Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley announces reelection bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (R-Iowa) announced Friday that he is issuing a second criminal referral regarding lawyer Michael Avenatti.
Grassley announced the move a day after referring Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, to the Justice Department for a potential criminal investigation into whether they made false statements to Congress about 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.
The GOP chairman indicated that the second referral was precipitated by an NBC News report on Thursday, which contended that Swetnick denied making key allegations, saying that Avenatti “twisted [her] words.”
Grassley wrote that based on the NBC report, “the purported declarant denied — both before and after the sworn statement was released — the key allegations Mr. Avenatti attributed to her.”
“She stated she was clear and consistent 'from day one' with Mr. Avenatti that those claims were not true. And she said Mr. Avenatti 'twisted [her] words.' When reporters pressed him on these discrepancies, Mr. Avenatti attempted to deceive them in an apparent effort to thwart the truth coming out," Grassley wrote.
Avenatti responded in a statement to The Hill, calling Grassley's referral "complete garbage."
"We want the investigation started this weekend so we can show how full of crap Grassley is ASAP. He knows nothing about the law, which is not surprising seeing as he never attended law school," he added.
Avenatti also tweeted about Grassley's move Friday night, asserting that "he has placed Kavanaugh at risk of being removed from the SCOTUS."
How ignorant is Grassley? He keeps publicly demanding an investigation knowing full well that it will likely never happen - it is all for show. And if it does, he has placed Kavanaugh at risk of being removed from the SCOTUS. This is what happens when you never attend law school.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 26, 2018
Grassley's original referral questioned whether Swetnick and Avenatti made false statements to Congress about Kavanaugh during his confirmation process.
"The law prohibits such false statements to Congress and obstruction of congressional committee investigations," Grassley said in a statement on Thursday.
"For the law to work, we can’t just brush aside potential violations. I don’t take lightly making a referral of this nature, but ignoring this behavior will just invite more of it in the future."
Swetnick alleged in a sworn declaration released by Avenatti during Kavanaugh's confirmation process last month that Kavanaugh was at a party where she was gang-raped in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh vehemently denied the claim, along with allegations of sexual misconduct from two other women stemming from his days in high school and college.
He was confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 6.