Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D- RI) suggested in a recent letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that the FBI’s background investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was “perhaps fake.”
Whitehouse, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Attorney Garland last Thursday, addressing a number of issues including proper oversight into the agency’s 2018 probe of sexual assault allegations first made by Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh. Whitehouse suggested in the letter that the investigation had been “politically-constrained and perhaps fake.”
“Dr. Ford’s testimony obviously justified further investigation to seek corroborating or inconsistent evidence,” Whitehouse wrote, citing examples that suggested the FBI had been reluctant to accept or gather evidence into the allegations.
“This was unique behavior in my experience, as the Bureau is usually amenable to information and evidence; but in this matter the shutters were closed, the drawbridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI,” he wrote. “Senator Coons asked for a clear procedure at the time, to no avail.”
Trump administration officials at the time warned against allowing the investigation to become a “fishing expedition,” into the broader behavior of Kavanaugh, but denied forcing any limitations on the probe.
The Rhode Island lawmaker on Thursday, however, railed against what he claimed was an ineffective “tip line” during the now more than two-year-old investigation that had “operated more like a garbage chute.”
Whitehouse also suggested in the letter that FBI Director Christopher Wray had refused to answer Congressional inquiries and that many questions from a July 2019 oversight hearing “remain unanswered.”
“Such stonewalling does not inspire confidence in the integrity of the investigation,” he wrote.
“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.”
In the Thursday letter, Whitehouse said that alleged efforts by the FBI to “stonewall” all questions related to Blasey Ford’s claims provided “little reassurance” of the investigation’s propriety.
The FBI began investigating Kavanaugh for sexual misconduct after Blasey Ford alleged that the then Supreme Court nominee had pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothes while the pair were in high school in the 1980s. Other women came forward with additional allegations of sexual misconduct after Blasey Ford recounted her experience.
While investigators pursued allegations by Blasey Ford and a second accuser, allegations made by a third woman, Julie Swetnick, who signed a sworn affidavit accusing Kavanaugh of sexually aggressive behavior and being present at parties where gang rapes occurred, were ultimately not pursued.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations and he was confirmed by the Senate in October 2018.