Bob Hugin offered tentative supported for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination Thursday night, though he said that could change if the results of the FBI investigation, which has not been released to the public and which Hugin has not seen, prove troubling.
Update: at 12:38 PM on Friday, Hugin announced his support for Kavanaugh: “Based on everything I know now, I would support Judge Kavanaugh as Senator. I still strongly believe the FBI report should be released so the American people can see the findings.”
“I want to hopefully understand what’s in the report, but my expectation is that unless there’s something in the report that I don’t expect to hear, I would support him,” Hugin said following a town hall on veterans’ issues.
Hugin said he would likely change his mind if the investigation revealed Kavanaugh lied to Senators, provided corroborating information to sexual assault allegations made against the judge or exposed some yet-unknown bombshell.
“If there’s anything in there that would be really troubling to me that I wasn’t aware of, I would have to reconsider,” Hugin said.
Senators have been reviewing the single copy of the investigation made available by the bureau throughout the day, with their reactions largely split along party lines.
Hugin, along with a number of Democratic senators, has called for the investigation to be made public.
“I am glad to hear Senators [Susan] Collins and [Jeff] Flake thought the FBI report was thorough. But as I’ve said from the beginning, the American people deserve to know the findings,” Hugin tweeted earlier Thursday. “I agree with Senator [John] Kennedy, the White House should release the report.”
The candidate has long been silent on whether he supported Kavanaugh’s nomination.
After initially calling the judge highly qualified, Hugin said he would withhold a final decision until after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who has accused the judge of sexual assault, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday.
Then after Flake reached a deal with Senate Republicans and the White House to open a week-long FBI investigation into the allegations made against Kavanuagh, Hugin said he would decide after those results were released.
The investigation, given a week, lasted about five days, and Democrats have accused Senate Republicans and the White House of limiting the bureau’s ability to properly conduct the investigation.
Nine people were interviewed by the FBI as part of the reopened background check, while other potential witnesses have reportedly been unable to share information with the bureau, a fact that Democrats, including Hugin opponent Sen. Bob Menendez, have seized on.
“Just read the FBI report on Kavanaugh,” Menendez said on Twitter Thursday. “If that’s an investigation, it’s a bullshit investigation.”
Meanwhile, Republicans have said the investigation clears Kavanaugh and have used its undisclosed results to push his confirmation.
The full Senate is expected to vote on Kavanaugh’s final confirmation Friday or Saturday.