Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh

Eight Democratic Senators who previously served as prosecutors renewed calls for an FBI investigation of allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh committed assault in high school. 

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Critics slam billion Facebook fine as weak MORE (D-Minn.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (D-Calif.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip Democrats want investigation into cost, legality of Trump's July Fourth event MORE (D-Vt.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-N.M.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoHouse Democrat's bill would facilitate electric car chargers at all national parks Democratic senators want candidates to take Swalwell's hint and drop out Harris, Schatz have highest percentage of non-white staff among Senate Democrats MORE (D-Nev.) sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE Thursday.

The signatories identified themselves as former prosecutors and attorneys general. 

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“The allegations now before us include a number of issues that would ordinarily be addressed by law enforcement,” they wrote. “One of these is the fact that the allegations mention multiple witnesses who may have relevant information to share in an interview. Another is that there are reports of medical evidence and a polygraph test which should be reviewed.”

The senators argued law enforcement professionals would be better suited than committee staff currently leading the investigation to review the evidence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Advocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform Trump drug pricing setbacks put pressure on Congress MORE (R-Iowa) argued in a letter made public Wednesday that it is the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to investigate information related to a nominee and that the role of the FBI is to look into confidential matters only. 

“The Constitution assigns the Senate, and only the Senate, with the task of advising the president on his nominees and consenting if the circumstances merit,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Judiciary Committee Democrats. “The job of assessing and investigating a nominee’s qualifications in order to decide whether to consent to the nomination is ours, and ours alone.”  

Democrats argued in their letter to Trump Thursday that the FBI investigated sexual harassment allegations Anita Hill made against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. 

“That decision was praised by Republican senators including Sen. Hatch, who called it the ‘right thing to do,’ and the FBI finished its work in three days,” the Democrats wrote, referring to Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah), one of three Judiciary panel members who participated in Thomas’s confirmation hearings. 

Grassley, however, dismissed that precedent in his letter Wednesday. 

He noted that the FBI’s investigation of Hill’s allegations occurred before they became public, arguing the role of the FBI in conducting background investigations is “to compile information in a confidential manner.” 

“In 1991, the FBI’s additional investigation into Professor Anita Hill’s allegations occurred when the allegations were still non-public,” he wrote.  

But Democrats are disputing that argument. 

“Career law enforcement officers have specialized training and expertise in this area, and when new evidence emerges, law enforcement professionals regularly follow up on those developments. This process — including collecting information in a thorough and impartial manner — is how our justice system works,” they wrote.