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 KlobucharSunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Klobuchar: Investigation into Kavanaugh 'a sham' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (D-Minn.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Gun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' MORE (D-Calif.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine On The Money: Trump delays increase in China tariffs until Oct. 15 | Treasury says US deficit topped trillion in 11 months | Defense spending bill advances over Democratic wall objections MORE (D-Vt.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate GOP pledges to oppose any efforts to 'pack' Supreme Court Senate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Defense Department says "forever chemical" cleanup costs will dwarf earlier estimates Senators from both parties offer resolution to nix Trump emergency declaration to build wall MORE (D-N.M.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Female Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado ask DSCC to rescind Hickenlooper endorsement Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines MORE (D-Nev.) sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy 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 Grassley'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Cruz warns GOP support for expanded background checks could help elect Warren president Lawmakers applaud Trump's ban on flavored e-cigarettes 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.