Senator drops potential SCOTUS bombshell in rumored sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) may have dropped a bombshell onto the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As Vox reported, Feinstein sent the FBI new information allegedly referencing a sexual assault allegation against the judge from his high school years on Thursday.
In a statement, Feinstein explained the letter she received from a constituent and why she is keeping the details private: “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. 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.”
It is not clear what this letter is about, but sources for the Intercept, which initially reported on the matter, seem to believe it involves an incident of sexual harassment that happened when the judge was in high school. Two officials cited by the New York Times say it is related to “possible sexual misconduct.”
Of course, the White House is arguing that this is simply a last ditch effort by the Democratic party to stop the confirmation of the judge, releasing a statement reading, “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. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him.”
Despite the FBI confirming they are adding this information to Kavanaugh’s file, the confirmation hearings are set to continue as planned. Committee Chair Chuck Grassley told CNBC, “There’s no plan to change the committee’s consideration of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
Democrats have intensely questioned both Kavanaugh’s record and the way that Republican leadership has handled information regarding his record, including Bush-era detainee policy and affirmative action.
During his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh has been adamant that there should be zero tolerance for sexual harassment, telling the committee, “[Sexual harassment is a] broad national problem that needs to be addressed, including in the judiciary,”
When questioned on his knowledge of sexual harassment allegations against federal judge Alex Kozincki, whom Kavanaugh clerked for, he told the committee, “It was a gut punch for me. It was a gut punch for the judiciary. I was shocked… Disappointed, angry, swirl of emotions. No woman should be subject to sexual harassment in the workplace.”
The potential impact of the letter is a matter of some debate because it is rumored to be a secondhand account of an instance of sexual harassment, and those close to it can’t really confirm if a number of things are true, including whether the woman allegedly harmed by Kavanaugh’s actions will be seeking legal counsel.