Seven top Democratic Senators are criticizing the FBI and Director Chris Wray after recently learning how the Bureau handled its 2018 special investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, then President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) says in a statement, "the FBI gathered over 4,500 tips in relation to the investigation without any apparent further action by FBI investigators. The Bureau also confirmed that tips from the tip line were instead provided to the Trump White House Counsel's office, where their fate is unknown."
Kavanaugh's nomination was almost derailed after he was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford during their high school years. Two other women have also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. The 2018 FBI investigation was prompted by Ford's accusations.
According to Senator Whitehouse, the FBI declined to say if it actually investigated any of the 4500 tips it received on Kavanaugh. It also never opened a criminal investigation because the inquiry was a background check, The New York Times adds.
"The FBI apparently pursued none of these tips," Whitehouse says in his Thursday press release. "Instead, by the FBI's own account, it merely 'provided all relevant tips' to Trump's Office of White House Counsel, the very office that had constrained and directed the limited investigation."
Whitehouse blasted Wray and the FBI:
"It confirms my suspicions that the 'tip line' was not real and that FBI tip line procedures were not followed. There are FBI tip line procedures. They were not followed," Whitehouse added on Twitter.
"So when Wray said they followed procedures, he meant the 'procedure' of doing whatever Trump White House Counsel told them to do. That's misleading as hell," Whitehouse said.
"I charged that the “tip line" was really a tip dump, with all the tips going straight into the dumpster without investigation. In fact it was a tip dump where all the tips went straight to White House Counsel without investigation. Same difference."
The Democrats sent the letter to Director Wray on Wednesday demanding more answers. The FBI sent its letter June 30, prompting today's remarks.
They are: Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).