The FBI has admitted receiving more than 4,500 tips during its investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, prompting a new wave of criticism from Senate Democrats who have long questioned the process of vetting the office nearly three years after Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Senate.
While Kavanaugh was confirmed by a narrow majority (50-48), her confirmation was defined by the moving testimony of California University professor Christine Blasey Ford who accused the candidate of sexually assaulting her in the early years. 1980 and Kavanaugh’s furious denials.
In a June 30 letter released by lawmakers on Thursday, FBI Deputy Director Jill Tyson did not elaborate on the substance of the information.
Tyson, responding to earlier inquiries from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., and Christopher Coons, D-Del., Said Kavanaugh’s appointment marked the first time that an FBI hotline had been established for receive information during a Senate confirmation inquiry. .
“The confessions in your letter corroborate and explain many credible accounts from individuals and businesses that they contacted the FBI with information highly relevant to (…) Justice Kavanaugh’s allegations of sexual misconduct, for then be ignored, “Whitehouse and Coons said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray who was joined by five other Senate Democrats. “If the FBI was unauthorized or did not act on any of the tips it received from the whistleblower line, it’s hard to understand the value of having a whistleblower line.”
Seizing the recently leaked FBI letter, Ford attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks called the office’s handling of the Kavanaugh investigation a “sham and a major institutional failure.”
“Not only did the FBI refuse to interview Dr. Ford or the corroborants listed in our letter to FBI Director Wray, but it failed to act on the more than 4,500 pieces of advice it received about the candidate from. the Kavanaugh era, ”the lawyers said. “Instead, he passed the information on to the White House, allowing those who supported Kavanaugh to falsely claim that the FBI found no wrongdoing.”
The FBI’s security division, which handles candidate background investigations, provided “all relevant advice” to the White House council office, which requested the review, Tyson said. The official’s letter, however, does not say how much was shared with the White House.
In the FBI letter, Tyson said the office’s responsibilities in investigating candidate backgrounds differ from its criminal investigation functions. In cases involving presidential candidates, the FBI gathers and provides information to the White House to help officials determine “suitability” for the office.
“The function of the FBI … is purely investigative,” Tyson said. “The authorities, policies and procedures that the FBI relies on to conduct (substantive investigations) are not the same as the authorities, policies and procedures used to investigate criminal cases,” she said.
In its role as a background investigator, the FBI conducted Kavanaugh’s examination at the request of the White House Office of the Council, interviewing 49 people for five days before reporting the results on July 18, 2018.
Two months later, following the public disclosure of Blasey Ford’s allegations in heartbreaking Senate Judiciary Committee sessions, the White House called for an additional – but limited – investigation. Over a six-day period, the FBI interviewed 10 additional people.
“Because the FBI was again acting in its role of a background investigator and not a criminal investigative entity, the authorities, policies and procedures used to investigate criminal matters did not apply,” wrote Tyson. “The FBI completed the limited investigations on October 4, 2018 and provided the results to the requesting entity (the White House).”
Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said Thursday that the review had been “grossly mismanaged.”
“Republicans in the White House and the Trump Senate have shamefully hushed up an investigation to rush the process and secure their candidate a Supreme Court seat,” Henderson said. “These inadmissible actions undermine the constitutional role of the Senate and continue to cast a shadow over the integrity of the Court.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Brett Kavanaugh’s review elicited 4,500 FBI tips