Democrat senators are circling back to the FBI's investigation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, unsatisfied with the depth of the probe and now seeking details of how it might have followed up on the tip line.
Seven Senate Judiciary Committee members led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., sent a joint letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday night, requesting additional information on the FBI's 2018 supplemental background investigation.
The letter came after the FBI sent a letter to Whitehouse and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., where the FBI revealed it gathered 4,500 tips on a tip line but did not show any action was taken on them, according to the Democrats.
"The admissions in your letter corroborate and explain numerous credible accounts by individuals and firms that they had contacted the FBI with information 'highly relevant to ... allegations' of sexual misconduct by Justice Kavanaugh, only to be ignored," the letter read. "If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all."
Whitehouse was joined in the letter by Coons, Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Cory Booker, D-N.J. They were concerned the tips and information went to former President Donald Trump's White House Counsel's office, but the FBI's letter noted that was the "requesting entity."
"Because the FBI was again acting in its role as an ISP and not as a criminal investigative entity, the authorities, policies, and procedures used to investigate criminal matters did not apply," Wray wrote to Whitehouse and Coons. "The FBI completed the limited inquiries on October 4, 2018, and provided the results to the requesting entity.
"Justice Kavanaugh's nomination was the first time that the FBI set-up a tip line for a nominee undergoing Senate confirmation. It was established at the direction of the FBI's Security Division to centralize and manage incoming information related to the nomination. The FBI received over 4,500 tips, including phone calls and electronic submissions.
"The Security Division section handling the [Background Investigation] and supplemental background investigations provided all relevant tips to the Office of White House Counsel (as the requesting entity)."
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