Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Tuesday criticized Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D., R.I.) claim that the FBI’s 2018 background check of Brett Kavanaugh during the Supreme Court justice’s confirmation hearing may have been “fake.”
“If senators want to join conspiracy theory book clubs, wear tinfoil hats, and talk about Roswell, that’s their prerogative, but this is something more sinister,” Sasse, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a comment to National Review.
“A United States Senator who once peddled lies about a Supreme Court nominee is now trying to weaponize the DOJ against a sitting Supreme Court Justice,” the Nebraska Republican added. “This kind of paranoid obsession is Nixonian poison to public trust.”
Whitehouse wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to help facilitate “proper oversight” into the bureau’s investigation during Kavanaugh’s tumultuous confirmation process in which the judge was accused of having sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh denied the claims.
The FBI investigated Ford’s allegations, as well as other allegations of misconduct that arose. However, some Democratic senators claimed the bureau had not performed a thorough background check. They criticized the FBI’s decision not to interview Ford or Kavanaugh as part of the probe.
Whitehouse expresses concern in the letter that some witnesses who wanted to share their accounts with the FBI allegedly could not find anyone at the bureau to accept their testimony and that no one had been assigned to accept or gather evidence.
“This was unique behavior in my experience, as the Bureau is usually amenable to information and evidence; but in this matter the shutters were closed, the drawbridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI,” Whitehouse said.
The senator noted that after the FBI created a tip line, lawmakers were not offered any insight into how or whether new allegations were being processed and evaluated.
He said the senators had been made aware a “stack” of information had come in through the tip line, but were given no further explanation on how the information had been reviewed.
“This ‘tip line’ appears to have operated more like a garbage chute, with everything that came down the chute consigned without review to the figurative dumpster,” he said.
He also rebuked FBI director Chris Wray, who has stayed on in his role under the Biden administration, for not responding to questions regarding the investigation.
Whitehouse said he wants information about “how, why, and at whose behest” the FBI conducted a “fake” investigation.