Remember the fiasco that was Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing? Watched feverishly across the country, the days-long ordeal involved allegations of sexual misconduct that prompted an outcry from Democrats — though their protests ultimately weren’t enough to stop President Donald Trump’s second SCOTUS nominee from being confirmed to the bench.
It seems that was far from the end of it, though. Reports published late last week indicate that Justice Kavanaugh has again become the subject of scrutiny from Senate Democrats, who are pushing the FBI for answers about its fall 2018 probe into claims the jurist sexually assaulted a woman decades ago.
According to NBC News, a letter sent by an FBI official in June to Democrat Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Chris Coons (DE) “acknowledged that the department conducted only 10 additional interviews in its supplemental investigation” into claims of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh lodged by a professor named Christine Blasey Ford, “even though [the FBI] had received over 4,500 tips.”
The letter was first made public last Thursday, and since then, Democrats and their allies in the media have spoken out in no uncertain terms.
A letter from the FBI
Attorneys for Ford, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, said in a statement to NBC News that the revelation proves Kavanaugh wasn’t investigated thoroughly before he was confirmed to the nation’s highest court in a 50–48 vote.
“Because the FBI and Trump’s White House Counsel hid the ball on this, we do not know how many of those 4,500 tips were consequential, how many of those tips supported Dr. Ford’s testimony, or how many showed that Kavanaugh perjured himself during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” the lawyers said.
They added: “Our nation deserved better.”
In the letter to Whitehouse and Coons, the FBI’s Jill Tyson said the agency had “provided all relevant tips” of the more than 4,000 it received “to the Office of White House Counsel.”
Tyson also stressed that the FBI was merely conducting a background check, not a criminal investigation, meaning “the authorities, policies, and procedures used to investigate criminal matters did not apply.”
Joined by five other Democrat senators, Whitehouse and Coons responded some three weeks later with a letter seeking more information from the FBI.
Among other things, the Democrats want to know more about the tip line, including “all records and communications” collected, and they want to know what criteria were used to determine which of the tips were “relevant.”
The Democrats asked the bureau to respond by the end of August. What remains unclear is what they’re hoping to get out of all of this. Time will tell.