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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. 

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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 GrassleyTrump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review 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 HatchGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Congress should work with Trump and not 'cowboy' on Saudi Arabia, says GOP senator US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK 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.