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FBI Reveals Kavanaugh Check Drew 4.5K Tips

Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers say the background investigation was 'a sham'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2021 5:40 PM CDT
FBI Reveals Kavanaugh Check Drew 4.5K Tips
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh waits in the White House for a ceremonial swearing-in in 2018.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – The FBI has revived criticism of its handling of the 2018 background check on Brett Kavanaugh by conceding it received more than 4,500 tips on him. Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings for a seat on the US Supreme Court included testimony by Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who accused the judge of sexually assaulting her decades before and who was among the people the FBI decided against interviewing. The five-day investigation of President Trump's nominee was "a sham," two attorneys for Ford said, USA Today reports. The lawyers said the FBI "failed to act" on the tips. "Instead, it handed the information over to the White House," they said, "allowing those who supported Kavanaugh to falsely claim that the FBI found no wrongdoing."

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The FBI said the most relevant tips were turned over to the Trump White House. It's not clear what was done with them there, per the New York Times. The FBI said that because it was conducting a background check and not a criminal investigation, the "procedures used to investigate criminal matters did not apply." Several Democratic senators asked the FBI for more information on Wednesday. In a letter to Director Christopher Wray, they wrote, "If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all." It was the first time that the FBI had started a tip line during a Senate confirmation process, the agency said. Kavanaugh was confirmed on a 50-48 Senate vote. (Read more Brett Kavanaugh stories.)

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