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 KlobucharNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Pollster says current 2020 surveys like picking best picture Oscar before movies come out O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation MORE (D-Minn.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment MORE (D-Calif.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph Leahy‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire How the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal MORE (D-Vt.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseNew battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks Dems probing whether NRA made illegal contributions to Trump Senate panel advances Trump's pick for key IRS role MORE (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHillicon Valley: House panel takes on election security | DOJ watchdog eyes employee texts | Senate Dems urge regulators to block T-Mobile, Sprint deal | 'Romance scams' cost victims 3M in 2018 Dems urge regulators to reject T-Mobile, Sprint merger Dems wary of killing off filibuster MORE (D-N.M.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoSchumer urging ex-congressional candidate Amy McGrath to run against McConnell Mark Kelly launches Senate bid in Arizona Former McCain chief of staff says he will not run for Senate in Arizona in 2020 MORE (D-Nev.) sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery 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 GrassleySenate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Grassley raises voice after McConnell interrupts Senate speech Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general 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 HatchOrrin Hatch Foundation seeking million in taxpayer money to fund new center in his honor Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Utah Senate votes to scale back Medicaid expansion | Virginia abortion bill reignites debate | Grassley invites drug execs to testify | Conservative groups push back on e-cig crackdown 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.