Just in from the Portland Press Herald:
Sen. Susan Collins wants the FBI to investigate the allegations brought by Julie Swetnick as part of the agency’s probe of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a Collins spokeswoman said Monday.
Collins and Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska “advocated for the additional background investigation because she believed that it could help the Senators evaluate the claims that have been brought to the Judiciary Committee,” said spokeswoman Annie Clark in a statement to the Press Herald. “That would include the allegations that were brought by Julie Swetnick.”
Clark said FBI investigators “can determine whom they need to speak with and should follow appropriate leads. Senator Collins was encouraged by the President’s statements that he would give the FBI agents the latitude they need to do their work. It makes sense to start with the four named witnesses from the hearing and then the FBI can follow any leads that it believes need to be pursued, as Senators Flake, Murkowski, and Collins indicated at the time this agreement was made.”
Swetnick, of course, is the woman who alleges that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge attended gang rape parties in High School.
This is a big shift, imo, and I think Collins is signaling that she’s fixin to vote no. The continuing flurry of confirmation and corroboration of Dr Ford’s portrayal of Kavanaugh and Judge as flagrant, violent drunks has the centrists wanting FBI cover for their eventual no votes.
And this statement by Collins is a shot across Trump’s broad bow, letting him know that pulling the nomination is his best choice at this point.
This is a pretty big development.