Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats draw red lines in spending fight What Republicans should demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling Climate hawks pressure Biden to replace Fed chair MORE (D- R.I.) is alleging that the FBI’s background investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh MORE was fake.
Whitehouse, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandDemocrats demand more action from feds on unruly airline passengers Lawmakers say police reform talks are over Supreme Court low on political standing 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.”
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.
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.