NASHVILLE, Tennessee–Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) reaffirmed his strong support for the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in an exclusive interview late Friday afternoon at his Senate offices in Nashville with Tennessee Star political editor and host of The Tennessee Star Report, heard weekday mornings from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Talkradio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC, Steve Gill.
Alexander’s remarks came after the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 11 to 10 party line vote to favorably recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination for a floor vote in the Senate, but minutes before President Trump instructed the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation into the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, limited to one week in duration. Trump’s order came after Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) last minute demand that such an investigation be conducted.
“As we sit here on a Friday when this whole Kavanaugh confirmation process is still in flux, now, apparently, a request for an FBI investigation, it may be voted next week early or late, as you kind of look at it right now, where do you see it going, again, while we know it changes minute by minute,” Gill said.
“Well, I don’t want to predict what will happen because, who knows what will happen? But Judge Kavanaugh said he had no problem with an FBI investigation. I have no problem with one, if some senators would feel better with one,” Alexander said.
“I just don’t need one to make my decision,” he added.
“If there have been six FBI background checks since the alleged incident, and everyone who was at the alleged incident says it didn’t happen, and they’ve sworn to that, then I don’t know what an investigation of that incident will turn up, but I don’t need that. But if we have one, in the Anita Hill case, with Clarence Thomas, they had an FBI background check, which Joe Biden said was not worth anything by the way, and it lasted three days. So if there is an FBI background check, I would expect it to delay everything only by a few days,” Alexander told Gill.
(You can watch this exchange at the 7:56 mark of this video)
Earlier in the interview, Alexander told Gill the Kavanaugh confirmation process has been “really embarrassing for the Senate.”
“You’ve been involved in politics a long time. Have you ever seen anything thing this vicious?” Gill asked, referring to the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
“No. And you don’t have to go back very far too far to find when it was like it should be,” Alexander responded:
You can go back to the confirmation hearings for Justice Scalia, the most conservative member of the Court, and Justice Ginsburg, the most liberal member of the Court. They each were almost unanimously confirmed in the end, because they both were qualified. They both were treated with respect. And now we treat a Presidential nominee to the Supreme Court as if he or she were innocent until nominated. Almost as if they’ve been released from San Quentin, no matter fine a background they have.
“Brett Kavanaugh has the kind of background that any mother or father would hope for in their son or child,” Alexander said.
“The idea that he should be subjected to this is very very embarrassing for the country and the United States Senate,” he added.
“Is this what we’re going to see going forward? We’ve not seen Republicans behave this way when you had a Sonia Sotamayor, an Elena Kagan? Lindsey Graham said he voted for them and would never have done this to them, and yet the Democrats are showing this is where we are going,” Gill said.
“Well, I voted for Sotomayor, not because I agreed with her, but because she was qualified. I would have voted for Elena Kagan, but I didn’t like the fact that she didn’t allow the military to recruit on the Harvard campus. So I voted on on it,” Alexander noted.
“The courts are not supposed to be a political place. Of course they reflect it, to some degree. You’re not supposed to know what the results are going to be when you go into court. That’s why you have a judge. We’re going to pay for this for a long time. This is very bad. I hope senators will try to get back to the Justice Scalia, Justice Ginsburg confirmation process,” the senior senator from Tennessee said.
“He is a fighter,” Alexander said of Kavanaugh, adding:
All this talk about FBI. There have been six background checks of Judge Kavanaugh by the FBI since the alleged incident 36 years ago. Not one of the six FBI background checks turned up anything, not a whiff of anything like this. So, another FBI investigation, even of the charges, it won’t turn up anything. They come to you and say ‘what do you think?’ and then they come to me and say ‘what do I think’ and then they say ‘Steve said, Lamar said, Mary said, Joe said,’ and they give it back to the senators and they have to make a judgment.
I have all the information I need to make a judgment. I felt very sorry for Dr. Ford. A sexual assault case is never an easy thing. And it’s never easy to decide, either. She seemed to believe what she believed. But, it wasn’t a case of ‘she said, he said,’ it was ‘she said, he said, they said.’ All the they were the four other people that were there and they all swore on the penalty of perjury that the event never happened. So to me, that was enough.
“I want the United States Senate to rise above this. This is really embarrassing for the Senate. We live in a fractured country. I get criticized sometimes for making compromises and deals. I like to try to get results,” Alexander added.
“I think the American people want us to try to get results,” he said.
You can watch the full 17 and a half minute interview here: