Avenatti fires back at Senate Republicans over potential criminal probe

FBI fires back

WASHINGTON —  One of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's accusers and her lawyer could soon be the targets of a criminal investigation. But in New York, a defiant Michael Avenatti hit back at Senate Republicans after they proposed the FBI probe.

"They want to make this an issue, I say bring it. We want a full and complete investigation into each of my client's allegations and we're going to put Judge Kavanaugh on trial," he said.

Avenatti's client Julie Swetnick — a government contractor — alleged that Kavanaugh and his friends spiked drinks at high school parties so they could gang rape girls.

But her explosive story had some inconsistencies and Kavanaugh vigorously denied it.

julie-swetnick.png
Julie Swetnick is the third woman to come forward with allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Photo tweeted by lawyer Michael Avenatti

"The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce," he said.

In a letter to the Department of Justice Thursday, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, asked "that the FBI investigate whether Mr. Avenatti criminally conspired with Ms. Swetnick to make materially false statements to the Committee."

Avenatti, who also represents porn star Stormy Daniels in her case against the president, is a particularly tempting target for Senate Republicans because he has been open about his interest in running for president.

He angered some Democrats with his latest comments to Time magazine. He said the party's nominee in 2020 "better be a white male" like him, because "when you have a white male making the arguments, they carry more weight," he said. "Should they carry more weight? Absolutely not. But do they? Yes."

He later said that statement was misquoted and taken out of context. A transcript of the interview shows they were not.

As for Grassley's request to investigate Avenatti, Department of Justice officials confirm they have received his letter. They had no comment on whether they plan to take him up on it.

  • Nancy Cordes
    Nancy Cordes On Twitter»

    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.