In response to a letter from the F.B.I., which provided further details in the handling of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, seven Democratic senators issued a reply questioning the thoroughness of the F.B.I.’s investigation into sexual misconduct allegations received from their tip line.
What they said: The senators who signed the letter, including Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Chris Coons (DE), and Cory Booker (NJ), expressed concern that the F.B.I. received over 4,500 tips relating to Kavanaugh, but did not properly investigate the claims.
F.B.I. Assistant Director Jill Tyson wrote in her letter that the most “relevant” tips were turned over to lawyers in the White House under Donald Trump. It remains unclear what further actions, if any, were taken by the White House lawyers to vet the allegations.
“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,” wrote the Democratic senators in their response to the F.B.I. letter.
Critics of the Democrats’ response suggest that this is just another attempt to besmirch Kavanaugh’s reputation. As reported by National Review, Mike Davis, who served as chief counsel for nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Kavanaugh hearings, pointed out that a summary of the 4,500 tips received by the F.B.I. was available to all 100 senators as far back as 2018.
“[T]he Times’ report leaves out three key details that would have helped both to clear the air and to clear Kavanaugh’s name: (1) The FBI’s supplemental investigation was always supposed to be limited in time and scope; (2) a summary of all the tips the FBI received was available to all 100 U.S. senators; and (3) we have good reason to believe that none of the supposedly ‘compelling leads’ were actually compelling at all,” the report read.
“If there was anything that caught their attention, they could have flagged it for further investigation,” remarked Davis.
In reference to the allegations received in the tip line, an unnamed Republican senator told National Review, “There was nothing in there . . . nothing anywhere providing a shred of corroboration.”
Context: The 4,500 tips received by the F.B.I. are in addition to the allegations made by California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who entered the national spotlight when she appeared in front of the Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings to detail her claims of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
Despite the heavy media coverage of the hearings, Congress eventually confirmed Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice.
In response to the recent letter from the F.B.I., Ford’s lawyers said the nation “deserved better” in the inquiry into Kavanaugh.
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