Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) accused the FBI of launching a "politically constrained and perhaps fake" investigation into accusations of sexual assault and misconduct made against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process.
After former President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July 2018, multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, notably Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that while they were teenagers, Kavanaugh held her down on a bed, put his hand over her mouth, and attempted to take off her clothes. Kavanaugh denied all of the accusations.
Trump authorized the FBI to investigate Ford's claim, but the bureau never interviewed Kavanaugh, Ford, or other witnesses who offered to testify, and its report was never made public. In a letter sent last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Whitehouse said the Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing the FBI's handling of the accusations, and would like the Justice Department to provide support.
"It cannot and should not be the policy of the FBI to not follow up on serious allegations of misconduct during background check investigations," Whitehouse said. No one was assigned to collect evidence, he added, and the Senate was unable to get an explanation on the FBI's tip line procedures. "This 'tip line' appears to have operated more like a garbage chute, with everything that came down the chute consigned without review to the figurative dumpster," Whitehouse said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has refused to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about whether the FBI followed its procedures for investigations, Whitehouse said, and "such stonewalling does not inspire confidence in the integrity" of the probe. Read more at CBS News.