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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. 

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Mexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized MORE (D-Calif.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience Durbin seeks to become top-ranking Democrat on Judiciary panel Feinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Vt.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee MORE (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallFormer Sen. Carol Moseley Braun stumps for Interior post: 'A natural fit for me' Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline MORE (D-N.M.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoFavorites emerge as Latino leaders press Biden to appoint 5 Hispanics to Cabinet Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  McConnell, Graham warn GOP Senate majority on the line in Georgia MORE (D-Nev.) sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit 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 GrassleyRep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Loeffler to continue to self-isolate after conflicting COVID-19 test results 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 HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line 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.