.

The Senate Judiciary Committee clarified the offer made to Ford.Grassley said in a statement last night that there were never any plans to sit Ford and Kavanaugh together at the witness table; "Immediately after learning of Dr. Ford's identity from news reports Sunday, committee staff started working to gather facts related to her claims. We've offered Dr. Ford the opportunity to share her story with the committee, as her attorney said yesterday she was willing to do. We offered her a public or a private hearing as well as staff-led interviews, whichever makes her most comfortable. The invitation for Monday still stands."

The next question which comes into play, is can the FBI investigate Ford's claim? The answer, of course is yes, but only if the White House asks the bureau to do so. Ford herself has not authority to request an investigation and neither does the Senate. In the preliminary process of Supreme Court nominations, the FBI conducts a background a investigation of a nominee. That investigation pulls up all kinds of information, including claims from people interviewed by agents, and dumps it into the file. There is no investigation into whether or not the information is true or not, unless specifically requested by the White House. This is not a new practice for the FBI, there is actually a longstanding formal memorandum of understanding between DOJ and the White House that specifies these limits.