Two sources briefed on the matter mentioned it pertains to allegations of misconduct by Kavanaugh whereas he was in highschool. There is no such thing as a prison investigation into Kavanaugh because of this letter, an FBI official mentioned.
“I’ve acquired data from a person regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court docket,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the highest Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, mentioned in a press release. “That particular person strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come back ahead or press the matter additional, and I’ve honored that call.”
“I’ve, nevertheless, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities,” she added.
A supply acquainted with the allegations says they stem from a sexual encounter that occurred when Kavanaugh was about 17 years outdated. One other supply acquainted with the matter says the data considerations allegations of misconduct in opposition to Kavanaugh. Sources warning, nevertheless, that few have seen the precise letter Feinstein referred to the FBI. A Democratic supply says California Rep. Anna Eshoo had referred a letter about Kavanaugh from considered one of her constituents to Feinstein.
A number of sources additionally mentioned Feinstein acquired the letter in July, nicely earlier than she met with the nominee and previous to Kavanaugh’s affirmation hearings final week. It’s not clear why the data was not relayed to the FBI till Wednesday evening.
A supply acquainted with the method says there isn’t a prison investigation into Kavanaugh because of this letter. It’s a part of Kavanaugh’s background file and it is going to be as much as the White Home to find out whether or not there may be any additional motion to take. The Judiciary Committee acquired an up to date complement to Kavanaugh’s background investigation from the FBI Thursday afternoon, an aide mentioned. Senators on the committee can now request entry to that data.
Patrick Coyle, a spokesman for Georgetown Preparatory Faculty, the non-public prep college in Maryland that Kavanaugh attended earlier than school, responded to inquiries about accusations in opposition to Kavanaugh: “Now we have no data concerning any accusation.”
The White Home, in a press release shortly after Feinstein’s, mentioned Kavanaugh has been “completely and repeatedly vetted” by the FBI for presidency positions over the previous 25 years and accused Democrats of making an attempt to delay the nomination.
“All through his affirmation course of, Choose Kavanaugh has had 65 conferences with senators — together with with Sen. Feinstein — sat by means of over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and extra questions in a confidential session. Not till the eve of his affirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anybody raised the specter of latest ‘data’ about him,” mentioned White Home spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.
The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination subsequent Thursday, with the complete Republican-led Senate trying to take into account it later this month.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin referred to as for a delay, saying the Judiciary panel shouldn’t vote on Kavanaugh “till all the data is earlier than the committee.”
“No concept what they’re going to discover,” Durbin informed CNN. “I believe the FBI is the suitable company and that is the place it was referred.”
The allegations, within the type of a secret letter, add a brand new public component to what has been a divisive and extremely partisan nomination course of for Kavanaugh.
However it’s a problem that has been effervescent beneath the floor on Capitol Hill for days — with rumors circulating amongst staffers concerning the existence of a confidential letter, aides mentioned.
The difficulty got here to a head Wednesday evening, when Democrats on the Judiciary Committee met and mentioned the letter for the primary time. Feinstein described the allegations within the letter however declined to make it accessible to colleagues, one supply briefed on the matter mentioned. She selected as an alternative to refer it to the FBI, which conducts background checks on federal nominees.
The FBI confirmed it had acquired the referral.
“Upon receipt of the data on the evening of September 12, we included it as a part of Choose Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the usual course of,” an FBI spokesperson mentioned.
Republicans on each Capitol Hill and contained in the White Home decried the best way the letter and allegations had turn out to be public.
“It smacks of desperation to me,” mentioned Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, mentioned he has no plans to delay the vote.
“Sen. Grassley is conscious of Sen. Feinstein’s referral,” Grassley spokesman George Hartmann mentioned. “At the moment, he has not seen the letter in query, and is respecting the request for confidentiality. There is not any plan to alter the committee’s consideration of Choose Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
And the White Home accused Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer of making an attempt to delay the nomination.
“Sen. Schumer promised to ‘oppose Choose Kavanaugh’s nomination with all the things I’ve,’ and it seems he’s delivering with this 11th hour try and delay his affirmation,” Kupec mentioned.
But Schumer, together with different Democratic senators, nonetheless had not seen the precise letter itself, a number of aides confirmed.
“Sen. Schumer has not had entry to the letter however believes the Judiciary Committee is dealing with it appropriately,” a Schumer aide mentioned.
CNN’s MJ Lee, Jessica Schneider, Ted Barrett and Manu Raju contributed to this report.