Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Wednesday said while she believes it “reverses the normal order of things” to ask the FBI to reopen its background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh, in order to investigate Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of sexual assault against him, she would consider involving the bureau at some point.
“It is the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to assess the nominees, and then if we need additional help from the FBI, the committee could ask for it,” Collins said in an interview on Maine radio station WVOM.
That clashes slightly with President Donald Trump and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) talking points about the FBI: They’ve said it’s not the bureau’s “thing” to look into investigations like Blasey Ford’s, and that Kavanaugh’s background probe is “closed.”
But, Collins repeatedly asserted, she believed the appropriate forum to hear about Blasey Ford’s allegations would be in an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, or, if Blasey Ford preferred, in a closed hearing or bipartisan committee staffer interview.
Blasey Ford’s lawyers responded to the invitation to tell her story on Monday by requesting the FBI first investigate her allegations, and Democrats have similarly argued that the White House should ask the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background file and provide investigatory muscle.
Collins has suggested that attorneys for Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh should be allowed to question each other’s client, which she told WVOM “would elicit the most information, and provide continuity.”
Collins added Wednesday that she’d received a “quite positive” response from Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) regarding that proposal.
“They certainly have not rejected my suggested,” Collins said, referring to the Judiciary Committee.
Correction: Collins is not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as this post reported originally. TPM regrets the error.