The FBI reportedly has no plans to investigate the sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stemming from his high school days in the early 1980s, which is believed to be contained in a letter Sen. Dianne Feinstein passed on to the bureau, according to The Washington Post.
“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further,” the California Democrat said in a statement released Thursday.
“I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities,” she continued.
A woman first approached Democrat lawmakers in July, shortly after Kavanaugh’s nomination by President Donald Trump, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer reported in The New Yorker.
In the letter, the woman alleged that during an encounter at a party while she and Kavanaugh were in high school, he held her down and attempted to force himself on her.
“She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself,” according to The New Yorker.
Kavanaugh, 53, graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in 1983, according to Business Insider.
The judge responded in a statement on Friday: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
Kavanaugh’s classmate told The New Yorker of the woman’s allegation, “I have no recollection of that.”
The woman declined to be interviewed by the paper.
Feinstein refused to share the contents of the letter — which was reportedly first given to her by Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo of California — with fellow members of the Judiciary Committee.
“A source familiar with the committee’s activities said that Feinstein’s staff initially conveyed to other Democratic members’ offices that the incident was too distant in the past to merit public discussion, and that Feinstein had ‘taken care of it,'” according to The New Yorker.
And now the FBI appears to have “taken care of it,” as well.
“FBI does not now plan to launch a criminal investigation of the Kavanaugh matter; instead the bureau passed the material to the White House as an update to Kavanaugh’s background check,” The Washington Post reported.
White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec called the letter a “smear” attempt, intended to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation, according to The Post.
“Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators — including with Senator Feinstein — sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session,” Kupec said. “Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him.”
Kupec also noted that the FBI has “thoroughly and repeatedly vetted” the judge through his 25 years of public service, including 12 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and prior to that serving as an attorney and White House staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House.
Judiciary Committee member Sen. John Cornyn responded with apparent skepticism about Feinstein’s letter.
“Let me get this straight: this is statement about secret letter regarding a secret matter and an unidentified person,” the Texas Republican tweeted Thursday. “Right.”
Let me get this straight: this is statement about secret letter regarding a secret matter and an unidentified person. Right. https://t.co/G6qVWdITbo
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 13, 2018
Cornyn told CNN that the move “smacks of desperation to me.”
George Hartmann, a spokesman for Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, said the senator is aware of Feinstein’s referral.
“At this time, he has not seen the letter in question, and is respecting the request for confidentiality,” Hartmann told The Hill. “There’s no plan to change the committee’s consideration of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
A committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination is slated for Thursday, with a full Senate vote expected by the end of the month.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.