Senator gives feds ‘information’ on Kavanaugh
Washington – Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday she has notified federal investigators about information she received – and won’t disclose publicly – concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The California Democrat said in a statement that she “received information from an individual concerning the nomination.” She said the person “strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision.”
The FBI confirmed that it received the information Wednesday evening and included it in Kavanaugh’s background file, which is maintained as part of his nomination. The agency said that is its standard process.
A Senate Democratic aide and another person familiar with the matter said it referred to an incident that occurred while Kavanaugh was high-school age. The two spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter.
The details of the alleged incident and the identity of the person who provided the information were unclear.
The White House called Feinstein’s move an “11th hour attempt to delay his confirmation.”
The Judiciary Committee, which has finished confirmation hearings for Kavanagh, is scheduled to vote next Thursday on whether to recommend that he be confirmed by the full Senate.
Feinstein’s statement that she has “referred the matter to federal investigative authorities” jolted Capitol Hill and threatened to disrupt what has been a steady path toward confirmation for Kavanaugh by Republicans eager to see the conservative judge on the court.
Feinstein has held the letter close. Democratic senators on the panel met privately Wednesday evening and discussed the information, according to Senate aides who were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Some senators, including the No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, learned about the information for the first time at the meeting, according to one of the aides. Durbin told the senators they needed to bring the matter to the FBI, the aide said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has not had access to the letter but said he believes the Judiciary Committee is handling it appropriately, his office said.
On Thursday, Feinstein declined to answer questions outside the hearing room, and other senators’ offices largely deferred to her.
A spokeswoman for Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., declined to confirm reports that the congresswoman had forwarded a letter containing the allegations to Feinstein. She said her office has a confidentiality policy regarding casework for constituents.
A White House spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said the FBI has vetted Kavanaugh “thoroughly and repeatedly” during his career in government and the judiciary.
At the committee Thursday, Republicans brushed aside Democratic attempts to delay the consideration of Kavanaugh or subpoena more documents, sticking with a schedule that could see him confirmed by Oct. 1, when the new court session begins.