- Sen. Dianne Feinstein has forwarded unspecified allegations involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the FBI.
- The New York Times reports that the allegations pertain to possible sexual misconduct when Kavanaugh was in high school.
- Feinstein has only spoken vaguely about the matter, which the White House called a last-minute smear.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Thursday she has forwarded unspecified information relating to Judge Brett Kavanaugh to federal investigators.
Feinstein’s cryptic statement appears to refer to a closely-held letter that supposedly relates information about an unnamed woman in Kavanaugh’s past whose existence The Intercept first revealed Wednesday.
“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Feinstein said in a statement. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”
Feinstein was not specific as to the particulars of the allegations, the identity of the individual, or the agency to which the matter was referred, though Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin separately told BuzzFeed News that Democrats had alerted the FBI.
An FBI spokesperson confirmed the report was received — per standard practice, it was added to Kavanaugh’s background file, and forwarded to the White House. It does not appear that an investigation will follow.
Two unnamed sources familiar with the matter told The New York Times that the letter concerns possible sexual misconduct when Kavanaugh was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School.
Both The Intercept and BuzzFeed News have reported that Debra Katz of Katz Marshall & Banks represents the person implicated in the matter. Katz specializes in employment discrimination and sexual harassment. (RELATED: Kavanaugh Allies Deny Anti-Mueller Back Channel, As Democrats Suggest Impropriety)
A spokesperson for GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Grassley is not familiar with the contents of the letter. The panel will still forward Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate on Sept. 20.
“Senator Grassley is aware of Senator Feinstein’s referral,” the spokesperson said. “At this time, he has not seen the letter in question, and is respecting the request for confidentiality. There’s no plan to change the committee’s consideration of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
All told, it appears the number of people who have actually reviewed the letter is quite small, and that Feinstein has been in possession of the allegations for some time. She did not broach the topic during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
A coalition of Kavanaugh’s classmates from Georgetown Prep submitted a letter supporting his nomination on July 9.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, a Republican on the Judiciary Committee, told Bloomberg that Feinstein’s maneuver had the air of desperation about it.
“It’s a statement about a letter that nobody’s seen about a person that nobody’s named about a subject that is secret,” he said. “I just think this all sounds like desperation to me.”
The Trump administration blasted Senate Democrats shortly after Feinstein’s statement, noting that Kavanaugh has been subject to multiple FBI background checks.
“Throughout 25 years of public service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has thoroughly and repeatedly vetted Judge Kavanaugh, dating back to 1993, for some of the most highly sensitive roles,” White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement. “He has served in the Office of Independent Counsel, the White House, and on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, all before his nomination earlier this year to serve as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.”
“Senator Schumer promised to ‘oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have,’ and it appears he is delivering with this 11th hour attempt to delay his confirmation,” she added.
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