Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) signaled to reporters Tuesday that she may not be satisfied with a limited FBI probe, and that she believes the FBI should follow up on any credible accusation, including those made by Julie Swetnick, Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser represented by celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti.
Collins’ spokeswoman Annie Clark told the Portland Press-Herald that Collins has “advocated for the additional background investigation because she believed that it could help the senators evaluate the claims that have been brought to the Judiciary Committee,” and that such advocacy would necessarily “include the allegations that were brought by Julie Swetnick.”
Swetnick alleges that Brett Kavanaugh and his childhood friend Mike Judge ran a de facto gang rape ring while teenagers in suburban Washington, D.C. In an affidavit released last week, Swetnick claimed that she was raped at one of a number of parties the pair held, where boys gathered in a “train” to have group sex with underaged girls.
Kavanaugh has flatly denied Swetnick’s claims, and Swetnick has had difficulty maintaining a straight story when questioned on her allegations by media. Monday night, NBC News admitted that Swetnick made statements in an in-person interview that conflicted with what she wrote in her sworn testimony, and multiple outlets say they haven’t been able to verify Swetnick’s claims, even though dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of high school and college students in the D.C. area should have been involved.
Fortunately for Kavanaugh, Collins doesn’t seem completely sold on Swetnick’s story. Although Clark told media that Collins believes all credible leads should be followed, she doesn’t find it necessary to demand the FBI interview Swetnick or pursue any claims they believe aren’t valid.
Collins and fellow Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona huddled last week after a floor vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee and together demanded a limited, one-week FBI investigation into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of being sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh in high school. The three are expected to be key to confirming Kavanaugh when the final vote is held Friday.