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Dems Troubled by Kavanaugh FBI Check   07/23 06:11

   

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats are raising new concerns about the 
thoroughness of the FBI's background investigation of Supreme Court Justice 
Brett Kavanaugh after the FBI revealed that it had received thousands of tips 
and had provided "all relevant" ones to the White House counsel's office.

   FBI Director Christopher Wray, responding to longstanding questions from 
Democrats, disclosed in a letter late last month that it had received more than 
4,500 tips as it investigated the nominee's past following his 2018 nomination 
by President Donald Trump. The process was the first time that the FBI had set 
up a tip line for a nominee undergoing Senate confirmation, Wray said.

   A group of Democratic senators said in a letter to Wray dated Wednesday that 
his response "raises significant additional questions." They called on him to 
explain, among other things, how many tips the FBI decided were relevant and 
what criteria agents used to make that determination and what policies and 
procedures were used to vet the tips. The senators also asked for more 
information about the tip line, including how it was staffed and how the tips 
were recorded or preserved.

   "Your letter confirms that the FBI's tip line was a departure from past 
practice and that the FBI was politically constrained by the Trump White 
House," the senators wrote.

   Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court in October 2018 after a 
rancorous process in which claims emerged that he had sexually assaulted women 
three decades ago. He emphatically denied the allegations.

   The FBI conducted a original background investigation into Kavanaugh that 
consisted of interviews with 49 people over the course of five days, Wray said. 
The bureau then did a supplemental background check after new information arose 
about a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that Kavanaugh had assaulted 
her when they were teens. As part of that process, Wray said, the FBI 
interviewed 10 people over six days.

   But, he stressed, the inquiry was limited in nature, without the 
"authorities, policies and procedures" that would be used for an FBI criminal 
investigation.

   Lawyers for Ford said in a statement that the FBI's letter established that 
the investigation was a "sham and a major institutional failure" and chastised 
the bureau for not interviewing Ford or acting on the thousands of tips it 
received about Kavanaugh.

   "Instead, it handed the information over to the White House, allowing those 
who supported Kavanaugh to falsely claim that the FBI found no wrongdoing," 
said the lawyers, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks.

 
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