Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a crucial vote in the effort to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, said on Thursday that she is satisfied with the FBI's expanded background check into allegations of sexual assault that have dominated the judge's nomination process.
Collins told CNN's Jeremy Herb that the FBI report detailing its probe into the accusations “appears to be a very thorough investigation."
Though Collins did not indicate which way she intends to vote, Herb called the pro-choice Republican's remarks "hugely significant."
Collins plans on reading the full report sometime today, however, the Senator appears to be convinced that the FBI conducted a fair and thorough investigation.
"I’m going to go back to personally read the interviews," Collins said.
"She believes it has," CNN's Manu Raju added. "Now, what does that mean for her vote? We don't have final answer on that yet."
Collins' assessment drew immediate backlash on social media as constituents promise to hold her accountable when she runs for reelection in 2020.
In August, voters in Maine launched a crowdfunding campaign to support a potential Democratic challenger to Collins in 2020 if the Senator votes to confirm Kavanaugh. So far, the CrowdPAC has raised more than $1.8 million.
Twitter isn't letting Collins forget about it.
People are also blasting Collins for calling the FBI's investigation "thorough" after reports show the Bureau was strongarmed by the White House into ignoring key witnesses and refusing to interview Kavanaugh or his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Collins isn't the only swing voting Senator eager to put the Kavanaugh matter to rest.
Retiring Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, whose vote is also pivotal to Kavanaugh's confirmation, said on Thursday he agrees with Collins. Last week, Flake called for an additional FBI investigation before the Senate holds its final vote - tomorrow.
“I think Susan Collins was quoted saying it was very thorough but no new corroborative information came out of it. That’s accurate,” Flake told reporters on Thursday. "I wanted this pause, we’ve had this pause. We’ve had the professionals, the FBI, determine — given the scope that we gave them, current credible allegations — to go and do their review which they’ve done."
Flake added: “Thus far we’ve seen no new credible corroboration, no new corroboration at all," though he is still reviewing the FBI's report and did not confirm which way he plans on voting.
Social media tore into Flake for what some see as empty posturing.
Greg Sargent of The Washington Post compiled a list of interviews the FBI should have conducted, but didn't, fueling the ire of the left while sitting perfectly well with Republicans.
His analysis is below:
"A suitemate of Kavanaugh’s has now told the New Yorker he remembers hearing at the time about the incident Deborah Ramirez has recounted. Ramirez, who has been interviewed, had claimed that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a dorm party at Yale. The suitemate, Kenneth G. Appold, now says he is “one-hundred-per-cent certain” that he was told the culprit was Kavanaugh. He does say he never discussed this with Ramirez, but he claims an eyewitness described the episode to him at the time. Appold has tried to share this story with the FBI, but there’s no indication the FBI is willing to hear from him."
"A classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Prep now strongly challenges one of Kavanaugh’s assertions under oath. The person told the New Yorker that he heard Kavanaugh talk repeatedly about Renate Dolphin as someone “that everyone passed around for sex” (the witness’ words), and even heard Kavanaugh singing a rhyme that included the words “you wanna get laid, you can make it with REE-NATE.” Kavanaugh (and many others) described themselves in their yearbook as a “Renate Alumnius,” but Kavanaugh has denied under oath that this was a sexual reference, claiming, ludicrously, that it was intended to show “affection.”"
"This classmate is not named by the New Yorker. But he put his name on a statement to the FBI and Judiciary Committee that makes this claim, and he is prepared to talk to the FBI. There is no indication this happened."
"James Roche, one of Kavanaugh’s roommates at Yale, has written a piece for Slate that claims Kavanaugh lied under oath about his use of slang and his drinking. Roche claims that Kavanaugh “regularly” blacked out. Roche has offered to talk to the FBI, but there’s no indication this happened."
"Roche also pointedly added of Kavanaugh: “He said that ‘boofing’ was farting and the ‘Devil’s Triangle’ was a drinking game. ‘Boofing’ and ‘Devil’s Triangle’ are sexual references. I know this because I heard Brett and his friends using these terms on multiple occasions.” Roche concluded that Kavanaugh “has demonstrated a willingness to be untruthful under oath about easily verified information.”"
"NBC News reports that the FBI has not contacted dozens of people who could potentially corroborate the allegations against Kavanaugh or testify to his behavior at the time. This includes many people who knew either Ford or Ramirez at the time, and people who actually approached the FBI offering information."
"The Post reports that Ramirez’s lawyers provided the FBI with a list of more than 20 people who might have relevant information, but “as of Wednesday, Ramirez’s team had no indication that the bureau had interviewed any of them.”"
"Neither Ford nor Kavanaugh have been interviewed by the FBI. As the Brookings Institution’s Susan Hennessey points out: “It is inconceivable they could close a real investigation without re-interviewing Kavanaugh.”"
Odds are increasing that Kavanaugh will be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.