Feinstein releases cryptic statement about Brett Kavanaugh nomination amid intrigue over secret letter

Feinstein releases cryptic statement about Brett Kavanaugh nomination amid intrigue over secret letter
Democrats send information concerning Kavanaugh nomination to FBI
Washington (CNN)A top Senate Democrat said Thursday that she has referred information concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the FBI.

California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein refers secret letter about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to federal authorities; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Capitol Hill.

The document is only the latest to create controversy amid the battle over Kavanaughs nomination, which is expected to receive a favorable vote in committee on Sept. 20. Republicans on Thursday voted down several attempts by Democrats to subpoena hundreds of thousands of documents that have been deemed privileged and unavailable to the public, including those related to Kavanaughs work as a key administration official for former President George W. Bush.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Thursday threw a cryptic curveball at Brett Kavanaugh, insinuating the Supreme Court nominee could be guilty of a crime even as Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee seek to delay his confirmation.

As Senate panel sets vote on Trump court pick, new controversy arises

The vague accusation comes after the Senate Judiciary Committee already grilled Kavanaugh and other witnesses and prepares to vote on sending his nomination to the full Senate. The White House blasted the ambiguous charge as a last minute gambit.

Multiple sources have told HuffPost that the document in question is a letter sent to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) that concerns potential sexual misconduct involving Kavanaugh and a woman when they were both in high school. Eshoos office has also declined to comment, saying the letter was considered casework ― and thus wouldnt be made public ― since it came from a constituent.

I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Feinstein said in her surprise statement. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.

I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Feinstein said in a statement. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.

A spokesperson for Feinstein declined Fox News request to elaborate on the lawmakers statement, but there has been much speculation that she is referring to a secret letter that has been the subject of intrigue on Capitol Hill over the last few days. A source familiar with the confirmation proceedings told Fox News that Feinstein received the letter back in July, but did not make its existence known publicly until Thursday.

According to a report by The Intercept, the letter was relayed to lawmakers by an individual affiliated with Stanford University and concerns an incident involving the 53-year-old Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school. According to two officials who spoke anonymously with the New York Times, the incident involved possible sexual misconduct between Kavanaugh and the woman.

The letter reportedly was given to Feinstein by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., but has not been publicly disclosed by senators who have seen the document. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said that the letter in question has been referred to the FBI for investigation.

Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new information about him, White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, blaming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for an 11th hour attempt to delay Kavanaughs confirmation.

Two sources familiar with the matter tell Fox News that Feinstein has had possession of the letter regarding Kavanaugh since July. Feinstein met privately with Kavanaugh on August 20 and also questioned him repeatedly in open and closed session during the Judiciary Committee hearings on his nomination last week. There is no indication that the matter came up in either the private meeting or the closed committee session.

WASHINGTON ― Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) acknowledged Thursday that she has a document concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that she has so far refused to share, despite behind-the-scenes requests to do so from her fellow Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee.

The FBI conducts background checks on all major government appointees, including Supreme Court nominees.

That indicates theres no plan for further investigation as part of the background check process, which likely would have happened if the FBI had received the information earlier on. Kavanaughs background file is available for the White House to review.

Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaughs background file, as per the standard process, the FBI said in a statement. Fox News has learned that the White House would have to request that the bureau follow up on the letter for the matter to be investigated further. It was not clear whether the White House had done so as of Thursday evening.

A lawyer who is reportedly representing the woman was spotted leaving the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday evening shortly after the Intercept report was published. The lawyer, Debra Katz, has not responded to HuffPosts requests for comment.

The woman referenced in the letter has yet to be identified, but is being represented by Debra Katz, a whistleblower attorney who works with #MeToo survivors, according to The Intercept.

All I know is what I read, and I wouldnt make any judgment of it until I get more information, Grassley told reporters outside a Senate judiciary committee hearing concerning Kavanaughs nomination.

Despite the turmoil over the letter, a spokesperson for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said there is no plan to delay Kavanaughs confirmation. Grassley set the panels vote on Kavanaugh for Sept. 20 and Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh by the start of the new court session Oct. 1.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the judiciary committee, said Thursday he was aware of the matter, but declined to comment because he had not seen the document in question.

Sen. Grassley is aware of Senator Feinsteins referral, Grassleys communications director Taylor Foy said in a statement. At this time, he has not seen the letter in question, and is respecting the request for confidentiality. Theres no plan to change the committees consideration of Judge Kavanaughs nomination.

Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators—including with Senator Feinstein—sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session," White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement. "Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new information about him."


Posted in World