With the final Senate vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh imminent, Democrats are crying foul about the FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Kavanaugh. Among them is Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey. Markey spoke with WGBH News' All Things Considered anchor Barbara Howard about the investigation. The following transcript has been edited for clarity.
Barbara Howard: Have you seen this report that's been issued by the FBI?
Ed Markey: I have. I was allowed with other senators to view the report for one hour. There was only one copy of the report for all of the senators in the room, and we had one hour to read it and to discuss it amongst ourselves. It was about 30-, 35-pages long. It was perhaps the most absurd hour I spent in my entire congressional career, given the magnitude of the responsibility which we have to use this information to determine whether or not we senators can vote for Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.
Howard: Is there any protected information that you, as a senator, have seen about Kavanaugh that the public doesn’t know about that might sway opinion?
Markey: The problem is that the White House and the Republican leadership have put handcuffs on the FBI. They have made it clear that they're limited to only the small number of people to be interviewed, even if there are leads that come out of those interviews that they're not going to be allowed to follow-up.
Howard: Two protagonists in all this, Kavanaugh and his accuser Ford, were not interviewed by the FBI, is that right?
Markey: That's right.
Howard: Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is quoted as saying that the FBI conducted a “very thorough investigation.” She seems satisfied. Any word on how she or others viewed as swing voters, Jeff Flake or Lisa Murkowski, might vote on the nomination?
Markey: Well, in the room, there was a stack of papers a foot and a half high of calls into the FBI tip line. None of those calls have been investigated by the FBI. Some of the tips are probably useless, but there are needles inside of that haystack that are not being pursued by the FBI. To say that a credible FBI investigation has been conducted when none of those leads has been pursued is absolutely absurd. It is a cover-up orchestrated by the White House and the Republican leadership to deny the FBI the time and the permission to conduct a true investigation that will help the Senate make a decision based upon a full investigation of Kavanaugh's background.
Howard: Now that swing voters like Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski have seen this, who seem to be on the fence about this, does it give them cover to vote for this nominee?
Markey: This report cannot be used as a rationale for voting for Brett Kavanaugh.
Howard: There was a lot of push for this investigation. Are you worried that the confirmation process, including the FBI investigation, might backfire on the Democrats, on their chances of winning back the House or Senate in the midterms next month? Polls are showing, including one co-sponsored by NPR, that Republican voters are looking more energized as a result of all this. Does that concern you?
Markey: My view is that when we poll the most likely voters, that the Democrats today and on Election Day, are going to have a massive additional turnout. Women across this country are outraged at the way in which these charges are being treated. And I think the Republicans are about to reap a political whirlwind that they have sowed for themselves.
Howard: That's Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, speaking with us about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The FBI has wrapped up its investigation into Kavanaugh. Senate Republicans say that they are satisfied. Democrats like Markey say that they are not. The Trump administration has released a statement that reads as follows, “With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.” A full Senate vote on Kavanaugh is imminent. This is WGBH’s All Things Considered.