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Democratic senator suggests FBI background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh fake

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJudge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package MORE (D- R.I.) is alleging that the FBI’s background investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael Kavanaugh Klobuchar offers tribute to her father, who died Wednesday Conservative justices split in ruling for immigrant fighting deportation Supreme Court weighs whether to limit issuance of exemptions to biofuel blending requirements MORE was fake.

Whitehouse, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden officials testify that white supremacists are greatest domestic security threat Watch live: Garland testifies before Senate panel on domestic extremism The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE last Thursday asking him to conduct “proper oversight” into the bureau’s 2018 probe into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

Whitehouse said the investigation “appears to have been a politically-constrained [one] and perhaps fake.”

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In his letter, Whitehouse said “in this matter the shutters were closed, the bridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI.”

He alleged that the agency refused to hear testimony from witnesses and ignored members who inquired on behalf of witnesses, and he criticized the agency’s use of a “tip line” that was meant to accept allegations and evidence.

“This ‘tip line’ appears to have operated more like a garbage chute, with everything that came down the chute consigned without review to the figurative dumpster,” Whitehouse wrote.

Whitehouse also said that FBI Director Christopher Wray never answered congressional inquiries about whether the background check was consistent with its procedures for such.

“If standard procedures were violated, and the Bureau conducted a fake investigation rather than a sincere, thorough and professional one, that in my view merits congressional oversight to understand how, why, and at whose behest and with whose knowledge or connivance, this was done,” Whitehouse wrote.

“It cannot and should not be the policy of the FBI to not follow up on serious allegations of misconduct during background check investigations,” he added.

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The Department of Justice told The Hill that it has received and is reviewing the letter. The FBI referred The Hill to the DOJ for comment. 

The FBI began investigating after Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and trying to remove her clothes when they were in high school in the early 1980s. Other women came forward with similar allegations after Ford spoke out.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, and he was confirmed by a 50-48 vote in October 2018.

--Updated at 1:41 p.m.