The FBI Isn’t Investigating Kavanaugh’s Adolescent Drinking, At Least For Now

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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  • The FBI is not expected to investigate Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s adolescent drinking patterns.
  • Some Democrats have accused Kavanaugh of lying to lawmakers about the scope of his drinking in high school and college.
  • His contemporaries differ over key facts, particularly whether he ever “blacked out.”

The FBI is unlikely to investigate Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s high school and college drinking patterns, as Senate Democrats charge he misled lawmakers about the extent of his alcohol use as a young man.

Though the scope of the inquiry could expand at any time, Democrats are pushing the bureau to pursue the matter as former Kavanaugh confidants allege in the press that the judge was not forthcoming about his adolescent boozing during his testimony to the Senate.

Certain questions as to Kavanaugh’s alcohol consumption will likely arise, as the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick all broach heavy drinking. These questions are unlikely to serve as the basis for a separate inquiry, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Several of the judge’s contemporaries at Yale have given accounts in the press indicating that he drank to the point of “blacking out” as an undergraduate, contradicting testimony he gave the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chad Ludington, a professor at North Carolina State University who went to college with Kavanaugh, cast him as a sloppy, angry drunk.


“When Brett got drunk, he was belligerent and aggressive,” Ludington said at a gaggle with reporters outside his home. “On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation but by throwing his beer in a man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.” (RELATED: Kavanaugh Fight Leaves Supreme Court Shorthanded For New Term)

The New York Times substantiated portions of Ludington’s account Monday night — Kavanaugh was involved in a bar fight that drew police in 1985, but he threw ice — not beer — at another individual, and there is no record of an arrest or of criminal charges.

One of the individuals present for the incident, the future NBA player Chris Dudley, disputed Ludington’s description and insisted that he has never seen Kavanaugh “black out.”

“We drank in college,” Dudley said in a statement released by the White House. “I was with Brett frequently in college, whether it be in the gym, in class or socializing. I never ever saw Brett blackout. Not one time. And in all the years I have known him, I have never seen him to be disrespectful or inappropriate with women.”

“I would also like to point out that going out never came before working hard and maintaining our focus on our goals,” he added.

Gregg Nunziata, the former chief nominations counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters that questions about alcohol and substance abuse are typical of FBI background checks. Nunziata noted hundreds of Kavanaugh associates have been interviewed over six separate investigations spanning the length of his career in public service, none of which appeared to turn up evidence of alcoholism.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey explained on the same call that a longstanding “memo of understanding” between the White House and the Senate provides that supplemental FBI background checks are treated as classified information. As such, it is not clear if FBI evidence defining Kavanaugh’s behavior will ever be made public.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber will move on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week, in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.

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