Dear Friends and Neighbors in Oklahoma:

As I noted in the recent full version of my regular e-newsletter, I want to take a moment to briefly walk you through why I supported the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh today when his nomination was confirmed by the Senate in a vote of 50 to 48. I have also added links to additional resources for more facts and information. There have been so many false stories and accusations, many have asked for the facts to help them decide.    

If you would prefer to listen to my most recent podcast on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, please CLICK HERE, or to watch my remarks on the Senate floor on this process, please CLICK HERE. To read my statement after the vote, please CLICK HERE

After President Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on July 9th, it was my priority to learn more about his judicial opinions, legal perspectives, and the other qualities that would provide advice and consent to a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court. I was particularly interested in his perspectives on things like the role of each branch of the federal government, privacy, the First Amendment freedoms we possess, and his commitment to the law. I read several of his legal opinions, his background information, and many articles by him and about him. Judge Kavanaugh has served in the DC Circuit Court for 12 years and heard hundreds of cases, so he has had a long legal history. He also served in the George W. Bush White House, so there were thousands of pages of background information. In fact, before Judge Kavanaugh’s first hearing, his file included more than 480,000 pages of information from his time at the White House, his legal opinions, and articles he had written. That is more information than the previous five Supreme Court nominees combined.  

On July 19th, I met with Judge Kavanaugh in my office, away from the cameras, to ask him about any questions I had from his cases and his background. We talked through the issues I mentioned above; I heard about his family; and we prayed together. I had an opportunity to learn about Judge Kavanaugh’s background and his values. I found Judge Kavanaugh highly intelligent, knowledgeable of the judicial areas of concern I raised, and committed to a fair and equal court. It is the same opinion that I had heard and read from every judge that served with him on the DC Circuit and the overwhelming support that he had from attorneys on every side of the issues that had appeared before him over the previous decade. 

Sixty-Five of the 100 Senators took the opportunity to meet personally with Brett Kavanaugh (all 100 were offered an opportunity). He also met with the bipartisan Judiciary Committee staff, all of the members of the Judiciary Committee, had another FBI background check (his 6th), and participated in private and public hearings.  

As the background work continued, on July 30th, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford sent a letter accusing Brett Kavanaugh and one other person of sexually assaulting her in high school to Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Diane Feinstein. Dr. Ford absolutely did the right thing, the right way. Senator Feinstein is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, and she has participated in 10 other Supreme Court nominations. She knows the process of nominations and background investigations well. But, this time, the assault accusation was not sent to the FBI or to the Judiciary Committee investigator. It was held, and unbeknownst to the rest of the Senate, Senator Feinstein instead recommended Dr. Ford seek legal counsel and wait. 

Judge Kavanaugh’s Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings continued following the normal confirmation process. The Judiciary Committee commenced four days of hearings on September 4. Every American could listen to his testimony, hear questions about his judicial positions, and hear from his character references. Judge Kavanaugh discussed that he believes precedent, not politics should inform the Court’s decision and that in the wake of difficult moral issues before the Court, he would focus on interpreting the law, not making it. Friends and colleagues spoke highly of Judge Kavanaugh, and he was subjected to a battery of questions from all of the members of the Committee, including Senator Feinstein. 

Following the hearing, Judge Kavanaugh and his team submitted answers to nearly 1,300 questions, which represented more than all previous Supreme Court nominees combined. None of the questions submitted pertained to Dr. Ford’s allegations.  

Then, the week the Committee was slated to proceed to a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, everything suddenly went into chaos. On Wednesday, September 13th, Senator Feinstein transmitted the contents of Dr. Ford’s letter to the FBI, and for the first time she gave a redacted copy to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. On Friday, September 14, The New York Times published an article outlining the allegations but did not name Dr. Ford. In fact, Chairman Grassley did not find out Dr. Ford’s identity until he read the article published on Sunday, September 16 in The Washington Post, at which point he asked the Committee to commence its investigation into the allegations.

The Judiciary Committee staff immediately began to investigate these serious and significant allegations. They started by questioning Judge Kavanaugh on September 17 and September 25. Committee Democrats were invited to attend the Q&A sessions, which is normal protocol, but all of them declined to attend. Judge Kavanaugh unequivocally denied the allegations and immediately offered to meet with the Committee in any way to clear his name.  

The investigators also spoke to every person who Dr. Ford stated was at the party where she was assaulted and dozens of other people who could have known any information about the event. The investigators requested the records from Dr. Ford’s polygraph, her counseling sessions, and any other documents that she believed would be helpful. The staff also reached out to Dr. Ford’s attorney and made a public statement that they would be willing to meet with Dr. Ford near her home, in private, if she would not like to testify publicly, or she could testify publicly, if she would prefer.  

It is important to note that the Judiciary Committee has a significant amount of power to conduct investigations, especially those of a sensitive nature. They have experienced and professional staff that routinely conduct background investigations for judicial nominees, law enforcement officers, and Executive Branch nominees. The Committee wields subpoena power and can compel witnesses to appear and to testify. And most importantly, giving false statements—whether under oath or not – to Committee members or staff is a violation of federal law and can carry up to a five-year prison term.

The public hearing with Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh was watched by millions of Americans. I was glad Chairman Grassley offered both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh a chance to be heard and a chance to answer a multitude of questions surrounding the serious allegations. It provided me, my colleagues, and all Oklahomans an opportunity to hear and read the testimony firsthand from the two people who were directly involved in the allegations. The Committee and the nation were provided definitive statements by Dr. Ford that the acts were committed by Judge Kavanaugh, and then Judge Kavanaugh gave an unequivocal denial of the allegations or of any sexual assault ever. 

All of the witnesses who Dr. Ford named stated they did not remember any party or assault as Dr. Ford described. The available information presented a “he said,” “she said,” “they said” moment of conflicting information. 

Because the members of the Committee wanted an additional investigation by the FBI, on September 28, the Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 in favor of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination with an agreement to allow the FBI to conduct a seventh investigation into Judge Kavanaugh’s background. During the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, the FBI took three days to complete its additional background investigation, so Democratic members of the Committee asked for up to a week to be dedicated to this background investigation. 

The FBI interviewed any witness they considered credible and capable of giving them first-hand information about any sexual assault incident. They chose not to re-interview Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, since they had already given hours of testimony before the Senate. A background investigation is not a criminal investigation, it is a gathering of facts that the FBI submits to the Senate for their final decision.    

The newest FBI investigation included everyone who Dr. Ford remembered being present at the party, everyone who was on Judge Kavanaugh’s calendar at a party that could match Dr. Ford’s description, Ms. Deborah Ramirez, and a list of people she believed were present at a party at Yale where she was humiliated by someone she believed was Brett Kavanaugh. The FBI commenced a week-long investigation to ascertain witness testimony surrounding the alleged events. The supplemental FBI investigation started on Friday, September 28, and was presented to the Senate at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 4. The completed report was a total of almost 50 pages. All Senators were provided as much time as needed to read through the report and receive a briefing from staff. I spent three hours going through all of the latest documents. Every person interviewed by the FBI either stated they did not know Brett Kavanaugh, did not remember any high school event like what Dr. Ford described, or any college event like what Ms. Ramirez described. Several of the witnesses were life-long friends of Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez. 

The previous six FBI investigations into Judge Kavanaugh’s background were also available to me, and they were thorough. Over 150 people have been interviewed by the FBI going back to childhood friends and addresses, college friends and addresses, work associates, people he dated, neighbors, and more. Every person interviewed was asked if Brett Kavanaugh had a problem with drinking or drugs or if there is any red flag in his current or past behavior. Every person interviewed by the FBI stated that they had not seen a drinking problem in Brett Kavanaugh’s past or any behavior that raised an alarm. In addition to the FBI report, every girlfriend who dated Brett Kavanaugh in high school and college has come forward as a character witness for him, and 65 ladies who were around Kavanaugh in high school and early college have also spoken out on his behalf. 

After all the proceedings and investigations, there is simply no definitive evidence that Judge Kavanaugh committed the acts brought forward in the allegations. In the past few days, several people have stated that even if Judge Kavanaugh did not commit sexual assault, he drank too much in high school and college, and he does not have the temperament to be a judge. The problem with those allegations is that every judge who served with him for 12 years recommended him because of his ethics and temperament. Those who know him best, support him, even if they do not agree with him.

I have seen the endless media barrage of new accusations and requests for more delay in the process, I have also had personal conversations with some of my colleagues who frankly told me their strategy to stop Judge Kavanaugh was to find every way possible to delay his confirmation. Just like all of us, Judge Kavanaugh is not a perfect human being, but I believe he is a qualified and suitable candidate for the Supreme Court. 

I also believe Dr. Ford endured a traumatic experience that she has carried with her throughout her life, but there is no corroborated evidence to show that Judge Kavanaugh is the one responsible for what was probably one of the scariest moments in Dr. Ford’s life. 

The questions we must walk away with in all of this are: how do we honor victims of sexual violence, and how do we ensure that accused individuals have a fair process to respond on their own behalf? I find it offensive that some say that if someone supports Judge Kavanaugh, they hate women or don’t believe survivors of sexual assault. That is simply not true. As a former minister and fellow Oklahoman, I believe every survivor needs to be heard and respected. We can and should practice greater civility in how we treat each other, personally, professionally, and, yes, politically. This process of getting to the facts could have been much more civil, and I hope it does not set a new pattern for any future nominee. Our nation needs good people willing to go through a fair process to serve our nation. 

This confirmation process has forced us to face difficult issues that have long been problems for our nation. Our nation has a real problem with sexual assault, underage drinking, and drug use. The events that transpired should motivate parents to sit down with their kids and discuss big issues like alcohol, drug use, appropriate behavior, and how to bring uncomfortable information to people they trust who can help them. It’s a tough conversation, but it’s one that needs to be happen in every family and at every university.   

I pray that our nation can move forward from this process with a better sense of how caustic political conversations should not paralyze the Senate’s vital advice and consent role. I hope this letter offers some insight into the important process of making a yes or no decision on a Supreme Court nominee.

If you would like more information, letters, timelines, or documents, please go to the Senate Judiciary Committee website to see every document. CLICK HERE to visit the Senate Judiciary Committee website.





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If you would like more information on these topics, please do not hesitate to call my DC office at (202) 224-5754. My Oklahoma City office can be reached at (405) 231-4941 and my Tulsa office at (918) 581-7651. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for updates on my work in Congress.

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