Republican John Danforth says FBI should re-open Kavanaugh background check
US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces a grilling on the second day of his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Although maintaining his support for Brett Kavanaugh, retired Republican Senator John Danforth of Missouri in a Wednesday appearance on CNN called for an actual investigation and hearings into allegations of sexual assault levied by accuser Christine Ford. Danforth served as senator from 1976-1995, and is credited with successfully shepherding Clarence Thomas's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Noting that the FBI investigation into Anita Hill's harassment claims against Thomas took only three days, host Jim Acosta asked Danforth "why can't the same process play out this time around?"

"I think it can," Danforth replied. "It's not complicated, it doesn't take much time, there's very few people for the FBI to talk to."

"The FBI's job is to conduct background checks," Danforth added, ignoring the president's statements to the contrary. "So I don't understand what more has to be done. This is their duty to conduct these investigations, so have at it."

Pointing out that the president seemed to be "closing the door on doing what was done with Anita Hill's accusations," Acosta asked the retired senator if it would be wiser for the White House to let the FBI re-open the check.

"I don't think that the FBI, which has the responsibility of background checks, has to be reauthorized to do what it's already authorized to do," Danforth replied, explicitly rejecting any role for the White House in signing off on the action. "It's not that an old background check is closed, at least this is my understanding, and then they have to reopen an entirely new one."

Asked whether "senators on both sides of this case care more about how this affects their next election," Danforth replied with one word: "yes." He called for Kavanaugh to be represented by legal counsel and for confirmation hearings "be made like a court proceeding where there is presumptions of innocence, where there's burden of proof and there are lawyers who are able to ask questions to witnesses not just politicians in ten minute bursts of time."

"The lesson that we learned from Clarence Thomas was that it was a free for all," he added. "Not only no due process, there was no real process whatever."

Watch the video below.