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 CollinsRomney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Susan Collins signals she won't campaign against Biden Graham challenger Harrison raises record-shattering .9 million for SC Senate bid MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRomney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Senators will have access to intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (R-Alaska), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGeorge Floyd and the upcoming Texas Democratic Senate runoff Energy companies cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline Trump nominee faces Senate hurdles to securing public lands post 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.