Durbin: Let FBI do its assigned job on Kavanaugh

Senator says confirmation comes down to a ‘jury of three’ Republicans

 U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin discusses the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court confirmation at the City Club of Chicago Monday. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin discusses the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court confirmation at the City Club of Chicago Monday. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

By Ted Cox

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin called on the nation to let the FBI do its job in investigating Judge Brett Kavanaugh this week in his possible confirmation to the Supreme Court.

“Keep the politicians out of it,” Durbin said in remarks at a City Club of Chicago breakfast Monday, at least while the FBI conducts its seven-day investigation into sex-assault charges leveled during confirmation hearings last week with the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.

“If the politicians will just keep their hands off this, and I’m taking about senators of both political parties and the White House,” Durbin added in a news conference at the City Club, “then I think we’ll have evidence and information that we can use to draw a conclusion.

“Then it’s up to us to read what they find and to make a decision,” Durbin said.

With the Senate divided 51-49 along party lines, Illinois’s senior U.S. senator suggested it would come down to a “jury of three” Republican senators who really will decide the matter: Jeff Flake of Arizona, who called for the weeklong probe, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

“I've just never seen anything like it,” Durbin said about the furor both in the Senate Judiciary Committee and across the nation. “It was very tense, very intense, and we had two people coming before us, more importantly, before the American people, and speaking in very clear language about intimate experiences that either occurred or didn't occur.”

Durbin said National Public Radio had estimated that 60 percent of the nation was engaged in the confirmation process, especially Thursday’s televised hearing with testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh, and “I believe they’re right based on the cabdrivers and doormen I’ve talked to since.”

Durbin was at the City Club breakfast, held at Maggiano’s Banquets in downtown Chicago, to tout a new Chicago HEAL initiative. Based on “Hospital Engagement, Action, and Leadership,” it will unite the top 10 Chicago hospitals — usually competitors — in trying to address the city’s gun violence.

Durbin emphasized that the formal request for the weeklong FBI investigation was bipartisan, originating between Flake and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.

He added that he expected the confirmation process to move forward at the end of the week, driven by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “I know Sen. McConnell's in a hurry,” Durbin said, “in a big hurry to get this done right away.”