Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) sent a letter to newly-sworn in U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for his support to investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) background check of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh before he was confirmed.
Whitehouse told Garland in the letter that he thought the FBI’s investigation into allegations of misconduct by Kavanaugh was “fake” and compromised by partisan politics, CBS News reported.
“It cannot and should not be the policy of the FBI to not follow up on serious allegations of misconduct during background check investigations,” Whitehouse wrote.
He also said the background investigation of Kavanaugh that was conducted ahead of his confirmation in 2018 appeared to have been “politically-constrained [one] and perhaps fake,” according to The Hill.
When Kavanaugh was nominated in July of 2018, a few women came forward and accused him of sexual assault and misconduct in high school and college, CBS News reported.
Christine Blasey Ford said Kavanaugh held her down on a bed and covered her mouth while he tried to remove her clothing at a friend’s house when they were both in high school.
Kavanaugh denied Ford’s allegations and then-President Donald Trump ordered the FBI to investigate, CBS News reported.
The FBI’s report was given to members of Congress to review but was not shared with the general public.
The Senate voted 50 to 48 to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court just two days later, CBS News reported.
But Whitehouse complained in his letter to Garland that the FBI hadn’t really investigated, The Hill reported.
The senator wrote that “in this matter the shutters were closed, the bridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI.”
In the letter, Whitehouse alleged that the FBI didn’t interview several witnesses and ignored members of Congress who inquired on behalf of witnesses, The Hill reported.
He also criticized the FBI “tip line” set up for allegations and evidence for the probe into Kavanaugh’s alleged misconduct.
“We could get no explanation of the tip line procedures,” the senator complained in his letter. “This ‘tip line’ appears to have operated more like a garbage chute, with everything that came down the chute consigned without review to the figurative dumpster.”
The senator complained that FBI Director Christopher Wray had never answered congressional inquiries about the processes that were used and whether they’d followed proper procedures when they conducted Kavanaugh’s background check, The Hill reported.
“Such stonewalling does not inspire confidence in the integrity of the investigation,” Whitehouse wrote.
And then he questioned the integrity of the FBI’s background check into Kavanaugh, The Hill reported.
“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,” Whitehouse wrote.
“It cannot and should not be the policy of the FBI to not follow up on serious allegations of misconduct during background check investigations,” he added.
Whitehouse asked the brand-new attorney general to “facilitate proper oversight by the Senate” over the Kavanaugh investigation and several other U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) incidents that occurred before his tenure, CBS News reported.
DoJ confirmed to CBS News that it had received Whitehouse’s letter and was reviewing it.