Senate races

McConnell campaign says FBI has ‘good leads’ in bugging probe

The FBI swept Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s (Ky.) campaign office on Wednesday morning and, according to the senator’s campaign manager, found “good leads” in its investigation into leaked recordings that revealed aides to the GOP senator discussing ways to attack actress Ashley Judd.

McConnell has accused a liberal group, Progress Kentucky, of bugging his office. A Feb. 2 recording of McConnell and aides discussing campaign strategy for a possible Senate challenge by Judd became public Tuesday after it was published online by Mother Jones. The aides discussed options for attacking Judd’s mental health, as well as her views on religion and attitudes about family.

{mosads}Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager, told The Hill in an email the FBI had been to the senator’s campaign headquarters in Louisville.

“The FBI was at our office for about an hour this morning,” Benton wrote. “They are working on some good leads. Unfortunately, I cannot comment further on this ongoing criminal investigation and [the FBI] asked me to refer all questions for the time being to their Louisville field office.”

The FBI did not respond to a request for comment. Progress Kentucky had not responded to multiple requests for comment concerning the allegations, as of Wednesday.

But Benton said he believes whoever is responsible will be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” after the FBI finishes its investigation.

In a radio interview with conservative host Mike Huckabee, Benton said the FBI is taking the investigation “very seriously” and that he was pleased with its response to the tapes.

“We’re very glad that the FBI is so quick to address this, that they’re all over this,” Benton said. 

In the leaked recording, McConnell aides describe Judd as “emotionally unbalanced” and talk about highlighting her personal history of depression.

Judd had been considering a 2014 bid against the Senate minority leader, but she opted against running last month.

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