WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee referred for criminal investigation apparent false statements made to committee investigators alleging misconduct by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray, Chairman Chuck Grassley sought a criminal review of the actions by a named individual who provided Congress with the information, diverting Committee resources from an ongoing investigation.
Committee investigators have actively pursued a number of tips the committee has received regarding the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, though the committee has not been able to substantiate any allegations of wrongdoing by Judge Kavanaugh. One tip was referred to the committee by staff for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. While Whitehouse referred the accuser to a reporter, the committee took the claim seriously and questioned Judge Kavanaugh about the allegations under penalty of felony. Judge Kavanaugh denied any misconduct. After the transcripts of that interview became public, the individual recanted the claims on a social media post.
“The Committee is grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, even if they are not one hundred percent sure about what they know. But when individuals provide fabricated allegations to the Committee, diverting Committee resources during time-sensitive investigations, it materially impedes our work. Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal. It is illegal to make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to Congressional investigators. It is illegal to obstruct Committee investigations,” Grassley said in the letter.
Grassley has called on the Justice Department and the FBI to review the matter as a possible violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 1505, portions of the U.S. code criminalizing the sharing of materially false information with committee investigators and obstruction of proceedings of congressional committees.
Grassley letter to DOJ and FBI is available HERE.