Ford friend has said she was pressured to revisit Kavanaugh statement: report

Leland Keyser, a friend of Christine Blasey Ford, told FBI investigators she was pressured by Ford’s allies to reconsider her initial statement that she was unaware of evidence supporting Ford’s claims of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal

Keyser eventually revised her statement, saying she could not corroborate Ford’s claims, but believed the assault had happened. 

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She told the FBI that following her initial statement, Monica McLean, a retired FBI agent and friend of Ford’s, reached out and urged Keyser to clarify what she had said, according to the Journal. 

“Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser’s account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false,” David Laufman, McLean’s lawyer, said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. 

Keyser’s amended comments came after Kavanaugh cited her initial statement in a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. 

“Dr. Ford’s allegation is not merely uncorroborated, it is refuted by the very people she says were there, including by a long-time friend of hers,” he said, referring to Keyser.

The Wall Street Journal report says Kavanaugh, too, reached out to former classmates in an effort to bolster his denials of accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him by three women.

Kavanaugh's confirmation process has been thrown into tumult by allegations of sexual misconduct. He issued a searing denial of any wrongdoing at the Senate hearing last week in which he suggested the allegations were planned smears and part of “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” 

The FBI returned the results of a weeklong investigation into the allegations to the Senate on Thursday.

Many Senate Republicans claim that there was no corroborating evidence for any of the claims against Kavanaugh and have vowed to confirm the nominee in a vote over the weekend.

Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges GOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal MORE (R-Alaska), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinFormer coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (D-W.Va.) all have not yet stated how they intended to vote, though Collins and Flake both expressed satisfaction with the FBI inquiry, saying they believed it was thorough.

Republicans currently hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate and can only afford one defection if the Democratic caucus unanimously votes to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.