‘Hit the ground running’ — FBI has time for a thorough Kavanaugh review, ex-agent says

WASHINGTON – When the White House on Friday ordered a one-week FBI investigation into the background of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, among the immediate reactions was a skepticism that much could be uncovered in that short amount of time. But a former FBI agent told WTOP on Tuesday that the bureau can get plenty done by the end of this week.

Steve Gomez, a former FBI special agent in charge and an ABC News analyst, said the FBI could gather plenty of information in a short time, in part because they already had a lot.

“I guarantee you that the FBI … was preparing for this possibility,” Gomez said. The Kavanaugh matter is “very high-profile,” he added, Especially after last Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, which included dramatic testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s, and an emotional rebuttal from Kavanaugh himself.

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The agency would have been gathering resources and organizing a command center in D.C. “to ensure that once this was authorized, if it was authorized, that they were ready to hit the ground running,” Gomez said. “This is something they are going to be doing 24/7.” He added that background checks are something the FBI does “every day, and typically with very short deadlines.”

Gomez pointed out that, between this nominations and others that Kavanaugh has undergone as a federal judge, he’s already undergone six background checks. “They’re not starting from scratch,” he said; “They have a lot of information about Judge Kavanaugh.”

Now, he said, the focus will be on “priority allegations.” In addition to the Ford case, he said, Deborah Ramirez, who has accused Kavanaugh of similar behavior, “already been spoken to,” and likely some of the relevant witnesses to that case as well.

“It’s a matter of which allegations have what we call ‘meat on the bone,’ where they determine they’re credible and they’re going to go out and do some interviews,” Gomez said.

He continued to outline the process, saying that agents will interview people, take contemporaneous notes, and write up their reports.

“What you’ll have at the very end – I’m expecting by about Thursday – they’re going to be taking all those reports, making one report, and providing [what’s] like an executive summary that’s going to summarize the findings,” Gomez said.

“They’re probably going to highlight any contradictions that occur between – whether it’s Judge Kavanaugh and other witnesses, or maybe one of the accusers and what other witnesses said; you may have one person saying one thing and five people saying another. And that’s something that they would highlight in this summary, and then that’ll be submitted to the White House and ultimately Congress.”

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