According to The Guardian, the FBI is under new scrutiny over its background check of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, which a Democratic lawmaker has suggested may have been a “fake” investigation.
Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator and former prosecutor who serves on the judiciary committee, is calling on the newly-confirmed attorney general, Merrick Garland, to help facilitate “proper oversight” by the Senate into questions about how thoroughly the FBI investigated Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
The supreme court justice was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford and faced several other allegations of misconduct following Ford’s harrowing testimony of an alleged assault when she and Kavanaugh were in high school.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, the report noted.
During his confirmation process, the FBI was called upon to conduct an investigation into the claims, though the agency was later accused by some Democratic lawmakers of not being thorough — particularly in that the two key witnesses, Kavanaugh and Ford, were not interviewed.
Among the concerns listed in Whitehouse’s letter to Garland are allegations that some witnesses who wanted to share their accounts with the FBI could not find anyone at the bureau who would accept their testimony and that it had not assigned any individual 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.
The Guardian noted that “it is unclear whether the FBI would re-open an investigation into Kavanaugh,” but reported that Whitehouse’s letter “could push Garland to force the DOJ to respond to questions about the investigation into Kavanaugh.”
Whitehouse said he is seeking answers about “how, why, and at whose behest” the FBI conducted a “fake” investigation if standard procedures were violated, including standards for following allegations gathered through FBI “tip lines”.
Forbes noted that Whitehouse also alleged that the investigation was “politically constrained.”
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