Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono claimed Wednesday that the death threats that have allegedly been made against Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford are “witness tampering,” and that the FBI should investigate them.
“Why doesn’t the FBI go and investigate that?” Hirono told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “They do not need to have the president tell them to do it.
The MSNBC host asked Hirono about the possibility of an “outside investigative council,” since the FBI is declining to investigate Ford’s claims. The Democratic senator, however, isn’t giving up on an FBI investigation.
Hirono said, “We all know that she is being threatened. You know, isn’t that witness tampering? Isn’t that a crime? Why does the FBI have to wait around for the president to say, go do your jobs? Why don’t they do their jobs? I think there is a crime that is occurring now. She’s afraid to come testify, not to mention, she is not getting a fair deal.”
“I think when she said that she wanted to testify, she would participate, I think she expected a modicum of fairness,” Hirono said. “That’s not what she getting. Why the heck should she participate in a basically a situation that is so disadvantageous to her and that re-victimizes her? This is exactly what happened to Anita Hill.”
Even Maddow seemed shocked by Hirono’s claims and asked the senator to clarify her remarks saying.
“Senator, just to underscore what you just said there. You are suggesting that the efforts that have been made to threaten Dr. Blasey Ford since she came out, her lawyers have said that she has had to leave her home, there have been death threats, she’s been impersonated online … you’re saying that should be investigated federally as a law enforcement matter as witness tampering?”
Hirono confirmed, “That sounds like witness tampering to me. So why doesn’t the FBI go and investigate that? They do not need to have the president tell them to do it.”
18 U.S. Code § 1512 provides a lengthy definition of tampering with a witness, victim or an informant. The definition includes:
“(2) Whoever uses physical force or the threat of physical force against any person, or attempts to do so, with intent to—
(A) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;
(B) cause or induce any person to—
(i) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding;
(ii) alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the integrity or availability of the object for use in an official proceeding;
(iii) evade legal process summoning that person to appear as a witness, or to produce a record, document, or other object, in an official proceeding; or
(iv) be absent from an official proceeding to which that person has been summoned by legal process; or
(C) hinder, delay, or prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge of the United States of information relating to the commission or possible commission of a Federal offense or a violation of conditions of probation, supervised release, parole, or release pending judicial proceedings;
shall be punished as provided in paragraph (3).
(3) The punishment for an offense under this subsection is—
(A) in the case of a killing, the punishment provided in sections 1111 and 1112;
(B) in the case of—
(i) an attempt to murder; or
(ii) the use or attempted use of physical force against any person;
imprisonment for not more than 30 years; and
(C) in the case of the threat of use of physical force against any person, imprisonment for not more than 20 years.