The FBI is facing scrutiny for its 2018 background check of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after a Democratic lawmaker suggests the investigation may have been “fake”.
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who serves on the judiciary committee, is calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland launch an investigation with “proper oversight” by the Senate into questions about how thoroughly the FBI investigated Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
In 2018, the FBI was called to investigate allegations of sexual assault against the then Washington DC Judge during the Senate confirmation hearings. Shortly after being confirmed, some Democratic senators accused the agency of conducting an incomplete background check. For example, two key witnesses, Christine Blasey Ford, the women who accused the Justice of sexual assault, and Kavanaugh himself were never interviewed as part of the inquiry.
Ford’s accusations were the first of many questionable allegations of misconduct to surface. She gave harrowing testimony of an alleged assault when she and Kavanaugh were in high school. He denied the claims.
Sen. Whitehouse’s letter to Garland details that witnesses who wanted to share their accounts with the FBI could not do so, and that it had not assigned any individual agents to accept or gather evidence.
“This was unique behavior in my experience, as the Bureau is usually amenable to information and evidence; but in this matter the shutters were closed, the drawbridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI,” Whitehouse said.
He added that, once the FBI decided to create a “tip line”, senators were not given any information on how or whether new allegations were processed and evaluated. While senators’ brief review of the allegations gathered by the tip line showed a “stack” of information had come in, there was no further explanation on the steps that had been taken to review the information, Whitehouse said