Things just took a wild turn in Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process for the Supreme Court. Republicans are rushing to get a full Senate vote before the court begins its term on October 1 and until today it looked like all Democrats could do is just stall for a while as Mitch McConnell and the GOP have the 51 votes no matter what the Democrats do, but now things just got a whole lot more iffy as the FBI just got involved.
The senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee referred information involving Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, to federal investigators on Thursday, but the senator declined to make public what the matter involved.
Two officials familiar with the matter say the incident involved possible sexual misconduct between Judge Kavanaugh and a woman when they were both in high school. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
The statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California came a week before the Judiciary Committee is to vote on his nomination. “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Ms. 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.”
The information came in July in a letter, which was first sent to the office of Representative Anna Eshoo, Democrat of California, and accuses the judge of sexual misconduct toward the letter’s author, a person familiar with the letter confirmed.
Ms. Feinstein, who received the letter from Ms. Eshoo’s office, informed fellow Democrats on the Judiciary Committee about its existence and its contents on Wednesday evening but did not share the letter itself. Several Democrats advised her to take its claims to the F.B.I., and others pressed for it to become public.
In addition to criminal investigations, the F.B.I. conducts background checks on all major government appointees, including Supreme Court nominees. The F.B.I. said in a statement on Thursday that it had received Ms. Feinstein’s referral and included it in Judge Kavanaugh’s background file. A bureau official also said that no criminal investigation had been opened related to the matter.
Needless to say, this is pretty big. The reason is that during the background check process, the FBI runs a no-holds-barred, nothing-off-limits scouring of a nominee's history. If the FBI asked Kavanaugh about the sexual misconduct incident and he denied it, and the information Sen. Feinstein got from Rep. Eshoo's office that says otherwise, Kavanaugh could get rung up on providing false information (that "lying to the FBI" charge that seems to be so common these days among Republicans).
We'll see what comes from it.