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The Senate Judiciary Committee disclosed Thursday that it had handed over a complaint to the FBI concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, didn’t disclose any details, explaining that they chose to honor the person’s request for confidentiality.
The information reportedly came in a letter from Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. Two sources told NBC News that Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior was sexual in nature, although the writer of the letter was not specific in describing it. According to the outlet, Feinstein was in possession of the complaint for a period of time, but did not share it until after Democrats met Wednesday to discuss Kavanaugh’s potential confirmation. The New York Times also spoke to three people familiar with the contents of the letter.
White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said Thursday that Feinstein should have revealed the information earlier in the process. As of now, the FBI is not opening a criminal investigation into the matter but has added the letter to Kavanaugh’s background file.
“Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him,” Kupec said, accusing Democrats of an “11th-hour attempt to delay” Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “Throughout 25 years of public service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has thoroughly and repeatedly vetted Judge Kavanaugh, dating back to 1993, for some of the most highly sensitive roles.”
Farrow shared more details of Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior in his piece for the New Yorker. According to Farrow’s report, the incident occurred in the early 1980s, when Kavanaugh was a high school student at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md. According to Farrow, the letter obtained by Feinstein was written by a woman who alleged that during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to force himself on her.
The unnamed woman claimed in her letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his — both of whom had been drinking — turned up the volume of the music in the room, with Kavanaugh holding his hand over her mouth to silence her protests. Although the woman said she was able to free herself, she claimed she had to seek psychological treatment because of the ongoing distress she felt after the alleged incident. All three were minors at the time.
Kavanaugh denied the allegation in a statement: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” His classmate also denied the woman’s account, telling The New Yorker, “I have no recollection of that.”
The allegations against Kavanaugh come weeks after Democrats, celebrities and activists protested his confirmation hearings. Actress Piper Perabo was arrested for protesting in court Sept. 4, hours after a handful of women dressed in recognizable Handmaid’s Tale-inspired outfits — red cloaks and white bonnets — arrived. The costumed protesters were part of Demand Justice, a liberal advocacy group fighting Kavanaugh’s confirmation and his “anti-abortion, anti-health care and anti-women” views.
“Brett Kavanaugh is an extremist ideologue who, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, will take away women’s basic rights,” the group said in a statement to The Hill. “Right now in America, far too many women of color cannot access safe, affordable health care and the ability to decide whether, when and how to raise thriving families is out of reach. Brett Kavanaugh will take this already harsh reality and make it worse.”
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