Senate Democrats have railed against the FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh since the final report was released Thursday, despite their prior claims that the bureau is a premier law enforcement agency beyond reproach.
The FBI on Thursday wrapped up a probe into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh that Democrats had demanded for weeks. The White House ordered the investigation after pressure from Senate Republicans who were on the fence about the judge's confirmation. The report did not find corroborating evidence for the allegations against Kavanaugh, which the judge staunchly denies.
Democrats blasted the FBI in the aftermath of the report, with some even calling it a "cover-up" and saying the bureau's reputation is in tatters.
"It's a complete cover-up," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) said, calling the report a "complete embarrassment" for the FBI's reputation.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Democratic "fears had been realized" about the limitation of the investigative process.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) wondered Thursday if the probe was limited by the White House, adding, "I don't know." Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) called it a "complete sham," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said it smacked of a "cover-up" and "whitewash," and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) tweeted the investigation was "entirely incomplete and insufficient."
Possible 2020 presidential contender and lawyer Michael Avenatti called the investigation a "sham" and a "con job," Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said it was a "disappointment," and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said it was not the "fulsome review" they desired.
Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said he was "shocked," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) said the investigation was a "farce," and Sen. Bob Menendez called it a "bulls—t investigation."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) charged that, while he respects the FBI, it bowed to White House wishes not to find any evidence to incriminate Kavanaugh.
The criticisms come in stark contrast to the praise some Democrats lavished on the FBI in recent weeks and throughout the Trump administration.
In calling for an investigation, Harris said last month that the FBI has an "extraordinary amount of talent," while Schumer said the FBI is made up of "professionals" and "not biased." Blumenthal called the FBI an agency of "consummate skill and integrity," while Leahy said it has "no partisan interests."
Several leading Democrats have decried attacks on the FBI and Justice Department by Donald Trump and Republicans since the president took office.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a CNN interview that such attacks play into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands and are a "disaster," and Schumer bemoaned the shameful, "partisan" broadsides against the "premier" law enforcement agency.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) said attacks on the FBI by Republicans in the past were "disturbing" and a sign they were "desperate," and Blumenthal previously mourned Republicans attacking "one of the premier law enforcement institutions in the world."
Durbin quoted Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) earlier this year when he said undermining the FBI is "not in the best interests of America." Hirono compared Trump's attacks on the FBI and Justice Department to actions by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) on Friday said they would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, giving the nominee 51 announced votes for confirmation and effectively guaranteeing he will reach the Supreme Court.