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Hundreds arrested in protests against Kavanaugh's confirmation

By
Daniel Uria and Nicholas Sakelaris
U.S. Capitol Police arrest a demonstrator during protests against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Police said 239 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating. Photo Ken Cedeno/UPI
U.S. Capitol Police arrest a demonstrator during protests against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Police said 239 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating. Photo Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Hundreds of people were arrested during protests against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday, law enforcement officials said.

U.S. Capitol Police said 239 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating in the Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building in protest of Kavanaugh's confirmation as he faces accusations of sexual assault, The Washington Post reported.

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Among those detained were comedian Amy Schumer and model Emily Ratajkowski.

"Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power," Ratajkowski wrote on Twitter.

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The demonstrators, which included survivors of sexual assault, stood outside the U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the day, calling on senators to believe survivors.

After reviewing the FBI's investigative report Thursday on Kavanaugh, the Senate judiciary committee's chairman said he didn't see any firm conclusions about accusations against the appellate court judge.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said there is nothing new in the FBI report and again called for the upper chamber to move forward with a confirmation vote for President Donald Trump's second high court appointment.

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The Senate was supposed to vote last week, but postponed the roll call so the bureau could investigate claims of sexual assault against Kavanaugh from his days as a high school and college student in the early 1980s.

"I've now received a committee briefing on the FBI's supplemental to Judge Kavanaugh's background investigation file. There's nothing in it that we didn't already know," Grassley said in a statement. "These uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations."

The FBI report was delivered to Senate leaders and the White House overnight, and all members of the Senate were given a chance to review it Thursday morning.

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Democrats said the report had a limited scope, Ford and Kavanaugh were not interviewed, and that the White House blocked documents, making the investigation incomplete. Democrats also called for the report to be made public. The report was confidential with one copy being circulated around for 100 senators.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said after reviewing the report that he disagrees with Grassley that there's no hint of misconduct.

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"We had many fears that this was a very limited process that would constrain the FBI from getting all the facts," Schumer said in a press conference. "Having received a thorough briefing on the documents, those fears have been realized."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on Kavanaugh's nomination as senators prepared to view the report. The Kentucky Republican announced the filing Wednesday night and set a procedural vote Friday to advance the nomination. A full Senate vote could follow.

Early Thursday, the White House acknowledged the receipt of the FBI report and the president reiterated support for Kavanaugh.

"This is now the 7th. time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh. If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats," Trump tweeted Thursday.

"This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history," White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said. "With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will cote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court."

Only one copy of the file was given to the senators to share among themselves. If all 100 senators took 30 minutes each to review it, it would take more than 50 hours to complete the examination -- meaning a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination could still be days away.

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Republican aides said the process of alternating a single copy among Republicans and Democrats is standard practice for judicial nominees, and a 2009 memorandum bars copying FBI background reports.

Chuck Schumer reiterated the call for the documents be made public with proper redaction. He also called for the White House to make public its directive to the FBI regarding the investigation.

"Why shouldn't all of America see the facts?" he asked. "We believe it constrained the investigation from the get-go. The fact that there's only one document in there for 100 senators is another example of constraining the ability of all senators and the American public to see the whole truth and nothing but."

Republicans who have been on the fence about the Kavanaugh appointment said the investigation was thorough. That includes Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, who initially requested the investigation. He said, "We've seen no additional corroborating information."

Wednesday, a new Gallup poll showed Americans are divided on Kavanaugh's confirmation -- 46 percent in favor, 45 percent opposed and 9 percent with no opinion.

The poll also showed the largest gap in approval for a Supreme Court nominee Gallup has measured to date -- 84 percent of Republicans and just 13 percent of Democrats in favor.

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Independents were closely split with 46 percent opposing Kavanaugh's confirmation and 43 percent approving.

Gallup interviewed nearly 1,500 people for the survey, which has a margin of error of 3 points.

Trump touted the poll results on Twitter late Wednesday.

"Wow, such enthusiasm and energy for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Look at the Energy, look at the Polls. Something very big is happening. He is a fine man and a great intellect. The country is with him all the way," Trump wrote.

"The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters. The PEOPLE get it far better than the politicians. Most importantly, this great life cannot be ruined by mean & despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!"

Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings for Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh appears before Senate Judiciary Committee
Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh testifies on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Judge Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the seat of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who announced his retirement in June. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

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