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Christine Blasey Ford Calls For FBI Investigation Into Allegations Against Kavanaugh

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Should the FBI investigate a claim of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh? That is what Christine Blasey Ford is calling for. She is the woman accusing Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party back when the two were teenagers. Ford's lawyer, Lisa Banks, says the Senate Judiciary Committee should refer the matter to the bureau, that that is the only way to ensure a fair process.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LISA BANKS: And 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, however that happens.

KELLY: Now, Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the judiciary committee, and President Trump both say there is no need for the FBI to investigate. And there are questions as to how the FBI, or anybody else, might go about investigating an incident that allegedly occurred more than three decades ago. Well, let's bring in Ron Hosko. He is former assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. Mr. Hosko, welcome.

RON HOSKO: It's good to be with you.

KELLY: So there's disagreement, as we just noted, over whether it is the FBI's role to investigate something like this. Senator Grassley says no. President Trump says no. What do you say?

HOSKO: Well, they certainly could. This is not an FBI criminal investigation. It's a background investigation. And in this particular role, the FBI is, in effect, a contractor for the White House. And so if the White House were to ask the FBI to reopen its file and go conduct the investigation, the FBI could do that. I think they could do it swiftly, effectively and report back within days.

KELLY: And there is precedent for this, we should note. Back in 1991 on then-President Bush's orders, the FBI did investigate Anita Hill's allegation.

HOSKO: That's true. And I think it's important that your listeners understand there are process matters that are important here. The Senate Judiciary Committee, other senators, could certainly apply vocal pressure toward the White House to say get the FBI back on to this investigation, let them go do what they do.

KELLY: Right. And to follow on that, you said the FBI could investigate. What's your view on whether it should investigate? Is that the FBI's role here?

HOSKO: Well, I think that the work - as I currently understand it, we have a kind of finite set of circumstances that involve one accuser and two additional people who were reportedly present in the room and involved. That's pretty finite. It's certainly work the FBI could do. Personally, I think because the Senate Judiciary Committee is staffed with a number of lawyers with lots of government service and they're pretty smart people, I think it would be easy enough for them to ask of these same three people the very same questions that FBI investigators would ask.

KELLY: Ford says she can't remember where the party was.

HOSKO: Right.

KELLY: Someone with your background listening to that, what goes through your mind when you hear that? I mean, how big an obstacle is that to shedding light on what may or may not have happened?

HOSKO: Well, it's a significant obstacle. Again, we're not talking about prosecuting someone. We're talking about having, I think, facts and circumstances before us all, and certainly before these senators on the judiciary committee, to come down with some sort of logic for why they may or may not vote in a particular way. And I think as a collateral matter, there should be a discussion about what's the burden of proof that she would have to bring, or someone else would have to bring, before a senator might say this, I think, rings true? What if all three come off as credible in their assertions or their denials? Where do we stand then as the Senate Judiciary Committee?

KELLY: Ron Hosko, thank you.

HOSKO: My pleasure.

KELLY: He is president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and former assistant director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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