100 senators and just one copy of FBI report

WASHINGTON • The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) report on its Brett Kavanaugh investigation is the hottest document in Washington, but there is only a single copy for 100 senators to share.

That means many of the senators ended up listening to staff read aloud the 46-page report, which contained 11 accounts of FBI agents' interviews with nine witnesses related to sexual assault and misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. One additional stack of papers contained reports to the FBI tip line.

The single copy, kept in a secure room accessible only to senators and a few staff, is intended to protect against leaks of the FBI documents. "There were four of us in a corner," said Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee, reading sections of the report while other senators listened to the report being read in full by staff with the proper security clearances.

The FBI's report, which was delivered to Capitol Hill in the wee hours of Thursday morning, is being kept in a secure room known as an SCIF - a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility - located in the underground visitor's complex in the Capitol.

Making things even stranger, Republicans and Democrats had to take turns reviewing the document, with one party's members getting an hour in the room, and the other getting the next hour, and so on.

"One copy of the FBI report. No more than an hour to review it. No ability for any follow-up. Then a rushed vote," Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut wrote on Twitter.

It also appears increasingly unlikely that the public will get to see the FBI's findings. Mr Corker said he no longer thought it was worth making the report public.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2018, with the headline '100 senators and just one copy of FBI report'. Print Edition | Subscribe