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FBI Director Facts New Investigation into Brett Kavanaugh | FBI

FBI Director Chris Wray is facing a new investigation into the agency’s handling of his 2018 background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, including its allegation that the FBI lacked the authority to conduct a further investigation into the then Supreme Court candidate.

At the heart of the new issues Wray will face later this week, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a 2010 memorandum of understanding that the FBI recently said limited the agency’s ability to conduct further investigations into allegations of error.

It is not clear whether this claim is correct, based on a close reading of the MOU, which was released in court records following a request for the Freedom of Information Act.

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The FBI was called in to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh during his 2018 Senate confirmation process after he was accused of assaulting Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who knew Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. He also faced other charges, including exposing himself to a classmate at Yale named Deborah Ramirez. Kavanaugh denied both charges.

The FBI closed its extended background check on Kavanaugh after four days and interviewed neither Blasey Ford nor Kavanaugh. The FBI also told the Senate in June – two years after the questions were originally asked – that it had received 4,500 tips from the public during the background check, and that at that time it had shared all “relevant tips” with the White House adviser. It is not clear if these tips were ever investigated.

The FBI said in a letter to two senators – Sheldon Whitehouse and Christopher Coons – that the FBI had no authority under the 2010 MOU at the time to “unilaterally conduct further investigative activities lacking instructions from the requesting entity”. In other words, the FBI has said it would have required explicit instructions from the Trump White House to conduct further investigations under the existing 2010 guidelines on how such investigations should be conducted.

But a 2010 study by The Guardian MOU, signed by then-State Attorney Eric Holder and then White House adviser Robert Bauer, does not explicitly state that the FBI was limited in how it would carry out its investigation.

The MOU, which was released in court documents in 2019 as part of lawsuits over the Freedom of Information Act that Buzzfeed brought against the U.S. government, also does not explicitly state that the White House had the power to set process parameters for any investigation. The MOU seems to suggest that the White House had the authority to restrict the FBI from investigating certain issues and questions.

Wray is likely to investigate further why information specific to the allegations of sexual misconduct was not fully investigated, including evidence allegedly offered to investigators by an alleged witness named Max Stier, a lawyer and former classmate of Ramirez’s. who reportedly informed senators that he had witnessed an event similar to the one narrated by Ramirez.

Stier’s account was never investigated by the FBI.

In a statement to The Guardian, Whitehouse, the Rhode Island senator who led the Democrats’ demand for an answer to the investigation, said: investigate misdemeanors. Now that we have MOU, it’s even harder to understand the Bureau’s apologies for ignoring credible information it received. Director Wray should be ready to answer my questions about this episode – I will not stop asking until he does. ”

The FBI declined to comment.

Wray will testify before the Senate Wednesday in a hearing that will focus on the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Larry Nassar, the convicted sex offender who served for 18 years as a team doctor for the U.S. women’s national gymnastics team. Simone Biles, the American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist, will also testify.

Kavanaugh was confirmed for his life in court on October 6, 2018 by a vote of 50-48 and helped cement a Conservative majority on the powerful body.

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