DOJ Issues Statement On Kavanaugh Background Check

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions holds a news conference at the Department of Justice December 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions called the question-and-answer session with reporters to highlight his department's fight to reduce violent crime.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

The Justice Department on Wednesday made clear in a statement regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that it “does not involve any potential federal crime.”

The DOJ issued the statement about the FBI’s process after President Trump suggested that that looking further into Blasey Ford’s allegations is not “their thing” and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said that the FBI’s probe is “closed.”

But it would take a simple request from Trump for the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background report file — the same file Ford’s letter alleging the sexual assault went into last week.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department didn’t immediately rule out this possibility, of gathering “more background reports,” when asked.

Read the DOJ’s full statement below:

“The Department of Justice and the FBI conduct background investigations in accordance with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., and then-White House Counsel Robert F. Bauer in March 2010.  The MOU provides as follows: 

“‘[P]rior to an Appointee’s assuming the nominated position … if the FBI becomes aware of new information that raises questions about the suitability or trustworthiness of an Appointee … the FBI will so apprise the President or his designated representative as soon as possible.’ 

“The FBI does not make any judgment about the credibility or significance of any allegation. The purpose of a background investigation is to determine whether the nominee could pose a risk to the national security of the United States. On the night of September 12, the FBI received a letter dated from July 2018 alleging that the nominee engaged in an incident of misconduct in the 1980s. Consistent with the memorandum of understanding, the FBI forwarded this letter to the White House Counsel’s Office. The allegation does not involve any potential federal crime. The FBI’s role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers.”

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