U.S. Sen. Doug Jones wants FBI to investigate sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. --  The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee appears ready to move forward Monday with a hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with or without testimony from a woman who’s accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in an encounter dating back to the 1980s.

But Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones wants the committee should slow down.

Republicans have resisted a call by Christine Blasey Ford for an FBI investigation into her allegation against Kavanaugh.

Jones, a Democrat elected to the seat last year,  thinks an investigation is necessary.

“First of all, I think the FBI needs to do a background check update on Brett Kavanaugh,” Jones said. “The fact that the president says the FBI doesn’t do it, is just not the case, they do it all the time with nominations.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says Monday is Ford’s chance to be heard. He’s given the Ford and her attorneys until Friday to respond to his invitation to appear before the committee on Monday.

Jones said the process is being rushed, using artificial deadlines.

“The fact is, we need to make sure we get it right, not that we get it according to a clock that Chairman Grassley set,” Jones said.

Jones said he understands claims like the Kavanaugh accusation are hard on the accuser and the accused.

“I’m a former prosecutor, I know how hard it is for victims to talk about their experiences, particularly in the case of sexual assault,” he said.

That’s why Jones favors an investigation

“We need to be able to test these allegations, out of fairness to both Dr. Ford and to Judge Kavanaugh,” Jones said. “A public hearing before the full committee would be a spectacle without a true fact-finding mission that goes on a non-partisan basis.

The committee doesn’t plan to call an alleged witness to testify, Kavanaugh friend Mark Judge. Jones thinks the committee should subpoena Judge and hear from all three people.

“Have the witnesses come testify, and to testify under oath,” Jones said. “That oath, that oath a witness takes, means something and the witnesses know that. “

Jones, a former U.S. Attorney, is not a member of the judiciary committee. As a red state Democrat, he’s considered a key vote if the Kavanaugh nomination reaches the Senate floor. Jones has repeatedly said he’s still doing a deep dive into Kavanaugh’s record and hasn’t made any statements about how he’s likely to vote.

And Jones said he regrets the confirmation has become so partisan, rather than being focused on fact-gathering about the nominee.