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Senator Lankford Addresses Judge Kavanaugh’s Recent FBI Investigation, Gives Encouraging Message to Parents with Teens

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor in support of the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the United States Supreme Court. During his speech, Lankford addressed the report completed by the FBI regarding recent allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. Lankford also took the opportunity to provide a message to parents to speak with their teenage kids on topics of sexual assault and underage drinking.

Last week, Lankford issued a statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee reported Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. In August, Lankford met with Judge Kavanaugh one-on-one to discuss his judicial philosophy and appointment to the Court.

Excerpts 

(1:22-2:49) Quite frankly, that looked like how it was being done this time with Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He was nominated by the President. He turned over documents. And, boy, did he turn over documents. It was an enormous number of documents that were turned over about him and that requested and continue to be requested. Brett Kavanaugh ended up having 480,000 pages of documents that were turned over to the Committee. It’s more than the past five Supreme Court nominees have turned over combined. There were 57 days from the time that he was nominated until the time they actually began the first hearing with the Judiciary Committee. That’s longer in the period of time than it was for Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kagan, or Justice Sotomayor, a long period of time between when he was nominated and actually came. There were more documents turned over than any other person. He went through the hearings for five days. He went through all the confidential meetings and those private meetings. He went through every private meeting with every Senator that wanted to be able to meet privately and then it was time for questions for the record. 1,300 questions for the record were given to him as a follow-up after his hearing. That is more questions for the record than all Supreme Court Justices combined in the history of the country.

(2:52-5:32) After all of that was done, then a bombshell was dropped. You see, a month-and-a-half before all of the end of the hearing was done, a lady named Dr. Ford had sent a letter to one of the other Senators… The Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, saying I have a concern from a memory that I have from high school time. That letter was turned over July 30, early in the process, while Judge Kavanaugh was still meeting individually with Senators, before the hearings, before the classified meetings, before any of the questions for the record, before any of that. It was turned over early. Apparently, the Ranking Member’s staff reached out to her then, had a phone call…then that information was held. Apparently from her own testimony, from Dr. Ford, then, she was advised by the Ranking Member’s staff, you need to go hire an attorney and to go prepare yourself. And then nothing was said for a month. And then two days before the hearing from the Judiciary Committee…and there’s a story in the newspaper about this accuser, and everything begins to break loose…When an accusation is made like that, you give it to the FBI…They include it in their background check to be able to walk through it early. You sit down in confidential meetings so that accusers don’t have to go through all the public scrutiny. And you resolve it in a private setting, bringing as many witnesses as you want to be able to talk through it. But you don’t want an accuser to be public in it because they don’t like to be public. This is something private and very personal to them. But that’s not what happened for Dr. Ford. It was saved. She was just told to get an attorney…And then her story was plopped out into the news, forcing her out, making her sit in front of the American people and dragging the American people through an exceptionally painful season in our country’s history. 

(6:06-9:53) There was a push from my Democratic Colleagues to say this investigation has been done by the Committee. We want the investigation done by the FBI with the unequivocal statement of during the Anita Hill hearings in 1991, the FBI took three days to do the investigation. We want three days. Give the FBI three days to be able to do this. Then it came back later, give them a week… That’s all it would take. So, a decision was made to pause and to give the FBI time to do it… They come back several days later now with a report that a lot of American people know is now stored downstairs that every Senator has the opportunity to be able to go through. Pages and pages of testimony. Where they went through all of the individuals that were claimed to have any kind of alleged firsthand knowledge, all the individuals that Dr. Ford had stated, those three individuals were there. They can testify on my behalf. And then it was the list from Brett Kavanaugh’s calendar saying here are all the individuals that went to these parties. And so, the FBI went through and interviewed them all. The FBI also went to Mrs. Ramirez, saying we’ll take a look at this, even though even The New York Times wouldn’t take that story when it was offered to them. They spent a week researching it, calling around, as they said, to dozens of people to find anyone that could corroborate Mrs. Ramirez’s story, and they couldn’t find anyone, so The New York Times walked away from it, but a different periodical printed it anyway. The FBI went to Mrs. Ramirez, interviewed her, and interviewed everyone that she said would corroborate her story. At the end of that investigation, all those reports came in, and we have now read through them, and every single one of those individuals reported back ‘I don’t remember anything like what they’re describing.’ Not only do I not remember anything like what they’re describing, I know Brett Kavanaugh. I can’t even imagine he would do something like that. Person after person after person, instead of agreeing with their story, the accusation, actually agreed with Brett Kavanaugh instead. What’s interesting is Brett Kavanaugh has been through six different FBI background checks in the past. He’s now had 150 people in his life that have been interviewed. Interestingly enough, one of the questions to all 150 people in his life that have been interviewed, leading up before this time even, was one of the questions that the FBI asks everyone when they are doing the background check. Do you know of any issues this person has with alcohol or drug use that would be a problem for them in serving? Do they have a problem with drug and alcohol use? Every single one of those people from two decades of background checks six different times in his life, all of them reported no, he does not have a problem with drugs or alcohol.

(13:07-13:43) I grieve for the people that have experienced sexual assault in their life. I spent 22 years working with students in youth ministry, and I met lots of families who have had lots of pain in their life. It is very real in America how we deal with sexual assault. People need to believe and things need to be taken seriously. But when the facts all come out, we also have to make decisions based on the facts, not on the accusations. This is a case we have to be able to deal with the facts.

(13:48-18:50) I will vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be on the Supreme Court, based on his decades of record, based on now seven FBI background checks about him, based on 65 ladies that have come forward that knew him from high school and college that said this is the Brett Kavanaugh that we knew, and it doesn’t seem anything like all these accusations. Based on 150 different people that the FBI privately interviewed and asked about his alcohol use over the past 20 years, even reaching back to college friends to say was he ever out of control in his alcohol use? All of those say no. All of them saying no. Not based on a couple of recent accusations. Over decades of history.

(14:57- 16:53) Where do I think we go from here? I think there is something we can gain as a nation from this painful experience. If there is any one piece of advice that I could pass on to the country as a whole and to us as leaders is to encourage families in taking care of their kids. As I read all these stories, I have gone through all of them. All of them show some markers in it that I look at and say there is some need for some conversation. I think moms and dads should sit down with their daughters and should lovingly say to them if there is ever anything that happens to you, if any boy ever does something inappropriate to you, if he ever touches you in any way, we want you to know that we love you, we believe in you, and you can come tell us right away, because we want to make it right as soon as possible. Do not be afraid to come talk to us about it. We will not blame you. We want to make it right. That conversation that moms and dads can have with their daughters could have great benefit to a lot of daughters for a long time. There is a conversation that moms and dads need to have with their sons and daughters about alcohol use because in all of the stories that I have read, all of them involve teenaged drinking, all of them…All of them involved drinking and drug use. There is a conversation that moms and dads can have with their kids, because I, quite frankly, have met way too many parents that have said I know my kids are going to drink. I just tell them not to drink and drive. If they are going to drink, just stay over there or come to our house and drink and that will be fine. Well, it’s not fine. There are an awful lot of 15 and 16-year-olds that do not have the maturity to handle alcohol…they need to understand there are very real consequences.

(17:23-18:50) And one last lesson. We have got to learn how to disagree about political issues without destroying someone personally for the sake of gain on anything in politics. We have got to learn this lesson, because in the days ahead, no matter what your political party is, no matter who is president, no matter who is nominated, we want the best and brightest of our country to step up. We want them all to be able to come to serve their country. And I have not met a perfect person. What’s been interesting to me is the number of times that I have had Democratic colleagues say to me in the last week and a half, you know, I really hope they don’t go through my high school record like we’re going through Judge Kavanaugh’s record. The number of times I have heard folks say, you know what I really want to be said at the Committee hearing? I want someone to step up and say ‘he who is without sin should cast the first stone.’ But that hasn’t been said. Maybe an ounce of compassion and a tremendous amount of affection for those who have suffered greatly from assault would be of great benefit to us as a nation, as a community, and as a Senate.

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