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Senator alleges FBI's Brett Kavanaugh investigation may have been "fake"

The FBI investigation into sexual misconduct accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process may have been "fake" and compromised by politics, a senator alleges in a letter to the new attorney general, Merrick Garland. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island who sits on the Judiciary Committee, is requesting Justice Department support for a Senate review of the FBI's actions.

"It cannot and should not be the policy of the FBI to not follow up on serious allegations of misconduct during background check investigations," Whitehouse wrote in a letter to Garland last week. He said the FBI's Kavanaugh investigation from 2018 appeared to have been "politically-constrained and perhaps fake."

Kavanaugh faced several accusations of sexual assault and misconduct after he was nominated to the Supreme Court in July 2018. One of his accusers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh allegedly held her down on a bed, covered her mouth and tried to remove her clothes at a party when they were both teenagers. 

In his own testimony, Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations from Blasey Ford and others. 

Then-President Trump authorized an FBI investigation into the claim, but the investigation did not include interviews with Kavanaugh, Blasey Ford or several key witnesses to the alleged incidents, and the FBI's report was never released to the public. The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh in a 50-48 vote two days after the FBI showed the report to Congress members.

Whitehouse's letter says that the FBI initially did not assign anyone to gather evidence or respond to witnesses reaching out to testify. He says that after several days, the FBI opened a "tip line" for allegations and evidence, but never explained whether or how it processed information that came in.

"We could get no explanation of the tip line procedures," Whitehouse writes. 

"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."

Whitehouse says the FBI and its director, Christopher Wray, have repeatedly refused to answer Judiciary Committee questions about whether the bureau followed its own procedures for investigations. "Such stonewalling does not inspire confidence in the integrity of the investigation," he writes.

Whitehouse asks Garland to "facilitate proper oversight by the Senate" of the Kavanaugh investigation, along with several other Justice Department incidents from before his tenure.

The FBI declined to comment. Dena Iverson of the Justice Department's Office of Public Affairs told CBS News, "The department has received and is reviewing the letter."

Jeff Pegues contributed reporting.

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