According to The New York Times, the FBI has disclosed more details about its handling of sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as Kavanaugh sought confirmation in 2018, and Democrats have concluded that the lack of meaningful investigation was shaped primarily by the Trump White House.
In a letter dated June 30 to two Democratic senators, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Chris Coons of Delaware, an F.B.I. assistant director, Jill C. Tyson, said that the most “relevant” of the 4,500 tips the agency received during an investigation into Mr. Kavanaugh’s past were referred to White House lawyers in the Trump administration, whose handling of them remains unclear.
The letter left uncertain whether the F.B.I. itself followed up on the most compelling leads. The agency was conducting a background check rather than a criminal investigation, meaning that “the authorities, policies, and procedures used to investigate criminal matters did not apply,” the letter said.
Ms. Tyson’s letter was a response to a 2019 letter from Mr. Whitehouse and Mr. Coons to the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, posing questions about how the F.B.I.’s review of Mr. Kavanaugh was handled.
In an interview, Mr. Whitehouse said the F.B.I.’s response showed that the F.B.I.’s handling of the accusations into misconduct by Mr. Kavanaugh was a sham. Ms. Tyson’s letter, Mr. Whitehouse said, suggested that the F.B.I. ran a “fake tip line that never got properly reviewed, that was presumably not even conducted in good faith.”
“Your letter confirms that the F.B.I.’s tip line was a departure from past practice and that the F.B.I. was politically constrained by the Trump White House,” the senators wrote. Among those signing the letter were Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the committee’s chairman, Mr. Coons and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.
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