Senate Democrats Raise Concerns Over FBI's Handling of 4,500 Kavanaugh Tips

Headline Roundup July 23rd, 2021

Seven Democratic senators questioned the FBI’s supplemental investigation of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 after a letter from FBI Assistant Director Jill Tyson said the FBI received 4,500 tips and had provided all “relevant” ones to the Trump White House. The senators said that Tyson’s letter, sent on June 30 to Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), “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.” Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who alleged Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, said the letter showed the investigation to be a “sham.” Kavanaugh has denied Blasey Ford’s allegations. 

Coverage in right-rated outlets often framed Democrat’s statements as “attacks,” with some coverage calling Blasey Ford’s allegations ”dubious”; one outlet quoted a Republican senator criticizing Whitehouse’s “obsession” with the Kavanaugh case. Coverage in left-rated outlets was more likely to focus on the FBI letter itself. While some right-rated outlets included past statements by Republicans, outlets across the spectrum mostly quoted present-day statements by Democratic senators and Blasey Ford’s lawyers.

From the Left

A group of Democratic senators is demanding more answers from the FBI after the agency revealed new details about the limited scope of its supplemental investigation into Brett Kavanaugh's background when he was a nominee for the Supreme Court.

In a letter June 30 to Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Chris Coons, D-Del., made public Thursday, Jill Tyson of the FBI's congressional affairs office acknowledged that the department conducted only 10 additional interviews in its supplemental investigation, even though it had received over 4,500 tips.

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From the Center

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats are criticizing the FBI over its handling of the tip line in its investigation of the sexual misconduct allegations of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The Democrats, led by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Chris Coons (Del.), wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday seeking answers after the agency revealed it gathered more than 4,500 tips in relation to its investigation of the claims against Kavanaugh.

The lawmakers wrote that revelation “confirms that the FBI’s tip line was a departure from past practice and that the FBI was politically constrained...

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From the Right

Seven Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats demanded the FBI explain its use of a novel tip line implemented during a supplemental background investigation into then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

In a Tuesday letter to Director Chris Wray, Democratic senators accused the FBI of being “politically constrained by the Trump White House,” demanding to know what extent the agency vetted tips and whether the administration prevented it from doing so.

The letter was written by Sens. Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Chris Coons, Cory Booker, Mazie Hirono, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Richard Blumenthal.

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