Supreme Court Nominations

Democratic senators want to know more about over 4,500 Kavanaugh tips collected by FBI

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Brett Kavanaugh portrait

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Seven Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee want to know more about an FBI tip line that collected more than 4,500 phone calls and electronic submissions on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh during the nomination process.

Assistant FBI Director Jill C. Tyson told two of the senators in a June 30 letter that the FBI provided “all relevant tips” to the Office of the White House Counsel, the entity that sought an initial and supplemental background check on Kavanaugh.

Tyson also said the FBI had interviewed 10 additional witnesses after its initial background investigation of Kavanaugh as part of limited inquiries requested by the White House counsel.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was roiled by Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh had committed sexual misconduct at a high school party. Kavanaugh, who denied ever sexually assaulting anyone, was confirmed to the Supreme Court in October 2018.

In a July 21 letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, the Democratic senators said they want to know whether the tips were preserved, how many were deemed to be relevant, whether they were investigated, and whether relevant witnesses were interviewed.

The Democratic senators who signed the letter are Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Chris Coons of Delaware, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, both on the committee during the confirmation hearing, did not sign the letter. Nor did Vice President Kamala Harris, a former committee member.

In an interview with the New York Times, Whitehouse said Tyson’s letter suggests that the FBI ran a “fake tip line that never got properly reviewed, that was presumably not even conducted in good faith.”

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