POLITICS

Sen. Grassley Asks FBI To Investigate Retracted Kavanaugh Allegations

A man accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting an acquaintance in the 1980s but later retracted the allegation, Grassley said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is asking the FBI to investigate now-retracted sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Amid an ongoing probe into separate allegations against Kavanaugh, the Iowa Republican asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Saturday to look into what he described as “materially false statements” provided to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) last week.

Grassley’s letter to the law enforcement officials says that a man, whose name was redacted, contacted Whitehouse on Monday with a claim that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted a female acquaintance of his on a boat in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, in 1985.

The Judiciary Committee later questioned Kavanaugh about the allegations, which he vehemently denied.

“I was not in Newport, haven’t been on a boat in Newport,” Kavanaugh said. “This is just completely made up, or at least not me. I don’t know what they’re referring to.”

The man who made the accusation later “recanted his story,” saying he’d “made a mistake,” the Providence Journal reported.

Grassley said in his letter that the man’s actions may have amounted to a crime. 

“The Committee is grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, even if they are not one hundred percent sure about what they know,” Grassley wrote. “But when individuals provide fabricated allegations to the Committee, diverting Committee resources during time-sensitive investigations, it materially impedes our work. Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal.”

“It is illegal to make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to Congressional investigators. It is illegal to obstruct Committee investigations,” he continued.

Grassley concluded by urging Sessions and Wray to “give this referral the utmost consideration.” 

President Donald Trump ordered the FBI on Friday to launch an investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, which the judge has denied. Several women ― including Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, and Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s ― have accused the judge of misconduct.

Trump’s order came on the heels of a surprise call by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to delay Kavanaugh’s final confirmation vote until an FBI probe ― one limited in time and scope ― is complete.

Clarification: A previous headline was unclear about which allegations Grassley was referring to.

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