OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Sen. Charles Grassley sent several criminal referrals to the Justice Department following the slanderous and false accusations made by a number of women against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but not a single one of them was acted upon.
And now he wants to know why.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Iowa Republican is demanding that they follow through on an Oct. 8, 2019, request made to Wray and then-Attorney General William Barr in which he asked for an update “concerning their handling of criminal referrals made by the Committee following its investigation into allegations of decades-old misconduct by then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”
Grassley pointed out that “the Justice Department and FBI have failed to respond to our letter and have failed to apprise the Committee whether, and to what extent, any steps have been taken to investigate and hold accountable those individuals who criminally interfered with the Committee’s investigation.”
Grassley referred embattled attorney Michael Avenatti and accuser Julie Swetnick to the DoJ and FBI after he determined they lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding false sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
“These failures are entirely unacceptable,” he continued. “As my colleagues and I stressed in our previous letter, the Committee’s four criminal referrals, dated September 29, 2018, October 25, 2018, October 26, 2018, and November 2, 2018, were not made lightly. Those referrals highlighted serious cases in which individuals made materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements to Committee investigators.”
“For example, one of the referrals related to an individual from Rhode Island who falsely alleged to Congress that Judge Kavanaugh had assaulted a friend on a boat, only to later admit on social media that he lied about the event,” Grassley wrote.
“Two referrals related to allegations made by Mr. Michael Avenatti and his client, Ms. Julie Swetnick, who accused Judge Kavanaugh of being involved in gang rape activities. The Committee identified no verifiable evidence to support the allegations,” the letter continued.
“The Committee found that Mr. Avenatti, who has since been convicted on felony extortion charges, and his client, Ms. Swetnick, had a long history of credibility issues and may have criminally conspired to mislead the Committee regarding those allegations and obstruct its investigation,” Grassley pointed out.
“A final referral related to Ms. Judy Munro-Leighton, a woman who claimed to be the author of an anonymous letter stating that Judge Kavanaugh and a friend raped her ‘several times each’ in the back seat of a car,” Grassley added.
The FBI also found no evidence to support any accusations against Kavanaugh, though Democrats have recently questioned the bureau’s findings.
“Ms. Munro-Leighton later admitted that she falsely claimed that she was the author of the letter and its allegations and only claimed authorship of the letter ‘as a way to grab attention.’ These false allegations materially impeded the Committee’s work and diverted important Committee resources during its time-sensitive investigation,” he wrote.
The Iowa Republican cited a 414-page report regarding investigative findings “which did not include so much as a shred of evidence to support any of the allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh,” adding, “The FBI background checks – two of them – didn’t uncover any such evidence, either.”
“It is, however, the responsibility of the Justice Department and FBI to hold those who mislead and obstruct Congress accountable for their criminal behavior,” Grassley said as he wrapped up his letter.
“Accordingly, I ask that you provide a response to the questions posed in the October 8, 2019, letter no later than April 6, 2021. Your response should include a full explanation of the steps the Justice Department and FBI have taken to investigate the Committee’s four criminal referrals for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 (materially false statements), 1505 (obstruction), and 371 (conspiracy). If no actions have been taken in response to those referrals, please explain why not,” he added.