Democrats press FBI for details on Kavanaugh investigation
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Two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are asking the FBI to detail its handling of last year's investigation into sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMcConnell has 17-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report MORE
Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Democrats seek to exploit Trump-GOP tensions in COVID-19 talks Liability shield fight threatens to blow up relief talks MORE (R.I.) and Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsWary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure MORE (Del.) sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray raising concerns that the department failed to follow up on leads potentially relevant to its supplemental background check investigation into Kavanaugh.
"It is not the practice of the FBI to decline to pursue credible leads in an investigation or to fail to interview the accuser and accused," the two senators wrote. 
The letter comes after Wray testified late last month before the Judiciary Committee that the FBI's background investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, who has denied the claims, was in line with bureau procedures. 
"I consulted at length with our security professionals who are specialists in background investigations to make sure that investigation, that background investigation, was done consistent with our long-standing policies, practices, and procedures for background investigations," Wray said during the hearing. 
But Coons and Whitehouse raised concerns in their letter that the White House and Senate Republicans, or their staffs, were involved in setting the boundaries of the FBI's probe. 
"In addition, the process used to begin and conduct the investigation does not appear to meet even the minimal steps taken by the FBI when allegations were raised against Justice [Clarence] Thomas," the two senators added in the letter to Wray.
The two senators are asking Wray to detail the FBI's procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct that come up during a background investigation of a nominee, how they are different from criminal investigations or background investigations that don't involve sexual assault allegations and what procedures were used during the Kavanaugh investigation.  
They also want to know what limits were placed on the FBI's investigation by the White House or Justice Department, who identified which witnesses the FBI would interview, how many people were interviewed and the process for questioning and following up on interviews. 
The two Democratic senators are also raising concerns about a public tip line established during the FBI's investigation. They want to know if the FBI has previously used a tip line, how many tips were received and how they were vetted. 
Reports surfaced around the FBI investigation that the bureau had not spoken to dozens of potential witnesses and that individuals with possible information had not heard back from the FBI. 
Republicans agreed to delay a final vote on Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination last year to give the FBI one week to do a supplemental background investigation into sexual assault allegations raised against him, including Christine Blasey Ford's accusation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothes at a house gathering while the pair where in high school in 1982. As part of the supplemental investigation, the FBI didn't interview Ford or Kavanaugh. 
Kavanaugh flatly denied the allegation during a public hearing in September, angrily calling the proceedings a "national disgrace." 
The letter comes after the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability dismissed ethics complaints filed against Kavanaugh, saying it did not have authority to review the claims due to his current position on the high court. 
The complaints against Kavanaugh were filed when he was a judge on the D.C. circuit and largely concern around allegations of misconduct during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, during which he furiously denied allegations of sexual misconduct.