- Lisa Gravesco-director of Documented, which investigates corporate influence on democracy. She is the former chief counsel for nominations for the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice. Her recent article for Slate is titled “I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About.”
The FBI is investigating Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified last week that he attempted to rape her in 1982. But Democrats say the FBI’s probe is too limited, and critics claim that Kavanaugh has repeatedly committed perjury by lying during his testimony about his drinking habits, the content of his yearbook and a spate of other topics. We speak with Lisa Graves, co-director of Documented, which investigates corporate influence on democracy. She is the former chief counsel for nominations for the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice. Her recent article for Slate is titled “I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About.”
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. The FBI is continuing its reopened investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in 1982. But Democrats say the FBI’s probe is too limited. Critics say Kavanaugh committed perjury, lying during his testimony.
A friend of Kavanaugh’s from Yale has accused him of lying about his drinking habits in college in testimony, sworn testimony. Charles Ludington said, quote, “When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail,” unquote.
A number of Kavanaugh’s classmates at Yale have made similar remarks about Kavanaugh’s drinking. A group of alumni from Kavanaugh’s all-male high school, Georgetown Prep, has issued a call for fellow graduates to come forward if they have information about any sexual assaults possibly committed by the Supreme Court nominee, saying in a petition, “Please do not remain silent, even if speaking out comes at some personal cost.”
Well, for more, we go to Washington, D.C., where we’re joined by Lisa Graves, co-director of Documented, which investigates corporate influence on democracy.
Lisa, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you talk about what is the scope of this FBI investigation? President Trump says it will only be a week. The White House controls this, though the information is given to the Senate. Explain who’s being talked to, who’s not. The New Yorker is reporting that the third woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh, Julie Swetnick, has not been contacted, though Debbie Ramirez, his Yale classmate who says he pushed his genitals in her face, his naked genitals, she has been contacted.
LISA GRAVES: Well, I think we’re seeing a lot of conflicting reports, but it’s very troubling, what’s emerging. What we saw on Friday, after the elevator confrontation, was an agreement between Democrats and Republicans that there would be actual due diligence, that there would be an investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. And that would, of course, include interviewing the witnesses, Dr. Ford and the other two women. It would also include interviewing people whose evidence, whose testimony could support them or not support them. It would also include interviewing Brett Kavanaugh by the FBI.
What we’re hearing is that the White House counsel, McGahn, has somehow put limits on who the FBI can interview, and made it a very small number of people. That’s ridiculous. That’s absurd. That’s not the way these supplemental background investigations proceed, and it’s not a real investigation. If it turns out that that’s what’s happened, that they’ve tried to whitewash this by interviewing only a couple of people, justice will not ne served, and this will be basically a whitewash.
Senator Feinstein has requested more information about the scope of the interviews. But, quite frankly, I don’t even think we should be having that sort of debate. What happened on Friday was a recognition that more needs to be known about Brett Kavanaugh before he is given this sort of lifetime position. I think there is ample evidence that he lied. I think he lied in his testimony on Thursday. But, you know, the FBI should not be constrained by whatever limits the White House wants to impose, because the White House wants to get Brett Kavanaugh on the court. In fact, if the White House had its way, he’d be confirmed today.
AMY GOODMAN: Lisa, you have said that we shouldn’t be talking about false accusations, but false denials. You said he lied on Thursday. Judge Kavanaugh lied on Thursday under oath. Explain.
LISA GRAVES: I think that—well, two parts to that. One is, you know, the conversation nationally, in some parts, has been on this notion that women make false accusations. It’s exceedingly rare. The actual probability in our country, just based on history—and recent history, in particular, as well—is that when men are accused of attempted rape, of rape, of sexual harassment, they deny it. They falsely deny it. That’s the norm. That’s what usually happens. Sometimes they falsely deny it with anger. Sometimes they falsely deny it through lawyers. But that’s usually what happens. Women come forward bravely, tell their stories, and men deny it. And that’s what we saw on Friday.
The statement of Brett Kavanaugh was appalling. The idea that he would attack those senators for daring to investigate a credible allegation of attempted rape is absurd. And, in fact, it’s more than a credible allegation. What we saw was compelling, consistent eyewitness testimony from Dr. Ford, that should be fully credited. What Brett Kavanaugh offered was anger. Anger isn’t evidence of innocence. It’s certainly not evidence that refutes the consistent and compelling testimony of Dr. Ford. And, in fact, what you saw Brett Kavanaugh do was dissemble yet again, about his history, about his drinking history, about his yearbook, about even the statements of people who have been asked about the incident, claiming that they, the other people who she says were there, denied it. In fact, most of them said they didn’t remember it, which is fully consistent with her statement. It wasn’t significant for them. It was significant for her.
But that’s not the only time in which Brett Kavanaugh lied. He, I believe, lied in his earlier testimony, in 2004, in 2006 and earlier this month, about a number of matters, including his role in receiving stolen confidential information, information that was stolen from the United States Senate about judicial nominations, and lying about his role in those judicial nominations. I think that this man, Brett Kavanaugh, tells lies big and small. He is unfit for the bench. He is certainly unfit for the United States Supreme Court. And I’ve called for him to be impeached—not promoted, but actually impeached.
AMY GOODMAN: So you’re saying—you’re talking about impeach right now from—as a federal court judge.
LISA GRAVES: What I’m saying is that I think that that should be the conversation. I think that there is ample evidence for the House to begin an investigation. Impeachment would begin in the House, not the Senate. That’s the procedure under our Constitution. I don’t know how long that sort of inquiry would take, but there’s certainly ample evidence that Brett Kavanaugh has been untruthful to the Senate, that he’s lied under oath, that he’s misled the Senate. Every single time he’s testified, he has testified falsely, in my view. His statements have been contradicted by evidence in 2004, 2006, earlier this month in 2018 and just this past week.
AMY GOODMAN: And I want to get to those issues that you’ve raised before—you were a top aide to Senator Leahy—when you’re talking about you believe Brett Kavanaugh, ultimately, when he was brought before the Senate, lied about information he got about judicial nominations when he worked for George W. Bush. I’d like you to stay after the show. We’ll do a post-show and post it online at democracynow.org under web exclusives. Lisa Graves, co-director of Documented, which investigates corporate influence on democracy. She’s the former chief counsel for nominations for the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, Senator Leahy.
This is Democracy Now! In 30 seconds, we’ll be speaking with Kimberlé Crenshaw and be looking at parallels between Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: “Tore Up” by legendary blues guitarist Otis Rush. Rush died Saturday at the age of 84.