Senate Democrats demanded this week that the FBI hand over additional information related to its 2018 investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Chris Coons, D-Del., raised a series of questions about the FBI’s handling of its sexual misconduct probe into Kavanaugh in response to a letter the bureau sent them in June. They expressed particular concern that the FBI had received more than 4,500 tips and shared ones deemed “relevant” with former President Donald Trump’s White House.
“The admissions in your letter corroborate and explain numerous credible accounts by individuals and firms that they had contacted the FBI with information ‘highly relevant to … allegations’ of sexual misconduct by Justice Kavanaugh, only to be ignored,” seven Judiciary Democrats wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray late Wednesday.
“If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all,” their letter continued.
The lawmakers asked the FBI to share additional details, including how tips were considered to be “relevant,” how many tips it shared with the Trump White House, whether tips ever were investigated fully, and whether the bureau still had copies of the tips. They also asked why potential witnesses identified through the tip line were never contacted or interviewed.
In the FBI’s letter, the agency noted that it gave the tips to the Office of the White House Counsel because that was the “requesting entity.” The bureau also said the Kavanaugh background investigation involved different procedures than the FBI’s criminal probes.
In mid-2018, after Trump nominated then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, several women came forward with allegations that he had sexually assaulted or harassed them as a teen or young man. But Judiciary Committee and FBI investigations determined that the accusations, which Kavanaugh angrily denied, were unsubstantiated. The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice in October 2018.
The seven Democratic senators gave Wray until Aug. 31 to respond to their questions in the letter Wednesday. In addition to Whitehouse and Coons, also signing it were Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; and Cory Booker, D-N.J.
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